And, look, while all of this shakes out, musicians and labels continue to pursue a strategy that caters to building relations on all these services. Some of them have great success stories with YouTube, with SoundCloud, with Spotify.
But maybe that’s the point. It seems to be the businesses in between that are non-functioning – or (in the case of futuristic blockchain propositions) just not ready for primetime.
Musicians and labels keep doing the hard work of making the music and fighting to get it heard. Yet investment and attention pours into the middleware between us and listeners – and that middleware really isn’t working terribly well.
Tag Archives: music business
“We were emerging from this bubble,” she told me, “and I realized, ‘I have this hit. This is going to be good! Nearly three million streams on Spotify!’ And then my check came, and it was for seventeen dollars and seventy-two cents. That’s when I was, like, ‘What the fuck?’ So I called Kay.”
Yes, Daniel Ek is a smart guy, getting very rich and I know there is a culture out there commending this.
I find it sad that it’s don on the back of the people who helped shaped almost everyones personalities in their formative years.
And yet, we’re talking about a day this year when new investors in Spotify will earn more than $100m, pretty much guaranteed, for doing nothing more than answering Daniel Ek’s call.
We’re also talking about a day where the major labels, who’ve taken somewhere between 15% and 20% in Spotify, get a ginormous one-hit windfall that looks almost impossible to attribute or audit to individual artists.
There are a couple of interesting thoughts in this eassy.
I would add that some of the devaluation also stems from the fact, that music is ubiquitous and devalued because the act of creating it has been so much simplified, that everyone with a computer and some software (and I’m guilty of adding to this!) can now create a professional sounding song in minutes. Which in and of itself is a good thing, but the result is more than we bargained for so to speak.
There is a small revolution going on at the moment. The very successful and great content creators of the internet start to understand how their business model actually works.
These are the same people who have turned a blind eye for years at the issues surrounding music and the monetizing of music.
They kept saying: look for a new business model, look for a new business model, look for a new business model, look for a new…
I don’t mind them and their content going away. Even if it’s the New York Times.
What I like to see come back is a business model between creators and end users based on open and transparent transactions: I use your content, I pay you directly for it. Either up front and can keep the content or transparently per use.
But the new middle men are much much worse than the old labels used to be.
Apps that block all ads are threatening some web publishers’ livelihoods, which in turn could threaten some content on the web.
Thank you Taylor Swift! Very much and without any sarcastic connotation.
Bringing this issue to the general public’s’ attention was (is!) important. Managing to do it the way you did, saving both yours and Apples face is no small feat and a testament to your diplomatic ability.
I can only hope that more high profile artists choose to make the improvement of the reality of the contemporary middle class music industry workers the central message when talking about compensation. It is so vital for the tech industry to start to understand that while they think they are fighting a fight against the behemoth that the labels and their huge catalogs are, they are really hurting the small, middle class industry and their individual service people that are in control of their business themselves.
And as a side note: in the case of tech vs music industry the economic principle of substitution is not the issue. Because listeners aren’t substituting one song for another one, they are merely substituting the technical way of receiving the same song.
Again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Für dpa hat Günter Öttinger (EU Digital Kommissar) heute ein paar Fragen beantwortet. Unter anderem auch eine meiner Fragen. Leider die uninteressanteste, das war aber natürlich seine Entscheidung.
— Hans Hafner (@hanshafner) November 20, 2014
Wo sehen Sie die Trennlinie zwischen privat und öffentlich im Falle Verbreitung kultureller Werke? #dpaLiveChat
— Hans Hafner (@hanshafner) November 20, 2014
Aus der Antwort kann man aber heraushören, dass wohl “fast-lanes” geplant werden. So sehr ich diese ablehne, weil das Internet so, wie es ist schon ganz cool ist, so sehr weiß ich aber auch, dass das der Weg sein wird, wie wieder mehr Geld in das ganze Internet kommt.
Wir können nur hoffen, dass die Plattformen ordentlich weiterreichen / abrechnen und unsere Verwertungsgesellschaften/Labels/Verlage/ uns daran auch gut genug beteiligen.
Es gibt also noch viel zu tun in der Zukunft.
OK, So who got the benefit of the $10 I paid in subscription fees?
$3 goes to Spotify. Sure, that seems fair enough.
Roughly .007 cents will go to Butchers Of The Final Frontier. Hrmm, if only I had played the track ten more times Butchers would have earned a penny.
But… hey, wait a second… I paid $10. Where’d that other $7 go?
Spotify: “What $7?”
That other $7. Where’d it go?
Spotify: “We paid it out in royalties. For plays. Your boys got paid for their plays”
Don’t be cute with me. Who got the $7?
Spotify: “Look! A puppy!”
Please read the whole article here:
I would like to elaborate on two arguments being made in the comments of the article (link at the end of this article):
Argument: labels should better compensate songwriters / authors
This argument stems usually from a basic misunderstanding of how music is created and who does which job. A songwriter writes a song. He then licenses this song to whoever wants to use it and is generally only paid a fee for the song if it is commissioned, which, as far as I know from colleagues, is a rare case because most of the times, the songwriter writes his songs and then shops them around. The songwriter profits when the song is being used. Usages are
- duplication (CDs, vinyl, etc)
- performance (concerts, public mechanical performance like radios/jukeboxes in businesses like bars, hairdressers etc)
- broadcasting (TV, radio, cable, satellite)
- downloads (iTunes, Amazon etc…)
- streaming (Spotify, Deezer, Beats, etc…)
- film (use of a pre-exisitng work in a film)
In all of the above use cases except film the songwriter has very little to no personal influence on the level of compensation. The license fees are set / negotiated between the performance rights organisations (PROs) and the businesses behind the use cases above. Once a song is published the songwriter _must_ license his works under theses conditions and the PRO _must_ license to anyone asking. It’s called a compulsory license.
Argument: a stream pays more than a radio spin
While it is true that streaming does in fact compensate better per “person” consuming the work, we have to look at this from a different perspective to make it obvious why that is the correct way to handle it. It is important to understand the differences for the end consumer between streaming and radio:
Streaming means: free choice of
- on what device
to listen to
Radio means: listening to whatever someone else decides at any given moment in other words, no real control and freedom of what to listen to.
From this I think it should be abundantly clear, that the end consumer is getting a way better experience with streaming than with any other form of consumption. Which is obviously the reason why many people choose to consume music in this fashion. And rightfully so!
But there is absolutely _nothing_ wrong with songwriters asking for a better compensation for this sort of service to the end consumer. It’s a great service and great experience and it is worth something. To suggest that we cannot or should not make our voices heard in this power network is a specious argument that denies us free speech and access on a level playing field to a marketplace. That’s just wrong.
And like Aloe Blacc says: songwriters get nothing from the fees that streaming services pay to labels, because that’s not how the licensing is set up. Songwriters license their works (the composition/lyrics) directly (to the labels, to the stations, to the streaming services etc) while the labels license their product (the particular recording) to the streaming service.