Next Steps: The Future of Twitter in the Music Industry

As cited today by The New York Times, Twitter and Billboard have now teamed up to release a real-time music chart, based on consumer twitter data. This seems to follow in-line with the recent steps taken by Twitter’s increasingly active stake within the music industry. These can be characterized by the deal with the music label / content company 300 and more recently the removal of #music app from Apple’s iTunes store. Twitter has seemed to realign it’s interests to become an imperative player within the music industry.

Key Takeaways:

Usable Metrics and Time Decay: A new shift towards a real-time based music chart places further emphasis on artist’s use of Twitter as a viable means of conversation and visibility. One of the largest issue’s with sharing over twitter is ‘time decay’, depending on the number of users one follows, a ‘tweet’ or ‘retweet’ can appear in any given user’s feed for a variable period of time.

The trending topics sidebar ( although geo-located ) is too holistic in terms of music visibility/ discovery (often only unattainable through unreplicatable events, usually based on an artist or act’s size – see Beyonce ). That being said, if the chart’s are geo-based, there will most likely be a high level of artist repeatability, but may allow for some variability ( hopefully an up-and-coming localized act ). Therefore, it may also spawn greater analytical tools for artists to make adaptations to their outreach / social marketing campaigns.

The removal #music & the marking of a new age: I wouldn’t be surprised with if the missteps associated with Twitter’s #music that popular thought has shifted towards a more integrated user-interface. It would seem that a real-time chart would also lead towards direct purchasing power for twitter users. If your fans are already there, then why would you send them somewhere else?

Have some thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below.

Thanks for the read!

Sooner is Better! Soundexchange Gets Competitive

Attention Songwriters, Composers & Lyricists!!

Do you know about Soundexchange?

If you not you may want to google them ASAP. At  the top of 2014, they announced that they will be offering monthly royalty payments for all members (see info below)

SX_Monthly-Payments_Chart

 

Most collecting societies offer royalty payments twice a year. I suppose they need the time to organize payments due to the size of their catalogue and to keep their accounting department sane. However, that simply isn’t often enough for the average musician these days.

SX was already competitive by offering quarterly payments for their members. However monthly payments is even better! It won’t matter much to the cash cows and “ballers” of the industry, but for artists making over $250 a month, looks like rent can get paid on time.

 

Japan levels down the Global Music Market

IFPI’s Digital Music Report provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the licensed online marketplace, detailing how record companies have transformed their business models for the digital age, showcasing markets around the world and explaining the industry’s efforts to tackle online piracy.

IFPI’s Digital Music Report provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the licensed online marketplace, detailing how record companies have transformed their business models for the digital age, showcasing markets around the world and explaining the industry’s efforts to tackle online piracy.

After taking a breather in 2012, the music industry this year is confronted with less encouraging figures. During the launch of “Digital Music Report” in London Last year, the Association IFPI announced that 15.1 billion dollars were generated (10.86 billion euros) worldwide. This represents a decline of 3.9 %. The main reason for this is the Japanese market. If you would you ignore the result of Japan, you would get a fairly stable balance sheet. Nevertheless, the music market would come up with a global decline of 0.1 %, says IFPI chairman Frances Moore said. In Japan, a very diverse environment, which relates to label activities and licensing, still is the main concern. Max Hole, CEO of Universal Music Group International, is convinced that the current situation of the market participants points out the need for new sales and distribution opportunities even more.

“Nevertheless we are still on the road to recovery”, said Moore. Especially the digital music market prevails reason to be content, which with a turnover of 5.9 billion U.S. dollars (plus 4.3 %) lead to 39 % of the total result. The optimism of the previous year, where the industry was able to report a growth of 16.5 billion U.S. dollars in sales, for the first time since 1999, is still present. “Most major music markets have returned to growth and Streaming and subscription models are successful “, said Moore.

Above all, the U.S. markets have stabilized and also in Europe for the first time in 13 years an increase to be announced. The Austrian native music industry association also announced a positive outlook: In Austria, the deficit in the previous year was 2 % (150 million euros turnover), but according to the President of the Association Hannes Eder, “a plus for 2014, is a realistic goal”. ifpi-graph-2013 The international association also underlined that streaming services are likely to have a significant proportion. “It is clear that music streaming and subscription services are a mainstream model for our business,” said Moore. Currently there are 28 million paying users of services worldwide using services such as as Spotify or Deezer.

