Tag: Music Industry

The Truth About Remixes

The Truth About Remixes

Innovation is a remix of the past. Time and time again, we find the most groundbreaking inventions are improvements upon past creations. Take the flash drive for example. The development of personal computers brought about the “need to store more and more information… with [the desire of] portability… from machine to machine (Londonip, 2014).” The flash drive was created in order to fill the void left behind by its predecessor, the floppy disc, in order to give consumers more freedom in terms of capacity and convenience. Similar stories are prevalent throughout history. The past serves as the foundational building blocks of the future.

The storyline in RIP: A Remix Manifesto that I found to be the most compelling illustration of copyright law was the idea that culture always builds on the past (SocialRedChannel, 2013). Advancement is nearly impossible without an application of previous knowledge. In the case of music, it’s almost unreasonable to think that new sounds can be created without incorporating or modifying old sounds. Artists will always look to the past in order to connect with their audience, illustrate an appreciation for past cultures, strengthen their musical compositions, and create imaginative recordings that challenge the status quo. If artists were not allowed to build upon the past, music would not be where it is today. Take Rock N Roll, for example. The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Foundation identifies the genres of Rhythm & Blues, Country, Jazz, Gospel, and Folk as Rock N Roll’s “immediate roots (RockHall, 2013).” If that’s the case, then one of the greatest genres in music is a mashup. Hip-Hop can also be considered a mashup. It builds upon past genres like Rock does, but it is also heavily influenced by sampling. One of the most iconic figures in Hip Hop, Jay-Z, recently sampled Nina Simone’s Four Women on his daring single The Story of O.J. (Unterberger, 2017). He did so in order to pay homage to the previous creator, and expand on the ideas of the original record. Jay-Z wanted to give his take on the topic and put a modern twist on the song. 21 Savage also recently sampled Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Flashbulbs on his single, Bank Account (Unterberger, 2017). Both songs reached the Billboard 100, with the Story of O.J. peaking at #23 and Bank Account reaching #12 (Billboard, n.d.). Is it merely coincidence that a genre so heavily influenced by sampling is now the most popular genre in the music industry (Nielsen, 2018)? I don’t think so. The fact that Hip Hop can take something old and make it into something new is one of the reasons why it is so popular today. It’s daring, imaginative, and creative. It’s a culture that consistently builds on the past, and it’s driving the music industry into the future.

I understand that authors should have protection when it comes to guarding their intellectual property, but progression should be the ultimate goal, not inertia. We are in an era where things move at a very rapid pace. Creators are extremely active and need the proper tools to produce the products of the future. However, copyright law puts a limit on what they can utilize. It prevents culture from moving forward.

The fact of the matter is, mashups are “the result of two or more sources of content or data” being blended together to create a new application (Gerber, 2006). We use “mashups” every day. For example, internet sites such as Expedia and Priceline are mashups that allow consumers to easily compare vacation plans. Another example of a mashup is Angie’s List, “a directory service of general contractors, with customer reviews and opinions (Gil, 2018).” Some may argue that internet mashups and music mashups are very different, but the concept is the same: combine two or more sources of data in order to create an innovative way of consumption. The only real difference is, internet mashups connect the consumer to the seller. Music mashups, on the other hand, are viewed as competition to the original creation. But that misconception can be corrected through collaboration, in my opinion.

What many mashup artists don’t realize is that the original authors often feel like they are being undercut and unappreciated. Coherently, resistance will always be felt when creating something revolutionary that defies the norm. The phonograph was resisted by composers that were accustomed to making money from sheet music. Digital downloads were resisted by labels and artists that grew comfortable generating profits from physical albums. And streaming applications were resisted by companies that believed consumers should pay for a copy of music, instead of a subscription. In the end, that resistance eventually became support. I believe the same will occur when it comes to mashups, sampling, and remixing, but collaboration among all parties would certainly make things much smoother. Collaboration will turn resistance into support, especially if that same support becomes compensation.

