Yo Troy, Albums Are Selling Again ... And Piracy Will Never Go Away (Unless You Know Something We Don't)
November 9, 2012
"It's not an albums business any more, it's a singles business again and the industry has gone through that before. People are experimenting with streaming, with subscription services, whether it's a Spotify or a Pandora or a Rdio."
-- Lady GaGa manager, Troy Carter ( Source, 'From Lady Gaga to the future of social media,' http://tinyurl.com/czt5265 )
Gee, I dunno if Taylor Swift, Adele, Lil' Wayne, Beyoncé, Mumford & Sons, Carrie Underwood, Susan Boyle, and a whole lot of other Pplatinum and multi-Platinum album sellers would agree with you on that, Troy.
Here we go again: Yes, it's an overtly singles business when the music that the artists make isn't good enough for people to spend more on buying an album. But, as the artists I've mentioned above, and others put out great songs on a great album, people respond BIG time at retail.
This week Mumford & Sons went Platinum (1 million units plus sold); Taylor Swift is already over one-and-a-half million sold in two weeks, I do believe Lady GaGa sold a million in her first week on the "Born This Way" album, right, Troy? And you did that with a 99-cent deal as well, right? If you weren't interested in selling the album, why no just release the singles at 99 cents?
So again, the problem is the MUSIC. I think I've said that far too many times in the past month, but it's always worth repeating when albums sell millions at a time in the industry when we've been told too many times as well (and Mr. Carter repeats it) "the album is dead."
In the same article, Carter says "I think piracy itself is going to end up going away. If you can get something for absolutely free [instead of] stealing it, and the quality of free is actually better than the quality of stealing it, the choice becomes easy."
Carter goes on to talk about Lady GaGa's next release, 'ArtPop', which "will be launched through a paid-for app and she promises "chats, films for every song, extra music, Gaga-inspired games, fashion updates, magazines and more still in the works!" The idea is that the customer will want to pay for it because of all the extras."
Yo, Carter, do you know something the rest of the world doesn't? Who is going to give away all their music for free? Lady GaGa?
Piracy will NEVER go away because people will NOT be able to get all the music they want for free. Ever. If that ever happens, the homeless population will explode with musicians, songwriters, producers, publishers ... all out of work. It's bad enough that billions of songs have been stolen (and are still stolen) that have robbed too many artists of royalties. But piracy is not going away.
You've done an amazing job with Lady GaGa and utilized social media and the Internet brilliantly. Yes, it's important to get "into customer relations management, which is all about "getting to know your fans -- when did they become a fan, when did they drop off, what other artists are they listening to?" (Any contemporary manager of any new not doing so is missing the boat completely)
Maybe you should elaborate more, Troy, and give us all a look into your crystal ball.
Tell us all how artists will survive in a world when their music is free.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, PANDORA SUES ASCAP SAYING ONLINE ROYALTY RATES ARE TOO HIGH
From PCMag online, "Internet radio service Pandora today filed suit against the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) over what it considers to be exorbitantly high royalty rates.
As reported by Bloomberg, the company wants the court to impose "reasonable" fees for the right for stream songs governed by ASCAP on Pandora."
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/ajthfb8
And check out this article, 'Tim Westergren's Million a Month From Music' here: http://tinyurl.com/bbwfkso
READ A STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHER'S ASSOCIATION IN RESPONSE TO WHAT PANDORA IS TRYING TO DO...
November 6, 2012
WASHINGTON - After months of aggressive lobbying for Congress to lower the rates it pays record labels and artists, Internet radio provider, Pandora, yesterday filed a lawsuit asking U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to lower what it pays songwriters and music publishers - currently only four percent of Pandora's total revenue.
"It's outrageous Pandora would try to reduce the already nominal amount they pay songwriters and music publishers, when Pandora's business model is based entirely on the creative contributions of those songwriters," said David Israelite, President and CEO of the NMPA. "To file this suit at the same time that Pandora's founders are pocketing millions for themselves adds insult to injury."
