✖ What you should learn about the music business today

And: The anti-fan phenomenon; Riot Games & Wave partnership; CryptoPunk's to Hollywood; Amazon & live audio; Creator tools and power dynamics; Vaccine passport hesitation

I’ll be teaching two courses on music business in the upcoming semester at Utrecht University. There’s the usual Don Passman-grounded material in there about rights, labels, contracts, financing, and marketing. Thankfully, I also get the opportunity to go deeper into what’s going on right now at the intersections of gaming, Web3, livestreaming, the creator economy and more. This will hopefully prepare my students for what’s in store for them after they finish their studies and enter the ‘business.’ But what’s next? How do you stay on top of a fast changing environment and how do you know where to place your focus? There have to be follow-ups for that. Because of that, I’ve been working together with Jack Abraham on a short cohort-based-course to tackle just that issue. Through the course we will:

  1. get you to feel empowered as an entrepreneur;

  2. make sure you are able to engage with and use the most relevant platforms and technologies;

  3. leave you with a coherent plan and the tools to execute it;

  4. provide you with a community you can fall back on.

Please help us out in setting up this course by taking a short 5-question survey as we sound out interest.

Take the survey

And read my article on what you should be learning about the music business today, from the basics to what needs to be included to reflect the realities of current everyday life developments in tech and community.

Read full article


👋🏾 Riot Games partners with virtual entertainment company Wave to shape interactive experiences (Trilby Beresford)

First on the roster will be an interactive concert with Riot’s virtual heavy metal band Pentakill, from League of Legends, which premieres Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m. via Wave. The virtual show will utilize Wave’s broadcast tools and technology to allow fans to interact with the in-game artists through live-chat. They will also have the opportunity to see themselves on-stage beside Pentakill.

⚒️ Creator tools are changing the power dynamic of audiences and platforms (Hanna Kahlert)

“As the creator economy grows and matures, platforms which enable users to create and creators to be remunerated properly are going to become increasingly more important – but the relationship between the creators, who are originating on these platforms, and the platforms themselves is not guaranteed to be a sustainable one. Propositions which rely too heavily on users for content, and therefore represent the core of the value that they offer, cannot take back the wheel and change the identity of the platform without repercussions. While the power that audiences have over platforms may be mostly the purview of certain subsets of early-stage creator tool propositions, as more platforms become tailored to creators – and more creators and audiences grow increasingly accustomed to their independence in the entertainment world, as they have in music – the role of the platform itself is going to fade increasingly into the background.”

🧠 4 Strategies to introduce an innovative product right (Lena Pagel)

“Take the Blockchain in the music industry, for example; after the technology was developed it was used few and far between, by streaming services such as Audius or early NFT start-ups like Fanaply. But nothing took hold until the sudden NFT hype of 2020 when it was hailed as the new way to make money in the industry. Following this, there was indeed a trough of disillusionment, with NFT sales slowing, many people loudly proclaiming that this wasn’t the cure-all we thought. But now we have the opportunity to slowly work this technology into the mainstream and make it work sustainably in business models.”

This article is based on Pagel’s Bachelor’s thesis which she wrote for Cyanite, an AI tool for music tagging. That thesis is available to read here.

🎤 Scoop: Amazon quietly building live audio business (Sara Fischer)

You would say that we don’t need another live audio tool, because we already have so many, probably too many. Besides, Amazon is probably just looking to sell more Alexa devices. And yet, this one is notable because the primary focus, at least for now, is on music.

“The idea is that users could access live concerts or performances through their Amazon Music accounts. The company is in touch with major record labels about live audio events with artists.”

⚖️ Google, Apple hit by first law threatening dominance over App-Store payments (Jiyoung Sohn)

There’s always a lot of focus on what the EU does in terms of antitrust work, but they’re certainly not alone. South Korea will now require companies like Apple and Google to allow competing payment systems. Let’s see if other countries will follow.


🤬 The anti-fan phenomenon: Inside the online communities where people love to hate (Fedake Adegbuyi)

“This hater-fan mirror is at the heart of understanding anti-fandom or “hatedom.” Anti-fans are possessed with the same passion as fans: they follow, they discuss, they obsess. But rather than blind worship, they’re immersed in blind hatred. Instead of a positive bond characterized by affection for a creator, it’s a negative one characterized by obsession for an online influencer.”

📺 The song behind the scene: How teen TV's most iconic music moments are made (Sydney Bucksbaum)

"I start with the sound. The first step is a creative conversation with the showrunner about how does music fit in to the story. Then a lot of music would go back and forth — it's one thing to talk about music, it's another thing to listen to really understand. Sometimes songs were scripted from the beginning but if not, I would spend a lot of time with footage of the scene and just keep trying things. For me, the instrumentation and the feel of the song has to work first, and then I move into how the lyrics support the storytelling."

Alexandra Patsavas, music supervisor

🧷 UTA signs NFT art projects CryptoPunks, Meebits and Autoglyphs (Alex Weprin)

For the above article, in the future replace 'song x’ with ‘CryptoPunk 5217’.

🪗 The gritty reality for Substack’s middle class (Simon Owens)

This post by Owens is mainly about journalists and writers, but those can easily be replaced by musicians and songwriters. Similarly, replace Substack with streaming services and it’s pretty much 1:1.

“That isn’t the reality for the vast majority of Substack writers. Most don’t reach their first 1,000 paid subscribers within their first week. Hell, most don’t reach that threshold within the first six months. Instead, they face a daily grind, one where they attempt to convert one paid subscriber at a time. There’s usually no “tipping point” moment for them; instead, they just put in the work, week after week, until they build a sustainable business. I’ve interviewed dozens of them for my newsletter and podcast, and most told me it took them upward of several years before they reached what they considered a “comfortable” income.”

🛂 Vaccine passports will make hesitant people ‘even more reluctant to get jabbed’ (Natalie Grover, Heather Stewart, and Ben Quinn)

“As well as helping to protect clubbers from the virus, the move is aimed at boosting vaccine uptake – but the research, to be published in the Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine this month, suggests it could be counterproductive among the most hard-to-reach groups.”


I love it when people bring classical music into the now. It’s still composed music, but it has modern sensibilities. Voces8 is a choir and on their new album they’ve done just that. The beautiful sound of their singing brings compositions by the likes of Jon Hopkins, Sophie Hutchings, and Ólafur Arnalds.