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jerryking : spotify   39

How Spotify’s algorithms are ruining music
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | Michael Hann.

(1) FINAL DAYS OF EMI, By Eamonn Forde, Omnibus, RRP£20, 320 pages
(2) SPOTIFY TEARDOWN, By Maria Eriksson, Rasmus Fleischer, Anna Johansson, Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 288 pages
(3) WAYS OF HEARING, By Damon Krukowski, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 136 pages

In April, the IFPI — the global body of the recording industry — released its latest annual Global Music Report. For the fourth consecutive year, revenues were up, to a total of $19.1bn, from a low of $14.3bn in 2014. Nearly half those revenues came from music streaming, driven by a 33 per cent rise in paid subscriptions to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal...... It is worth remembering that 20 years ago, the IFPI reported global music revenues of $38.6bn. Today’s “booming” recording industry is less than half the size it was at the turn of the century.....The nadir for the recording industry coincided with the first shoots of its regrowth. ....In August 2007, the British record company EMI — the fourth of the majors, alongside Universal, Sony and Warner — was bought by private equity firm Terra Firma (Guy Hands, the fund’s founder and chairman) for $4.7bn; a year later, a Swedish company called Spotify took its music streaming service public. The former was, perhaps, the last gasp of the old way of doing things — less than four years after buying EMI, Terra Firma was unable to meet its debts, and ceded control of the company to its main lender, Citigroup. Before 2011 was out, the process of breaking up EMI had begun...EMI’s demise was foreshadowed before Hands arrived, with a blaze of hubris in the early 2000s. Forde, a longtime observer and chronicler of the music business recounts the “disastrous and expensive” signings of that era......Handspreached the need to use data when signing artists, not just the “golden ears” of talent scouts; data are now a key part of the talent-spotting process.

* to qualify as having been listened to on Spotify, a song has to have been played for 30 seconds.
* hit songs have become increasingly predictable, offering up all their pleasures in the opening half-minute. Their makers dare not risk scaring off listeners.
* for all the money that the streaming services have generated for the music industry, very little of it flows back to any musicians except the select few who dominate the streaming statistics,

.......On Spotify, music consumption has been reorganised around “behaviours, feelings and moods” channelled through curated playlists and motivational messages......The data Spotify collects enable the industry to work out who its market is, where it lives, what else they like, how often they listen to music — almost anything, really. It’s the greatest assemblage of information about music listeners in history, and it has profoundly altered the industry: it has made Spotify music’s kingmaker......when an artist travels abroad to promote a new album, the meeting with the local Spotify office is more important than the TV appearances or the newspaper interviews. ...Spotify enables artists to plan their band’s set lists so they can play the most popular song in any given city.............So what? What does it matter if one model of music distribution has been replaced by another.....It matters because Spotify has profoundly changed the listener’s relationship with music....Older musicians often wax about how, when you had to buy your own music as a kid, you listened to it until you liked it, because you wouldn’t be able to afford a new album for another month. Now you simply skip to the next one, and probably don’t give it your full attention. Without ownership, there’s no incentive to study...........Faced with the impossibly wide choice of Spotify, it becomes easier to return to old favourites — easier than when flicking through your vinyl or CDs, because the act of looking through your own music makes things you had not thought of in years leap out at you. Spotify actually makes people into more conservative listeners, a process aided by its algorithms, which steer you towards music similar to your most frequent listening.....The theme of Krukowski’s book is that the changes in the way the music industry works have been about controlling and eliminating excess noise. That’s in a literal sense and in a metaphorical one, too. Streaming has stripped music of context, pared it back to being just about the song and the moment....but noise is the context of life. Without noise, the signal becomes meaningless......The world of the old EMI was one of both signal and noise; where myths and legends could be created: The Beatles! Queen! The Beach Boys! Pink Floyd! It was never all about the signal. The world of Spotify is one of signal only, and if you don’t appreciate that signal within the first 30 seconds of the song...all may be lost
abundance  algorithms  Apple_Music  books  book_reviews  business_models  curation  cultural_transmission  data  decontextualization  EMI  gatekeepers  Guy_Hands  hits  indoctrination  iTunes  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_industry  music_publishing  noise  piracy  platforms  playlists  royalties  ruination  securitization  signals  songs  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  talent  talent_scouting  talent_spotting  Terra_Firma  Tidal  transformational 
may 2019 by jerryking
The death of cultural transmission
April 3, 2019 | FT Alphaville | By Jamie Powell.

music publishing = the business of licensing songs for films, television and advertising.

