No Special Effects Stage Show, No Over-The-Top Videos, No Special Price Packaging, Just Damn Good Music
October 5, 2012
"WINNER OF THE WEEK: Mumford & Sons. And Spotify. Suddenly, the low-key British folk-rockers join Adele, Taylor Swift and Lil Wayne on the ever-more-exclusive list of Artists Who Can Sell More Than Two or Three Hundred Thousand Albums in Their Debut Weeks. Mumford did it not with ridiculous bargains, like Lady Gaga's Amazon deal last year, or Madonna's concert-ticket bundle, but with Spotify exposure."
-- Rolling Stone ( http://tinyurl.com/8qvfqk7 )
Mumford & Sons new album, 'Babel,' debuted atop the Billboard Hot 200 Album Chart this week with over 600,000 sold.
It was the biggest sales debut for any album this year, and there was no heavy-duty concept video, no special effects stage show the band created put to ensure their new album would spike in its first week of sales, and more important, as the above quote says "Mumford did it not with ridiculous bargains, like Lady Gaga's Amazon deal last year or Madonna's concert-ticket bundle, but with Spotify exposure"
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times (and referenced by Rolling Stone), "Babel," the sophomore album from Mumford & Sons released on Glassnote Records last week, has had the biggest debut sales week of 2012, selling approximately 600,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. That number, revealed Tuesday, bests first-week totals from such A-list pop stars as Justin Bieber and Madonna and did so while being streamed more than 8 million times on Spotify." ( http://tinyurl.com/9qyoppn )
8 MILLION TIMES.
In the same Los Angeles Times article, "The music industry has been grappling with the following question for much of the last few years: Do streaming services such as Spotify, which allow users to listen to albums for free, cannibalize sales? Leave it to a banjo-wielding English folk-rock band to provide one very loud answer."
The success of Mumford & Sons was simply due to one simple fact: The quality of the music executed by real musicians connected with an audience that's been ignored far too long by al lot of the disposable pabulum being spoon fed to the ears of the masses.
Green Day's new album sold less than one-third of what Mumford & Sons did. Ditto the new No Doubt album, and last week's #1 debut, Pink's 'The Truth About Love' plummeted 66% in sales in its second week. Green Day, No Doubt, and Pink have all gotten a whole lot more media attention in the past months leading up to their releases than Mumford & Sons, but in the end, Mumford & Sons scored where it counts. At retail. BIG time.
Daniel Glass, the man at the head of Glassnote Records, Mumford & Sons' label, is to be congratulated on this tremendous success story.
Mumford & Sons success harkens back to a time when artist development was a crucial component at very label in the industry. Artist development was sacrificed when video budgets swelled to six and seven figures in hopes of grabbing the MTV audience, and labels kept shoveling the coal into the video ovens in hopes of selling more flavor-of-the-month "product."
Now that music is no longer the key component of MTV and videos for new and developing mean less than bands touring and playing live to develop their craft and audience, more labels should take note of what is happening in the retail marketplace when any band sells 600,000+ in its first week, and streams eight million times online.
No bells, no whistles, no fireworks.
Just damn good music from a truly great band.
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE INSIDE TRACK
UPDATE ON STEVE VAN ZANDT KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR RASCALS
Last week I told you about Steven Van Zandt launching a Kickstarter campaign for The Rascals, for reunion shows that Steven is calling 'ONCE UPON A DREAM' -- a combination concert/theatrical event produced and directed by Van Zandt and lighting/projection wizard Marc Brickman.
The project needs to raise $100,000 by October 24th to make it all happen. As of today, the project is at $70,600 already pledged by 314 people.
You can donate as little as $1 if you're a fan: http://tinyurl.com/8ue2dw2
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
NIELSEN REPORTS DIGITAL MUSIC SALES ARE UP DRAMATICALLY
Nielsen reports that U.S. digital album sales are up 15% year-over-year, and single track sales are on course to reach new heights by the end of the year.
