Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Big Money In Streaming Licensing Deals

Everyone is blaming Spotify for bringing in windowed exclusives. But in reality it’s not their fault.

Spotify is a service, that provides music to users. It was created by techies because the record labels didn’t have the clout to do what was required for their artists and the vast copyrights they hold. But for Spotify to work, it needed access to the vast libraries of copyrights the record labels hold. And this is how Spotify as a service will cease to work unless they move in and start creating their own content and developing their own artists. Like how Netflix has, like how HBO went from licensing movies from the movie studios to creating their own content.

And Spotify now has owners that are interested only in making money. Hell, the record labels even have a stake in Spotify, so Daniel Ek is at the mercy of these owners, who are all waiting for Spotify to go public so they could rake in billions for their millions investments.

But the record labels control the story and Spotify is portrayed as the baddie, while the faceless record labels hide behind the artists who decry Spotify and other streaming services. The record labels have done such a great job with their fake news story about streaming rates killing music, but they forget that the numbers don’t lie. Maybe they can explain why did their revenue go up to double digits and it’s back to those billions of the CD era?

But it’s the record labels who are not paying back to artists and songwriters the cash they are flush with.

For those that don’t know, Spotify and Universal Music Group (UMG) have come up with a new licensing agreement which forced Spotify to restrict new albums from Universal artists to the premium service for a two weeks as a minimum. So what about the artists who withhold their music from streaming services for a month. That could mean a six-week gap for the free tier ad-supported users of Spotify. Take a guess as to what that means. Piracy will be back with a vengeance. But then, the record labels via the RIAA will just scream and lobby hard for laws to change and stricter enforcement to happen. You can do more time in prison for a copyright offence then an actual crime.

Daniel Ek should have told Universal to go and shove it. The only streaming options for Universal would be Tidal, Pandora and Apple Music. Let’s see how far they would have gone with that.

Then Daniel Ek, should have gone after the big artists and made deals with them exclusively, cutting out the record label in the process. Yeah, I know contracts play a part, but the labels are nothing without the ARTISTS. It’s the artists that make the record labels money and not the other way around. And if the artists all challenge the status quo, then different outcomes would happen. But all of these are difficult conversations to be had and no one wants to lose out on any money.

Every artist should be suing their label for negligence and unpaid wages. How can a label not be seen as negligent by restricting access to music?

Research continues to show that people don’t like to be told how to do things. But the labels believe they know what people want.

The labels are delusional if they think the public would just take out a premium streaming offering, because of windowed releases. It will not happen, the same way, analog phones are not going to happen. Once we move on, we move on. There is no going back. Anyone remember MySpace or Yahoo or even Netscape.

There’s no doubt that ad-supported free tier will end. The labels would make sure of that in the next round of licensing deals in a few years time.

But for an artist, fans these days, don’t want to pay high rates for recorded music. They want the history of music for a low price. They would rather pay for the experience of the show. And in all of these boardroom deals between techies and record labels, it’s the artists who don’t control the rights to their music that get burned. And for some reason, Rush’s “The Big Money” comes to mind.

Big money make a million dreams
Big money spin big deals

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Record Label Innovation – Bring Back The CD in Blu-Ray?

For years the compact disc was the preferred audio format for music fans. In addition those years were the most profitable in the recording industry’s history.

Fans/collectors of vinyl and cassettes started to re-purchase albums they already owned for the sake of convenience. That is what the CD offered. Convenience.

It saddens me to keep on hearing that the recording industry still prefers a return to that era instead of innovating.

The most recent “innovation” comes from Universal Music Group.

UMG is launching a new audio format called High Fidelity Pure Audio. Basically it is a Blu-ray disc that delivers high definition audio recordings. This is yet another attempt to reinstate a long-gone profit margin that has all been done before.

There is nothing innovative about re-factoring the compact disc.

Remember convenience. Fans didn’t choose to replace the CD format with MP3’s simply because MP3s sounded better. It was about convenience. Convenience is key here. For personal use, portability and speed is worth more. That is what UMG fails to understand.

UMG is banking on a demand for high-fidelity re-releases of their back catalogs.

The label business models are built upon lack of competition in their market. Once upon a time the only music available came from the established recording industry. They told us what we were going to listen to and in what format.

