Streaming’s Shortcomings

Unknown-1images UnknownIf everyone got their music from streaming?  That is a big problem.

Streaming…

  1. has no cross promotion with local events or the local economy.
  2. has no cross promotion with local unsigned bands.
  3. has no direct connection back to the artist.

  4. completely ignores the purchasing power of the listener.
  5. has a limited and unstable (ever changing) catalog.
  6. pays a lower royalty per listener than other performance licenses.

  7. is the worst sound quality of all distribution platforms.
  8. has no production credits or copyright information.
  9. has no writer, composer, or publishing credits.

  10. has no human interaction for discovery of new music.
  11. assumes genre and style over all else when mixing music.
  12. assumes what you liked yesterday morning is what you will like Friday night.

  13. avoids selecting album/deep cuts and non-hits nearly as bad as top 40.
  14. requires multiple subscriptions (network and provider) to be active and paid up.
  15. cannot be rewound and reviewed for additional enjoyment.

  16. cannot easily be recorded or mixed into playlists and sets.
  17. contains only a low-resolution cover image, not complete artwork.
  18. contains no lyrics or artist notes.

  19. just got The Beatles this year.
  20. requires almost no paid humans to get it to your ears.

 

I’ve been around streaming for literally 20 years now, and have programmed it and listened to it since the beginning. If it truly is taking over the music industry we have to be honest about it’s shortcomings. That’s the only way we can start to address them.

Another internet casualty

Another internet casualty

 

Happy Birthday Enters Public Domain

One of the funnier/sadder stories of licensing and copyright folly involves the beloved song “Happy Birthday”. It’s origin is a 1890’s kids song with different lyrics, but somehow it was copyrighted in 1935 and that copyright was eventually acquired by Warner/Chapell music.

In the last couple of decades Warner/Chapell has been enforcing that copyright and collecting fees to use the song. While they don’t try to monitor casual use, aka singing at birthday parties, they do expect payment if it is used for commercial purposes. This is why you don’t hear it sung often in recorded music, TV shows, movies, or commercials.

 

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A federal judge just ruled the copyright is for the music only, not lyrics, therefore making the overall copyright unenforceable (not sure why).

Warner/Chapell is also ordered to return up to $5 million in royalties collected for the song. I’m sure they will appeal but it’s a good first step in ending the tyranny of enforcing 115 year old copyrights, which should have already expired.

 

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Art & Commerce

If enough people stop paying for a product it will cease to be made on a sufficient enough scale to be a product. Sponsored content is paid for in-part by the sponsors, so if you watch your video and listen to your music with commercials inserted, fear not.

But if you constantly grab free copies of music, movies, and software that were not meant by their creators to be free, you really need to reconsider your behavior. This site is free to you so read on… Continue reading

Modern Music Consumption

I’ve been thinking about music distribution and consumption alot lately. Being a lifelong music consumer and a music producer for the last 10 years (and then spending some time in FM radio before that), I’ve been in various roles in this industry.

When I read articles covering the front lines of piracy, copyright infringement, royalty disputes, streaming rates, etc. I always try to compare their examples back to my own daily reality.

For instance, I believe that a music consumer faces more choices now than ever before. Before the late 90’s the choice in America was which mall to drive to, park, and run into a record store to find?(or more than likely not find) the release you were seeking. But it was the mall and this was before the internet, so you usually found something else to do (like sculpt your mullet in the mirrored glass of the hot girl store).

Today this process doesn’t involve maps or mullets. The power to search servers literally planet-wide for a song (which is now just a “file” like any other) then decide to pay or not is the critical decision not faced by prior consumers.

Imagine if the store next to the record store in the mall had more new releases, a more in-depth back catalog, more information on the artists (approved and unapproved), and NO cash register? See, in this store everything is free, brought to you by someone who gets paid for every person that looks into the store! Continue reading