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.

cropped-01LOGO.jpg It’s OK. We know you probably don’t use Tidal’s $20 per month highest fidelity music streaming service.

Or hey, maybe you do, but the fact of the matter is most people don’t spend their hard-earned money on luxury streaming services. But level with us here— even though you might not be subscribed to a high-fidelity streaming service, are you really satisfied with your earbuds?

On this episode of Musonomics, we investigate whether there’s enough room for a profitable niche market supporting multiple competitors in the high-resolution music market.

We’ll talk to MQA CEO Mike Jbara, 7 Digital deputy CEO Pete Downton, and HDTracks CEO David Chesky to see what the future of high quality streaming could become. Is there a real future for these high-quality music streaming services, and, if so, what does that future look like? Let’s find out. As always, you can listen to the new episode above iTunes, or stream it on Soundcloud or YouTube.

Michael Dorf at City Winery NYC
Michael Dorf at City Winery NYC

No music startup has generated an operating profit in 20 years. Not Pandora, not Spotify.

The largest cost and greatest obstacle for music-streaming services like these is the the cost of the music they play, while prioritizing growth over profitability.  Spotify pays out 70-80% of its revenue to rights holders for its on-demand service, and Pandora about 50% of its revenue for the radio-like service it currently offers.

But music startups all across the board are struggling.  More than half of 2013’s most promising music startups no longer exist.  

Why are music startups struggling to thrive, or even simply survive?

01LOGOIn this episode, we examine several perspectives to understand why the space for music startups is so
unforgiving, and what music startups can do to be successful.

Cortney Harding, a digital music consultant, discusses the recent slowdown in the music startup space.  Edward Ginis and Brady Brim-DeForest, share of the bootstrapping approach that’s worked for OpenPlay.  David Pakman of Venrock explains why his firm has never invested in a digital media company, while Jon Vanhala, formerly of Universal Music and now at Crossfade Partners, offers insight into who can be blamed for the fact that music startups are finding it so hard to make money.  But it’s not all bad news. Music isn’t going away, it’s an essential aspect of the human experience. Our episode concludes with Michael Dorf, who tapped into the value of the live music experience and his own love of wine.  Michael is generating more profit than he ever did in the digital music business while operating and growing his City Winery locations across the country.

As always, you can listen to the new episode above via Soundcloud, or you can find it on iTunesYouTube, and Stitcher.

Eric Astor of Furnace MFG
Billy Fields, the vinyl guy at Warner Music

Hot on the tail of this year’s Record Store Day, we’re taking a fresh look at an old medium — vinyl records. About this time last year, we did our first show on the state of physical music retailing, and we concentrated on vinyl. We took a look at how Record Store Day helped revive a segment of the music industry and saved local record stores — but there’s more to the vinyl story than the retail effect.

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In this episode of Musonomics, we look further up the vinyl production line to see how the format is maturing, and what’s still holding it back. Josh Friedlander, the RIAA’s data guy, talks about the continued growth of vinyl records. Billy Fields, the vinyl guy at Warner Music Group, chats with us about whether vinyl might be heading for a plateau.  And Eric Astor of Furnace takes us into the factory and through the vinyl manufacturing process, from finished audio to a pristine, pressed record.

As always, you can listen to the new episode above via Soundcloud, or you can find it on iTunes, YouTube, and Stitcher.

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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”

From Adele to the streaming wars to a call for revision of arcane music licensing laws from the U.S. Copyright Office — in our final episode of the year Larry Miller talks with Neil Shah of the Wall Street Journal about the three most important music industry stories of 2015.

Continue reading “The 3 Most Important Stories of 2015”