Read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/9f3cdls
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
30 YEARS AGO THE CD HIT THE MARKET AND CHANGED EVERYTHING
Yes, it was a mere 30 years ago the bright shiny CD came into our lives and forever changed the way we bought, and listened to music.
CNET's Steve Guttenberg takes us back to the beginning with his personal recollection of what happened when the CD hit the market.
I must say his experience with turntable sales increasing when people heard, "the first few generations of CD players," is totally contrary to what I was told by a close friend in the high-end audio sales business back then. He was one of the first people to tell me how turntable sales started to plummet as more people heard CDs and wanted the new players as best-selling titles were eagerly released in CD format by the labels. (The profit margins on CDs were obscene and all labels had to do was convert their best selling artists/catalog titles to the new format, and billions were made)
You can read Guttenberg's take here: http://tinyurl.com/9gls9pp
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
YOUTUBE SHARES AD REVENUES WITH ARTISTS, BUT HOW MUCH? WHAT'S THE MATH?
From the WBUR/NPR website, "Holiday in Cambodia" by the punk band Dead Kennedys has been streamed on YouTube over 2.5 million times. Guitarist Raymond Pepperell - also known as East Bay Ray - says, overall, Dead Kennedys videos have been watched about 14 million times. But the band has only seen a few hundred dollars.
"I don't know - and no one I know knows - how YouTube calculates the money," he says. Pepperell says the band has been in talks with YouTube, and the company told the musicians that the site takes 45 percent of ad revenue generated by their videos. But, he says, YouTube won't tell them how much that is.
"What YouTube claims is irrelevant until they produce how much they've made off my band and how much they've shared with my band," he says. "Don't let them bull s- - - you that it's too complicated."
Read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/9ukyx27
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
WATCH LIVE NATION EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN IRVING AZOFF TALK WITH JUDD APATOW
From The Wrap, "Live Nation Executive Chairman Irving Azoff railed against Pandora on Tuesday at 'TheGrill,' The Wrap's annual media conference, saying the online radio company is "on our shit list." Moderator Judd Apatow pressed Azoff on everything from the music exec threatening Sly Stone with a gun, to the evil of Steve Jobs, to the music-licensing business, but Azoff reserved his harshest words for the digital radio company.
"The market cap for Pandora is like $1.8 billion. That's roughly the market cap of Live Nation, and they are whining about wanting to pay artists less," Azoff said.
"There are 64 contestants on 'The Voice. There have been 10 or 11 years of 'Idol' and 100 or 110 Top 10 people," Azoff said. "I can count on one hand the number of people who've sustained off of that. It shows that even with the massive exposure of network TV how hard it is to make it in music."
Read the article and watch a 10-minute video if the interview here: http://tinyurl.com/8vc5pkx
And sign the petition to ensure music creators get paid fairly by Pandora here: http://tinyurl.com/cxlmqlv
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
NEW ASCAP PROGRAM WILL DELIVER ROYALTIES FROM LIVE PERFORMANCES
From The Hollywood Reporter, "ASCAP on Monday announced the launch of ASCAP OnStage, a public-performance survey that gives members an opportunity to receive royalties when their music is performed live at venues throughout the U.S."
Read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/8uvccrd
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
RDIO LAUNCHES PROGRAM WHICH REWARDS ARTISTS FOR DIRECTING FANS TO THE SERVICE
From Billboard Biz, "Music subscription service Rdio has launched a program Tuesday that pays artists directly for the new subscribers they bring to the service. The program is a creative attempt to solve two of subscription service's biggest problems: lack of subscribers and a reputation paying artists too little.
Details of the program, first revealed at Billboard.biz in May, have been kept simple. Any artist can sign up (and get a complimentary Rdio subscription). Artists will be paid $10 for every new subscriber they bring to the service. The payment is the same regardless of country, subscription tier and the subscriber's length of stay."
Read more on BillboardBiz here: http://tinyurl.com/8d9xwbs
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
HOW MUCH WILL CORD-CUTTER PAY FOR LIVE-STREAMING OF VIACOM?
