The big news this week is Spotify’s North American launch, but there’s really nothing to say about that so far. It will have some kind of an impact, but exactly how much of one remains to be seen. I don’t know what the end user deal looks like at launch, but here in Europe it’s gone very crappy for those on the free version. It’s certainly true that listeners don’t really care whether or not they ‘own’ a sound, as long as they have access to it, but whether Spotify offers the most attractive means of access for Americans I don’t know. Other than that, I have a few bits of preaching to the converted (the horrendous practices of the old school industry).
This will be my last Saturday Summary for a while, as I’m going on my holidays, and taking a bit of time off from writing: when I start again, my focus is going to be very much more on fiction than non-fiction, so updates like this might not be so frequent. I have, however, written enough reviews to keep the blog running at capacity for the next three weeks, so you’ll still have lots of my self-important verbiage to nibble on.
- http://thequietus.com/articles/06318-how-the-music-industry-is-killing-music-and-blaming-the-fans This is a very interesting piece, which deals with issues around the developing music business situation in some depth. While I agree wholeheartedly with the basic premise, as summed up in the title, I do take issue with certain assumptions that inform this article: it is predicated on a pretty old school model of how creative artists need to go about their work, which is to my mind a little on the extravagant side. For instance, he argues that having to tour too much impacts negatively on people’s ability to write new material: while it’s true that having nothing else to do gives you more time and energy to focus on composition, having a full time job doing something else is something many artists work around to create output of the very highest quality. The fact that it is hard to make a living as a musician is not inherently bad for music as an art form: in a way, it weeds out those who lack a certain level of dedication. Anyway, it’s an interesting, complex read, and you should make up your own mind about the various things the author has to say.
- http://miccontrol.com/#/micblogs/is-the-rise-in-album-sales-a-mirage/ Some thoughts on the recent reported rise in album sales.
- http://www.berklee-blogs.com/2011/07/john-mayer-2011-clinic-manage-the-temptation-to-publish-yourself/ A report from a clinic/ masterclass at Berklee which contains some very interesting observations on social media.
- http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/07/05/137530847/how-much-does-it-cost-to-make-a-hit-song?sc=fb&cc=fp A very disturbing insider view of how greedy people spend money like water, while producing unfeasibly generic and uninteresting music.
- http://music3point0.blogspot.com/2011/07/selling-million-and-still-in-hole.html Here’s more on the insanity that is mainstream commercial music production and marketing.
- http://valleyarm.com/valleyarm-music-monday-tips/social-media-comparison-pros-and-cons Here’s an informed and thoughtful comparison of the marketing value of different social media platforms.
- http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/071411beatport17 Beatport is great. I love it. It’s a fantastic place to find nice, accessible, but interesting electronic music, and it’s one of the few real success stories in paid downloads (outside of those that can’t fail because of their huge scale and catalogue leverage, like iTunes and Amazon).
- http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/07/14/and-he-thinks-hes-winning/ I was going to link directly to the Paul McGuiness piece mentioned in this article, but then I found Bob Lefsetz’s response to it and figured I’d save myself some work. What does it tell us? That those who are still operating on the long tail of the old paradigm are so out of step with reality as to be functionally insane, for one thing… it’s also pretty damn’ funny, especially when you read the comments on the original piece.