More Dialogue On New Artists, The Internet, The Music
March 23, 2012
"If in the after life there is not music, we will have to import it."
-- Domenici Cirri Estrada
Regardless of what you read from the RIAA or other industry people, as far back as December 2004, Pew Internet Research did a study and found that artists and musicians were enthusiastic Internet users who believed the Internet was helping them make and sell their work. (You can read the report here as a PDF: http://tinyurl.com/8x6kaq4.)
The report noted back then that "They have embraced the Internet as a tool that helps them create, promote and sell their work. However, they are divided about the impact and importance of free file sharing and other copyright issues."
Of course, those same issues exist today, and many artists are still as divided on them, as they were back then. Ask Wilco's Jeff Tweedy about how the Internet became an integral part of furthering Wilco's sales and broadening their base, and he'll tell you, "A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that's it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it's just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work ...We live in a connected world now. Some find that frightening. If people are downloading our music, they're listening to it. The Internet is like radio for us."
One thing is certain: the Internet is not impeding at all the development, or exposure of new artists. Latest global example: Lana Del Ray, with over 100 million views on her various videos, and global albums sales in big quantities without significant radio play. Try and relate how 100 million views without major radio play correlates to retail and you can see quite easily that radio is not the primary media of choice for active music people who are potential consumers looking for new music by new artists. (Yes, when radio finally pounds a "hit," it sells more. Duh!)
Artists utilizing the Internet realize it is a wonderful breeding ground for new music, and those that have already gained some foothold out in cyberspace are already seeing the results of their hard work pay off in basic artist development. (Something almost all labels forgot long ago in the age of instantly disposable music)
The Internet assists independent artists and independent labels create major buzz and provides the opportunity to sell lots of music without the old hit making machinery formula: Secure major radio play fast, market the music where it's played, try and establish it nationally, get video exposure, and hope strong sales are the result.
Oh yes, and anybody who still tells you "The iPod and iTunes are what killed the record business" is completely uneducated as to what happened back in the early 1980s when the CD was introduced. Once the CD hit the shelves, the world of digital music was launched. Once that happened, it was just a matter of time before Napster and all the online P2P websites were online and people were downloading millions of songs illegally.
Artists breaking online via social networking sites, etc., would probably never had any chance at all getting significant radio play or even being signed by a major label. Most don't fit the magic formula for that "it factor" so prevalent in all music marketing today. That's what music video did to the industry. As I have noted previously in the newsletter, Billy Joel said, "Videos destroyed the vitality of rock 'n' roll. Before that, music said, 'Listen to me.' Now it says, 'Look at me.' "
With Adele's success, Arcade Fire's success, and others in the digital world we live in, it's time for the industry to take the time to discover and develop more new artists. Not new one-off records. New artists.
New artists are the lifeblood of the music industry. No matter what format music is played on (CD, MP3 players, computers, and even turntables, etc.) in the future, the opportunities to regenerate a healthy consumer market exists if new artists are established and the best minds in the industry ensure these artists will not only be heard, but that the means of distributing their music can be profitable.
Again, if the labels diverted all the millions they pay annually into the black hole in Washington, D.C., the RIAA, to lobby politicians in Washington, D.C., into developing new artists who could generate healthier rosters for the long-term, a whole lot of things might be different.
I have said before also those artists who work hard at their craft and draw crowds in their local and regional venues, sell their CDs online or at their shows, and who use the Internet to reach people globally, are taking matters into their own hands. Those who gain significant notoriety via any of those ways, obviously attract label attention. Many get signed by labels and enjoy even more success. Others remain fiercely independent and want nothing to do with the industry machinery anymore.
"What did you dream? It's alright we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar,
He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
So welcome to the machine." -- Pink Floyd, Welcome To The Machine, Welcome To The Machine lyrics (c) Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
That machine doesn't function well anymore.
Pink Floyd knew it way back when.
New artists know it now.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
GREAT ARTICLE: 'THE TUMBLR TRAP, IS INTERNET CULTURE TURNING MUSICIANS INTO CONTENT PRODUCERS?'