As Dish Network and Viacom negotiate a possible deal offering Viacom programming over the Web "without forcing [subscribers] to also buy into a traditional cable or satellite TV subscription package" -- and Dish also seems to be talking to Univision and Food Networks owner Scripps about similar partnerships.
Janko Roettgers wonders what cord-cutters would be willing to pay for such deals. In a poll on the Gigaom site, the majority answered either "Nothing. I'm okay with watching The Daily Show and other shows the day after they air on the web," (46%) or "$10 or less per month. This shouldn't cost much more than Netflix" (38%)
Read the rest on GigaOm here: http://tinyurl.com/9pbpq4y
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
iPADS RULE WEB TRAFFIC
The latest tablet usage figures are in, and -- surprise, surprise -- the iPad accounts for nearly of all related Web traffic.
Through mid-September, Apple's tablet represented 98.1% of 29.5 million unique impressions over 1,200 sites, according to Onswipe. The digital publishing tool developer also found that Apple's popular device was responsible for 54.5% of traffic from all mobile devices.
"Digging deeper into the results, iPad users spent 56.9% more time per web surfing session than iPhone owners," Apple Insider points out.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/ce3n728
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
SONY/ATV BLOCKED APPLE'S STREAMING MUSIC SERVICE
Sony/ATV and Apple can't agree on licensing fees, which is why a Pandora-like music service hasn't yet surfaced from Apple, according to the New York Post.
Read the rest on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/8u7s6vn
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
THE BLACKBERRY 10: A WHOLE NEW LOOK AND MORE
Here's what Research In Motion must do to pitch its brand-new operating system to consumers already using iPhones and Android smartphones.
And get a look at Blackberry 10's browser, screen, and more: http://tinyurl.com/8ejcppu
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 12
CALIFORNIA PASSES LAW TO STOP EMPLOYERS FROM SPYING ON EMPLOYEE'S SOCIAL MEDIA
California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a privacy bill making it illegal for employers to demand employee usernames and passwords for social media accounts.
(I would expect other states will soon follow)
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/8p7appy
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 13
THE BEATLES 'MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR' DVD COMING
Thirteen years before a channel called MTV hit the air playing music videos 24 hours a day, The Beatles produced the first long-form music video,
In 1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album and the Our World satellite broadcast of "All You Need Is Love," The Beatles devised, wrote and directed their third film, "Magical Mystery Tour," a dream-like story of a coach day trip to the seaside.
The film follows a loose narrative and showcased six new songs: "Magical Mystery Tour," "The Fool On The Hill," "I Am The Walrus," "Flying," "Blue Jay Way"and "Your Mother Should Know."
The long out-of-print, classic feature film now makes its worldwide digital release debut, with fully restored and remixed 5.1 stereo, interviews with Ringo and Paul McCartney, outtakes, and a whole lot of more goodies for any Beatle fan. It's available worldwide on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 8th
Watch the three-minute trailer for the release here: http://tinyurl.com/9qrfdsf
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 14
FROM E-MARKETER: 'AD SUPPORT IS THE FUTURE FOR MOBILE MUSIC'
Over half of mobile music revenue in the U.S. comes from advertising, a figure that is set to significantly increase by 2016, according to new research from eMarketer.
"Advertising revenues, which already make up the bulk of US mobile music revenues, will gain an even greater share in the coming years, eMarketer forecasts, and by 2016 will account for more than 86% of all such revenues."
Read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/8wjhaye
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* The Kindle Paperwhite is e-ink, but it's illuminated from within, much like the Nook with GlowLight. How does it compete? Is this the ideal e-ink e-book reader? http://tinyurl.com/97ofqxk
* Goodbye forever, computer mouse. As the mouse makes its exit, the touch pad is entering the limelight from stage left. Apple, HP, and other big computer manufacturers are betting that you won't mind replacing your trusty mouse with a gesture-sensitive touch pad: http://tinyurl.com/9bfjsxj
* If you're looking for a cheap TV 42 inches or larger, there are a lot of advantages to buying a plasma instead of an LCD. The biggest is picture quality: an LCD is typically not able to reproduce the black levels and contrast of an equivalently priced plasma, and plasma always trounces LCD for viewing angle and uniformity. From $400 to $1,000 here are picks for the best budget plasmas: http://tinyurl.com/8ko68zh
* If you've got the space for it, the Pioneer SP-PK52FS is simply the highest-quality, budget-price home theater speaker package you can buy: http://tinyurl.com/8ps8l56
Short News Items ...
