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(Ars Technica)   You're not going to believe this, but telling everyone your entire product catalog is only worth 0.^@^@00001% of what it was last year has a dramatic effect on lowering the perceived value of said product catalog. Thanks streaming   (arstechnica.com) divider line 52
    More: Obvious, Nielsen SoundScan, music download, Pharrell Williams  
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6092 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 05 Jul 2014 at 4:35 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-05 01:55:33 PM  
Must be piracy. Time for the music industry to whine to congress about how it's time to add a music tax to everyone's internet charges.
 
2014-07-05 02:51:01 PM  
Perhaps the new stuff isn't good enough for most people to want to buy, and the older stuff is already owned by people?

I have a Pandora One account.  I listen to it a lot, mostly for background music (meditation music, dark ambient, etc).  If I didn't have the account, it doesn't mean I'd start buying albums.

And, frankly, albums are overpriced compared to what I can otherwise get for my entertainment dollars.  If an album is $14.99, that's three decent or better games during a Steam sale.  Hell, I think eight bucks got me the Max Payne complete pack.  Cumulative hours on that will be way more than I'd get from the typical album.
 
2014-07-05 04:14:08 PM  
Not sure I understand the product catalog remark subby. Doesn't the music industry claim they're worth 32 trillion dollars or something, more than the US GDP?
 
2014-07-05 04:54:05 PM  

RodneyToady: Perhaps the new stuff isn't good enough for most people to want to buy, and the older stuff is already owned by people?

I have a Pandora One account.  I listen to it a lot, mostly for background music (meditation music, dark ambient, etc).  If I didn't have the account, it doesn't mean I'd start buying albums.

And, frankly, albums are overpriced compared to what I can otherwise get for my entertainment dollars.  If an album is $14.99, that's three decent or better games during a Steam sale.  Hell, I think eight bucks got me the Max Payne complete pack.  Cumulative hours on that will be way more than I'd get from the typical album.


There is always new good music coming out. But with the way digital distribution works, the industry is mostly just redundant middlemen. The only way an artist makes money is from people going to shows. Unfortunately concerts have their own issues and middlemen, this time in the form of ticketmaster and surcharges
 
2014-07-05 05:04:43 PM  

SphericalTime: Not sure I understand the product catalog remark subby. Doesn't the music industry claim they're worth 32 trillion dollars or something, more than the US GDP?


I think he/she's referring to streaming services paying a zillionth of a cent per play to artists.
 
2014-07-05 05:05:37 PM  
Since subscribing to Slacker, I've rarely felt the need to buy music. The exceptions being the Led Zeppelin I, II, III remasters that came out recently.
 
2014-07-05 05:07:21 PM  
The digital-single drop of nearly 90 million sales, down to 593.6 million, also didn't see an equivalent boost in streaming numbers on services such as Spotify; those rose 42 percent to 70.3 million streams, but that was only a jump of 20 million.

...a jump of 20 million streams, not 20 million songs played through streams. Pandora alone has 75 million active users.

In other words, people are listening to streaming music stations instead of buying albums and singles. What a shock.

Quite a few of the songs I like the most on streaming music aren't even available to buy as singles in the US. Maybe they should start addressing this problem instead of whining because people aren't buying the songs the record companies won't let them buy?
 
2014-07-05 05:10:56 PM  
BATMANATEE:
I think he/she's referring to streaming services paying a zillionth of a cent per play to artists.

Yeah, they're whining about that, but for some reason, they aren't whining about the less-than-a-zillionth of a cent per listener on commercial radio stations.

Yeah - if you're a musician and your song plays on a major radio station in a big city and 500,000 people hear it play, you make a helluva lot less than if a half-million people streamed it on Pandora. Funny how that math works out, isn't it?
 
2014-07-05 05:13:08 PM  
If you aren't Katie Perry there's no money in recording music. The only money is in touring and merchandise.
 
2014-07-05 05:13:24 PM  

BATMANATEE: SphericalTime: Not sure I understand the product catalog remark subby. Doesn't the music industry claim they're worth 32 trillion dollars or something, more than the US GDP?

I think he/she's referring to streaming services paying a zillionth of a cent per play to artists.


Oh. Ok. But the RIAA has taught me that artists are useless and easily replaceable chum to be exploited. It's the corporate backers that should be benefiting from song play.
 
2014-07-05 05:17:46 PM  
I wonder if Nielsen is really tracking every internet vendor or if they're just hitting the big boys.  Some bands do payments themselves, some small labels only sell on Bandcamp etc.
 
