How the Music Industry Is Alienating Its Most Passionate Customers…

alienatingfans

Who buys the most music?  Well, the people that care most about their music and the artists that make it.  Makes sense, but the most passionate fans buy a lot more than casual listeners: according to research just released by MiDIA Research, music ‘Aficionados’ account for 61% of all music purchases, whether that be recorded music, live music, music merchandise, or direct funding.

So why isn’t that group being focused on more?  According to the research, this coveted group is buying a lot less these days, mainly because there’s less reason for them to buy.  “Facebook and YouTube took artist-fan engagement to the masses, but music spending is still falling,” write MiDIA’s Mark Mulligan.

“Aficionados, the super fans that drive 61% of all music sales revenue, are both being taken for granted and reducing their spend, trading down from multiple albums a month to 9.99 subscriptions.”

And here’s the worst part: these fans want to buy more stuff, but they aren’t being given more reasons to buy.  “These fans want more from their favorite artists: 45% think music is more than just the song, that it is also the artist’s story and 18% would pay for an interactive artist app.  A new generation of music products are needed, built around interactivity, multimedia and artist subscriptions.”

More Immersive, '360 Degree Music Product Concept'

More Immersive, ‘360 Degree Music Product Concept’

 

So aficionados will come, if only artists would build it.  “A new generation of music products are needed, built around interactivity, multimedia and artist subscriptions. Products that will be radically different from their predecessors, and that will, crucially, be artist-specific, not store or service specific,” Mulligan notes.  “Rights’ owners will have to overcome some major licensing and commercial issues, but the stakes are high enough to warrant the effort.”

“At risk is the entire future of premium music products and of safe guarding the spending of the super fans, without which record music revenues will dwindle into insignificance.”

Top image by nsub1, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).  Middle image from MiDIA.

47 Responses

  1. Me2

    Yep, lyrics, credits, artwork, photos, supplementary info, tour dates, news and social feeds.

    Which could simply mean an artist website, or app.. these have been available for a while.

    or something more?

    Which leaves the stores and services where? Perhaps a rethink.

    I tend to believe the Midia numbers and agree that this is a possible direction.

    Reply
  2. GGG

    The issue is that is has to be something that brings more real value to the music, which is hard because it’s innately a one-sense thing. I think the vinyl resurgence shows there’s a degree of desire in that sense, as the idea of owning a digital file has just started to annoy people, but it’s certainly not widespread enough. MOST people in my generation and below are simply over owning a bunch of stuff. Gone are the days of carrying around a giant sleeve of CDs. I’m even fairly certain everyone I know that buys a decent amount of vinyl still listens to plenty of music digitally, whether they buy it, stream it, whatever.

    People on here like to shit on the “experience” ideas and the idea of touring being a main source of income, but I think that’s way more on the right track than harping on physical or even digital product. If you follow your favorite acts on whatever social media, you are indirectly interacting with them everyday. People are more fans of the actual artist than just their music. So monetizing those connections makes perfect sense. An app like this would, in theory, BE an experience. Maybe this is what U2 is working on, too.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Ias the idea of owning a digital file has just started to annoy people, but it’s certainly not widespread enough. MOST people in my generation and below are simply over owning a bunch of stuff.

      So your generation really bought that one eh?? Fell for that one old hook line and sinker…

      The whole lets not own anything wasnt a generational shift which was chosen by the people for they desire not to own anything, it was a setup, it was a propaganda play of mass proportions sold to you by very intelligent people who saw something needed to happen, for multiple reasons, and it worked… if not for a paradigm shift and changing mass perceptions the global economy would not have been able to sustain and that itself would have caused a heck of a lot more anger and resentment that already exists, making backlash and civil uproars much more possible and furthermore, it wouldnt have facilitated the huge power shift to different industries, companies and people, all whom love to own things, less people wanting to own means less competition for ownership, which is fine by me…

      If you realize your a peoples can not all live the american dream and own houses and own properties etc. etc. what better thing to do then to make them believe they dont want to own anything, thats just brilliant really…

      I mean what could be better for ISP’s and Tech and Telecom then a huge paradigm shift to just accessing digital files and streaming and bandwidth consumption then a generations actually thinking they themselves dont want to own anything, its genius, brilliant, a well thought out and gamed plan that just clicked right on perfectly, huge massive… What better for rich people who can buy up all the houses and rent them out at inflated rates?? If you know your a peoples, thanks to the inability to make money and build wealth for 99.9% of people, will never be able to get themselves to a point to even safely and responsibly own a house, better get them sold on the idea of renting then eh??

