✖ User-centric streaming payments: dead in the water?
And: 3LAU's $11.7 million NFT sale; Twitter vs Patreon & OnlyFans; Live Nation foresees promising second half of year; Italian performers commemorate 1 year of lockdowns
✍️ Today’s newsletter is written by Bas Grasmayer.
The UK parliamentary committee hearings about music streaming seemed like they could usher in a mandate for a user-centric payment model. Instead, it’s illustrated that a forced switch of remuneration models would not bring about sufficient benefits to justify the effort.
For Jazzfuel I wrote about:
⚖️ Why user-centric payments systems (UCPS) are fairer than pro rata
🎷 What UCPS means for different genres from jazz to rap
✂ How streaming services’ economics affect music directly
📉 Why UCPS doesn’t solve the majority of artists’ lack of revenue
“UCPS would have a minimal impact on the remuneration of artists with modest audience: Beyond the 10,000th most listened-to artist, all genres combined, the impact of switching to UCPS would be at most a few euros per year on average per artist.”
🖋 The San Francisco Symphony enlisted design agency COLLINS to update its visual identity. The result: typography that responds to sound. Twitter thread.
💨 A sizeable chunk of Kpop catalogue just disappeared from Spotify after its global deal with Kakao M lapsed. This comes just 4 weeks after the Swedish streaming giant launched in South Korea. The M in the Korean company’s name stands for music, media, and Melon: one of the largest music streaming subscription services in the country. The situation has given rise to (possibly unfounded) speculation that this is bigger than just the usual negotiation disagreements.
🤑 Electronic artist 3LAU (the 3 is pronounced B) sold 33 copies of his album Ultraviolet as NFTs, raising $11.7 million in the auction. Noteworthy: the album has been out for 2 years already. All bid winners will receive a vinyl copy of the album and its songs as NFTs, the #1 bidder gets to collaborate with 3LAU on a new song-NFT, and everyone who’s had a bid accepted but didn’t win the auction will get a commemorative loyalty NFT (auction overview). Later this week, 3LAU’s site will open a marketplace for resales of the auctioned NFTs. 3LAU has been very active in the crypto community, even being named one of the most notable people in blockchain by Cointelegraph, which definitely contributed to the scale of success of this auction.
🌅 NFTs are the current hot topic in music. Robert Martin wrote a guide about creating and selling your own. There are some environmental concerns, which could be alleviated. For this reason, artist Joanie Lemercier suggests holding off until platforms & blockchain developers prioritize these mitigating measures and become more transparent about their impact. After all, the technology isn’t going anywhere, so there’s no need to rush.
🐣 Twitter is coming out with two new features: Super Follow (“like Patreon, but on Twitter”) and Communities (“like Facebook Groups, but on Twitter”). Credits to Jane Manchun Wong for the captions. A direct subscription layer on top of existing platforms is an important trend, possibly catalyzed by the pandemic as incumbents want to stay ahead of Patreon and OnlyFans. It’s one of the the reasons why I think YouTube Music is ‘one to watch’, as it’s the only Western major music streaming platform that has this direct-to-fan model in their offering. It’s worth noting that Spotify is experimenting with this, but only for podcasts, for now. It might also be on the horizon for SoundCloud and has been part of Bandcamp’s offering for a while now.
👋 If you missed last week’s MUSIC x Clubhouse discussion about remote work in music post-pandemic: AEI’s Diluk Dias sparked a great discussion on Twitter after the session: thread.
🙅 Cancel or postpone? With vaccination in progress, it’s arguably a harder decision this year than it was in 2020. Joining the company of Glastonbury, British rock and metal festival Download has decided to cancel while simultaneously announcing 3 of its 2022 headliners: Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro.
🕴️ To mark the 1 year point of venues closing in Italy, bands and artists took to stages and stood there in silence. Lacuna Coil was one of them. (hat tip to my co-editor Maarten Walraven)
🏟 Live Nation’s CEO Michael Rapino foresees a return of outdoor events at 75-100% capacity in the US this summer. In a call with investors, he also mentioned twice as many major artists touring in 2022 compared to usual years. 2022 is already shaping up to be live music’s most competitive year in recent memory (or maybe ever?).
💡 The band Cloud Nothings saw itself forced to pivot to a new business model last year. It did so by creating a membership club on Bandcamp and releasing new music to their supporters monthly. Frontman Dylan Baldi:
“I think everyone’s their own little entrepreneur at this point, or else you are just some cog and doing some other job in some machine.”
As I got started in music, I benefited tremendously from all the information freely available on blogs, in reports, and on Twitter. It helped me learn about the ecosystem and create new value. Therefore, my goal for MUSIC x is to make as much as possible available without barriers or paywalls.
Innovation thrives when information flows freely.
MUSIC x is supported by an awesome community of Patreon members, for which I’m tremendously grateful:
Tony Rengel, Andraž, Andres Lauer, Bo Plantinga, C.Y., Casper Schadt, Christian Ruhnau, Chuck Fishman, Eli Goldstein, Henry Prince, Jason Fahlstrom, Kalam Ali, Maarten Walraven-Freeling, Martin Nedvěd, Matthias Röder, Nicolás Madoery, Paula Moore, Pete Cohen, Virgo Sillamaa, Carlo Kiksen, Carson Lee, Cherie Hu, Deenah Bassiouny, Dick Huey, Gohree Kim, James Keene, Keagon Voyce, Lukas Hermeling, Nur Al Habash, Pietro Fuccio.
Together, they’ve helped me reach the first goal, which was to cover the basic costs associated with hosting, domains, and tools. The next goal would allow me to divest some of my time from freelance projects (product strategy, communication strategy, curation, writing) towards the MUSIC x community. You can support this goal by becoming a member.
(If you don’t want to have your name listed in the newsletter, feel free to send me a message after signing up)
Every week, Christina Osazuwa (WMG’s Director of Data & Insights - Global Marketing and founder of Measure of Music) creates a round up of new openings in the music & entertainment business on LinkedIn.
Part 1 | Songkick, Apple, ASCAP, Soundtrack Your Brand, more.
Part 2 | Capitol Records, PRS for Music, Wikimedia, more.
Part 3 | NBCUniversal, The Orchard, Sony Music, more.
Part 4 | TikTok, Cameo, Airbnb, more.
Click on each part to open the relevant LinkedIn posts.
I’ll spare you the Bulgarian pop folk I’ve been listening to in the last 24 hours. Instead, here’s some digital detox from Clubhouse sessions and podcasts in the form of field recordings from random forests around the world.