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.