The Music & Technology Relationship? It’s Complicated.

!!!

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!

Yondr_TWO-CASES_905

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.

imagesIW2VK09F

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.

Yondr_TWO-CASES_905

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

The Tyranny of Choice

Have you ever noticed the immense amount of music that technology allows us to listen to? There are so many choices that it would be impossible to listen to every track out there in one lifetime. This is what a fellow blogger likes to call “The Tyranny of Choice”.  In his blog, he points out simple facts – making relevant points regarding the future of music.

There is a noticeable imbalance in the music industry. There a numerous music services world wide. These music services are focusing on a small percentage of consumers as opposed to targeting a much larger market share. Streaming plays an important rule in the music industry and it has caused cd and download sales to decline. By targeting that small percentage of consumers, music streaming services are simply taking the downloading money and converting it into streaming money. This means the consumers are switching but not spending more. Larger target market is not necessarily being considered meaning there is just revenue transition rather than revenue growth in the music industry.

According to fellow blogger, there are three things to focus on that are predicted to shape the future of digital music – (1) Consumer Behaviour (2) Tech Companies Strategies (3) Income Distribution. Consumer behavior of the next music generation listeners and not the generation transitioning from downloads or cd’s will be the ones music services need to pay attention to. By understanding the next generation, the music services will be able to properly grow and evolve. Technology companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Google control digital music in one way or another. For this same reason, others such as labels and producers can focus specifically on the music while these companies strategize to focus on their own established goals which mostly involve product/service sales. It is a win-win. Finally, artists and songwriters have begun to pay more attention to income distribution. Although it may not happen overnight, the pressure to more evenly distribute this income is an important movement.

Music listeners may not be expected to spend money on downloads or cd’s in the future, however they are expected to listen to the numerous music choices available to them more than ever before. The Tyranny of choice will influence the way we all listen to music. This provides artists and labels with new opportunities though. Because of “the tyranny of choice” technology has created and will continue to create in the future, artists and labels must come together to create partnerships that will allow them to sell an experience – an unique music experience that they can both sell to the next generation listeners. To provide unique music experiences to listeners is what music has always been about so to focus on this same principle in the future despite how technology continues to change our lives is truly a beautiful thing.

To read the blog post and see charts that served as inspiration for this blog post, follow this link – http://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/digital-ascendency-the-future-music-forum-keynote/

Artist Match Up of the Week: Cristallin Vs. Adam French

So both of this weeks artists come from a blog I follow called Hey Indie, a blog dedicated to promoting indie talent check it out by clicking here.

First Up…

Name: Cristallin

Sounds Like:  The XX , Bon Iver

Label: Independent

Website: http://briomusic.bandcamp.com/

cristallin

 Cristallin is a Switzerland-based producer and filmmaker seeking to capture his visual imaginations in a way that allows its nostalgic appeal to stay intact throughout the creative process of his EP.  Cristallin is part of a Record Label/Collective called The Brio Life which aims to create  memorable musical experiences through the power of visuals.  They want the listener to think of their music “visually, to translate each sonic element into that of visual auroras and nostalgia” and  “believe that people can find the deeper sounds in music and appreciate it for its full intention and value”.

Check out one of their projects with Google+

As for Cristallin, drawing upon his name that is French for reflection he described his sound as being influenced and inspired by visuals.  In relation to his first EP release Eon Cristallin said in an interview with Hey Indie “Rather than re-creating my emotions through forms of music videos after the EP is finished, the visuals were captured first, in which the four songs then acted as soundtracks during the second part of the project. By reversing the process of sonic and visual interaction, nostalgia can radiate in abundance. It’s an attempt for music to become permanently memorable, timeless, and last eons…”

Check out an example below with the single Lights.

You can definitely see how the visuals match the music, I think it a very interesting approach to creating music.   Cristallin reminds me of a more electronic and synth version of Bon Iver which is a great thing since Bon Iver is one of my favorite artists.

Listen to some of his other stuff on his Soundcloud here.