In this regard, something also has to happen in Japan. The Japanese market that is responsible for almost a fifth of the global turnover, compared to the U.S. market has not yet developed so far in this regard. The digital business could recover during the year though, new offerings and market participants are still in the starting blocks.

Digital music services in the previous year have for the tenth time in a row been responsible for more sales and an increase of 4.3 %. Using Streaming and associated subscription models more than one billion U.S. dollars will be achieved, which represents an increase of 51.3 %. Despite a slight decline, according to Moore, the download area still remains the central pillar . The physical sales contributed 51.4 % of total revenues, in 2012 it was still 56.1 %.

Basically, it is important to further raise awareness of legal, digital offerings, says Moore. Because it still is the most serious threat to the music industry and piracy remains. According to a study by comScore / Nielsen, 26 % of Internet users consume music illegally. Moore stated however, that these figures relate only to desktop PCs and laptops, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are not yet taken into account. “The more we need to counteract “.

Behind the Scenes: Disrupción Records Logo Design

The goal of this project was to create a visual identity that coherently connects with the representation of disruption as a brand and its meaning positionally over time. As such, the logo is representative of sources of disruption as it relates to art, the region and Berklee College of Music.

 

To begin, the typeface used is ‘Helvetica’ the selection was inspired by it’s use and development by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann to mark the transition into the Swiss modernist movement.

 

The composition of the design was based on a photograph by Alberto Hildago used by the Berklee College Commissions WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) for Major Projects. The kerning of the typeface and use of negative space was utilized to highlight the major architectural features of the Palau, as it is both a significant feature of the Valencian region and a holistic representative of a larger artistic community and visual vocal point of the Berklee campus.

 

Additionally, Black & White were chosen to build off of the clarity associated with the use of ‘Helvetica’ as a typeface, while the characters ‘A’ and ‘D’ were used as a means of highlighting the architectural features. However, in an effort to avoid any inferences associated with the use of the upper case characters AD or it’s acromial meaning (anno domini), a lower case character ‘d’ was selected as a substitution. Although the region has a rich Christian heritage and it coincides with the theme of disruption, I felt as though it did not communicate the values associated with the diverse student group and apolitical environment present within the institution.

 

berkleeblog1berkleeblog2

Reposted from www.tylerbudd.com

Album Review Of The Week – Animals As Leaders – The Joy of Motion

This week has been particularly exciting. As I recover from my yearly spring/early summer cold, as my system realises that the ‘Fallas’ have actually eaten away chunks of my higher auditory spectrum (16kHz-20kHz), as school kicks back into gear, and as we launch Berklee Valencia’s very own Record Label named Disrupcíon Records, one of my most cherished artist/band releases their third opus through Sumerian Records.

Animals As Leaders and their third release named The Joy of Motion is an ode to the greatest of all lost arts (I don’t mean Lower Defintion’s amazing album, I’m talking about Music), and full of maturity and humility (at times) Tosin Abasi, along with Javier Reyes and new addition Matt Garstka have put together a truly immersive experience.

With phrases, chord changes or cadences that echo some from the previous releases, one can recognise the Tosin Abasi songwriting and find himself at home. But you’ll find tunes off this record mirroring some of Javier’s personal stuff (Mestis, EP: Basal Ganglia). A few solos on the record also let me wonder whether there were any guest players at any point. Track number 3, Air Chrysalis echoes Intervals’ Epiphany, and track 12 (the closer) ‘Nephele’ sounds strangely similar to a Vai-Petrucci progeny. Mystery to be solved…

Overall musically the album is very strong, and so is my wording to describe it, I realise that… Garstka’s involvement and participation in the writing definitely shines through a lot more on this release and it does it a tremendous amount of good. That classic AAL quarter-note pulse is still present, but less important. When straight feels good, straight is played, no unnecessary polyrhythmic aberrations and convolutedness.

