Piracy: The Truth Be Told
April 6, 2012
"Piracy is a bit like the war on drugs, it's an unwinnable war, in my opinion. But that's not necessarily the opinion of the industry, but I think the solution is to provide access to entertainment to as many people as possible, through a variety of different models -- including the free models."
-- Rio Caraeff, CEO of VEVO
For almost a decade I have been saying repeatedly what Rio Caraeff said recently.
I didn't say it in those exact words, but I've said it over and over again: Nothing will ever stop piracy because anything that can be done digitally, can be undone. All those ones and zeros that put together digital music can be duplicated and copied, no matter what encryption technology labels try to employ. That same encryption technology (just more codes with more ones and zeros) can be uncoded, and so on and so on and scooby-dooby-dooby.
But Rio is correct when he says "That's not necessarily the opinion of the industry."
Nope. The music (and film) industry don't want to believe what Rio and others have said. They still hold on to the hope in the back of their minds that legislation will somehow one day be the magic bullet to somehow stop all the illegal P2P file-sharing, downloading, copying, and piracy.
I've run this quote many times in the newsletter, "The proper response to digital technology is to embrace it as a new window on everything that's eternally human, and to use it with passion, wisdom, fearlessness, and joy." ( Ralph Lombreglia)
The music industry never did that, and only now, because of the increase in the sales of digital music online, sees where the future lies. They should have seen it over a decade ago when Napster, WinMx, LimeWire, and dozens of other P2P websites were being used by millions of people globally to download music for free, and yes, illegally.
They should have known where it was headed then, but they didn't want to accept it.
When there were over 100 million iPods sold, they should have realized that CD sales would decline more rapidly than expected. But they didn't want to accept that, and blamed falling CD sales on iTunes, and said iTunes cannibalized album sales.
The correct statement would be, of course, iTunes only cannibalized the sales of albums that contained one or two good tracks and consumers got tired of spending $10 for CDs like that. In the meantime, artists that made good albums sold millions despite iTunes and all the illegal file-sharing and piracy. Most recent example: Adele.
So, thank you Rio Caraeff, for coming out and telling it like it is. I'm quite sure many of those in the industry were not at all pleased with what you said.
The truth hurts at times.
The truth be told, the truth will set you free.
Let's see how the industry frees itself of the chains of the piracy stigma that will never go away.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
HEY, DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE INDIE ARTIST THAT MADE A KILLING FROM STREAMING? NO, REALLY!
It was recently reported in Denmark's BÃ¸rsen newspaper (equivalent to the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal) that Jonathan Johansson, a very hip Swedish artist who has been steadily building a healthy fan base in the Nordics with the aid of his label, Hybris, made more than $20,000 from streaming services alone in the first month of his album being available.
This includes services such as Spotify and TDC Play. Even more interesting is the fact that this represents approximately 83% of his total income from digital services, including downloads, in Sweden. Not bad for an indie-pop artist singing in his native language.
Read more on The Daily Rind: http://tinyurl.com/btdttj8
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
HERE COME THE COPYRIGHT POLICE
The Center for Copyright Information will soon make its debut. The CCI will work with ISPs, music labels, and film studios to implement a controversial graduated-response program, and are expected soon to name the person in charge of the CCI.
Read more here on CNET: http://tinyurl.com/cvn58ed
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
NEIL YOUNG TRADEMARKS WHAT APPEARS TO BE NEW AUDIO FORMATS
From Rolling Stone, "They might sound like great song titles, but "21st Century Record Player," "Earth Storage" and "Thanks for Listening" aren't new Neil Young tunes. They're trademarks that the rocker recently filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Rolling Stone has found, and they indicate that Young is developing a high-resolution audio alternative to the MP3 format."
Read the rest on Rolling Stone here: http://tinyurl.com/cud883x
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
MORE PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO RADIO ONLINE
Online radio is the fastest-growing music-listening category among U.S. consumers, according to new findings from NPD Group.
The market research firm found that 43% of U.S. Web users in 2011 chose to listen to music via Pandora, Slacker, Yahoo Music and other online radio services -- up nine percentage points from 2010.
