It was a great summer. The DownTown Mystic on E Street EP took up all of my time, and now as autumn comes rolling in, the EP has taken on a life of its own. I had intended on releasing the next DownTown Mystic Album, Rock’n’Roll Romantic, before the end of the year, but I can see now that it will have to be put off until early 2016. Just goes to show that you never know what the Universe has in mind. 🙂
In the meantime, it gives me a chance to catch up on some things of a business nature. There’s so much going on these days. Of course, the big discussion that’s been taking place in the music biz is the current state of affairs with Streaming and fair compensation for the Artists. It’s one of the things I’ve been reading about all summer, mainly from the emails I receive from Bob Lefsetz and The Lefsetz Letter.
For those of you not in the music biz and not familiar with Bob, he writes a music industry blog/newsletter that is very well read. I think it would be fair to call him a bit of a “curmudgeon”. He usually has an interesting POV and I find myself agreeing with him a good deal of the time. I believe Bob works as a paid consultant from time to time, but I’m not exactly sure if he is or if he makes that information known. Lately, he’s really been pushing the Streaming agenda, saying it’s the future so get used to it.
The more I read the more I think he’s shilling for Spotify. Especially since he seems to prefer Spotify to Pandora and the new Apple Music Service, and he does like to tell Indie Artists to quit crying about streaming royalties. He tells them to get more popular so that they can make more money from Streaming. I’m not positive, but I think these comments might be aimed at people like Blake Morgan, who started the #irespectmusic campaign. Blake’s basic feeling is “that artists should be compensated for the use of their music on all radio and digital sources.” If you’re not familiar with #irespectmusic, then check out this article that just came out today: #IRESPECTMUSIC: A Grassroots Initiative to Give Musicians Their Due
In the article, the writer Kathy Stockbridge writes: “The laws in place currently allowed the music moguls such as Pandora, Spotify, and so many internet radio stations across the nation to continuously use music without paying the artists. No other business model in our nation works this way. You create a product, you sell the product, you are compensated for the product, and the purchaser enjoys the product. No where else is a product created and lent out for use without compensation, under a pretense of giving it more visibility for future sales. What? If that model worked no one would get paid. We would all advertise products for free.”
Bob’s also been fairly dismissive of the old school music biz. Here’s what Bob said in his latest rant last night entitled “The Sisario Article”: “The sales paradigm is history. In 24 months it’ll be de minimis, inconsequential. And when we go to the streaming metrics a whole bunch of artists are gonna get a whole lot poorer, and the readers of this newsletter who are attached to the ancient paradigm of yore are gonna tear their hair out. You know, rock bands who write their own material and release it as one long album…KAPUT! Actually, that formula got murdered by disco, after it got long in the tooth as corporate rock. But then MTV rescued the rock business until hair bands softened the sound, made us all queasy, and it became all about hip-hop and pop. And that’s where we are today.I’m not saying you can’t make your old music in the old way, I’m just saying don’t expect anybody to listen to it, don’t expect to get rich. We’re in the middle of the great transition. The baby boomers are about to emit their last gasp. Everybody but the titans has already been eliminated. Unless you’re running the operation, you’re gone. And there are some Gen X’ers with power, mostly in the live sphere, but we’re getting ready to skip generations and hand the baton to the millennials, who have no allegiance to classic rock, radio or the rest of the b.s. we hold so near and dear.”
That’s just a taste of what Bob’s been going on about all summer long. I like the way he managed to minimize about 20-30 years of Rock. Bob does have a way with words. 🙂
You can imagine how he’s been dissing the new release by Keith Richards. Bob doesn’t have good things to say about it and the way it’s been promoted. I doubt that Keith gives a crap, but it’s been interesting reading the way Bob goes out of his way to dis it. He’s also dissed Tom Petty’s record, but I don’t think that Bob is dissing the music as much as how it was promoted by the label in the old school way and then died after being released.
All this has me interested because I have an old school record that I want to release in the modern way. Bob tends to lose me when he starts raving about the new Justin Bieber or how many songs The Weekend has streaming. I don’t really care how many times little girls are playing them. If that’s going to be the new model, so be it. But to use it as the argument for artists getting more streaming royalties makes me think he’s more of a lobbyist trying to put the company’s POV across for them. 🙂
As an Indie Artist, I feel like I’m being pulled from one side to the other. I happen to like Streaming because I get played a lot. I see it as a great promotional tool. I just reached 1.8 million spins on one site and I’ve been # 1 on 4 different Global and US Charts. But this airplay is all free because I’m doing it for promotion. Now when it comes to commercial sites like Spotify and Radio, I think they need to boost the rates because it looks ridiculous seeing a $.01 royalty on your PRO Royalty Statement. It’s like them throwing a penny at you and saying, “here ya go, don’t spend it all in one place”. A penny…wtf?? What year is this?? 🙂
I like the passion that Bob puts into his Streaming articles, but there’s still something that bothers me about them. If sales don’t matter and only streaming does, then how exactly is there enough money to be made by artists and companies alike, given the current rates? I think people like Blake Morgan and his #irespectmusic campaign might have the better argument.
So if you are on Spotify’s payroll Bob, I hope for your sake they pay you a better rate than they do artists. 🙂