2014-07-05 05:24:11 PM  
It is (a) difficult to make money in the music business because (b) it has always been difficult to make money in the music business. Why does real talent like Lindsey Sterling live listlessly in the doldrums while shiat-for-talent singers like Adele or Christina Aguilera make millions? Why do people in their 20s have heart attacks? Why do babies die of cancer? These are the endless mysterious of our universe. There is lots of money out there, one just has to find the right hook to reach out and catch it. The less talent the faster the cash reels in--just ask Leonard Cohen.
 
2014-07-05 05:29:24 PM  
you mean now that people can buy the songs they like individually and not having to pony up for the filler that 'album' sales have decreased?

this is truly shocking news
 
2014-07-05 05:32:12 PM  
Well, I guess I wasted my time getting a minor in math, because I have no clue what the fark "0.000000000000000000001% " is supposed to mean.
 
2014-07-05 05:33:20 PM  
OK, how in the fark does 0 . ^ @ ^ @ 0 0 0 0 1 % filter to 0.000000000000000000001% ?
 
2014-07-05 05:35:42 PM  
I wish Spotify would change their royalty algorithm so that bigger artists don't get bigger chunks of subscription and ad money simply because their market share on the service is larger. I'm not listening to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, so it's kind of unfair that I subsidize those artists - with their millions of listeners - at the expense of the bands I actually do listen to. I'd much rather see that market share system put at the individual level somehow, where more of the money that I'm worth as a subscriber goes to bands I'm listening to actively.
 
2014-07-05 05:36:30 PM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: Well, I guess I wasted my time getting a minor in math, because I have no clue what the fark "0.000000000000000000001% " is supposed to mean.


Percentage of people richer than Lenard Cohen, son of a dice man
 
2014-07-05 05:39:54 PM  
I haven't bought a CD or MP3 in years. I do subscribe to Spotify for $10 a month.
 
2014-07-05 05:45:34 PM  
And what if what they say about the worth of their catalog is true, subby? You're saying they should lie in order to keep the perceived value inflated? Yeah, nothing could go wrong there.
 
2014-07-05 05:51:46 PM  

Jaden Smith First of His Name: I wish Spotify would change their royalty algorithm so that bigger artists don't get bigger chunks of subscription and ad money simply because their market share on the service is larger. I'm not listening to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, so it's kind of unfair that I subsidize those artists - with their millions of listeners - at the expense of the bands I actually do listen to. I'd much rather see that market share system put at the individual level somehow, where more of the money that I'm worth as a subscriber goes to bands I'm listening to actively.


Look at the plays the bigger legacy artists (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc) get versus smaller acts and you'll see why the big acts get more.
 
2014-07-05 06:16:47 PM  

Dwight_Yeast: Look at the plays the bigger legacy artists (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc) get versus smaller acts and you'll see why the big acts get more.


I understand why they do it, but I think of Spotify a lot like I do cable. I don't watch ESPN, but it's still the anchor that gets people signed up for subscriptions, so I have to kick in my six bucks even if I never change the channel from AMC or whatever.
 
2014-07-05 06:27:55 PM  
Music is a luxury. I haven't bought a new album in years and never bothered with digital music partly because I can't afford to replace my collection and partly due to apathy in switching to a new format. Paying a subscription service for music? Pffft. That's a joke right. I'm not paying a monthly fee to access it. Plus, I don't even know where I'd buy digital music at this point besides iTunes. I'm sure there are other options out there but I am not familiar with them at all.
 
2014-07-05 06:50:31 PM  
They may want to consider the Korean/Japanese model- live performances on variety shows, shorter albums/ EP, and making music more frequently. I have found some great music that way. It's good, because the bands have to write / deliver sellable product... No more 2 songs that are great, 2 mediocre, and 8 crap.
 
kab
2014-07-05 07:26:06 PM  
Weird, I was assured that streaming and piracy actually lead to more sales.

I guess all these groups will simply have to tour more.   Oh, and sell t-shirts.  Maybe some lapel pins.
 
2014-07-05 07:29:44 PM  

RodneyToady: Perhaps the new stuff isn't good enough for most people to want to buy, and the older stuff is already owned by people?


shiatty pop music isn't new. There wasn't some glorious period where the bands you like topped the charts. People are making new music in every genre, and probably a lot of music you like, but you're happy to cling to whatever homogenous source you relied on in the past and not actually try and find something new. Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, radio, XM, Pandora, they all end up averaging out and churning out the same shiat.
 
2014-07-05 07:31:05 PM  

kab: Weird, I was assured that streaming and piracy actually lead to more sales.

I guess all these groups will simply have to tour more.   Oh, and sell t-shirts.  Maybe some lapel pins.