      I want to own stuff, because theres no wealth, theres no value in not owning stuff… If i dont own it someone else does and that someone else then has more leverage and worth than i do…

      I certainly find this whole shift away from digital file ownership very very annoying, it leaves me defenseless and gives other people the power, it leaves me restricted and not in control, it requires using way more bandwidth, which then forces the ISP’s to bump their rates up for usage, so i pay the price for a bunch of people watching cat videos and sharing nonsense, all who think they dont want to own stuff and abuse and overuse the wires making consumption enormous, whereas my consumption has stayed the same but now thanks to people like you i have to pay more, which infuriates me…

      and i live simple, i dont need tons of stuff, but i cant stand this whole cloud access garbage that then permeates throughout the rest of society and the economy… i dont want to rent applications that require internet connections, not with how badly i get stolen from, and some of these companies are starting to not even offer single file downloads of programs, which leaves me no other option then to not even use it and search for some other company that still offers single file download program licensing allowing off line usability…

      i want to own files so i can put them on the devices i need when i want and how i want with little to no fuss about it, this streaming garbage is awful in a lot of senses, and while i use it, its only on desktops hardwired in as a means of some legal consumption to check out some tunes here and there…

      Reply
      • GGG

        Well, your borderline incoherent rambling is putting two different concepts/arguments together. I hate to break it to you but a digital file isn’t “stuff.” It’s a series of 1s and 0s that only exist tangibly if you fix it somewhere where it can’t be wiped out with the click of a button or a hard drive crashing.

        And if you buy me a bigger apt so I can have an entire room of shelf space for CDs/vinyl, I’ll gladly start buying more. But until I get your check, I’m only going to buy, physically or digitally, the music I really want and stream other stuff.

        I also find it great you blame me/my generation for all this shit you hate then throw in “this streaming garbage is awful in a lot of senses, and while i use it, its only on desktops hardwired in as a means of some legal consumption to check out some tunes here and there.”

        Pot, meet kettle.

        Reply
      • Sarah

        So own stuff. No one is stopping you. Do you think it’s a trade off – the world can have downloads or the world can have streaming? Both downloading (owning) and streaming can, and do, exist. There’s no reason they shouldn’t both exist so people can choose which they prefer. There isn’t a right answer on this issue, there’s only personal preference.

        Nothing in your comment suggests that you believe people should actually have the right to decide for themselves whether to own or “rent.” From some perspectives, that could make you as wrong as the “ISP’s and Tech and Telecom” conspiracy you criticize.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Nothing in your comment suggests that you believe people should actually have the right to decide for themselves whether to own or “rent.” From some perspectives, that could make you as wrong as the “ISP’s and Tech and Telecom” conspiracy you criticize.

          Sarah, if you dont understand the language perhaps you shouldnt jump into the middle with assumptions and judgments…

          You are reading in and assuming and interpreting things and therefore putting words in my mouth which therefore begins a character assassination and defamation which i dont appreciate…

          If you actually properly read what i had to say i think you would come to the opposite conclusion, as i cynically slam tech for pushing streaming, that would therefore indicate that i prefer balance and would appreciate they stop pushing the whole world to their mono ideology and desires… It isnt conspiracy, its happened and is happening, whether or not anyone is sitting around actually focused on that is anyones guess, it may just be playing out, but it is playing out, im sorry you cant see as such, or perhaps you would rather i didnt damage your business plans with actual truthful information the mass media and show will never give to the a peoples…

          thanks for your time, i appreciate the reply…

          Reply
          • Sarah

            I’m sorry you feel that I mis-characterized your comment.

            Here you mention “balance,” and imply that I should have discerned from your original comment that you prefer balance, even though your original comment does not indicate that in any way to a reasonable reader.

            “If you actually properly read what i had to say i think you would come to the opposite conclusion, as i cynically slam tech for pushing streaming, that would therefore indicate that i prefer balance”

            Perhaps it might better to just say what you mean then, instead of being “cynical” and “slamming tech” and hoping that people will somehow conclude, from your rather extremely positioned comment, that you are advocating “balance.”