Mashups should be legal, as long as the original author is acknowledged and profits with the new artist. As I explained earlier, mashups push music forward and have the power to create new genres, which will turn create new customers, new products, and new markets. Making mashups legal will create revolutionary styles of music that define previous classifications, which will grow the industry as a whole. While it’s unknown how much money Jay-Z or 21 Savage paid to clear the samples from Four Women and Flashbulbs (respectively), it’s clear that mashups are embraced as long as the original copyright owner is compensated. But money should not limit creativity. Everyone should be allowed to create, especially in music. While I believe that mashups should be legal, there should be some guidelines, rules, and regulations that protect the original creators. Here are the rules I propose:

  • A mashup should not be made to purposely discredit the original author. It should be used as a building block to create something new, not as a stepping stone to destroy a piece of art. Malice should be prohibited.
  • The original author has to be credited, and he must be entitled to royalties if the new creation is generating revenue. This brings me to my next point.
  • Mashups should not contain more than 9 samples. The more samples that are in a mashup, the harder it is to determine a royalty percentage. If the authors are capped at 10, the process can be simplified by establishing that each author is entitled to 10% of royalties. However, these can be negotiated among the creators, depending on the significance of each sample and the final product.

These three rules should satisfy many of the demands made by music artists and labels when it comes to mashups.

I believe copyright is a necessary law that empowers creators and allows them to benefit from the execution of their ideas. It puts the power in the hands of authors and copyright owners. That’s my personal opinion. Many people can think of brilliant ideas, but it takes effort and commitment to execute on those concepts. People who can make their ideas a reality should be rewarded, appreciated, and protected. However, I believe some changes can be made to improve copyright law. “Broadening copyright protection to encompass new forms of creative expression has been a consistent and driving force behind the evolution of copyright law (Carpenter, 2016)” yet mashups have been consistently resisted in the digital era. That needs to change.

Today’s world is extremely different than it was when the Constitution was created. There is no way that our founding fathers could have predicted a digital era, where written letters, postal systems, and newspapers have essentially been replaced by cellphones, the internet, and computers. They couldn’t have predicted that music would turn into a billion-dollar industry, where an artist has the ability to make money every time a listener hears their song. And they certainly couldn’t have predicted that technology would permit any person to be an inventor/creator. So how can we continue to implement the same laws from the 1700s in a 21st Century world? We have to make changes, in order “to promote the progress of science and useful arts (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 8, 1787).” The two changes I would like to be seen made to copyright law include the following:

  1. Reduce the terms of copyright from 70 years after the original author’s death to 10 years. For corporations, change it from 90 years to 20. The logic behind this is simple, get the most out of your creation as quickly as possible and prevent monopolization. If you have a brilliant piece of work, you shouldn’t be idle in capitalizing on the benefits. Get on it immediately. If you cannot get the most out of your work in 10-20 years, someone else should be given the opportunity to realize its full potential. It will put pressure on creators/inventors to make use of their products in the immediate future, as well as prevent corporations from monopolizing music (i.e. Warner and the Happy Birthday song).
  2. Allow others to make alternate versions (derivatives) of the original creation, as long as royalties are paid to the original author. This will solve many of the problems people have with copyright law, and will take the shackles off 21st century creators. Some people cannot pay upfront to secure licensing, but imagination shouldn’t be exclusive to the wealthy. Everyone should be allowed to exhibit their creativity. This proposed change will create a level playing field for all creators, while properly acknowledging and compensating original authors. As long as the derivative shows some level of creativity and doesn’t directly attack the original author, it should be permitted.

Copyright law covers a wide variety of works, but as an artist and music professional, I can only give my perspective through a musical scope. Copyright should protect authors and original creations, but it shouldn’t deter others from building upon those creations in order to push our culture forward. Instead of outlawing creativity and shackling those who break copyright law (figuratively and literally), collaboration should be encouraged and changes should be implemented to reflect a 21st Century world. Only then will our society truly be able to maximize imagination and creativity. Only then will our culture be able to evolve and move forward.

