By Larry Miller
as published in Billboard October 5, 2018
The Music Modernization Act, now set to become law, is silent on one big remaining issue for the music industry: U.S. AM/FM radio stations pay nothing to broadcast the sound recordings they play.
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Music is all around us, all the time – as we shop in a store, eat in a restaurant – or work off those calories in a spin class. In this episode of Musonomics, Prof. Larry Miller from the NYU Music Business Program explores the evolution and licensing issues of background and foreground music used in businesses, from the birth of Muzak in the wartime factory — and then we shift into overdrive with Soul Cycle’s rawk gawd Sean Linehan on how he sculpts the playlists for each of his sold out spin classes.
For millions of us, artificial Intelligence got real when we added smart speakers to our homes. Our AI assistants are standing by, ready to play music, turn on the news, start the oven, or see who’s at the front door. But as they make life easier, they’re also creating new challenges for the music and entertainment industries. And then there’s the matter of security…just how smart do we want our AI devices to be?
Amazon, Google, and Apple are all now competing to be the smart speaker in our homes — and cars. As their underlying voice assistants become more integrated in our homes, the entertainment industry must rethink how to reach these consumers. How will Alexa, Google Home or Siri travel beyond our households and into the connected car? In this episode of Musonomics, we’ll hear from industry reporter Cherie Hue and Larry Rosin of Edison Research.
Digital music services continue to drive recovery of the music industry after a long period of decline, and the AM/FM music radio business is starting to feel it. Young people born after Millennials don’t use radio the same as previous generations. Can commercial AM/FM radio compete with pure play digital music services? Russ Crupnick of MusicWatch and Steve Goldstein of Amplifi Media join us to discuss what’s happening to radio listenership, and how radio needs to respond to the threat posed by unlimited, commercial-free music.
The way radio pays for music it uses may have acted as a kind of an economic disincentive for radio to invest in its own digital future. AM/FM radio broadcasters in the US pay a tiny amount, about 4% of revenues, to songwriters and music publishers, but American AM/FM stations are exempted from paying anything to the artists who performed the music or their record companies. This exemption doesn’t apply to digitally delivered radio streams, like SiriusXM or Pandora, or even the digital streams of AM/FM radio broadcasters.
Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” report shows that AM/FM radio is responsible for over half of all time spent listening to music in the U.S. among listeners 18 and older. Radio believes the power of its strong, local brands will insulate it from digital competition. However, this may not be the case in the car as the dashboard reconfigures around connectivity with advanced digital services. The car is currently the number one location for listening to radio, and automotive is the number one revenue category for radio. The connected car and its multiple audio offerings may be the greatest threat to AM/FM radio broadcasting, with 75% of new cars expected to be connected by 2020. Listen to this episode of Musonomics as we dive into the uncertain future of radio.
It’s not a secret that live music has kept many artists afloat as the recorded industry has cratered. But fifty percent of last year’s top 100 grossing acts are over 50 years old. Mick Jagger is 73 years old. So what will happen to the live music industry when they’re no longer around? On this episode of Musonomics we’re talking about the future of the live music industry and rock’s demographic crisis. Neil Shah, a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, is wondering whether the next generation of artists will be able to command the same ticket prices and bring the same revenue to fill the hole that would exist when Mick Jagger no longer sings “Satisfaction” at sold out stadiums. And if they do — are they gonna be able to do it for the next thirty years?
Music festivals are a big source of income – especially this time of year. Over 32 million people attend music festivals in the US every year. This year’s Coachella sold out in only three hours after the lineup was announced in January. Over the last ten years, concert promoters have been buying stakes in music festivals. Live Nation recently became the majority shareholder in Bonnaroo and the Isle of Wight and is now producing over 60 festivals. AEG Presents, the world’s second largest music promoter, is producing 18, including Coachella the highest grossing music festival. Neil Shah says the promoters are looking to take stakes in a business that will increasingly provide a bigger share of live music revenues.
