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.
“One thing is for sure,” declared an influential American critic and record industry analyst, Bob Lefsetz, in a recent post on the topic of streaming music. “One service will dominate, it’s where we’ll all go, because we want to share, we don’t want to be left out.”
Post by Policy Intern Juan Carlos Melendez-Torres and Casey Rae
T-Mobile markets itself as a great liberator within the mobile phone industry through its “UnCarrier” initiatives. But is the company really all that different from other powerful carriers and Internet Service Providers?
On June 18, T-Mobile announced UnCarrier 6.0, which includes new “partnerships” with streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, iHeartRadio, Slacker, Rhapsody and Milk Music. Under the UnCarrier 6.0 provisions, T-Mobile will not count music streamed on the aforementioned services against their subscribers’ data caps. Using any other online music service—say, Bandcamp or Noisetrade—will result in slowed speeds and potentially, overages.
From YouTube, to Pandora, to Spotify, streaming music is piloting our listening habits in fascinating new ways. Eric Harvey explores how these developments are affecting ideas of taste, access, and ownership in the 21st century.
On-demand streaming music has been part of the collective imagination for more than a century. It can be traced back to the 1888 publication of Edward Bellamy’s million-selling science fiction novel Looking Backward, in which a man falls asleep in 1887 and wakes up in 2000. Amidst the mind-blowing technological developments he encounters on his journey is a “music room,” in which 24-hour playlists are piped in to subscribers via phone lines. With no shortage of astonishment, the man proclaims that “an arrangement for providing everybody with music in their homes, perfect in quality, unlimited in quantity, suited to every mood, and beginning and ceasing at will” is perhaps the pinnacle of human achievement. Read more.
I’d love to tell you that I’ve explored every single feature on the newly-launched Beats Music streaming service, but I’ve pretty much been stuck on the Mojo Magazine-curated “New Psych Revolution” and “BritFolk Treasures” playlists. read more
Yesterday, on-demand music streaming service Spotifydid something pretty big by explaining in detail how it calculates and pays out royalties to rightsholders. With so many music industry pundits and practitioners in a tizzy about the economics of streaming, this move can be generally seen as positive. But as always, the devil is in the details.
It is certainly significant that Spotify took this step—probably long overdue—and we hope that it serves to increase the standard of transparency across the digital music sector. When a market leader like Spotify makes this kind of move, it can be a spur to other players to follow suit. However, it doesn’t really change much in terms of artist leverage on streaming on-demand services, nor does it impact most musicians and songwriters’ bottom lines. We spend a great deal of time considering this stuff—in fact, our own Kristin Thomson recently wrote a post for Music Think Tank about ways to make streaming music more viable for artists. (And if you need a primer on how the money flows on a variety of music platforms, check out these handy charts.)
This post co-authored by FMC Communications Intern Olivia Brown
The big music biz news this week is all about the launch of Google’s new subscription streaming music service. But that’s not the only development in the world of streaming. Last week, at the annual NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Convention, one of the first such services, Rhapsody, announced that it would be the first major digital music service to join the Recording Academy’s new “Give Fans The Credit” initiative. The campaign aims to make songwriter, performer, producer, and other credits widely available to digital music consumers at a time when physical media sales — along with liner notes — are on the wane.
This post authored by FMC communications intern Olivia Brown
Metadata. Sounds like a android with irony issues. But it’s actually important to musicians and composers.
So what is it? Metadata is information that lives with every file on your computer. Through a mix of words and numbers, metadata describes files so that they can be managed by both the user and the system. In the case of a music file, metadata refers to the tags associated with a particular piece of music — such as the artist, album name, year of release, etc. These tags are definitely useful for the listener in keeping track of a digital collection. For artists, it’s about tracking for downloads and plays, which can ensure timely and accurate compensation.
Unfortunately, not all systems to organize metadata are created equal. Non-rock artists, especially jazz and classical musicians, have borne the brunt of some of the most poorly organized metadata out there. This is largely because the new business models are often developed with only popular music in mind.
Digital music biz superstar Ian Rogers recently announced his move to become the CEO of “Daisy” — a new project that’s being built out of streaming subscription service MOG, which was acquired by Beats Electronics in 2012. Beats, is of course, known for its headphones and for being the brainchild of hip-hop legend Dr. Dre and music executive Jimmy Iovine. read more
If you're a Last.fm user, you may have noticed some changes at the popular music site, one of which is that the company will no longer offer on-demand track streaming, but instead refer users to third-party partners like MOG and read more