References

Billboard. (n.d.). 21 Savage chart history – Bank Account. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/music/21-savage/chart-history/hot-100/song/1034072

Billboard. (n.d.). Jay-Z chart history – The story of O.J. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/music/jay-z/chart-history/hot-100/song/1032734

Carpenter, M. M. (2016). If It’s Broke, Fix It: Fixing Fixation. Columbia Journal Of Law & The Arts, 39(3), 355-364. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.oclc.fullsail.edu:81/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asu&AN=115389537&site=ehost-live

Gerber, R. S. (2006). Mixing It up on the Web: Legal Issues Arising from Internet “Mashups”. Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal18(8), 11-14. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.oclc.fullsail.edu:81/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=21673641&site=ehost-live

Gil, P. (2018, April 2018). What is an internet ‘mashup’? Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-internet-mashup-2483413

Londonip. (2014, September 15). 20 groundbreaking inventions from the last 100 years. Retrieved from http://www.londonip.co.uk/20-groundbreaking-inventions-from-the-last-100-years/

Nielsen. (2018, January 3). 2017 U.S. Music Year-End Report. Retrieved from http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2018/2017-music-us-year-end-report.html

Rock Hall. (2013, October 18). The roots and definition of rock and roll. Retrieved from https://www.rockhall.com/roots-and-definition-rock-and-roll

[SocialRedChannel]. (2013, August 1). RiP: A remix manifesto. Complete [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTH6_MGE98k

U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 8. Retrieved from https://fairuse.stanford.edu/law/us-constitution/

Unterberger, A. (2017, December 29). The 50 best samples, covers and references of 2017: Critic’s picks. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/list/8084999/best-samples-covers-references-2017

4 hands are better than one

4 hands are better than one

It’s well known that many artists do not write their own songs. As songwriters get more public recognition in the music industry, many fans are coming to the realization that the lyrics they love may not have came from their favorite artists. But how many songwriters does it take to make a hit song?

Apparently, four is the magic number. The top 50 Billboard songs have an average of four songwriters, ranging from 1 (Ed Sheeran’s Perfect) to 16 (Cardi B’s Be Careful). The list below was constructed by searching LyricsOnDemand’s database, which lists the songwriters of each song under the lyrics. How many songwriters contributed to your favorite radio song?

Billboard Top 50 – Week of June 09, 2018

 

