Stupid Is As Stupid Does
April 20, 2012
"The analysis showed that the vast majority (almost 90%) of those who used Limewire in September 2010 did not use it in September 2011. Further, about 65% of those who stopped using Limewire did not use or visit any of the applications and sites in the panel that primarily provide illegal downloads. Broadening that to total audience with the regular panel weightings, of the 14 million US Limewire users represented by the group in September 2010, 9.5 million did not use any of the unauthorized sites monitored one year later."
-- Statement by Joshua P. Friedlander, Vice President, Strategic Data Analysis, RIAA, April 12th, 2012.
Gee, "(almost 90%) of those who used Limewire in September 2010 did not use it in September 2011."
What a brilliant statement Mr. Friedlander. (Yes, that's sarcasm you detect.)
Of course people stopped using Limewire once they found out it was going to be shutdown and the RIAA fetched its attorneys on it. Duh!
Your statement, "Further, about 65% of those who stopped using Limewire did not use or visit any of the applications and sites in the panel that primarily provide illegal downloads." shows just how completely out-of-touch you and the RIAA are. (You can read the RIAA's (fictional) press release 'The Evidence of Anti-Piracy's Impact Continues To Mount' here: http://tinyurl.com/7zvyj2c )
I guess Mr. Friedlander and his RIAA cronies didn't read the news this week that a 15-year-old Austrian boy has been arrested for allegedly hacking into 259 companies in 90 days flat. ( http://tinyurl.com/7pyc2oj )
That article is just another piece of evidence that proves no matter how hard companies try and stop hacking, it will always be an impossible task. Why? Okay, for the zillionth time repeat after me "Anything that can be done digitally, can be undone."
That means that all the tracking the RIAA and all those who claim they can accurately track illegal file-sharing is simply bogus. Invalid on almost all counts.
Intranets (offline networks shared by users), darknets (which fly under the detectable radar of online search engines), and personal file-sharing between people, makes it all but impossible to detect any illegal file-sharing at all. The fact that album sales year to date (89.8 million) are virtually flat over last year (90 million), according to Nielsen SoundScan ( http://tinyurl.com/ck6bdcg ) might also be due to no real decreases in illegal downloading.
Whatever the case, Mr. Friedlander and all his associates should stop wasting time, conjuring up press releases that are laughed at by almost everyone who knows that file-sharing is still rampant. If you doubt that, ask any of your friends who have children who spend hours on their PCs and laptops at night to ask their children about it. Yeah, the kids might deny it, but gee, they aren't buying as much music as they once did, are they? And didn't Janie just burn a copy of that new Justin Bieber that somebody in his class bought? And so it goes. Every day. The RIAA it seems is oblivious to all this, or is living in another universe.
One need only visit the dorms on almost any college campus to see more evidence of file-sharing. Even if their school prohibits the campus ISPs from doing it, those Intranets are all over the place.
When Mr. Friedlander and the RIAA make such dumb statements instead of doing something meaningful for the industry it allegedly serves (no, wining and dining our politicians at the finest restaurants in Washington, D.C., and hiring lobbyists is NOT meaningful), it only makes one ask again, "Why do we give the RIAA so much money and why are their top execs making BIG time money?"
Maybe somebody at a major label is asking that question right now. The rest of us are just laughing at Mr. Friedlander's statement.
Stupid is as stupid does.
(I recommend you also read 'What Happened to the RIAA's Missing 3.5 Million?' for more about the topic: http://tinyurl.com/bshsbed )
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
FOLLOW-UP TO LAST WEEK'S COMMENTARY ABOUT MADONNA'S PLUMMETING SALES
As I said last week, "All of which means, of course, that you can't make hits if it's not in the grooves, no matter how big the stature of the artist is. There were megabucks spent in promotion and exposure for Madonna before the album's release, but after the people heard the songs they just weren't buying it."
This week, Madonna's "MDNA" album fell out of the top 15, selling around 20,000 copies last week, which is more than 50% lower than its second week.
"The sales drop is all the more profound considering that amazon.com was selling two versions of "MDNA" - one digital, one physical - for just $5. Even that move didn't boost sales." (Source: http://tinyurl.com/6rr2xq2 )
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
SO ABOUT THAT TUPAC HOLOGRAM AT COACHELLA
If you haven't already heard already, Tupak Shakur made an appearance at Coachella last weekend. Well, sort of.
It was a Tupac hologram, and the news about it has been all over the Internet since it appeared at the festival.
The hologram is what I call another case of pure presentation over substance and content. That's common in so many shows these days to distract the audience from the fact that the song content in a concert just ain't that strong.
In any case, an article on Billboard.com titled, "The Problem With The Tupac Hologram," caught my eye and I agree with almost all Jason Lipshutz had to say about the whole affair.
