'Spotify And The Dark Arts'? Check It Out...
July 25, 2014
"Spotify is, by all accounts, an extremely successful company. Most recently they've been given a soft valuation (based on paid subscribers) of around 4 billion. The average artist, however, sees none of that revenue. I mean, 4-8k for every 1 million streams? That's larceny. On the surface, it appears that Spotify is simply taking advantage of content that didn't belong to them. By paying out ridiculously low royalties, it looks like they're simply taking advantage of artists and labels alike, all while still spurning a profit of roughly $65-70 million a year."
-- From the post 'Spotify And The Dark Arts' by Alex Frecon on Hyebot.com
A terrific post from Alex Frecon and worth reading indeed as streaming becomes THE primary music (and video) manner of delivering new media.
Also from the article, "In exchange for access to the music catalogs the labels own, Spotify gave the labels Spotify stock. Said stock is sequestered into the labels' financial structure in a way that gives artists no access to the proceeds of this deal. Labels then agree to the lowest royalty rate in history, leaving even the biggest artists to collect paltry sums while Spotify and the labels build stock equity on their (the artists') backs."
Read the article and learn more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
MANAGERS & AGENTS BENEFIT FROM PIRACY & STREAMING?
Managers and agents make virtually all their money from an artist's live performance -- not from the artist's recorded music.
However screwed up it might seem from an artist's perspective. it makes perfect financial sense (at least in the short term) for managers and agents to turn a blind eye to piracy and low payouts for streaming. Precisely because it seems to result in more touring. You can't really blame them for this can you? Continue reading "How Some Managers and Agents Benefit From Piracy and Low-Paying Streaming Music"
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
THOSE COVER BANDS ARE HAVING A TOUGH TIME
Times are tough for rock cover bands.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at their plight and finds that interest is dwindling for bands playing music that used to be popular. While closer industry watchers may take a different view, I saw indie rock killing cover bands in the '80s when the indie stance of originality entered the Top 40. Rock moved on. Cover bands did not. And to make matters worse, even the core baby boomer audience seems to be losing interest. Neil Shah writes a rather empathetic piece for WSJ.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
NETFLIX PASSES 50 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS
Netflix now possesses more than 50 million subscribers, a milestone the company disclosed Monday in its second quarter earnings release.
While the bulk of the company's subscribers reside in the U.S. -- 36 million and counting -- the growth is accelerating most overseas, where the company's subscriber base has grown 78% year over year. Full story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
BEATS SO RIGHT
Beats Music's subscription streaming service combines sleek design, fun features and outstanding recommendations. READ MORE
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
STAGELIGHT MUSIC APP CLOSES IN ON 1 MILLION DOWNLOADS
This week Open Labs released Stagelight 2.0, their music creation app for Windows that costs $9.99.
It comes with a variety of new features, including an in-app store, and will also be preloaded on hardware from Lenovo and Dell. Additional distributions agreements have been made with Intel, Microsoft and Guitar Center. A solid step forward for Stagelight with the additional news that, according to CEO Cliff Mountain, they're close to a million downloads of the full app.
Open Labs' announcement of the release includes new features: "LoopBuilder is a loop-style production feature that allows you to mash-up and record your favorite performances all in a single touch."
"Brand new Electro Instrument Series, native FX and classic features such as Key Lock, the piano that can't play wrong notes."
"You can easily explore new genres of music, take step-by-step lessons and learn other advanced features and tips all within the app's SongBuilder engine."
"Share your songs with friends and family with Stagelight's one-touch publishing to the cloud and connect with other musicians in the Stagelight artist community."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
MICROSOFT ONCE AGAIN, STRAYS FROM ITS CORE COMPETENCIES AND FAILS
Microsoft stormed Hollywood two years ago armed with its Xbox and one of the most powerful executives in the television business. It leaves with nothing to show for it.
Read Microsoft's Missed Opportunity in Hollywood: 'What a Zero, the Whole Thing'
And ... Microsoft Is Completing Its Short-Lived Tenure as Android Phone Maker: Re/code reports Among the details in Microsofts big layoff news was the fact that the company plans to pull back on Nokia's brief foray into Android-based phones. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
NOW BROADCASTERS GO AFTER FILM ON
Several days after the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo infringed copyright by streaming television shows on the Internet, the rival company FilmOn announced that it had developed a new type of streaming service that would avoid legal pitfalls.
FilmOn vowed to roll out its new so-called "teleporter" service to 18 cities, and allegedly went ahead with the launch late last month in New York. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
WE ARE GOING TO GET EVEN MORE CONNECTED
If you don't have a streaming media player (or two) by now, it's likely you will in the next few years.