But it’s not all sunshine. 2016’s Bonnaroo was the least attended in that festival’s 15 year history. And both Tomorrowland and Wakarusa cancelled their festivals last year. This – paired with a lot of lineup overlaps – has raised the question whether we have in fact reached what’s been called peak music festival. Cherie Hu writes about music and technology in Forbes. She thinks characterization of the current scene as “peak festival” is an oversimplification. To get to the bottom of the claim that festivals have a lot of lineup overlaps, she analysed the data from nine upcoming festivals. Hear what she found out in this episode of Musonomics.
As always, you can listen to the new episode on iTunes, or stream it on Soundcloud.
China has the largest population in the world and an economy that keeps growing at a steady pace. But China’s music industry is still the size of small European countries like Austria and Sweden. Why is that? On this episode of Musonomics we take a look at the Chinese music market, so full of potential and changing more in the last five years than in the last 50. We’ll address how decades of piracy have shaped consumer behavior; discuss the major players when it comes to Chinese streaming services and project what will happen in the next few years.
You’ll hear from Ed Peto, the music executive who moved to China to build a bridge between the Chinese music market and the western music industry. Ten years later he’s running Outdustry and helped launch the selling record ever — Adele’s 25 — in the Chinese market.
You’ll also hear from Billy Koh, the Simon Cowell of China with a long view of the Chinese music industry. Billy is a popular judge on the TV talent shows and also the founder and CEO of the hit-making record labels Ocean Butterflies and Amusic Rights Management.
As always, you can listen to the new episode on iTunes, or stream it on Soundcloud.
We know you probably don’t buy CDs anymore, and that you’re not reading the lyrics from the CD case insert. That doesn’t mean you don’t feel the need to look up the lyrics from time to time, right? Especially those fast-paced rap songs, they can be really tricky to figure out by just listening. But when you go online to do that, have you ever thought about whether these lyrics sites have the right to publish those lyrics and make money off of the ads on the site? Probably not.
On this episode of Musonomics we talk about lyrics licensing and how the changes in the music industry are affecting the hardworking people who wrote those lyrics – the songwriters.
You’ll hear from Darryl Ballantyne, CEO and founder of LyricFind. It’s a company that up to date has licenses with over 4,000 music publishers, to try and make sure that the songwriters and right holders are compensated for their work when the lyrics end up online. How did he come up with the idea to start licensing lyrics and how did the music publishers react?
In the end, the people losing out on unlicensed lyrics being published online are the songwriters, so we also talk to Phil Galdston, whose songs have sold 70 million copies worldwide. What’s his take on the songwriters’ struggle to be able to sustain themselves by just writing songs in the digital era? And if you want to hear a longer version of the interview with Phil Galdston, you can find it here.
As always, you can listen to the new episode on iTunes, or stream it on Soundcloud or YouTube.
Songwriters struggle to get paid while the copyright system designed to protect their rights is partially to blame, but why? In this episode of Musonomics, Larry Miller takes a look at how the copyright and royalty payment system is failing a new generation of songwriters.
Continue reading “Songwriters, Consent and the Age of Discontent”
Hot on the heels of Super Tuesday we delve into the world of presidential campaign music and what happens when popular music is misused by campaigns.
Continue reading “Music in the Time of Politics”
Remixes and mashups will not be subject to compulsory licenses anytime soon according to recommendations presented in a white paper released last month by the Department of Commerce (DoC). The white paper is the result of a 2-year study published by the Internet Task Force created to deal with our “Remix Culture.” The remix culture, as Lawrence Lessig states in his book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, utilizes multimedia as its language to communicate. It allows the consumer to quote content from various sources to create something from existing content that can be considered “new.” For example, sampling, taking short snippets from different songs to create a new song that can sound completely different from its original sources — a practice widely used in hip hop and electronic music. Remixing and sampling have become vital techniques and art forms in a new-look media landscape.
Continue reading “No Compulsory Licensing for Remixes, Determines DoC Internet Task Force”