As labels falter and lose revenue, artists have seen marketing budgets slashed and albums sales plummet. It doesn’t take a genius to see the correlation between album sales and artist revenue. Conventional wisdom suggests that as labels fail so do artists. Surprisingly, a new study challenges that hypothesis with solid data suggesting that artists’ income has increased in the face of label failure. The study tracks artist income vs. label income in the UK from three main sources, live revenue, recorded music revenue and publishing, and concludes that artists are actually making more money as labels make less. Although the study is based on the UK, its methodology makes it just as relevant to US artists. Contrary to the complaints of the FIAA, the downfall of recorded music appears to have artists still standing. Even as the future of labels is in jeopardy, the future of artists remains on solid ground. One issue with the study’s results, however, is that the data for specific artists and genres is unavailable. This leaves the study’s results open to speculation about exactly where the increased artist revenue is going. Is it shared by emerging groups or just further enriching aging stadium fillers like the Rolling Stones? Nonetheless, the study injects some much needed qualitative data into the debate over the future of music. Check it out here.
Indaba Music is a website that allows musicians to record and mix online, making it possible for a drummer in Turkey and a guitarist in Venezuela to write a song together without a physical exchange taking place. Among the more notable uses of the site since its inception is a mix tape, released last week, by rap group Paper Cha$ers which was created entirely online. The project spearheaded by Canadian rapper MC Kava-1 and Philadelphia producer St. Paul boasts collaborators from three continents. Whether the project is a foot note in the history of online music or a precursor to more high profile creations remains to be seen, but either way check it out.
The cover art and liner notes are two important elements of an album’s creative impact. For years, both elements have been largely ignored by iTunes, but with the introduction of iTunes LP, artists and labels are now able to replicate part of the appeal of physical recordings by uploading photos, notes and even videos that fans can look at while listening to their album. iTunes LP debuted in September but was not open to developers until today. For now, an existing iTunes contract is required, and everything must be input manually. In the first quarter of 2010, iTunes’ electronic automatic system will debut allowing greater ease in the process.
Anamanaguchi is a Brooklyn based band that has garnered significant buzz over the last couple of years by appropriating the sound of early video game soundtracks. I ran across a cool article on Flavorwire where Anamanaguchi demonstrates how to hack into a Gameboy in order to transform it from a gaming system into a make shift musical instrument. Check it out here.
In a ridiculous abuse of music industry power BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP have started demanding that venues that hold open mic nights pay royalty fees, just in case a performer plays a copyrighted song. How will this affect artists? Well, since the venues most likely to have open mic nights are small venues with the least cash to pay royalties, this policy potentially could destroy one of the best opportunities for new musicians to play music. Hopefully the demands of publishers will leave minimal damage on the open mic landscape, but the whole thing seems ludicrous. When asked for comment, BMI public relations director Jerry Bailey advised up and coming songwriters to:“Write a hit song.” Zero Paid has a full report on the situation here.
Jerry Bailey’s fool proof Guide to Music Industry Success
1) Write hit song