The Mid-Year Sales Picture
July 4, 2014
"While digital streaming revenue growth continues to offset the decline in digital album and track sales, the music industry still has the same problem it has wrestled with for over a decade: physical music's decline is outpacing digital's growth."
-- From the Billboard article 'SoundScan Mid-Year: Albums Down, Stream Equivalents Nearly Double, Vinyl Continues Gain'
From Billboard this week comes the mid-year sales report. There's a whole lot of information in the article: what percentages of sales chain-stores now account for vs. download stores; what genres of music are selling the most; label market shares; streaming statistics; vinyl's continued growth, and more.
Check it out: SoundScan Mid-Year: Albums Down, Stream Equivalents Nearly Double, Vinyl Continues Gain
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
APPLE'S CARPLAY IN MORE AUTOS
VentureBeat reports that Apple stated that nine more car companies will have CarPlay in their vehicles either this year or next year, including Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Chrysler, Audi, Fiat, Dodge, Mazda, Jeep, and Ram.
That does not mean all cars from these companies will have this integration, but a few of the models will. The company already announced that the technology will be in new vehicles from numerous car manufacturers, premiering first in Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
ROCKI TO REVOLUTIONIZE MUSIC STREAMING
Music streamer startup Rocki says it wants to "revolutionize the industry" and plans additions to its Play product series, including more music services, better support and new devices.
der Nick N.M. Yap, attending CE Week in New York, said the Roki Play is just the first step in his dream for multi-room music. "We didn't think about just creating a streaming device, we wanted to revolutionize the music industry," Yap said. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
MORE FROM 'TUNEIN: THE BEATLES AFTER ALL THESE YEARS'
From 'Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years' by Mark Lewisohn. In post-war England, almost everything was in short supply, including guitars. And guitars had not been that prominent an instrument until the rock craze and therefore not plentiful. And so in their very early teens, it took some effort for the three guitar playing Beatles to get guitars -- and the ones they did get were of poor quality.
"The lure of the guitar was now irresistible to John Lennon. As much as he enjoyed playing the banjo at [his mother] Julia's, the instrument was, well, a bit of a joke. [John lived with his aunt and guardian Mimi, but visited his mother Julia frequently.] Sure, it was good fun, but the banjo had for a long time been looked down on by musicians, the butt of all the gags in the musicians' joke book. It was yesterday. Gene Vincent played guitar, Elvis Presley played guitar, Lonnie Donegan played guitar. Rock meant guitar, and guitar meant rock. John yearned for one. As he'd recall in later years, 'Like everyone else, I used God for this one thing I wanted. "Please, God, give me a guitar." ' Read more of the excerpt on delanceyplace.com
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
AND SPEAKING OF THE BEATLES, HERE COMES THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT'
The Beatles debut film (and a classic that the late film critic Roger Ebert gave four stars, and is listed in his archives as a great movie ) is about to celebrate its 50th year anniversary.
"Celebrating its 50th birthday on July 6th, Richard Lester's gonzo take on a "typical" day for John, Paul, George and Ringo at the height of Beatlemania still brims with a sense of urgency and lightning-in-a-bottle vitality; take out the period-specific details and early Sixties Pop Art references, and it could have been made this year. Having acquired the rights to 'A Hard Day's Night' (it was a Miramax property through most of the Aughts), Janus Films turned to Criterion, its home-entertainment sister company, to produce a stem-to-stern 4K restoration for both a home-video and a theatrical release, one timed around the film's golden anniversary on July 6th. (The DVD/Blu-Ray is already on shelves; the film will be opening in over 100 theaters during the July 4th weekend.)"
Read all about it: 'A Hard Day's Night': Behind the New Restoration
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
'THE LONG RUN' INDEED, THE EAGLES STILL DOING IT, AND DOING IT WELL
It's been a "long run" since June of 1972. That's when the Eagles first hit single, "Take It Easy," hit the charts.