Thanks to Portland's great DJ, Clarence Duffy, for forwarding this great article from the A.V. Club for readers of the newsletter.
The fast-paced dissection and dumping of musical ideas was once how the indie world viewed pop music-a playground of fleeting thrills that aren't meant to last.
Lately, however, the memes have taken over, and they aren't injecting themselves into larger sounds and contexts, but rather increasingly smaller ones. The genesis of this is probably chillwave, a simplistic, lo-fi sound that doesn't ask much of its creators other than some reverb and a Pablo Cruise sample.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/7594368
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
IF YOU CAN'T BE THERE, AT LEAST YOU CAN "SEE THERE"...DELL & YOUTUBE WILL STREAM FOUR FESTIVALS
Dell and YouTube have announced an exclusive partnership to deliver live webcasts of this year's four major music festivals: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits (ACL).
Through Dell's technology and YouTube's global reach, music lovers worldwide will experience a unique connection to music's biggest stars through multiple live channels, behind-the-scenes content and exclusive artist interviews.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/75u6k68
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
MTV RETURNING TO ITS ROOTS (LOL) ... BUT ONLINE, NOT ON TV
In a bid to regain its supremacy as the dominant medium for musicians to connect with fans, MTV is returning to its musical roots, albeit online. The move, unveiled during a presentation at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, includes the launch of a new online destination which combines MTV-produced fan pages with e-commerce features that will enable everyone from headliners to garage bands to have an MTV-branded presence online.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/75wfkob
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
HOW BIG WERE SALES ON THE NEW iPAD? HOW ABOUT 3 MILLION IN FIRST WEEKEND?
Following up its earlier announcement Monday of record iPad sales over the weekend, Apple was more specific in a statement issued this week: it sold three million new iPads between Friday and Sunday.
The latest version of the popular Apple tablet features a sharper screen, a faster processor and 4G wireless support.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/84jqtos
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
AND HERE'S INFO ON THE NEXT GEN iPHONE, AND IT'S COMING SOON
From Reuters comes news that Apple new iPhone will have a sharper and bigger 4.6-inch "retina" display and is set to be launched around the second quarter, a South Korean media reported on Thursday.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/77eb72q
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
TURN ME UP WANTS TO PUT DYNAMICS BACK INTO RECORDINGS
For the last 10 years, sound has been mixed and mastered at ever increasing loudness levels, crushing the natural vibrancy of music.
Dynamic Range Day comes to us from Turn Me Up, a non-profit music organization working with artists and recording professionals who are promoting more dynamic recordings. Most contemporary recordings are anything but; they are mixed to sound loud all the time.
Check out Turn Me Up here and read more: http://tinyurl.com/2uojq4
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
CNET'S AUDIO-PHILE, STEVE GUTTENBERG, ASKS 'IS TECHNOLOGY ROBBING MUSIC'S SOUL?'
Is there a hole in the soul of music? Have human imperfections been completely removed from nearly all music, and is that a bad thing?
Read a great article by Steve Guttenberg on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/76lwa5p
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
KARMAZIN EXPLAINS SIRIUS/XM RATE HIKE (ARE YOU BUYING IT? NO PUN INTENDED)
SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin wrote an e-mail that was sent out to subscribers earlier this week explaining the recent rate increase and options for customers who want to avoid them.
If you're a customer and haven't received the e-mail yet, read more about it here: http://tinyurl.com/8x4f5rf
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
TABLETS TO TAKE 60% OF GLOBAL MARKET IN JUST FOUR YEARS
Worldwide demand for lower-cost and smaller-screen tablets will drive the greatest growth in coming years even as Apple and its current iPad maintain a dominant position securing the high end, according to ABI Research.
The company says that despite Apple ruling the U.S. and other Western markets right now, there are already 220 tablet models in the market. Tablets priced under $400 will drive the greatest growth, and will take 60% of the market by 2016.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/86yuce3
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE RETAIL LANDSCAPE WILL LOOK LIKE IN FOUR YEARS?