Valuing [a record label's] music catalogue is... crucial for anyone looking to bid for a stake in the business.

Despite the prominence of new music, established artists are still fundamental to recorded music's success. .......So let's think about these golden oldies as assets. Assets whose appeal has, arguably, only been heightened by the advent of streaming which, with its recurring revenues and growing audience, has made recurring payments from established acts even more bond-like in their cash flow consistency.
But like fixed-income assets with long durations, these cash flows are also sensitive to the smallest assumptions about their future viability. Assumptions which are not as rock solid as some investors might imagine. Let's use The Beatles as a point of reference here, as "The White Album" was UMG's fourth best-selling album last year. (If you're asking “why The Beatles?” Well, Alphaville likes The Beatles, sure. The Fab Four could easily be replaced by its other legacy acts, such as Queen and Nirvana).

But the problem for a prospective buyer is why we're a fan. To put it simply: we had no choice. We were indoctrinated.

On a long car journeys to coastal summer holidays, or at home on a knackered JVC stereo, we, like many of our friends, were limited to a dozen or so records (jk: finite resources). One of which, inevitably, would be some form of John, Paul, George and Ringo (and George).

Call it the cultural transmission effect. Music would be passed on generation to generation, amplified by the relative scarcity, physical space constraints and high prices of recorded media.

This provided a boon for the major labels as it not only meant lower marketing costs but reissues, limited editions, and remasters became an easily repeatable trick, as younger generations grew up to become consumers themselves.......The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Marley are after all, great artists. Their music will live on. But that's not the question for a perspective investor.

The question is: to what degree will the royalties from these artists continue to flow? Assume Sir Paul and Sir Ringo will continue to grow exponentially richer off the back of streaming, and perhaps the quoted multiples don't look quite so mad. In this age it's hard to find assets which both grow, and have semi-predictable cash flows.

But if the next generation doesn't hold the same affinity to the artists which defined the first fifty years of the pop era, where does that leave the labels' back catalogues? May we suggest: in a tougher spot than most imagine.
Apple_Music  artists  assets  Beatles  biopics  bonds  cultural_transmission  digital_strategies  finance  finite_resources  golden_oldies  hard_to_find  indoctrination  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_publishing  platforms  Rollingstones  royalties  Spotify  strategic_buyers  streaming  superstars  U2  UMG  valuations 
april 2019 by jerryking
Five things we learnt from Apple’s latest launch
March 27, 2019 | | Financial Times | Richard Waters 3 HOURS AGO.

(1) With its move to services, Apple's balance sheet and installed base of users have taken over as the main source of competitive advantage....Apple has barely scratched the surface in selling content and services for the 1.4bn iPhone, Macs and other devices in active use.
(2) there is a chance to carve out a trusted position at a time when other internet giants are under fire. Think of it as a Disney for digital services: a trusted brand built around a set of values that stand above the crowd.
(3) there is still room for innovation at the margin, which should have a halo effect for the brand. The new credit card with Goldman Sachs is a case in point.
(4) Apple’s main way to make money — selling hardware — leaves it with a dilemma as it makes the move into services. .... it will be hard to get a return on the huge spending on entertainment unless it spreads that investment across the largest possible audience — which means reaching beyond its own hardware. This tension between vertical and horizontal business models — capturing more of the value from its own devices on the one hand, selling a service for everyone on the other — is not new for Apple.

(5) after more than a decade of the App Store, Apple’s relationship with many of the companies that have relied on the digital storefront to reach their own customers is about to change utterly...How will Apple promote its own services to its users, and what will this mean for iOS as a platform for third party apps? Spotify’s antitrust complaint to the EU this month is likely to be the harbinger of more challenges to come.
antitrust  Apple  Apple_IDs  App_Store  balance_sheets  Big_Tech  competitive_advantage  consumer_finance  credit_cards  cross-platform  EU  halo_effects  hardware  iOS  Richard_Waters  services  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  turning_points  user_bases  web_video 
march 2019 by jerryking
With the iPhone Sputtering, Apple Bets Its Future on TV and News
March 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