I liked CDs, I really did, but after a while I ran out of space. I still buy physical CDs from time to time however I never buy CDs for the music itself.

The last physical discs I bought were for the special edition of Coheed and Cambria’s Afterman: Ascension / Descension double album. This package was was sold when Ascension released in September 2012 and Descension was months away (February 2013).

So when the package arrived The Descension disc in the box is completely blank. The purpose of this is that I am meant to burn the 320 high-quality Descension track downloads to it. I still haven’t bothered to do it, however the art book that came with it is priceless.

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Copyright, Music, Piracy, Stupidity

Fans Rushing The Stage – Part 2 – Copyright As Censorship

It looks like the video I was linking too in this post, was taken down from YouTube, due to a copyright complaint filed by SME (Sony Music Entertainment).  This is wrong on so many levels.

For starters, there is no music playing on the footage.  So I am struggling to understand how this infringes on any copyright.

Next, Motley Crue is signed to their own label, Eleven Seven Music, and the distributors are Universal Music Group and RED Distribution, LLC which is a Sony Music Entertainment division that handles distribution for independent record labels.

Again, this is a very far reach from SME to say that they own the copyright to a fan filmed video, that first has no music in it and it is from a band that is on their own label and use a division of SME for distribution ONLY.

I see this as legacy industries using Copyright as Censorship.

What these legacy industries fail to understand is that the internet is a copy system.  Here it is again.

And again.

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Music, Piracy

Bon Jovi – The life cycle of What About Now – From 1 to 76 in six weeks.

The release of What About Now happened with a bang.  Due to record label collusion between Universal (Bon Jovi’s label) and Sony (Justin Timberlake’s and David Bowie’s parent label), the album was released the week before Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 album and because of that it went straight to Number 1, beating off David Bowie.

The second week saw the album slip to Number 7.  The third week saw it drop even more to 34 on the charts.  By the fourth week, it was down to position 50.  On the other hand, the Because We Can tour, was selling out arena’s and stadiums.

Digitally, the album performed even worse.  The iTunes chart had the album debut at 52 on the 12 March 2013, and by the March 15, 2013, it was out of the Top 100 iTunes chart. Three days.  That’s it.

Songs from the album do not even rank in the top 25 of the streaming charts.

The fans have clearly spoken.  The hard-core fans like me purchased the album so that we could have it in our collections.  It’s a collectors thing.  The fans that the band picked up during the Slippery/New Jersey era and the It’s My Life era, prefer to buy tickets to the show.

So where is the album, 6 weeks after its release.  Sitting at position 76.  Bands like Imagine Dragons and Mumford and Sons are still in the top 20 and their albums have been out since mid 2012.  Adele’s 21 (released in January 2011) is still charting and selling more than Bon Jovi’s new album (released in March 2013).

The labels will scream piracy.  However, data clearly shows, that if you release good music, it will sell, and it will be around for a long time.  Release crap music and expect it to be ignored.  Thank god, Bon Jovi delivered some classic albums in the past.

 

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Copyright, Music, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Universal Music Takes Down Black Sabbath’s – God Is Dead? and then Re-Instates It

Article at Torrentfreak

Universal Music Group is known for its bogus take down requests.  Then when it is pointed out the error they made, they blame YouTube for following with their request.  Of course it is now back up.

I can understand the reason for the take down requests.  It was meant to take down content that was infringing or content that was making money by using music from UMG artists and UMG wasn’t taking a cut.

So how the Official Black Sabbath YouTube page fell into that category is beyond me.  All UMG has done here, is ensure that the fans have ripped the work and put it up on a thousand other channels and websites.   Check YouTube now and you will see many pages that are offering the song.

Stupidity by Labels – TICK

Treating Legitimate Fans Like Shit – TICK

Using COPYRIGHT to protect profits and bottom lines – TICK

Blame Technology when errors are made – TICK

Ensure that people pirate the content as the legal option was taken down – TICK

Then Scream PIRACY so that Legislation can be written – TICK

I was looking at the numbers.  PSY’s new song Gentleman has 167,000,000 views.  Black Sabbath’s comeback song with Ozzy is sitting at 118,000.   Even the Sabbath In The Studio series was averaging about 250,000 views.

If you are interested in my take on God Is Dead, click here.

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