Read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/6p3zla7
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
READ TUNECORE'S CEO, JEFF PRICE, RANT ABOUT GROOVESHARK
"Let me start by saying I don't like Grooveshark. Actually, in my opinion, they knowingly and willingly use a legal loophole to steal from artists and songwriters. Even worse, they try to defend themselves by having the attitude of 'Hey, we love artists and all we are doing is trying to support them.' What a load of crap. And as many of you may know, they are getting sued left and right for copyright infringement."
Read the rest of Jeff Price's rant here: http://tinyurl.com/6uzlxey
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
APPLE WILL UNVEIL A 'REVOLUTIONARY' PRODUCT THIS YEAR?
With an air of mystery and few details, a French designer says he's been working on a project with Apple that will produce a "revolutionary" product in eight months.
Apple says it's news to them, but check out the article on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/83papro
AND WHAT ABOUT THIS? ... IS THERE A NEW IPAD MINI COMING THIS YEAR?
The latest rumor comes by way of a translated report from Chinese online portal Netease, which states the device will compete against Windows 8 tablets. Read about it here: http://tinyurl.com/6sdlz7t
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
GOOGLE'S REALLY TRYING TO WIN IN THE ONLINE MUSIC WORLD
From 'The Wrap' comes the question, "Can Google become the next MySpace?
Not the MySpace that has hemorrhaged users, advertising and cachet over the past several years, but the MySpace of its heyday -- when it was both the premier music discovery platform and dominant social network."
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/c2bokyk
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
GOOGLE'S SERGEY BIN WARNS THAT INTERNET FREEDOM IS BEING THREATENED
The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the Internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world". "I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "It's scary."
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/cy6kuun
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
MOST VIEWERS PREFER 'A LA CARTE' CABLE ... DUH!
Probably no big surprise, but 92% of more than 1,000 respondents to a recent survey would prefer a la carte cable TV -- paying $1.50 for an average preferred number of 19 channels -- to their current multi-channel packages, according to RBC Capital Markets.
Also not a surprise: "The investment research firm's math confirms long-held views by both content companies and MSOs that a la carte economics would dramatically hurt a business that is a major revenue driver to both industries," writes Andrew Wallenstein. "A likely scenario sketched out by RBC's report envisioned the $34 billion content companies received in affiliate fees last year getting cut roughly in half if consumers could cherry-pick channels."
Read the rest here on Variety: http://tinyurl.com/cmmohts
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
IBM RELEASES 'BEYOND DIGITAL STUDY' AT NAB
A new IBM study of the media and entertainment market reveals that as consumers adopt an increasing number of digital devices, four distinct new "digital personalities" are emerging.
Read the rest here on NewRadioStar: http://tinyurl.com/6owodg7
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
THINGS CHANGE DEPT: HOLLYWOOD LOOKS TO YOUTUBE FOR TALENT
From USA TODAY comes new that as YouTube begins to compete more and more with the Boob Tube, its talent is being solicited by Hollywood agents.
"Why not? The popularity of some YouTube performers and their 'channels' dwarfs many TV shows, and their videos have been seen more than a billion times," writes Jefferson Graham.
"It's a seismic shift," according to one agent who represented the likes of Roseanne Barr at the "height" of her career.
Graham gives examples of how YouTube is upping the bar to become more like traditional TV -- like investing $100 million to develop assorted "channels" -- and also names some "homegrown" talent already moving to more lucrative venues. For example, Michelle Phan, "who did how-to-apply-makeup videos in her Florida bedroom," has now become a LancÃ´me spokeswoman, thanks to her new agent.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/7h25nbp
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
AMAZON NOT TRUTHFUL ABOUT ITS VIDEO LIBRARY?
Seemingly giving its streaming service an edge over Netflix and Hulu Plus, Amazon claims to have "more than 17,000 movies and television shows" on Amazon Prime Instant Video. After a little investigation, however, Fast Company reports that the total number of movies and TV shows available to Prime subscribers is actually far lower. "Only 1,745 movies are available to stream on the company's Prime service, and just roughly 150 TV series," it finds. What's more, "The '17,000' figure is not only misleading to consumers, but a faulty indicator of Amazon's streaming library's strength versus competitors and traditional entertainment offerings."
How did Amazon reach its imaginary number? By counting each and every episode of a TV series as an individual TV show, according to Fast Company. "For example, Amazon does not count 24 as one TV show; rather, it counts every episode in all eight seasons toward its library of 17,000 movies and television shows." By this math, Fast Company adds, the average number of times a single TV series on Amazon's Prime service is counted toward its library is about 100.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/7zz4er2
THE 'A-SIDE' - BETWEEN THE GROOVES #1
R.I.P. DICK CLARK
Dick Clark ("America's oldest teenager") passed away this week, and if you grew up in the era of the original American Bandstand (the one that came from Philadelphia before Dick relocated it to Los Angeles), you probably have fond memories of Dick and the show.
