Nashville’s Musical Middle Class Collapses | Tennessean

This says it all…

Since 2000, the number of full-time songwriters in Nashville has fallen by 80 percent, according to the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Album sales plummeted below 4 million in weekly sales in August, which marked a new low point since the industry began tracking data in 1991. Streaming services are increasing in popularity but have been unable to end the spiral.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE TENNESSEAN:
http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/01/04/nashville-musical-middle-class-collapses-new-dylans/21236245/

Our Songs = Your Photos & Privacy : After a Week of “Whack-a-Mole” Reddit Bans Celebrity Photo Forums

So how’s that DMCA working now?

We’ve written about this before in our posts “My Songs = Your Instagram Photos” and “Two Simple Facts about Technology and Piracy : iTunes Vs. YouTube.” Now Reddit experiences what musicians have been dealing with directly for over a decade, the flawed arguments of ignoring consent online.

Reddit community manager Lisa Liebig, explains:

“We understand that the moderators did the best they could with the situation at hand, but having users purposefully try and circumvent the takedowns was starting to become a whack-a-mole game,” Liebig said, adding, “These factors led us to decide that the subreddit and many of its sister-subreddits were in violation of rule five of the site, ‘don’t…do anything that interferes with normal use of the site.’”

Make no mistake about it, this is about intent. Either we allow lawlessness as the norm, or we enforce the same rule of online as we do in the physical world. Consent is cornerstone of civilized society and mob rule should not be tolerated (not even for free music or celeb nudes).

The same mentality and arguments that make it acceptable to hack and post personal photos have been used as an excuse to ignore the massive, for profit, theft of personal copyrighted works for more than a decade. Neither is acceptable. As the future of music is tied to ad funded piracy, so is privacy tied to internet profits by the same lack of personal consent.

We applaud Reddit for not standing on a soapbox conflating personal rights, privacy and consent with some twisted notion of censorship and some nonsense about “breaking the internet.” Indeed, as we noted in our post “Principles for an Ethical and Sustainable Internet” technology may change but principles do not. It would seem that at least just for today, maybe the internet is growing up, just a little bit…

Read the Full Story at ReCode:
Reddit Bans Celebrity Photo Forums After a Week of “Whack-a-Mole”

Pan Handling For A Career in Music | Guest Post By Dustin Mitchell of Katagory V

Recently, my band Katagory V created a crowdsourcing campaign to finance the release of our latest album, which had been completed (recorded, mixed, and mastered) over three years ago.  As much as Silicon Valley seems to laud this as “the way” to finance a musician’s work, I personally was very resistant to it for a long time.  This was more of a moral issue for myself than one of not wanting to “get with the times”, as we artists are so often accused of.  Recently, however, it became far more than a moral problem; it became a political one, too.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the whole crowdsourcing concept is brilliant.  It’s a fantastic way to kick-start your craft if you have no capital to work with and arejust getting started as a band, filmmaker, writer, etc.  It is something I wish had existed when I started my musical endeavor years ago.  However, the more I look at it concerning my own band which has existed for 15 years, I feel like we are essentially panhandling. It is one thing, in my opinion, to use this to “kickstart” your dream career, it is another creature all together when you rely on it as your sole source of income to maintain it.

With that said, let’s not mince words here and just call it what it really is — crowdsourcing is panhandling on the internet.  I can’t be the only person that sees it this way…or am I?  I was raised to believe that hard work and perseverance gets rewarded, and when you reap these rewards, you do so with absolute humility.  Panhandling completely negates what I was taught. Granted, people who contribute get “perks” or a finished product IF…if it succeeds.  However, it is still asking for money for something that doesn’t actually exist yet.  Money for a promise: this is where my moral compass just spins out of control. Are we asking consumers, our fans, to become investors now?

The part that goes beyond my moral problems with this is that we are not crowdsourcing our unreleased album to get our career started, rebooted, as a noble cause, or even to try and break away from the whole record label cycle.  We are doing it because after three years, we have no other choice.  Labels are reluctant to take risks or give advances, consumers are using streaming or free options, both of which obviously pay us nothing, and we don’t have any more capital ourselves to fund it.  Nothing is more frustrating or humiliating than doing something that you find absolutely immoral AND politically backwards, yet knowing that you HAVE to do it as a means to an end.  There is no Plan B or C; this is the ONLY plan left.  It’s very ironic, but one of the songs we had written for this unreleased album, “I Am Change,” lyrically and inadvertently prophesied this very situation.

When I told the members of my band that I was going forward with this panhandling scheme, I insisted that our campaign bio had to explain to our fans WHY we were doing it.  Unlike most artists doing these funding projects, I wanted it spelled out in big bold letterson the front page of the campaign, that thanks to the “new boss,” we had no choice but to have our fans directly fund our work.  Otherwise, this album would never be released.

There are several paragraphs in our campaign explaining what has happened in the music business in the last decade, why our “middle-class” band had been forced at gunpoint to climb aboard the express train to “poverty,” and why we are now holding out our hands, begging for spare change.  By laying out the truth and thus risking the possibility of being viewed as sniveling and whiny, we may be pushing our potential contributors away.

Why would these potential contributors be turned off?  Because NO ONE likes cry-baby musicians.  They literally tune them right out.  Music consumers don’t want to hear our problems.  They just stuff cotton in their ears and mouse click over to the next free meal.  And you know what?  I don’t care…it’s already been three years.  I can wait another three, ten, or even twenty years if it means standing my ground on how I feel about the digital age and how we as artists are being bent over the proverbial barrel more than ever in the history of the music business.

