✖️ Resilient musicians: from the individual to a collective
And: A&R data wars; Economics of streaming & music publishing; Gender equity in music industry; Spotify synching for Twitch streamers; TikTok's impact on music; NFTs & copyright
Musicians are often thought to be a resilient bunch:
They have to work jobs on the side to make their music;
They face lots of competition from other musicians in getting their music heard;
If they do find an audience it's near impossible to monetize them properly, and we're back to the first point
Web3 is about ownership and collectives who share revenues, knowledge, networks. So, if we move away from thinking about resilience as an individual solution to individual problems we'll find a much more interconnected and interdependent collective. It's exactly that kind of collective that Web3 is being built for and around.
Here, I critique the idea of musicians’ need for resilience and show how the type of solutions needed are exactly the solutions that Web3 is based on.
⚔️ Are we at the dawn of A&R data wars? (Dmitry Pastukhov)
“Now, though, the most apparent data-sourcing solution would be to approach the subset of the industry hosting most of the unsigned artists out there: open distribution platforms of CDBaby, TuneCore, Distrokid, and alike.”
“[W]hat we can say for sure is that the artist data — especially the data that no one else has — is a thing of value. And that value is only going to go up as we move forward into the new decade.”
🐹 Twitch streamers get desperate, turn to Spotify syncing extension to avoid DMCA strikes (Ashley King)
“A game developer named Peter Madsen has started work on an extension for Twitch called SpotifySynchronizer. The idea is pretty simple. It allows viewers to synchronize their Spotify accounts with the streamer – so they can hear the music on their own account. Viewers can hear the same music at the same time as the streamer, while music artists, Spotify, and PROs get paid. Viewers who are watching without the extension will only hear the standard game audio.”
This seems like it should have been the first benefit of a Twitch & Amazon Music collab…
🕬 New studies quantify TikTok's growing impact on culture and music (TikTok)
“[W]e commissioned MRC Data and Flamingo, both independent research and analytics groups, to dive deep on two of TikTok's defining spheres of influence: sound and culture.”
🦮 Anne-Marie debuts her new album as a series of TikTok clips (Stuart Dredge)
I talk a lot about using videos, specifically of livestreams, in the form of a waterfall strategy. A whole different strategy is to release all of your record’s songs specifically as TikTok clips ahead of said album’s launch.
🧅 What copyright lawyers need to know about NFTs (Simon Frankell & Billie Mandelbaum)
“Despite this doctrinal murkiness, many NFT sales agreements appear to skirt the first sale issue by explicitly providing that NFT buyers have the right to resell the NFT. Some sales agreements go further and provide that the artist is to receive a set percentage of resale royalties. If NFTs remain a fixture of the art market, courts may be forced to decide whether to fashion a digital first sale doctrine that is responsive to new technological developments, including the rise of NFTs.”
🚐 Why these two Southern California violinists spent the pandemic on the road in a VW bus (Richard Guzman)
There’s currently not a lot of positive news around the pandemic so I thought this would be a good distraction.
🧐 Inquiring minds: What the DCMS investigation into the economics of streaming means for music publishing (Eamonn Forde)
“It is worth returning to the report’s words aimed squarely at the MPA and its refusal to give “a definitive perspective on the debate” because “the publishing arms of the three major music groups are counted amongst their members”. The authors of the report surely regard any breaking up of the major labels’ market dominance as being inherently intertwined with a concurrent breaking up of the major publishers’ market dominance.”
🗾 New insights released about music fans in Japan (MRC Data)
On the eve of the Olympics, MRC Data releases a study into the behaviour of music fans in Japan and how the pandemic has influenced this. My key takeaways are:
for a formerly hesitant streaming nation, the fact that 75% do stream music now is big
only 36% enjoy livestreamed or virtual concert performances, which is low
🥀 The rosy ‘Creator Economy’ is music’s biggest lie (Tim Ingham)
“To perpetuate this scale-dependent business model, Patreon, like many other creator-serving tech companies, dangles a hollow promise: If you were born to create, there’s a bonanza waiting for you just around the corner. It’s that other guy, the one in the adjacent “For You” window, who’s a misguided Joe Schmoe; you, friend, are a true artist, and your art is worth money!”
If Ingham’s thinking triggers you I can highly recommend reading William Deresiewicz’ The Death of the Artist for a more rounded take on this perspective.
🏳️🌈 Championing gender equity in the music industry with our new 6MO report and artist pronoun database (Michelle Yuen)
“Gender is a sensitive and complex area to address. There are a number of reasons for this, chief among them issues regarding labeling and the continued evolution of more gender identities outside of the binary historically assigned at birth. These intricacies have not been properly addressed in terms of data classification, as traditional categorizations of gender data are almost exclusively binary, leading to a lack of representation and inclusion.”
I’ve been revisiting Death Grips the last couple of days. The ferocity of that first album (mixtape) still gets me.