DISC & DigitalAudioTechnology
(Music & Digital Audio/Video & Technology News) TM
A Newsletter For The Music Industry And The New Media
"The Long Playing Album" Of This Week's News
Vol 13 - #30- 7/25/14 - Commentary - News - And More
Celebrating a decade plus of bringing you the Industry's Inside Music, Digital Audio & Video, and Technology News And Commentary Of Choice To Keep You Informed Since 2003
All reader e-mails are answered.
COMMENTARY AND ONE MAN'S OPINION
'SPOTIFY AND THE DARK ARTS'? CHECK IT OUT...
"Spotify is, by all accounts, an extremely successful company. Most recently they’ve been given a soft valuation (based on paid subscribers) of around 4 billion. The average artist, however, see’s none of that revenue. I mean, 4-8k for every 1 million streams? That’s larceny. On the surface, it appears that Spotify is simply taking advantage of content that didn’t belong to them. By paying out ridiculously low royalties, it looks like they’re simply taking advantage of artists and labels alike, all while still spurning a profit of roughly 65-70 million a year." -- From the post 'Spotify And The Dark Arts' by Alex Frecon on Hyebot.com
A terrific post from Alex Frecon and worth reading indeed as streaming becomes THE primary music (and video) manner of delivering new media.
Also from the article, ""In exchange for access to the music catalogs the labels own, Spotify gave the labels Spotify stock. Said stock is sequestered into the labels financial structure in a way that gives artists no access to the proceeds of this deal. Labels then agree to the lowest royalty rate in history, leaving even the biggest artists to collect paltry sums while Spotify and the labels build stock equity on their (the artists’) backs."Read the article and learn more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
Managers and agents make virtually all their money from an artist’s live performance not from the artist’s recorded music.
However screwed up it might seem from an artist’s perspective it makes perfect financial sense (at least in the short term) for managers and agents to turn a blind eye to piracy and low payouts for streaming. Precisely because it seems to result in more touring. You can’t really blame them for this can you? Continue reading "How Some Managers and Agents Benefit From Piracy and Low-Paying Streaming Music"
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
Times are tough for rock cover bands.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at their plight and finds that interest is dwindling for bands playing music that used to be popular. While closer industry watchers may take a different view, I saw indie rock killing cover bands in the 80s when the indie stance of originality entered the Top 40. Rock moved on. Cover bands did not. And to make matters worse, even the core baby boomer audience seems to be losing interest. Neil Shah writes a rather empathetic piece for WSJ.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
Netflix now possesses more than 50 million subscribers, a milestone the company disclosed Monday in its second quarter earnings release.
While the bulk of the company's subscribers reside in the United States — 36 million and counting — the growth is accelerating most overseas, where the company's subscriber base has grown 78 percent year over year. Full story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
Beats Music's subscription streaming service combines sleek design, fun features, and outstanding recommendations. READ MORE
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
This week Open Labs released Stagelight 2.0, their music creation app for Windows that costs $9.99.
It comes with a variety of new features, including an in-app store, and will also be preloaded on hardware from Lenovo and Dell. Additional distributions agreements have been made with Intel, Microsoft and Guitar Center. A solid step forward for Stagelight with the additional news that, according to CEO Cliff Mountain, they're close to a million downloads of the full app.
Open Labs' announcement of the release includes new features: "LoopBuilder is a loop-style production feature that allows you to mash-up and record your favorite performances all in a single touch."
"Brand new Electro Instrument Series, native FX and classic features such as Key Lock, the piano that can't play wrong notes."
"You can easily explore new genres of music, take step-by-step lessons and learn other advanced features and tips all within the app's SongBuilder engine."
"Share your songs with friends and family with Stagelight's one- touch publishing to the cloud and connect with other musicians in the Stagelight artist community."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
Microsoft stormed Hollywood two years ago armed with its Xbox and one of the most powerful executives in the television business. It leaves with nothing to show for it.
And...Microsoft Is Completing Its Short-Lived Tenure as Android Phone Maker: Re/code reports Among the details in Microsofts big layoff news was the fact that the company plans to pull back on Nokias brief foray into Android-based phones. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
Several days after the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo infringed copyright by streaming television shows on the Internet, the rival company FilmOn announced that it had developed a new type of streaming service that would avoid legal pitfalls.