According to the NPD Group, the number of streaming media devices in the U.S. will reach 204 million by 2017, an increase of 100% and a total that will be more than double the number of projected households connected to the Internet. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
READ A GREAT EXCERPT FROM 'AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC'
From Delanceyplace.com comes this great excerpt titled "Phonograph Records" from 'American Roots Music' by Robert Santelli.
"When commercial radio first appeared in 1920, the sales of phonograph-records began to collapse. The unlikely savior of the phonograph-record companies was a little-known genre of music from the South that came to be called country music." Read the rest
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
FROM MEDIA POST: 'THE WONDERFUL RISE OF MEANINGLESS CONTENT'
One of the most interesting contributions that mobile phones have made to pop culture so far is the genre of silly distraction.
Part of the aesthetic of mobile entertainment seems to be pointless whimsy. We have to start wondering if there is in fact a point in that. Read the whole story
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
Thanks to Portland's DJ Clarence Duffy for this link to a great cartoon from TheOatmeal.com that literally sums up the state of the music biz today ...Check it out
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
Jimi Hendrix's Early Recordings as a Sideman to Get Proper Release
Mick Jagger Opens Up About L'Wren Scott, James Brown Biopic
Tom Petty Isn't 'Playing Dumb' About Church Sex Abuse Scandal on New Song
The Value Of Giving Away Your Music For Free
Rare James Brown: From 'Get On Up'
20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 1990s
Beats By Dre's Splashy New Headquarters: No Apple Influence Here
Weird Al Takes On Crosby, Stills and Nash
How To Reach The Best Music Business Contacts. Period.
Riffstation Play Displays Chords For Any YouTube Video But They Need Your Help
Jimi Hendrix's Gibson Guitars
Navigating The Business End of the Music Business
Woodstock '99, 15 Years Later: Rage Against the Latrine
Strikingly good sound for a modest price
5 Dream Jobs You Probably Didn't Know Exist
5 Amazing Performances by Actors Who Weren't Acting (Part 4)
Will Paul McCartney's Low-Priced Album Apps Add To Digital Music's Downward Pricing Pressure?
15 Summer Box Office Disasters From the Last 20 Years
Why can't you stop watching Netflix?
Take a gander at these wild, weird, and wonderful audio designs
How long can Apple's iPhone stay above the smartphone fray?
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. MacBook Air
Apple scores patent for 'wrist-worn electronic device'
How To Turn A Mid-Life Crisis Into A Million-Dollar Business
Samsung's curvy monster LCD is the same price as a Telsa Roadster
Amazon's gutsy phone fails to ignite
Best laptops of 2014
Short News Items ...
Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' qualifies as a radical statement from a pop star in 2014. It's produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and none of its 11 songs sound much like a radio hit. "There was a lot of bullshit I'm not used to," Auerbach tells Rolling Stone. Read More
THE "PIANO MAN" HONORED:
Billy Joel will receive the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which, each year, honors the career of one musician and their dedication to "promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations." Joel will receive the award in Washington D.C. this November, and will be honored with a number of events, including a luncheon and musical performance.
WELL, IF YOU HANG AROUND LONG ENOUGH DEPT:
After more than 30 years on the charts, comedian-singer "Weird Al" Yankovic earns his first #1 album on the Billboard 200, as "Mandatory Fun" debuts atop the list. The album is the first comedy set to top the chart since 1963, and logs the largest sales week for a comedy album since 1994. It sold 104,000 copies in the week ending July 20, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Jack White's Third Man Records will officially launch its new publishing wing, Third Man Books, with the August 5th release of their first commercially available book, "Language Lessons: Volume 1," a new box set featuring a 321-page hardbound collection of prose and poetry and two vinyl LPs.
BRIAN WILSON MAKING SOLO ALBUM:
Brian Wilson was deep into writing songs for a new Beach Boys album when Mike Love pulled the plug on the group's 2012 reunion. "It was a shock," Wilson tells Rolling Stone. Instead, he's working on a new solo album with Lana Del Rey, Zooey Deschanel and other guests. Read More
Elvis Presley's Martin D-28 guitar, 1976 Cadillac Seville and a personal copy of the original script for his first movie 'Love Me Tender' are among a slew of items up for auction at the first "Auction at Graceland." Bidders will be able to participate online and at Presley's famed Memphis home on August 24th, starting at 8p ET/7p CT.
Nine Inch Nails' latest tour will be their last "for a long time," Trent Reznor told Las Vegas over the weekend as his group launched a joint tour with Soundgarden. The bands borrowed the AXIS at the Planet Hollywood resort from Britney Spears' residency for the night.
