What do punk rock, journalism and the compact disc have in common? It’s become weirdly popular to loudly, and falsely, proclaim that they’ve met their end.
“CDs are dead!” howl the media pundits. “Vinyl is more important! Streaming is the new torrenting! Burn your outmoded discs in a trash fire!” It’s a cliche rapidly approaching peak hysteria, and even big news sites like CNN, Huffington Post and the Smithsonian are in on the action. But is it really that simple? read more
Apple is getting into the popular music-streaming business today — but Spotify, Google Play, Pandora and even public radio stations are already there. Although several musicians have been skeptical of the digital-music market, like Taylor Swift they’re allowing Apple to stream its songs — with the potential for reaching 100 million people with iPhones. Can the company that invented iTunes persuade a generation of music listeners to actually pay? Casey Rae is CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit advocating for artists.
And don’t overlook the return for the artists making the music. Musicians can collect more money from downloads than from streaming services, at least at first.
“Even a 99-cent download is a relatively high margin transaction compared to micropennies, where payments aggregate over time,” Future of Music Coalition chief executive officer Casey Rae wrote in an email. […]
[…]SHAHANI: Late last night, executive Eddy Cue tweeted out, Apple Music will pay artists for streaming, even during customers’ free trial period. We hear you, @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple
And so ends some bad blood.
CASEYRAE: And all props to Taylor Swift for pulling this off.
SHAHANI: Casey Rae is CEO of the Future of Music Coalition.
RAE: It is really, really remarkable that she was able to influence Apple to change a fundamental business decision. read more
For labels, distributors, and artists alike, a better connection to fans—plus knowing how fans listen to music and what they want from artists—may mean a better service overall, which could translate to more revenue. But, even with the direct connection to artists, Apple Music will still face stiff competition in its fight to become the dominant platform. In that fight, there’s a danger that it may wind up less concerned with the success of smaller, independent artists than beating its freemium competitors, such as Spotify.
“Artists want to believe that whatever the new platform is will have meaningful impact,” says Casey Rae, the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, “but I don’t know how much Apple cares about that.”
[…]“(Streaming) is not about demand or the Internet being good or bad, it’s more about the value we put into it and how to foster what we get out of it to make sure some of it gets back to the creators,” Future of Music Coalition CEO Casey Rae said.
Rae says streaming also raises important questions about access to art as more and more music, movies, TV and other art is distributed online: Who gets to put a price tag on culture?
“If you’re paying more than $100 for an Internet connection and more for mobile plan, how much money does someone have for a streaming subscription?” Rae said. “There are bigger questions about the economics of cultural production that haven’t been resolved, and streaming is one of them.”
In February 2014, 19 Recordings—a record label representing artists from the TV show “American Idol” like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood—sued Sony Music for allegedly withholding royalty payments totaling $7 million. In March of this year, U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams issued a ruling allowing some of these claims to go to trial. The upshot is that, while some components of the case will move forward, the court decided that others don’t hold water. Even more recently, Sony swung back with allegations of fiduciary mismanagement at 19.
When the Billboard chart-topping winner of seven Grammys speaks, apparently Apple listens. Apple very quickly pulled an about-face late Sunday night, with Apple VP Eddy Cue tweeting that “Apple Music will pay for artist streaming, even during customer’s free trial period.” Following this several independent label groups announced they would be signing on to Apple Music, including Worldwide Independent Network and Beggars Group. read more
This article is second in a series of guest posts exploring the streaming issue from multiple angles, with a focus on how independent players are impacted. For another take, check out this post from Joe Steinhardt, owner of independent label Don Giovanni Records.read more
I’ve talked a lot about Taylor Swift these past couple of weeks. She’s a bona fide superstar, and people wanna know what’s up with her decision to pull catalog from Spotify. But all the hullaboo has also created opportunities to discuss how the current marketplace works for artists who aren’t among music’s one percent. The musicians and songwriters I know are hardly lazy or entitled; they want to pursue artistic excellence and have that excellence rewarded. Everyone at FMC is delighted that artists are speaking up and helping to refocus the debate from the tired “content versus tech” binary. Because that leaves an awful lot of important stuff out.