The Owners of the Music Industry

To further my discussion of my previous article on the revenue artist make within streaming, I wanted to look at the whole picture. Where is most of the revenue going if in 2014 global recorded music totaled in the US at $6.9 billion?  To break down the consumption of music in the US by genre, although possibly in broad terms, according to a study released by Nielson Music, rock music was twice as popular in 2014 as pop musicaccounting for 29% of the industry’s music consumption across album, track purchases, and music streaming.

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Forbes magazine also provides us with the top three paid musicians of 2014:

With Dr. Dre’s (Aftermath Entertainment) most recent sale of Beats, the company he cofounded, to Apple for $3 billion, he is listed at number one going home with $620 million this year before taxes. Coming in far second is Beyoncé (Columbia & Sony Music) with $115 million as her most successful year yet.  And finally, The Eagles (Asylum) with their longevity in the industry at $100 million.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that after securing $400 million in fresh funding, Spotify is now worth more than the entire US recorded music industry at $8.4 billion.

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Sony leads the record label trio at $4.9 billion but if we look at Live Nation it will not be long when it takes a step ahead of all three. With Live Nation’s monopoly in live music, being that most revenue is from cold hard ticket sales, it would not be surprising that Live Nation takes the lead within a year.

The Music & Technology Relationship? It’s Complicated.

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There is no doubt that music and technology have continued to evolve both separately and together throughout the years. Technology has the power to seriously complement or hinder music. On the other hand, music has the power to help increase technology sales. Perhaps this all means that music and technology should simply work together as much as possible as opposed to against each other. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent news regarding the music and technology relationship…

Apple-Beats

Apple recently confirmed a decrease in downloads. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Apple acquired Beats earlier this year. Using Beats, Apple can easily gain the kind of simplicity it has been craving in the music streaming sector. In fact, a good example of this can be the recent Southwest Airlines and Apple partnership agreement. Southwest Airlines now offers free music streaming thanks to Apple’s Beats music service!

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Streaming is definitely the way music is heard these days. It is no wonder that Apple is interested in improving their music streaming services and pricing as Spotify revenues rose in 2013 and the music service turned to profit. Spotify also launched a family plan with cheaper subscription options recently as well. Despite all its good news, Spotify was caught a bit off guard when Taylor Swift surprisingly pulled her music from them. It will be interesting to see if this will affect Spotify success.

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Pandora is now giving artists the data it stores from the audience members. However, Pandora is not the only one doing this. Both Spotify and The Next Big Sound have also taken the same initiative. Data enables artists to grow and enhance their careers in a proactive way. By better understanding the audience members, artists are be able to improve musical content they offer and better engage with their followers. It is obvious why data continues to become so important! These companies definitely want to stay ahead of the game by providing artists with this free data.

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Next, news regarding a touchy subject: Piracy! For those that are still trying to illegally download music, Google is now using its search data to point those users towards legal sources through ads whenever words like “free” and “download” are searched in the Google search engine. Piracy has been a continuous problem so it is good to see that Google is playing its part to help regulate music consumption. There are still a large debate questioning whether this approach is enough when it comes to dealing with this issues..

imagesYouTube plans to launch its own subscription service called MusicKey. This is not exactly new news as there have been talks about this for a while now. Although YouTube’s CEO stated she is positive about this subscription service, 25% consumers say they will never pay for a subscription service since they can already find all the music they want using YouTube.

Looking at all these news, it is clear that music and technology continue to be very much connected. Sometimes it can be a complicated relationship. Music and technology have become so closely connected that it makes the relationship an incredibly powerful tool though. Technology alone and music alone cannot succeed in saving the music business. It is by coming together that this relationship can become less complicated as it provides the millennials, those tech-empowered fans, with the ability to become closer to the content they love, align with their socioeconomic surroundings, and follow the new cultural norms. This is what should save the music industry in the future.

To view the article that served as inspiration for this blog post, visit this link – http://blog.midem.com/2014/11/news-review-technology/#.VFoBJZV0zmI

Beats to be taken over by Apple.

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Congratulations to Dr. Dre who might be on his way to becoming the first rapper/ billionaire ever. I bet he didn’t think of that when he was rapping about bitches not being shit.

Commiserations go out to Apple on potentially having just acquired an absolutely shit house product.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect what Beats do – manufacture a bass heavy, ugly, flimsy piece of equipment that is endorsed by one of the most popular rappers of all time. Oh and of course they recently launched a streaming service to rival Spotify.

I do wonder however, whether Steve Jobs would be rolling around in his grave at this new acquisition. In my opinion Beats stands for everything that Apple is not.

What scares me is the power Apple now has with the streaming service. If we think of the industry in waves, the mp3 wave that took out CD’s was completely dominated when Jobs launched I tunes. I wonder if the guys in silicon valley have something up their sleeve and are getting ready to release some sort of new streaming hardware that will blow Spotify away and deem I tunes useless.