Now, 42 years later, the Eagles are bigger and better than ever before. The "Eagles Greats Hits' album is tied with Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' for the highest certification in Gold & Platinum certification, both selling in excess of 29 million units. (RIAA Source )
The 'History of the Eagles' world tour, launched in July of last year, has grossed more than $145 million, according to numbers released by Eagles manager Irving Azoff. The band has performed in front of 1.1 million fans in North America and Europe over the past year, touring in support of the documentary of the same name.
The Eagles are one of the elite touring bands of all time, having grossed $702,110,908 and moved 7,720,760 tickets to 484 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore since the band re-united for the 1994 'Hell Freezes Over' tour. "The worldwide strength of the Eagles live business is unparalleled," Azoff tells Billboard. "It just grows and grows."
I've had the privilege to see the Eagles every time they play here in Las Vegas (thanks, Irving), and every show is better than the last. They play for almost three hours, and it's just hit, after hit, after hit, and all of them played, and sung, superbly by the band. (Oh yeah, and Joe Walsh kicks ass in every show!)
Read more: The Eagles' 'History' Tour Brings in $145 Million, Plays to 1.1 Million Fans
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
RICK RUBIN INTERVIEW
Here is a rare interview with producer Rick Rubin. He has been involved with classic records from the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Run–D.M.C., Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Adele.
In 2007, he was called "the most important producer of the last 20 years". Rare interview with Rick Rubin
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
THAT FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT THING WHERE THEY PLAYED WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
Some 689,003 lucky Facebook users were unwittingly part of an experiment in which their news feed was altered to make it more or less positive.
Was this ethical? Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
MORE ON YOUTUBE BLOCKING INDIE LABELS THAT DON'T SIGN UP FOR ITS NEW MUSIC SERVICE
YouTube's long-rumored ad-free subscription service could compete with streaming rivals such as Spotify and Beats Music.
Although the service won't come out for a few months, it's likely to be a formidable player in the streaming-music market, which is slowly taking over the digital-music business from iTunes-style downloads.
But indie labels are unhappy, accusing the service of forcing them into lower rates. "It's not tenable for us to agree to those terms," says one co-owner. Read More
BETWEEN THE GROOVES: DAVE MORRELL'S MUSIC INDUSTRY JOURNEY
I've always said one of the best things I loved about working in the music industry was meeting so many people -- many who are still good friends -- who carried with them the passion for the MUSIC as well as the industry, and who I considered it a privilege to work with.
While in national promotion at Capitol, one of those people I met was Dave Morrell, one of industry' best album promotion people, who at the time worked out of the New York office.
Aside from his constant, unbridled enthusiasm for music, he and I would talk for hours about our favorite topic: The Beatles.
Dave is a Beatle-phile beyond reproach, and was just referenced this week in the Los Angles times in the article 'The mysterious 'train song' from the Beatles' 'A Hard Day's Night'
For years people have been telling Dave to put down his stories about the biz on paper and he finally has.
Dave has just released 'Horse-Doggin" The Morrell Archives Vol. 1' and it's a great fun read for anyone that's ever made that journey in the music industry.
This from the rear cover of the book, "Dave Morrell entered the music business in June of 1972. He hasn't recovered yet, but he did find time to write about the early experiences of meeting his heroes in 'Horse-Doggin' – The Morrell Archives Vol. 1'. Subsequent volumes will trace his adventures at such record companies as Warner Bros., RCA, Arista, Capitol and Geffen. Lured out to Los Angeles by Concord Records in 2004, he has since done independent promotion for 429 Records and Lakeshore Entertainment and purchased a convertible."
This from Amazon.com : "The Book Chronicles The Music, The Madness, The Mayhem And The Fun Of NYC Circa 1971, As Teen Journeys From Superfan To Music Biz Insider. Horse-Doggin', the first volume in the memoirs of longtime record company promo man and Beatles collector Dave Morrell, is now available on Amazon.com in ebook and paperback formats. The 20-chapter book features vignettes about his madcap, music-fueled adventures in the Big Apple in the early 1970s."
I already finished Dave's first volume (a great short read at 95 pages) and can't wait to zip through the next ones. ('Vol.5 - The Conference Calls' should be a real treat!)