The iPhone is running out of juice. To go beyond the device that made Apple Inc. a global colossus, Tim Cook is betting on a suite of services—marking the company’s biggest shift in more than a decade......Apple will take a giant leap forward announcing video- and news-subscription services that it hopes will generate billions of dollars in new annual revenue and deepen ties between iPhone users and the company.....apps and services, from Spotify to Netflix to China’s WeChat , have often become more important to users than the devices that run them. .....The company’s ambition in video is to become an alternative to cable, combining original series with shows from other networks to create a new entertainment service that can reach more than 100 markets world-wide. ....Apple hasn’t said what it will charge for the programming. .....The original series will be delivered in a new TV app that staff have been calling a Netflix killer.....Apple has been negotiating to bring its new TV app to multiple platforms, including Roku and smart TVs.........Apple plans to showcase a revamped News app that includes a premium tier with access to more than 200 magazines—including Bon Appétit, People and Glamour—as well as newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal.....The Washington Post and New York Times aren’t participating in the new app...... in the early 2000s, co-founder Steve Jobs reinvented the company by pushing it into mobile devices. The iPod and its accompanying iTunes service revived a company that was largely dependent on Mac computer sales....Mr. Cook is attempting a similar feat in the approaching twilight of the smartphone era....Cook wanted to know which apps were selling well, how many Apple Music subscribers stuck with the service, and how many people were signing up for iCloud storage.....Apple’s biggest source of services revenue comes from distributing other companies’ software through its App Store.....Apple’s music-streaming service has about 50 million global subscribers—far behind Spotify’s 96 million.

Apple’s base of 1.4 billion iPhones, iPads and Macs in use globally gives it a distribution platform..................The push into news subscriptions could help Apple battle Facebook, whose News Feed has helped it become the No. 1 app world-wide in monthly active smartphone users.....Facebook is attempting to become a super-app like China’s WeChat, which allows users to shop, order food, buy movie tickets and make reservations on any mobile operating system......Steve Jobs foreshadowed Apple’s services future when he started iTunes in 2001, offering categories from competing major labels to make the first successful digital-music store, with songs available for 99 cents.

For Mr. Cook’s monthly services meetings, the company monitors of apps that benefit and threaten Apple. There is a "release radar" for Cook to track apps that are expected to sell well and other metrics for the apps that have challenged Apple’s business, including iTunes sales decreases compared with Apple Music subscription growth.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Music  big_bets  CEOs  cloud_computing  Disney  iCloud  iPhone  iTunes  magazines  mobile_applications  multiplatforms  Netflix  news  NYT  original_content  pivots  platforms  services  smartphones  Spotify  storage  streaming  subscriptions  television  Tim_Cook  WaPo  WeChat 
march 2019 by jerryking
Music’s ‘Moneyball’ moment: why data is the new talent scout | Financial Times
JULY 5, 2018 | FT | Michael Hann.

The music industry loves to self-mythologise. It especially loves to mythologise about taking young scrappers from the streets and turning them into stars. It celebrates the men and women — but usually the men — with “golden ears” almost as much as the people making the music....A&R, or “artists and repertoire”, are the people who look for new talent, convince that talent to sign to the record label and then nurture it: advising on songs, on producers, on how to go about the job of being a pop star. It’s the R&D arm of the music industry......What the music business doesn’t like to shout about is how inefficient its R&D process is. The annual global spend on A&R is $2.8bn....and all that buys is the probability of failure: “Some labels estimate the ratio of commercial success to failure as 1 in 4; others consider the chances to be much lower — less than 1 in 10,” observes its 2017 report. Or as Mixmag magazine’s columnist The Secret DJ put it: “Major labels call themselves a business but are insanely unprofitable, utterly uncertain, totally rudderless and completely ignorant.”......The rise of digital music brought with it a huge amount of data which, industry executives realized, could be turned to their advantage. ....“All our business units must now leverage data and analytics in innovative ways to dig deeper than ever for new talent. The modern day talent-spotter must have both an artistic ear and analytical eyes.”