According to a new Whitepaper from Nielsen, What's In Store, In-Store For U.S. Retail In 2016, presented byTodd Hale, SVP/Consumer & Shopper Insights, traditional mass merchants and supermarkets have yielded share to value channels (club, dollar, and supercenter) and drug stores, prompting a series of changes, including format blurring, new marketing outreach techniques and shopper entertainment.
Highlights from the findings include:
- Store are super-sized for one-stop-shop convenience or downsized into smaller stores for quick grab-and-go trips
- For people who view shopping as entertainment that engages all the senses, lifestyle outlets blur the line of demarcation between traditional formats, merging restaurants with food markets, serving up food and wine tastings, providing live music and movies, and creating places for friends and co-workers to gather and socialize
- Technology brings consumers into the shopping experience via options such as touch screen ordering, QR code advertising, mobile coupons and shopping lists.
- Store brands mushroom to include super premium offerings joined by an increasing number of restaurant and celebrity-chef brands, while a few consumer packaged goods brands transitioned onto restaurant menus
- The Big 4 technology companies [Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google] will establish beachheads outside the tech world, challenging conventional players to re-think their business models and forge new alliances or chance seeing themselves become less relevant
- Deep discounters continue to keep the cap on operating costs in order to maintain their price edge, but low prices alone have not been enough to guarantee sales success.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/8x34gbx
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* With a host of improvements -- faster graphics, 4G wireless options, a better camera, and a gorgeous high-res screen -- the latest iPad cements its position at the head of the tablet pack. See why CNET gave it an Editors' Choice Award here: http://tinyurl.com/82m2swk
* Got a question you've been just dying to ask Madonna? You'll get your shot on Saturday, when late-night host Jimmy Fallon steers an interview and interactive chat with the singer on Facebook. The live interview is expected to be Madonna's only media event tied to the March 26th release of her 12th studio album, "MDNA"
* Check out Berklee Music's Online Courses in Songwriting; Music Business; Music Production; Project Management For Musicians; and more here: http://tinyurl.com/65736c
* CD players may be a dying breed, but turntables aren't going away. CNET's rounded up some of the coolest looking turntables on the planet! http://tinyurl.com/7lymb75
Short News Items ...
WHITNEY HOUSTON CORONER REPORT RELEASED:
Whitney Houston's death on Feb. 12th was caused by accidental drowning, heart disease and the effects of cocaine use, the L.A. County Coroner's office announced on Thursday. The just-released coroner's report states Houston was found submerged in a bathtub filled with water and lists "cocaine intake" as a cause of the injury. (http://tinyurl.com/74hha9a)
MCCARTNEY 'RAM' REDUX:
Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 classic album, Ram, will be reissued across several formats, including a deluxe box set, on May 22nd. It will be issued as a single disc 12-track standard edition, a 2-CD digipack with a bonus disc of rarities, a hi-res edition with 24-bit, 96 kHz audio files, a standard digital download, a double LP on 180-gram vinyl, a limited-edition mono vinyl LP and a deluxe box set with a bonus DVD, 112-page book, bonus discs and assorted exclusive prints.
Carole King will be celebrated as a BMI Icon at the 60th annual BMI Pop Awards, slated for May 15th at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
CHINA BEATS U.S. IN SMARTPHONE ARENA:
Research firm IDC projects China will overtake the U.S. this year as the leading market for smartphone shipments, with low-cost Android devices driving uptake there. Looking further ahead, India and Brazil will join the top-five country markets for smartphone shipments by 2016.
ADAM LEVINE HORROR STORY:
Entertainment Weekly reports that Maroon 5 frontman and VOICE judge, Adam Levine, is in negotiations to join the cast of American Horror Story as half of a couple called "The Lovers."
JOE WALSH IS AN 'ANALOG MAN':
Joe Walsh's first solo album in two decades, Analog Man, is co-produced by the guitarist and Jeff Lynne, and features Walsh's brother-in-law -- Ringo Starr -- on drums. The album will be released on June 5th.