FilmOn vowed to roll out its new so-called "teleporter" service to 18 cities, and allegedly went ahead with the launch late last month in New York. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
If you don't have a streaming media player (or two) by now, it's likely you will in the next few years.
According to the NPD Group, the number of streaming media devices in the U.S. will reach 204 million by 2017, an increase of 100% and a total that will be more than double the number of projected households connected to the Internet. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
From Delanceyplace.com comes this great excerpt titled "Phonograph Records" from 'American Roots Music' by Robert Santelli.
"When commercial radio first appeared in 1920, the sales of phonograph-records began to collapse. The unlikely savior of the phonograph-record companies was a little-known genre of music from the South that came to be called country music." Read the rest
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
One of the most interesting contributions that mobile phones have made to pop culture so far is the genre of silly distraction.
Part of the aesthetic of mobile entertainment seems to be pointless whimsy. We have to start wondering if there is in fact a point in that. Read the whole story
BETWEEN THE GROOVES
Thanks to Portland's DJ Clarence Duffy for this link to a great cartoon from TheOatmeal.com that literally sums up the state of the music biz today ...Check it out
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKSWeird Al Takes On Crosby, Stills and Nash 5 Amazing Performances by Actors Who Weren't Acting (Part 4)
THE 'A-SIDE' - SOME NEWS IN SHORT
LANA'S ALBUM: Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' qualifies as a radical statement from a pop star in 2014. It's produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and none of its 11 songs sound much like a radio hit. "There was a lot of bullshit I'm not used to," Auerbach tells Rolling Stone. Read More
THE "PIANO MAN" HONORED: Billy Joel will receive the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which, each year, honors the career of one musician and their dedication to "promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations." Joel will receive the award in Washington D.C. this November, and will be honored with a number of events, including a luncheon and musical performance.
WELL, IF YOU HANG AROUND LONG ENOUGH DEPT: After more than 30 years on the charts, comedian-singer "Weird Al" Yankovic earns his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as "Mandatory Fun" debuts atop the list. The album is the first comedy set to top the chart since 1963, and logs the largest sales week for a comedy album since 1994. It sold 104,000 copies in the week ending July 20, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
WHITE PUBLISHING: Jack White's Third Man Records will officially launch its new publishing wing, Third Man Books, with the August 5th release of their first commercially available book, Language Lessons: Volume 1, a new box set featuring a 321-page hardbound collection of prose and poetry and two vinyl LPs.
BRIAN WILSON MAKING SOLO ALBUM: Brian Wilson was deep into writing songs for a new Beach Boys album when Mike Love pulled the plug on the group's 2012 reunion. "It was a shock," Wilson tells Rolling Stone. Instead, he's working on a new solo album with Lana Del Rey, Zooey Deschanel and other guests. Read More
ELVIS AUCTION: Elvis Presley's Martin D-28 guitar, 1976 Cadillac Seville and a personal copy of the original script for his first movie 'Love Me Tender' are among a slew of items up for auction at the first "Auction at Graceland." Bidders will be able to participate online and at Presley's famed Memphis home on August 24th, starting at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.
NIN NEWS: Nine Inch Nails' latest tour will be their last "for a long time," Trent Reznor told Las Vegas over the weekend as his group launched a joint tour with Soundgarden. The bands borrowed the AXIS at the Planet Hollywood resort from Britney Spears' residency for the night.
FARM-AID LINE-UP: Farm Aid is coming to Raleigh, North Carolina's Walnut Creek Amphitheater on September 13th, and this year Jack White will be joining board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews on the bill. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jamey Johnson, Delta Rae, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Carlene Carter, Pegi Young & The Survivors, and Insects vs Robots are also playing. Tickets go on sale August 1st at 10:00 am EST.
FASHION ROCKS LINE-UP: Miranda Lambert and the Band Perry will be in good company at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on September 9th, as the annual Fashion Rocks TV special welcomes a who's who list of stars from the worlds of music and fashion. The two country artists will perform alongside Afrojack, Duran Duran, Jennifer Lopez, Kiss, Nico & Vinz, Pitbull, Rita Ora and Usher on the live broadcast, which will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest. Additional performers and presenters will be announced soon.
