July 15, 2011
"Change is such hard work."-- Billy Crystal
I traveled last week and it's been some time since I last went through the security procedures in place at all airports. I anticipated long lines and hassles, but I was surprised how fast the process moves now if you've already printed your boarding pass on your computer.
Ah, the computer. A technological marvel we all use now whether we want to or not. Except, it appears now more than ever, we really love to stay connected no matter where we are and where we go. (Not a big revelation here, just re-iterating the obvious)
On my two flights, the majority of the people were using iPads, netbooks, laptops or smartphones in the waiting areas in the airports and in flight once the captains told them they could "turn on their electrical devices." It looked like people were moving in synchronization as they grabbed their devices and went about doing whatever they wanted. Some played video games, some watched movies, some watched TV shows online or YouTube, some read books online, some worked on spreadsheets, others were simply toying with the apps on their iPads, and so on and so on.
None of this is of course is unusual. If you travel frequently you've already witnessed the same.
But now the increased capabilities of the tablets (thank you, Apple) and "Wi-Fi on board" make it all so much easier than ever before. And one thing is certain: Those increased capabilities coupled with great technology in the iPads and other devices, means people are spending more time than ever away from traditional media. (Again, not a big revelation, just re-iterating the obvious)
Right now, I know of nobody in my circle of friends, co-workers or acquaintances who listens to music on radio. (Of course, I'm not in the target demographic for that either, but many of the people I know are) They listen to music online. (See story below about Pandora passing the 100 million mark)
I have few friends who watch anything on network TV other than specials, sports and some news shows. Most everybody I speak to or communicate with via e-mail (many of you readers of this newsletter), tells me they find the content they want on cable. Many more watch what they want on-demand or TiVo sans commercials. Little of it is on one of the big four networks.
But the tablet has made doing all of those things so easy, so effortless, it has changed the connection we have had to out TVs in the past. (And by that, I mean yesterday) As I reported in the newsletter two weeks ago, "Two years from now, 75% of TV content will be available on every possible screen from PCs to mobile devices, agreed executives from Disney, Turner, and Comcast in a panel yesterday. Also part of the forecast: by 2013 "the networks will be almost completely agnostic about where and when their video content is being viewed," Adweek reports. Read more here: http://tiny.cc/zdl07
Read 'Track 2' below this that says "According to an article on CNBC.com, about 47% of total flat-panel televisions shipped in four years will have Internet connectivity." The TV makers don't care whether people watch network or cable TV; they are in the business of selling units. If people want to use the Internet on a big screen, so be it.
Everything is changing faster than Hollywood ever thought possible. That's why studios want to accelerate their box office hits to pay-for-view that much sooner. Just think of the potential revenue available with all those iPads out there. If just 10% of the people owning tablets buy a movie to watch ... well, you get the picture.
And so it goes.
Change is inevitable -- except from a vending machine.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
AND ANOTHER REASON NETWORK TELEVISION IS HEADED FOR TROUBLE
According to an article on CNBC.com, about 47% of total flat-panel televisions shipped in four years will have Internet connectivity, as manufacturers bet on the expansion of Netflix and direct-to-consumer offerings from content producers like Time Warner's HBO.
Once the percentages start getting that high, consumers will watch whatever they want online on their TVs and in most cases, without commercials.
Look at the top 20 TV shows listed below in the newsletter for the past week and you see a pretty sad list of what is being offered this summer. Yes, it's summer and the nets put on the second tier of quality shows, but look how low the numbers are.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/ruosh
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
IF YOU ARE THINKING OF BUYING A 3-D TV, READ THIS
Despite persistent promotion from TV makers and the Hollywood studios, sales of 3D TVs have been remarkably low over the last 18 months. Last year, the Consumer Electronics Association says only about 1.1 million 3D TV sets were sold. And this month, the research firm SNL Kagan estimated that even fewer will be sold in 2011, although the company is more optimistic about future years.
Why aren't Americans buying the new sets? Read "The 10 Reasons Why People Won't Watch 3D TV!' here on Tvpredictions.com: http://tiny.cc/cxy58
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE FUTUREHIT MID-YEAR REPORT
Jay Frank, the author of 'Futurehit.DNA' (a "must read" for anybody serious about making music) and a SVP/Music Strategy for CMT, has posted his second annual midyear report on the future hit website, and as always, his data makes for a fascinating read and is very informative.