Read more here on MediaPost: http://tinyurl.com/cc8u3af
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
WHAT DO "MASTERED FOR iTUNES" AND "SOUND CHECK" DO TO LISTENING MUSIC?
From CreateDigitalMusic, "What does it mean to "master for iTunes?" Apple tripped that question with the launch of a suite of utilities and sound-processing algorithms intended to master music for their codecs and software, rather than more generically as would be done with the CD. More significantly, what does it mean that an increasing number of music listeners experience all music through Apple's software as the final gateway to their ears? In our first look at this issue, we welcome guest writer and producer Primus Luta (David Dodson). He tests this issue the only way that really matters: with his ears."
Read the rest on Createdigitalmusic here: http://tinyurl.com/6utayfv
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
THE PROBLEMS WITH TOO MANY COMPANIES RUSHING TO TABLETS TOO SOON
The early adoption of new technology often comes at a cost -- something many companies learned after their hasty embrace of tablet computers. Take American Airlines, which, as The Wall Street Journal reports, quickly discovered that one tablet doesn't fit all. "The pilots wanted high-end tablets to replace paper charts and such, while ... to its first- and business-class passengers, the airline lent models that played new movies without risk of illegal copying."
Other common pitfalls include failing to have a plan before rolling out the devices; not understanding what tablets are -- and are not -- good for; and misjudging the ease of support and security. Companies are also attracted to the cheaper cost of tablet, but fail to recognize that the devices inevitably have to be replaced more often desktop, and even laptop computers. As WSJ reports, apps often present another issue for companies, which either assume that all the apps they need already exist or will be relatively easy to develop.
"But most companies don't have the means to produce and constantly update mobile applications for themselves," WSJ writes. "And while iPad and Android app stores have many more offerings than the stores of less popular tablets, even those have limitations."
Read the rest here on the Wall Street Journal: http://tinyurl.com/d7ejaet
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
BLACKBERRY'S TROUBLES CONTINUE, SOME IDEAS HOW TO SOLVE SOME
Things have been looking grim for Research In Motion and its BlackBerry brand for quite a while. And time appears to be quickly running out on the company.
However, all is not lost: There are ways for RIM to become relevant again. But it has to be open to making a number of changes if it is to become a force in the mobile space.
Read E-week's 10 ideas to save the Blackberry here: http://tinyurl.com/culwz5k
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
GOOGLE STARTS TESTING AUGMENTED-REALITY GLASSES
From the New York Times "If you venture into a coffee shop in the coming months and see someone with a pair of futuristic glasses that look like a prop from "Star Trek," don't worry. It's probably just a Google employee testing the company's new augmented-reality glasses.
On Wednesday, Google gave people a clearer picture of its secret initiative called Project Glass. The glasses are the company's first venture into wearable computing. The glasses are not yet for sale. Google will, however, be testing them in public.
Read the rest and see what they look like here: http://tinyurl.com/bsaoabs
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
MORE CONSUMERS "CUT THE CORD" LAST YEAR
The Convergence Consulting Group finds that 1 million U.S.-based customers cut the cord last year, and instead accessed Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes, and other paid services to get their TV fix.
They also headed online for free content and went to kiosks, like Redbox, to watch movies. could Amazon Instant on PS3 and HBO Go on Xbox finally mark the beginning of the end for the cable companies?
Read the rest on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/cnb4nd4
THE 'A-SIDE' - BETWEEN THE GROOVES
ATTENTION ALL READERS IN LOS ANGELES: HERE'S A NIGHT OF FUN
Famed L.A. Artist/songwriter/multimediaist/collector/party thrower, Alee Willis, is mounting the stage again in her new show.
It will be an evening of greatest hits, stories and general mayhem from Alee, who is a Grammy, Tony, Emmy and Webby Award winner. (if you don't know who Alee is, check out all her stuff on her website here: http://tinyurl.com/c8fxowf )
It takes place two nights only, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8th & 9th at King King in Hollywood. There will be lots of music, visual treats, stories, dance, games, all the hi-art-meets-kitsch mayhem you know her for and more. (And many things she's never attempted before. And did I mention prizes?)
