Wall Street is taking record labels to task for lackluster Web sales, spiraling CD revenue, and the defections of marquee acts such as Madonna and Radiohead.
Two analysts downgraded Warner Music Group last week, leading to a sharp drop in the company's stock price. One of the analysts, Richard Greenfield of Pali Research, penned a gloomy report about why he thinks the sector is headed for even greater losses.
"No matter how many people the RIAA sues, no matter how many times music executives point to the growth of digital music, we believe an increasing majority of worldwide … Read more
Listening comes naturally, doesn't it? Well sure, everyone with normal hearing can listen, but what do they hear? What I'm talking about is listening as a focused activity--as opposed listening where music serves as background to something else, reading, driving, running, working, or washing the dishes--active listening can be a lot more rewarding. You hear stuff in your favorite music, maybe rhythm guitar patterns, overdubbed vocals, or instruments you never knew were there can suddenly jump out of the mix. It's stuff the band may have put a huge effort into perfecting, that you only notice when … Read more
I'm here shaking my head at much of the media coverage around downloading Radiohead's Rainbows album. ABC News gives a short summary:
Last month, Radiohead announced it would let fans set the price for its new album, available for download on the British alt-rock band's official Web site.
Now, the statistics are in and it looks like offering fans free downloads turns them into freeloaders.
More than six out of 10 fans worldwide--62 percent--who downloaded "In Rainbows" between Oct. 10 and Oct. 29 paid nothing for it, according to digital research firm ComScore Inc. The … Read more
OK, so we're a nation of cheapskates after all. Tell me something I didn't know.
The latest album release from the band Radiohead tested whether the public would support a scout's honor arrangement. If enough people would pay to download the band's music, that might serve as the harbinger for a different sort of distribution and sales model.
Until now, consumers could do little but bitch about the rip-off prices they were charged for music. After years of grumbling about greedy retailers and corrupt music moguls, here, finally, was a golden opportunity to change the future. … Read more
They're called Battles, they're from New York, and after seeing them live for the first time on Saturday, I believe I've heard the future.
I'm not a huge fan of performances that rely heavily on turntables or samples or loops--I much prefer the interplay between musicians who are forced to pick out each note on their instruments, forced to listen and communicate and adjust almost continuously. But a lot of traditional "indie" rock bands play it safe, channeling the same dozen pop or punk influences into a predictable blend of three-to-five minute songs with … Read more
Are peer-to-peer music thieves the music industry's best customers? In an ironic twist to the music industry's woes, a new study suggests that P2P downloaders may buy more music than their straight-laced, non-P2P brethren. The results are non-conclusive one way or the other, but the researchers conclude:However, our analysis of the Canadian P2P file-sharing subpopulation suggests that there is a strong positive relationship between P2P file-sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file-sharing increases CD purchasing.… Read more
For some reason, I had never heard of Qloud until getting a release yesterday about it celebrating the registering of more than a million users via its Facebook application, which launched three months ago. The service hooks up with your iTunes library and scraps together any versions of the songs it can find hosted online, while taking advantage of your iTunes XML file to include such niceties as play counts and the last time you listened a song.
It manages to do this with a (Windows only) plug-in that installs itself on whatever machine your iTunes library resides in. It will periodically keep tabs on your iTunes XML file, which is the one that has all your track names and metadata for playlist organization, play counts, and song data. It then cross references this list with any legally hosted versions of the songs online, and will play them with an embedded player right in the app.
The company says that after installing the plug-in, it takes 15 to 20 minutes for your library to appear. My 50GB library managed to make it in about 12 minutes, and to my surprise, a great deal of it made the cut from metadata to music--although nearly every song was a video from YouTube.
What was apparent from the get-go with this app is that it's not quite a replacement for some of the other music-streaming services out there, like Orb, MediaMaster (coverage), and Simplify Media (coverage). Many of the fairly popular bands I had in my library had music videos with decent audio, but the majority were live recordings from concerts made by fans. This translates to bad video, and even worse audio. Audiophiles will not be pleased, nor will those who enjoy a particular version of a song that's on their library, be it live or an alternate studio recording.… Read more
Some might find it depressing that we, like others, immediately thought of a Lightsaber upon viewing this MP3 player. And they'd be right.
But the "Music Stick" may not owe its cylindrical design entirely to Star Wars, for it's just the latest in a growing line of tubular MP3 devices to have appeared both in concept and reality. This one may be among the most reasonably priced at about $27 to $42 for 1GB and 2GB versions, according to Tech Fresh, including an FM radio, voice recorder, e-book reader, and a small LCD. It even comes … Read more
Who would have thought that Thom Yorke (Radiohead) would pine to be Linus Torvalds? Yet this is effectively what we're seeing as the music industry contemplates giving its wares away in order to make a buck. Or many of them.
This is the point Zenbullets makes:
Data is a post-scarcity commodity. Post-scarcity, as the name suggests, is the successor of scarcity, upon which our current economic systems are built. When you consume scarce goods - eat a chocolate bar, or buy a CD - there is one less of that commodity in the marketplace. But when you consume a post-scarce item - download an application, or an mp3 - you copy it. Meaning there is now one more of that commodity out there, not less. This is how the success of a post-scarce product is measured, by the number of times it has been reproduced.… Read more