What Else? MIDEM vs. NAMM, Merlin vs. Myspace, CD Baby, CrowdSYNC, Lupe vs. Obama, HMV, Spotify…

NAMM, heard of it?  This time around, it’s happening directly opposite MIDEM, and according to sources, posing competitive problems for the beleaguered French fair.  Let’s see the extent of the dent, but it looks like a substantial number of digital music (and broader music industry) executives are staying in the states for NAMM instead of indulging the far pricier (and time-consuming) MIDEM.  Which of course makes sense for a myriad of reasons, though we’ve also heard that a very large chunk (and more overall) are sticking with MIDEM for reasons that include international dealmaking.  Overlaps happen, but is NAMM eyeing this potentially vulnerable piece of conference real estate?

(Updated, Tues. 8:30 am PCT: Yes, we’ll actually be at MIDEM this year to clarify.  See ya there.)

Which brings us to ultra-successful SXSW, which has also exerted pressure on MIDEM to shift more towards a festival-style approach.  MIDEM has been snubbing Digital Music News for years, but SXSW has been giving us a Texas-style welcome: this year, Digital Music News will be featured on two session panels and broadening coverage to include Interactive.

It’s 2013, and this time around, Myspace isn’t even pretending to give a crap.  Over the weekend, indie label consortium Merlin vociferously complained that the New Myspace is using member content without permission, and that its deal lapsed two years ago.  Sounds like a problem, except that Myspace told the New York Times that it isn’t interested in licensing the content, and whatever has been uploaded should be removed via DMCA takedown procedures.

Another lap in the race to the bottom?  It’s been a strange weekend for dropping DIY fees: first, upstart Fandalism started offering free, unlimited iTunes and Spotify uploads, only to change the offer to $19.99 for everyone except Digital Music News readers.  Perhaps Fandalism disruptor Philip Kaplan isn’t ready to go that far, this soon, but he is openly embracing the ‘race to the bottom’ with glee.

Which means, companies may already be reacting.  CD Baby is now downwardly-normalizing its cut on digital sales to 9 percent, which slashes 25 percent cuts on some services like Facebook and cdbaby.com sales (iTunes and other important distribution endpoints were already at 9).  Last month, Tunecore reluctantly dropped its fee for first-year accounts.

CrowdSync, heard of it?  It’s a pretty cool, SF-based startup that combines smartphone vids of the same concert or event.  Then, puts them all together for your directing, viewing, or sharing enjoyment.

And for those watching history repeat, the Inauguration of President Obama‘s second term was stuffed with musicians.  Across the actual ceremony and various events, the cast included Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor, Usher, Katy Perry, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, among many others.  Perhaps the most interesting moment happened ahead of the formal event, when Lupe Fiasco’s performance was yanked after an incredibly critical tirade against Obama at Hamilton Live.

HMV may have a buyer, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.  According to reports, restructuring specialist Hilco is the frontrunning bidder of the bankrupt property, with Deloitte shepherding the dump-off.  Separately, Deloitte has had a change-of-heart and decided to honor previously-nullified gift cards.

And, Spotify will soon be bundled into certain Orange Switzerland subscriber packages, the latest in a string of similar deals for Spotify.  Earlier, Orange brokered a broader inclusion deal with Deezer, obviously non-exclusive.


11 Responses

  1. Casey

    As I said, Myspace doesn’t have licenses to all their music. Grooveshark 2.0.

  2. Visitor

    “NAMM, heard of it?”

    You bet! 🙂

    It has been increasingly boring the past few years though, piracy has taken its toll.

    • Brian Felsen, President, CD Ba

      Our cut was 9% of sales on online retailers (like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.) but we had been taking 25% on our own site. Now we’re lowered our commission from 25% down to 9%, not only on our own site, but also on sales through our Facebook MusicStore apps installed by artists, as well as the thousands of Music Store Widgets that allow CD Baby artists to sell music on their own websites.

      What this means is that while traditional digital music retailers pay artists up to 70% per sale, and other direct-to-fan options pay 85% or less, with CD Baby, musicians will earn 91% of every digital sale, no matter where it’s sold – and with no annual fees.

      Brian Felsen

      • Visitor

        “with CD Baby, musicians will earn 91% of every digital sale”

        You mean 91% of the 70% from iTunes, right?

        As opposed to the 100% of the 70% from iTunes, if I use TuneCore instead…

        • Brian Felsen, President, CD Ba

          Yes – and unlike Tunecore, we have no annual fees – which can add up (if you have 12 releases, at $50 each, that could be $600/year). (We also have a retail store, D2F widget & Fbook app, and other services…) Cheers.

          • Visitor

            “if you have 12 releases, at $50 each, that could be $600/year”

            …which is not even close to what 9% can add up to…

          • Fabletongue

            I chose to sign up with CDBaby because it seems to me that an organization that takes a percentage would have a vested interest in helping my cause, maximizing brand awareness and sales, etc., whereas one that only charged a flat rate would have less incentive to help.

  3. danwriter

    RE NAMM vs MIDEM: Whaaaa? Apples and oranges. You go to MIDEM to make entertainment-related deals, license content, etc.; you go to NAMM to look at/buy/fondle guitars, drums and, increasingly, pro audio equipment such as PA systems, recording gear, lighting, etc. If any show needs to be worried about NAMM it’s AES. No one is agonizing over a choice between MIDEM and NAMM.

    • paul

      Those may be the static descriptions right now, but both are places where a lot of music people hang out. NAMM also has a lot more of them. MIDEM has been trying to wrap its arms around the digital crowd for a few years, why can’t NAMM do the same? Seems like they’re already doing it: I know at least several that are going to NAMM and are not instrument manufacturers, DAW companies, etc.

      The other question is: why have such a divide between those two worlds? Musicians buy expensive guitars and Tunecore accounts, after all. Seems like these are fairly arbitrary distinctions.

      Oh, also: Anaheim is a hell of a lot cheaper than Cannes, especially if you are in California, or the US/North America (or broader Americas).

      I won’t be at NAMM, unfortunately, but will be really interested to hear who shows up.


  4. Phil Tripp

    Glad to see my mates at SXSW have shown typical Southern hospitality and respect. I used to discount SXSW as a schmooze when I was the rep for MIDEM for ten years and then actually visited it and saw the huge potential for Australian, New Zealand and Hawaiian artists and businesses.

    For the past decade I’ve repped it here after leaving the French and never looked back. From 20 attendees and five bands in 2002 the year before I took over, we’ve grown to over 600 delegates and 70 bands invited (of which 45+ are playing).

    Not knocking MIDEM or its relevance, but these fort of events have a life span and we’ve already seen several reach their end like NMS and Popkomm. MIDEM has lost a lot of traction and half its delegates from Australia, due in part to the GFC, the distance, being in Cannes in winter (imagine the ice storms in Europe today) and not keeping up with trends. It is still a valued event, but more for the older, suited generation of music mini-moguls.