ANOTHER REPORT: PIRACY HAS NO EFFECT ON MUSIC PURCHASES
March 22, 2013
Back in the January 24th issue, I wrote the following: "There have been many reports over the last several years that have shown that P2P users buy more music. (Can you hear the groans from the major label heads when they read these reports?)
This report also says that "Among the most significant findings: Americans overwhelmingly oppose the use of disconnection and rate-limiting as penalties for unauthorized file sharing."
Now, yet another report (this time from Europe) comes out and states that piracy has no real impact on music purchases.
As I mentioned above, "Can you hear the groans from the major label heads when they read these reports?"
Whether or not one agrees with the data in these reports, it's high time the music industry focused on generating more revenues from the sales of digital music, and better albums more often (just look what one Adele album generated in one year for the industry), instead of worrying about something that will exist forever. Piracy, despite all the legislation and all the efforts, will always exist in some form globally.
More important, perhaps these reports are true.
And if so, then Wilco's Jeff Tweedy said it right: "Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
AMAZON TO DO MUSIC SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE?
In other Amazon rumors, the Web's largest retailer has reportedly approached multiple music companies about starting a subscription service.
"Details are few and the talks have been described as very informal," The Verge reports, citing sources. "But so far, what Amazon has shown an interest in is an on-demand service that sounds pretty similar to Spotify." Google and Apple are also rumored to be working on their own subscription music services.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
THE SUPREME COURT WILL NOT HEAR MUSIC PIRACY , STREAMING TV CASES
In one decision, "the court let stand a decision that Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a Brainerd, Minn., single mother, owed various record companies $222,000 for illegally downloading 24 songs."
For those of you who remember reading about the Thomas-Rasset case, it was the RIAA's lawyers in their relentless fight to punish those who downloaded music illegally, who spent tens of thousands of dollars pursuing Jammie, in hopes that such a victory would discourage others from downloading and suffering the same fate. (They couldn't possibly hope to ever collect the money)
The other case, "TV networks and TV station owners won a court order that effectively shut down Seattle pay-TV service ivi's effort to offer viewers TV signals over the web without paying broadcasters retransmission fees."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
MUSICIANS HYPING THEMSELVES ONLINE? GEE, WHAT A SURPRISE ... NOT!
From the BBC comes an article that says "Some music artists are buying social networking statistics to get into the charts, a Newsbeat investigation has found.
The statistics, which can be bought, include YouTube views, Twitter followers and Facebook likes."
Is this a surprise to anyone?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
STILL MORE HEADACHES COMING FOR NETWORK TV
New online video research from Parks Associates reveals consumers want to be able to access online video as part of their pay-TV service. Parks Associates research also finds that 28% of U.S. broadband households watched a full-length movie on a computer in the last two weeks.
More than one-half of U.S. broadband households would like to have a YouTube on-demand feature with their pay-TV services. read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
WIRED MAGAZINE SAYS NIELSEN IS "DEAD"
Due to an explosion in media platforms and tracking services, Wired declares that Nielsen is officially "dead."
Unfortunately for the ratings institution, consumers just don't watch TV like they used to.
"Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, iTunes, smartphone, tablet -- none of these platforms or devices are reflected in the Nielsen rating," Wired writes. Nielsen recently said it would soon begin including Web streaming to TV sets in its ratings. To that, Wired says too little, too late.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
ARE SYNC PLACEMENTS ABOUT TO CHANGE?
From Music Week come this news, "U.S. music supervisor PJ Bloom (Glee, CSI:Miami) has warned that the days of scoring big lump sum payments from synch placements are over.
In fact, speaking to AIM members at the association's Sync Licensing event, Bloom said he was "shocked" that TV studios still pay labels for sync tracks, rather than the other way around."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
IS THE MICROSOFT SURFACE DOOMED?
E-Week asks whether Microsoft's tablet, Surface, is off to a slow start because it's going the way of the Zune media player, which Microsoft killed?
Analysts say maybe. According to sales insiders, Microsoft sold a little more than a million Surface RT's and 400,000 Surface Pro tablets. By comparison, Apple's iPad has been flying off shelves.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
BUH-BYE, GOOGLE READER
Earlier this week, Google shocked many a Web watcher with plans to shut down its Reader service.
Adding to the confusion, the BuzzFeed Network -- which claims to encompass some 300 million users -- is reporting that Google Reader remains a significant source of traffic for news -- "and a much larger one than Google+." Indeed, "The relative numbers are ... surprising," Buzzfeed writes. "Google+ barely moves the needle for sites across the [Buzzfeed] network, while Reader is a healthy source of readers."
Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* YouTube breaks records with 1 billion monthly users. If the video hosting service were a country, it would be the third largest in the world after China and India. Read more
* Sounds bars are the cheapest and easiest way to get better sound in your living room. Here's what's important, what's not, and why you should still consider a simple stereo system.
* Internet tax supporters, with backing from Wal-mart, Macy's and Best Buy, are hoping a Senate vote will give them enough political leverage to require Americans to pay sales tax when shopping online.
* Don't want to shell out thousands of dollars for an 80-inch television? Do want to sit on your couch and have the characters on TV be life-size? There's only one answer.
* Apple's cash hoard could reach $170 billion by year's end. The iPhone maker's treasure chest may swell by another $35 billion this year assuming it doesn't dole out more cash to its stockholders, says Moody's.
* Apple to get its groove back with new products, says panel ... A couple of Apple watchers believe the recent spate of negative news about the iPhone maker is mostly perception, and partly cyclical.
* We all might not like what happened with that Facebook stock when it launched, but with an employee approval rating of 99%, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is the world's top CEO, according to a Glassdoor survey. Just like last season's top men's college basketball team, Kentucky, failed to make the cut this year, last year's top tech CEO, Apple's Tim Cook, failed to break into the top 10 this year. See who did make the top 10 list of best tech CEOs.
* ARTISTS TAKE NOTE: Artist Growth has reached over 10,000 active users just one year after releasing its set of tools for artists to manage their business. Now the company's in-house developers have launched AG 2.0. AGs 2.0 system will integrate Artist Growths partnerships in one place.
Short News Items ...
BEATLES GUITAR GOING UP FOR AUCTION:
A custom-built VOX guitar played by not just one, but two Beatles around the time of "Magical Mystery Tour" will be up for auction this May, Reuters reports. Expected to sell between $200,000 and $300,000 at Julien's Auctions, John Lennon and George Harrison both played the guitar: The latter used it to practice "I Am the Walrus" in 1967, while the former played it during a video taping for "Hello, Goodbye," later that year.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS MUSIC ADDS:
Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" has been chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress, along with hits by Simon and Garfunkel, Chubby Checker and the soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever." They're among 25 recordings being added to the National Recording Registry for their cultural, artistic and historic importance, The Associated Press reports.
EAGLES READY TO FLY AGAIN:
The Eagles will launch a North American tour this summer in support of a recent documentary about the band, History of the Eagles, which premiered at Sundance in January and aired on Showtime last month. The History of the Eagles tour kicks off on July 6th at Louisville, Kentucky's KFC Yum! Center and will take the band through Canada and back down the East Coast.
JIM MORRISON DOC IN THE WORKS:
Jim Morrison will be memorialized in a new independent documentary that has started production. "Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age" will give a look into the life of the late Doors singer, examining his early years through his untimely death in July 1971 at age 27.
CAROLE KING ON BROADWAY:
The story of singer-songwriter Carole King's life and career will be told on Broadway in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical." Producers Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have announced a spring 2014 opening for the show.
David Bowie returned to the top of the British album charts for the first time in 20 years with his new album "The Next Day." The album went to #1 in its first week , selling over 94,000 copies to become the fastest-selling album of 2013, the Official Charts Company of the U.K. said.
PRINCE PLAYS ... AND PLAYS AT SXSW:
Prince played to a crowd packed into La Zona Rosa in Austin as SXSW drew to a close. He performed for two hours and 40 minutes, returning to the stage time and again for six or seven encores in all. Read More
SO DOES CLAPTON:
In Austin, Eric Clapton, on the third date of his 50th anniversary tour played a concert spanning Cream, Derek and the Dominos, the '70s, solo hits and beyond. Though he's been talking retirement, Slowhand played like he's a long way from sunset.
The forthcoming Elton John biopic "Rocketman" has found a director whose work has been widely seen, though he's not a marquee name. Michael Gracey, whose resumé includes commercials for T-Mobile and the Gap, will steer the project, Deadline Hollywood reports.
JT TO RELEASE MORE THIS YEAR?
Justin Timberlake could return in mere months with the follow-up. Roots drummer Questlove said in an Okayplayer chat board posting over the weekend that Timberlake would release a second volume of "The 20/20 Experience" later this year, writing, "spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in Nov. (10 songs now ... 10 songs later = 20 vision)." At then, an L.A. release party for his new album "The 20/20 Experience," Justin Timberlake confirmed what his friend Questlove hinted at the day before: He'll release a companion album later this year. "I need to clear up a rumor," Timberlake said. "Those rumors are true."
ROD'S NEW ONE:
Rod Stewart will release a new album, "Time," May 7th on Capitol Records, marking his first album of new material in almost 20 years. Stewart wrote and produced 11 of the album's 12 cuts, while the iTunes deluxe edition – which you can already pre-order – will include three extra songs, one of which ("Legless") is another Stewart original.