Thanks for the read, Dave!
If you'd like to contact Dave, you can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A GREAT BLOG YOU MIGHT LIKE WITH THE 'BUMPER STICKER OF THE WEEK' AWARD
Ken Van Durand, a great friend and an ex-RCA promotion man (where he worked so many years), publishes a great blog, 'Curmudgeon In The Wry,' in which he offers his opinions on various topics in short word-bytes. It takes only a few minutes to read, and it's time well spent in my opinion. Read it here
Among the items in his latest issue, this gem: Bumper sticker of the week: "It's not that I'm old, your music really does suck."
And this: "Free advice: State-of-the-art is not always best. Let someone else be the beta-test."
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
'Jersey Boys,' Frankie Valli Surge On Billboard 200
8 Drummers Who Became Guitarists
10 Great Session Guitarists
10 Best Covers of Michael Jackson
Beyonce, Dr. Dre Lead Forbes Celebrity 100 List
20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 1960s
Jimmy Page's Most Savage Guitar Solos
'Private' Michael Jackson Footage Sets off Lawsuit
Behind the Scenes at Austin City Limits' 40th Anniversary Show
5 Mistakes Artists Make In Promoting Their Music
A Complete History of 'Planet of the Apes'
Film remembers the 'Internet's Own Boy'
Netflix purges 79 movies, say goodbye to 'Taxi Driver'
Aereo alternatives for recording free over-the-air TV (roundup)
Where were you when the iPhone launched?
iPhone at 7: How it changed everything (pictures)
Latest MacBook Air is faster, runs longer, costs less
New leaks show off the iPhone 6's curved-edge display
For your ears only: Startup wants to 3D-print custom earbuds
Short News Items ...
16 GIG iPOD TOUCH:
VentureBeat reports that Apple will soon be launching a new iPod touch model next week: a 16GB $200 device with front and back facing cameras. According to MacRumors and French Apple news site iGeneration, the new device might replace Apple's current inexpensive iPod Touch, a $230 device with a single, FaceTime-branded camera. Read More
MORE MUSICIANS MURDERED IN MEXICO:
There has been yet another apparent murder of musicians in Mexico. The bodies of three members of grupero act Edith y El Tsunami were found inside the trunk of a car in the Mexican Western state of Michoacán. Vocalist Edith Gonzalez, 31, her husband Humberto Ledezma Rodriguez, 41 and her nephew Julio Cesar Segocia Gonzalez, 25, were all executed at gunpoint and then their bodies were set on fire, according to the local district attorney's office. The three had been reported missing by family members after performing a show last Saturday in the town of Pueblo Nuevo.
Record collector Jeff Gold recently discovered 149 acetates of in-progress versions of songs that Bob Dylan made as he was recording his 1969 LP Nashville Skyline and his two 1970 albums, 'Self Portrait' and 'New Morning.' Gold has theorized on the record collectibles website RecordMecca, where he's selling some of the acetates for thousands of dollars, that Dylan had either left them or thrown them away when he moved out of the space.
According to Linn's Stamp News, the Janis Joplin stamp will be released this August and will feature the singer smiling and wearing shades surrounded by a psychedelic background and lettering evoking the popular font of the Sixties.
GET WELL, BILLY:
Neil Young and Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot has suffered a mild stroke and will not be able to perform with the band on their upcoming European tour. "Talbot's doctors expect him to make a full recovery," the group said in a statement.