Next Up…

Name: Adam French

Age: 21

Label: Unsigned

Sounds Like: Ed Sheeran, James Arthur, Mumford & Sons

Website: http://www.adamfrench.co.uk/

adam

A Native to Northwestern England, Adam French classifies himself as a singer/songwriter and is currently on a local tour supporting his 6 song EP Like Everybody Does and new lead single Shivers.   Based on his facebook and various social media outlets French really keeps all his fans in the loop about everything occurring in his career which important when creating/developing a fan base.  He is the beginning stage of his career working hard to breakthrough and make an impact in the industry.  Check out his latest release below.

shiver

For more music also check out his Sound Cloud here, you won’t be disappointed.

He reminds me of Ed Sheeran but with a much more harder sound, which is definitely a good thing.  He is a good writer and knows how to emote while still producing a catchy song.

Conclusion

To be honest, at this point I really like both of the artists.  Once I heard they’re music I immediately added both of them to my spotify playlist. Both have clear directions and sounds, on one side you have a Cristallin with a cool sound and vision but maybe a little less commercially viable and on the other you have a very commercial artist who has struggled to make an impact.  I’m stuck on this one because the music is so good… can I just sing both?

What do you all think?

Related articles/Sources

Why Twitter is Necessary in Today’s Music Industry

Twitter

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a completely irrelevant thought that sounds like a diary entry!  Yes, that’s Twitter to the common eye.  Believe me, for the longest time I thought that Twitter was the one of the lamest things to ever hit the music industry.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Why?

Well for one, I always thought that Facebook was a more varied version of it.  Why should you be limited to 140 characters to post, not have thumbnail displayed photo previews, why not have extra pages like downloads or band pages, and why not just freakin’ have some privacy?  I mean, what ever happened to the mysterious rock star?  The icon that was either so DIY or so busy that the only time you could see them and hear them talk was that magical hour and a half on stage?  That was a rock and roll icon to me.  They were a mystery until you had to go out to their live show.

Unfortunately, I got slapped in the face with reality when I found out that this is 2012, and the Backstreet Boys are way past the Backstreet Men phase, making me one old bastard for the times.  It came time that I had to embrace this fancy new technology of the youth, and I fumbled for a while until I figured out it’s pure gold in today’s industry

You could say I have no clue what the @#$% I'm doing.

You could say I have no clue what the @#$% I’m doing.

1)  Twitter maintains your relevance in every day.  We live in a generation of instant-gratification.  If you can’t appease your blood thirsty shirt-ripping music-pillaging hounds of fans, you can sure bet they’re going to go and feast on the next target they see since you’re clearly not putting out.  Before you know it, your fans forget about who you are just because you’re not updating them on a day to day basis.  You’d be surprised how true it is.

2) You can create a short statement swift to the point that’ll be immediately received by all.  While 140 characters seems constricting, it actually aids you, the reader, or your fans.  How often will your fans stop what they’re doing to read that giant Shakespearean essay you posted on Facebook?  Most likely, they’ll just skip through it; in fact they probably won’t even see it.  Twitter guarantees your tweets will appear in the streams of your followers (Unless they’re following an insane amount of tweeters), whereas Facebook posts actually have never reached more than an average of 15% of their fans.

Don't worry, we're not "liking" your photo of breakfast because we hate you, we just don't give a shit about you enough to show up in our feed.

Don’t worry, it’s not that we’re not “liking” your photo of breakfast because we hate you, we just don’t give a shit about you enough to have you show up in our feed.

3)  Searching buzzes on Twitter is more effective than using Google.  Please re-read that so you don’t assume I just said Twitter is better than Google for information.  I said searching for buzzes: do you know how many people tweet about the silliest things you can’t find on Google?  When Facebook was down, Google wasn’t telling me anything.  But all I had to do was search “Facebook” on Twitter; and I’ll tell you, Twitter exploded about it.  It’s not that Google fails or anything of the sort, it’s just that the way the search engine is configured, Twitter sifts through much less  and more relevant information to produce its Tweet results as opposed to Google.