SKECHERS CHOOSES DEMI: Skechers has tapped pop star Demi Lovato as its latest face, and says she will appear in global marketing and social media campaigns through 2016.
WHITNEY'S MOM BLASTS LIFETIME WHITNEY FLICK: Whitney Houston‘s mother, Cissy Houston, has issued a blistering statement regarding Lifetime's upcoming film about her deceased daughter, pleading with the network to "please let her rest." In the statement provided to Entertainment Tonight, Houston said the deceased singer's family objects to the film, and is "exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments" from people who did not know Whitney.
'FARGO' COMING BACK: 'Fargo' is coming back to FX. The network has given a second season to its adaptation of the Coen Brothers film, which proved to be a critical and popular hit with its first season this year. The second, 10-episode season will feature an all-new cast of characters along with a new "true crime" story.
NEW STEVIE: Stevie Nickswill release a solo LP, '24 Karat Gold — Songs from the Vault' on October 7th via Warner Bros, though vinyl lovers will be able to pick up a limited edition double LP a week earlier starting September 29th. '24 Karat Gold' comprises songs that Nicks wrote primarily between 1969 and 1987, plus two that were penned in 1994 and 1995.
iHEART LINE-UP: The fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival is shaping up to be a typically star-studded concert. Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Usher, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Mötley Crüe, Zac Brown Band, One Direction will all perform, as will Ed Sheeran, Paramore, Iggy Azalea, Eric Church, Lorde and Calvin Harris, among others. The festival's organizers are also promising special surprise guests at the event, which will take place at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on September 19th and 20th.
CHROMEBOOKS GO TO SCHOOL: TechCrunch reports During its earnings call this week, Google announced that it and its partners sold a million Chromebooks to schools in the last quarter. Read More
SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE USA: The drama surrounding the comings and goings at "The View" isn't doing anything to increase the show's viewership. So far this month, the show has averaged 2.844 million total viewers — down slightly from the 2.854 million viewers in July 2013. The show is actually down slightly in its key demo, women 25-54. It slipped 9 percent from 678,000 viewers in the demo to 620,000. Full story at TheWrap
MORE AMERICANA FEST NEWS: The Americana Music Association has announced more performers for its 15th Annual AmericanaFest, set for September 17-20. Taking place at venues throughout Nashville, AmericanaFest will feature Sturgill Simpson, Robert Ellis, Bobby Bare Jr., Elizabeth Cook, Steep Canyon Rangers and Angaleena Presley. They join an eclectic list of previously-announced artists, including the Avett Brothers, Lee Ann Womack, Sarah Jarosz and Marty Stuart.
WEB TRAFFIC DECLINES: By at least one measure, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, and Reddit are all dramatically declining in value. New research suggests that each site saw its share of Web traffic referrals nosedive over the past year. Read the whole story
FACEBOOK SAVES: Positioning itself as a DVR for Web content, Facebook just launched Save -- a feature that lets users save pretty much any they find in their News Feed for later. Given Facebook's immense size, Save immediately threatens more established content-savers like Pocket -- formerly know as Read It Later -- and Instapaper. Read the whole story
James Garner, star of long-running TV shows "The Rockford Files" and "Maverick" has died at 86. The veteran actor was found dead at his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. "He died of natural causes," Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department told TheWrap
THE TOP 20 ALBUMS FROM THE BILLBOARD CHART
NEW - 1. Weird Al Yankovic, Mandatory Fun
NEW - 2. Jason Mraz, Yes!
NEW - 3. Rise Against, The Black Market
NEW - 4. Kidz Bop Kids, Kidz Bop Kids 26
5. Soundtrack, Frozen
6. Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour
7. Ed Sheeran, X
8. Various Artists, Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 50
9. Trey Songz, Trigga
10. Blake Shelton, Based On A True Story
NEW - 11. Bleachers, Strange Desire
NEW - 13. Maradha Ambrosius, Friends & Lovers
13. Miranda Lambert, Platinum
NEW - 14. Morrissey, World Peace Is None Of Your Business
15. Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am
NEW - 16. Suicide Silence, You Can't Stop Me
17. Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty
18. Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence
19. Sia, 1000 Forms Of Fear
20. Lorde, Pure Heroine
FALLING OUT OF THE TOP 20
NEW - 6. Judas Priest, Redeemer Of Souls
NEW - 8. Dirty Heads, Sound Of Change
12. Magic, Don't Kill The Magic
NEW - 13. Mike Stud, Closer
14. Coldplay, Ghost Stories
NEW - 15. Neil Diamond, All-Time Greatest Hits
16. Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
NEW - 17. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, CSNY 1974
18. Michael Jackson, Xscape
19. Seether, Isolate and Medicate
20. Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
TV WASTELAND, IT'S ONLY TV WASTELAND
Due to the abundance of reruns and summer programming, ratings are low and not at all significant.
For those who want to check the ratings anyway, here you go…TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: 'MLB All-Star Game' Tops Week 43 With Adults 18-49 & With Total Viewers
In addition, many readers have asked why I don't list the top cable rated shows as well in a day and age when shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones" actually do better than network shows.
You can check the top 25 cable rated shows here: Cable Top 25: Home Run Derby Tops Cable Viewership for the Week Ending July 20, 2014
LET'S ALL GO TO THE MOVIES
Film title, estimated weekend gross, total box office to date
1. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, $36,000,000, $138,953,000
NEW - 2. The Purge: Anarchy, $28,369,000
NEW - 3. Planes: Fire & Rescue, $18,000,000
NEW - 4. Sex Tape, $15,000,000
5.Transformers: Age Of Extinction, $10,000,000, $227,157,000
6. Tammy, $7,605,000, $71,253,000
7. 22 Jump Street, $4,700,000, $180,509,000
8. How To Train Your Dragon 2, $3,800,000, $160,672,000
9. Maleficent, $3,302,000, $228,367,000
10. Earth To Echo, $3,260,000, $31,979,000
Want to know what the top 500 grossing movies of all time are? You can see the list here
Lifeguard Would Save Drowning Man, But Who Is He To Play God?
BALTIMORE—Reluctant to transcend his station as a mere mortal and interfere with the vicissitudes of fortune, local lifeguard Blake Dunphy confided to reporters Tuesday that he found himself mentally shackled by the question of whether to save a swimmer currently thrashing for his life or allow destiny to take its course unfettered. Read the rest and laugh
"You know, I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry, but none of them helped me get my record deals. Which is annoying." -- Lana Del Rey Explains Her Song 'F--ked My Way Up to the Top'
"At this point, people know what's up. People know I'm smart. And people know that, whether it's SNL or Jimmy Kimmel, it's a trend to take the piss out of celebrity — just as much of a trend as wearing a gray hoodie or driving a Prius." -- Kanye West, in a recent interview with GQ magazine for their August issue.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet
I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts some time ago. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics.
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
You can listen to the interview (it runs a tad over an hour) or download it here: http://tinyurl.com/y9f3tld
"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpertual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people becomes an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk: culture-death is a clear possibility." -- Neil Postman
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
And the beat goes on, the beat goes on ...drums keep poundin' rhythm to the brain.
"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon
DISC & DAT - Weekly Edition, © 2003 - 2013, online at http://stevemeyer.webs.com/
Published By Steve Meyer
President/CEO - Smart Marketing Consulting Services
Editor, Digital Technology: http://www.allaccess.com/disc-and-dat
Las Vegas, NV
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ABOUT STEVE MEYER
Steve Meyer is a 38 year music industry veteran, having served in executive capacities at both Capitol and MCA Records before starting his own company, Smart Marketing, to consult clients in the entertainment, media, and broadcast industries. Steve was a recipient of many awards during his industry tenure, including Sr. VP/Promotion, and Record Executive Of The Year awards, as well as Billboard Magazine's Award for Excellence in National Promotion.
A respected authority on pop-culture and the entertainment industry, Steve was interviewed by Martin A. Grove, for three separate books on pop music.
In 2003, he started publishing the new media newsletter 'DISC&Digital Audio Technology', to address challenges the music industry was facing in the emerging online digital world. The newsletter is published every Friday, sent to almost 2,000 subscribers direct, and posted on the leading music industry resource http://www.allaccess.com/disc-and-dat as well as his own site http://stevemeyer.webs.com/
Since 1996, Steve has consulted labels, artists, managers, producers, and media companies.
Steve is also a freelance journalist, and has had articles published in various industry publications. He guest lectures at industry events, colleges, and elsewhere when requested.
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