While we wait for that, I’m going to put on my AIAIAI TMA1’s and listen to The Chronic.

Apple buying Beats Electronics! Good Move?

Apple’s biggest acquisition till date is the Beats electronics, which started off with headphones and now have diversified to car systems and home electronics, is all set to be acquired by Apple for 3.2 billion $. A good move? I don’t think so!

Beats now also are expanding into the music streaming platform and that is the main reason for the Apple for the acquisition. What changes will apple bring into the hardware of the Beats electronics product is still a mystery.

“They are buying into the future and the future is going to be streaming and subscription,” said Jon Irwin, former president, Rhapsody Inc.

What i do not understand is why cannot Apple invest the same of into iTunes and diversify into streaming? Even the hardware of Beats is not well respected and reputed!

Steve Jobs, never believed in such take-overs and acquisitions,  i think Apple needs him back from the other side!!

What future holds for Beats Electronics after the acquisition, is still not told about!

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-08/apple-said-to-be-near-buying-beats-electronics-for-3-2b.html

Industry Vets: Young Guru and Sean C. Visit Berklee Valencia

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This week students at Berklee Valencia’s campus had the opportunity to meet and interact with two music industry veterans, Young Guru and Sean C.  If you aren’t familiar with their names, you’re most likely familiar with their repertoire. Young Guru has worked as a highly esteemed engineer and has also worked alongside respectable and notable artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye West. Prior to meeting Young Guru, I indirectly felt as though as I knew him due to Hov’s various shoutouts throughout the years. One of my favorite Hov shoutouts was when he told Guru to “turn the lights down..let’s keep it smooth” on Party Life (American Gangster album) LOL

Our other industry vet, Sean C. is a Grammy-nominated producer and A&R that has produced for hip hop artists such as Diddy and Jay-Z.  I was especially interested to hear Sean’s perspective on the industry and the future as an A&R since my career interests are specifically in that field. There were various workshops held over the two-day period while they were here in Valencia. One of my favorite workshops was the A&R session that was held on campus in our studio on the film scoring stage.

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(Berklee Valencia students pictured in the studio with Young Guru and Sean C. for the A&R workshop)

(Photo Credit: Disrupcion Records)

Both Sean C. and Young Guru provided feedback to Berklee Valencia artists who submitted music. I’m currently working as an A&R for my culminating experience thesis, so I was super excited about the opportunity because both of the artists that I’m working with were chosen to participate in the session.  It was such a humbling experience to receive feedback on their music from industry professionals and to use that info to tweak their projects and to make them even better! This was a great experience both creatively and professionally.  Another workshop focused on innovation within the industry.  During this panel, both guests answered various questions that students had re: career advice, music production/technology, the direction of the industry, and evolving with the industry to ensure your position/career. A highlight for me was Sean’s response in reference to being a woman in a male dominated industry. His consciousness about the issue was indispensable and re-emphasized some of the points that I’ve learned throughout my professional career.

Young Guru and Sean C

This experience was one that I longed for as a student in the Global Entertainment & Music Business Masters program.  The knowledge that both gentlemen dropped on us was absorbed like a sponge and truly invaluable.  It’s a great opportunity to meet people who are working in positions that many of us aspire to be in. The grind continues….

A&R this week – Record Label Practicum

For the past couple of weeks the member of the practicum have been communicating back and forth, in person and via e-mail, through instant messaging and by carrier pigeon – talk about innovative and motivated. The aim of this group discussion was to decide on which artists we were keen on collaborating with for the rest of the semester.

After reviewing 12 interviews – which were all brilliant by the way, and only made the process that much harder – we agreed on four talented individuals.

Avila Santo
Tess Tyler
Stephen McHale
Miranda Inzunza

These four names might be familiar to some, if they are not however, they are definitely about to because the marketing team is prepping some killer plans – but for now, shh.

The A&R teams have met up individually with the artists and also started working on plans and musical directions.
(Un)fortunately plans are synonymous with homework, which means that we need to remain proactive. The artists have to make sure they compile tracks for us to listen to and choose from, but in some cases the repertoire to choose from is quite extensive.

Meanwhile, Beatsmusic acquires TopSpin Media and saves them from what looked like a slow and painful demise. They are hoping to fuse the ultimate experience of music discovery, and data collection and analysis. Listeners can rest assured, their relentlessly uneducated choices on music discovery are made easier than ever before.

On a more musical side note, Animals as Leaders are releasing a new album ‘the Joy of Motion‘ on March 25th and it is shaping up to be monstrous! Here’s the single from this much anticipated release, it is entitled ‘Tooth and Claw’. The composition is phenomenal and the production is nothing short of that either.