✖️ We don't need music, all we need is a creative process

And: DJ Mixes on DSPs; $1.4bn AUSD Covid blow-out; Decentralized autonomous artists; Ed Sheeran Shorts marketing; Video shopping; K-Pop superhero universe; Indie record label DAO

In the heyday of the CD age, it was hard to make it as an artist. But there was a blueprint for what needed to happen. All that changed with peer-to-peer file sharing. Recorded music revenues tumbled and execs across the world panicked. What happened in the aftermath of Napster was never about musicians, it was always about bringing the overall revenues back up again. Musicians were never a part of creating the new infrastructures to achieve this. Subsequently they’ve been left without control of the systems they work in. This has been a feature of new technological developments taking hold in the music industry. In the past years, new technologies have brought control of ownership to artists. However, has this gone at the expense of what we have for a long time considered the final product: finished songs and albums?

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TECH

🍉 DJ Mixes in the world of streaming music (and video) — Part 1 (Chuck Fishman)

“I know that most of the readers know what a DJ mix is, but it’s important to define how they are presented on streaming services. A DJ mix is a continuous set of songs as presented by DJ, mixed so that the listener does not hear breaks between songs. If a DJ Mix is produced in a manner where the tempo remains constant between the bridge of two songs, a listener may not even notice the transition from one song into the next one. One would consider a streaming DJ mix to be anywhere from 30 minutes in length up to about 4 hours; the longest DJ sets I’ve seen uploaded to sites like YouTube or SoundCloud are 6 hours, but the upload limit is usually based on file size of the DJ mix, not it’s actual duration.”

🚁 Throughlines - Part 1 (Rex Woodbury)

Woodbury does very well here to bring together some of the major concepts of our current time and explain them clearly and succinctly. This is from his discussion of authenticity:

“What’s interesting is that iMessage and TikTok are polar opposites: iMessage is where you connect with your closest contacts, and TikTok is where you connect with strangers. Facebook’s suite of products falls into the wasteland of “loose social ties” in the middle. Zuckerberg is being attacked from both sides. I often use a framework of concentric circles:

🖌️ Decentralized Autonomous Artists (Simon de la Rouviere)

“As crypto & AI has matured, we’re now at the right time and right place to actively play & grow with autonomous artists. The crypto substrate allows for playing in simple ways with it. To advance into a future with decentralized GAN management does require more work. An ideal vision like Abraham will take considerable effort to code up, including the development of multi-party compute and smart contract-based verification systems. There are different ways it could evolve still, but the templates are there. It’s going to be an interesting few years ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually have a sizeable amount of autonomous artists producing works in various ways! Exciting!”

🦸‍♀️ Can music mimic Marvel? SM Entertainment CEO Sung Su Lee on building K-Pop’s answer to a cinematic superhero universe (Murray Stassen)

“When viewing the structure of K-Pop from the perspective of a global trend called metaverse in the post-COVID era, K-Pop can be seen as a new form of cultural IP content never-before-seen in existing genres of music. This is SMCU as based off the worldview we are creating, and we will reach the next level by creating an expanding universe of metaverse-styled IP content that connects the various and independent IPs of artists, music, music videos, performances, etc. within SMCU to one another.”

Sung Su Lee, CEO SM Entertainment

📹🛍️ What’s next for video shopping? (Maghan McDowell)

I always think this could be a real use case for music too.

“Video-specific companies including Ntwrk and Whatnot have found success appealing to niche communities who are drawn to limited-edition drops and collectors’ items. The focus for Ntwrk, a mobile-first platform known for streetwear and sneakers, is a “fandom-driven audience”, for which livestream drops help magnify hype, says CEO Aaron Levant.”

X

☂️ After $1.4 billion COVID blow-out, live biz now looks at future-proofing itself (Christie Eliezer)

“With the live entertainment sector’s return delayed to late 2022, and the collapse of confidence within the sector, the association insists it needs an insurance scheme to underwrite investment risk and a targeted Business Reactivation package to ensure it can retain capacity to operate when border, venue capacity and operational restrictions are eased.”

💃🏽 TODAY WE START A MOVEMENT (HEATDAO)

Not specifically about music, but about dance - how can you dance without music though? It is, however, a very cool project.

HEATDAO is empowering dancers to capture, create and monetize their movement data through the use of NFTs. In doing so, we are unlocking a new layer of self-expression in the metaverse and bringing a new type of utility to NFTs. No longer will auditions be the determining factor for whether or not YOUR ART is valued.”

🩳 14 songs in 14 shorts (Ed Sheeran)

I hadn’t yet seen an album release marketing act like this.

🦄 Dreams Never Die Records DAO: A new, community-owned home for artists & aspiring creatives in music” (Dreams Never Die)

“We intend for to become an incubator for brand-new artists and aspiring music business talent alike, built around an incentivized and aligned community that participates in discovering, developing, distributing, and promoting the roster.”

🧨 From dependence to independence: the rise of the independent creator (NonFiction Research)

“It’s clear from this study that creators feel short-changed, burned out and stuck working within the restricted parameters of Big Social with little to no control. Therefore, it’s encouraging that this vanguard of Independent Creators points to an altogether different, more autonomous future. They’re flipping the script on the status quo we’ve all been fed — that broad reach, big numbers, advertising dollars and a relentless content conveyor belt is the formula for their prosperity. While social media has a role to play in building their businesses, they’re funnelling new followers into an “owned and operated” space outside of the tyranny of gatekeepers, and under their full control.”

Read the full report here.

MUSIC

I’ve basically been a fan of Tricky for more than two decades. What’s been amazing about his music is that he reached the highest highs when he had a muse to write with and for. With his latest release as Lonely Guest it feels like the tables have turned and Tricky plays the muse for the other artists on the record. It makes for a stunning collection of songs.