Category Archives: Hustlenomics

Music Think Tank Weekly Recap: First Indie Album • Growth Hacks • Metadata • More

6a00d83451b36c69e201b8d1b7a85c970c-150wiOn MusicThinkTank this week, we had pieces covering how to launch your first indie album, key growth hacks for a building a solid music career, why you really ought to care about metadata, and more.

Record Store Day 2017 Top Selling Singles, Albums & More

RecordStoreDayLogoTwo legacy artists topped the sales charts for Record Store Day 2017 according to BuzzAngle. The Grateful Dead’s “Vancouver 7/29/66” was the top selling album of the day, while The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” was the top selling single.

Year-over-year (single-day RSD 2017 vs single-day RSD 2016) % Change:

Category % Change
Total Album Sales +6%
Vinyl Album Sales +14%
Vinyl Single Sales -3%

Analysis: Vinyl Album Sales on Record Store Day (4/22/17) at Independent Music Stores were up 14% compared to Record Store Day 2016 (4/16/16).* Just more than 3 out of every 4 albums purchased on Record Store Day were vinyl albums; 78% this year, up from 73% in 2016. Total album sales (combining CD & Vinyl) on Record Store Day (4/22/17) at Independent Music Stores were up 6% compared to Record Store Day 2016 (4/16/16).* Vinyl Single Sales on Record Store Day (4/22/17) at Independent Music Stores were down 3% compared to Record Store Day 2016 (4/16/16).* Vinyl Album Sales on Record Store Day (4/22/17) at Independent Music Stores were up 2,606% compared to the previous Saturday (4/15/17).* Overall Album Sales on Record Store Day (4/22/17) at Independent Music Stores were up 1,274% compared to the previous Saturday (4/15/17).

BuzzAngle Music Top 50 Albums Chart

Independent Record Stores, Saturday April 22, 2017

Rank Title Artist Label
1 P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 7/29/66 Grateful Dead Glorious Dead Recordings
2 Cracked Actor David Bowie Parlophone
3 Live At The Matrix ’67 The Doors Elektra
4 Live From Welcome To 1979 Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Southeastern Records
5 Greatest Hits Acoustic The Cure Elektra
6 Greatest Hits The Cure Elektra
7 Badfish Sublime Interscope
8 Rarities Stevie Nicks Atlantic Records
9 Lime and Limpid The Claypool Lennon Delirium ATO Records
10 Born Again The Notorious B.I.G. RCA Records
11 Decade Neil Young Reprise Records
12 Bowpromo David Bowie Parlophone
13 Space Jam: Music From and Inspired By The Motion Picture Various Artists Atlantic Records
14 Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness Coheed and Cambria Columbia Records
15 Live At Carnegie Hall Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Epic Records
16 Death Song The Black Angels Partisan Records
17 Stinson Beach Sessions The Head And The Heart Warner Bros.
18 Electric Lady Sessions Drive-By Truckers ATO Records
19 Live at The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 16, 1969 Santana Columbia Records
20 Live at Red Rocks 8.15.9 Dave Matthews Band RCA Records
21 Blade Runner Vangelis Atlantic Records
22 Mirage Alternative Fleetwood Mac Rhino Records
23 Live At The Agora,1978 The Cars Elektra
24 11/17/70 Elton John Island
25 Nilsson Schmilsson Harry Nilsson RCA Records
26 Really Rock ‘Em Right: Sun Records Curated By Record Store Day Volume 4 Various Artists ORG MUSIC
27 Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Columbia Records
28 Live at Austin City Limits Townes Van Zandt Fat Possum
29 Hot Thoughts Spoon Matador
30 Under Feet Like Ours Tegan And Sara Warner Bros.
31 Spotify Sessions Sia RCA Records
32 Dance Mix Madonna Rhino Records
33 Been Caught Stealing Jane’s Addiction Rhino Records
       