Earlier this year, in the same week as Warner announced its acquisition of Sodatone, a company that has developed a tool for talent-spotting via data, another data company, Instrumental, secured $4.2m of funding. The industry appeared to have reached a tipping point — what the website Music Ally called “A&R’s data moment”. Which is why, wherever the music industry’s great and good gather, the word “moneyball” has become increasingly prevalent.
........YouTube, Spotify, Instagram were born and changed the way talent begins its journey. All the barriers came down. Suddenly you’ve got tens of thousands of pieces of music content being uploaded.......Home computing’s democratization of recording removed the barriers to making high-quality music. No longer did you need access to a studio and an experienced producer, plus the money to pay for them. But the music industry had no way to keep abreast of these new creators. “....The way A&R people have discovered talent has barely changed since the music industry began, and it’s fundamentally the same for indie labels, who put artistry above sales, as it is for major labels who have to answer to shareholders. It’s always been about information.....“We find them by listening to new music constantly, by people giving us tips, by going out and seeing things that sound interesting,”.....“The most useful people to talk to are concert promoters and booking agents. They are least inclined to bullshit; they’ll tell you how many people an act is drawing,”...like labels, publishers also have an A&R function, signing up songwriters, many of whom will also be in bands)....“Journalists and radio producers are [also] very useful people to give you information. If you know you’ve got particular DJs or particular writers who are going to pick up something, that’s really good.”
.......Instrumental’s selling point is a dashboard called Talent AI, which scrapes data from Spotify playlists with more than 10,000 followers.....“We took a view that to build momentum on Spotify, you need to be on playlists,”....“If no one knows who you are, no one’s going to suddenly start streaming a track you’ve just put up. It happens when you start getting included on playlists.”......To make it workable, the Talent AI dashboard enables users to apply a series of filters to either tracks or artists: to sort by nationality, by genre, by number of playlists they appear on, by the number of playlist subscribers, by their industry standing — are they signed to a major? To an independent label? Are they unsigned?
.......What A&R people are looking for, though, is not totals, it’s evidence of momentum. No one wants to sign the artist who has reached maximum popularity. They want the artist on the way up....“It’s the direction. Is it going in the right direction?”....when it comes to assessing what an artist can offer, the data isn’t even always about the numbers. “The one I look at the most is Instagram, because that’s the easiest way for an artist to express themselves in a way other than the music — how they look, what they’re into,” she says. “That gives a real snapshot into [them] and whether they really have formulated a world for themselves or not.”......not everyone is delighted with the drive to data. “[the advent of] Spotify...became the driving force for signings...“A&Rs were using their eyes rather than their ears — watching numbers change rather than listening to music, and then jumping on acts....they saw something happening and got it out quickly without having to invest in the traditional A&R process.”... online heat tends to be generated by transient teenage audiences who are likely to move on rather than stick around for a decade: online presence is a big thing in electronic dance music, or some branches of urban music, in which an artist might only be good for a single song. In short, data does not measure quality; it does not tell you whether an artist has 20 good songs that can be turned into their first two albums; it does not tell you whether they can command a crowd in live performance..........The music industry, of course, has always had an issue with short-termism/short-sightedness: [tension] between the people who sign the cheques and those who go to bat for the artists is built into the way it works..........The problem is that without career artists, the music industry just becomes even more of a lottery. It is being made harder, not just by short-termism, but by the fact that music has become less culturally central. “It’s so much harder to connect with an audience or grow an audience, because there’s so much noise,”
.......Today the A&R...agree that the new data has its uses, but insist it still takes second place to the evidence of their own eyes and ears.......As for Withey, he is not about to tell the old-school scouts their days are done....Instrumental can tell A&R people which artists are hot, but not which are good. Also, there will be amazing acts who simply don’t get the traction on the internet to register on the Talent AI dashboard.....All of which will come as a relief to the people running those A&R departments. .....when asked if data will become the single most important factor in scouting talent: “I hope not. Otherwise we may as well have robots.” For now, at least, the golden ears are safe.
A&R  algorithms  analytics  data  dashboards  tips  discoveries  filters  hits  Instagram  inefficiencies  momentum  music  music_industry  music_labels  music_publishing  Moneyball  myths  playlists  self-mythologize  songwriters  Spotify  SXSW  success_rates  talent  talent_spotting  tipping_points  tracking  YouTube  talent_scouting  high-quality  the_single_most_important 
july 2018 by jerryking
Subscription Music Service Sounds a New Note: Profit - WSJ
By Ethan Smith
Updated June 30, 2017

NYC-based Saavn is a relative minnow among them, with 22 million monthly active users who are predominantly in India and seven nearby nations. To them it offers a free service with unlimited access to 30 million songs—both Indian and Western—in exchange for sitting through ads. Charts and playlists spotlight music from various regions, eras and artists, such as Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

Outside South Asia, Saavn is subscription-only. For around $5 a month, users in the U.S., U.K. and about 200 countries gain access to 11 million songs, most of them Bollywood tunes and other Indian music. Users in India can pay 99 rupees (about $1.54) a month for an ad-free “pro” option.

