Rather than play by the rules and stick to industry conventions, it has become important for those operating independently within the music business to pursue trends which will allow them greater control over their work. Here we look at three such trends which are expected to gain prominence in the coming year.
Even before their recent acquisition by PledgeMusic, NoiseTrade has been one of my favorite direct to fan services, both for music marketing and as a fan. I've seen how well it has worked for some of the artists we work with at Skyline Music including 10,000 Maniacs, Darlingside and Caitlin Canty. Now, Noisetrade has added to their access-for-email toolkit.
Ever since the demise of Topspin, its been difficult to see a clear path forward for companies focusing on direct to fan music. But a few executives like PledgeMusic's Benji Rogers,Mike Doernberg of ReverbNation and Jack Conte at Patreon have continued to innovate; and now a new vision of what is possible in D2F is beginning to emerge.
SFX CEO Robert Sillerman sent a letter to his beleaguered staff encouraging them to be positive and "find the path to success." The note comes as he exits his day to day role at the bankrupt music conglomerate, after being forced out by creditors. That same day, court documents embarrassingly revealed just how distrustful the rest on the music industry is SFX.
[UPDATED] Debt has become an increasingly popular funding mechanism for mid to late stage startups as investors grow tired of sky high valuations and seeing their stake reduced by later equity infusions. Now, Spotify has jumped on the debt financing bandwagon, raising $1 billion under some potentially difficult terms.
[UPDATED] Wall Street punished Pandora stock on Monday, after founder Tim Westergren was named CEO as part of a major executive restructuring. But several prominent analysts and music industry insiders took a different view, praising the decision; and we got the first indications as to why the change was made.
[UPDATE] Tim Westergren has long been the public face of Pandora, preaching his Music Genome gospel to literally anyone who would listen. (I watched him try to explain internet radio to a confused AARP convention audience almost a decade ago.) Pushed aside in the board room as the company grew and went public, Westergren is now back in charge as Pandora's new CEO.
On the same day that Bandcamp announced it's partnership with Ticketmaster, concert discovery rival Songkick was escalating its legal battle with the ticketing giant. In a new a filing, Songkick is seeking an immediate preliminary injunction against Ticketmaster.
Some may wonder, if improper licensing is such an issue, why startups don't take the time to make sure all their legal ducks are in a row before proceding, but as it turns out, endless negotiations and miles of red tape can be more of a detriment to their success than ignoring copyright, suggesting a better alternative is needed.
[UPDATED] Spotify's recent alleged failure to pay songwriters their due royalties has served to further highlight the numerous flaws with the compulsory licensing system which is currently used by the music industry and the need for a direct licensing solution that can adequately serve all involved.
[UPDATED] I've written about the effects and promise of the digital revolution on musicians and the music industry for almost a decade. But yesterday, separate announcements from Pandora, PledgeMusic and Bandsintown combined to make it the most memorable day in independent music since the launches of CD Baby and Tunecore.