34 The Rising Tide Sunny Day Real Estate Bicycle Music
35 Seeds I: Angela And Long Way From Home The Lumineers Dualtone Music Group
36 The Offspring The Offspring Nitro
37 Live at George’s Club 20 Jimi Hendrix Legacy Recordings
38 Groove Is In The Heart / What Is Love? Deee-Lite Elektra
39 Caught In The Act Live Eric Church EMI Nashville
40 Coral Fang The Distillers Sire Records Group
41 The Johnny Cash Children’s Album Johnny Cash Columbia Nashville
42 Live In Perth Ben Folds with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Epic Records
43 Dogfish Head – Music To Drink Beer To: Volume 3 Various Artists Columbia Records
44 The Centennial Collection Robert Johnson Columbia Records
45 Marcy Playground Marcy Playground Slow Down Sounds
46 Perfect Night Live In London Lou Reed Reprise Records
47 Little Mess EP Grouplove Atlantic Records
48 First Weapon Drawn: A Narrated Adventure Czarface Silver Age
49 All Day & All Of The Night The Kinks BMG
50 The Acid Test Ken Kesey Jackpot Records

BuzzAngle Music Top 50 Singles Chart:

Independent Record Stores, Saturday April 22, 2017

Rank Title Artist Label
1 Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane The Beatles Capitol Records
2 Star Wars: A New Hope John Williams Walt Disney Records
3 Red Hill Mining Town U2 Island
4 State of Love and Trust / Breath Pearl Jam Epic Records
5 Interstellar Overdrive Pink Floyd Legacy Recordings
6 Little Red Corvette / 1999 Prince Warner Bros.
7 Boy With The Thorn In His Side The Smiths Rhino Records
8 What The Hell Have I b/w Get Born Again Alice In Chains Columbia Records
9 Cygnus X-1 Rush Mercury
10 Def Leppard EP Def Leppard Mercury
11 Thinking Of A Place The War on Drugs Atlantic Records
12 Live at Jones Beach Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes The Orchard
13 Stabitha Christie Against Me! Total Treble
14 All Together Now André 3000 RCA Records
15 Rollo / Portland Improvisation Frank Zappa Zappa
16 Batdance Prince Warner Bros.
17 Into The Cave We Wander Gerard Way Reprise Records
18 No Plan – EP David Bowie Columbia Records
19 Hey Joe / Piss Factory Patti Smith Rhino Records
20 Partyman Prince Warner Bros.
21 This Must Be The Place Talking Heads & Wildling Warner Bros.
22 Go Robot / Dreams Of A Samurai (Live) Red Hot Chili Peppers Warner Bros.
23 A Rose For Emily The Zombies Varese Sarabande
24 Africa Toto Columbia Records
25 I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man Prince Warner Bros.
26 Heaven Bound / Key To The Kingdom Sharon Jones with the E.L. Fields Gospel Wonders Daptone Records
27 Le Soleil Est Pres de Moi Air Parlophone
28 Sign O The Times Prince Warner Bros.
29 Back In Your Head Tegan And Sara & The Regrettes Warner Bros.
30 How Far I’ll Go (From Moana) Various Artists Walt Disney Records
31 Pop Life Prince Warner Bros.
32 Got Love If You Want It The Kinks BMG
33 Sea Change Thrice Vagrant Records
34 Ain’t It Funny Danny Brown Warp Records
35 Sick With Love b/w She Got It Together Buddy Guy RCA Records
36 Archives Series Volume No 3 Iron & Wine Black Cricket Recordings Col
37 I Wish U Heaven Prince Warner Bros.
38 Puppy Love Dolly Parton Yep Roc Records
39 Unreleased Demos 2017 Sublime with Rome 5 Music
40 Where My Train Pulls / All The Pretty Girls Gary Clark Jr./Kaleo Warner Bros.
41 Happy Street (Feat. Bill Murray) Paul Shaffer And The World’s Most Dangerous Band Rhino Records
42 Great Adventures Of Children’s Book Slick Rick Get On Down
43 Riot In The Streets / Better Man Than Me Pokey LaFarge Rounder
44 Brain Salad Surgery Emerson Lake & Palmer BMG
45 Slow Heart Balance and Composure Vagrant Records
46 Instrumentalist The Dillinger Escape Plan Cooking Vinyl
47 Live Steve Earle & The Dukes Warner Bros.
48 Better Off Dead The Wipers Jackpot Records
49 I Want You Back Again The Zombies The End Records
50 Terlingua / Off My Mynd Old 97’s ATO Records

To view the full set of charts: www.buzzanglemusic.com/charts.