Rank Artist and Song Songwriters Names of Songwriters
1 Drake Nice for What 12 Aubrey Drake Graham / Chauncy Hawkins / Corey Woods / Orville Hall / Dennis Coles / Phillip Price / Marvin Hamlisch / Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman / Russell Tyrone Jones / Clifford Smith / Shane Lee Lindstrom
2 Post Malone Psycho 4 Austin Richard Post / Carl Austin Rosen / Louis Bell / Tyrone William Griffin
3 Drake God’s Plan 5 Aubrey Graham / Noah Shebib / Matthew Samuels / Ronald LaTour / Daveon Jackson
4 Childish Gambino This is America 2 Donald Glover / Ludwig Goransson
5 Zedd The Middle 7 Jordan Johnson / Anton Zaslavski / Kyle Trewartha / Stefan Johnson / Sarah Aarons / Michael Trewartha / Marcus Lomax
6 Lil Baby Yes Indeed 2 Dominique Jones / Aubrey Graham
7 Cardi B I Like it 6 Belcalis Almanzar / Kleonard Raphael / Benito Martinez / Jose Osorio / Tony Pabon / Manny Rodriguez
8 Ella Mai Boo’d Up 4 Dijon Isaiah Mcfarlane / Ella Mai / Joelle Marie James / Larrance Levar Dopson
9 Bebe Rexha Meant to Be 4 Bleta Bebe Rexha / David Garcia / Joshua Miller / Tyler Reed Hubbard
10 Ariana Granda No Tears left to cry 4 Ilya Salmanzadeh / Savan Kotecha / Max Martin / Ariana Grande
11 Shawn Mendes In My Blood 4 Shawn Mendes / Geoff Warburton / Teddy Geiger / Scott Harris
12 BlocBoy JB Look Alive 3 Aubrey Graham / Brytavious Chambers / James Baker
13 Mashmello Friends 3 Marshmello; Natalie Dunn; Anne-Marie Nicholson
14 Migos Walk it Talk it 6 Aubrey Graham / Grant Andrew Decouto / Joshua Isaih Parker / Kiari Kendrell Cephus / Kirsnik Khari Ball / Quavious Keyate Marshall
15 Juice Wrld Lucid Dreams 1 Jared Higgins
16 Camila Cabello Never be the same 6 Adam Feeney / Camila Cabello / Jacob Ludwig Olofsson / Noonie Bao / Rami Dawod / Sasha Yatchenko
17 Ed Sheeran Perfect 1 Ed Sheeran
18 Imagine Dragons Whatever it takes 5 Benjamin Arthur McKee / Daniel Coulter Reynolds / Daniel James Platzman / Daniel Wayne Sermon / Joel Little
19 Drake I’m upset 1 Aubrey Graham
20 Bazzi Mine 3 Andrew Bazzi / Kevin White / Mike Woods
21 Cardi B Be Careful 16 Belcalis Almanzar / Mathew Samuels / Anderson Hernandez / Jordan Thorpe / Marilyn Bergman / Alan Bergman / Robert Diggs / Lauryn Hill / Clifford Smith / Lamont Hawkins / Dennis Coles / Gary Grice / Jason Hunter / Russell Jones / Corey Woods / Marvin Hamlisch
22 Kane Brown Heaven 3 Lindsay Rimes / Matthew John McGinn / Shy Carter
23 Post Malone Rockstar 6 Austin Post / Louis Bell / Olufunmibi Awoshiley / Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph / Carl Austin Rosen / Jo-Vaughn Virginie
24 Maroon 5 Wait 4 Adam Noah Levine / Ammar Malik / Jacob Kasher Hindlin / John Henry Ryan
25 Camila Cabello Havana 8 Adam Feeney / Jeffrey Williams / Pharrell Williams / Andrew Watt / Brian Lee / Ali Tamposa / Brittany Talia Hazzard / Camila Cabello
26 Lil Dicky Freaky Friday 5 Cat Cashmere / Chris Brown / David Burd / Dijon Mcfarlane / Twice As Nice
27 Rich the Kid Plug Walk 2 Dimitri Roger, Grant Dickinson
28 Taylor Swift Delicate 3 Taylor Swift / Max Martin / Karl Johan Schuster
29 The Weekend Pray for me 4 Abel Abraham Tesfaye / Adam King Feeney / Kendrick Lamar / Martin Mckinney
30 Post Malone Better Now 4 Austin Post / William Walsh / Adam Feeney / Louis Bell
31 Dua Lipa New Rules 3 Caroline Ailin / Emily Warren / Ian Kirkpatrick
32 Calvin Harris One Kiss 3 Jessica Reyez / Dua Lipa / Adam Richard Wiles
33 Nicky Minaj Chun-Li 2 Onika Tanya Maraj / Jeremy Reid
34 Luke Combs One Number Away 4 Luke Combs / Steven Andre Battey / Sammy Mitchell / Robert Steven Williford
35 Khalid Love Lies 5 Jamil George Chamas / Khalid Robinson / Normani Kordei Hamilton / Ryan Vojtesak / Tayla Parx
36 Casper Te Bote 6 Luis Antonio Quinones García / Julio Cruz García / Benito Martínez Ocasio / Darell Castro / Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado / Nick Rivera Caminero
37 Dan + Shay Tequila 3 Dan Smyers / Jordan Reynolds / Nicolle Anne Galyon
38 Selena Gomez Back to You 5 Amy Allen / Selena Gomez / Micah Rayan Premnath / Diederik Jan Van Elsas / Parrish Alan Warrington
39 Bruno Mars Finesse 8 Christopher Steven Brown / Bruno Mars / Jeremy Reeves / Jonathan Yip / James Edward II Fauntleroy / Philip Lawrence / Ray Charles II McCullough / Ray Romulus
40 The Wekkend Call out my name 3 Abel Tesfaye / Nicolas Jaar / Adam Feeney
41 Kendrick Lamar All the stars 5 Alexander William Shuckburgh / Kendrick Lamar / Mark Anthony Spears / Solana I. Rowe / Anothony Tiffith
42 Jason Aldean You make it easy 4 Brian Kelley / Jordan Schmidt / Morgan Cole Wallen / Tyler Reed Hubbard
43 XXXtentacio Sad! 2 Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy / John Cunningham
44 Offset Ric Flair Drip 3 Bijan Amir / Kiari Kendrell Cephus / Leland Taylor Wayne
45 ASAP Rocky Praise the lord 3 Rakim Mayers / Joseph Adenuga / Hector Delgado
46 6ixN9ne Tati 1 Daniel Hernandez
47 Juice Wrld All girls are the same 3 Danny Snodgrass / Jarad A. Higgins / Nick Mira
48 Nicky Jam X 3 Juan Velez, J Balvin, Jeon
49 Dua lipa IDGAF 6 Dua Lipa / Jason Allen Dean / Joseph Davis Kirkland / Lawrence Michael Principato / Skyler Stonestreet / Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike
50 Powerglive Rae Sremmurd 4 Aaquil Brown / Khalif Brown / Justin Houston / Michael Len Williams