Check out the report here: http://tiny.cc/8u398
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
NETFLIX RAISES PRICES AND CUSTOMERS AREN'T HAPPY
Netflix will raise its monthly price by 60% for a plan that lets subscribers watch unlimited movies and video online and get DVDs by mail. Customers who want both services will pay $7.99 per month to rent one DVD at a time plus $7.99 for unlimited streaming, or a total of $15.98 per month. The previous cost of this plan was $9.99 a month.
"We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into separate plans to better reflect the costs of each and to give our members a choice: a streaming-only plan, a DVD-only plan or the option to subscribe to both," Netflix VP/Marketing Jessie Becker wrote in a company blog post. Unlimited DVD-only plans will cost $7.99 for one at a time or $9.99 for two at a time.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/evj3i
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
PANDORA CROSSES 100 MILLION MARK
Pandora announced Tuesday that it now has 100 million registered users and 36 million monthly active users. Pandora is also unveiling a new website it's been working on for the past year, ditching Flash in favor of HTML5, the company announced in a separate post.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/diz2y
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
SPOTIFY IS HERE
After months of speculation and waiting, Spotify is now available in the U.S.
Check Spotify out here: http://tiny.cc/eeotf
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
4G OR NOT 4G, THAT IS THE QUESTION
Many consumers mistakenly believe they have a 4G phone, according to new research from Retrovo, while many others believe 4G will be too expensive to interest them. These factors could delay the uptake for 4G networks currently being rolled out by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
A third of iPhone owners mistakenly think their phones have 4G, but that isn't the case.
Read more about it here: http://tiny.cc/0fm8q
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
MAZON GETS READY TO ENTER TABLET MARKET
After months of speculation and hints, it looks as if Amazon is finally getting ready to roll out its own tablet in the third quarter. The company will release an Android-powered device with a 9-inch display but no camera by October, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Read the Wall Street Journal article here: http://tiny.cc/xs67l
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
A SAD DAY ... BYE-BYE CONTEMPORARY ROCK RADIO IN NYC
WRXP (101.9 FM) in New York City, which switched from Smooth Jazz to Rock in February 2008, is being sold by Emmis to Merlin Media, and while the deal hasn't closed yet, Merlin takes over the programming Friday, July 15th.
Listeners will hear music for a couple of weeks until Merlin launches its new format, expected to be all or mostly news targeting women in their 30s and 40s.
Read the rest here from an article in the New York Daily News: http://tiny.cc/0jhlc
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
CREEM MAGAZINE TO RETURN
Creem magazine, an iconic, sardonic rock 'n' roll magazine with Detroit roots that ceased regular print publication more than 20 years ago, is planning a comeback.
Read about it here: http://tiny.cc/ggu6d
Chickenfoot, the rock supergroup featuring guitarist Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and former Van Halen members Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar, have finished work on a new album. The 10-track disc will hit stores on September 27th
Bob Seger's sax player, Alto Reed, told Rolling Stone that there's a good chance Bob will do more cities this Fall since the last round of concert dates earlier this year went so well.
I HATE TO SAY "I TOLD YOU SO" BUT:
Jennifer Lopez is returning as an "American Idol" judge with Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson, according to E! News. Lopez had admitted she was "on the fence" about returning for a second season. Lopez reportedly earned $12 million for her first season on Idol. (And why would anybody turn down that kind of money for working maybe a half dozen hours a week?)
SCORCESE DOES GEORGE HARRISON DOCUMENTARY:
A new documentary about the life of George Harrison featuring home movies, interviews and unseen footage of the late Beatle will premiere on HBO in October. George Harrison: Living in the Material World, a film produced by Martin Scorcese along with Harrison's widow Olivia, is set to air in two parts on October 5th and 6th.
CHER DOES GAGA:
Cher has recorded "The Greatest Thing," a song penned by Lady Gaga and RedOne, for her next album. In a tweet, the pop icon declared "Just walked in from studio! Finished 1st track on new CD & GaGa, You are the greatest thing to me!" The singer later clarified that the track is not a duet, and that Gaga had given the song to her as a gift.
EMINEM SELLS 1 MILLION DOWNLOADS:
Eminem's seventh album 'Recovery' has become the first record to sell over a million downloads. According to Neilsen Soundscan, Recovery has sold 1,001,000 digital copies, which amounts to about a quarter of the set's overall 3.9 million sales. The album, which includes the smash hits "Love the Way You Lie" and "Not Afraid," was the best-selling record of 2010.
