Apple & U2 Make A Big Splash Indeed
September 12, 2014
"One of rock's great touring acts gives away a new surprise album to huge numbers isn't music news?"
-- From 'Apple x Music: It's Bigger Than Beats' by Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith
Unless you've been under a rock, you already know all about Apple's big event this week where they unveiled the iPhone 6, their Apple wristwatch, and oh yeah, announced that they were giving away U2's new album 'Songs Of Innocence' fore FREE exclusively on iTunes through October 12th.
"From the very beginning U2 have always wanted our music to reach as many people as possible, the clue is in our name I suppose -- so today is kind of mind-blowing to us. The most personal album we've written could be shared with half-billion people … by hitting send. If only songwriting was that easy," said U2 lead singer Bono. "It's exciting and humbling to think that people who don't know U2 or listen to rock music for that matter might check us out. Working with Apple is always a blast. They only want to do things that haven't been done before -- that's a thrill to be part of."
That's EVERY iTunes customer -- more than 500 million people. Apple CEO Tim Cook calls it the largest record release in music history. And he would be right.
"The charts are broken," Bono says. The old music industry has reached a low point and hasn't kept up with the digital world. He wants to see artists' reach measured by how much they're listened to, by whatever medium or method. But releasing the album free to iTunes subscribers does not mean the band has given the album away. "We were paid," Bono tells TIME. "I don't believe in free music. Music is a sacrament." (Time managed to talk to Bono about the band's motives for giving away 'Songs of Innocence' )
This from Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411, "Album sales have vanished. The most U2 would sell in its first week, if they were very very lucky, would between 300,000 and 500,000 copies. And that's being extremely optimistic. It's not worth the price of printing them up. Just give it away, and make the money through publishing, which the group owns, and concert tours. LiveNation will soon announce a worldwide tour that should net the group hundreds of millions of dollars. It's brilliant, and no different in concept than giving CDs to ticket buyers, which has been tried with Madonna and Prince. LiveNation has U2 under a 360 contract; they can simply build in the price of the album. Universal Music can collect on vinyl, a small amount of physical CDs, and streaming. My guess though is that "Songs of Innocence" will be limited to streaming on iTunes Radio and not available on Spotify and other services." (Read his full article: No Money in CD Sales )
There are dozens of articles all over the web about U2's doing this with Apple, and most of them wondering just how much this whole thing will affect the record biz from this point on.
Here's one perspective: U2's Apple deal shows why musicians don't sell music anymore
But, literally, there are dozens and dozens of articles about all this.
I'm sure music retailers are saying "WTF?!"… but I'm also sure that U2 and their label had those discussions well before the decision was made with Apple.
Read the articles, then decide for yourself what might be next.
One thing is certain.
A very BIG page in music biz history was turned this week.
Now, it's all about finding out what's in the next chapter.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
FOLLOW-UP TO LAST WEEK'S COMMENTARY ON HOLLYWOOD'S SUMMER BUST AT THE BOX OFFICE
From Variety, "The U.S. economy has seen a steady erosion of jobs in the motion picture and sound industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ... The industry has been hit by a sharp decline in domestic box office, with summer business generating the poorest total in eight years. Additionally, production incentives outside the U.S. have continue to lure producers to use international locations." Read more: HOLLYWOOD JOBS PLUMMETING
And … another reason box office is down?
How about this statistic, the continually expanding videogame business. Just released, the new video game 'Destiny' (from the team that developed 'Halo) has already generating $500 million (that's a half-billion folks, not spent at the box office) in sales. (And it even has a brand new Paul McCartney song "Hope For The Future" written just for the game, you can check it out on YouTube. Read more: Destiny hits $500M in sales, marking largest ever launch of a new game franchise
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
VINYL AND THE RESURGENCE OF PHYSICAL MUSIC RETAIL
Are three buzz phrases enough to capture the excitement of anecdotal evidence of retail's return? Maybe so, but it's truly exciting that the vinyl resurgence has helped fuel both new sales of physical music (especially vinyl and CDs) and the opening of new retail outlets that sell music as part of a larger experience.
UK-retailer HMV is reporting a successful comeback with a wide range of in-store events while Josey Records is an example of a new indie retailer in Texas that aims to be a "cultural center around music." Read the rest: Vinyl Resurgence And Music As An Experience Fuel Return Of Physical Music Retail
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
FROM BILLBOARD 'ARCADE FIRE, WIZ KHALIFA & OTHERS LOOK TO GROUPON TO SELL CONCERT TICKETS'
Websites like Groupon have become the go-to place for folks looking for that half-off deal on a manicure, a two-for-one offer for a fancy dinner or that all-inclusive trip that won't break the bank. But increasingly, it's also becoming the place for music fans to scoop up deep discounts on concert tickets, CDs and more for top-name acts.
From big-name acts Arcade Fire to faded performers such as Color Me Badd, the industry is turning to Groupon and LivingSocial to connect with more fans — and sell more products. Read the article
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DATA WHEN IT COMES TO STREAMING MUSIC
What Spotify and Echo Nest know about listener behavior is about to change the music industry.
Music's shift to an all-you-can-stream model is convenient for listeners, tough for many artists, and potentially lucrative for the tech companies involved. It also has a hidden perk that could benefit all of them: Data. Lots of it. The Real Magic Of Streaming Music Is The Data It Generates
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
THE BEATLES: BACK TO MONO
The Beatles' nine U.K. albums, the American-compiled 'Magical Mystery Tour', and the 'Mono Masters' collection of non-album tracks have been released in mono on 180-gram vinyl LPs with faithfully replicated artwork.
Newly mastered from the analogue master tapes, each album is available both individually and within a lavish, limited 14-LP boxed edition, 'The Beatles In Mono', which also includes a 108-page hardbound book.
Sample the mono recordings on a virtual vinyl deck -- pick an album, and give it a spin. Select MP3 or WAV but remember the only way of experiencing the analogue perfection of the mono recordings is on vinyl. Playback the vinyl and find out about the release
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
SLOW SALES? THE AMAZON FIRE PHONE REDUCED TO JUST 99 CENTS ON 2-YEAR PLAN
Is Amazon's Fire Phone a dud at retail?
If not, then this is truly aggressive retailing: "The e-commerce giant said Monday it's now offering the 32-gigabyte version of its first smartphone, which went on sale just two months ago, for 99 cents with a two-year contract, down from $200. One year of Amazon's Prime service is still included as a short-term promotion. A year of Prime, which offers free two-day shipping and streaming music and video libraries, usually costs $99. "
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
ITEM: Google's YouTube will generate an estimated $1.13 billion in revenue from video advertising this year -- up 39% from last year, per research firm eMarketer. Although its market share will not substantially increase, the revenue from ads that run on the site, excluding banners, search and other ads, alongside traffic and content acquisition costs, will grow. Read the whole story
ITEM: People may opt to close an ad they see on Facebook for different reasons. Now the social network wants to better understand their thinking in an effort to serve more relevant ads in the news feed. To that end, Facebook on Tuesday said that when someone chooses to hide an ad, it will begin asking why. Read the whole story (Uh, because we don't use Facebook to click-on ads? If any of you readers have ever clicked on an as on Facebook, please tell me)
ITEM: Dick Tracy had his hi-tech wristwatch years ago. Now this: "The wristwatch made the idea of not knowing what time it was seem bizarre; in five years it might seem bizarre not to know how many calories you've eaten today, or what your resting heart rate is," "Time" magazine's Lev Grossman and Matt Vella write in the "Never Offline" cover story on newsstands Friday. The issue, which features an image of a power-to-the-people like clenched fist attached to a post-wearables wrist that has been transformed into an organic screen, makes a visually engaging point about the new age of hyper-connectivity being wrought by Apple and others. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
Roger Waters' 'The Wall' Documentary Premieres in Toronto
Bob Seger Unveils 'Detroit Made'
Hear Neil Young Protest Fracking & Corporate America in 'Who's Gonna Stand Up'
Exclusive: Hear Two Songs From Final Season of 'Sons of Anarchy'
George Harrison to Be Honored at Star-Studded George Fest
HBO to Debut James Brown Documentary 'Mr. Dynamite'
Deezer to Finally Launch in America as High-Quality Streaming Service
DoclerMusic Combines Music Concerts and Lessons On New Livestreaming Platform
The Problems Musicians Face and How To Solve Them, Pt. 3
21 Photos That Shatter Your Image of Famous Things
The Horrifying Hidden Subplot You Missed in Star Wars
Monster SoundStage streaming speaker hands-on
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch: Here's everything Apple just announced
Microsoft to get rid of Nokia and Windows Phone brands?
Alleged screenshots leak of the next Windows
Short News Items ...
Glen Campbell has recorded his final song, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," a poignant, confessional tune that serves as a stunningly personal coda to a career spent entertaining millions throughout the world. Recorded in Los Angeles in January 2013 and written by the pop-country legend with Julian Raymond, who produced the track, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" was penned specifically for the new documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me. Among those appearing in the film are Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, the Edge (from U2), Paul McCartney, Jay Leno, Vince Gill, Jimmy Webb, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and the Band Perry.
MACCA TRIBUTE ALBUM:
The Art of Paul McCartney; featuring covers of songs by McCartney during his tenures in the Beatles and Wings and as a solo artist.roster is a veritable who's who of fellow influential singer-songwriters: Bob Dylan ("Things We Said Today"), B.B. King ("On the Way"), Smokey Robinson ("So Bad"), Barry Gibb ("When I'm 64"), Billy Joel ("Maybe I'm Amazed," "Live and Let Die"), Willie Nelson ("Yesterday"), among many others, all put their unique spin on McCartney songs. The first song to be released from the record is a take on the Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" -- as recorded by the Cure and Paul's son James.