            Effective communication starts with the writer, not the reader.

            Nonetheless, thank you for clarifying that you actually prefer balance on this issue.

          • GGG

            Bah, not you, Sarah. The resident dbag’s post was deleted again.

  3. jw

    These are all thing that should be integrated into the premium streaming experience. Charging for an app that just has free stuff like Tweets & YouTube? Gimme a break. But lyrics (real, genuine, actual cd booklet quality lyrics, not the bullshit these third party lyrics start-ups are peddling), liner notes, etc in streaming are a no-brainer. Lyrics are one of the industry’s biggest failures in the transition to the web. If Spotify wants more subscribers, it needs to offer a clearly premium experience, & lyrics & album-specific photos & so on are the shortest path to that. Maybe even a genius.com partnership?

    Also, the industry needs to quit naming anything “360.” That needs to be stricken from the vocabulary.

    The issue with premium digital content is that it expires. 8tracks, cassettes, cds, dvds, blu-rays, t-shirts, books, posters, etc don’t really have compatibility issues, but apps have to be developed for multiple operating systems & then have to be maintained indefinitely, perhaps even completely recoded every year or two to support major OS updates. I can open up my Tom Petty coffee table book 6 years from now & enjoy it same as day one. An app? The chances are slim to none. So you can’t really think of premium digital products the way we do physical products. I’m not going to pay for a “360 experience” of an album that’s going to lock me into sticking with the iPhone when my wireless contract is up, or a specific brand of tablet, or whatever.

    The value of the web isn’t that you can make immersive listening experiences. Technology moves to fast for that to really be worthwhile in the long run. Here’s how I see it being leveraged…

    1) Direct communication. An artist with a large enough fanbase to justify a cross platform, indefinitely maintained, branded app should create one. This could potentially even replace the website. It could leverage in-app purchasing to sell merch & exclusive content, billed through iTunes or Google Play or whatever, & use push notifications to alert users of new products (digital & physical), new features, & shows taking place near the fan’s hometown. (There’s probably a huge market for someone to create a white label version of this, if it hasn’t been done already.)

    2) Leverage community. Create a premium ($4.99 or less) “fan club” type app that connects your fans in meaningful ways, similar to the old NIN app. This could mean secret shows that are only promoted to the fans through the app, “scavenger hunt” type puzzles that require fans to work together to unlock content, etc. This would probably also tie into pre-sales for shows & albums, discounted in-app merch purchases, exclusive merch, etc.

    3) Subscription packages. The web allows for fans to easily sign up for, & for artists to easily administer & deliver on subscription packages. This can be a combination of physical & digital stuff, similar to Jack White’s quarterly Vault packages or They Might Be Giants’ Dial-A-Song club. But songs (exclusive tracks, demos, remixes, etc) should be delivered as FLAC or MP3 or some sort of standard format, so I can import them into Spotify as local files & integrate them into my playlists. No one wants exclusive content that’s locked into a specific app, especially when that app isn’t guaranteed to be usable in a year or two.

    4) Ongoing customization. I think there’s a way to meaningfully track your relationship with a band. It’s niche, but almost like a scrapbook style app that says when you discovered the band & in what context, at what point specific songs were very important to you, etc. And you’d be able to add journal entries & cell phone videos, photos of ticket stubs & maybe the marquee, etc. Maybe this isn’t a band specific app, though.

    Reply
    • Sarah

      This is an interesting comment because it matches a lot of the features we’re building into our platform – specifically the first three points you mention. I actually see a common theme in them: they all involve creating a more direct, stronger artist-audience relationship and giving the artist greater control over that relationship.

      As for your last point of ongoing customization for consumers in a scrapbook-type sense, it’s easy enough to implement and – if there is a demand for it – it makes sense for it to be integrated with everything else to provide a complete experience for users. But I have two questions (for anyone who wants to chime in):

      1. Do you think there’s really a strong demand by consumers for this sort of functionality? You mention it’s probably a niche audience, but in that niche audience do you think this is something they would – on average – strongly value, or just something that would be kinda maybe nice to have sometimes?

      2. Of the information you mention keeping in this sort of scrapbook, is there any specific information that has real value to the artist? In other words, would having any of that information make it easier for you the artist to understand your audience and continue to produce music they value; if so, which information would be most valuable?