Ah, yes, the good old touring fallacy. I'm sure all that seed money will just show up in their bank account, and the tour will definitely be super profitable, and you won't be busy that night or too skint to pony up for another farking band tshirt you don't need
 
2014-07-05 08:11:10 PM  
I haven't paid for any music for more than 10 years.  Why would I?  they'd just change the format and make me buy it again.  Fark that.
 
kab
2014-07-05 08:26:41 PM  

Carth: I haven't bought a CD or MP3 in years. I do subscribe to Spotify for $10 a month.


I buy discs pretty frequently, so can't really consider Spotify as something worth spending a penny on.   So there's that, I suppose.
 
2014-07-05 08:32:29 PM  

moothemagiccow: shiatty pop music isn't new. There wasn't some glorious period where the bands you like topped the charts. People are making new music in every genre, and probably a lot of music you like, but you're happy to cling to whatever homogenous source you relied on in the past and not actually try and find something new. Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, radio, XM, Pandora, they all end up averaging out and churning out the same shiat.


It kinda depends on what time period. I'm 37.  So, when I was a young kid and liked George Michael (Faith) and Michael Jackson (Bad), they indeed topped the chart (or came close).  When I was a bit older and got into rap music, Eric B and Rakim, KRS One, and 3rd Bass may not have topped the chart, but were pretty popular.  Dr. Dre definitely was up there.  In high school, when I was on a Billy Joel kick, his albums topped the charts (or came close) at least in the time periods the albums were released (15-20 years prior in many cases).

But no, once I reached college and started getting into Tori Amos (who had almost no airplay), Suzanne Vega (who didn't get much airplay outside of Luka and the remix of Tom's Diner), Moz/The Smiths (who didn't get airplay at the time I was listening), Aphex Twin (not on any NYC stations), and King Crimson (no airplay whatsoever) didn't top anything.  Poe was getting some mainstream attention, until her record company trapped her in limbo for a decade and all but killed her career.  The nerdcore rappers I've been listening to over the past few years don't get airplay, either (mcs chris and Frontalot, mainly).

At this stage, my "homogenous source" is pretty much my hard drive.  When I'm looking for other stuff, it's more for background than active listening.  So, yeah, my Pandora station for meditation music will give me a Kitaro song every 10 minutes.  Most of the time I don't even notice.

But in a way, that's my point.  The radio plays stuff I don't want to listen to.  Pandora may play new things I might like (well, new to me anyway), but it takes effort to curate the stations.  Between what I already have and what is easily available without effort, buying newly released albums isn't much of a priority.  If it's an artist I already like, I'll consider buying.  But those new releases are infrequent.  I already own the old stuff I like, and there isn't enough new stuff (at least that I'm willing to put the effort into finding) for my purchases to make an appreciable difference.  I honestly don't know why I would put in the effort, actually.  It's working for me thus far.

And I think that's true of many people around my age and older.

That said, I don't know how you lump Pandora in with the rest.  You can generate stations built on pretty much anything.  Sure, for all I know, my station built around Utada is giving me the same shiat in the sense that it's the popular J-Pop stuff.  But that's kinda like saying Baskin Robbins' Dulce de Leche ice cream is the same shiat as pretty much all the mainstream brands' versions of dulce de leche ice cream.  I like it, but I'm not passionate about it.  I'm not going to try to explore every local ice cream place looking for innovative dulce de leche ice cream.  And I'm likewise not going to spend an assload of time seeking out the best new music of every genre I have a passing interest in, especially if it's going to cost me a lot of money in the process.
 
kab
2014-07-05 08:55:58 PM  

RodneyToady: The radio plays stuff I don't want to listen to.


Radio has always been a tiny microcosm of music, and generally a terrible one, because the decisions about what gets played are made by someone who's prime motivator is whether something will sell well or not.   Many listeners don't realize, or mind that this decision being made for them, which is why radio is still so predominant and considered important.

You can be rest assured that at any rearward look at a 'golden era' of music, many good artists fell by the wayside because of who was making the decisions.  'The cream rises to the top' is the bullshiat that folks tell themselves to validate their own choices, or lack thereof.

RodneyToady: That said, I don't know how you lump Pandora in with the rest.


Because like radio, they determine what gets played on their service, unlike something along the lines of Spotify.

RodneyToady: I like it, but I'm not passionate about it.


And there's nothing wrong with that.   But for folks who claim that music *now* sucks?   Those folks have no one but themselves to blame for not finding, and ultimately supporting, said music.   It certainly is out there.
 
