This week your intrepid investigative correspondent has conducted a great deal of painstaking and potentially dangerous research, to discover that the main story around the new music industries is the f8 Facebook conference. Frankly I find the whole thing rather tedious, as my personal interest is in the varied, individuated, customized and hackable, rather than the monolithic and conventional, but it’s moderately likely that the announcements have some real implications for people’s listening and sharing habits in the near to middling distance. For me, the main trick that has been missed is in paying a lot of attention to large scale, industrial streaming malarkey like Spotify, which largely exploits catalogue, rather than exposing independent talent. Now I’m sure that this makes good business sense, and meets the needs of most users, who want to hear certain recordings that will be on all the major services, but it serves to isolate that great mass of listeners a little bit further from the musicians who have not already been packaged and extruded to meet their consumption habits. So keep browsing Soundcloud and Bandcamp my friends, and always take a word of mouth recommendation from a friend over anything said by one of these idiotic ‘music bloggers’… Anyway, here’s some links to things people have said about f8 and music.
And here’s a funny thing Daniel Ek of Spotify said at f8: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/092211great Yes that’s right, he honestly really did say that he thinks the utterly paltry revenue streams provided by Spotify will enable musicians to go back to the ‘good’ old days of employing hundred player orchestras while making their bloated and self-indulgent albums. If you have anything to sell, I suggest you give him a call now, before he comes to his senses.
And while Facebook looks for ways to stick its unwelcome oar into our social interactions, Vimeo quietly announces some interesting news: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/21/vimeo-launches-audiosocket-powered-music-store-to-bring-tunes-to-video/ This is actually of use to the independent creative musician, as it provides a channel through which to license music for video, and it provides it in the right place, where the video is. Good move, Vimeo, keep ‘em coming.
Facebook is like your annoying schoolfriend, who won’t go away while you’re trying to get it on with the fit girl/ bloke/ antelope you’ve just met, but insists on following you around and talking at you. They want to know what you’re listening to, and to act as a middleman when you tell your friends; they’re a really happening service, with their finger right on the pulse, so hip that they’re going to put streaming, the buying-an-album of the future, right at the heart of their site. Meanwhile, it turns out everyone prefers to own local music files rather than streaming: http://music3point0.blogspot.com/2011/09/consumers-prefer-ownership-to-streaming.html
This is a useful discussion of the relative merits of Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Official.fm. For the moment, it looks to me like most artists will benefit from being on both, with Soundcloud providing a good social space to host demos and the like, while Bandcamp is the place to put your finished product. Bandcamp is still actually tiny, in the overall scheme of things, but I expect them to get huge, because they offer a great service, with a brilliant clean interface, and they cut a very fair deal. http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/092211embed
My albums on heavy rotation this week are the same as they were last Saturday:
Led Zeppelin IV
lextrical – Deletia
Sissters – There’s A Party In My Mouth But You’re Not Invited