The Industry Is Gonna' Need A Bigger Boat
February 25, 2011
"It is easier to get into trouble than to get out of it."-- Curtis E. Sahakian
"You're gonna' need a bigger boat."-- The famous line from 'Jaws' after Sheriff Brody sees the size of the great white shark they've been hunting.
This past week the Business Insider posted an article titled "The Death Of Music Industry Is Much Worse Than We Thought," complete with graphs and analysis. ( http://tiny.cc/vmx85 )
I am not going to do a "Cliff Notes" version of the article here, but it breaks down U.S. Recorded Music Revenues Per Capita ... and it's not a pretty picture. After you read and digest the information in the article, you too will come to the conclusion that if the music industry is to survive in any meaningful fashion (and yes, that brings to mind the question "meaningful to who?"), it will indeed need a "bigger boat" to fight off all the sharks out there in the digital waters.
My Commentary in the December 3rd issue last year was titled 'NEW MODELS FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY & TIME TO TAKE ACTION' and I started it with this quote from "Brainstorming Session on New Business Models for the Music Industry Report: From Theory to Action," a white paper by Michael Masnick (President & CEO) and Dennis Yang (Vice President of Product Development) of Floor64, Inc.: "While the industry spent many years fighting the rise of the Internet as a distribution and promotion method for music, it was eventually forced to recognize it ... However, there is another solution: Stop worrying and learn to embrace the business models that are already helping musicians make plenty of money and use file sharing to their advantage, even in the absence of licensing or copyright enforcement."
(You can download that white paper here: http://tiny.cc/q4eeb ... and if you haven't yet, I highly recommend it. It offers a whole lot of ideas the industry could employ to create those new business models.)
I have been saying now for a decade the only way the industry will survive is to realize it cannot flip a magic switch and do away with the Internet and all technology at hand, and that all the tens of millions spent on lawyers, lobbyists and politicians won't help either. The industry must create new models that will co-exist in today's digital world and provide revenues even with illegal downloading and file-sharing taking place.
I firmly believe that can be done with hard work and with putting the best creative minds in technology and music together, great ideas might have surprising results.
Until the new models are designed and created, the major labels will indeed need to get on a bigger boat. A bigger boat won't save them, but it might buy them enough time to figure out how to get back to safe shores.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE GRAMMY LETTER EVERYBODY HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT ALL WEEK
If you haven't yet heard about, or read the letter that Former Interscope exec Steve Stoute penned to Recording Academy head Neil Portnow in the form of a full-page ad in the New York Times Sunday Styles section, which was then published in the Huffington Post, you can do so here: http://tiny.cc/fxzcy
Read it and see if you agree or disagree.
As for me, I still want to know why a non-profit organization like NARAS pays their President, Neil Portnow, an exorbitant salary? Why has NARAS membership declined the past few years?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
NO SURPRISE: TABLET USERS DOING THE SAME THING THEY DID ON PCs
More bad news for the PC market. New research from NPD Group shows consumers are getting used to doing the same things on tablets that they typically do on desktop PCs. Some 30% of tablet owners say they're emailing and browsing the Web less on desktop computers, and 28% are using social networking features less on PCs. Read more here: http://tiny.cc/1fzrw
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE REAL ARTISTS (DESPITE ALL THE ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING), VOL. 2
Lady Gaga's new single "Born This Way" is now the "fastest-selling single ever" on Apple's iTunes Store.
Once the song went on sale on iTunes last Friday, it was an instant smash around the globe. "Born This Way" dominated from Europe to Australia as soon as it was released, hitting the top spot in 23 countries. More than one million downloads of the controversial song were sold in just five days, Apple said.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
I TOLD YOU THIS WAS COMING ... AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING
I said in the newsletter last year that declining DVD sales would prompt movie studios to move-up their video-on-demand window.
Warner Brothers has announced the studio will its make movies available for a premium-demand service 60 days after their box office run. An initial test of such a service in September experimented with a window of 30 to 60 days; the longer window is said to be a compromise for theater owners "who feared it would severely cut into their business," according to Multichannel News, reporting on an earning conference call with Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes.