10 Best Facebook Practices For Artists, Bands

FaceAlthough it can be one of the best social networks for bands and artists to promote themselves on, Facebook is a complicated animal, and proper execution is necessary for getting the most out of the site. Consequently, we’re taking a look at ten of the best practices for musicians using Facebook.

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Guest post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0

Facebook is one of the best social networks for artists and bands, but execution is everything in order to take full advantage of it. Here are the 10 best practices for artists and bands to increase your engagement.

1. Reach out to other artists. Ask a band whom you’re tight with to post your new music video/track/album art to their wall with a link back to your Facebook Page, and then return the favor. This is one of the best ways to use the network to expand your audience.

2. Take your fans backstage. Everyone loves to see behind the scenes, but fans are especially interested. It might seem insignificant to you, but any kind of backstage access is a big deal to them.

3. Go beyond the music. Your music is your marketing, but don’t forget to make any merch or touring info available as well. That said, don’t try to sell to your fans, just make these things easily available if they want it.

Rih4. Ask for input from fans. Communication is a two-way street and fans love to be asked their opinion on just about anything. Besides, they’re your fans so they know what they want.

5. Be as visual as possible. Music is an aural medium for sure, but either still or moving pictures add so much to the entire package that you can’t ignore them any more. Besides, it’s so easy to take pictures these days or make short videos with your smartphone, so you can’t use gear or expertise as excuses anymore.

Its-party-time6. Make everything an event. This is one of the secrets of multiple singles releases rather than full albums. Every release becomes an event. You can expand upon that idea in just about any direction, from gigs or giveaways on your birthday to your best fan’s birthdays, to making every gig a special occasion. Use your imagination.

7. Give as much as you take. Once again, communication is a two way street. Don’t just ask for things. You give some and you take some and vice versa. If you ask for information, give something away for free. This goes a long way in keeping your tribe happy.

8. Don’t forget the basics. Bios, press kits, pictures, and logos are still important, so be sure to have links to where people can get them if they want.

9. Offer exclusive content. The way to a fan’s heart is through exclusive content. If a fan can get exclusive mixes or movies that no one else can get, that legitimizes his or her fandom and makes them want it even more. Alternative mixes, outtakes, interviews are all inexpensive and easy to make content that any fan would love to have.

10. Use some tools. Make sure to take advantage of everything that Facebook has to offer, but also check out apps like Bandpage or Reverbnation for their event, sales and music plugins as well.

Following these 10 best practices will help to increase your Facebook fan engagement and your audience.

You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

Chance The Rapper Takes His Disdain For Record Labels On Tour [VIDEO]

image from frlmag.comChance The Rapper built his hugely successful career outside of the major label system.  And while a few critics see his lucrative one-off deal with Apple Music as a sellout, what the rapper has done with his platform and his money are undeniably independent.

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Now out on tour, Chance The Rapper is taking his very vocal disdain for the record industry to new heights.  

On a screen while Chance and his band perform are a series of unflattering takeoffs on record label names and logos. Atlantic Records becomes “A Titanic” Records, Aftermath Entertainment is renamed “Can’t Do Math Entertainment” and Def Jam Recordings is now “Don’t Join Recordings.”

What Is The Music Business Association? [Music Biz Weekly Podcast]

Music Biz Assoc.This week James Donio from the Music Business Association joins Michael Brandvold and Jay Gilbert to discuss how NARM evolved to become the Music Business Association, plus why DIY artists should be a member and attend the upcoming Music Biz 2017 in Nashville.

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Musicbiz weekly podcast logo

How To Gain Twitter Followers In 2017 [VIDEO]

Twitter-musicWhen they zig on Twitter, you should zag, says music marketer Sunny Stuart Winter. Sunny used his time at university to research social media influence and the psychology and sociology of social media behaviour. Here, he shares tips on what to do and not do when growing your base of followers on Twitter.

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More from Sunny here.

8 Ways To Avoid Self Sabotage When Building Your Music Career

CrumpWhile it’s hardly the easiest career for anyone to pursue, becoming some form of a full time self employed musician is certainly achievable provided, that is, you can get out of your own way. Here we look at eight ways to avoid ruining your music career before it’s even gotten off the ground.