GEE, A FIGHT AT THE HIP-HOP AWARDS? HOW NOT SURPRISING:
A brawl broke out Saturday night at the taping of the BET Hip-Hop awards in Atlanta, the Associated Press reports. The incident reportedly began in the backstage area of the Atlanta Civic Center with pushing and shoving between the camps of Young Jeezy and Rick Ross. The fight soon spilled out into the parking lot, and police were called to break it up at around 7:30p.
ABBA BEATS ADELE IN U.K.:
ABBA's greatest hits album "Gold" is the U.K.'s top-selling CD, shifting 4 million copies since its release in 1992, according to the Official Charts Co. Despite being unleashed nearly 20 years after ABBA's "Gold," Adele's album '21' has spun out on 3.5 million CDs there, putting it in second place
MORE STONES CELLULOID ON THE WAY:
In September 1965, weeks after "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" hit the charts, the Rolling Stones landed in Dublin to play four manic gigs in two days. The band's manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, commissioned filmmaker Peter Whitehead to capture every moment. Now that footage is finally being released as a movie. "Charlie Is My Darling: Ireland 1965" (out November 6th) is packed with unseen footage of early Stones mayhem: boozy hotel-room jams, rabid stage-rushing fans and electric live performances of "Time Is on My Side," "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and "Satisfaction."
GAGA AND BENNETT:
After the great time they had recording "The Lady is a Tramp" for Tony Bennett's 2011 "Duets II" LP, the unlikely duo will reprise their chemistry on an entire new album.
The BBC's new "Arena Hotel" documentary series is offering up this clip of The Beatles eating fish and chips in goofy style. It's from the new behind-the-scenes feature 'Magical Mystery Tour Revisited', which airs on October 6th; standout elements of the clip include John Lennon's feathered top hat, George Harrison's pale blue suit that looks adorably too large on him and a jolly sing-along on a bus. Watch the clip here: http://tinyurl.com/8oxf3vk
SETH TO HOST OSCARS, THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING:
Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th Academy Awards, the Oscars announced today. The show airs on February 24, 2013. MacFarlane is best known as the creator of "Family Guy" and two other animated series on Fox, "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show."
WHITE BACK IN THE PINK:
Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall, Jack White frustrated fans with a 55-minute set reportedly cut short due to his dissatisfaction with the sound and an angry exchange with a fan. On Sunday, White returned to with a 21-song set that included four encore songs.
GEORGE MICHAEL CANCELS DOWN UNDER:
George Michael has cancelled his shows in Australia, saying he was wrong to think he could work through the "major anxiety that has plagued" him since his life-threatening battle with pneumonia.
AXL DOES KIMMEL:
Axl Rose will sit down with Jimmy Kimmel for a rare television interview this month to promote Guns N' Roses' upcoming Las Vegas residency, 'Appetite for Democracy.' (Editor's note: It's kind of silly to still call the band 'Guns N' Roses, isn't it?)
SAME DAY IDOLS:
"American Idol" alums Adam Lambert and Scotty McCreery plan to release records on the same day. The seasons eight and 10 veterans will both release new music Oct. 16th.
AND 'IDOL' HAS 'JUMPED THE SHARK' FOR SURE:
They can pretend all they want, but obviously Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey do not like each other one bit. Nicki Minaj derailed "Idol" auditions this week in Charlotte, NC when swearing at Mariah Carey and threatening "I'm gonna' knock you out." Watch the clip here: http://tinyurl.com/9fz7x3h
AND MARIAH GETS PROTECTION:
Following the incident on the set of "American Idol," Nicki Minaj cursed the "Dreamlover" singer out and, Mariah claims, later remarked "If I had a gun, I would shoot that bitch." According to Barbara Walters, who spoke to Carey Thursday morning and relayed the conversation on ABC's "The View," Minaj made the comment while leaving the set after this week's encounter, which was videotaped. She says other staff members heard the same gun remark.