Pia Toscano, an "American Idol" contestant this past season and a judges' favorite (though that means little anymore), has inked a deal with Interscope Records and will release her debut single, "This Time," on July 12th.
After years of bad blood with his old bandmates, John Fogerty has softened his position on the possibility of a Creedence Clearwater Revival reunion.
AUSTIN CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL:
Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Kanye West, My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes are the headliners for the 10th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, which takes place in that city's Zilker Park on Sept. 16th-18th.
Beyonce fired her dad, Matthew Knowles, as manager in March for allegedly stealing money from her, according to TMZ.com.
CLEAR CHANNEL FESTIVAL IN VEGAS:
Clear Channel is putting on the iHeartRadioMusic Festival set for Sept. 23th and 24th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The show was announced on 850 Clear Channel stations by Ryan Seacrest as the "biggest live music event in radio history." Hosted by Seacrest, it will be streamed live on iHeartRadio.com and across the iHeartRadio app as well as individual station sites. The new version of the iHeartRadio app will be ready to download coinciding with the festival. The line-up so far includes Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Steven Tyler, Black Eyed Peas, Kenny Chesney, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Jane's Addiction, Nicki Minaj, John Mayer, David Guetta, Rascal Flatts, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson and Sublime with Rome, featuring special guest performances by Usher and Sting, with more acts to be named.
GOING MOBILE EVEN MORE:
The Pew Research Center found 35% of American adults own some kind of smartphone, and among adult mobile users that figure rises to 42%. A recent Nielsen estimate said 37% of U.S. mobile users over the age of 13 now have smartphones. In February 2011, comScore reported that US smartphone usage had grown by 60% in the previous 12 months, as the total number of Americans using smartphones rose to 63.2 million in 4Q 2010.
Robert Frank "Rob" Grill died on July 11th. Rob was an American lead singer, songwriter and bass guitarist of the rock and roll band, The Grass Roots.
David Carr, 67, a musician, songwriter and producer who was a founding member and keyboard player for The Fortunes, the U.K. harmony beat group which scored a Top 10 hit in the U.S. and Britain with "You've Got Your Troubles" in 1965, died of a heart attack.
Motörhead guitarist Michael "Würzel" Burston died this week at the age of 61 after a struggle with heart disease.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"It would probably be nice for that company to be private for a period of time to settle down and consolidate operations,"
-- Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, Live Nation's biggest shareholder, behind the idea of taking the concert powerhouse private.
"The ISPs want to cooperate with Hollywood because the carriers recognize that their own growth depends in part on bundled content strategies. They don't want to be just utilities providing Internet access, but premium content distributors as well ... The challenge is that consumers will continue to do whatever they wish on the Internet, and find clever ways to not attract the attention of the content companies or ISPs. It will never end."
-- BigChampagne's Eric Garland on the major ISPs agreeing to warn and penalize their copyright-infringing customers, in the N.Y. Times.
"Can somebody buy me some brown underwear for tomorrow?"
-- Lady GaGa at the Brit Awards
"I realized about a year ago that I couldn't have a complete thought anymore, and I was a tweetaholic. I had four million Twitter followers, and I was always writing on it. And I stopped using Twitter as an outlet and I started using Twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn't write a song."
-- John Mayer revealing why he's gone cold turkey on social media while advising students at a recent clinic at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Rod Stewart Easily Passes For An Elderly Aunt
Record industry refuses to claim credit for horrendous #1 song, The National Funk Congress is deadlocked on get up/get down issue, and the Chicago Bears reunite for the first time since the "Super Bowl Shuffle." It's the week of July 4th, 2011.
- News in Brief: Members Of Twisted Sister Now Willing To Take It
- News in Photos: Area Man Seated Next To Lou Reed On Roller Coaster
- News: Band Teacher Gay In Retrospect
- News: No One Admits To Singing, Writing, Producing Nation's No. 1 Song
- News: National Funk Congress Deadlocked On Get Up/Get Down Issue
- News: '85 Chicago Bears Return To Studio:
- News in Brief: Lady Gaga Kidnaps Commissioner Gordon
- Sunday Magazine: Things Amy Winehouse Mumbled Before She Stole Our Coffee Maker
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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