I must also admit that I’m super thrilled and amazed that they collaborated with Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood for the production of this opus. Adam is THE guy when it comes to producing this type of music, hands down, no questions asked. Forget Joey Sturgis, he is just good. Nolly is the exegesis of a mix that packs a punch. And for the guys in AAL to realise that, then get him on-board is the best move that could have been made. Allegedly it mustn’t have been a huge stretch of the mind since Misha Mansoor plays alongside Nolly, but anyway… I’m glad for both posses involved, it is in their best common interest, not something that you see done a lot in the music industry these days (cf. The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Economics 101, Somewhere along the course of every Economics syllabus), and the production is just MASSIVE, mate!

The album came out on the 25th of March, so two days prior to this post. The ’single’ (I guess you could call it that), Tooth and Claw had been out for a little bit of time before that, and it was just the perfect song to release to build a hype and amp things up. I’ve already rinsed the life out of it. It was available for stream on YouTube, however I’ve never been a fan of pre-release streams for music that has value. I get that it would make sense if you’re anticipating a specific single featuring two of your favourite artists, but here it’s the whole artefact that is important. So I waited patiently while all my friends were posting about it on what has become the most important book to all of us these days, got it on Spotify, and am heartlessly taking away what could’ve been a full 7,99$ from this band that I hold so dear…

A few tunes to look out for on this album/my personal favourites so far:

Ka$cade
Tooth and Claw
Para Mexer (8 nylon-stringèd bonanza, it’s got Javier Reyes/Mestis written all over it)
The Woven Web (Slappin’ that bass mon’)
Mind-Spun (Just a power tune, simply put)

If you want to have a listen, head over to Spotify and punch this URL in: spotify:album:6amcjpW1tFWbKniDMn9CE4

heck, even purchase it on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/thejoyofmotionitunes

or have a gander on the YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbA3jxab4A0&list=PLH22-xSMERQpG4M9HshhXUJ9OKMNlwU8T

 

As for myself, I’ll probably be getting the Vinyl, transparent Red sounds like it looks sexy. DJ kTunes said it first, they’re making a come-back.

 

Animals As Leaders – The Joy of Motion – The Woven Web

Is Spotify’s long tail bringing benefit for New and Indie artists?

 

Thanks to the internet, anyone can have access to a big diversity of music content at anytime, anywhere. In addition, this technological tool has changed the music industry helping to bring out new and independent projects. This recent phenomenon is thanks to the easy accessibility and cheap distribution of tons of music.

 

Back in time, as soon as a CD album decreased in popularity, it was released from the retailers giving no chance for long tail revenue. Thanks to the digital catalogues the music could still being purchased long after it was first released and its buzz decreased. Basically, the tail of distribution is the time when non-common product sales become profit due to the low cost in distribution and marketing. The long tail is when these sales are made giving us the context of how consumers interact within the digital tools.

In theory, this situation would give a chance for new music to appear in the scene making a more balanced market against the blockbusters-hits. The creation of these niches was supposed to grab new consumers that can follow a diverse content on the web. Social media, blogs, forums and platforms such as Youtube and music stream channels like Spotify seem to build a perfect environment where new projects will finally fight for some space in the market against big labels.

 

The problem is that the mainstream music is pushing down from the top instead of the bottom (new artist) pushing up and fattening the tail of the indie music. The consumption of the product on the head of the tail (commercial-mainstream music) has increased due to several reasons including:

  •       Mediocre content in the middle of the tail
  •       High level of competition within the Indie market
  •       Low barriers to enter into the Indie market
  •       People used to listening to the same music. For instance classic and commercial music.
  •       Consumers are still influenced by the trend of blockbuster-hits
  •       Water cooler effect: people adapt their tastes to fit in social groups
  •       Consumer’s “Tyranny of Choice” in which excessive choice actual hinders discovery.

Statistics show that 1% of the music projects represent 75% revenue in recorded music and 79% in the subscription revenue.  This means that in the economic sense it has become an unrewarded situation for most of the projects especially for the non-commercial ones.

In an era where digital music and streaming is increasing each year, Spotify seems to be the perfect window where new music will be exposed. Unfortunately 5% of the music streamed through this website are the most popular tracks representing 80% of the streams. One fifth of the 25 million tracks available have never been played. In addition, the revenue per streams is ridiculous. As it is shown in the following chart, a song should be streamed around 145 times in order to equal the payout from one iTunes Store song download.