      Reply
      • jw

        >> I actually see a common theme in them: they all involve creating a more direct,
        >> stronger artist-audience relationship and giving the artist greater control over
        >> that relationship.

        Well the internet is essentially a communications tool. But I do not think giving the artist control is necessarily paramount, sometimes you make more money giving the consumer more control. I’m strongly in support of creating products that fit into a consumer’s existing listening habits, like giving users DRM-free downloads that they can sync to Spotify. Just like in anything else, it’s about balancing the artist’s wants & needs against the consumer’s wants & needs.

        >> 1. Do you think there’s really a strong demand by consumers for this sort of
        >> functionality? You mention it’s probably a niche audience, but in that niche
        >> audience do you think this is something they would – on average – strongly
        >> value, or just something that would be kinda maybe nice to have sometimes?

        This was just an example of how to use the internet to create premium communication-focused *services* rather than premium product apps with short shelf lives that mainly exist to display content. (The point is that an app for a specific album release, for example, would have to be maintained indefinitely against diminishing returns over time. After the album cycle, it doesn’t make financial sense to maintain it, & so it’s hard to justify charging a fan a premium for such a product.) Upon reflection, this would probably be more of a standalone app that would pull content in from the places people already share their music/concert experiences… instagram, twitter, facebook, etc, & then allows you to detail or contextualize it or sort it or whatever. It would need to be for all bands, but divided up into “channels” per band. **If anyone builds this, I expect a cut. Paul has my details.**

        >> 2. Of the information you mention keeping in this sort of scrapbook, is there
        >> any specific information that has real value to the artist? In other words,
        >> would having any of that information make it easier for you the artist to
        >> understand your audience and continue to produce music they value; if so,
        >> which information would be most valuable?

        There’s a lot of social content that slips through the cracks & artists never know about. It’s impossible to say what percentage this is, but I very rarely tag an artist in my social content unless it’s someone I know personally. For instance, I recently posted a photo of Charles Bradley to Instagram & captioned it “Chuck is magic,” so there’s no way for him to track it. Using this app, the photo would be automatically tagged to the artist & would post to Instagram the same way, but there would be a data trail. Also, conceivably, the user’s Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Spotify/etc accounts would all be linked, so, if an artist had access to that info, they would have a complete picture of a fan which could be useful in different ways.

        This is turning into a decent idea. Maybe I should build it myself.

        Reply
        • Sarah

          Thanks for the detailed response.

          As to the consumer having more control, I’m not opposed to that at all. The issue isn’t the balance of control between artist and consumer, in my opinion – I think that gets sorted out by consumers and artists, and I suspect that the most successful artists would be the ones who respect and respond to consumers’ preferences (this is true of nearly every type of business).

          The issue, rather, is when third parties claim substantial control over the artist-consumer relationship. You mention balancing the artist’s wants & needs against the consumer’s wants & needs – absolutely, but that balance should be determined by artists and consumers, not by third parties. Currently major platforms, by virtue of how they’re designed, exert a lot of power over that balance and it seems to work to the disadvantage of artists.

          Maybe you should build that app. I imagine it’d fill a pretty big need 🙂

          Reply
          • jw

            >> The issue, rather, is when third parties claim substantial
            >> control over the artist-consumer relationship. You
            >> mention balancing the artist’s wants & needs against
            >> the consumer’s wants & needs – absolutely, but that
            >> balance should be determined by artists and consumers,
            >> not by third parties.

            As a third party, it seems like you’re mostly trying to position yourself as hyper-artist friendly. The reality is that the vast majority of music consumed online is owned by the major labels, & it’s been third parties (Ian Rogers when he was at Yahoo! Music, Steve Jobs at Apple, etc) pushing for better experiences for the customer (DRM-free sales, lower pricing, etc) over the years that has paved the way for what we have today. In fact, every time a major rights holder (i.e. record label) has tried to create a service that competes with these third parties, it has fallen on its face precisely because of conflicts of interest. Without these third parties advocating for the consumer (& in turn their own success), the digital music experience would be very miserable. Remember that the artist isn’t interacting with the fan in a vacuum, so if the artist is given the ability to create a “locked down” experience that’s not consumer-friendly, that reflects poorly on the service. So it is necessary for a third party to exercise some degree of control over the experience in order for the rising tide to lift all boats.

