Soft Cell are reuniting next month for their last show ever. That show, which will also be the legendary UK synthpop duo’s first in 15 years, is set to take place on 9/30 at London’s O2 Arena. But before that happens, they’re giving us their first new music in 15 years. More »
Today, Nicki Minaj used her Beats 1 show Queen Radio to double down on her supposedly “totally sarcastic” comments about Travis Scott illegitimately having the No. 1 album in the country over her own album Queen.
“What we’re not gonna do is have that Auto-Tune man selling fucking sweaters telling you he sold half a million albums, because he…
Thank You For Today, Death Cab For Cutie‘s ninth studio album delivers on the kind of emotional catharsis the Bellingham, Washington natives are now famous for. Though the album’s lead single, “Gold Rush,” tackles the complexities of the gentrification of Seattle, the rest of the songs paint a picture of personal lows and highs, equal parts rueful desolation and heartwarming nostalgia.
Opening track “I Dreamt We Spoke Again” is as wistful and devastating as the title implies; the tight-focus atmospherics of “Summer Years” give the track a sense of poignancy. “When We Drive” is a passionate plea for companionship. Even when Gibbard tries his hand at harshness, the tender melodies soften the blow (Witness “Your Hurricane,” where he sings, “You try to explain / Who’s at fault for your mistakes / I won’t be the debris / In your hurricane.”)
Album closer “60 & Punk” reinforces Gibbard’s masterful use of imagery. The track, which is full of gently dissonant peaks and valleys, is an interrogation of a musician who has fallen from grace. When Gibbard sings, “There’s nothing elegant in being a drunk / It’s nothing righteous being 60 and punk / But when you’re looking in the mirror do you see/ That kid that you used to be?,” it’s clear that he’s alarmed by both what that person has become—and how easily that fate could have been his own.
In 2015, using a report put out by Ernst & Young, we put together our own graphics showing how much of streaming went to the actual artists:
You may be noticing a pattern? Very little of the money being made actually goes to the artist. Now we have even more data on this. Citibank recently released a massive and incredibly thorough report on the entire music industry showing how and where the money is made. There’s lots of interesting and useful information in the report, but the headline grabbing fact is that musicians end up with just about 12% of global music revenue. As I said, the report is incredibly thorough (and a really useful read if you want to get a sense of just how convoluted and complex the music business really is), but the key is that there was ~$43 billion spent on music in 2017. Approximately $25 billion of that went to everyone (outside of the labels) who helped make the music available: digital streaming services, retail stores, concert venues:
That leaves $18.2 billion in money distributed out to the labels. But of that amount, only about $5 billion actually goes to artists, which means right around 12% goes to artists:
Of course, it’s especially notable that a significant chunk of that revenue going to artists actually comes from… live performances:
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Hell, we’ve spent the better part of two decades here talking about how artists need to embrace “scarcities” where they can make money, with live shows being a big part of that. And we kept having people from the recording industry scream about us saying that, but the numbers above don’t lie. Citibank notes that one of the big reasons why live drives so much artist revenue? You don’t have the same amount of monopolistic middlemen sucking the artists dry:
If we divide artists’ incomes into four groups — Concerts, Music Platforms (Spotify,
Apple, YouTube, Sirius, FM radio), Music Publishing, and Music Sales (CD, digital
downloads) — it’s clear that concerts have, by a wide margin, contributed most
significantly to the growth in an artist’s income. That’s because music labels don’t
directly participate in concert economics. But, they do participate in the revenues
collected by the various music platforms (like Spotify, Apple, Sirius and YouTube).
That statement isn’t 100% accurate, as many artists these days are signed to so-called 360 contracts, in which some of their live revenue also goes to the labels, but the general concept holds. In short, reading through this report, you see that the entire music ecosystem is a huge mess. And it’s not hard to see how this developed. Basically with each new layer of innovation, rather than rethinking how we handle music and copyright, we simply slapped on another set of royalties and rights. That’s why there are so many different kinds of royalties that have to be paid to do basically anything in music (synch rights, mechanicals, performance rights and more for each the sound recording and the composition). In the Citibank report they show this nice graphic, which I’d argue overly simplifies the reality:
But each of these really seems to be a use of copyright to prop up another set of middlemen, and remove the effects of competition and innovation from ever touching them. And so we keep building this ever more convoluted house of cards, built on a giant mess of a copyright system, where massive inefficiencies mean that these propped up middlemen end up taking home most of the money.