The service also offers music from 10 artists it has signed directly to record label-style deals, along with 30 talk shows.
ad_supported  free  Bollywood  Spotify  Apple_Music  streaming  ethnic_communities  music  India  subscriptions  Indian-Americans 
june 2017 by jerryking
Rdio aims for streaming music’s sweet spot
As the world’s streaming music companies grapple for market share in a nascent industry, Rdio Inc. is betting that less means more, launching a new low-cost option targeted at casual music…
Spotify  royalties  Rdio  music_industry 
june 2015 by jerryking
Spotify Wants Listeners to Break Down Music Barriers - NYTimes.com
JUNE 3, 2015 | NYT | Farhad Manjoo

Spotify, which has just introduced a new version of its app, says that because online streaming services let us call up and listen to anything we like, and because its curated playlists push us toward new stuff, we are all increasingly escaping rigid genres....Spotify itself has about 60 million active users, 15 million of whom pay $10 per month for an ad-free premium version. On average, the company said, the service exposes each of these listeners to one new artist every day. That is making listeners less beholden to music of certain styles and eras. Instead, many of us will try anything, just because we can easily sample it online.

Spotify is betting that fixed musical genres will fade away. In its new version rolling out to iPhone users, the company has expanded its effort to program for moods and activities rather than merely certain kinds of musical tastes.
Spotify  streaming  music  market_segmentation  playlists  curation  Farhad_Manjoo 
june 2015 by jerryking
Ben Yagoda and Gary Rosen: Tuning Music Royalties to the Times
April 5, 2015 | WSJ | By BEN YAGODA And GARY A. ROSEN

Performers can go on tour and sell merch. Songwriters in the age of Spotify and Pandora are out of luck.

For some time, performers a notch below Beyoncé and Taylor Swift have complained about the change in music delivery from CDs to downloads to streaming, today’s dominant system, as the progression has chipped away at their already-modest royalties. These gripes are legitimate, but even worse off is the non-performing songwriter, who can’t go on the road and sell signed CDs and merch, and who takes home significantly lower royalties........The entire U.S. system of music royalties is confusing, contradictory and inequitable, a monument to more than 100 years of haggling among creators, purveyors and users. To call it Byzantine maligns that great empire.

For one, a musical composition (“the publishing” in music-industry parlance) and its recording (“the master”) receive separate copyrights, with separate licensing systems. There are dramatically different rate-setting mechanisms: Broadcast radio pays royalties for the composition, but nothing for the recording. Digital media—Pandora and satellite radio, for instance—pay for both, but nobody pays for recordings made before 1972, which are not protected under federal copyright law. (They may soon carry a royalty in certain states, thanks to lawsuits filed by former members of the Turtles.) Hardly any music licenses are negotiated in the free market.
copyright  digital_media  music  music_industry  musical_performances  Pandora  royalties  Spotify  songwriters  streaming 
april 2015 by jerryking
Jay Z Enters Music-Streaming Wars With Tidal - WSJ
By JOHN JURGENSEN
March 30, 2015

Tidal as “the first ever artist-owned global music and entertainment platform. We want to create a better service and better experience. Our mission goes beyond commerce and technology.”

Tidal faces a major challenge in gaining a foothold among streaming giants such as Google, Rhapsody and Spotify AB, which has 60 million total users, including 15 million who pay for access. Tidal’s parent company, Aspiro, reported 503,000 paid users in January.

Tidal has been available in the U.S. since last year. The service’s main selling point is higher-quality sound, but Ms. Keys also made a reference to exclusive content, which will no doubt include releases by some of the artists with her on stage Monday.
streaming  Jay-Z  music  Tidal  Spotify  Rhapsody  exclusivity  content 
march 2015 by jerryking
Kate Taylor: Digital content may be cheap, but who will pay to create it? - The Globe and Mail
KATE TAYLOR
The Globe and Mail (correction included)
Published Friday, Jan. 09 2015

Internet advocates love to preach choice, diversity and freedom – after all, a VPN can also be used by citizens in China to access content censored by their government – but the great irony of the digital age is that it is killing the economic incentive to create, even as it unlocks the content.....Critics argue that the lumbering entertainment industries should get hip to the Internet as a global, rather than territorial, platform. But if a licence to Netflix U.S. is, in effect, a licence to every citizen on the planet with a computer and the five minutes it takes to set up a VPN, it’s only fair that producers be paid accordingly.