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Guest post by The Tunedly Team of the Tunedly Blog

Stepping out with the decision to become an independent artist or music creator is pretty bold, considering the various challenges that the business entails. From building a fan base, to making your own songs, to at least managing to get a song heard by a large (enough) audience, the struggle is constant, especially in the early days.

However, as many have proven over the years, it is not impossible for any serious song lyricist, artist, or band to make their intended mark. How far you reach is often determined by your own mental attitude towards developing your career, and your approach to doing what it takes to get the outcomes you want. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, but once you understand that basic truth, everything else becomes clearer. Well, at least as long as you’re not getting in the way of your own development.

1. Know where you want to go and what it takes to get there

One of the keys to making it in the music business is to understand what needs to be done to get where you want to go. And while success is not guaranteed for anyone, there are some ingredients that are a given in order to have a real shot at it. Obviously, you need some level of talent, to begin with, but then you also need to work on creating the right image, as well as connecting with the right people and coming up with a strategy to get some exposure. You should also be prepared to invest some amount of cash in your career. Don’t think just because the internet now exists, it is cheap and easy to make your own songs and get free publicity.

2. Have the right mental attitude

ThmYou might have heard the phrase “your attitude determines your altitude.” While it might sound a tad corny, it is one of those sayings that carry a lot of truth and has been repeated by many successful people. A great mental attitude means not limiting yourself to small goals, but actually aiming for the highest possibilities. It means not thinking that you can’t afford to use high-quality music recording studios, but instead trying to figure out how to afford it. Settling for home-made recordings can seriously hurt your career.

It also means not focusing on the fact that you might not have a lot of financial resources, but instead thinking about the amount of money you can possibly make and actively doing daily activities to eventually get you there. The problem of starving artist syndrome is real and has whittled away at the careers of many talented individuals. Avoid this by continuing to think big, looking past the little things that are lacking and envisioning the goals you want to achieve.

3. Don’t compare your success with that of others who are already ‘there’

It’s easy to get caught up with other song lyricists, bands, and musicians who are well-known and try to model your success off theirs. After all, The Chainsmokers managed to make a hit out of “#Selfie,” so it should be easy for your ‘well-structured’ club anthem to get noticed too, right? Or if Miri Ben-Ari can make it as a crossover classical musician and end up winning a Grammy, then you should break the mold too because you can play the heck out of a stringed instrument as well, right?

Well, first of all, success comes differently for everyone. Ben-Ari, for instance, has recalled in interviews that she started playing the violin at age five and, even after so many years of training, was out in the wilderness for years after moving to New York from Israel. She has mentioned spending a lot of nights playing in numerous clubs without any recognition for years, before being finally discovered.

Hers and many more success stories often seem glamorous, almost fairytale-like when the headlines are being made. However, if you dig a little deeper, you will find that they often took a long time and much sacrifice to get where they are. So, is it a good idea for you to compare your success to other accomplished acts, who you feel you might be just as good as, or even better than talent-wise? Not unless you are willing to begin at the same spot where they began and do the same things they did. And even then, things and times have changed, so the way they did it back then might not work today.

You might be holding yourself back if you are looking at what a mainstream act is doing now and trying to mirror your own success off that, instead of taking the time to build your own buzz, as they did when they were at the same spot you are currently in.

4. Trust the process

Success rarely comes overnight in any form of business, music or otherwise. Instead, it’s a continuous process that you have to keep on repeating day in, day out until the work starts paying off. The process can be daunting at times, whether it is continuously seeking out the best song lyricists and music recording studios to collaborate with, in order to ensure your songs are of a consistently high quality, or hitting the road often in a bid to keep on meeting the right people.

Whatever it is, you have to trust ‘it’ and stay committed to the process until something gives. Bruno Mars could have ended up being a no-name after being discarded by Motown when he was just trying out his wings, but he stuck to what he knew and the rest is history.

5. Be prepared

PrepHow badly do you want to achieve your goals in music and how are you preparing to meet them? And what are those goals anyway? These are critical questions to ask yourself if you want to continue developing your craft and be in a state of readiness.

The truth is that many acts stay stuck in the quagmire of obscurity because they have either not asked themselves the important questions or aren’t prepared for opportunities that pop up from time to time. For example, you get an opportunity to pitch a song to a record label or popular artist, but your demos are not mixed properly, so even though you have some good lyrics, you end up getting turned down.