The band was surprisingly supportive of this idea to add this segment to the campaign.  I had been preaching this possible doomsday scenario to them (and anyone else who would listen) as far back as 2007.  I always knew it was going to get worse before it got better when we started recording this album back in 2010; I just never imagined it would get THIS bad with no real resolution in sight.  I can’t help but wonder if this is the end of days for music.

Our fans (and others looking to contribute) need to know the truth.  Of course we want people to contribute; we want this album out there just as much as our fans do, or else we wouldn’t have resorted to creating a panhandling campaign!  If it doesn’t work, this album is going to go back on the shelf indefinitely.  Even if people don’t contribute and they walk away from it with a little education and a better understanding of how things work (or don’t work) in the world of music today, I will personally feel a little better about having to resort to this fundraising tactic.  I can only hope we don’t ever have to take this route again.

The financial ecosystem in which our band had worked under for over a decade has been eradicated.  It’s as if we are living out that John Carpenter movie, “They Live.”  The music industry isn’t even an industry anymore; they/we are the puppets of this new boss.  We put in thousands of dollars of our own money into this album thinking that things would get better, that someone would find this miracle “new business model” that would restore the balance to the force, and that we would at least see a return that would pay back our expenses.  This has yet to happen and, sadly, probably never will.  So now, after three years of waiting for the other shoe to drop, we decided to stop bruising our backsides from sitting on the fence, swallow our pride, and fund our music by turning our band into a PBS pledge drive.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be panhandling for my career in music.

Never.

Dustin Mitchell
Bassist/songwriter – Katagory V
website: http://www.katagory5.com

!! Gizmodo Reports Google to Censor Videos By XL Recordings, Domino Records, Adele, Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys and More !!

This just in from Gizmodo regarding the YouTube Music Pass for which the major labels have already made a deal with Google. Indie labels however are being bullied by the tech giant with the threat of Censorship if the artists and indie labels do not submit to sub-standard royalties. Wow. Just wow.

The problem is Google’s plans for the other 10 percent. The company’s head of content Robert Kyncl told the FT that it plans to start blocking videos from indie labels that haven’t signed licensing deals “in a matter of days.” The FT says that these labels include XL Recordings and Domino records, whose rosters include Adele, Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys, and loads of other popular artists. In a statement to Gizmodo, Google confirmed the FT story as well as its intentions to launch a subscription-based service.

Some labels are refusing to sign up because they say they’re getting a raw deal from Google. They say that while the major labels have negotiated lucrative contracts, Google is offering indies comparatively bad terms. It’s their right to say they don’t want to sign up if they don’t like the deal Google is offering them. In response, Google is drawing a line in the sand: If your label won’t sign on to Google’s crappy licensing deal for a new streaming service, you can’t host videos on YouTube at all.

READ THE FULL STORY AT GIZMODO:
http://gizmodo.com/googles-about-to-ruin-youtube-by-forcing-indie-labels-t-1591957089

 

 

Swimming Against the Stream: Musicians Fight for Their Worth in the Internet Era | SF Weekly

The cops were getting lots of calls. Drivers were worried. There was a woman walking down the road — the narrow part of Highway 1, just north of L.A. And she was pushing a baby carriage.

When the cops found her, it turned out she was not a crazy person. She wasn’t even a mother.

She was a musician on a mission.

The woman was Suzana Barbosa, a longtime Toronto singer and leader of the band Lumanova, who had lately become fed up with the state of the music industry. She’d had it with the paltry amounts paid to songwriters and performers by streaming services like Spotify. She’d had it with our culture’s preference for glamorizing starving artists instead of paying them decently.

Barbosa was so fed up with the music business that she decided to walk some 400 miles, from Los Angeles to the Google campus in Mountain View, to publicize what she sees as an existential threat to the world’s independent musicians.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE SF WEEKLY:
http://www.sfweekly.com/2014-06-04/music/beats-apple-unsound-spotify/

Band “Adapts and Evolves” on Spotify, Get’s the Smackdown… Go Figure.

We’ve loved this story from the start of how a band creatively managed to raise money on Spotify by having their fans stream a silent album, overnight, as they slept. It appears that the Spotify is none to amused when artists are actually great innovators in developing new solutions to actually get paid…

After $20,000 Is Raised, Spotify Rips Down the ‘Sleepify’ Album…

Last month, Vulfpek released a completely silent album on Spotify to finance a free tour for fans. That was laughed off by Spotify at first, until Vulfpek earned more than $20,000 on the idea. That prompted a big response: according to the band, Spotify’s lawyers first asked nicely, then started ripping it down

READ THE FULL STORY AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/04/24/spotifyripsdownsleepifyalbum

RELATED:

 

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

 

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

 

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

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/

RELATED:

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

Nobody should be surprised that Spotify is already planning its IPO| Musically

Watch stories about Spotify planning a stock market flotation this Autumn spread across the web in the coming hours, triggered by a report on tech/business site Quartz.

“The popular music-streaming company has participated in informal chats with some of the investment banks likely to fight for a role in a potential IPO, sources familiar with the process said,” claims the article.

“The six-year-old service may start holding formal meetings as early as next month in anticipation of an offering in autumn. (Though the timeline for a possible IPO could change for a number of reasons, including unfavorable market conditions.)”

READ THE FULL POST AT MUSICALLY:
http://musically.com/2014/03/27/spotify-ipo-planning/

RELATED:

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

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

Why Spotify is NOT the Enemy of Artists, and Who Is…