After a conflict with major labels where they attempted to put an end to freemium, ad supported streaming had become something many music executives simply tried to ignore. A new look at the statistics, however, has shown it may be a bigger piece of revenue than was guessed, particularly once Pandora is added to the mix.
When Apple Music launched Beats 1, I wrote that former record exec Jimmy Iovine had just created every major label's wet dream - a global radio station where they controlled the playlist. Now, Beats 1 has taken off it; and with, the ways that labels and artists are using it to promote and sell music.
Over the last few years, the major labels have made small investments in startups, but aside from UMG's acquisition of EMI, not made many deals to purchase other labels. Now there are signals that major label tech investments could get larger and indie label and event acquisitions are likely to increase.
In 2012, when Jeff Castalez left Dangerbird, the influential label he had co-founded, to helm Elektra Records, independent music lost an important voice and the major label kabal gained an innovative leader. Now Castalez is exiting Elektra to spend more time in music management and with his important non-profit Pablove.
Much of the work that labels and managers have traditionally taken care of in the industry, such as distribution and recording/mastering, can now be done by the artists themselves, and for significantly less money. Marketing and publicity, on the other hand, are both areas where it can be beneficial to hire an outsider provided, that is, they know what they're doing.
Owing to Canada's shorter copyright terms, several protected works (including early Beatles recordings) had entered the public domain, triggering mass panic in the recording industry and causing Stephen Harper to surreptitiously extend copyright on sound recordings. One company, Stargrove Entertainment, had already released an album of public domain music, however, and incited major label wrath in the process.
As carefully calculated and smartly packaged as Taylor Swift is, Miley Cyrus is improvisational and raw. The music industry needs more of both kinds of artists. Each attracts legions of fans and neither is afraid to criticize the establishment. But, lets face it, Miley is way more fun to watch, and she didn't disappoint last night.
[UPDATED] For much of recent history, the music industry has been infamous for its inability to adapt to digital technology. This said, certain companies within the industry, like Apple and Spotify, have proven they are able to adopt new ideas and succeed, demonstrating how valuable innovation is in any creative industry.
[UPDATED] The controversy surrounding music streaming and artist compensation has been earning quit a bit of press lately. Still, the actual process of licensing, publishing, and compensating those involved in music publishing is complex and convoluted. This article offers a clear and detailed breakdown of exactly how music rights and payments work.