Digital Music News put together a visual showing the mix of revenue streams for music over the past 30 years. CDs, which represented only 0.5% in 1983 grew to the dominant medium in 2003 when it was 95.5% of revenue.
In 2004 downloads appear on the scene (or begin to be counted) at 1.5% and are, in 2013 more than the CD with both downloads and streaming/subscription revenues eating away at CD market share.
This interview with Jimmy Iovine on the eve of the announcement of Beats Music goes a long way towards explaining how Beats and Apple might work together. Appreciation of sound and the ability to call bullshit on existing music recommendation engines (at 23:00),
I put in the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan as my two favorite groups and asked for 10 songs.
What I got back were 3 John Entwistle solos, 1 Keith Moon solo record, 1 Mick Jagger, 1 Moby Grape, and 1 John Lee Hooker record.
What am I going to do with that? That’s the math solution.
“iTunes is great but it needs a step forward. . . most technology companies are culturally inept. . . we’re trying to marry math with emotions.”
It used be one of the lowest forms of selling out when a musician signed over their work to a brand campaign. Such was the stigma, Nike was sued for using The Beatles’ Revolution in one of their commercials. With declining revenues for recorded music, touring and merch remain the main sources of income for a working band. For older musicians that have family and want to stay close to home, Commercial Sync, or composing music for a brand campaign, can be a lucrative alternative.
A long way from the earworm jingles of the 60’s and 70’s, television advertising has become a way to not only earn the equivalent of months of work for 30 seconds of art but also a way for relatively unknown artists to break into the charts. Apple introduced America to Feist with the launch of their iPod Nano. It’s good money for the bands and if the product is right, playing back up to a brand can actually augment the band’s image and their association with a cool brand.
For the launch of Windows95, Microsoft licensed Start Me Up from the Rolling Stones as a way to kick off the biggest software upgrade in the company’s history and forever brand Mick Jagger’s crooning with a key feature of Win95.
Yo La Tengo previewed a track off their upcoming album, Fade, on YouTube. The track in the video above is Ohm and features a tree from Overlook Park in Portland, Oregon that is also on the album’s cover. Fade will be released in January.
I’ve written about the innovative use of the premium upsell as something instructive for anyone selling premium content. I just learned about the Flaming Lips Gummy Bear skull which they released earlier this year which has turned the whole premium upsell thing into an art form. I love it!
Embedded inside a 7-pound gummy bear skull is a USB stick with an unique set of songs from the Lips. The catch is you need to eat your way into the skull to “extract the music. As front man Wayne Coyne says, “You’re gonna eat it, you’re going get a stomach ache…but you’re gonna love it!”
And here is a clip showing Wayne dropping off the first five to buy the Gummy Bear Skull at a record store in Oklahoma near Wayne’s house.
It has been two weeks since the disaster in Japan. We can choose to look at this as a setback or an opportunity. Mother Nature has taught us all a valuable lesson. A lesson we seemed doomed to learn again and again.
We are not masters of our domain, we are but passengers on this lonely rock hurtling through space. We can choose to either get along and celebrate our life together or continue to fight each other to rule over our patch of dirt and make it our own. The choice is ours.
Retired martial artist Genki Sudo is a performance artist in Japan with the group World Order and has this message for Japan but also for all of us looking at Japan.
“We are one.”
The sooner we realize that, the better. This is the lesson.
Sudo’s message in the YouTube video description:
The unprecedented disasters unfolding in Japan; earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear explosions, will somehow change things to come. And to send my message about this, I have expressed it here with WORLD ORDER.
These disasters can be interpreted as a turning point for civilization. I think that we have arrived at a time of revolution, shared with all the people of the world, in today’s society, economy, and political systems.
Incidents themselves are neutral. I believe that every single one of us, wandering through this deep darkness, can overcome anything, if only we let go of our fear, and face the it all in a positive light.
The world is not going to change. Each one of us will change. And if we do, then yes, the world will be changed. It is darkest right before the dawn. Let’s all rise up to welcome the morning that will be so very bright for mankind.
You are either the person getting pimped, or you’re the person doing the pimping.
The video below of will.i.am from the Black-Eyed Peas speaking with John Battelle at a recent conference he hosted in LA has been looping away in my mind for the past week. In it, he questions the 80/20 revenue split with Apple of iTunes digital distribution as something left over from the days of Tower Records when distribution meant up-front manufacturing commitments, inventory stocking, and shipping of physical goods. The fact that record publishers still keep this uneven split for digital “licensing” to places such as iTunes is the, “dirty secret nobody’s talking about.”
will.i.am’s description of how the Black-Eyed Peas negotiated a new type of advertising unit for the Super Bowl and collaborated with Marc Benioff and Salesforce to promote Chatter.com through the mini-site thebabypeas.com is a glimpse at how switched on celebrities are using modern tools to manage their brand without the help (or interference or commissions) by an agency.
But the most visionary thing and something I keep coming back to is will.i.am’s vision of the next generation internet. It’s a world where brand “alliances” pool together to subsidize content producers. A world where, “chips talk to chips” without a middleman to make the free flow of content seamless and automatic. In this new world, a collection of devices will marry themselves to a library of content and work seamlessly together.
Extended further, it’s a world in which we no longer need the internet to connect us all. When you text someone next to you, why do you need to connect to a cell tower and send the message over a network only to round trip it right back again. If you extend the chips-talking-to-chips metaphor, why not just have the phone turn itself into the modern version of a walkie-talkie and beam the message right over? Bluetooth and NFC have started this vision but taken further, why can’t cellphones self-organize into mini-networks so that a group of phones together could share information without having to connect to the cloud?