More About The Streaming Thing
June 13, 2014
"Many labels and the musicians and songwriters they work with say streaming outfits risk wiping them out by paying tiny royalties, but the people who make all that yummy music are actually being loved to death by fans who expect it to be free. And it's only going to become worse. Hand a music CD to a 10-year-old and ask her what it's for. Most will never see a song as something that was imprisoned on a disc or a download that you had to pay for."
-- From the New York Times article 'Free Music While It Lasts' by David Carr
Last week in the newsletter I told you that Amazon will launch its streaming service shortly.
That's now a reality. Amazon adds streaming Prime Music to play against Apple's Beats
Why is everybody jumping into the music stream?
From the same article I quoted from above, "Spotify has doubled its number of subscribers, paid and unpaid, in the last 18 months and reached a milestone of 10 million paid subscribers worldwide last month. In May, Pandora served up 1.73 billion hours of music, up 28% over the previous year. The two services have important differences, but they both have premium pay options as well as ad-supported free models."
David Carr's article is absolutely worth reading because he touches upon so many reasons why the labels face big challenges as music streaming grows. (Declining CD sales, big decreases in sales of digital downloads, why one professor thinks Neil Young's Pono won't impact new sales of music, and more)
I am still of the opinion the only thing that can drive increases in the sales of music (in any format) are great albums that engage the audience because they contain so many great songs, and they connect emotionally on different levels. Adele sold 26.4 million copies of her '21' album worldwide according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry ( "Digital Music Report 2013: Top selling global albums" ). Even in the worst retail environment for music, that's a whole lot of albums that people paid money for
But, albums like Adele's are very rare these days. And becoming rarer. (Read the article referenced in the next Track for more on that)
But, back to this streaming thing. Read David Carr's article and see what you think
For the artists who make all the great music we listen to, the never-ending tides of technological advances are also creating another big problem.
Musician, composer Van Dyke Parks says songwriters are getting screwed big time in the digital age. "Forty years ago, co-writing a song with Ringo Starr would have provided me a house and a pool. Now, estimating 100,000 plays on Spotify, we guessed we'd split about $80. When I got home, on closer study, I found out we were way too optimistic. Spotify (on par with other streamers) pays only .00065 cents per play," says Parks.
Ouch. BIG ouch. Read Van Dyke Park's article on The Daily Beast
And while we're talking about streaming check these stories out:.
Read how a scrappy young band outsmarted Spotify for $20,000 to give their fans free concerts (You'll love this one!)
Read how this man makes $23,000 posting music spam on Spotify and iTunes (And you'll love this one, too!)
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
HOW ONE GENERATION WAS SINGLE-HANDEDLY ABLE TO KILL THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin
Darwin's quote is certainly appropriate in regards to what happened to the music industry. While the old guard stood by and watched the world change once the Internet became the world's fastest distribution system for media (thinking the RIAA and lawsuits would save them), the Millennials were changing everything.
From the article 'How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry' by Thomas Honeyman on elitedaily.com, "The old music industry is dead. We're standing in the ruins of a business built on private jets, Cristal, $18 CDs and million-dollar recording budgets. We're in the midst of the greatest music industry disruption of the past 100 years. A fundamental shift has occurred -- a shift that Millennials are driving.
For the first time, record sales aren't enough to make an artist's career, and they certainly aren't enough to ensure success. The old music industry clung desperately to sales to survive, but that model is long gone.
Even superstars have it tough. Pitbull -- despite having 50 million Facebook fans and nearly 170 million YouTube plays -- has sold less than 10 million albums in his entire career. This is the reality of the new music industry, which is built off of liquid attention, not record sales.
Why? Well, the answer lies with us , the Millennials. We've taken over the music industry by controlling the two things that matter most."
A truly frightening article that will "soon shake your windows and rattle your walls"...because the times changed some time ago.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
FROM CNET: 'FOR THE BEST SOUND QUALITY, DOES THE FORMAT REALLY MATTER?'
CNET's Audiophiliac, Steve Guttenberg, ponders the ins and outs of high-resolution audio. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
CONGRESSMAN SET TO INTRODUCE BILL THAT SAYS ARTISTS SHOULD BE PAID FOR ALL TYPES OF RADIO PLAY
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) delivered an opening statement at a Congressional hearing and announces coming legislation that would ensure artists would be paid for all forms of radio airplay:
"Consumers don't know that the button they push on their car dashboard or smartphone arbitrarily determines how much artists and songwriters will be paid, assuming they will be paid at all. We can create a better system for radio competitors, for artists and songwriters, and for fans, all of whom depend on a vital healthy market for music and music services. With colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I am developing legislation to address the various problems in existing law in one unified bill ... bringing fairness and efficiency to our music licensing system, and ensuring that no particular business enjoys a special advantage against new and innovative technologies."