Bewkes did not reveal the pricing for the service, but said it will be available in the second quarter to some distributors, and all major ones by year-end. Read more here: http://tiny.cc/ieozg
Video-on-demand is viewed by most media analysts as the real future revenue stream for Hollywood. Of course, if that happens, what happens to Redbox?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
THE DEPT. OF JUSTICE THINKS $1.5 MILLION IS AN OK AWARD FOR DOWNLOADING 24 MP3s ... BUT GUESS WHO IS NOW IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE?
Believe it or not, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has opposed the reduction of a jury's award of $1.5 million in damages (or $62,500 per song downloaded) to be paid to record labels by convicted file-swapper Jammie Thomas-Rasset. (Editor's comment: As if this will correct all the ills the labels think the Internet has caused)
As pointed out on the Recording Industry vs. the People blog "It should be noted that the RIAA's primary copyright litigation lawyers are now high ranking members of the U.S. Department of Justice" Hmmmn.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/og6dj
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
NEVERMIND 4G ... HOW ABOUT 10G?
Intel has announced the availability of Thunderbolt(tm) technology, a new high-speed PC connection technology that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. Running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. This Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple, and is available first on Apple's new line of MacBook Pro laptop computers.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/kzgxx
And Now For Some News ...
Apple Wants To Improve Sound Quality Of DownloadsCNN.COM
For quite some time, artists and audiophiles have complained about the real quality of music downloads.
Now Apple and other digital music retailers are in discussions with record labels to improve the quality of the song files they sell, executives involved in the talks say.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Spotify Signs EMI ... Others Soon to Follow?ALL THINGS DIGITAL
Another one bites the dust. Major record label EMI has signed a licensing deal for the U.S. with European streaming music service Spotify, All Things D reports.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Need To Raise Money For Your School's Music Program?ALFRED MUSIC
Digital music distributor TuneCore has partnered with Alfred Music Publishing to create Alfred Records, a new label intended to help schools fund their music programs by selling their recordings digitally.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Island Def Jam, Echo Nest Launch Groundbreaking Music Licensing Pact For AppsLOS ANGELES TIMES
Major record label Universal Music Group's Island Def Jam group on Thursday announced a partnership with music application developer The Echo Nest, to allow developers to access the Island Def Jam (IDJ) catalog in their applications.
Read more about it by clicking here.
WELL, IT DIDN'T HELP PAULA ABDUL, BUT GOOD LUCK, J-LO:
The music video for Jennifer Lopez's new single, "On the Floor," will debut during the March 3rd episode of "American Idol." Apparently, one of the major perks of becoming a judge on the show is that you get to promote your latest record during one of the highest-rated programs on television.
Contrary to reports last week in The Wall Street Journal and other outlets, Apple is not developing a smaller iPhone, although the company is working on making the smartphone cheaper, The New York Times reported.
Apple is expected to host a media event on March 2nd in San Francisco, at which it will introduce the next version of its iPad tablet computer.
WHITE SEZ NO MORE NEW BANDS:
Jack White has told the British rock magazine Q that he will never form another band, and will spend the rest of his career either playing with his bands the Raconteurs or the Dead Weather, or working as a solo artist.
IF SHE MAKES MONEY ON PRODUCT PLACEMENT, WOULD YOU HOLD IT AGAINST HER?
Britney Spears made a half-million dollars from the product placement in her music video for "Hold It Against Me," according to TMZ. Among the products featured in the clip are various Sony televisions and monitors, Make Up Forever eye shadow, Spears' own Radiance perfume and the dating website Plenty of Fish. (The same website was previously featured in Lady GaGa's "Telephone" video)
I GUESS THE CAMERA COMMERCIALS AREN'T ENOUGH:
SeatGeek, the operator of an event ticket price forecasting service and secondary ticketing marketplace, has received an undisclosed amount of new funding from A Grade Investments, a firm that includes actor Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary.
IDOL VOTERS CAN FACEBOOK IT IN:
"American Idol" has announced that viewers will now be able to vote for their favorite singers via Facebook.