 

In conclusion, although there are people that still believe that long tail is working well for music aficionados and undiscovered projects, it is a fact that it works much better for super projects backed for the big companies that can still make money for many time after the date when the music is released.

Review: Mo Kolours LP

The following is a version of a review I’ve written for http://www.highonbeats.com. For more info and links you can visit the website in the next few days:

Image

At a time when it’s so easy to get lost in the endless ocean of Jersey Club edits and trap bootlegs, discovering a standout electronic artist with a truly unique voice is unbelievably refreshing. Enter Mo Kolours (Joe Deenamode): a half-Mauritian/half-English producer, percussionist, and vocalist representing the One-Handed Music collective. Those of you familiar with One-Handed Music’s catalogue will surely remember Mo Kolours’ series of three EP’s, featuring remixes from Shafiq Husayn and Beautiful Swimmers gaining praise from the likes of Giles Peterson, Joe Goddard (Hot Chip), and Jack Savidge (Friendly Fires). Following his March, 2013 release of EP 3: Tusk Dance, Deenamode has compiled an endearing and organic self-titled debut LP that is simply a must-have.

The album serves as a continuation of Mo Kolours’ previous work, mixing spirited vocals over chopped samples and hand percussion drum patterns. The tracks on the album are not overly complex, and they maintain a sense of authenticity that allows the listener to comprehend and connect with the music. If you close your eyes you can envision the artist himself tapping out beats and cooking up lyrics; each song sets a vivid scene that gives the release a valuable element of depth.

Some of the highlights on the album, Little Brown Dog, Mike Black, and In Her Eyes (Funk Heart), best represent the free wheeling and fun energy that Mo Kolours is able to achieve in his music. As a whole, the 18-track release almost feels like a conceptual audio-journal. The final product is one that gives the listener a sense of spontaneity while still sounding complete and well conceived. Those of you who felt his previous EPs were too short will be delighted that this full length-debut places Mo Kolours’ captivating sound in a more complete context.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the soundtrack to your sleepy Sunday afternoon or the aural backdrop of your long trip to work, the Mo Kolours LP will temporarily transport you to a place where drums and expression are paramount and your troubles melt away. This record extends beyond the post-Dilla beat model and offers listeners a genre-defying blend that is so rare in electronic music. For fans of Project Moon Circle, Brainfeeder, or My Hollow Drum, this release will be right in your wheelhouse. It’s a shame we had to wait so long for this full-length album, however it’s clear that One-Handed Music and Mo Kolours should be on enthusiasts radar screens as this talented artist continues to produce exciting and compelling music.

Did I mention the LP is free?

Pono, the answer to the music industry’s prayers?

Everyone knows that the advent of the mp3 sent the music industry into a frenzy trying to adapt to the digital word.  What with piracy, streaming, and iTunes taking over as the main sources to find, discover, and acquire music the industry is continually met with new opponents.  Many argue that the dominance of the mp3 and digital music has somewhat devalued music and created passive mentality when purchasing music.  After reading various articles and listening to various speakers talk to us about the future of the industry many seem to be waiting for a new product,service, or device that brings back a value in music that was taken away when the mp3 was introduced.  Que, PONO.

The mother of all formats

Pono-logo

Singer-songwriter Neil Young announced that he will be initiating a Kickstarter-funded music service, PonoMusic, and player to deliver high-quality digital sounds. The Kickstarter campaign launched on March 15 and  in the span of about a week and a half as already surpassed its goal of 800,000 to about 4.5 million dollars coming from 13,522 pledgers. Here is a video of Neil Young attempting to explain what Pono is all about.