4) In addition to #3, you can create the buzz yourself.  Trends and re-tweets are very helpful in that the fans do some of the promotion for you.  Let’s say you’ve got 900 followers, and one of them re-tweets your post to their 300 separate followers.  You’ve opened your chances of getting seen from 1/3 more of your own followers, and from one fan.  It’s extremely helpful, not to mention if your fan base is loyal enough, you can even trend your product locally for everyone to see on their home page.  Remember, this is ALL free.

So, to wrap this up, I found that Twitter isn’t the enemy.  It’s helped me keep up very closely with the DIY bands that I really like without having to go through an intense effort to get updates from them.  At the same time, it’s helped me stay in contact with a lot of people.  Of course there’s people on Twitter that tweet 100% bull-shit or re-tweet philosophy because they think they’re the next Confucious to their 2 followers.  Stuff like that exists on every platform: there’s really no escaping that one person eventually, but hey, you can always un-follow them.  Personal Twitters can be great when you want to establish that artist-to-fan relationship.

Oh dang!  Eric had eggs for breakfast again! BIG @#!$#ING SURPRISE.

Oh dang! Eric had eggs for breakfast again! BIG @#!$#ING SURPRISE.

So start now: You don’t even need to start tweeting or anything of the sort.  It’s just very helpful to get your domain set so that you can use it any time in the future.  Just remember that it just could be that helpful edge you get down the road.  And hey, as far as that mysterious rockstar thing goes, most professional Twitters of the big stars aren’t even running their Twitters: it’s usually just a social media promotions guy taking control of it.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve always signed off with my name, so don’t think this is some advertising, it’s just habitual.  Til next time

– @NishadGeorge

My Favourite Chinese Band – Mayday

For my last post, I wanted to introduce my favourite Chinese rock band, Mayday!! They are not only singer but also song composer and producer and they are hugely influential in M-pop (Mandarin Pop) by using their music to inspire their audience.

It is a Taiwanese alternative rock band that was formed in the late 1990s with five members.They are popular for their student band roots, and their ability in capturing the zeitgeist of Taiwanese youth in the mid to late 1990s. They are often cited as one of the pioneers of rock music in Taiwan.Mayday has made no secret of its admiration of the Beatles whom they cite as influencing their ideals of rock music.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday_(Taiwanese_band) [ Introduction of Mayday]

They have been the third artist but the first Chinese artist to stage a concert at Google’s headquarters in San Francisco at 29 November 2012. The concert was streamed live on youtube for an hour and over 50,000 fans tuned in to watch their amazing performance. To date, their concert has also achieved over 300,000 hits on YouTube!

For me, their songs are meaningful, touching, sincerity, and inspiring, it seems like they’re speaking to you because we can relate the lyric and emotion of the song to personal experience. I have been inspired and encouraged by not only their songs but also their story of never easily give up their dream, keep pursuing it by putting effort and it will come true.

Mayday expressed that they would bring the glory of Chinese music around the world and I believe it because they has proved me through their past experience.

Reference:

http://www.asianpopnews.com/2012/11/maydays-live-concert-wows-50000-youtube.html

Cloud Wars Heat Up

Storing music on a cloud is not a new thing – Apple entered the market over a year ago by releasing iMatch –  Music in the consumer’s current library is scanned, and any songs available in the iTunes Store is added to the consumers iCloud.  Then consumers can stream their music from the iCloud to any of their iOS devices – for a price of $24.99/year

Google Play recently announced it’s new matching feature with essentially the same offer, with a major exception –

The service is Free.

Google Play limits you to upload 20,000 songs to the service for free plus songs bought in the Google Play store, whereas iMatch’s offer is 25,000 songs plus songs purchased in the iTunes store.  Regardless, the difference of 5,000 songs seems hardly of importance when factoring the price structure of each.  iMatch’s fee and limited nature makes it a hard choice to select in light of Google Play’s offer.  It seams Apple will have to make some changes if it wants to stay competitive in this market.