U2 SOUNDS GOOD:
No other rock band does rebirth like U2, writes David Fricke. No other band believes it needs rebirth more, and so often. 'Songs of Innocence,' U2's first studio album in five years, is a triumph of dynamic, focused renaissance. Read More
Available October 14th, Bob Seger's new album 'Ride Out' contains 10 tracks, with a "Deluxe Version" adding three more. Seger produced the album in Nashville and is joined by the cream of the crop of Music City session players. Vince Gill provides harmony vocals on "Listen." The official video for the album's first single, a cover of John Hiatt's "Detroit Made," will be out tomorrow.
A NEW PLANT:
Robert Plant is pretty pleased with his first solo album of new, original songs in almost a decade. "I can't be smug about it," he tells Rolling Stone. "I know it's wonderful." To support it, he says he has plans for an ambitious world tour. Read More
Vince Gill will receive an all-star tribute this November at the 62nd annual BMI Country Awards. The Nov. 4th event at BMI's Nashville headquarters will include a presentation of the BMI Icon award, which has previously honored Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Kris Kristofferson, as Rolling Stone reports. To his credit, Gill has a 35-year career that includes 20 Grammy wards and 26 million album sales.
NICKI, J-LO AND BIEBER BOMB:
'Fashion Rocks,' The TV event, which spotlights the intersection of the fashion and music industries, returned to CBS on Tuesday night and only drew 2.4 million viewers, a 0.6 share rating among 18- to 49-year-olds, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's less than half the size of the audience that tuned in to the last Fashion Rocks telecast in 2008 (5.242 million viewers), and featured performances by of-the-moment artists like Jennifer Lopez, Magic! and Nicki Minaj (the latter two have songs in the top 10 this week). ('Fashion Rocks' a Ratings Flop: What Didn't Work & What's Next )
'SNL' SEASON OPENER:
Saturday Night Live is recruiting some breakout star power for its 40th season debut: Ariana Grande, following the chart-topping success of her second album, 'My Everything,' will serve as musical guest, while Chris Pratt, star of the blockbuster superhero flick 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' will host the premiere episode, which airs on September 27th.
BABS ON TONIGHT SHOW (TO PROMOTE, WHAT ELSE?):
Jimmy Fallon announced on Wednesday's Tonight Show that legendary singer and Oscar-winning actress Barbra Streisand will appear on the show as both a guest and performer on Monday, Sept. 15. The appearance coincides with the upcoming release of Streisand's new album 'Partners,' which will be available Sept. 16th. The album features Streisand's duets with numerous high-profile vocalists, including Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Blake Shelton.
Music legend Bob Crewe, whose work can be heard in the Broadway musical 'Jersey Boys,' died on September 11th, 2014. He was 82 years old. Crewe worked with Bob Gaudio on many singles for The Four Seasons as both a producer and co-lyricist. Among the memorable numbers that Crewe collaborated with Gaudio and are featured in the Tony-winning musical are "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Bye Bye Baby," "Rag Doll" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." In addition to his contributions to The Four Seasons, Crewe co-wrote Patti LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade" with Kenny Nolan, which became a #1 chart-topper in 1975. He also produced hit singles for artists including Diane Renay, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Michael Jackson and more. Crewe is portrayed in Jersey Boys by Peter Gregus, who originated the role at La Jolla Playhouse in 2004.
Quotes of the week
"The studios don't make movies about people. No one would possibly make 'Rain Man' today, even though it did a half-billion in its time and only cost $22 million. They wouldn't even go down that road anymore."
-- Barry Levinson, the director of "Rain Man," "Diner," "Good Morning Vietnam," "Wag the Dog" and now "The Humbling."
"Bob tried to roll a joint and it fell to pieces in his hands, scattering pot over a bowl of fruit sitting on the table." Victor took over and rolled the joints himself. That helped liven up the party, but Dylan, who'd been drinking, passed out on the floor within an hour. "The following morning, Paul came up to me and hugged me for 10 minutes," says Maymudes, 'and said, 'It was so great, and it's all your fault because I love this pot!'"
-- From 'Another Side Of Bob Dylan,' by Victor Maymudes -- who was Dylan's road manager in the mid-Sixties and again from 1986 to 1996, on the night Dylan met The Beatles in New York City
"It's very sad for new bands. My heart goes out to them. They just don't have a chance. If you play guitar, it's almost impossible. You're better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs, and just singing in the shower and auditioning for The X Factor. And I'm not slamming The X Factor or pop singers. But where's the next Bob Dylan? Where's the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters? Where are the creators? Many of them now have to work behind the scenes, to prop up pop acts and write their stuff for them."
-- Gene Simmons saying "Rock is finally dead," in an interview with Esquire
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Poll: 80% Of Americans Would Get In Vehicle With Stranger For Chance At New Life
Poll: 80% Of Americans Would Get In Vehicle With Stranger For Chance At New Life
WASHINGTON—According to a poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, 80% of Americans would, if given even one opportunity, enter a stranger's vehicle for a shot at starting a new life. "Our research indicated that as long as the driver was headed somewhere else, anywhere else, more than three-quarters of Americans would get in that person's car without any hesitation," said Pew spokesperson Sylvia Ettinger. 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.
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