Read the entire statement here: http://tinyurl.com/b3g8f8g
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
DRIP.FM ... YOUR RECORD CLUB FOR THE 21st CENTURY?
From CNET: A new breed of digital music service offers a combination of high-quality, lossless music and the thrill of new discovery, without having to wait for a monthly disc in the mail.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
READ 'WHY THE MUSIC INDUSTRY NEEDS ANOTHER iPOD MOMENT'
Great article by Mark Mulligan that tells one and all that declining iPod sales have a direct correlation to declining digital music sales.
Read it here: http://tinyurl.com/cw9u5qr
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
INDIE RECORD LABEL ECONOMICS
A great article by David Rose on Indie-Music.com that breaks down the economic realities that exist at an indie record label.
Read it here: http://tinyurl.com/asawb8a
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
WEB-CONNECTED TVs TO TRIPLE WITHIN 4 YEARS
The number of Internet-connected TVs in the world will almost triple by 2017, growing from nearly 212 million this year to 600 million in 2017, according to just-released report from Digital TV Research, which covers 40 countries.
The U.S. should have the highest penetration of such sets by that time -- 38% -- and "deficiencies [in the product] are likely to be addressed reasonably soon as connected TV becomes mainstream," according to the report.
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
GALAXY S3 NOW #1 SMARTPHONE
But the Samsung phone's third-quarter glory is "likely to be short-lived," says Strategy Analytics, as Apple reasserts itself with a full fourth quarter of iPhone 5 sales.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
INSTAGRAM READY TO ROLL BIG TIME
To date, Instagram has attracted over 100 million users with its wholly-mobile platform. Now, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is ready for the Web.
"We're launching Web profiles to give you a simple way to share your photos with more people and to make it easier to discover new users on the Web," Instagram said in a Monday blog post.
"It strikes me that a quick, dynamic overview of your life in pictures is maybe even more compelling than the overall Facebook Timeline because it's so simple," MG Siegler blogged.
As such, "the new interface creates a challenge for the ecosystem of independent sites that had sought to fill Instagram's Web void by offering browser-based platforms," suggests CNN.
In BuzzFeed, Matt Buchanan writes that Web profiles are going to leaving some users grumbling. "By exploding Instagram out of a mobile-only context in a meaningful way ... the bubble of privacy and intimacy that had been a hallmark of Instagram ... may finally pop."
Likewise, Forbes' Kashmir Hill predicts that the change will lead to "a little less privacy through obscurity," which is what attracted some users to Instagram in the first place.
Ultimately, however, "the new product is good for Instagram," insists AllThingsD. "Web profiles offer yet another channel for more user engagement."
"Despite the massive shift from desktops to mobile devices over the past few years, there's obviously still a significant number of people using desktops to view the Web," AllThingsD adds.
Furthermore, "this appears to be a step in the direction of a more seamlessly integrated photo-sharing experience between Facebook and Instagram," The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog comments.
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
APPLE'S TABLET MONOPOLY IS BEING ATTACKED ON ALL SIDES
If current trends persist, Apple could soon control less than 50% of the tablet market for the first time.
In the third quarter of the year, Apple's iPad held onto a 50.4% share of the market -- but lost 9.3 percentage points since the second quarter -- according to the latest estimates from IDC. Eating into Apple's dwindling tablet dominance, as The Next Web notes, is increasing competition from Samsung, Google, and, most recently, Microsoft.
Read the whole story
Proving Steve Jobs wrong, are smaller tablets -- like the recently released iPad Mini -- destined to replace their full-size forebearers? Business Insider is suggesting as much, and some respected analysts agree. Splatf's Dan Frommer, for one, predicted this week that Mini sales will soon surpass full-size iPad sales.
"It's becoming clear that [Steve] Jobs was dead wrong about the potential for smaller tablets," BI notes. Before his untimely passing, Apple's founder said consumers would never embrace smaller tablets.