SWIFT GRABS SIXTH #1:
Taylor Swift claims her sixth # 1 and completes her second set of two straight leaders on the Country Songs chart, as "Ours" hits #1 this week.
JEWEL DOES GOOD WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM FRIENDS:
As part of ConAgra Foods' Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, Jewel, along with Jay Sean and Owl City, have recorded an original song to benefit Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
BEYONCE TO PLAY THE REAL BOARDWALK EMPIRE:
Beyoncé is ready to hit the stage only months after giving birth to her's and Jay-Z's daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. In celebration of Revel's $2.4 billion entertainment destination premiere, Beyonce will be performing at Ovation Hall in Atlantic City, NJ for three days: Friday, May 25 (9 p.m. EST), Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27.
IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK:
Bob Dylan's self-titled debut LP hit shelves on March 19th, 1962
ONE WAY TO SELL A WHOLE LOT OF RECORDS FAST:
Lionel Richie sold 20,000 copies of his new LP, Tuskegee, in a single hour during his live concert event on HSN (Home Shopping Network) last Friday night.
ROCK 'N' ROLL PRESENTERS:
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Carole King, Robbie Robertson and ZZ Top's Billy F. Gibbons and Dusty Hill will be among the presenters for this year's 27th annual induction ceremony, which takes place on April 14th in Cleveland. They'll be joined by the likes of Public Enemy's Chuck D, who will induct the Beastie Boys, Steven Van Zandt for the Small Faces/Faces, comedian Chris Rock for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bette Midler for Laura Nyro.
YET MORE SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE HERE ON EARTH:
1) ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" had its lowest-rated premiere in its history. Though "it was the most-watched show of the night with 18.5 million total viewers the show was down 34% from last spring's premiere to a 3.5/9 in the 18-49 demographics -- the show's lowest rating ever for a premiere.; 2) At MTV, Snooki and the gang are starting to show their age. In the first three months of the year, the "Jersey Shore" network was off 19% in its target 18-34-year-old audience in primetime, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE COMING:
Neil Young and Crazy Horse will release their new LP Americana on June 5th.
KISS & MOTLEY CRUE HIT THE ROAD TOGETHER:
KISS and Mötley Crüe have announced "The Tour," a joint summer package that kicks off July 20th in Bristow, VA and runs through September 23rd in Hartford, CT. Each band will play about 90 minutes and KISS will close every night.
EMI WANTS MORE LIL WAYNE BUCKS:
EMI has filed a lawsuit against Cash Money Records over late payments for licensed music connected to Lil Wayne's hit album, Tha Carter III. According to papers filed by the label group in the United States Federal Court in the Southern District of New York, the hip-hop label owes $392,940.93 of a larger debt that they had mostly paid off in February of 2010 with a $1.5 million payment. That payment came as the result of another lawsuit pursued by EMI in late 2009.
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
"Other than this interview, Oprah, I do not intend to speak to anyone for a very long time. No press, no television, if my mom calls and says, 'Did you hear about...' I shut it all off."
-- Lady Gaga in her televised talk with Oprah Winfrey on Oprah's Next Chapter, that aired last Sunday night.
"I knew by listening to his music. I could figure he was into the attitude, at least, of the Animals and was carrying that kind of attitude on."
-- Ex-Animals lead vocalist Eric Burdon, commenting on Bruce Springsteen's nod to the group's "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" when he said in his SxWS speech, "That's every song I've ever written. I'm not kidding, that's all of 'em."
"I didn't mean to single them out. It just came out. There's much worse bands than Nickelback, maybe,"
-- The Black Keys' Patrick Carney saying he is sorry that he picked on Nickelback in Rolling Stone's January cover story on the band.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Poll: 96% Of Bands Looking For Slightly Better Drummer
WASHINGTON-According to a Zogby poll released this week, 96% of rock groups across the nation are currently in search of a slightly better drummer.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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"And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ... drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain."
"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon