Before We Begin ... Commentary And One Man's Opinion
November 3, 2015
I have talked numerous times in the newsletter about how the loss of great A&R and artist development departments at all labels contributed to a decline in the number of multi-Platinum artists, able to sell in those quantities for the long term.
This week Adele's "Hello" blasts onto the Billboard Hot 100 (dated Nov. 14th) at #1, setting a record for the most U.S. downloads sold in a week: 1.11 million, according to Nielsen Music. It's the first song ever to sell at least one million downloads in a week. Adele Says 'Hello' to No. 1 Hot 100 Debut; First Song to Sell 1 Million Downloads in a Week
It's gratifying to know that consumers will still respond overwhelmingly to REAL artists who make great music.
There's no clever videos with Adele … no gimmicks, just great songs with great lyrics, sung with a gifted voice.
If the industry had more Adeles (and Taylor Swifts), there would be less talk about the death of the album, and more anticipation for new albums by these artists.
Congrats to Adele. Quality wins when all else fails.
MORE ON THE DEVALUATION OF MUSIC
"Starving artists have been affected by more than just piracy and streaming royalties" -- From the article 'The Devaluation of Music: It's Worse Than You Think' by Craig Havighurst on Cuepoint
As a follow-up to the article I ran in the last issue, 'THE MUSIC INDUSTRY PROBLEM OF PERCEIVED VALUE,' the above article makes a great companion piece.
Craig makes some very good points and the article is a great read that provides insight all of us can understand.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
WHO IS THE BAD GUY? LABELS OR STREAMERS?
Platforms such as Spotify and Pandora are often vilified for not paying sufficient royalties to artists, but could it be that it's not, in fact, the streaming services who are the true enemy, but the major labels to which they are contractually beholden? Streaming Services Or Major Labels: Who's The Real Bad Guy?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
AND HOW ABOUT TRANSPARENCY FOR STREAMING ROYALTIES?
As the popularity of freemium streaming has grown, there has been an ever-increasing demand from artists and songwriters for transparency. Major labels and streaming services are usually blamed when a royalty payment doesn't find its way to the creator, but the real responsibility may be higher up the chain, with the advertising service. Transparency Begins Upstream For Streaming Royalties
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
FROM THE ATLANTIC: 'BORN TO RUN' AND THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM'
Bruce Springsteen's breakout album embodied the lost '70s -- the tense, political, working-class rejection of an increasingly unequal society.
"Forty years ago, on the eve of its official release, "Born to Run" -- the song that propelled Bruce Springsteen into the rock-and-roll stratosphere -- had already attracted a small cult following in the American rust belt." Read the article
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
Google Chromecast Audio is one of the best budget audio streamers you can buy, allowing easy control of music via any audio system using your phone. But does it do enough to differentiate itself from the original video-focused Chromecast? READ MORE
How Can Spotify Shrink and Grow the Music Business at the Same Time?: Re/code reports "Economists Luis Aguiar and Joel Waldfogel looked at music sales in countries Spotify operated in between 2013 and 2015, and concluded that yes, Spotify use displaces permanent downloads -- that is, if you're getting your music from Spotify, you don't need to buy it from iTunes. But they also found that Spotify displaces music piracy, and that the two trends balance each other out: Interactive streaming appears to be revenue-neutral for the recorded music industry." Read more.
Apple Music has no intention of "building an audience on the back of the artists" by offering a free ad-supported music option, as Spotify does, according to senior exec Jimmy Iovine. Is this just spin to cover up slower than hoped for user adoption … or is this caring corporate policy? Apple Music: We Won't Play Free Music "Shell Game... building an audience on the back of the artists" [ANALYSIS]
SoundCloud Rolls Out A Dedicated App For Creators: TechCrunch reports "SoundCloud, a top 5 Music app on both iOS and Android, has today released a new mobile application aimed specifically at artists and creators. Called SoundCloud Pulse, the app allows its users to share their sounds publicly and privately, track their stats and performance, reply to comments, and follow other users. The company says a more advanced feature set is already in the works, and will launch along with the iOS release in the future." Read more.