Your excuse might be that you couldn’t afford a professional music recording studio, but you could be looked at as being lackadaisical or just not ready for what you seek. After all, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to put your best foot (recording/performance/attitude) forward. Of course, being prepared doesn’t mean you will automatically kick down every door you enter; it just means you have a better chance of getting a foot in.

6. Continue to improve

Even if you feel like you’re all that and a bag of chips, there will always be something else to learn that could make you better. It could be improving on your writing to make you a better song lyricist, strengthening your vocals so you have more range, or learning an instrument that improves your overall skills that come in handy if you attempt to make your own songs.

Developing your skills and building your career is mostly up to you and the decisions you make, especially if you are an independent artist. Be aware of your weak areas and keep seeking for ways to build on them. Be aware of your strengths too and keep on training them. A strong muscle will eventually become weak if it is not being used regularly.

7. Do it for the love

The music business is not for the faint-hearted when one considers that there are so many artists that are not earning viable incomes from their music careers. In fact, recent reports show that almost 91 percent of current artists are listed as unrecognized. It’s little wonder that some quit after a few tries and successive failures.

If you are serious about building your career, it’s best to have a real love for it, rather than for monetary gains. If your motivation is just the money or fame that comes with being a popular artist, you are bound to get fed up and drop out if you’ve failed to achieve either after trying for some time.

Doing it for the love doesn’t guarantee success. However, it keeps you going and sets you up for the possibility of success down the road. Plus, being in the category of unrecognized is not necessarily a bad thing. Many of today’s chart-toppers were in that same position for many years before getting their big break. The question is, how long do you plan to stay there and what are your plans to find success; whatever that means to you?

8. Networking

Getting to know the right people in the music business is an important part of growing in it. Connecting with other artists and industry professionals will at least keep you in their minds so that when a need arises, it’s possible that you could be called upon to fill it.

The music business is one that is built on relationships and some of the most successful artists have been those who were able to continuously make the right ones. You also need to connect with regular people in order to build your fan base, so make use of social networking channels where you can both share your music and interact with listeners.

As you seek to develop your artistry, it is important to spend some time focusing on what your goals are and taking the necessary steps to collaborate with the right people and services. While the industry keeps changing, the formula for success remains pretty much the same. Keep out of your own way and you never know where the right mindset and work ethic could take you.

FCC Boss Reveals Nefarious Plan To Replace Net Neutrality Rules With Fluff, Nonsense

Neurope-euHaving already made his general contempt for net neutrality, it appears current FCC boss Ajit Pai plans to replace current regulations surrounding net neutrality with ‘voluntary commitments’ from major telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast, leaving any residual regulations the strained FTC.

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Guest post by Karl Bode of Techdirt

FCC boss Ajit Pai has made no secret of his disdain for net neutrality. Or, for that matter, his general disregard for the consumer-protection authority granted the agency he’s supposed to be in charge of. Pai had already stated that his “solution” — to his perceived injustice that is net neutrality — is to replace the government’s existing, hard net neutrality rules with “voluntary commitments” by the likes of AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. From there, he hopes to leave any remaining regulatory enforcement to the under-funded and over-extended FTC (we’ve explained why this is a notably bad idea here).

Adjit_V._Pai_headshotPai clarified his plans a little during a speech today in Washington, DC at an event hosted by FreedomWorks (which, not coincidentally, takes funding from the giant ISPs Pai is clearly eager to help). According to Pai, the FCC will issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making tomorrow to begin the process of rolling back Title II and killing net neutrality. The FCC will then vote on the proposal on May 18, according to the agency head. That means there will be a full public comment period (that’s where you come in) ahead of a broader vote to kill the rules later this year.

Pai’s full speech (pdf) was packed with conflations, half-truths, and statements that have been repeatedly, painstakingly debunked over the course of the last decade. Among them being the ongoing claim that net neutrality rules weren’t necessary — because incumbent ISPs had done nothing wrong:

“Nothing about the Internet was broken in 2015. Nothing about the law had changed. And there wasn’t a rash of Internet service providers blocking customers from accessing the content, applications, or services of their choice.