2014-07-05 09:44:31 PM  
FTA: But if the services and solid 4G connectivity are widespread enough already, what's keeping fans from buying in?

Everything is already on YouTube for free?
 
2014-07-05 10:56:04 PM  
Not interested in most new music...the good stuff is here & there.

Try putting out better original stuff and they'll buy again.


But for the most part, it's boring pop.


People are mostly listening to the old stuff...why? Because it clicks with them.


They haven't put out a consistent wave of decent stuff for a decade.
Even the kids don't focus on music as they did before...at least, that's what I observe.
 
2014-07-05 10:58:36 PM  
Entire albums?  What archaic wizardry is this?!
 
2014-07-05 11:08:37 PM  
i waiting for 8-Tracks to come back
 
2014-07-06 12:43:42 AM  

Christian Bale: FTA: But if the services and solid 4G connectivity are widespread enough already, what's keeping fans from buying in?

Everything is already on YouTube for free?


For now. Isn't YouTube coming out with some streaming service though? I remember reading recently about how they're screwing over independent artists and small labels with how they're doing it.

As to why sales are down, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the people making it don't give a crap about the music. Even back when Quincy Jones and a few other producers were the ones pumping out the big hits, there was a strong element of musicianship and craftsmanship. The people involved actually tried to make a good product. Now, it's more about monetizing crap products as much as possible.
 
2014-07-06 01:11:10 AM  
I must be the only one that doesn't have an issue about shelling out 10 bucks a month for Spotify. It's great because you can get [most] music you want to hear instantly, all in one place. I listen to a lot of independent/obscure stuff, and Spotify can be pretty great for that. In many cases, with a couple of clicks I can view and listen to a band's entire catalog on the same page. Not so on Youtube or Pandora.  Youtube audio quality is entirely at the mercy of the uploader and with smaller bands/artists, might only have 3 or 4 songs uploaded. As for Pandora, it only allows six skips an hour. Spotify's radio function allows infinite and automatically skips the ones you don't like.

OTOH, there is the issue of some of the more famous bands not being available on Spotify (the Beatles), or other bands just haven't bought in (Thinking Plague). Also, sometimes a band's older albums on another record label just aren't made available. But overall, Spotify is the best option at the moment. It's incredibly convenient, and I don't see why a mere 10 bucks/mo for such a convenience is an issue to people.
 
2014-07-06 01:37:33 AM  

OrganicMisanthropist: I must be the only one that doesn't have an issue about shelling out 10 bucks a month for Spotify. It's great because you can get [most] music you want to hear instantly, all in one place. I listen to a lot of independent/obscure stuff, and Spotify can be pretty great for that. In many cases, with a couple of clicks I can view and listen to a band's entire catalog on the same page. Not so on Youtube or Pandora.  Youtube audio quality is entirely at the mercy of the uploader and with smaller bands/artists, might only have 3 or 4 songs uploaded. As for Pandora, it only allows six skips an hour. Spotify's radio function allows infinite and automatically skips the ones you don't like.

OTOH, there is the issue of some of the more famous bands not being available on Spotify (the Beatles), or other bands just haven't bought in (Thinking Plague). Also, sometimes a band's older albums on another record label just aren't made available. But overall, Spotify is the best option at the moment. It's incredibly convenient, and I don't see why a mere 10 bucks/mo for such a convenience is an issue to people.


The one problem with Spotify's radio service and it's true of Pandora's as well, is that they focus too hard on trying to play what they think or knew I like.  If I set up a Motown radio station, I don't just want to heard the Temptations, Four Tops and the Supremes.  I know all their songs.  I want to hear stuff I've not heard before.  It's the thing I enjoyed about listening to alt rock/college radio when I was young: you listened and you heard new things, you heard new bands that you didn't know before.
 
2014-07-06 07:43:22 AM  
Thanks streaming

Yes, thanks, streaming.

Sorry, but I don't care if rockstars don't get super rich. If Thom Yorke doesn't like what he's making from Spotify, he can stop using it and see how he gets on with record sales.

The simple fact is that there's supply and demand and the amount of recorded music that's available is just phenomenal today. If you lived in 1954, you had literally 5 years of the 45 single. By 1980, you had 30 years. And in those years, it took big money to make a half-decent recording. Today, you can have a hit with a video for $4,000 (the cost of Rebecca Black's Friday). And everytime someone puts something out there, it's adding to the "supply" side of music, while the demand has pretty much peaked.

Spotify adds 20,000 songs every day. That's probably more than all the singles made every year in the 1950s.
 
2014-07-06 08:58:27 AM  
Just a general question: Why does the music industry continue to believe its business model is sustainable when all of the evidence points to the contrary?

