Old 02-05-2018, 10:25 AM   #1
jonboper
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Default Music in the Age of Streaming

I read this article last week: https://pitchfork.com/features/oped/...-of-streaming/

Since reading it I made all my music free on Bandcamp - not that I'm expecting a boost in sales or anything based on the article (I rarely get a download...I don't do any social media promotion and I haven't played out in the last 2 years, so...). There is something I appreciate about the spirit of the thing though, and when I first released music I released it as 'name your price'. It was only after years of tireless recording and mixing that I started to think I should charge even a few bucks. I've avoided releasing music on Spotify and other streaming services in solidarity with artists I've heard complain about the large-scale grift that is the streaming industry model...but I'm often tempted to just do it anyways, make the stuff available, someone will maybe hear it that wouldn't otherwise.

If anyone else has read this I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:01 AM   #2
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It’s a good article with some well made points.
I need to discuss it with collaborators before coming to a decision.
But will definitely give it some thought.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:28 AM   #3
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That's a really interesting article. I think it highlights a couple of things. First, that 99% of plays are coming almost exclusively from the top 10% of tracks shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The thing about market forces is that the market has terrible taste. That's why there are six rows of shitty flavored vodka at the liquor store and one shelf dedicated to decent whiskey. It's why CSI: Another Dead Guy has been on the tube for 20 years. It's why working musicians have been largely replaced with "producers." We, as a people, suck.

I am curious though, about the first paragraph. The author got paid $1.05 for 5,960 plays of their song. Did they sell 5,900 CDs, and if so, how much was gained on those sales? The implication I read into that was that digital distribution was the only means they had of releasing music, which is kind of lazy, IMO. I'm happy to buy a disk, or a t-shirt, and that is my preferred means of supporting new talent. But expecting to make huge money off of a streaming service is an unrealistic expectation. In internet terms, 5,900 of anything is right next to "nothing" in the big bucket of bytes.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:42 AM   #4
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I read into that was that digital distribution was the only means they had of releasing music,
That's how I read it and likely because CD sales are declining so much. I'm getting 1000 CDs pressed but still doing streaming and digital downloads. Then again, I have already positioned myself that there is no money to be made from the project in general due to the state of the business in general.

I'll probably recoup some small portion of my investment but I'm not planning on it.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:53 AM   #5
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I've heard the "pay what you want" argument a number of times. I understand it, and I'm not really surprised that it works for people. I know for a fact that I'm not hurting my own sales with my pricing, though. Like Dominoes pizza, it's not even worth it when it's free.

So I take the stance that you can listen to it any time you want from anywhere with internet for free - in fact the whole reason I put it on bandcamp was so that I could get to it anytime from anywhere. If you really want to download it for some reason, you can pay me. I don't ask for much, and I usually include bonus tracks and printable posters and stuff.

The real problem for us on the ground is how to get people to even look at our pages. It's definitely doable, but I decided a long time ago that that is not my job. Until I find somebody willing to do it for me, I'll just be making things that I want to hear and sharing them with my friends and family.
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:10 PM   #6
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I do enjoy any time an article keeps this conversation going, but I can't believe they could write so many words and fail to mention one of the huge core issues behind all of this:

In America, performance royalties and mechanicals for songwriters (the owners of the intellectual property) are heavily federally regulated. Two judges in D.C., every few years, decide how much money the copyright holders get paid per stream. The copyright holders (the people who wrote the song) have no say in the matter. This is far from new- it's a set of laws from 1909, yes, more than a hundred years ago, that were intended to safeguard the player piano industry.

Record labels make more money with streaming because they're able to negotiate. That's why some artist/producers (who often own a piece of the recording) are OK with streaming and songwriters are worried about it. If you just got rid of that legislation and allow people the freedom to negotiate, a lot of this stuff could work itself out. Performing Rights Organizations would finally be able to collectively negotiate. BMI could come up with a price that works for its members and say "if we don't get this, you don't get any of our artists' music on that platform you're using to sell your new phones."

