Billy Bragg and Beggars Group Rethink YouTube & Streaming… | MusicAlly

We wonder if this is the future of music and artist revenue streams?

While Wheeler was positive about subscription streaming services, he opened both barrels on YouTube. “If YouTube launches a subscription service and it eats Spotify and Rdio, you’ll look back at these times as great days,” he cautioned. “They want to eat all the other music services and our business. That’s their plan.” He said the record industry was “caught out” in the early days of YouTube and didn’t realise the video site would become so big, initially thinking it was just about licensing music for a video of “a cat on a skateboard and then it became the biggest music service in the world”.

Bragg backed him up by saying, “If you want to talk about artists getting angry about the use of their music, YouTube is the place we should be looking at.”

Wheeler concluded, “We got caught out and that needs addressing. Otherwise they will eat our dinner.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT MUSICALLY:
http://musically.com/2014/04/07/beggars-group-recalibrates-50-streaming-payment-to-artists-and-attacks-youtube/

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Exclusive: ‘YouTube Music’ Is Launching This Summer… | Digital Music News

#SXSW REWIND : Venture Capitalist Admits Artists Can Not Make A Living On Streaming Royalties…

What YouTube Really Pays… Makes Spotify Look Good! #sxsw

DO NOT USE PANDORA | JJ Appleton Blog

My friend Adam Dorn, better known as Mocean Worker, is a brilliant music artist. His songs received 1,200,000 plays in the year 2013 on the Pandora online, commercial, for profit, radio station.

He received $51.46.

Tim Westergren, founder and principal of Pandora, cashed in stocks worth $13.9 million last year.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE:
http://jjappleton.com/2014/04/07/do-not-use-pandora/

#SXSW REWIND : Venture Capitalist Admits Artists Can Not Make A Living On Streaming Royalties…

The grand irony here is that the panel which asked the question “”Will Artists Make Money on Big Music Platforms?” not only reported that artists could not, but also suggested that artists needed to focus on selling concert tickets and merchandise. You know, things artists did BEFORE the internet.

We do admire the honesty of Hany Nada, Managing Partner GGV Capital who admitted during the SXSW Panel “Will Artists Make Money on Big Music Platforms?” that he believed that they would not be able to do so. He also added that the point of digital streaming platforms such as Pandora, Spotify, and others was promotion to help the artists tour, sell t-shirts and offer other non-digitally distributable “experiences” to fans (why is this sounding more and more like prostitution?).

At least Mr.Nada is honest, which is refreshing given that the man has more integrity than most of the executives at that streaming services who claim the problem of royalties is one of scale and not sustainability. Mr. Nada (ironically named in this context) may be well intentioned and honest but he is also grossly misguided.

Mr. Nada’s statement and philosophy that streaming sites should be viewed by artists as a promotional platform more so than a financial one are an admission of the failure of these unprofitable start ups to serve musicians. As such, let artists decide if there is a value proposition in these companies that benefits the artist and allow them to opt out. Not every album should be on streaming services. Not every artist should be on streaming services. And if streaming is nothing more than promotion with little value proposition, than artists need to rethink their relationships and strategies regarding those businesses.

To be fair, it’s not just Mr.Nada who has promoted this philosophy. It appears that many of the music streaming company executives on panels at SXSW alternate between two talking points. First is that these services will support musicians when they scale (which we can find no evidence of). And second, when pressed on the first point, that streaming platforms offer promotional value for artists to make money in other ways. Oddly, other than “t-shirts and touring” no one seems to have any idea how to translate an artists participation on streaming services into a sustainable revenue stream.

In almost every way streaming companies represent the worst of both the old boss and the new boss.

So here’s the take away, which was put forth by a series of questions from the floor that largely went unanswered.

1) If artists can’t be expected to make a living from streaming music why should streaming executives make a living from streaming businesses at the artists expense? These are essentially, artists subsidized corporations.

2) As artist’s are bringing the audience to the platform, why should the platform profit, but not the artists? Test this theory, No Music = No Business. Done.

3) Artists have been able to sell t-shirts and tour long before the internet and without streaming platforms, but streaming platforms can’t exists without the artists music. Again, No Music = No Business. Done.

4) Given that the streaming music thought leaders believe that the”new revenue model’s” for musicians are “touring and t-shirts” when are the streaming company executives going on tour to sell t-shirts to support their businesses? We find it odd that the executives running companies that are not profitable are giving business advice to musicians.