Most younger people I know don't buy music at all. They listen to free accounts on Pandora or Spotify or find the songs they want to hear on Youtube. And one of the 20-something girls who works for me got really excited this week when she realized her Amazon Prime account now includes streaming music, further allowing her to listen to music legally without having to pay for it.

The only people I know who do buy music still on a regular basis? Baby boomers. And mostly, it's to fill out their backcatalogs with the albums they used to own and have grown nostalgic for.
 
2014-07-06 10:00:09 AM  

secularsage: Just a general question: Why does the music industry continue to believe its business model is sustainable when all of the evidence points to the contrary?

Most younger people I know don't buy music at all. They listen to free accounts on Pandora or Spotify or find the songs they want to hear on Youtube. And one of the 20-something girls who works for me got really excited this week when she realized her Amazon Prime account now includes streaming music, further allowing her to listen to music legally without having to pay for it.

The only people I know who do buy music still on a regular basis? Baby boomers. And mostly, it's to fill out their backcatalogs with the albums they used to own and have grown nostalgic for.


Post-boomer, but the last music I bought was a boxset of Echo and the Bunnymen. And I don't bother with streaming. Ain't paying $10 for Spotify when I've got a ton of music on my phone/PC. Anything new I think I might like I YouTube for a while. If I still like it enough I buy it (like Fancy by Iggy Azalea).

One thing I keep saying: music kinda ran out of sounds in the early 90s. Everything today sounds like something before 1995. Which means there's no youth movement that's selling mountains of records. You listen to almost everything except maybe Arcade Fire and F Buttons, it sounds like something you've heard before. If you lived in the 80s, you had things like synth pop, the shoegazer music like E&TB, The Jesus and Mary Chain, hi-energy disco, house music and hip-hop. Anything my kids hear from a new band, they've probably heard it from another band that I've played them.
 
2014-07-06 10:15:01 AM  
Any music I buy is usually direct from the artist.  But that's usually smaller bands that I've actually gone to see and met.

Maybe people aren't interested in hearing songs about you having drunk sex in a bathtub *coughsurfboartcough*.  Just putting that out there.
 
kab
2014-07-06 10:53:03 AM  

farkeruk: Everything today sounds like something before 1995.

You sound like you stopped paying attention in 1995.

secularsage: Just a general question: Why does the music industry continue to believe its business model is sustainable when all of the evidence points to the contrary?


Who knew that creating a product for people to purchase was suddenly an unsustainable business model?
 
2014-07-06 11:10:42 AM  

kab: Carth: I haven't bought a CD or MP3 in years. I do subscribe to Spotify for $10 a month.

I buy discs pretty frequently, so can't really consider Spotify as something worth spending a penny on.   So there's that, I suppose.


I think it really depends on knowing what you want to listen to. I tend to use playlists 8-10 hours a day at work. I figure the .05 an hour I listen to it is pretty good.
 
2014-07-06 12:12:29 PM  
I looked up "CD" on Wikipedia and it says they were something like "cassette tapes" and "8 tracks" and "records."

I'm looking up those words to find out what they mean now....
 
2014-07-06 03:47:21 PM  
kab:

Who knew that creating a product for people to purchase was suddenly an unsustainable business model?

When your employees quit and start their own business (Tesla, KMFDM, Five Iron Frenzy, etc.), a smart employer would rethink his methodology.
 
2014-07-06 03:54:25 PM  
I got a $20 gift certificate to iTunes last Christmas.  I still haven't seen anything there worth spending it on.

I was disappointed that their book section was not about audiobooks.
 
kab
2014-07-06 04:33:04 PM  

Vash's Apprentice: When your employees quit and start their own business (Tesla, KMFDM, Five Iron Frenzy, etc.), a smart employer would rethink his methodology.


None of these bands create and sell music at this point?
 
2014-07-06 04:37:06 PM  
Almost all of the CDs I buy directly from independent artists or are used.  Somehow I don't think those sales are counted in this sales report.

As far as the RIAA, I hope their members' combined sales drop to zero.
 
2014-07-06 04:44:06 PM  
Just thought about this one....

Is Nielsen including Kickstarter and Indiegogo etc. money?
 
2014-07-06 09:07:55 PM  
The music recording industry is learning, about 20 years too late, that their customers want a lifestyle product, not a consumable.

"Owning" copies music has always ever been a side effect of technical limitations that obstructed the service that everyone wanted in the first place: to listen to whatever song I want, whenever I want, without having to pay more than a token amount for it.  And now, we have that.

/legally, even!
 
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