The U.S. -- Tops In Illegal Downloading
September 21, 2012
"Even with music services such as iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and free album streams on sites like Soundcloud, illegal downloading is still prevalent in the music industry."
-- From 'Drake Is The Most Illegally Downloaded Artist In The U.S. On BitTorrent' ( http://tinyurl.com/8o5lr4c )
Over the last few years you've probably read a few of the news articles and reports from the RIAA about how it has effectively battled illegal file-sharing/downloading, and how the practice has decreased here in the U.S. thanks to their ridiculous lawsuits and their efforts elsewhere.
You've no doubt heard NARAS' (a non-profit association) million-dollar-a-year president, Neil Portnow, talk about piracy on the Grammy broadcasts and mention something similar to this as well.
All of it has been nothing more than hype. ("What is hype? Well, hype is the glittering rhinestone on the jumpsuit of mediocrity that catches our eye and makes us think, "Hey, maybe the Spice Girls don't suck." -- Dennis Miller)
The truth is file-sharing/illegal downloading is still (as David Byrne sang) "same as it ever was."
If illegal downloading was decreasing, I doubt BMG Rights Management would be offering illegal file-sharers amnesty for the cost of two albums. Some might think this a great idea on BMG's part. As for me, if I was one of those people filling out the forms, I don't think I'd want BMG (or any label or music publisher) having any of my information.
Here's the deal: BMG is giving ISP customers who are sent DMCA notices for infringement a chance to pay $20, which "finally, unconditionally, irrevocably and absolutely releases, acquits, remises and forever discharges" them from future legal action. With the court recently upholding Jamie Thomas-Rasset's fine of $9,250 per illegal file-share, BMG considers that's a bargain. They probably expect many will cough up the $20, and if that does happen, it could generate some significant revenues. (But certainly nowhere near the amount of money already lost, and still being lost to illegal downloaders and file-sharers, people burning copies of CDS, etc.)
You can read about BMG's offer and plan in more detail here on Torrent Freak: http://tinyurl.com/8kcdd8f
In the meantime, "The data-and trend-mapping Musicmetric has released the first edition of its Digital Music Index -- an analysis of who's downloading what, where -- and the U.S.A. is #1, as always. More specifically, the U.S.has been ranked # 1 worldwide in the number of music files downloaded illegally, racking up almost 97 million in the first half of this year alone. The United Kingdom comes in a distant second with just over 43 million downloads." ( Source: http://tinyurl.com/9bjp3ld )
The full report from Musicmetric can be downloaded for free here: http://tinyurl.com/9brgdru
There's also news this week that "China, Russia and Ukraine as havens for piracy. Switzerland and Italy are joining them for the first time on the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus' annual watch list of chronic copyright violators." ( Source: http://tinyurl.com/c5u8bzh )
The RIAA and most labels still believe they can get politicians to pass legislation that will somehow put an end to this all someday. LOL.
I started this newsletter 10 years ago to address the problems the industry was facing as illegal file-sharing became as commonplace as Lindsay Lohan being arrested.
I have said repeatedly that nothing will ever stop people from illegal downloading, and these new numbers are yet more evidence the tens of millions spent on the RIAA's lawyers, on campaigns online and TV to discourage people from illegally downloading music, have done almost nothing.
The labels and publishers need to spend their money developing new revenue streams.
And if you're a musician or an artist, I think this advice from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy sums it well, "Record companies do not keep musicians employed. There's definitely a place for record labels, but record labels are more like banks than employers. They subsidize things, and you have to pay them back. Really what keeps people employed in the music business is whether or not you are at all able to sell records. That's really not changed, I don't think. The only way it's changed is that it's more skewed toward the live performance now, and that's fine by me. That's the way we've kept ourselves alive for a long, long time. If a band can attract an audience or attract some people to see them play, then generally they can work. It's always been really hard to be a musician and make a living. It's never been a really sure-fire, rock-solid career choice. [Laughs.] And I think you're really fucking screwed if that's what you're going into it for." ( http://tinyurl.com/d8xy4xb )
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
APPLE AND PANDORA RULE DIGITAL MUSIC
When it comes to digital music, Apple and Pandora are the market leaders in their respective sectors, according to a new report from the NPD Group.
Apple has a 64% share of the market in the second quarter of 2012. Amazon MP3 Store comes in second with only 16%, and no other purveyor of paid downloads exceeds 5%. Far more Internet users, 50% were aware of Pandora's free ad-supported radio service, and a third of them also knew that Pandora offered a paid subscription service.
6o% of iTunes music buyers also use Pandora.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/d4f6mtc
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
FROM MICHAEL DES BARRE: 'ROCK'N'ROLL ISN'T DEAD, IT JUST NEEDS TO GET REAL'
Michael Des Barre (if you don't know who Michael is, you can read about him here on Wikipedia: http://tinyurl.com/8psuvud ), wrote a guest blog on The Wrap, and offers his opinions about how Rock'n'Roll can get its heart and soul back.