And, as the Citibank report nicely summarizes, thanks to the internet, artists could connect much more directly with fans and take home a lot more money:
Oh, and the real kicker in all of this? For years, the record labels (and some musicians) have been screaming about how piracy is to blame for people no longer spending on music. Except, of course, that’s hogwash. As we pointed out a few years back with our very own Sky is Rising report (and, to a lesser extent, with our Carrot or the Stick? report) there’s still plenty of spending happening on music. Indeed, the Citibank report shows consumer spending at an all time high:
In short, lots of money is still going towards music, but thanks to a ridiculous historical legacy of copyright law that kept piling on new rights, rather than cleaning out obsolete ones, there’s a massive inefficient infrastructure whose only purpose basically seems to collect a bunch of the money for themselves, leaving 12 cents on the dollar for the actual artists.
The Queen of Pop was given a platform to talk about the Queen of Soul, and did a disservice to her
In a desperate bid to curb its runaway inflation rate, Venezuela has lopped five zeros from its currency. The move yesterday, which came along with a 95% devaluation of the currency—known as the “strong bolívar”—was also accompanied by a hike in gas prices and a 3,000% increase in the minimum wage.
New banknotes for the currency, now called the the “sovereign bolívar”, were introduced. The redenominated bolívar is now pegged to the petro, a state-run cryptocurrency that doesn’t trade and some consider a scam.
In a more practical sense, though, the move will lighten the load. Before this week, Venezuelans needed stacks of cash to buy the most basic goods, as captured by a remarkable series of photos by Reuters. With the IMF predicting that inflation will hit 1,000,000% by the end of the year, this latest fix may not last very long.
A kilogram of tomatoes cost 5,000,000 bolívares ($0.76) before Aug. 20.
A toilet paper roll cost 2,600,000 bolívares ($0.40) before Aug. 20.
A package of sanitary pads cost 3,500,000 bolívares ($0.53) before Aug. 20.
A kilogram of meat cost 9,500,000 bolívares ($1.45) before Aug. 20.
A kilogram of carrots cost 3,000,000 bolívares ($0.46) before Aug. 20.
A kilogram of rice cost 2,500,000 bolívares ($0.38) before Aug. 20.
A kilogram of cheese cost 7,500,000 bolívares ($1.14) before Aug. 20.
A kilogram of pasta cost 2,500,000 bolívares ($0.38) before Aug. 20.
It’s 50 years since Paul McCartney came up with Hey Jude while driving from London to Surrey – and made a song that’s sung everywhere from football terraces to Oxford colleges. Here’s the story of how it came to be
You could argue forever about which of the Beatles’ songs is the greatest. According to the Daily Telegraph, it’s something nostalgic: In My Life. According to the NME, it’s something psychedelic: Strawberry Fields Forever, which wasn’t even the best song on the single it appeared on, alongside Penny Lane. According to Rolling Stone and USA Today, it’s something epic: A Day in the Life, which often does well in polls, perhaps because it’s written by both Lennon and McCartney.
The debate is diverting but doomed. The Beatles’ range was so broad that it would be easier to name Matisse’s best painting or Meryl Streep’s best performance – which wouldn’t be easy at all. This isn’t just apples and oranges, it’s the whole fruit stall, so if we must use superlatives, we’d better narrow them down. The most covered Beatles song is Yesterday, the biggest seller is She Loves You and the biggest crowdpleaser is Hey Jude.
New Brooklyn band Public Practice is the melding of Drew Citron’s indie-pop project Beverly with members of the freshly-dead punk outfit WALL. The post-punk newcomers have curated a dark optimism in deadpan vocals and funk grooves. Their debut EP Distance Is A Mirror is out in October, and today they’re sharing its lead single “Fate/Glory.” … More »
Jam stalwarts Gov’t Mule confirmed plans for this year’s Fall Tour including their annual Mule-o-Ween celebration.
Umphrey’s McGee welcomed acclaimed bassist Freekbass for a guest spot on Sunday night at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville.
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