          • Sarah

            I wouldn’t say I’m hyper-artist friendly. I think I have a pretty balanced attitude. I also don’t think it’s really necessary (or right) to choose a side.

            If I’m hyper-anything friendly, I’m hyper-free market friendly. The reality is that creating “locked down” consumer experiences is bad for the artist, not just the platform – because, again, consumers simply don’t want it. If an artist tries to create a locked down experience, it likely won’t work out well for him. Most artists will probably choose to do the smart thing – not ignore their customer’s preferences. Ignoring your customers’s preferences is a good way to not make any money.

            If you want to sell your music in a way that your customers don’t want, you’re probably going to fail as a business. This is true of every business. That’s your right, though; your control over your work shouldn’t be taken away from you or impaired because you’re not using it the way someone else thinks is best.

            As for a locked down experience from an individual artist necessarily reflecting poorly on the service, I disagree. Depending on how the service is structured, it’d come down to what MOST artists choose to do. If the majority of artists choose to not offer consumer-friendly experiences, that’d be bad for the service. But if the majority do offer consumer-friendly experiences, then the ones who don’t will just piss off their fans – who will promptly go to some other site and download the music illegally. I suspect it’d probably work out that the majority of artists would choose to respond to their customers’ preferences; people tend to get rational real quick when their bottom line is directly at stake.

            That said, I do think artists are currently very disadvantaged – for a lot of reasons, including both major labels and leading services.

            p.s. I dislike DRM, and think it’s incredibly silly that anyone even uses it. I think a lot of content is overpriced in current marketplaces. I also think streaming is obviously the way to go over downloads (as you say, consumers want it). Point is, I hold some very “consumer friendly” positions. I also hold some very “artist friendly” positions. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • jw

            It’s not about choosing sides or anything being mutually exclusive. Like I said, it’s about balance.

            >> If an artist tries to create a locked down experience,
            >> it likely won’t work out well for him. Most artists will
            >> probably choose to do the smart thing – not ignore
            >> their customer’s preferences. Ignoring your
            >> customers’s preferences is a good way to not make
            >> any money.

            In my experience, artists will not do the smart thing & adjust to consumer preferences. Instead, they’ll complain, blame technology, & then try to squeeze more money out of the few customers who are willing to pay. If artists were good at business, they probably wouldn’t be artists.

            >> I suspect it’d probably work out that the majority of
            >> artists would choose to respond to their customers’
            >> preferences; people tend to get rational real quick
            >> when their bottom line is directly at stake.

            Artists? Rational? Really?

            >> Depending on how the service is structured, it’d
            >> come down to what MOST artists choose to do.

            Consumers are creatures of habit. If a consumer gets burned, he or she isn’t likely to return, it will just become the place of last resort. The consumer is not going to disassociate the service from the artist, not least because, like you suggested, the customer experience is generally defined by the service.

            You seem to have great intentions, but you’ll quickly learn that artists are oftentimes their own worst enemies, & what they need from a third party service is oftentimes some guidance. You’re supposed to be the one doing the consumer research, figuring out what they want. The artist doesn’t have the time, nor the intuition to create the best sales environment. Sure, they’ll say they want total control, & they’ll respond positively to that pitch. But that’s not going to create the best experience for the consumer & it’s not going to make the most money for the artist.

            Sometimes less is more.

          • Sarah

            Oh boy. I’m not going to respond to all of this because it’s way past my bedtime. BUT I can’t walk away without saying that control and guidance are two totally separate things, and you are totally right to point out that artists (in general) will absolutely need guidance if they’re given significant control in how they use a platform.

            That’s why we’re planning on giving them a structured platform where they have total control over what they use and how they use it, but we work with them to educate them on how to use it – best strategies and practices, etc. (as well as to learn from them how they want to use it). Early on, we intend to be very involved and hands on – we’ll likely also make some experts in various fields available to them. The system is actually quite simple, and they should get the hang of it quickly.

            Then you have professional artists who actually know the basics of running their businesses, working in a platform that likely gives them more control then they’ve ever had before. Oh, and consumers will like it. We definitely designed for them.

            To be fair, I haven’t shown you a demo yet. Our platform is set up in a way that would make it pretty hard for an artist to create a bad consumer experience (or even a “locked down” experience). I’ll give you a private demo soon if you want and you can see how it holds up against what I’ve told you so far.