"What is rock 'n' roll? Is it Lil Wayne or Little Richard? Justin Bieber or Muddy Waters? Led Zeppelin or Good Charlotte? Katy Perry or Chrissie Hynde? The answer lies within the ears, souls and hips of the beholder," say Des Barre.
Read his commentary on The Wrap here: http://tinyurl.com/cm79dk6
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
FROM CNET: 'APPLE COULD SELL 1 BILLION iDEVICES BY 2015'
As expected, iPhone 5 sales exhausted initial supply, and tripped up servers. Apple said that pre-orders for its newly announced iPhone 5 topped 2 million in the first 24 hours more than double the previous record of 1 million held by iPhone 4S.
Now, Asymco analyst Horace Dediu "believes Apple could hit that 1 billion threshold in device sales."
Read why Dediu thinks the one billion number is realistic and attainable here on CNET: http://tinyurl.com/9kku65b
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
PROFILE: 'NEIL YOUNG COMES CLEAN' FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
A terrific profile and talk with Neil Young by the New York Times' Dave Carr.
"I did it for 40 years. Now I want to see what it's like to not do it. It's just a different perspective. The straighter I am, the more alert I am, the less I know myself and the harder it is to recognize myself. I need a little grounding in something and I am looking for it everywhere." -- Neil Young, talking about being sober for a year after drinking and smoking pot for decades.
Read the interview/article about Neil and find out about his new biography, his thoughts about playing with Crazy Horse again, the music system he has developed called PoNo ("You are getting less than 5% of the original recording." He put on Aretha Franklin's "Respect" and then switched to Pono. The horns jumped and the car was filled with lush, liquid sound."), and more here on the New York Times: http://tinyurl.com/bmrv8fj
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
'GANGNAM STYLE': 221 MILLION YOUTUBE VIEWS AND GOING STRONG, NOW RISING ON THE ITUNES CHART
More evidence that YouTube is the primary music discovery for young people. If you aren't aware of the 'Gangnam Style' video and dance, consider yourself now in the minority.
From Rolling Stone "Psy's ridiculously funny "Gangnam Style" video has crossed over from Korean to international YouTube fame (221.5 million views since its July 15th debut, up from 167.5 million late last week) to sales success (it's #4 on iTunes in the U.S. this week)." (That's another 50 million views in just one week!)
Read more about the Korean pop star's video success here on Rolling Stone: http://tinyurl.com/924jnu2
And watch the 10 best Gangnam Style parodies on Billboard here: http://tinyurl.com/9pobg5b
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
APPLE RADIO A BIG THREAT
From Online Media, "The recent report that Apple plans to launch its own Web radio service sent tremors through the online music industry. As the biggest player in digital music, the company's expansion to music streaming could have major repercussions for Pandora and Spotify. Online radio and on-demand services remain the fastest-growing form of music consumption in the U.S."
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/8okwwxh
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
SHAZAM NOW HAS 250 MILLION USERS AND SHAZAM FOR TVTM EXPANDS FOR ALL TV
Palo Alto, CA - September 17, 2012 - Shazam(r), the world's leading media engagement company, today announced that it has achieved the major milestone of exceeding a quarter of a billion users globally. Shazam also announced that it has expanded its Shazam for TV(tm) second-screen service in the U.S. to support TV programming on any channel, anytime of day.
Now, Shazam fans can use the app as a "TV companion app" with any TV show in the U.S. to access cast details and photos, music in the show, celebrity gossip, trivia, celebrity tweets, and links to additional information, plus the ability to instantly share and comment on the show or episode on Facebook and Twitter.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/8sojacx
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
HEY CALIFORNIANS, HERE COMES SALES TAX ON STUFF YOU BUY ON AMAZON.COM
Amazon.com will start collecting sales taxes for most, but not all, items it ships starting tomorrow.
California's tax collectors tell CNET they have a plan to tax the rest and get the 9.75% sales tax.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/8m8flxr
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* Fall Tech Preview. CNET previews the hot tech coming this fall. Find out what's next for cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, games, and more: http://tinyurl.com/8kwmn8k
* Don't call them Netbooks. These inexpensive computers deliver the features of full-fledged laptops costing twice as much: http://tinyurl.com/9jxv7le
* CNET's Scott Stein got his hands on the iPhone 5 last week. He's been secretly testing the device and writes in his verdict: "It's hard to find a single part of the iPhone that hasn't been rewritten, redesigned, retooled." Read his report here: http://tinyurl.com/9jjnt8e
Short News Items ...
IDOL MUSICAL CHAIRS, IF ANYONE STILL CARES:
Keith Urban was officially announced as the fourth judge on "American Idol" this week. The final judges panel is now Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Urban.