Alee puts on a great show and I highly recommend seeing her if you haven't.
Check out the info for 'Alee Willis' Super Ball Bounce Back Review' here: http://tinyurl.com/bn32jgx
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* The Beatles' classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray release on May 28th (May 29th in North America). The film's songtrack album will be reissued on CD on the same date. Currently out of print, the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution -- all done by hand, frame by frame. John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios writes "As a fan of animation and as a filmmaker, I tip my hat to the artists of Yellow Submarine, whose revolutionary work helped pave the way for the fantastically diverse world of animation that we all enjoy today." Check out the trailer for the classic animated film here: http://tinyurl.com/8y2tfqp
* The trailer for Whitney Houston's upcoming film, "Sparkle," premiered on NBC's "Today" show this week. The musical movie, which debuts Aug. 17th, is Houston's final film appearance. "Sparkle" stars "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks as the film's title character and the lead of an all-girl music group. Houston co-stars as Sparkle's mother and is also credited as one of the film's executive producers. A quick shot of Cee Lo Green can also be seen in the trailer for "Sparkle." See the trailer here: http://tinyurl.com/cvle8qq
* Sgt. Pepper revisited: Who are the faces in 2012 Lonely Hearts Club Band? - An interactive Amy Winehouse, JK Rowling, Noel Gallagher, Mick Jagger and the Monty Python foot all feature in Sir Peter Blake's update of the 1967 Beatles cover to mark his 80th birthday. Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/89o7xbf
* Check out the newest gadgets that the CNET Reviews team bestowed with four-star ratings. Belkin's best router in a long time is among them, as is a weird little fitness gizmo that just might work. http://tinyurl.com/d37wbdr
* Sellyourband.com is an online resource directory of over 150 services for musicians to find, learn about, and discover services and sites available for them to promote their music, sell their merchandise, and gain new fans. With Sell Your Band musicians can search by category and compare different services by price point, features, and more.
Short News Items ...
Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum repeated wins in the Entertainer, Female Vocalist, and Vocal Group of the Year categories.
Sting, Elton John and James Taylor rocked the Rainforest Fund Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City this past week. Bruno Mars and Jennifer Hudson also performed at the star-packed charity show.
GREEN DAY TO INDUCT G&R:
Green Day will induct Guns N' Roses into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14th. .
DYLAN'S BLOOD TO CELLULOID:
Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" will be turned into a feature-length film from Brazilian-based RT Features. RT Features' Rodrigo Teixeira and Fernando Loureiro will produce the English-language film. The company said it will look for a director with the "unique vision" to translate the album to screen.
PATTI SMITH BACK:
Patti Smith has just announced details of her 11th studio album, her first collection of original material since 2004. Banga will be out on June 5th through Columbia Records. The first single from the album, "April Fool," features Television's Tom Verlaine.
KANYE TO HEAD BACK TO COURT:
Just a few weeks after settling a lawsuit with singer Syl Johnson, Kanye West faces another claim of illegal sampling, AllHipHop.com reports. Robert Poindexter, singer with the soul band the Persuaders, claims that West used an uncleared sample of the 1972 hit "Trying Girls Out" on his remix of "Girls Girls Girls" featured on the mixtape Freshman Adjustment 2.
KUTCHER TO PLAY STEVE JOBS:
Ashton Kutcher will play Steve Jobs in the indie pic "Jobs." The film will chronicle Steve Jobs from wayward hippie to co-founder of Apple, where he became one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of our time.
JACKSONS TO TOUR:
After nearly three decades, the Jacksons are returning. The remaining members of the Jackson 5 have announced the dates of a U.S. summer trek called the Unity Tour 2012. Beginning June 18th in Louisville, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito Jackson will tour together for the first time since 1984, when the Jacksons were supporting their "Victory" album. According to a press release, the Unity Tour will showcase the Jacksons' classic hits like "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "I'll Be There," as well as honor the legacy of Michael Jackson, who died in 2009.
3-D KATY COMING:
Katy Perry has announced that her 3D concert movie will be released in time for the 4th of July holiday.