Pai apparently “forgot” the time that AT&T intentionally blocked iPhone users from using FaceTime unless they signed up for significantly more expensive mobile data plans. Or that time MetroPCS blocked all access to video on its introductory plans to drive users to costlier plans if they wanted the “full internet experience.” Or that time a small ISP named Madison River decided to block a competing VoIP provider. Or that time AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile blocked their users from using Google Wallet to help prop up their own mobile payment services. Or the longstanding allegations that Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others intentionally let their peering points get congested to kill settlement-free peering and force content and transit providers to pay an additional toll.

The idea that net neutrality rules are arbitrary and unnecessary is a joke, and if you still don’t believe consumers and startups need some kind of regulatory protection from giant (and ever-growing) broadband duopolists like Comcast, the joke’s on you. And it’s notably unfunny.

Pai, like most of the ISP allies in favor of gutting the rules, simply refuses to be proven wrong — no matter what the actual data shows. For years now, Pai has cited broadband industry-funded studies that try to claim that net neutrality rules severely hampered broadband investment, despite zero objective evidence that’s actually the case. But this being the post-truth era, Pai was quick to trot out the “Title II and neutrality killed investment” canard to the immense joy of the crowd of attending lobbyists, think tankers and other loyal ISP allies:

“So what happened after the Commission adopted Title II? Sure enough, infrastructure investment declined. Among our nation’s 12 largest Internet service providers, domestic broadband capital expenditures decreased by 5.6% percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016, the first two years of the Title II era. This decline is extremely unusual. It is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the Internet era.”

It never happened. What did happen: some telecom industry-funded think tanks cherry picked data to make it appear that investment had foundered, then repeated the fabrication they’d created, apparently believing that repetition forges truth. But if you spoke privately to most ISPs, they’d be telling you they saw no investment reduction under Title II. ISPs don’t oppose net neutrality and Title II because it makes investing harder; they oppose Title II and net neutrality because it prevents them from abusing the uncompetitive shitshow that is the broadband last mile.

What’s abundantly clear here is that net neutrality opponents have zero problem with lying to achieve one, singular goal: maximizing the income of large broadband providers to the detriment of consumers, competition, startups and the health of the internet. And Pai poured it on exceptionally thick during his speech at FreedomWorks, claiming that gutting oversight of some of the most anti-competitive and least liked companies in America will somehow magically improve broadband competition, create jobs, expand internet access, and more:

“Without the overhang of heavy-handed regulation, companies will spend more building next-generation networks. As those networks expand, many more Americans, especially low-income rural and urban Americans, will get high-speed Internet access for the first time. And more Americans generally will benefit from faster and better broadband.

Second, it will create jobs. More Americans will go to work building these networks. These are good-paying jobs, laying fiber, digging trenches, and connecting equipment to utility poles. And established businesses and startup entrepreneurs alike will take advantage of the networks that they build to create even more jobs.

Doesn’t that sound lovely? Except it’s not happening. If the claim that Title II and net neutrality stifled investment was bullshit, the narrative that removing these regulations magically creates jobs and competition is just as fantastical. If anything, turning a blind eye to duopolists like Comcast and Verizon as they abuse the lack of broadband competition to make life harder on streaming competitors (something they’re already doing) will have the opposite impact on existing and emerging internet markets to come. And if protecting ISP revenues is the top priority (and let’s not fool ourselves that it isn’t), actually fixing the industry’s competitive shortcomings will never be on Pai’s radar.

The problem Pai faces now is two-fold. One, net neutrality has broad, incredible bi-partisan support, and those consumers are certain to give him an earful during the public comment period that will begin after the May 18 vote. If Pai isn’t familiar with the concept of backlash and overreach, he may want to bone up on some history. Pai will also need to show to the courts that the market has changed dramatically enough since the FCC’s June 2016 win over ISPs to justify a massive reversal of the rules. If he can’t, his entire effort will be struck down.

As a lawyer Pai knows this, which is why I still think Pai’s playing a game of good cop, bad cop. Under this plan, Pai saber rattles for a few months about his intent to kill net neutrality, at which point the GOP shows up with some “compromise” legislation (likely this summer) that claims to codify net neutrality into law, but is worded in such a way (by the ISP lawyers that will inevitably write it) so the loophole-riddled “solution” is worse than no rules at all. If I were to guess, the legislation will come from Senator John Thune, who attempted to derail the 2015 net neutrality rules using a similar strategy.