Shoppers at HMV record stores in London found the singer's latest CD Fortune covered in a very different kind of warning label, as first reported by Gigwise. Thought to be the work of anonymous anti-domestic violence activists, the yellow stickers read, "Warning: Do NOT buy this album! This man beats women."
Shakira and Usher will replace Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green (who are taking time off to fulfill other commitments) on the Spring edition of "The Voice."
As Cheap Trick prepare for their 40th anniversary, the band is set to resume touring with Aerosmith.
MICHAEL JACKSON' BAD 25' TO AIR IN NOVEMBER:
'BAD 25', the documentary film celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Bad album from director Spike Lee, will get a television premiere on ABC on November 22nd. The documentary follows the making of the "Bad" album track by track.
BEACH BOYS TOUR WILL CONTINUE WITHOUT BRIAN:
The Beach Boys' 50th anniversary reunion tour will end after a two-night stand in London later this month. When they return to America, original members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks will no longer perform with the group. At that point, the "Beach Boys" will once again consist of Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and their longtime backing band that includes Love's son Christian, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill and Scott Totten.
NEXT JAMES BOND SONG:
Adele has reportedly recorded the theme song for "Skyfall," the next movie in the James Bond series.
Annie Lennox, 57, who got married last Saturday in London. Lennox tied the knot with American Dr. Mitch Besser, also 57.
THE BOSS BRINGS 'MAD DOG' BACK FOR A SONG:
Opening a three-night stand in New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen turned in a nearly four-hour performance highlighted by a reunion with original E Street Band drummer Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez on "E Street Shuffle."
STONES LAUNCH 3-D IMAGES:
The Rolling Stones have unleashed the gorilla imagery of their upcoming compilation, 'GRRR!', on 3,000 sites in 50 international cities, tagging such landmarks as the Empire State Building, Big Ben and the Sydney Opera House with Walton Ford's cover art.
From The Wrap, "Coachella will stretch out over five weekends throughout the year if concert promoter Goldenvoice gets its way, according to a new proposal on the city of Indio's website. As of now, the city has authorized two Coachella festivals, as well as the country-focused Stagecoach Festival -- all of which span three-day weekends in the Spring. Under the new plan, there could be an additional Coachella festival in the fall, followed by another smaller festival comparable to Stagecoach in size. ( http://tinyurl.com/9jlelbq )
Mel Karmazin may leave his post as CEO at Sirius XM when his contract expires at the end of the year. The N.Y. Post reports that John Malone's Liberty Media, which is buying up stock to gain control of the satellite radio company, is gearing up to replace the longtime broadcast exec. Liberty is the largest shareholder in the company, with just under 50% of the stock. Malone was reportedly peeved when Karmazin told Forbes last April, "I think I'm one of the most underpaid executives in the history of executive payment." That could signal Howard Stern's end, too, once his five-year contract is up in 2016.
Fiona Apple was reportedly arrested at a Texas border stop yesterday for hash possession, according to TMZ. Authorities arrested Apple in Sierra Blanca, Texas, after they allegedly found hash during a search of her tour bus. She's being held at the Hudspeth County Jail.
SEE YOU IN COURT, DEPT:
James Taylor is suing his former record label, Warner Bros., for $2 million over royalties, The Guardian reports. The suit stems from outdated royalty rates from the pre-digital era. Taylor claims Warner paid him royalties for digital sales that are appropriate for "phonograph records," and says the digital sales should be viewed as a licensed copy of the master recording, not as a newly pressed physical copy.
'THE MASTER' OPENS BIG WITH LIMITED RELEASE:
Paul Thomas Anderson's ("Boogie Nights," "There Will Be Blood") new film, "The Master," commanded a huge following in its opening weekend, smashing records on just a handful of screens. The film made $729,745 in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a record-setting per-screen average of $145,949, according to Sunday studio estimates.
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
"I wish I didn't know who Honey Boo Boo was. But I do, and it scares the s- out of me."
-- Chelsea Handler, on her talk show Chelsea Lately. (It should scare you, Chelsea, and anybody who sees the little monster)
"Fame has a very interesting prospect with dangerous encounters around the corner ... Fame is ultimately about the cycles of desire and how to do away with them or manage them well. Vanity can create a very cruel space for you if you don't know how to manage it."
-- Lady GaGa, To CNN
"I wouldn't mind getting together with Mike [Love] and the guys and making an exciting rock & roll album. I'm sure by early next year we'll be ready to rock."
-- Brian Wilson, at the Grammy Museum this past week, talking about the possibility of The Beach Boys recording together again
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Posthumously Recorded Bob Dylan Album Receives Rave Reviews
LOS ANGELES-Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's posthumously recorded 35th studio album, "Tempest," released Sept. 10th, has been enjoying widespread acclaim from top music critics across the country, with many praising the late Dylan's largely undiminished songwriting skills.
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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