Resources

Billboard. (2018, June 09). The Hot 100. Retrieved from https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/2018-06-09

Lyrics on Demand. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lyricsondemand.com/

The Future of A&R

The Future of A&R

A&R’s find and discover talent that can be commercially successful in the music industry. According to Music Clout, they used to “serve as the middleman between the artist and record label and work very closely with the artist,” but now “the power of an A&R rep [has been] diminished” due to the advancements of technology (n.d.). The internet creates a direct path from artist to audience. It also creates a transparent ceiling where music companies can gaze down on musicians and see which ones are making traction. Once they have identified artists that have an established following and show the potential to be commercially successful, they can come down and swoop them up from the indie scene (or at least try). I believe the role of an A&R rep has shifted from seeking talent to seeking people with a paying audience, but there’s nothing wrong with that. According to McCready, “A&R’s primary business function is to… reduce the likelihood of failure in the marketplace (2011).” If that’s the case, then seeking a paying audience rather than talent is fulfilling the primary business function of an A&R. Talent doesn’t pay the bills, but in the world of music streaming, an audience that listen does.

I believe A&R is necessary for small and major labels. Many acts in the music industry are short-lived, but “good A&R’s can… push artists further. (Lindvall, 2011).” A large audience will not always translate to large revenues. Music is basically free now thanks to streaming, so even though an artist can have many listeners, it is not guaranteed that they will turn into paying customers. A good A&R will be able to identify and exploit revenue generating opportunities using an artist’s brand and character. A good A&R can also work closely with the artist to further develop their brand and convince their audience that he/she is worth seeing in a live setting. There are many things an A&R Rep can provide, but that doesn’t mean this support will necessarily come from an A&R rep.

The role of A&R has changed when compared to ten years ago, and will continue to change. The publishing side of the music industry is now more like the A&R Department. They sign artists and catalogues and work with them to get the most money out of the music, whether it be song placement in movies, TV shows, sports, or even video games. They also work with song writers too, which many labels fail to do. I think the role of A&R will eventually be provided by streaming companies, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. That is where most of the listeners are at, so what better way to develop as an artist and get your music heard than by getting plugged into a popular playlist by a major streaming company like Spotify?