            Also, thanks for recognizing that I have good intentions. I honestly do. But I also know I don’t know everything, so i talk about these things in the hopes of hearing differing positions and learning new information and perspectives. Thanks 🙂

          • FarePlay

            I wouldn’t say I’m hyper-artist friendly…

            Just another example of a tech person seeing music as content. Nicely coordinated dance between you and JW. The DRM comment at the end was your tell, Sarah.

          • Sarah

            Is this supposed to be cryptic? Not sure what you’re getting at here 🙂
            As for my DRM comment (that I think it’s silly anyone uses it) — well, yes, when a certain practice has significant costs, fails to serve its purpose, and leads to unintended negative consequences, I often find that I think it’s silly when people continue that practice.

            I’ve gotten an unexpectedly high number of comments saying things like “oh, that was your tell.” I’m not sure what they mean, because in this context it’s a practice I’m not familiar with. But I get the impression, whenever someone says that, that the person thinks I’ve suddenly said something that exposes me as a fraud or reveals my secret beliefs. If that’s what that’s supposed to mean, it doesn’t. I don’t have hidden beliefs and I’m not a fraud. Very optimistic, very well intentioned, very accepting of the fact that I’ve got a lot to learn, and very happy to learn and even change positions based on new information… but definitely not a fraud or even deceptive.

            I’m pro-artist AND pro-consumer, and proud of it. Everyone can win 🙂

            p.s. JW — Are we dancing? That would be very fun!

          • Anonymous

            Do you think Taylor Swift’s decision was silly? She has several million reasons to disagree. Because that’s exactly what keeping her music off Spotify was: DRM. Digital Rights Management. Worked out rather well for her, I’d say.

          • Sarah

            No, DRM is not keeping her music off Spotify. Copyright and the rights of ownership, and Spotify’s decision to respect those rights, are keeping her music off Spotify.

            DRM isn’t the broad ability to exclusively enjoy the benefits of ownership online, as you imply. DRM is specific technology meant to make the enforcement of those rights easier.

            DRM “is any technology that is built into an electronic product or service with the aim of limiting its range of uses after purchase. It is designed to prevent customers from using digital technology in ways that do not correspond to the business agenda of a content provider or device manufacturer.”

            Taylor Swift’s LEGAL RIGHTS (and Spotify’s decision to respect them) are what keeps her music off of Spotify. DRM doesn’t have anything to do with it. And no, I don’t think it’s silly that she pulled her music – I think it was her right to make that choice and I’m glad it worked out well for her.

          • FarePlay

            “I’ve gotten an unexpectedly high number of comments saying things like “oh, that was your tell.” I’m not sure what they mean, because in this context it’s a practice I’m not familiar with. But I get the impression, whenever someone says that, that the person thinks I’ve suddenly said something that exposes me as a fraud or reveals my secret beliefs. If that’s what that’s supposed to mean, it doesn’t. I don’t have hidden beliefs and I’m not a fraud.”

            Also, where are these other ” comments” coming from?

            Silly, nobody’s calling you a fraud or naive.

          • Sarah

            Oh, from a few commenters on this site occasionally – usually in the context of my allegedly being “pro consumer” or “anti-artist,” as if I have to pick sides in a battle to the death between consumers and artists. Thanks for clarifying you didn’t mean it that way. (But then I’m still unclear what my comment was allegedly telling.) 🙂

            BTW, clever name.

          • GGG

            Anonymous (the one who always quotes in italics, not the one who uses smileys) and someone else with an actual name, forget who, have called her both those things.

          • Anonymous

            p.s. I dislike DRM, and think it’s incredibly silly that anyone even uses it. I think a lot of content is overpriced in current marketplaces. I also think streaming is obviously the way to go over downloads (as you say, consumers want it). Point is, I hold some very “consumer friendly” positions. I also hold some very “artist friendly” positions. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

            do they really?

            do consumers really want that?

            i think you tech people just keep hammering that home in hopes it catches and they all start believing it, hoping that people are idiots and not smart educated tuned in consumers that you can easily dupe and manipulate to your monetary advantage, its pathetic…

            i dont see anywhere a bunch of people gathering together like woodstock making ruckus about how they want streaming, i see only tech isp’s and streaming sites belaboring that point non stop, again, in hopes it catches and permeates, as they have a huge advantage then and can continue their pillaging…

            tech people dont care about art or artists, period, never have and never will and the business of music has just about squeezed all the life out of music, and its only getting worse…

            theres answers and solutions, but tech and the music business dont have them and cant supply them, no matter how hard they try to and how much they put that friendly smiley face catch more bees with honey type approach to fleecing artists and musos…

            never the less, best of luck to ya!