As an example of this working properly, few of these laws cover synchronization licenses for film/TV. There's less federal laws on it and no judges deciding on the payments every few years, but frequently the songwriter and the record label split the payment down the middle, and the price is at least agreed to by everyone consensually.

For more information, check out the NMPA's website or SGA's website. These fine folks have been helping out with advocacy in Washington on this issue.

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Old 02-05-2018, 12:59 PM   #7
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Money is not the root of all evil-but the way we have used it for a few hundred years has been quite evil--the total belief in a illusionary system has been compounded many times over-- money will twist and reashape almost every person,project or plan.
Some years ago,i tried to figure a solution to music industry shortcommings and quickly realised it's actually the mindset of peoples that need changing--not so much the money itself--it's how we use this stuff-and who controls this stuff is really deciding on a lot of happiness or misery in life.
Musicians historically have fallen into 2 catagories-- the paid+wealthy well kept crowd,and the barely making a meal each day musicians.... it's very much the same with any art__painting can be comparable.
There is a solution-but this lays in each individuals choices on how money/wealth should be shared and redistributed more logically--- we have a lot of horders of many material things.
When we look at the global elitist hall of fame- i see shame,and would be happy to name,to change the game,to make it fairer for *all* to be more the 'same'.
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Old 02-06-2018, 12:41 AM   #8
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Youtube insists on convincing me cassette tapes are cool again. Maybe everyone should stop worrying about streaming and start stocking up on blank Maxell C60s?

It makes sense if you think about it - digital music is so abdundant it feels cheap (regardless of actual price), CDs are still kinda common and pedestrian, pressing a vinyl is a pricey affair I guess. Tapes are a novelty and I suspect have to be cheaper to produce than vinyl. Sure quality might be meh but is it that important really.

Even I start to think it would be cool to have my worthless recordings released on one. Plus my stuff's often kinda inspired by early Porcupine Tree tapes, so it might fit. Gotta find desperate cassette label and have at least one piece sold, that would totally feel validating. Also I have a nice double tape Technics deck stashed away.
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:39 AM   #9
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All markets used to show a Gauss curve. One bump, the vast majority of buyers in the middle.

These days, there are two bumps on the chart. One on the low end, one on the higher end. And that's true for most parameters. It doesn't matter if you plot sales figures, or price, or age of the buyer. Two bumps. Almost for every product, including music.

I think that means you no longer market for the average buyer, but you need to decide if you market for the low-end OR high-end. Marketing for both with one brand is impossible.

I have a friend whose band is fairly popular and amassed some followers over the years. He's been selling cassette tapes for more than a decade, with some succes. I don't know why his audience likes these, but they do. CD fails, vinyl fails.

We organize one or two small festivals yearly. These are small, non-profit and targeted to a genre. That works. Every time we try to expand, we loose money. Last time, 8.000 euro. That's a lot of money for a small non-profit like we are. But the smaller festivals thrive. And so do the bigger ones. But those aren't ours ;-)

IMHO, the music industry has lost a BIG opportunity. If they had pulled together and created one big database of music years ago, we wouldn't be in today's mess. They could've allowed everyone a free preview, with a paying download. Of course, licensing for other "radio's" included. But they didn't. And that's why it's a mess.

Why didn't they?

Well, it's a common practice in the industry to sell a title with exclusivity, change the name and sell it again with exclusivity. That's crooked. It's also standard practice to make the calculation of royalties as complex as possible, clearly to avoid oversight from creators, taxes and competition. Translating a crooked system to a linear system is impossible. And as long as there are crooks in the industry, this won't be solved.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
And as long as there are crooks in the industry, this won't be solved.
^Correct m8- crooks are cleaning up,but sadly these very same crooks are our families,brothers and sisters--- we do this to ourselves as part of the programme..
In a sense,streaming is slowly bringing music back to it's original form--to be created and enjoyed-- not marketed like some slaved item,sold in a prostitution style.
There is a solution today-but this means a reathink by many,and then action to be a possible success-- solution is in the music and buyers themselves,because they actually hold all the power but really just give it all away for others to manipulate.
I had the idea of "tmf" (the musicians fund) this would use the current banking system to generate almost guaranteed incomes and give all music creators a real chance of playing at every venue on the planet.
Each village,town or cities would be stocked with a range of instruments that means nobody will be deprived of anything to create---- who knows the amount of genius that has slipped by due to being deprived of cultural sources and reasources.