MARS LANDING ON 'SNL:'
Bruno Mars will host "Saturday Night Live" and serve as musical guest on October 20th, NBC announced this week.
ELTON DOES WEDDINGS NOW:
Elton John performed at Jeffrey Katzenberg's daughter's Los Angeles wedding over the weekend. (That's Katzenberg, the K is DreamWorks SKG)
FOO TAKES A BREATHER:
Dave Grohl took to the Foo Fighters Facebook page today with a note confirming the band will take a hiatus just a few days after his onstage comments at the Global Citizen Festival in New York led to rumors of a break-up.
HALL OF FAME NOMS:
The nominees for the next class to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include Rush, Heart, pioneering rap groups Public Enemy and N.W.A., Randy Newman, German experimentalists Kraftwerk, New Orleans funk masters the Meters and several more.
MORE KELLY COMING:
Kelly Clarkson will put her hit singles on "Greatest Hits -- Chapter 1." The best-of compilation is set for release on Nov. 19th through RCA Records, a mere 13 months after the release of her last full-length, 2011's "Stronger." In addition, Clarkson's new single, "Catch My Breath," which will hit digital providers on Oct. 16.
ONE BILLION STRONG:
In need of some good news, Facebook on Thursday said it finally surpassed 1 billion active users, i.e., those who visit the site at least once a month. (Now if only that stock price would only go back up to what it first was on initial offering)
Looks like the iPad mini is nearly on its way. Apple's Asian component suppliers have started mass production of a new tablet computer smaller than the current iPad, according to various published reports. The new tablet reportedly will have a 7.85-inch LCD screen with a lower resolution compared with the latest iPad. South Korea's LG and Taiwan's AU Optronics began mass production of the screens for the new device.
Big Jim Sullivan, an acclaimed session guitarist who played with David Bowie, Tom Jones, the Kinks and Marianne Faithfull, has died at home in England. He was 71 and had suffered from heart disease and diabetes. Sullivan was one of the most in-demand session players of the '60s and '70s. He claimed to have played on more than 1,000 songs, including 55 #1 singles.
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
"Jesus Christ, is this an NPR convention?"
-- Jack White, apparently displeased with the energy level of the audience at his Radio City Music Hall show last Saturday. White left the stage after just 50 minutes.
"Jimi (Hendrix) got wind of our little spat in the airport lobby and started giving me the evil eye. I walked over to him and explained that there were no personal issues involved. He just rolled his head around - he seemed pretty high. Wanting to keep the peace, I said I had watched his performance and loved it, and when we got home, would he let me have a piece of the guitar he had broken? He leaned back and looked at me sarcastically: 'What, and do you want me to autograph it for you?'"
-- Pete Townsend, in his memoir 'Who I Am' talking about backstage at the Monterey Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix and Townshend couldn't agree on which act should close out the show. Hendrix eventually got the slot after a coin toss.
"We're gonna do a jazz album with Marion Evans, a big swing band, and I'm looking forward to it because a lot of people don't know it, but she's a phenomenal jazz singer. Let's see what happens. She's a good friend and I respect that she's so creative, that every day she changes, she has so many ideas and carries them out. She just never stops with it. I call her the musical Picasso. Her energy is just phenomenal."
-- Tony Bennett, commenting on Lady GaGa and his doing an entire album of duets with her.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Tommy Lee Jones Tells Jimmy Fallon He Doesn't Want To Play Any Of His Little F**king Games
NEW YORK-Prior to his appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last week, actor Tommy Lee Jones informed the host that he had no intention of playing "any of [his] little fucking games," according to sources at NBC. "Listen here, Howdy Doody, I'm not putting on a wig, I'm not doing your skits, I'm not reading any Mötley Crüe lyrics, and I'm sure as shit not singing the 'Men In Black' song with your goddamn band," said the Oscar winner.
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."
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