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* One of the most-discussed tracks not to appear on Kendrick Lamar's debut good kid, m.A.A.d city was a mix of "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" that featured guest work from Lady Gaga. Though the track does appear on the record, the young Compton MC handles the hook himself. Now you can hear the Gaga version, which the pop star leaked and tweeted about. Lady Gaga Leaks Kendrick Lamar Duet
* John, Paul, George and Ringo are not just the most famous rock musicians of all time; they're also four extremely photogenic gents. The proof is in the archives, thanks to the group's tour manager Bob Bonis. From 1964-1966, Bonis captured the Beatles in action on their first American tours 'Lost' Beatles Photographs From Tour Manager Bob Bonis Head To The Betsy Hotel (PHOTOS)
* DC Comics is putting all its monthly publications -- including Batman and Superman titles -- on sale at iTunes and stores for Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook devices. The move "appears to make DC Entertainment the first major comics publisher to make its titles available through online stores the same day they're on sale in comic shops," writes Matt Moore. "It also expands its digital offerings beyond the top industry digital purveyor, Comixology." Read the whole story
* Chrome Is Now Jam-Friendly. Though unlikely to reshape the Web browser marketplace, Google's Chrome has added a new feature sure to cut into users' free time. Jam with Chrome, as the service is called, is an experimental, interactive Web app that lets friends jam together on virtual instruments from different locations. "This is evidently an experimental toy of sorts for Google, demonstrating the latent potential of HTML5 and Web-based applications," TheNextWeb reports. "We've had a little play around with it, and it is kinda neat." Read the whole story
* Apple gearing up for major adjustments to the Mac. Recent developments suggest that the Mac OS may see some substantial changes in the next few years. Read more
* iPad Mini vs. iPad 4: A glance at raw benchmarks. Apple's iPad Mini and its bigger, fourth-generation iPad offer a sharp contrast in performance. Read more
* 6 TVs with the best picture, indisputably. When price is no object and you just want the best picture you can get, these TVs are just what the holiday doctor ordered. Read more
* Maybe Madonna shouldn't have made those snarky comments about Lady GaGa? Lady Gaga Turned Down Madonna Duet
Short News Items ...
BENEFIT BRINGS IN BIG BUX FOR VICTIMS OF SANDY:
NBC's "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together" telethon raised $23 million to date for the Red Cross' relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
NIRVANA MUSICAL? NO WAY:
Courtney Love has shot down rumors of a Nirvana musical, according to The Observer.
NOT COOL, PETE:
Pete Townshend walked off the stage during the encore at a Who show in Sunrise, Florida, last week, WPTV reported. The guitarist left during "You Better You Bet" without letting his bandmates know.
A Los Angeles judge threw out a lawsuit against Britney Spears last Friday, citing insufficient evidence to move forward with the trial. Former confidant Sam Lufti, who had also claimed to be the singer's manager, had filed the lawsuit on allegations of defamation, assault and breach of contract.
DOLLARS FOR DEAD ICONS:
Raking in an impressive $145 million in 2012, Michael Jackson tops Forbes' new list of the top-earning dead musicians, which also includes Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, John Lennon, George Harrison and the Broadway composer Richard Rodgers. The six names on the list all earned more than $5 million from October 2011 to October 2012, and make up about half the names on Forbes' list of the wealthiest dead celebrities, which was topped by Elizabeth Taylor.
BIG CMA WINNERS:
Entertainer of the Year: Blake Shelton; Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert; Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake Shelton; Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
'SCUSE ME WHILE I TRY THIS ON:
A Jimi Hendrix clothing line designed by Lyric Culture with input from Experience Hendrix, the family-owned company that safeguards the legacy of the late guitarist, is set to hit shelves exclusively at Bloomingdale's in early November.
The draft of a letter John Lennon penned to Eric Clapton 40 years ago in which the Beatle expressed his admiration for and desire to work with the guitarist will be up for auction in Los Angeles on December 18th, Reuters reports. "Eric, I know I can bring out something great, in fact greater in you that had been so far evident in your music," Lennon wrote in the draft, dated September 29th, 1971. "I hope to bring out the same kind of greatness in all of us, which I know will happen if/when we get together."
