#music

Bob Lefsetz on the latest artist payments debate:

Your enemy is obscurity. Any way to reach people is to be applauded. Nowhere is it written that recorded music should generate as much revenue as it did in the past, nowhere is it written that you should be able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making an album, nowhere is it written that you’re entitled to make music at all!

It’s an interesting perspective you don’t hear mentioned a lot. Artists feel entitled to be paid well because they have been (relatively speaking) for the past 50 years or so. But what if that was just a brief bump in the grand scheme of things? An anomaly of new technology and business models which have now been made obsolete? 

It’s always a mistake to believe you’re entitled to something just because you’ve gotten it before. That’s the true core of what leads to disruption. And lo! That’s what has happened here yet again.

Not a popular argument, for sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Shirley Halperin:

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, tells Billboard that U2’s Songs of Innocence has racked up a staggering 26 million complete downloads since its Sept. 9 release as a free download exclusively to Apple’s 500 million global iTunes customers. In total, Cue adds, over 81 million Apple customers experienced songs from Innocence, a global figure that includes plays and streams through iTunes, iTunes Radio and Beats Music. “To help put this into perspective,” he says, “prior to this, 14 million customers had purchased music from U2 since the opening of the iTunes Store in 2003.”

26 million album downloads in a month. Even if a large percentage were unwanted, that’s insane.

David Pierce:

By some alchemical mix of the movie itself and the combined excellence of the Jackson 5, David Bowie, Redbone, and the Raspberries, this collection of music from the ’70s has now spent two consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. It’s estimated to have sold 93,000 copies in the previous week (down from 109,000 the week previous), putting it firmly above the “Now 51” collection and the never-dying Frozen soundtrack. Take that, pop music.

The film itself is good, but the music is both integral and elevates it, so no surprise here.

There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento ‘kids these days’ want is a selfie. It’s part of the new currency, which seems to be ‘how many followers you have on Instagram.’
Taylor Swift, on the future of the music business. Yes, I just quoted Taylor Swift. But it’s an interesting point about autographs and selfies.

While a lot of this is fear-mongering nonsense, some of what Gordon Kelly puts forward with regard to Apple’s potential use of the Lightning connector for headphones actually makes some sense:

Of more relevance to most people, however, is the new functionality it will bring. Headphones with a Lightning connector would be able to do more than lower/increase volume, end calls and skip tracks. There could be specific app control or even the ability to set a specific app to start when they are connected. Since the Lightning jack can also receive power, not just send it, you could still charge a device by connecting it to your headphones while listening to music.

Imagine a pair of headphones, say, Beats, that used their bulky size to an advantage: as a backup battery for your phone. 

Now look at the bottom of you iPhone. What is the most obvious thing stopping the device from getting even slimmer? That 3.5mm headphone jack. I’m not saying Apple will ditch it anytime soon, but I do believe they will eventually ditch it.

idasein asked:

Do you think Beats Music will be free with an iPhone 6? Spotify-type services are one of those things people don't know they need until they have them. Free Beats Music on iPhone 6 would mean iPhone 6 owners simply have better music than everyone else. "If you don't have an iPhone..." As the technology becomes commoditized, bundling expensive, essential services is a great differentiator. Also 100 million paid subscribers = Apple saves music industry (again).

It’s a good question, but I suspect Apple will maintain the paid offering (with a free trial). You could certainly argue they could and should make it free (paying for the music themselves), but I think they worry just as much about the signal that would send to the music industry. Something like: “your art is just a subsidy we pay to sell more devices” — which, when you think about it, isn’t far from reality. But I highly doubt they want to go in that direction so explicitly.