            😉

          • Anonymous

            If, and its a big if, but IF people really do want that, its only because they are broke, in debt, cant make the money they need and have to find ways to cut costs across the board, therefore free or very cheap streaming is a much better solution to their money problems and one that allows them to retain the perception of not being broke and even then including themselves among a cool hip crowd…

            its veiled b.s. due to a crimped and struggling global economy where only a very few people actually have wealth and disposable cash and income… most are deep in debt or on zero with little spendable money…

          • Name2

            I’m not broke, I’m not in debt, and I have little concern with appearing to be a twentysomething in a Verizon commercial.

            What I do want is ease and convenience.
            I want my self-curated library of tracks and lists to be in the cloud waiting for me.
            I don’t want to sync i-devices all day.
            I want the opportunity to hear the occasional impulse/recommendation play.
            I want the opportunity to hear some tunes when an artist passes.
            I want the opportunity to satisfy an earworm from hell which won’t let me rest.
            I want to click on a song title I haven’t thought of in years which I bought on a 45 in 1976.

            I don’t want crap sound, but I accept crap sound on some services because it’s offered at a bargain-basement price of $10, and my one-time listen to a disco hit from 1976 at lower fidelity is not going to ruin my life.

            I don’t want to wander into my hoard of CDs to find something that just brainstormed into my mind.

            Whether or not I also buy CDs and downloads is immaterial. Streaming services are on offer, and I resisted them for a long time because the idea of “renting” music repelled me, then I actually started using Rhapsody. SQ issues aside, streaming blows almost all other options out of the water.

          • Sarah

            I’m not actually a tech person myself (my partner is). But you seem pretty angry. You’re also making extremely broad generalizations – tech people all have the exact same interests, concerns, and desires? So I suppose all artists have the exact same interests, concerns, and desires? Whenever you say “everyone in a large group is completely the same,” you’re almost certainly wrong. Also, it’s kind of mean – if I’m in a particular industry, I’m just one of “those people,” regardless of what I care about or think or actually do? How would that work if someone in tech made statements about “you music people”? Assuming that everyone sharing a common characteristic is completely the same is not a good way to interact with the world.

            If a particular person/company acts in a way that warrants hostility, go for it – with that actor, and based on those specific actions. But adopting hostility as your default position doesn’t seem like a very pleasant or rewarding approach. It’s also more likely to get you negative results – when you assume the worst of someone without cause, you’re making it easier for them to deliver on your assumptions.

            But, I see from your answer that we have some common ground: we agree that there are answers and solutions! What do you think the answers and solutions are? And who do you think can supply them, if not the music industry or tech industry?

          • jw

            >> wow, as per the norm, my first piece stands, and
            >> then i get assassinated, and im not able to leave a
            >> reply, typical media rag and music business
            >> operations at their finest, anything, they will do
            >> anything to ruin me and defame my character and
            >> leave me zero recourse other then violence, i
            >> mean, is that their whole strategy?? to try and get
            >> me to snap or something so they can point the
            >> finger and punish me even further???

            >> wow…

            You really need to find a licensed therapist.

    • Name2

      Who, exactly, has failed at electronic lyrics delivery? The publishers who – as I’m sure you know – own the rights to reproduce them? I guess in DMN-world the streaming services now have another task in their inbox: dealing with publishers for lyrics. And paying for that labor out of the same tiny pool of money they keep now.

      Awesome.