“Big data” is a major factor in the music industry. For people like myself that enjoy numbers, data, and statistics, we thrive on it. It is easy for an artist to download an Excel file from YouTube or Spotify with all of their sales, statistics, and streams. In fact, these reports can easily be acquired from the artist’s digital distributor (TuneCore, CDBaby, etc.). This data has information on the listener and their activity, revealing gender, geographical location, age, and even the device they are using for listening. Many artists are not aware of the importance of this data so it is not vastly used, but for people who want to be involved in the business of music and want to create songs that will captivate their audience, this data is extremely important. Record labels and A&R’s use this data to determine what kind of records are worth investment/attention. As time passes and the value of “big data” is realized, I believe it will be utilized by everyone in the music industry, including A&R’s, artist managers, and even songwriters. The data is extremely valuable.

Resources

Lindvall, H. (2011, January 27). Behind the music: Is the A&R era over? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2011/jan/27/behind-music-industry-a-r

McCready, M. (October, 2011). Why the traditional A&R process is failing the industry and musicians alike. Retrieved from http://www.mikemccready.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/AR-Position-Paper1.pdf

Music Clout. (n.d.). The ugly truth about today’s A&R. Retrieved from https://www.musicclout.com/contents/article-110-the-ugly-truth-about-todays-ar.aspx

 

Evaluating the Strengths and Weaknesses of Music Companies

Evaluating the Strengths and Weaknesses of Music Companies

Interscope Records is a staple in the Music Industry. It is important to assess the major companies in your designated industry in order to learn how to conduct business and be efficient.

One strength for Interscope Records is their roster and portfolio. They have very established artists that can generate buzz, produce revenues for the company and draw talent. Some of the bigger acts include: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Kendrick Lamar, Madonna and Selena Gomez. Below are some figures that show how popular and wealthy these artists are.

Interscope Artists – Networth and IG Followers
Artist Net Worth IG Followers
Dr. Dre $830m 2.9m
Madonna $800m 10.2m
Eminem $190m 14.5m
Gwen Stefani $100m 7.1m
Selena Gomez $60m 128m
Kendrick Lamar $35m 7.7m

These music figures are brands with extreme influence over the entertainment industry. Having these assets gives Interscope strength because these artists are brands that can persuade the general population to support Interscope, which will lead to greater brand awareness and revenues for the company.

A weakness of Interscope is their inability to devote valuable resources equally among artists. According to an article published on The Balance, “as a new signing… [artists are] likely to find [themselves] fighting for attention from the label” (McDonald, 2017). Having huge acts under Interscope’s umbrella creates challenges for the company. A new artist may sign with the company in hopes of accelerating their music career, but will likely find themselves struggling to gain the support from the label. Capital is often allocated to projects that have the highest rate of return. It will be difficult for a new artist to gain funding for their project if Kendrick Lamar requires those same resources. This weakness is the side-effect of having a star-studded roster, but it’s still a weakness nevertheless.

The departments that would be responsible for Interscope’s strengths and weaknesses include the A&R Department, the Finance group and the Marketing team. The A&R Department is responsible for finding and developing talent. This team works with artists to keep them happy and grow their career, while ensuring the talent creates revenue for Interscope. They played a major role in establishing the acts I have listed above (strength) but they are also relied upon to cater to new artists. When they cannot get new acts the resources they need to elevate their career, they are creating internal weaknesses for the company. Finance has a role in the strengths and weaknesses as well because they must properly present projects in a way that upper manage finds appealing and noteworthy. When they present the projects effectively, they get the capital needed to pursue them. However, if they cannot show the benefits of the projects they can be put on hold. The effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the Finance group affects new and established artists, which can either magnify the strength or weakness I have listed. Lastly, the marketing team must promote artists and bring appealing products to the general public’s attention. They are strengthening the company when they successfully promote a new album by Kendrick Lamar, but weakening it when new acts feel ignored or overlooked, which will eventually lead to broken ties. These three departments must function at the highest level in order to fortify strengths and diminish weaknesses.

One great opportunity for Interscope Records is music streaming. Striking deals with home speakers like Google Home or Echo are opportunities that Interscope should invest time and resources on. Perhaps there can be some sort of agreement that Interscope’s artists stream out of the speakers when a person feels like casually listening to music while cooking or cleaning. Music companies must be creative in order to get the most out of music streaming while it’s trending.