WHEN YOU'RE HOT YOU'RE HOT, AND WHEN YOU'RE NOT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS:
There's nothing blurred about the bottom line of Robin Thicke's new album "Paula" — the opening sales rankings are not good. The album, dedicated to estranged wife Paula Patton, debuted Tuesday at #8 on iTunes. It wasn't much better news on Amazon. On the CDs and Vinyl albums chart, "Paula" was #82 at the time of this writing. Full story at TheWrap
AND SPEAKING OF NEIL YOUNG:
A week before the release of the hotly anticipated box set 'CSNY 1974,' Rolling Stone is proud to present the fourth and final premiere from the collection, one from each band member. Hear Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." Read More
GOOD SOUNDTRACKS, NOT SO GOOD MOVIES:
If one were to judge a movie on its soundtrack alone, then 'Purple Rain' would rival 'Citizen Kane' as the best of all time. But great music can't hide shaky acting and a shoddy script. Open your ears and cover your eyes: Here are 20 more bad movies with great soundtracks. Read More
WHO'S COMING? THE WHO:
The Who have announced dates for the first leg of their 50th anniversary tour, "The Who Hits 50," that will find the band visiting arenas across the U.K. in November and December before a planned North America tour in 2015.
SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK & ROLL:
Denis Leary is officially back in business with FX. The former "Rescue Me" star's new comedy, "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll," has received a 10-episode order from the cable network. The series, which was created by Leary, will star the actor-comedian as Johnny Rock, a middle-aged would-be rock star whose path to stardom as the frontman for The Heathens was blocked by substance abuse and a penchant for sleeping with his bandmates' women. Now, at 50, he's trying to get the band back together and take another crack at a music career. Full story at TheWrap
PURPLE TURNS 30:
Prince's landmark album and film, 'Purple Rain,' turned 30 this past week, and the singer marked the occasion Saturday night with a late-night surprise concert at Paisley Park, featuring a very special guest: 'Purple Rain' co-star Apollonia Kotero made her first-ever visit to the estate. Prince Welcomes 'Purple Rain' Co-Star Apollonia to Paisley Park for First Time: Listen
RDIO GETS TASTEMAKER:
VentureBeat reports that Rdio has acquired music discovery service TastemakerX. The start-up TastemakerX debuted as a streaming music service that sought to appeal to the inner music enthusiast within us by getting people to share new music with friends through a gamification model. It later shifted its focus on what individuals were sharing through all music services, including Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, and YouTube. Read More
GREAT INDIE FLIX:
What better way to celebrate Independence Day than to tip our caps to the men and women who broke away from (or didn't even bother with) the Hollywood system? We now take outsider movies for granted, but it took mavericks, muckrakers and pioneers to pave the way. Read More
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soul singer Bobby Womack, whose music was covered by, among others, the Rolling Stones, died last Friday at age 70. He was suffering from colon cancer and diabetes at the time of his death. A representative for Womack's label XL Recordings confirmed the report. Read more about Bobby on THR.com
Paul Mazursky, an innovative director and screenwriter who both satirized and sympathized with America's panorama of social upheavals in the late 1960s and '70s in films that included "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "Blume in Love" and "An Unmarried Woman," died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 84. Read more about Mazursky on the New York Times
Quotes of the week
"The road has become unbearable. It's become unapproachable, because it takes so long to get anywhere. It's hostile everywhere: getting in and out of airports, traveling on planes and in cars."
-- Eric Clapton may not be long for the road. In a new interview with Uncut magazine, the legendary guitarist said he is considering curtailing his touring efforts going forward. (Gee, limousines, first-class private chartered jets, 4-5-star hotels, and you think that's unbearable, Eric? Travel like we do, the real people out there, and then you'll see how truly "unbearable" the road is. Oh yeah, and I don't hear Sir Paul MCartney, Elton John, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, and others your age -- Eric's 70 now -- complaining yet)
"If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen. He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that's what the church should be about."
-- Elton John, in a new interview with Sky News.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Obama Narrowly Misses Quarterly Performance Bonus
WASHINGTON—Explaining that he failed to hit his national growth goals for the April-June period, the White House's Office of Personnel Management confirmed Tuesday that President Barack Obama fell just short of earning a quarterly performance bonus.
"We lay out our expectations very clearly in a meeting with the president at the beginning of every fiscal quarter, and unfortunately he came up a bit shy of meeting the targets we set for him," said White House administrator Sarah Hammond, citing a number of factors that reflected negatively on Obama's performance evaluation, including his inability to raise GDP by the stipulated 2.75% or create 750,000 new jobs, benchmarks that Hammond said were "ambitious, but achievable." 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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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