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It Seems Bands Don’t Make Money Off Touring Either | Metal Injection

TODAY AT #SXSW : Love the Art, Fcuk the Artist: The Re-emerging Artist Rights Movement! #SXSW

Thursday, March 13 | 3:30PM – 4:30PM
Austin Convention Center | Room 12AB | 500 E Cesar Chavez St

http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_MP990775

Business gets harder and harder for recording artists and songwriters. Problems have developed with labels, publishers, fans, online distribution services like Spotify, major ISPs like Google, and Internet radio networks like Pandora. They also endure antagonistic courts, ineffective laws, and government indifference. As a result, their property interest has been significantly devalued and their rights abridged. Recently some recording artists and songwriters have started to criticize and push back against this new status quo.

MODERATOR
Jay Rosenthal
SVP & General Counsel – National Music Publishers’ Association

Eric Hilton
Thievery Corporation

David Zierler
Pres – INgrooves

Lee Miller
Pres – Nashville Songwriters Association International

David Lowery
Musician/Internet Content Provider – Cracker

UNSOUND @SXSW Meet Filmmaker Mikael (Count) Eldridge #SXSW

Filmmaker, producer and musician Mikael (Count) Eldridge will be speaking at SXSW Monday about new tech, start ups, and the impact on creators.

http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_OE02908

Monday, March 10  | 2:00PM – 3:00PM
Austin Convention Center | Next Stage EH 3/4
500 E Cesar Chavez St

From the forthcoming documentary Unsound: Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph Records founder Brett Gurewitz talks about how large tech corporations make millions of dollars selling advertising- essentially making people the product, without them even realizing. The promise of free or cheap music is often used to draw eyeballs to websites, apps, and social networking platforms, allowing corporations to make large amounts of money from advertising. The public is generally unaware and happy to have free/cheap music, corporations make tons of money from advertising, but how is the musician benefiting from this?

LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.facebook.com/unsoundthemovie

Unsound uncovers the dramatic collapse of the music industry and its impact on musicians and creators of all kinds trying to survive in the ‘age of free’.

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“Zoe Keating on How Big Business Wins…”| UNSOUND Little Cast

Reality for Indie Artists : Zoë Keating’s Annual Music Sales & Streaming Data @SXSW #SXSW

Zoë Keating released her Annual Music Sales & Streaming Data Spreadsheet a little bit ago and we stayed out of the fray, although we did also publish an update of the Music Streaming Price Index for 2014 as well.

This quote from Zoë in a follow up post about her open and transparent sharing of information on Hypebot got our attention.

I want you to know that I don’t release these numbers as a marketing tool. I’ve always tabulated stuff as part of doing my annual accounting and last year I decided to make a portion of them public. Music commentators were saying, over and over, that artists are not making a living selling music, they make all their money touring, etcetera etcetera. I noted that in my case that wasn’t true and never had been. In the commentary I wasn’t seeing a lot of actual numbers from artists and thought I’d offer some details of how it all works for me: a non-labeled artist whose career has existed entirely in the internet-age.

It’s curious to us that someone would insinuate the motivation behind sharing information in an open, human and transparent way was an attempt at self serving marketing. Shame on those who have made such comments. Zoë should be celebrated for doing what the interweb companies claim to do, and ask others to do, but do not do themselves.

We also found the following statement to be true of our experience of the vast number of artists we hear from who report similar experiences with streaming services ranging from Spotify to YouTube. These services only financially serve the very large artists and the very large labels. In other words, Spotify, YouTube and the like have not empowered artists towards financial freedom and very well appear to be achieving the very opposite.

Meanwhile yes, the big money is to be made at the top of the tail…and therein lies the promise of commercial music streaming services. It will be financially valuable to those who make hits and those who aggregate legions of artists. For a single artist like me commercial streaming will never be more than promo. I accept that. But will keep talking about it until streaming companies do more to make that promo more useful (i.e data).

But there appears to be more to this story. In this recently posted video clip by “Unsound” documentary  filmmaker Mikeal Eldridge, Zoë reveals that she has dug a bit deeper into the realities of streaming economics noting that the more streams that are served, the less the artists makes per stream. Again, this is consistent with her observation that “the promise of commercial music streaming services… will be financially valuable to those who make hits and those who aggregate legions of artists.”

We’ve yet to see anyone propose how streaming can actually scale and be sustainable for artists. We love streaming services, what we don’t like are the economics.

92% of Zoë’s recording income is from transactional digital sales. If these streaming businesses are claiming to be the future, the question to ask is whose future?

Downloads Streams Total % Downloads
$75,341 $6,380 $81,721 92%

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Why Spotify is not Netflix (But Maybe It Should Be)

Musicians POV: Spotify Isn’t Good for You – Full Post

On Spotify (and Why I’m not a Conspiracy Theorist After All) | Tape Op

The real reason why the major labels love Spotify | Guardian UK

Homegrown Music: The Challenges Of Running A Record Label in D.C. | DC Music Download

“I don’t think people understand the idea that music is someone else’s property because it’s just in digital bits,” Feigenbaum says. “It’s intangible. People who feel music has no value and want to steal from you will steal from you. It’s so ubiquitous—it’s so easy”.