      Reply
      • jw

        Is this a serious comment? lol. Lyrics on the internet are a GIGANTIC failure. Have you never looked up lyrics online & got a bunch of nonsensical gibberish? Here’s an example. http://www.lyricsfreak.com/m/matt+mays/indio_21041196.html

        The publisher’s responsibility is to monetize the songs. If streaming services are a way to monetization, the responsibility is on the publishers to deliver not the rights to display the product, but the product itself (genuine, accurate, liner notes worthy lyrics). And the goal isn’t to drain Spotify’s coffers… I’m not advocating for increased per-play payout. The goal is to increase premium subscriptions, to increase overall payout to publishers at whatever the current rate is. The publishers have a dog in this fight, & it’s a total joke that they’re so passive about monetizing their catalogs. It shouldn’t cost Spotify except in terms of implementing the technology (which is childsplay compared to the software’s other features.

        Reply
        • Name2

          As I’m sure you know, any idiot can throw up a lyrics site, with the one little caveat that reproducing lyrics without permission is illegal.

          If streaming services are a way to monetization, the responsibility is on the publishers to deliver not the rights to display the product, but the product itself (genuine, accurate, liner notes worthy lyrics).

          Which is all well and good until some publisher decides that they’re not providing it for free.

          It shouldn’t cost Spotify except in terms of implementing the technology (which is childsplay compared to the software’s other features.

          Shouldn’t, buuuuut…. probably does. I hope Spotify has the sense to assess a fee for uploading lyrics, but the real dream is some credit back from copyright holders if tech support is required to successfully deliver their product. (The labels, after all, have their “breakage”.)

          Reply
          • jw

            I really don’t understand what your argument is.

            “As I’m sure you know,” most major lyrics sites are legally licensing the lyrics they display these days. The site I referenced, lyricsfreak.com, probably has a blanket license through something like lyricsfind.com. The problem is that the publishers are getting paid for crowdsourced or third party transcribed lyrics which are often inaccurate. It’s their responsibility to provide the correct content, in my eyes. So this isn’t about just anyone creating a lyrics site, it’s about the ineptitude of publishers on the whole. Regarding Spotify integration, there’s a musiXmatch Spotify app that pulls up the same gibberish misinterpretation of the Matt Mays song, fully licensed. So the functionality is half there… it should just be better implemented & reserved for premium subscribers, imo, & the publishers ought to provide an accurate product before they’re paid one red cent.

            I don’t have any sincere hope for an ideal product to be realized because of the demonstrated incompetence of the publishers & labels. I’m simply suggesting how things could & perhaps should be.

            And Spotify shouldn’t be charging anyone to add any content to their platform. That’s a retarded idea, completely contrary to what I’m arguing.

  4. Blastjacket

    What if your interpretation of an “aficionado ” is all wrong? What if the numbers were a combination of the core fan base across all talent? Then tech isn’t the answer because it wouldn’t scale big enough to get your precious VCs involved. Do you really think the aficionado market includes 99% of the bands on Bandcamp or Reverbnation? The real barrier is that the bands who have core bases don’t want to invest the $$ or time in more material (whether tech or merch) to offer because there is not enough 0s in the return.

    Reply
  5. Willis

    It isn’t about price. It is about quality of product, which has been lacking for a number of years.

    Reply
    • Sarah

      Are you referring to the quality of music or the quality of the delivery of the music (eg 128 mp3 vs lossless formats)?

      Reply
      • Willis

        The quality of the music. With zero artist development, the music industry needs to look in a mirror when complaining about the downturn in business.

        Reply
  6. This article doesn't even make sense.

    Oh my gosh, I’m so tired of hearing about how the music industry is failing, I worked for a major label for ten years, oversaw their merchandising grow from 4 to 60 million, and our vinyl plant was running two shifts just to keep up. Stop thinking about the actual song being what anyone’s going to make money on, I don’t even own a CD player but I have huge collection of band merchandise and pay to go to shows.

    There is a ton of money to be made, just stop trying to make the one thing work when there are ten other things that you can do. This is not hard.

    Reply
  7. YrLic

    I’m one of the 61%.
    I think vinyl buyers are over-romanticizing their past. I like digital for its convenience. As I liked CDs before that. Both are WAY more convenient than LPs. I like liner notes. I like artist stories and their web presence. I’ll buy their books. I’ll buy revised product with demo versions and live cuts. I don’t need to see them live if I can check them out on YouTube. I also have two subscription services.
    This is a great time to be a music consumer.

    Reply
    • YrLic

      …and I like downloads. That way I can enjoy tunage whilst I walk the dog or go on trips.
      I want music on the stereo, the iPad, and the iPhone.
      Speakers, or headphones, or earbuds.

      Reply

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