✖️ Livestreaming and the horseless carriage syndrome

And: Royalties Calculator; Music in the metaverse; Creator Economy opportunities; metadata; social tokens; songwriters; streaming reform

Livestreaming is a concert without an audience in proximity to the musicians. Marshall McLuhan, in his seminal Understanding Media, argued that humans share an ineptitude in understanding the nature and the effects of new technologies. We cannot help but view these technologies as a new form of an old technology we've become accustomed to. McLuhan called this the horseless carriage syndrome, because he used the example of the first cars and how people perceived them. In the late 19th-Century people saw automobiles simply as horseless carriages. Moreover, the first cars looked like horseless carriages with the driver at the front on top. Similarly, TV was first seen as radio with moving pictures. And now livestreams are viewed as concerts without an audience. Let's explore what it means to imagine livestreams not as concerts without in-person audiences, but instead as a new medium with its own specific affective capabilities. Furthermore, this medium requires its own language and marketing.

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TECH

🧮 BMAT helps launch Royalties Calculator for artists (Gabi Ferraté)

“As well as allowing fans to easily explore how much their favourite artists earn, the calculator aims to empower artists themselves to check their pay matches with their plays. Artists can check their estimated music royalties and see if all the dots in their royalty stream are connected i.e that this matches up with what they’re pocketing.”

Check out the Royalties Calculator here.

🫐 Digital Blues: The Day-to-Day Challenges of Music Sharing – Part I – Metadata (Shawn Reynaldo)

“It doesn’t help that there are no universal standards for metadata. Formats vary from one platform to the next, and many music industry professionals are focused only on the metadata that’s most relevant to their day-to-day workload. Complicating matters further are things like file formats, which also have no universal standard. Most people are by now familiar with the MP3, which retains metadata, but given their limited fidelity, it’s increasingly common to send audio files in uncompressed, higher-quality formats, such as WAV or AIFF. The latter, which was first developed by Apple, also retains metadata, but WAVs tend to be more popular. Unfortunately though, they’re also much more likely to lose their metadata, which is essentially what causes all of those blank fields when they’re dropped into iTunes.”

💸 The Record Industry Invests in the Metaverse (Part 2) (David Turner)

“The nature of these deals is that its smaller artists are left out of the monetary windfall that occurs when major tech firms do sign these licensing deals. So, while Warner may have invested into Roblox, all while Warner Chappell accepts with the NMPA suing Roblox, since they’ll still see that money flow back their way. Smaller artists who are never given a voice in this soup of lawsuits and backroom deals that’s arisen over the last five or so years as these tech firms were fine to play nice with the music industry. This might explain why below this level of elite legal drama there’s a more decentralized vision being laid out of the metaverse.”

🔓 Social Tokens and Creator-Centric Economies (Rex Woodbury)

If you’ve read Baspiece from last Tuesday about NFT avatars, this piece takes another look at how tokens can help to bring communities together. Moreover, tokens can help express those communities their shared identity.

“Virtual goods are already mainstream. Bringing digital assets onto the blockchain simply unlocks scarcity, which unlocks incremental value. Blockchain games like Star Atlas and Axie Infinity are following the same mold as non-blockchain games and platforms, introducing native currencies like $ATLAS and $SLP to underpin vibrant economies. To participate in digital economies, people won’t need to understand what “fungible” or “on chain” mean—they will just need to understand that there are only X digital items in existence, or that a creator has Y social tokens in circulation.”

🚪 Why companies are using virtual concerts to introduce their users to the metaverse (Alexander Lee)

“Music is often a spectacle, but it’s also a deeply social experience, a pairing of traits that Ricker and other experts believe make virtual concerts a perfect fit for companies looking to showcase the metaverse to skeptical users. Stageverse includes spatial audio and enables users to congregate in curated groups; other companies, like Eric Reid’s Roar Studios, are developing ways for musicians to jam together in virtual space. “Creating a platform that gives musicians a way to grow their audience and be found in a virtual world is very needed for the way musicians operate in the real world,” Reid said.”

X

🍯 OK Computer: Will the Next Phase of the Music Industry Take Place Inside the Metaverse? (Ben Gilbert)

“The music industry doesn’t understand video games and the video game industry doesn’t understand music. Thankfully, the two sides are getting better at working together but it’s inevitable that game companies stepping forth into the metaverse will need to hire music rights experts to help them navigate an area of law so complicated that no one can seem to agree on it.”

Matt Ombler, journalist

🎶 Hipgnosis’ Merck Mercuriadis Sounds Off in Open Letter: ‘Why Is the Songwriter the Lowest-Paid Person in the Music Industry Economy? (Jem Aswad)

“It’s worth repeating: the song is the currency of our business. Yet the songwriter — who delivers the most important component to the success of a record company, publisher, promoter, manager, agent, music venue, radio station, broadcaster et al – is the lowest paid person in the economic equation. An equation that has made the modern music industry a juggernaut.”

🥳 Seed Club Announces SC03: Our Third Accelerator Cohort (Seed Club)

There’s three music-related project in the new Seed Club cohort: Water and Music, Phlote, and Tiny Mix Tapes. Be sure to keep an eye on how they’ll develop their Web3 foundations!

🤝🏾 Government calls in music industry leaders to consider MPs' recommendations to reform streaming (Andre Paine)

“If campaigners were hoping for immediate intervention by ministers to ‘fix’ streaming, they will be disappointed by the following conclusion: “More targeted research and evidence is needed before the government can decide what action it should take on some of the issues highlighted by the committee.” … [but] there is still scope for major reforms of the streaming economy, based on today’s announcement.”

🌠 Opportunities for startups in the creator economy (Eze Vidra)

Ending with this one as it’s a great resource in and of itself as it captures many different strands running through the creator economy right now. But it’s also the kind of piece that houses many more great treasure troves of information.

“A new flock of startups has launched to support content creators to craft (videos, art, newsletters, music, games, courses, etc), find an audience, generate income (subscriptions, tipping, ecommerce, NFTs, etc) and engage their communities … Since your typical designer/musician/gaming streamer isn’t always also a crypto expert, there’s been a rise in the number of platforms offering “NFTs as a service” for content creators. Examples include Bitski, offering NFT storefronts, Rally or Roll for social tokens.”

MUSIC

I was listening to Frou Frou this morning and their song Let Go is just a great example of an emotionally-driven tune with lyrics that often resonate. It also helps that it plays a part in Garden State, a film I really like.