'THE KILLER' GOES FOR #7:
Jerry Lee Lewis, 76, is married for a seventh time. This time to the ex-wife of a cousin whose sister Lewis wed when she was 13. Lewis married Judith Brown, who was previously married to his cousin, Rusty, on March 9th in Natchez, MS, according to his representative Maureen O'Connor.
ANOTHER SONY LAWSUIT:
"Weird Al" Yankovic is suing Sony Music Entertainment for $5 million. The complaint alleges that Sony Music took improper and duplicate recoupments, which resulted in royalty under payments. It also alleges the major is playing Yankovic a straight royalty for downloads sales instead of the 50% of revenues that a licensing deal calls for. Additionally, it says Sony Music hasn't shared any money it received from lawsuit settlements from such cites as Napster, Kazaa and Grokster.
DURST CHANGES THE BIZKIT:
Fred Durst is planning to fire two of the original members of Limp Bizkit, TMZ reports. According to the gossip site's sources, Durst has a "new vision" for the band that does not include DJ Lethal or drummer John Otto. The group recently signed to Cash Money Records, which could be a sign that Durst hopes to move the band further in a hip-hop direction.
NO YAHOO FROM THOSE LEAVING:
Yahoo is about to lay off as many as 2,000 staffers -- about 15% of its work force -- as part of a major restructuring, according to AllThingsD's Kara Swisher.
LETTERMAN PASSES CARSON:
By extending David Letterman's contract for his "Late Show" through 2014, CBS gave him a new title: longest-running late-night host, overturning Johnny Carson's record of 30 years on TV after midnight.
Jim Marshall, inventor of one of rock & roll's most important innovations - the Marshall amplifier - has died at age 88.
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
"Oh god there are too many, too many ... I've stopped listing to them because they can't sing. Rihanna has some pitch problems, for sure ... and now I'm gonna get in trouble."
-- Former 'American Idol' runner-up Clay Aiken, when asked about what he thinks about the current Idol crop and some of today's chart-toppers, during an appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live"
"One riff on this record has to be at least 20 years old. It's been percolating, waiting for its time. It may end up turning up in a couple of songs on this record, in a mini-opera kind of way."
-- Joe Perry, talking about the new Aerosmith album in Rolling Stone
"This is a subject I'm dead sick of talking about. Everyone has been asking me what's going to happen, and they know as much as I do. I feel you're totally obligated to be present and I would love to f***ing play, but it's just something that's not gonna happen for whatever reason. He hates my guts. It's over a lot of different stuff; I don't even know. There's just no communication between us. I talk to Duff and Steven, but when it comes to old Guns N' Roses, there really isn't anybody that makes decisions."
-- Slash, when asked about what will happen when Guns'N'Roses get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14th
"On the rare occasions that I find myself in the audience of a show that is, generally speaking, considered a rock show, within 20 minutes I am done. I just have to leave. It's just way too loud and I don't like loud music. At all. Never have. Never will. I think you can be powerful, you can be dramatic, without actually being at ear-splitting decibels. Symphony orchestras manage to do that very well. Beethoven did not have recourse to a Marshall 200-watt amp. He had to make things big and powerful by virtue of skillful writing and mustering the orchestral voices in a way that made it sound big and powerful - but in decibel terms, you're talking about a Toyota Prius, not a 747."
-- Jethro Tull's Founder, Ian Anderson, in Rolling Stone
"You wanna bring your dog, your kids? Great! They can have a root beer float and you can choose from 100 craft beers. The brews are local from El Segundo and Van Nuys. We create jobs. This is anti-cool. Cool can go.f*** itself. We'll have 50 in under two years and my goal is 500 is five years."
-- Gene Simmons, talking about the opening of his first 'Rock & Brews' restaurant in El Segundo, California.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Backup Health Care Plan Involves Nation Sharing One Big Jar Of Ointment
WASHINGTON-In the event the Supreme Court strikes down the president's health care law, the Obama Administration has prepared a contingency plan under which all 313 million Americans would share a single large jar of ointment, sources confirmed Tuesday.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
Smart Marketing Consulting Services
Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
"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