A threat for Interscope Records is the rise of independent artists. Technology and social media has given artists the tools to build their brands without the help of conventional record labels. As stated in an article published on Forbes, “streaming services like Apple Music are stepping in to oversee traditional label responsibilities…, making the future of artist development even more cryptic.” (Hu, 2016). Technological and social companies are able to support artists in the same ways a music company can, with a little bit more flexibility. Artists no longer need to rely on music companies like Interscope to launch their career. There are more options on the market now, which will continue to threaten Interscope’s ability to attract the talent they need to remain relevant.

Trends that have impacted Interscope Records is the rise of social media and the way technology has been successfully interwoven with music. Music streaming is a perfect example of this notion. This is a both an opportunity and a threat. The opportunities involve embracing this new innovative music listening experience. Music streaming allows artists and companies to gain revenues every time a fan plays their music. On the flip side, the payouts offered by music streaming platforms are minimal. This creates a threat because artists want to make the most money out of their craft. It’s a slippery slope that record companies must approach very carefully. They want artists to embrace this new music listening experience, but in order to do so they must offer other incentives. I think the record labels that can convey the benefits of music streaming, while still offering artists creative ways to earn more money from recorded music, will flourish under this current environment. I trust that Interscope, under the guidance of UMG, will be able to do just that.

 

Resources

Hu, C. (2016, October 15). The Record Labels Of The Future Are Already Here. Forbes. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cheriehu/2016/10/15/the-record-labels-of-the-future-are-already-here/#7e308fd7872a

Celebrity Networth. (n.d.). Selena Gomez’s Net Worth. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from:  https://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/singers/selena-gomez-net-worth/

Strohm, M. (2017, February 8). Dr. Dre Net Worth. Bankrate. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: http://www.bankrate.com/lifestyle/celebrity-money/how-music-mogul-dr-dre-grew-his-net-worth/

Terry, L. (2017, June 23). Eminem’s net Worth is $190 million. Bankrate. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: http://www.bankrate.com/lifestyle/celebrity-money/eminem-net-worth/

Zelinsky-Syarto, M. (2017, April 10). Gwen Stefani’s Net Worth is $100 million. Bankrate. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: http://www.bankrate.com/lifestyle/celebrity-money/gwen-stefani-net-worth/

Dabholkar, S. (2017, April 12). “King of West Coast Rap” Worth? Earn the Necklace. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: https://www.earnthenecklace.com/new-2016-album-kendrick-lamar-net-worth-will-rise-even/

Lynch, J. (2014, December 2). Madonna Bests Paul McCartney as World’s Richest Recording Artist. Billboard. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6334796/madonna-paul-mccartney-worlds-richest-list

McDonald, H. (2017, March 6). Understanding the Pros and Cons of Label Record Deals. The Balance. Retrieved on October 4, 2017 from: https://www.thebalance.com/major-label-record-deals-understanding-the-pros-and-cons-2460377

Lessons from Vinyl’s Resurgence

Lessons from Vinyl’s Resurgence

The music industry is constantly evolving with the fast pace development of technology, as are many products and services in the world of commerce. Although technology tends to move us forward, ever so often it satisfies nostalgia. Whenever these situations occur, one must examine it in order to find further opportunities.

Although vinyl sales make up a small portion of the music industry’s revenue as a whole, I believe the trend is noteworthy and deserves attention because it provides insight into a far greater theme. Business Insider published an article last month about the uptick in vinyl sales. It was accompanied by great graphs and stats.

