Royalties "Trickle" - New York Times

Ben Sisario, "As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle", New York Times (published Jan. 28, 2013).  Link here.

Blurb from NYTimes: "Companies like Spotify and Pandora are catching fire, but the money paid to artists is often tiny, perhaps half a penny per play, which has the music industry on edge."

Dylan Outtakes Released To Extend European Copyright

Allan Kozinn, "Sony Issues Dylan CDs to Extend Copyright", New York Times (Arts, Jan. 8, 2013).  Online here.

In sum, Sony issues an album of early, previously unreleased Bob Dylan recordings in order to take advantage of "use it or lose it" provisions under new European Union copyright law, extending protection from 50 to 70 years beginning in 2014.

iTunes, China, and Censorship

entitled "Songs for The New York Times reports (8/23/08; B8, "Arts, Briefly") that access to Apple's iTunes web site within China was blocked by Chinese Internet providers. Though Beijing authorities have not commented, the move was reportedly sparked by a free compilation album offered by iTunesTibet", which more than 40 Olympic athletes download.

AP to Bloggers - Fair Use?

Saul Hansell, The Associated Press to Set Guidelines for Using Its Articles in Blogs, 6/16/08 New York Times - Business/Media:

The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.

...which raises the question: can The AP define what infringes its copyright? Standards may provide guidelines to bloggers, but isn't it the Copyright Act (and the federal courts' interpretation thereof) that defines the standards as to what and what is not "fair use"?

More info here from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Check Yo' Self

The New York Times reports a growth in 2007 of digital music sales, but "digital sales have yet to make up for the shortfall in sales of compact discs, and overall sales of recorded music fell about 10 percent last year".

The article also notes the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's plan "to step up a campaign to hold Internet providers responsible for stopping piracy over their networks".

[Eric Pfanner, "Digital Music Sales Grow, but at Slower Rate", The New York Times, at World Business (Jan. 25. 2008)]

You turn me on, I'm a Radio...

OTCS is shocked by the following data reported by the New York Times:

Of the 10 songs that have notched the most plays in one week, 8 joined the list
in the last three years. And the oldest of the 10, Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” dates only to 2002.

Wowzer. In today's world, is it possible for radio to break new artists like, for example, WMMS (Cleveland) broke David Bowie to the USA? Or is radio just a means of promoting downloads, and thus forcing top 40 to listeners at the bequest of the labels? The problem is, this is a self-perpetuating cycle. Radio keeps playing the same songs over and over because people want to hear popular songs (remember Outkast's "Hey Ya"?!) - but the more radio plays the songs, the more listeners realize what a limited medium radio is as compared to their iPods and satellite stations. As radio loses listeners, they play songs that are "popular" to attract listeners back. And so it goes... (But see the following justification from a program director who played one song 78 times last week: That is not so much out of concern over digital competition as it is a desire to respond to listeners’ busy lives. For real?)

Of course, this commentary relates only to pop-radio - there are still plenty of college/indie stations that play what they want to play (see any CMJ magazine!).

This Is What You Get, When You Mess With Us...

More Radiohead news: the band, in its post EMI days, continues to shun major labels. Among other news outlest, the New York Times reports:

Under the proposed deal, Radiohead would license the album, “In Rainbows,” for a specified period of time but retain ownership of the recording.

Take that "360 degree" deal! A band, retaining its copyright ownership in its work? What? What?! What?!?

Of course, it appears that the Licensee will be a traditional label, so not much new in terms of distribution and earning revenue off traditional products like CDs and mp3s. The #1 candidate on the radar right now for a US licensee is ATO Records, and though not a "major" US label, ATO certainly has its share of high-profile artists (e.g., David Gray, Ben Kweller).

Madge Moves On; Makes Money

My, oh my! Madge!

As the WSJ reports this morning, Madonna is leaving her record label, Warner Bros. Records, for...the concert promoter Live Nation? Yes, the very same Live Nation that clogs your in-box with Concert Updates, but that you don't unsubscribe from on the off-chance you can catch a gem, has now put on the record-label hat.

While I advocate challenges to the existing record-label model, I am curious how Live Nation will successfully be able to sell new Madonna albums. T-shirts - $25. Limited Edition Poster - $40. New Madonna CD - $50. Will people take the bait?

WSJ notes that:

It isn't clear when her first album for Live Nation would be delivered, nor is it clear how the promoter would distribute and promote the album, since the company has limited infrastructure to do so....People briefed on the deal speculated that Live Nation would enter a licensing arrangement with one or more traditional labels to release her albums.

No, it isn't clear.

Also, how much of a shock to the industry is this really? Madge is Madge, but how many other acts out there would (a) be able to afford lawyers to negotiate this kind of deal, (b) even be considered for this kind of deal, and/or (c) opt to venture into "virgin" territory? We all know that the real money for artists is in touring, and that big artists don't even really need labels if they have the built in fan-base. (Radiohead itself just released its new album exclusively on its website. See also Jeff Leeds, "In Radiohead Price Plan, Some See a Movement", New York Times (10/11/07 - Music) ("Radiohead is in a position that can’t easily be replicated — it completed its long-term recording contract with the music giant EMI while retaining a big audience of obsessive fans")).

But still - how plausible is this for the little...or even the medium...guy?

So mazel tov Madge, on a job well-done. But whether others will follow this Oregon Trail...I doubt it.