✖️ Who controls the flow of money in music?

And: AI Futures; Crowds, no masks at ACL; Spotify studies listener brain activity; Creator TAMs; More Donda tech products; YouTube deletes two R Kelly channels

Traditionally, when you start to make music you’re looking for three things:

  • A manager

  • A record deal

  • A publishing deal

Of course, that third one is only if you’re a songwriter or composer. But these are the three ways you, as an artist, will look to turn your IP into profit. We’re currently moving through a paradigm shift in music - and the internet more broadly - when it comes to creation, ownership, fandom, and monetization. As this process accelerates, the previous traditional deals and contracts will also shift, adapt, change, and potentially subsumed by other types of agreements. The paradigm shift, however, is communal.

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TECH

AI Futures: how artificial intelligence will shape music production (Declan McGlynn)

“Deepfakes may be the most obvious cultural question mark over what’s possible with AI and ML music-making in coming years, but there are other implications for creative individuals. For those who are working to tight deadlines, or whose ears have grown tired from hours in the studio or have been on the road all weekend and need to finish a remix, self-doubt can creep in. Being able to reach for a tool that is, technically, always ‘correct’ or as ‘correct’ as it’s been taught to be, could throw up a fascinating creative dichotomy that plays on the idea of the imposter syndrome that many producers feel, be it their first track or 20 years into their career. Getting a second ‘opinion’ from an AI tool to show you’re at least on the right track is a tempting proposition. The algorithm, after all, ‘knows’ everything, and if you’re working in an untreated room, with entry-level speakers and you don’t have decades of engineering experience behind you, it makes sense you’d be tempted to take the AI’s word over your own. And while collaborating with a fully-formed human is about bouncing ideas, spurring each other on and bringing sometimes-contradictory musical influences to the table, it’s also about sharing the burden of putting your art out into the world. Once AI becomes a more competent collaborator, more conceptual questions will need to be asked.”

A long quote for a long-read. What’s more, there’s also a part I which goes into the more general question of how AI will change music.

🧠 Spotify is studying listener brain activity to optimize digital audio ads (Ashley King)

“The Spotify brain wave study found that digital audio is more likely to engage long-term memory and past memories. Different kinds of music also had a different effect on the brain. Speech-driven genres like rap produce more engagement, while genres like rock produce a greater emotional intensity. Meanwhile, Latin music scored as a great all-around engagement with emotion.”

🚀 NFT projects are just MLMs for tech elites (Evan Armstrong)

This article does a great job of trying to argue for both pros and cons in terms of NFTs.

“We posit that the most prominent NFT projects, things like Bored Ape Yacht Club and Pudgy Penguins, hold such a remarkably similar structure to Multi-Level-Marketing companies (MLMs) that they will also suffer from the same failures. Investors should exercise extreme caution as they evaluate this emerging asset class.”

🎡 Digital India: The $1 trillion Opportunity (Vyushita Sahay et al)

Interesting whitepaper from Investcorp, which if you’re interested in India as a new source of growth for music you should read. The main take-away is the focus on what they call ‘new-age business models’ which focuses on payments, social commerce and edtech.

🎴 Kanye West has plans for more Donda tech products, including earbuds, smart necklaces and VR headsets (Crystal Koe)

“Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, some of the “goods and services” that could receive the Donda treatment include surround sound systems, portable computers, ear buds, wearable activity trackers, virtual reality headsets, protective covers for smartphones, USB flash drives, smartwatches, smart rings, smart necklaces and even decorative magnets.”

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💔 UK grassroots music venues are £90million in debt following pandemic (Sam Kemp)

“The grassroots music venue sector is more than £90million in debt. Getting that paid off isn’t going to be done this year, it likely won’t be done next year and might not be until 2024 or 2025 if things keep going as they are. The average debt they’re emerging with is around £80,000-£120,000 per venue – some are in much more significant debt than that.”

Mark Davyd, CEO Music Venue Trust

🦠 Crowds, no masks: What Austin City Limits means for COVID spread (Nicole Cobler)

“Austin is within the threshold for stage 3 coronavirus guidelines, but officials have held off on making the move to the loosened restrictions. It's unclear what this past weekend's crowds will mean for the city's COVID-19 cases and a return to stage 3 guidelines.”

🥁 Creator TAMs: a new way to assess the creator economy (Mark Mulligan)

“This surge in new musicians that started learning or playing during the pandemic represents the genesis of the second wave of opportunity for music creator tools, with the first wave being formed by the 7% of consumers that bought an instrument in the prior 12 months and the 5% that make music with software.”

🦚 Scoop: Charlotte FC hires the MLS’s first “chief fan officer.” So what does that mean? (Ashley Mahoney)

First Miami FC showed us how we could improve livestream monetization strategies. Now Charlotte FC is showing us how to put fans first.

🤔 YouTube deletes two official R Kelly channels (Chris Cooke)

“YouTube is not removing R Kelly’s music from the catalogue of its streaming service, it should be noted. But the specific R Kelly channels on its main platform have been deleted.”

What’s this worth, really?

MUSIC

Remember Witch House? It was quite a popular sub-genre around a decade ago. One of the artists being branded in that niche was Holy Other and after 9 years they’re releasing new music. They’ve definitely grown their sound, but it’s still hauntingly beautiful.