The Netflix debate is just another example of the way the online distribution of digitized content has broken the cultural marketplace so that distributors rake in money while producers struggle to maintain workable businesses. Spotify thrives while musicians are paid pennies; Amazon grows while publishers struggle.
digital_media  Netflix  piracy  VPN  creative_economy  Amazon  Spotify  content_creators  content  entertainment_industry 
january 2015 by jerryking
Spotify launches in Canada as music streaming revenue jumps - The Globe and Mail
OMAR EL AKKAD - TECHNOLOGY REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Aug. 14 2014
Omar_el_Akkad  music  streaming  Spotify  product_launches 
august 2014 by jerryking
DIGITAL MEDIA REVIEWS
DIGITAL MEDIA REVIEWS
Haupt, Jon. Music Library Association. Notes69.1 (Sep 2012): 132-138.

The founding of Pandora Media in 2000, Rhapsody in 2001, Audio - scrobbler and Last.fm in 2002, and Appl...
business_models  streaming  music_industry  Spotify 
april 2014 by jerryking
How Beats' New Music Service Plans to Crush Spotify | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
By Roberto Baldwin
01.16.14

Beats Music won’t be joining the most-tracks arms race when it launches Tuesday. Instead, the new subscription service brought to you by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will win converts through a potent mix of smarter algorithms and human curation....Beats Music is different. The service is betting on smarts instead of sheer depth. While it will have enough songs to compete — anybody entering the game at this point has to — with a library millions of tracks deep, it hopes its unique approach to music discovery tools will give it an edge.

Setting up your Music DNA. Photo: Beats Music

As soon as you begin using the streaming service, Beats starts logging your “music DNA.” This serves as a personal profile used to determine which albums and tracks would be most relevant to you. To start generating your DNA, the service asks rudimentary questions, like which bands and genres you love.

But it takes other things into account. Your age,Your sex ,Who do you play quietly?Which artists do you crank up? ...But the system doesn’t solely rely on algorithms. It’s also backstopped by a small army of curators and behavioral scientists. This human element is there to help present music that doesn’t simply sound like the music you might enjoy, but also feels like it. Just because you listen to Mumford & Sons doesn’t mean you’d want to listen to a bunch of songs featuring banjos, for instance. You’d probably be more at home listening to Arcade Fire than Earl Scruggs. Humans can help make that determination. Algorithms can’t.
Beats  streaming  music  algorithms  curation  Spotify  Rdio  Rhapsody 
january 2014 by jerryking
An Ode to Joyful Music Streaming
Jan. 3, 2014 | WSJ.com | By John Jurgensen..

With more Spotify-like services on the horizon, a bounty of unexplored music beckons. But will they do a better job of helping you figure out what to listen to next?

As more people switch from the known confines of their personal music collections to the endless offerings of music-rental services like Spotify or Rdio, they're likely to suffer similar bouts of search-bar paralysis. As with the endless smorgasbord of gummy bears, Froot Loops and other toppings at those frozen-yogurt chains, what starts as a tantalizing abundance of music can suddenly seem overwhelming. That's one reason why we fall back on the same stuff we've been listening to since senior year in high school.....There's no shortage of guides designed to lead us through the wilds of digital music, but they all have drawbacks. .......Automated algorithms are OK for interpreting my personal listening patterns, but a music service should also show some humanity by reacting to what's happening in the zeitgeist [JCK: curation]. In the way that a cable-TV channel will program Will Ferrell movies when "Anchorman 2" is hitting theaters, why not play off the moment when everyone was talking about Beyoncé's surprise album by suggesting singers that influenced her or opened the door for her career? (Then again, I don't need an excuse to load up some classic Tina Turner.)

People complain that MP3s triggered the demise of extensive liner notes. While I'm not one to slavishly pore over the fine print in my LP collection, I want to click on a digital track as it plays to find out who wrote it, identify any samples it includes or—dare to dream—see how it connects to work by other artists......With every digital music service offering more or less the same stock—give or take a Led Zeppelin, which recently made an exclusive deal to stream its catalog on Spotify—my money will go to the one who can best guide me through the aisles.
algorithms  concierge_services  curation  humanity  music  playlists  Rdio  Songza  Spotify  streaming  zeitgeist 
january 2014 by jerryking
Spotify Hits a High Note: Valuation Tops $4 Billion - WSJ.com
Nov. 21, 2013 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll,Evelyn Rusli and Sven Grundberg.