THE "BIG MAN" SEZ HE'LL KEEP GOING:
Despite his medical issues (and his 70th birthday next January), Clarence Clemons says that virtually nothing will keep him off the road with Springsteen if a tour does indeed happen. "As long as my mouth, hands and brain still work I'll be out there doing it"
A BILLION FOR EMINEM ON YOUTUBE:
According to the site Famecount, Eminem has scored over a billion views on YouTube, making him the third most-viewed artist on the site following Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Rihanna comes in at third place with just under a billion views.
THE UBIQUITOUS U2:
U2 have been announced as the headliner for the first night of the 2011 Glastonbury festival, one of the world's largest outdoor music events. The band will join Coldplay and Beyoncé at the top of the festival's bill, which will take place June 24th-26th in Somerset, England. (And let's hope the festival has less problems than U2's "Spiderman" on Broadway)
LINDSEY TO BE HONORED:
Lindsey Buckingham will receive the ASCAP Golden Note Award at the non-profit artist rights organization's I Create Music expo in Los Angeles in April. Buckingham is being honored for his work as a solo artist and as a member of Fleetwood Mac.
THE SAME, ONLY DIFFERENT:
Ke$ha will release a new remix album titled I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance on March 22nd. The set will feature "The Sleazey Remix" featuring Outkast's Andre 3000 and two versions of "Tik Tok."
SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES:
Garth Brooks, Allen Toussaint, Leon Russell, John Bettis, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly are set to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The organization's 42nd Annual Induction Awards Dinner will be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan on June 16th.
Ozzy Osbourne has been announced as the "ambassador" for Record Store Day 2011, which will take place April 16th. The singer will help promote the retail event with a set of vinyl reissues, including expanded editions of his Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman albums.
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.
Quotes of the week
"She said, 'We'll put the tape on and you just play. She said to me, 'Play from your heart. Play what you feel.' It was all very pure. I play sax through the whole song and I have a solo. I'm surprised I'm getting paid for this. I would have done it for free. I can never believe something that feels so good earns me money. She's the real deal. All the craziness and stuff, there's a purpose to all of it. She has no boundaries."
-- E-Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, talking to Rolling Stone about his appearance on the new Lady GaGa album
"The Grammys feel like an inside job . I've won a couple of Grammys for absurd things: Best metal performance in a what? You know, who the hell voted that?"
-- Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
"I still smoke a lot of pot when I write music. So I'm not gonna' like sugarcoat it for '60 Minutes' that I'm some, like sober human being, 'cause I'm not."
-- Lady GaGa on '60 Minutes'
"Hello ,Facebook. Yes, this is actually Lindsay. Welcome to my Facebook page!"
-- Lindsay Lohan, confusing her social media networks, on Twitter. Obviously she needs a whole lot more detox and rehab.
"That trash is delusional and I would sooner stab ... knives into my own eyes than see her on this network."
-- Bravo executive Andy Cohen, who later said he got "a little carried away" about the prospect of Heidi Montag joining 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills', on his show 'Watch What Happens Live.' Got it, Andy. So, delusional trash is worse than the trash on the 'Real Housewives'? Not really.
"You know, Britney Spears did this once and it worked out great for her."
-- Jimmy Kimmel, after he appeared to shave Justin Bieber's head completely bald on his late show
"What's been more of a battle for me throughout the process of moving into acting is that I feel like I have to keep reassuring people that I'm not an asshole. There is a stigma that comes from being on stage and being a musician."
-- Justin Timberlake tells Interview magazine.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Study: 87% Of Movies Would Be Better With Michael Keaton In Them
LOS ANGELES-According to a comprehensive study released this week by researchers at UCLA, 87% of feature-length motion pictures would be significantly improved by the addition of 59-year-old film and television actor Michael Keaton.
"According to our results, the mere presence of Michael Keaton acts as a catalyst by which the quality of a film rises exponentially in relation to his screen time," said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Scott, who has been studying Keaton intensively since the actor's appearance in the 1982 comedy Night Shift. "Ninety-three percent of comedies would be improved by the addition of his manic, live-wire energy, while a full 72% of dramatic features would benefit from his surprisingly adept touch with tender characterizations."
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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