Friday, June 08, 2012

Some really interesting developments on broadcast royalties

You may or may not know this, but when you hear a song on the radio, only the writer of the song gets paid - not the performing artist or the label. Sometimes, the writer and the artist are the same, but not always. This is the way it's been forever, but if the latest deal between Clear Channel, the biggest radio station owning company in the world, and Big Machine, Taylor Swift's record label, catches on, this could mean a major change, as reported by Tunecore. In part:
Taylor Swift’s Big Machine Gets Paid By George Howard Hell occasionally does freeze over, apparently. Continents shift. I have to say that I never thought I’d see a day where the terrestrial radio stations paid a performance royalty to the owner of the sound recording. Now, to be clear, this tectonic shift did not occur due to new new legislation, but, apparently, occurred via free-market negotiations. The implications of this deal between Clear Channel and the Big Machine Label Group (home to, among others, Taylor Swift) are potentially huge, and not just for performers/labels with respect to finally being paid when their copyrighted material is publicly performed, but for the industry as a whole. It signals a move towards transparency, which could/should lead to new participants entering the music industry. As such, we may finally see some innovation.
The rest of the article is here. Interesting and ground breaking stuff, to be sure. Icindentially, I'll admit that until I read this article, I hadn't realised that when you stream a song, you have to pay not only the writer, but also SoundExchange. I'm sure this is one of the reasons it's so hard for streaming only stations to stay in business. Not only is the monetization model for streaming underdeveloped - no commercials and things like what keeps a terrestrial station going, but they're paying more to play the songs than terrestrial stations. Or at least, they were.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The New Van Halen is Here!

And it is stellar. Wow, been a while since I've put any new posts up here, but this is worth it. Looking back on my skeptical, believe it when I hear it posts about a new VH album and tour, I look a little cynical, but that's what not having a new album in 14 years will do to you.

But the record is here, and it's great. If you've somehow missed it, search on YouTube for "Van Halen Different Kind of Truth", or head over to the group's official site at And then, buy the album and by all means, go see a show. If you've never seen Van Halen live, this is the tour to see. From what I've heard of the first two shows, they're on. And when Van Halen is on, nobody is better.

A lot of things have happened since VH put out their last record, including a complete shift in the way the music industry works. We've talked a little about that here, but Michael Lefsetz has written a really nice piece you should read here:

Here's a snippet:

Now if you grade on a scale, "A Different Kind Of Truth" entered the chart at number two, beaten only by Adele. So, if you’re someone who enjoys rankings, you can take pleasure in this.

But the sales number is piss-poor.

In other words, the old paradigm is dead.

You know, the one that began in the SoundScan era, twenty years ago. Where your project was front-loaded, where you amped up the publicity to get a good first week number, to get retailers to stock the CD. And if you got a high number, you were on your way, if not, and you were an established act, you were dead.

But now recording income is no longer the primary revenue stream. It’s just a piece of the pie. Albums are advertisements for the tour. And based on reaction to "A Different Kind Of Truth", Van Halen will be able to tour for years to come.

As for going to see the band live, I'm following my own advice, and going to see them at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN tonight. Really, really looking forward to it. The band is allowing cameras this tour too, so I hope to get some good shots.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, July 08, 2011

More Van Halen Rumours

The rumours about Van Halen's new album and tour continue to pour out, and our friends over at have all the latest. In part:

What we know is that the album is done and mixed...John Shanks finishing production work on it earlier this year (with other producer names likely to appear inside the album credits.) The rumoured album title is VH '11, 2011 (or Two Zero One One to be precise) and all rumours point to a mid/late September release.
A single was again rumoured to hit airwaves this weekend, but failed to happen.
What I have previously stated is that I personally believe the new album will be released in October, after Van Halen return home from Australia and a single could likely appear late this month or in August.

Head on over to read the rest.

Look, I'm a Van Halen fan. Have been since day one. But the last 13 years of rumours and nothing but a couple of, at best, mediocre "oldies" tours - something Eddie Van Halen said he'd never do - have left me a little... cautious.

Is it wrong that I'm more excited about the upcoming release of Apple's Lion OS? At least I'm pretty sure that will actually happen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ding Dong, the Major Label is Dead

When I was starting out as a musician almost thirty years ago, the ultimate goal everybody always had was to "get signed". That was what made you a rock star.
Over the years, I've had several friends who were "signed", only to find out that it was a bigger hindrance than help. In fact, getting signed to a label ended the careers of several people I know.

I've said for a long time now that there's no real benefit for an artist to be "signed" any more. Advances had to be paid back out of your end as an artist. Record an album? You pay. Tours? You pay. And with the advent of iTunes, Amazon, and services like BandCamp, CD Baby, and TuneCore, artists can have complete control not only of what they release, but how.

Michael Lefsetz has been on the same train of though as I have. In this latest article, he says in part:

"the Internet killed the major label distribution stranglehold. Anyone can sign up with Tunecore and get their music on iTunes. ANYBODY! Sure, the music won't sell, except to family and friends, but it's what this represents that's important. Access and the ability to get paid. The power has shifted.

As for terrestrial means ever less. Same with TV. You can thank technology, most especially the Internet, for that. People watch what they want when they want. The days of sitting in front of the TV seeing what's next are heading towards extinction, killed by the DVR and online access."

Read the rest here:

I'll just add:

"...never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee" - John Donne

Ding dong.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mark Tremonti Says He's Heard the New Van Halen Album

Mark Tremonti, guitarist for Alter Bridge and Creed, and long a friend of Eddie Van Halen, says he's heard the rumoured new Van Halen album.

"...recently I was in Los Angeles and Wolfgang invited me to his Dad's house and I got to go to 5150 studios and watch Eddie and Alex [Van Halen] and Wolfgang play their new record from front to back. So I was one of the only people who have heard the new VAN HALEN. It was incredible."

Read the whole article here.

I'll be waiting anxiously. I remain skeptical, as VH have't released a new record in thirteen years, but if they do release one this Fall as seems to be the intention, I'll be first in line to pick it up. I hope it's good.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Michael Lefsetz tells us what we can learn from Rebecca Black

If you haven't seen Rebecca Black's Youtube hit, "Friday", you should do that first, here:

After you've seen that, check out Michael Lefsetz' article about things we can learn from this phenomenon.
Here's a favourite:

14. Give the money away. Not only does it deflect criticism, it helps your bona fides. In other words, Rebecca Black is smarter than Beyonce. In the new world, you give back simultaneously with making it. Black is giving her profits to earthquake relief in Japan. How come she's smarter than all those stars who played for a dictator?

Read the rest: