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There is no question that "digital" is here to stay and that "access" will not be rolled back. Legislation is not the answer(IMOP). I do think that it is required that we constantly scrutinize the state of our business - honestly - to find a way to sustain and grow it, like Gavin has done with this post. My take is that the part of the Music Like Water metaphor/meme we need to work on is the free or basic access part. So, it is not a question of going back to the way it used to be, it is a question of how we move(educate?)our consumers to engage in more than what is free or accessed for minimal charge. Touring may be an answer, but not a practical one for many in the business. And to jump up and down on the metaphor just a little more - I pay my water bill, (just like I have a Spotify and eMusic account) but I also find myself buying bottled water, flavored water with vitamins so on and so on. Artists or their partnered producers/labels now need to access and tweak the filters, engage the audience and find the way to rise above the expanded pool of content to generate the revenue to fund the next project, pay the living wage or become the mega star - what ever the goal may be. On top of that - what is IT that your engaged audience will want to pay for - Vinyl, and app, a special single (like the fan club singles of old)?. Not an easy environment, but challenging, accessible and hopefully - rewarding.
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2012 on The Fallacy Of Music Like Water at hypebot
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Some keen observations. I admit that I have been in the camp of thinking of Pandora and Spotify as being similar to FM radio or like Siruis/XM. Paid access that can drive sales. But upon reflection, like you mention, I think that is really a result of my (gulp) age & demographic and the demographic for my label. (Modern "Classical") So we have seen the uptick in sales. So, how do we in the ever increasingly "independent" music business get younger music lovers (consumers) to not just settle for the "free" water, but find and buy the energy drink, soda, $5 coffee etc? (terribly extended metaphor - I know) That's the trick. I do not believe any independent artist or partner label will be able to make a go from just the current Spotify access model. Maybe it will morph to a more curated access that pays higher, but it won't be enough. The industry - the artists and partner labels - need to find the way though.
Toggle Commented Feb 29, 2012 on The Fallacy Of Music Like Water at hypebot
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As a niche micro label we find Spotify to be an useful part of what a "release" has become. We look at it in a similar manner to radio play. I do not yet have full numbers for Spotify in the US, but since our releases have been available through Spotify in EU, digital downloads in EU have increased significantly. (we have no marketing $ in EU) Time will tell if this trend continues. So while the $ from the play is low, it is money and it seems so far to be driving additional sales. Having said that - the original article does not in my opinion ding Spotify. Like most everybody else, when I see a monthly revenue report that shows # of streams and total $, I divide streams into $ for $ per stream. This is so that the report makes sense in context of the iTunes, Amazon, emusic, Rhapsody etc reports. But the deal seems to be that you are paid based on popularity. And the Majors get paid more because they have the influence to be more popular.
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Agreed, everything you mention does not require a label. I think we will continue to see more small "labels" partner with artists (or artists will create their own mechanism) to help with a "release" Equating a music release with a software release, complete with updates, expansion packs, etc. Is spot on I think. And makes for a fulfilling artistic challenge - to make the release a growing evolving work for fans. Good post!
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