If the Rolling Stones will hit the road next year holds true, they'll be joining what is already a strong lineup of tours for early 2013. Lady Gaga, the Who, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi, No Doubt, Rihanna, Pink, One Direction, Mumford and Sons, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen are just some of the acts that have already confirmed or are likely to tour next year.
3 MILLION-PLUS APPLES:
Apple said on Monday that it sold three million new iPads in the first weekend that the smaller iPad and the fourth-generation iPad went on sale. That matches the number of third-generation iPads that Apple sold after that tablet's first weekend on sale in March. Read the whole story
BRIT WILL BE BACK:
Britney Spears is "definitely" returning to "The X Factor" next season, the singer told interviewers at a red carpet event for the show.
PIANO BAR BONO:
Bono made a surprise appearance on Sunday night at Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, where he joined singer Jim Caruso and pianist Billy Stritch onstage for a handful of standards. Before Bono left, he headed right for the stage and joined in harmonies to "I've Got You Under My Skin," a track he recorded with Frank Sinatra.
PIANO MAN BILLY:
"Piano Man." The song - which was inspired by the real-life characters he met at the bar - became the title track of his 1973 Columbia debut, and the single hit #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Check out this video of Joel playing the song (when he had a full head of hair) on the BBC in 1975: http://tinyurl.com/by4p8sw
KID ROCK iTUNES DEBUT:
Kid Rock, who has stonewalled Apple in the past (as reported last week in the quotes section), will release his new LP "Rebel Soul" through the dominant online retailer. The album, due on November 19th, is available by pre-order on iTunes, and its first single "Let's Ride" is already for sale.
Jermaine Jackson filed a name change petition in a Los Angeles court yesterday requesting to change his famous last name to something a bit brighter: Jermaine Jacksun.
THERE'S ONLY TWO OF THEM, SO YOU FIGURE THIS OUT:
The Civil Wars have canceled all tour dates, citing "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition" in a post on Facebook.
ACTUALLY, THIS IS WHERE HE BELONGS ... ON A SITCOM:
Vice President Joe Biden, who will guest star in the November 15th episode of NBC's 'Parks and Recreation'
Quotes of the week
"We were supposed to work for most of the summer. It left me in a lurch for three quarters and ruined my financial planning. Also, 150 people got laid off that were supposed to work on the tour. We didn't go all that trouble for seven shows. That's what impetuosity will do for you. You can't go off half-cocked . . . When Neil is involved you anything you need a seatbelt."
-- Stephen Stills, talking about the aborted Buffalo Springfield reunion and Neil Young, in Rolling Stone
"May I say, Khloé, you're looking very sexy tonight. I think the air conditioning's on high tonight. It's very distracting."
-- Simon Cowell, to his new X Factor host, who gave a little nipple action during their live show
"I'm not married, so I can sleep with whomever I want. That's why I became a talk show host, so I would meet a different person everyday."
-- Chelsea Handler, on Conan
"In fact, about six, seven months ago, John [McVie] and Mick [Fleetwood] were over here and we actually cut some tracks, and we did enough for maybe half an album. But you gotta get Stevie [Nicks] on board with that, and at the time, she was really quite caught up in what she was doing . . . but I would love to do that because John and Mick were playing their asses off."
-- Lindsay Buckingham, talking about the possibility of Fleetwood Mac recording together again
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Disney Announces 'Star Wars 7'
Upon acquiring Lucasfilm Ltd. last week, the Walt Disney Co. announced it was making a seventh episode of the Star Wars franchise for release in 2015. Here is what viewers can expect in the Disney-produced sequel:
Phil Collins to sing opening crawl
Randy Newman-penned theme song called "Long, Long Ago We Were Friends"
There's no delicate way to say this so here it is: lots of hot 12-year-olds
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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.
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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