Behind the Scenes of Bob Dylan's 'Highway 61' Cover: The next installment of the Bootleg Series zeroes in on Bob Dylan's early electric period, with dozens of mid-Sixties outtakes. In advance of the release, watch a mini-documentary on the making of the classic 'Highway 61 Revisited' album cover. Read More
Google wants you to pay $9.99 per month for ad-free YouTube: VentureBeat reports "Starting on October 28th, the company will offer users a $9.99 per month membership for access to ad-free videos. Members will have unlimited access to videos and the ability to download them for offline viewing. It also comes with access to Google Play Music. YouTube Red is available across mobile and desktop devices and members can get an ad-free experience anywhere they sign into YouTube (like YouTube Gaming)."
Tom Petty Opens Up About Heroin Use in New Book: By 1997, Tom Petty's life was in shambles, as he explains in a revealing new biography. He'd just fired his longtime drummer, and he was going through a bitter divorce. For the first time, he admits that he tried a new way to deal with the pain: heroin. Read More
Vrtify Aims to Reinvent the Music Video With Virtual Reality: Variety reports "Horror, video games and music videos? Vrtify co-founder and CEO Facundo Diaz believes that virtual reality enthusiasts have long overlooked music, and his company aims to change that with a music-centric platform that wants to take on everything from live concert experiences to traditional music videos."
Pandora Shares Down 20% In After-Hours Trading After Company Posts Q3 Loss: TechCrunch reports "Pandora continues to face stiff competition in the crowded music streaming sector from Spotify, Google and Apple. Today's report was the first to show the impact of Apple's fledgling streaming service, which launched in late June, on Pandora." Read more.
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS & NEWS
How And Why The Maine Went On Tour Playing Only FREE Shows [INTERVIEW]
The Challenges Of Launching A Music Startup [BRENDEN MULLIGAN]
Making YouTube Pay: YouTubers vs. Bands
The Ongoing Happy Birthday Copyright Saga: Warner Asks Judge To Reconsider, Filmmakers Push For Public Domain Ruling
Adele to Film TV Special at Radio City Music Hall
Napster Launches Streaming Music Service In Canada
Facebook's Video Management Efforts Must Consider Songwriters
Hear Kurt Cobain's Lo-fi Cover of The Beatles' 'And I Love Her' Read
Kurt Cobain's Cardigan, Michael Jackson's Sunglasses & Elvis Presley's Guitar Pick Are For Sale
Pandora to Pay Labels $90 Million Over Pre-1972 Music Fight
Watch Bob Dylan Talk To His Computer In New IBM Ad [VIDEO]
Beats' new Pill+ Bluetooth speaker charges with Apple Lightning cable
Watch Bill Murray's Trailer for Netflix Christmas Special
Elton John Announces New Album 'Wonderful Crazy Night'
Adele Playing Radio City Music Hall in November
Steve Martin, Edie Brickell Musical Coming To Broadway Read »
Apple Music nabs 6.5M paying subscribers, Tim Cook says
The Audiophiliac's top 10 (full-size) headphones for 2015
Have You Forgotten About TIDAL? Jay Z Just Did, Under Oath
On It's 6th Anniversary, PledgeMusic Shares User Stats, Success Rates
Buying In And Selling Out -- A Linear Graph of How The Music Industry GotToWhere It Is
Apple cuts $50 off Watch if you also buy an iPhone
Apple TV review: Making TV better, especially for Apple fans
Sonos Play:5 is the company's best-sounding wireless speaker yet
McCartney, Bowie Prep Record Store Day Black Friday Releases
Sling TV brings inexpensive live TV to Google's cheap Chromecast streamer (hands-on)
SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME NOMS: George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp are among the A-list contenders nominated for the 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame. Blondie, Gloria Estefan, the Isley Brothers, Sly Stone and Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards are also up for the top honor. Winners will be inducted next June in New York City. The Songwriters Hall of Fame gave The Associated Press a list of the nominees in advance of the official announcement, set for Tuesday. Nonperforming songwriters nominated for the honor include Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Max Martin, who has co-written #1 hits for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, the Weeknd and Taylor Swift. The 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala will take place June 9, 2016.
ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME FLASHBACK: There have been many bitter, awkward moments at the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction over the past three decades. Few, however, were quite as volatile as what happened when Creedence Clearwater Revival was elected in 1993. Read More
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.
Smart Marketing Consulting Services
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
"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people becomes an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk: culture-death is a clear possibility." -- Neil Postman