Here's a quick vid of 1 guys look at current breakdowns of some musical venturings in the uk today-->

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Old 02-06-2018, 01:14 PM   #11
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Some interesting replies here. No one really speaking up for Spotify, as you would figure. Anyone changing how they digitally distribute?
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Old 02-06-2018, 01:48 PM   #12
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Spotify? never even looked once at it tbh.
Skip to 13mins here for same guys experiences so far...-->



Seeing nothing wrong with high qaulity tape--i 1st started mixing on low qaulity tape (doing pause mixing) then onto akai reels-- still use both minidisk and a dat for monitoring today. =)
*Problem is* >music< (or any other art form) was never to be made or performed for the sake of greed,but more a need of social companionships and natural tribal primitive instincts + the betterments of oneself......the rhythm is in all things,as all are vibrations of differing amounts and qaulities.
Streaming is nice-i use the tech to get more of what i like.

Quote:
I have a friend whose band is fairly popular and amassed some followers over the years. He's been selling cassette tapes for more than a decade, with some succes. I don't know why his audience likes these, but they do. CD fails, vinyl fails.

We organize one or two small festivals yearly. These are small, non-profit and targeted to a genre. That works. Every time we try to expand, we loose money. Last time, 8.000 euro. That's a lot of money for a small non-profit like we are.
If you check that previous video @timestamp the point is using skills to mechandise your own products along with events or performances can help that.
If you sell hq minidisks or dats from each event they can be made fairly cheap to buy (more will then buy hopefully!)

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Old 02-06-2018, 03:14 PM   #13
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@Bri1

Interesting vids.

We, as a non-profit, try to protect artists from being exploited. Simple things, not legal advice. That goes from free websites, budget website creation, gear lending, providing simple studio facilities, publicity, copy services...

Our first rule is "don't even try to go global before you have some following locally". It's your followers who will show you where to go next.

If you can't keep a band together, you won't be able to cooperate globally either.

If we could find an honest lawyer, who understood licensing and royalties, we would be very happy to include that too. But we seem to encounter only fools and crooks.

And fwiw, We're also always on the lookout for cheap old tape machines and any kind of recording device, just to help with recovery of archives. There's a lot of musicians around that have a pile of stuff, recorded on media that's no longer easily available, even if these are zip drives, floppies, or half-inch tape. DAT and minidisc are still very common. It's the older stuff that's getting lost because nobody can read it. Video tape from the analog era, fi.
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonboper View Post
No one really speaking up for Spotify, as you would figure.
I love using Spotify. As a company, I like them. On the business side of things, I’m sure songwriters would like them more if they were legally allowed to negotiate with them.

Lately, Spotify’s staff seems to be taking artists, creatives, and labels into consideration and they’re even starting to give lots of analytics to their business partners so you can better see who’s interacting with your brand and do better live promotion. It might end up being really cool, but I suppose time will tell.
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:52 AM   #15
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I grew up with vinyl and cassettes and would love the world to still be like that but it's moved and changed dramatically since them. I used to be against Spotify for the all the "support poorly-paid artists" reasons but Warren Huart is changing my mind on that. (If the link doens't do it for you, jump to 11m48s)...

https://youtu.be/ZgTVioPPIN0?t=11m48s

tl;dr "We can't force people to do things we used to do. We're in a digital world"
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Old 02-13-2018, 02:42 PM   #16
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I've gotten some sales with Spotify (purchased downloads & some streaming). Nothing that will pay any bills... But much more than I expected, which was zero.

It isn't about sales, it's about demand. If there's no demand, there are no sales... Hard fact.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:08 AM   #17
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What about this.
https://www.voise.com
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