“I have people come up to me and tell me how much they love what I do, and I’ll be like, ‘That’s great, where do you buy it?’” notes Feigenbaum. “And you can see they weren’t expecting that and they start to stammer. It’s like, ‘You’re not helping me. You’re not a fan-you’re a leech.’”

“I could go on and on about the things I don’t like about iTunes,” he says, “But they do pay. It’s not my favorite business model, but I get paid from them.” Spotify, however, is another matter.

“They don’t pay shit,” he says. “The only people who make money off of Spotify is Spotify. We were getting thousands of listens on Spotify, which added up to literally one and a quarter pennies. So we opted out.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT DC MUSIC DOWNLOAD:
http://dcmusicdownload.com/2014/02/12/homegrown-music-the-challenges-of-running-a-record-label-in-d-c/

The Tyranny of Legality | The Cynical Musician

Music piracy is a subject that has been talked to death over the past decade. So much, in fact, that it seems scarce conceivable that we could say anything more of interest on the subject.

The fundamental point I’d like you to take away from this is: it’s a lot more important to keep a watchful eye on ostensibly legal services – recall that both Pandora and (perhaps to a lesser extent) YouTube are legit – than to agonize over overt piracy.

That pirate services should be hunted to as close to extinction as is feasible goes without saying, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that nobody deserves a medal for going legit. It’s what you’re f-ing supposed to do.

READ THE FULL POST AT THE CYNICAL MUSICIAN:
http://thecynicalmusician.com/2014/01/the-tyranny-of-legality/

Beats Music Hires Artist Bully as Artist Advocate

Billboard Magazine is reporting that Beats Music has hired long time artist bully Dave Allen as their so called Artist Advocate.  This is fantastic news for artists rights bloggers and music journalists as they were close to running out of ways to imply Dave Allen is a shill for streaming services.  By taking this job at Beats Dave Allen has made it easy for all of us.  Now we can just come out and say he’s paid by the streaming services!

If you don’t know, Dave Allen is the former bass player for the Marxist Rock band Gang of Four.  Allen has made a name for himself by rudely lecturing songwriters like David Byrne, Thom Yorke and myself on streaming, globalization and the inner workings of free markets. Rich right?

And it looks like he intends to continue.  Check the featured quote from the Billboard story announcing his hiring:

“It is hard for me to understand why intelligent people like David Byrne and Thom Yorke do not appear to understand that we are in the midst of new markets being formed,” Allen wrote. “I have concluded that we can only look to what internet and mobile users are doing or want to do, and then note how their actions drive technologists to provide platforms for them. Put very simply, that is how markets work.”

(Wow.  This is his first day as Artist Advocate? Off to a bad start-Ed)

No Dave.  It’s the opposite of markets.  By Government mandate our songs have been “collectivized” for use by these streaming and webcasting services.  Further government rate courts set the prices.  There is no “market” for songs.  He’s purposely leaving out the part where the government forces us to license our songs to the technologists at below market rates!

Allen knows this.  Everyone in the business knows this.  I mean that’s why  U.S. Rep Doug Collins of Georgia introduced this week this bill to establish fair market pricing for songs!

While we have some generally positive things to say about the Beats service (the lack of a free tier means their effective per spin rate to songwriters and performers will be higher than many other services) we note that the appointment of Allen does not bode well for Beats Music.

This is a ham-fisted move that won’t solve the fundamental PR problem that all streaming services have with the general public: low payouts to artists and a lack of transparency. No amount of shouting and name calling by Allen will fix that problem.  Quite the opposite.

RELATED:

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

Streaming Services Will Never Become Profitable, Study Finds… | Digital Music News

It’s time to end compulsory licensing for digital music | Tech Liberation

Musicians Sing for a Cause That’s Their Own | The New York Times

In the latest example, a group of artists including David Byrne, Mike Mills of R.E.M., John McCrea of Cake and the guitarist Marc Ribot are putting on a free concert on Tuesday at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village to protest the way radio stations pay royalties, and to introduce a new advocacy group, the Content Creators Coalition.

“This is possible now because musicians and artists are fed up,” said Mr. Ribot, who is renowned for his work with musicians including Tom Waits, another coalition member. “It takes a lot to get a musician to go to a meeting, serve on a committee. It’s not what we do; we play music. But the way things are now, many of us feel that our backs are to the wall.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/arts/music/musicians-sing-for-a-cause-thats-their-own.html?_r=1