Most of the conversation with Letterman focused on the new quality that the product will be providing.  ˝The project grew out of Young’s dissatisfaction with the quality of digital recordings after the music industry shifted to the MP3 format˝ and wanting to ˝move digital music into the 21st century”.  The triangle-shaped PonoPlayer will cost $399 and can also be ordered with a discount through the projects Kickstarter, according to the site the player will have enough memory to contain as many as 2,000 albums with memory cards can be used to store more.  So what differentiates this PonoPayer from the likes of iPods?  Well Neil Young says its the quality.  Instead of focusing on a player that can hold all the music in the world this product will hold less but have more quality content.   The Pono mission is as follows;

Pono’s mission is to provide the best possible listening experience of your favorite music. We want to be very clear that PonoMusic is not a new audio file format or standard. PonoMusic is an end-to-end ecosystem for music lovers to get access to and enjoy their favorite music exactly as the artist created it, at the recording resolution they chose in the studio. We offer PonoMusic customers the highest resolution digital music available. PonoMusic is more than just a high-resolution music store and player; it is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating. PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings.

So is this the answer to the music industries prayers?  Will it instill a greater sense of value for music due to the focus on quality in sound? Maybe Record Labels can adapt some of Young’s ideas and develop a product incorporates this quality sound into a device consisting of an artist album and additional material, just at thought?

To make your own opinion, check out some more information with testimonials in the video below.

Sources

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-10/neil-young-to-start-kickstarter-funded-music-service-with-player.html

http://www.ponomusic.com/#home

 

Artist Uncovered: Aries Marquis

I’ll be completely honest… when I saw #LakerNation on his Twitter profile page, I was hesitant to write a blog about Aries Marquis…

Go Celtics!!!

In all seriousness, I stumbled across this R&B singer’s profile while searching for new independent artists to listen to. After reviewing his ‘Imperfections’ EP, I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard.

Image

When I am listening to a vocalist for the first time, I am hoping to hear a powerful and developed tone quality in their voice. This was most definitely the case for Mr. Marquis. The first song I chose to preview was entitled “Ole Scotlandville,” and it was very reminiscent of older 90’s R&B music from the keyboard and strings riffs, to the soulful lead vocals. There is a tasteful featuring emcee as well that tells of the place where the two artists spent their childhood.

I also really enjoyed the track “Just Us.” With its gliding melody and heartfelt lyrics, this song had lush backing vocals that contributed nicely to the other gospel elements incorporated in the composition.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the project. The 6-track EP is available via Aries Marquis’s Reverb page here:

http://www.reverbnation.com/ariesmarquis/album/61165-imperfections

I am excited to see what Aries Marquis does next in his career. Currently signed to the independent entertainment company Black Music Cartel, his cited influences of Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and The Temptations would certainly approve of the passionate music he is delivering.

Follow Aries Marquis on Twitter @AriesMarquis.

*This blog is part of the ‘Artist’s Uncovered’ series by Sammy Pisano.

On Concept Albums

 

AND here we have an artist with a vision. The vision is plastered on his web page, blaring through his music–a pianist who is setting a new standard. On his site, you can salvage nostalgia for lyrics, but not lyrics that are verbalized, rather fantasized while listening to a mostly instrumental album “Heroes + Misfits”

This album in all of its audio/visual manifestations (YouTube, photography, etc) speaks to me in a fitting black and white theme. It says to me that for the first time in many years, an artist decided to use poetry to further emulate the message in the music. This experience is rare, not because most contemporary jazz visionaries don’t use lyrics, but that Bowers’ website treats his ideas like gold. It almost feels as though you enter an exhibition gallery with visually stimulating themes, layouts, user interface, and down to the very last detail, you are invited to his world.

Once you become familiarized with the concept, you can appreciate the work. For this, I must state that there is nothing like a concept album. A 360 work of art in the flesh. Maybe the question to ask is why there are not more concept albums, serving society with words from poets, photographers images and the like. Maybe the answer is because it’s difficult to write music for the naked truth that:

“I wake to poverty suffocating my dreams
On corners where death sings and mothers scream
Hopelessness has everyone forgetting to believe” -Harris (one of the poems from Bowers’ latest album)

So that may be why the poems were written after the music. That may be why this new album’s significance is beyond what record labels due in trying to find singer/songwriters, beyond what A&R do when listening to thousands of new artists a day, it may be why an artist with a vision is not hung up on streaming rights and breaking even on live gigs. It may be why some music doesn’t get old. The music that may be getting old is probably distorted clones of what is easiest to produce (no pun intended)–pop.

 

Any other concept albums that lured you into the beauty and beastiality of reality that is today?