American Bandstand was the first all rock 'n' roll music show to be broadcast nationally and it impacted the music business big time.
I'm not going to go into along tribute to Dick Clark because there are already dozens of articles online in every music and entertainment industry media source already doing that, and tracing his history in the business.
I'd rather just like to post this from Billboard: To celebrate Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" legacy following his passing at age 82 on early Wednesday (April 18), check out 10 classic moments of Clark on the show below -- and be sure to look for a certain "American Idol" judge in the Michael Bolton clip: http://tinyurl.com/88p6tqk
THE 'A-SIDE' - BETWEEN THE GROOVES #2
R.I.P. LEVON HELM
This week we lost a great voice.
Levon Helm, a singer and drummer for the Band, died on April 19th in New York after losing his long battle with throat cancer. He was 71.
I had the pleasure and opportunity of promoting The Band when I worked at Capitol Records, and I got to see them live several times and meet them once at a concert in Florida. I remember most of the group having no interest in meeting their local promotion manager, but Levon said a quick, "Hope ya' enjoyed the show."
Indeed I did. If you were fortunate to see The Band live, you saw great musicians playing music passionately and perfectly, and filled with the soul of so much American music rooted in so much of our past.
Levon, of course, was THE voice that cemented Band classics "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Up on Cripple Creek," "Rag Mama Rag," "The Weight," "Ophelia," and many more, in our consciousness.
Rest in peace Levon.
THE 'A-SIDE' - A PERSONAL NOTE
CONGRATS TO A GOOD MUSIC MAN
This week, UMG President/COO Zach Horowitz, was named Chairman/CEO of the Universal Music Publishing Group.
I had the privilege of working with Zach while I was at MCA Records, and I always had the greatest respect for him.
As the industry navigates the troubled seas of the digital oceans, it's good to know that there are still good MUSIC people being recognized for all they've done, and being put in charge of overseeing parts of the industry's future. Such good people are hard to find these days, and they seem to becoming rarer as time goes on.
Zach will continue to supervise UMG's government relations and public policy activities, as well as serve on UMG's Management Board and the board of VEVO.
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* Take advantage of the killer music player living inside your phone by cranking up the tunes with a dedicated speaker dock. These favorites charge your phone (or iPod) while liberating your music. More
* Donovan stopped by the Rolling Stone studio to chat about getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his friend John Mellencamp and reminisce about teaching John Lennon his distinct finger-picking acoustic guitar technique while studying Transcendental Meditation with the Beatles in India back in 1968. "I used to play acoustic guitar all the time. In fact, Ringo used to say, 'Don, you never stop playing guitar,'" he recalls. "In that nonstop playing, after we meditated, after we ate our health food, after we chased the monkeys off the table, we would play, and as I picked, one day John said, 'How do you do that?'" See the video on Rolling Stone here: http://tinyurl.com/6oaext7
* Apple's next iPhone is once again rumored to sport a metal back using tech Apple's had a license to since 2010, but has not used much. More
Short News Items ...
PETTY GUITAR THEFT & RECOVERY:
Tom Petty was the latest victim of gear theft when five of his guitars were stolen from a soundstage in Culver City, CA, where Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, had been rehearsing for their upcoming worldwide tour. Petty offered a "no questions asked" reward bounty of $7,500 to anyone with information leading to the guitars' recovery. Police in Southern California announced Tuesday that the instruments had been recovered and a security guard at the Culver City Studios lot, Daryl Emmette Washington, 51, of Los Angeles, was under arrest. Police said the break in the case came when the suspect pawned one of the guitars at a Hollywood pawn shop for $250.
A LITTLE LATE ON THIS INVITATION:
Organizers of the London Olympics approached the Who's manager to inquire about having Keith Moon play at an Olympics event despite the drummer being dead for nearly 34 years, the Sunday Times reported. "I e-mailed back saying Keith now resides in Golders Green crematorium, having lived up to the Who's anthemic line 'I hope I die before I get old'," the band's longtime manager, Bill Curbishley, told the Times. "If they have a round table, some glasses and candles, we might contact him."
ASCAP held its annual Pop Awards in Los Angeles this week, honoring the most-played songs of the year and handing out career achievement nods to Peter Frampton, Trent Reznor and Carly Simon.
A HALF-CENTURY AGO:
Fifty years ago this week, Bob Dylan walked onstage at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village and played a brand new song called "Blowin' In The Wind."