U2's Bono and the Edge, director Julie Taymor and the other producers of the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will meet in court on May 28th in their legal battle over the infamous show. Taymor, who co-wrote the script and was the musical's first director, initially filed suit against the show's producers, plus composers Bono and the Edge, in November 2011 after they fired her from the disastrous, injury-prone show in March, the New York Times reports.
On May 11th, Willie Nelson, Carole King and Annie Lennox will receive honorary doctorates at the Berklee College of Music's graduation ceremony in Boston, Mass.
MACCA READY TO TOUR AGAIN:
Paul McCartney has set his first tour date for the new year -- June 22nd in Warsaw -- and says he will launch a world tour called "Out There!" According to a post on his website, the former Beatle is also working on the follow-up to his last album, "Kisses on the Bottom."
HBO'S 'PHIL SPECTOR NOT BASED ON A TRUE STORY?
The film, which takes place during the trial of record producer Phil Spector for the 1993 shooting death of Lana Clarkson, insists in its opening credits that it is not based on a true story. "This is a work of fiction," reads a card at the beginning of the film, which was written and directed by David Mamet. "It's not 'based on a true story.'" (Really? Then what the hell is it based on?)
Mumford & Sons and Vampire Weekend are said to be two of the top acts set for this year's Lollapalooza, scheduled for August 2nd-4th in Chicago's Grant Park. Other acts reportedly will include Phoenix, the Postal Service, the Killers and the National.
IS ANYONE SURPRISED?
Katy Perry and John Mayer have called it quits for the second time, sources tell Us Weekly. The pop star and singer-songwriter started dating last summer then split briefly in August before reconciling the following month.
THE TONIGHT SHOW LEAVING "THE LEFT COAST"
The Tonight Show is heading back to New York, with Jimmy Fallon expected to take over for longtime host Jay Leno by the fall of 2014 at the latest, The New York Times reports. The changeover would bring the late-night TV staple back to the East Coast for the first time since 1972, when Johnny Carson moved it to Burbank, CA.
STONES TOUR = BIG MONEY:
The Rolling Stones have settled on concert promoter AEG Live for their upcoming North American tour after accepting what one insider calls "a real crazy offer." Sources tell Rolling Stone the band stands to earn between $4 million and $5 million per show.
FALL OUT BOY GUESTS:
Elton John and Courtney Love will appear on Fall Out Boy's upcoming record, "Save Rock & Roll," if the band's hints on Twitter are any indication.
Jack Greene, one of country music's most distinctive song stylists of the 1960s, died last week at home in Nashville of complications from Alzheimer's disease. The longtime Grand Ole Opry star (a member since 1967) was 83.
Bobbie Smith, one of the two lead vocalists in soul group The Spinners, died of complications from pneumonia and influenza on Saturday in Orlando, according to a statement issued by the group's manager. He was 76.
Jason Molina, the alternative singer-songwriter best known as the leader of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., died at the age of 39 on Saturday (Mar. 16).
Quotes of the week
"I thought my career was in better shape than playing a supermarket, but what the hell,"
-- Rick Springfield in the midst of an acoustic mini-set on the roof of Austin's Whole Foods flagship store March 15th.
"Can't stand when people all self-righteous when it's convenient it makes them look good,"
-- Keyshia Cole, not impressed and tweeting about Beyonce's new single "Bow Down/I Been On"
"Al Pacino does not depict my husband accurately," she says. "If they had wanted to do that, they would have actually met the man himself. They would have wanted to know his voice inflections, his mannerisms, even his thought process when he was working in the studio when he was working with those musicians, or what he was going through mentally or emotionally when the trials were happening. They had the opportunity to make an amazing film, what with the actors and the money involved."
-- Phil Spector's wife, Rachelle, commenting on the upcoming HBO move about her husband
"I think it's almost true. I'm looking forward to it. It's not in the bag yet, but I think it'll happen, and I'm delighted."
-- Harrison Ford, commenting on whether the 'Star Wars' reunion rumors with Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are true.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Scarlett Johansson Immediately Rejects Heartwarming Prom Invite From High School Student
LOS ANGELES—Shortly after local high school senior Jeremy Feldman's YouTube video asking actress Scarlett Johansson to his prom went viral Tuesday, the Lost in Translation star declined the student's invitation in no uncertain terms, sources confirmed. "The answer is no," said Johansson, who went on to cite a litany of reasons for refusing the invitation that included scheduling conflicts, the fact that the evening would be uncomfortable for her on many levels, and a mounting distaste for the student's willingness to create an Internet spectacle that would only pressure her into doing something she doesn't want to do.
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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