Spotify AB has secured about $250 million in new financing that values the music-streaming company somewhere "north" of $4 billion,
Spotify  Pandora  streaming  music  venture_capital  vc  funding  valuations 
november 2013 by jerryking
Streaming for a Good Beat That’s Just to Your Taste - NYTimes.com
By KIT EATON
Published: August 28, 2013
* Spotify is the best-known streaming music app. This app lets you listen to any of your favorite tracks at will, and it is also a digital radio that streams new music.
* Rhapsody (which in some places overseas goes under the Napster brand). As in Spotify, you can search for music you want to hear, or discover new music through a few different routes.
* Last.fm was one of the first players that streamed music over the Internet, and now it’s available as an app. Instead of concentrating on giving you access to new music, a bit like traditional radio, Last.fm tries to recommend new music based on the tracks you already listen to.
* SoundCloud, a free app for iOS and Android that offers a different kind of streaming music. Where Spotify is like having radio on your phone, SoundCloud is more about hearing new music shared by indie artists via a social network.
streaming  music  Spotify  Last.fm  Rhapsody  SoundCloud 
august 2013 by jerryking
The Lease They Can Do: What the Fight Over 'Used' Music Reveals About Online Media
April 03, 2013 | Businessweek | By Paul Ford.

What is a song worth to Spotify or competitors such as Rdio? To them, a song is an entry in a very large database—and they solve the licensing problem by managing the licenses in bulk, then allowing listeners access to their libraries of music. At some level, Spotify is not a music service but a license clearinghouse that specializes in music....So far, the large music labels have been able to negotiate with streaming services, but as the streaming music players get bigger their power will increase; Spotify is apparently looking for price breaks from the major labels.

The big question now is not “whose album gets made?” but more “who gets to listen?” Not just who, but when—and who gets paid for the privilege? Oh, for the days when record stores featured bootlegs and cats. The clerks might have been snotty, but at least you didn’t have to have endless discussions about databases and doctrine. No one, anywhere, had to know how often you listened to Supertramp.

That’s another part of the puzzle. Streaming services generate a tremendous amount of data that has value of its own; sooner or later it will be used to make decisions about what gets produced....So this is not about technology. Nor is it really about music. This is about determining the optimal strategy for mass licensing of digital artifacts. Songs are the commodity but the licenses are currency....So this is the task: Figure out how to make money, reward artists enough that they continue to make new things, and pacify the labels and studios, while also creating something that doesn’t rip off, confuse, or upset the audience. If someone can do that, then why stick to movies, music, or perhaps books? New forms of media could be sold as well. Tumblr blogs, animated GIFs, casual games, and the like could all flow into such systems. Right now, when media objects are sold, it’s often as art (like the six-second Vine video called “Tits on Tits on Ikea” that artist Andrea Washko recently sold for $200). A massive marketplace in ridiculous pictures could emerge. Flickr (YHOO)could turn into a mall. Pinterest could become … Pintere$t.
clearinghouses  music  online  Rdio  Spotify  streaming  licensing  licensing_rights  downloads  musicians  music_industry  databases  digital_artifacts  artists  markets  data  music_labels  Flickr  Pinterest  music_catalogues 
april 2013 by jerryking
New Online Services Offer Hope to Music Fans - NYTimes.com
June 22, 2011 | NYT | By JON PARELES. Dematerializing
recorded music has consequences. The positive: it hugely multiplies the
potential audience, letting the music travel fast and far to listeners
who would never have known it existed. It escalates music’s
portability...Negative: it also drives down the price of recorded
music, often to zero, ...the unexpected combination of a nearly infinite
supply, constant availability, suboptimum sound quality and the
intangibility makes songs more trivial...a challenge to culturally
ambitious musicians: before they can be larger than life, they have to
be larger than the LCD screen. Or they can try to conquer that screen
and play the Internet as an instrument, using its defining attribute:
interactivity.....The evolving world of music: Bjork is working on an
album, “Biophilia,” that will have smartphone apps built around every
song: apps that diagram the song in both conventional music notation and
invented graphic notation. ....
Bjork  music  music_industry  cloud_computing  iTunes_Match  Pandora  Dar.fm  Rhapsody  Napster  MOG  Rdio  Spotify  smartphones  Jon_Pareles  streaming  Apple  free  mobile_applications 
june 2011 by jerryking

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