LEONARD COHEN SUES EX:
Leonard Cohen may be humming "Hallelujah" to himself now that a Los Angeles jury has found his ex-manager guilty of harassing the singer and songwriter. Kelley Lynch was convicted Thursday of breaching restraining orders and making scores of harassing e-mails and phone calls to Cohen.
NEVERMIND THE RECORD SALES, IT'S THE MERCHANDISING:
One Direction, the Simon Cowell-discovered boy band which just performed three sold-out Australian shows at 4,000-seat venues. is earning a staggering $57 per head in T-shirts ($40) and programs ($20).
MORE MOVIES ONLINE:
YouTube, Google Play now offer MGM movie rentals. MGM has become the fifth major studio to license its content for rental via YouTube and Google Play, giving viewers more options while adding to YouTube's revenue generating opportunities.
BILLBOARD AWARDS NOMS:
Adele, LMFAO, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne lead the finalists for the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, which will take place at Las Vegas' MGM Grand and be broadcast live Sunday May 20th on ABC. Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, LMFAO and The Wanted are the first performers announced for the show.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers will release We Salute You on May 1st, an EP of six classic covers to celebrate the group's recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The EP consists of songs from previous Hall of Fame inductees the Ramones ("Havana Affair"), Iggy & the Stooges ("Search & Destroy"), Neil Young ("Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere"), David Bowie ("Suffragette City"), the Beach Boys ("I Get Around") and Dion and the Belmonts ("A Teenager In Love").
LEVINE TO HORROR:
'American Horror Story' creator Ryan Murphy has spilled a few more details regarding the second season of American Horror Story, according to the Hollywood Reporter, including the news that The Voice judge and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine will join the cast.
EURO COMMISSION OKAYS EMI PUB PURCHASE BY SONY:
The European Commission approved a Sony-led investor group's acquisition of EMI's music publishing division for $2.2 billion on Thursday, stipulating that the group must sell the publishing rights to four catalogs and 12 contemporary artists. Those artists include Ozzy Osbourne, Robbie Williams and Lenny Kravitz. The deal makes Sony, which was the fourth-largest label on the publishing side, the largest. EMI's publishing group manages the rights to songs of the Beatles, Beach Boys and others.
Andrew Love, the tenor saxophonist who made his mark on hundreds of recordings as half of the Memphis Horns, died last Thursday at the age of 70. His wife, Willie, says that he died from complications of Alzheimer's disease, which he had been suffering from for more than ten years.
Greg Ham, 58, the flautist in Men at Work, who was been found dead at his home in Melbourne, Australia, the BBC reports.
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
"The consumer has become all powerful now, and the consumer is king. So the consumer gets what he wants. But as I understand it, the consumer didn't f---ing want Jimi Hendrix, but they got him, and it changed the world. And the consumer didn't want Sgt. Pepper's, but they got it, and they didn't want the Sex Pistols, but they got it. And now there's an attitude in the music business where it's like 'let's keep the consumer happy because that's what keeps the music business going around. What's changed is the way that people get music and pay for (or don't pay for) music. That's changed profoundly, and the people that sign bands are aware of that, and so the rules of the game have changed. Which is also changing the face of popular music. Albums are now made by committees and focus groups. Let's put it this way: if a fashion house is a record label -- like, Dior -- do you think fashion would stay the same if they asked the consumer what they wanted to wear next summer? Why does fashion always move forward and we all look different with different haircuts and we're all different? It's because fashion doesn't focus group it to its f---ing customers."
-- Noel Gallagher, during an interview ahead of his Coachella set this past weekend.
"If Jerry was healthy and if he was there, he would be a vital force, because he loved the band, he loved the music. I don't think he got bored with it. It was that he just couldn't function anymore in that capacity, as that amazing voice. He was having trouble feeling the [guitar] pick and things like that, physically. He was getting very troubled. His heart was enlarged. He had diabetes. He wasn't healthy. He probably was the most unhealthy person that I ever knew that was still alive."
-- The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart talking about Jerry Garcia, in Rolling Stone
"I think consolidation does make sense when record sales are falling. We aren't a music company. Ten years ago, we realized we couldn't stay as a record company, so we created a TV company. Now the TV business is creating an ancillary business. That's what all of the music companies have got to do with their artists or they are not going to survive."
-- Simon Cowell, referring to his Syco, which produces the TV shows X Factor and America's Got Talent as well as releasing music.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Area Man Proud He Can Still Fit Into Car From High School
NAPA, CA-Wiggling from side to side as he forcibly wedged his torso into the driver's seat of a 1992 Ford Festiva, local man Michael Kerson told reporters Friday he couldn't help but take a little pride in the fact that he could still fit into his car from high school.
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