As the music industry becomes more intertwined with technology, physical music mediums are beginning to diminish. Streaming platforms have made the distributing of music a seamless process. One no longer has to go to a record store (or a digital store) in order to access music. Spotify and Apple Music provides a colossal catalogue of songs for a monthly payment. The advancement of technology contributed to the rise of music streaming and consequently minimized the power of physical (and digital) record sales. One example that illustrate this notion is vehicle manufacturing. New cars are no longer sold with CD players. Smart Technology in vehicles allows one to play their favorite songs from their mobile device; physical music mediums are no longer required. However, I find it ironic that vinyl records could see a consistent increase in sales during the music streaming revolution. It is my conclusion that this trend is occurring because although music streaming has the capacity to deliver tunes to us in a convenient manner, it is inadvertently diminishing the consumer’s listening experience. Fans are attempting to regain that higher involvement with music by looking to the past, but it’s up to us in the industry to reinvent that feeling and bring it to the present.

I believe this trend illustrates the idea that more and more music fans want an enhanced listening experience. Two examples I can think of are headphones and live concerts. High cost headphones have seen an upsurge in the past few years. Since 2013, headphone unit sales have annually increased by 11% on average, according to Statista. When Beats by Dre came out a few years ago, they were marketed as providing studio quality sound in a fashionable package. Fans wanted that greater listening experience, so they bought into expensive headphones/earphones. They have continued to do so on a consistent basis. Festivals and concerts are also becoming more prevalent among music fans. According to statistics compiled by Statistic Brain, concert ticket sales have increased by approximately 37% since 2011. These figures are astounding and they all have a common theme: People don’t want to listen to music, they want to experience it. The upsurge in vinyl sales provides perspective into this notion.

Since vinyl sales make up a very small percentage of music industry revenues (4.6% in 2016), I do not believe it will have a personal or professional impact on me within the next few years. However, the overlaying theme in the trend (people wanting a superior listening experience) most certainly will. Music companies and artists will have to be creative in order to capitalize on this opportunity. Making great music is not enough; it has to be delivered in exceptional fashion.

The two graphs I found on BusinessInsider.com do a great job of providing insight into the trend. The first one illustrates the change in sales, while including the vinyl market share as well. However, I believe the graph is still ambiguous. There is missing information and figures that could provide greater insight into the trend. The vinyl pie graph has information I would like to see incorporated into the first chart, but I also believe adding the age demographics of vinyl buyers, as well as music genres, would be beneficial. This is too much information for one graph so I think splitting the information onto two separate charts would be the best option. I created mock graphs with made-up figures to illustrate how the graphs would look. I attached the graphs, but also provided the Excel workbook with all of the data for those who would like to see it.

Three external factors that could influence the trend of vinyl sales (and ultimately the music consumer’s desire for a greater listening experience) include: Customer Base, Technology, and Music Companies/Artists. According to an article published in 2016 by Digital Music News, people aged 18-34 account for nearly 50% of all vinyl purchases. Most of this age demographic wasn’t even around when vinyl was the dominant source of recorded music revenue. This customer base is also the age group most active in music listening. Only time will tell how the upcoming generations will choose to experience music. I believe there is still a huge untapped market in the older demographic age group. Technology is also a factor that will affect the way people experience music. Artificial Intelligence is slowly creeping it’s way into the music industry. Market adaptability and the capacity to target new opportunities technology presents will determine whether the industry can continue to grow with technology, or get left behind. The last factor, is music companies and artists. As I stated before, music companies and artists must find ways to deliver music in new and creative ways. Streaming is trending right now, but as royalty percentages decrease (new licensing deals between music companies and streaming platforms wanting lower royalty payouts) complications will eventually arise. Artists such as Jay-Z have already taken a stand against low royalty pay outs by removing large portions of their catalogue from streaming sites. I believe other artists will do so in the future as well. This will result in innovative methods being utilized to deliver music, outside of streaming platforms. Artists and music companies must be able to leverage technology in order to appeal to consumers and give them the heightened listening experience and fulfill their unmet desires.

Resources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/bpi-annual-yearbook-charts-that-show-the-current-state-of-the-music-industry-2017-5

https://www.statista.com/statistics/327000/worldwide-sales-headphones-headsets/

http://www.statisticbrain.com/concert-ticket-sale-statistics/

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/04/15/whos-even-buying-vinyl/

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