"Of course, one of the most glaring inconsistencies and injustice is that our performing artists, background musicians and others rights holders of sound recordings receive absolutely no compensation when their music is played over-the-air on terrestrial – meaning AM/FM – radio. Congress required payment when sound recordings are transmitted digitally in 1995. But we have yet to extend this basic protection to artists when their songs are played on AM/FM radio.
"This is incredibly unjust. The bottom line is that terrestrial radio profits from the intellectual property of recording artists for free. I'm aware of no other instance in the U.S. where this is allowed, and it needs to be remedied. We are on a short list of countries that includes Iran, North Korea and China that do not pay performing artists when their songs are played on the radio. And when American artists' songs are played in Europe, or any other place that provides a sound recording right, these countries withhold performance royalties from American artists since we refuse to pay theirs."
To read the full text of Congressman Nadler's opening statement, click: HERE
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
INDIES FIGHT YOUTUBE AGREEMENTS
Indie label organizations took a stand against YouTube's forthcoming music streaming service. They are complaining about the terms of YouTube's agreements.
Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have by now transferred deals with YouTube. YouTube has refused to make any public comment on the issue.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
MORE SCIENCE FICTION BECOMES REALITY
If you've seen Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece '2001: A Space Odyssey,' then the HAL 9000 computer is well-entrenched in your movie-history memory.
If you haven't seen the film, the HAL 9000 computer is so advanced, it takes on human attributes (and of course, not all of them are good), and is the primary antagonist in the film.
Well, it seems that now we're one step closer to HAL becoming a reality.
A new computer passed the Turing test. "The test is named after computer pioneer Alan Turing. To pass it, a computer needs to dupe 30% of human judges in five-minute text-based chats, a feat that until now had never been accomplished." Read about in on Gizmodo
And Read more on CNET.
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
Iggy Azalea On Lorde's Nirvana Rock Hall Tribute: 'She Is Not Kurt Cobain's Peer'
Hear Tom Petty's Blistering New Songs 'U Get Me High' and 'Red River'
The Who's Dramatic Live 'Quadrophenia'
AM Gold: The Best Seventies Soft-Rock Gems
Toto Eclipse: Best of Eighties Soft Rock
How To Get Your Music In TV, Movies and More
18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money On Bandzoogle
Bonnaroo's 10 Toughest Scheduling Conflicts (And Who You Should See)
Don Cheadle Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Miles Davis Biopic
Watch the Who's Dramatic 2013 Performance of 'Quadrophenia' - Premiere
Chip Away: Aerosmith in the Seventies
Martina McBride Covers Linda Rondstadt
The 28 Most Infuriating (TRUE) Statistics You Don't Know
These are the best wireless routers
Comfortable in-ear headphones that crank the bass
Logitech's Harmony remotes can now control your Sonos system
Short News Items ...
RUN FORREST, RUN:
Forrest Gump is getting another run. The film, which received the Best Picture Oscar for the year of its release, is headed to IMAX screens on September 5th to mark its 20th anniversary, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It follows the unlikely exploits of a slow-witted yet uniquely skilled man as he finds himself on the periphery of numerous of historical events and at the center of life-changing events for his friends.
AIRPLANE MERCH COMING:
Jefferson Airplane were at the forefront of '60s psych-rock – helping define the movement not only with mind-altering music, but trippy album covers and offbeat fashion. According to The Hollywood Reporter, licensing agency Epic Rights is preparing for an expansive merchandising campaign based on the band's "free your head" image, just in time for their 50th anniversary.
NO DOUBT FOR IRVING:
Irving Azoff has signed Gwen Stefani and No Doubt for management, Billboard has learned. Stefani has sold nearly 30 million records worldwide with No Doubt and as a solo artist. No Doubt's five albums have produced #1 hits like "Don't Speak," "Just a Girl," "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All." Both No Doubt and Stefani have toured successfully. Stefani's last solo tour in 2007 grossed $31.5 million and sold 672,289 tickets to 57 shows mostly in North America, according to Billboard Boxscore. In 2009, No Doubt reported $22.6 million and nearly 500,000 attendance from 36 shows in North American arenas and amphitheaters, according to Boxscore.
The Allman Brothers Band's classic 1971 live album 'At Fillmore East' will be expanded into a six-disc box set, 'The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings,' to include 15 previously unreleased performances. The group originally compiled the album from four sets recorded over a weekend in March 1971, and the new box set also includes a complete performance recorded at the venue that June. For that performance, promoter Bill Graham handpicked them to headline the Fillmore East's final night.
DEAD FILM TO BE RELEASED:
A Grateful Dead concert filmed at Bremen, Germany's Beat Club in 1972 will get theatrical screenings across the country on July 17th, at 7:30 p.m. local time, as part of the annual "Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies." The screening will feature a complete live studio performance with remastered audio.