Farm Aid is coming to Raleigh, North Carolina's Walnut Creek Amphitheater on September 13th, and this year Jack White will be joining board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews on the bill. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jamey Johnson, Delta Rae, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Carlene Carter, Pegi Young & The Survivors, and Insects vs. Robots are also playing. Tickets go on sale August 1st at 10:00 am EST.
FASHION ROCKS LINEUP:
Miranda Lambert and the Band Perry will be in good company at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on September 9th, as the annual Fashion Rocks TV special welcomes a who's-who list of stars from the worlds of music and fashion. The two Country artists will perform alongside Afrojack, Duran Duran, Jennifer Lopez, Kiss, Nico & Vinz, Pitbull, Rita Ora and Usher on the live broadcast, which will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest. Additional performers and presenters will be announced soon.
SKECHERS CHOOSES DEMI:
Skechers has tapped pop star Demi Lovato as its latest face, and says she will appear in global marketing and social media campaigns through 2016.
WHITNEY'S MOM BLASTS LIFETIME WHITNEY FLICK:
Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, has issued a blistering statement regarding Lifetime's upcoming film about her deceased daughter, pleading with the network to "please let her rest." In the statement provided to Entertainment Tonight, Houston said the deceased singer's family objects to the film, and is "exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments" from people who did not know Whitney.
'FARGO' COMING BACK:
'Fargo' is coming back to FX. The network has given a second season to its adaptation of the Coen Brothers film, which proved to be a critical and popular hit with its first season this year. The second, 10-episode season will feature an all-new cast of characters along with a new "true crime" story.
Stevie Nicks will release a solo LP, '24 Karat Gold — Songs from the Vault' on October 7th via Warner Bros, though vinyl lovers will be able to pick up a limited edition double LP a week earlier starting September 29th. '24 Karat Gold' comprises songs that Nicks wrote primarily between 1969 and 1987, plus two that were penned in 1994 and 1995.
The fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival is shaping up to be a typically star-studded concert. Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Usher, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Mötley Crüe, Zac Brown Band, One Direction will all perform, as will Ed Sheeran, Paramore, Iggy Azalea, Eric Church, Lorde and Calvin Harris, among others. The festival's organizers are also promising special surprise guests at the event, which will take place at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on September 19th and 20th.
CHROMEBOOKS GO TO SCHOOL:
TechCrunch reports During its earnings call this week, Google announced that it and its partners sold a million Chromebooks to schools in the last quarter. Read More
SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE USA:
The drama surrounding the comings and goings at "The View" isn't doing anything to increase the show's viewership. So far this month, the show has averaged 2.844 million total viewers -- down slightly from the 2.854 million viewers in July 2013. The show is actually down slightly in its key demo, women 25-54. It slipped 9% from 678,000 viewers in the demo to 620,000. Full story at TheWrap
MORE AMERICANA FEST NEWS:
The Americana Music Association has announced more performers for its 15th Annual AmericanaFest, set for September 17th-20th. Taking place at venues throughout Nashville, AmericanaFest will feature Sturgill Simpson, Robert Ellis, Bobby Bare Jr., Elizabeth Cook, Steep Canyon Rangers and Angaleena Presley. They join an eclectic list of previously-announced artists, including the Avett Brothers, Lee Ann Womack, Sarah Jarosz and Marty Stuart.
WEB TRAFFIC DECLINES:
By at least one measure, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, and Reddit are all dramatically declining in value. New research suggests that each site saw its share of Web traffic referrals nosedive over the past year. Read the whole story
Positioning itself as a DVR for Web content, Facebook just launched Save -- a feature that lets users save pretty much any they find in their News Feed for later. Given Facebook's immense size, Save immediately threatens more established content-savers like Pocket -- formerly know as Read It Later -- and Instapaper. Read the whole story
James Garner, star of long-running TV shows "The Rockford Files" and "Maverick" has died at 86. The veteran actor was found dead at his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles around 8:30p Saturday. "He died of natural causes," Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department told TheWrap
Quotes of the week
"You know, I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry, but none of them helped me get my record deals. Which is annoying."
-- Lana Del Rey Explains Her Song 'F--ked My Way Up to the Top'
"At this point, people know what's up. People know I'm smart. And people know that, whether it's SNL or Jimmy Kimmel, it's a trend to take the piss out of celebrity -- just as much of a trend as wearing a gray hoodie or driving a Prius."
-- Kanye West, in a recent interview with GQ magazine for their August issue.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Lifeguard Would Save Drowning Man, But Who Is He To Play God?
BALTIMORE—Reluctant to transcend his station as a mere mortal and interfere with the vicissitudes of fortune, local lifeguard Blake Dunphy confided to reporters Tuesday that he found himself mentally shackled by the question of whether to save a swimmer currently thrashing for his life or allow destiny to take its course unfettered. 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