It seems likely that neutrality opponent hubris could easily backfire. After all, every time ISPs have tried to kill net neutrality, the end result has been more stringent protections (as we saw when Verizon sued to overturn the FCC’s flimsy 2010 rules, only to get… tougher rules). That said, this fight still may be harder than previous battles. With Google and Netflix likely to be less active (they’re large enough now that they apparently think they no longer need to worry), the onus is going to be on grassroots activists, debate-fatigued consumers and startups to carry the brunt of the load this time around.

Music Publishing Update 4.28.17: Spotify Invests In Blockchain

Spotify-1360002_960_720

Spotify has acquired Mediachain Labs, the core team behind the open source Mediachain protocol, to develop a decentralized network for sharing data critical to getting songwriters paid – in other words, a blockchain.  

“Blockchain” has been a bit of a buzzword in the music industry lately, specifically within the publishing sector.  It’s certainly been a point of contention and debate amongst various industry players–publishers, songwriters, digital service providers, labels–but the adoption of a secure-but-shared hub where rights holders can enter and update their data and users of music can access that data has become inevitable to propelling the music industry forward.  

From Songtrust partner DotBlockchain to ASCAP, SACEM, and PRS teaming up with IBM, it seems that members from all different sectors of the music industry are trying their hand at solving its biggest problem: ensuring transparent, accurate, and open data for music users and creators to properly pay rights holders.  George Howard, Associate Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music and Co-Founder of Music Audience Exchange, recently wrote in Forbes of the importance of artists adopting blockchain technology in order to claim (and reclaim) control of their copyrights.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Mediachain noted their vision for “the future of media metadata: a shared data layer is key to solving attribution, empowering creators and rights owners, and enabling a more efficient and sustainable model for creativity online,” and described Spotify as a “champion of transparency and open data for artists.”  The partnership with the digital streaming service will leave Mediachain open source and openly licensed.

Mediachain was launched in 2016 with backing from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.  In an interview with George Howard in 2015, Andy Weissman of Union Square Ventures laid out a concise framework for applying blockchain technology to the music industry:

1. Assume no change in copyright laws in the US.

2. To afford yourself of those protections, you must ‘register’ your copy on the Blockchain. In that way, the ‘rights’ will be publicly listed. As those rights may be transferred, the chain of ownership will as well.

3. One benefit here could be that one could also stamp your own rules on that copy. Programmatically, we would see what you desire as to that piece of media and how it may be used. These of course could change over time, as you desire.

4. This would then be a decentralized registry, but even more as the rules would be machine-readable. This could enable apps and services to be built on top of them.

5. This could achieve the end state of being the ‘Nirvana music API.'”

Billboard describes the relationship between blockchain technology and the music industry as a “ledger that connect data ‘blocks’ containing data about every song and its rights holders.  The ledger is ownerless, with multiple participants able to contribute.”  The music industry news source also noted the music industry’s historical problems with messy and inaccurate metadata, and that Spotify’s new team of blockchain efforts can speed up the process of applying blockchain technology to the music industry, therefore “transform[ing] and streamline[ing] publishing and royalty payments to artists and rights owners.”

Apple Music To Relaunch With More Video, Original Programming [REPORT]

Apple-logoWhen Apple introduces the next version of its iOS later this year, it will reportedly include an new Apple Music app designed to emphasize video. Recent announcements of several Apple exclusive video series would seem to confirm the shift.

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image from static.highsnobiety.com

Apple Music honcho Jimmy Iovine is making deals to bring much more video to the service. That new emphasis on video will reportedly be the cornerstone of a revamped music app when Apple introduces the next version of its iOS operating software later this year.

Iovine all but confirmed Apple Music’s video ambitions in an interview with Bloomberg: “A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists. I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.” 

Several of the shows have been announced that provide a hint at just how music-centered Iovine’s video plans are including exclusives on documentaries about Cash Money Records, Bad Boy Records and Clive Davis, plius original shows like “Planet of the Apps,” the recently delayed “Carpool Karaoke” and “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” from Live Nation and Sean “Diddy” Combs.