"It's going to be a few more weeks before we get rocking in America again," says Paul McCartney in a statement. The 71-year-old singer is still recuperating from the virus that caused him to postpone shows in Japan and South Korea. See the rescheduled dates here. Read More
MORE JACKO COMING:
Michael Jackson's estate managed to bring the late star back to life, sort of, with an unnerving onstage pseudo-hologram at May 18th's Billboard Music Awards – and that's just the beginning of its ambitious plans for his career, which could include as many as eight more albums culled from outtakes and repackaged material. "We got more surprises coming," says producer Rodney Jerkins, who worked on the newest posthumous release, 'Xscape.'
PEAS & CROW DO BENEFIT:
On June 19th, Happy Hearts (a cause championed by Petra Nemcova, when a ferocious tsunami slammed into 11 countries with coastlines on the Indian Ocean, killing almost 280,000 people and wiping out entire communities a decade ago) will host a gala at New York City's famed Cipriani restaurant, with Sheryl Crow set to perform. The singer-songwriter will take the stage alongside the Black Eyed Peas' for a night of music and honors. Former President Bill Clinton will be recognized for the key role he has taken over the years in helping educational efforts in the wake of disasters.
PRODUCTION ISSUES? LOL:
Jennifer Lopez did not perform in Thursday's World Cup opening ceremony. FIFA officials announced Sunday in a statement to the Associated Press that Lopez has withdrawn from the festivities, and will not perform the official song "We Are One" with rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, as previously announced. FIFA blamed "production issues" for JLo's withdrawal from the festivities. (Editor's note: Uh, sure ... we believe that. I'm sure it has nothing to do with all the news reports about trouble in Brazil)
SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE HERE ON EARTH?
Maybe they've quacked enough. Wednesday's "Duck Dynasty" premiere drew 4.6 million total viewers — nearly 4 million less than the 8.5 million who tuned in for the Season 5 premiere. The slide continues a sharp downward trajectory for the show. The 8.5 million who tuned in for the Season 5 premiere was itself a dramatic drop from the 11.8 million total viewers who tuned in for the Season 4 premiere in August 2013.
Kris Kristofferson, who's 77, is suffering from a form of dementia called "Puglistica." He has severe memory loss from years of head injuries from boxing and football when he was younger. This is no joke. He remembers his songs and is able to play them pretty well. He knows his family. But memories of his career are almost all gone. Read more
ANOTHER MOBILE MUSIC CARRIER?
Gigaom reports that a new no-contract, prepaid carrier called ROK Mobile is rising in popularity like other mobile service providers in the U.S., and will be introduced on July 4th. However, instead of just providing big buckets of data on the economy like many of its virtual carrier aristocracies, ROK has integrated a twist: it is also a mobile music service. It will provide a single plan at a single price that comprises limitless voice, SMS and data as well as limitless access to a 20 million-song music catalog. Read More
SUMMER'S BEST TV:
The TV programming schedule is packed with salacious, supernatural and sadistic shows for the year's hottest months. From HBO's 'The Leftovers' to the FX horror show 'The Strain', let Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield guide you through the shows you should be watching. Read More
IT'S ABOUT YOU:
TechCrunch reports that About.me has raised $11 Million in its Series B Round of Funding. The funding round was led by existing investor Foundry Group with participation from True Ventures, SoftTech VC, CrunchFund, and Bullpen Capital, and Google Ventures. About.me allows you to make a simple page about yourself online that others can use to discover a bit more about you. Read More
Ruby Dee, the award-winning actress whose seven-decade career included triumphs on stage and screen, has died. She was 91. Dee died peacefully Wednesday at her New Rochelle, NY, home, according to her representative, Michael Livingston. Dee -- often with her late husband, Ossie Davis -- was a formidable force in both the performing arts community and the civil rights movement. The couple were master and mistress of ceremonies at the 1963 March on Washingon, and she was friends with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Dee received the Frederick Douglass Award in 1970 from the New York Urban League.
Quotes of the week
"I think we make too many records. One record a year is crazy, to me. But some people have to sell tickets, the label has to meet their quarterly number, 'We need a record a year.' All of a sudden, the tail's wagging the dog. It's not the music, it's everything else making the music. That's just backwards. It's wrong."
-- Platinum selling country artist Eric Church on why he takes so long to make an album, in Rolling Stone
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Universal Studios, Warner Bros. Enter Talks To Reduce Stockpiles Of Unproduced Reboots
LOS ANGELES—Conceding the time has come to limit the proliferation of new movies that simply rehash old ones, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. have entered bilateral talks to reduce their considerable stockpiles of unproduced reboots, sources confirmed Wednesday.
"We recognize that after years of pouring money into the same old material over and over again, we are one misstep away from unleashing something truly awful on our fellow man," said Universal president Ronald Meyer, explaining that while hundreds upon hundreds of unproduced reboots sit stored in his studio's vaults, it would only take the release of a single new 'Hulk' film to devastate most of North America.
"Should one party ever preemptively unleash an updated 'Edward Scissorhands', it would almost certainly be met by the deployment of a redone 'Labyrinth,' causing an unstoppable chain reaction of similar retaliations across the entire industry." Read the rest and laugh
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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