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Spotify Says the Government Should Protect Them from Apple & Amazon

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Have Apple and Amazon truly abused “their advantaged position?”  Spotify and Deezer believe so.

Just last month, Spotify Deezer, SoundCloud, and other platforms teamed up to form a powerful lobbying group.  Underscoring the power of music streaming in the industry, they dubbed the alliance the Digital Music Europe (DME).

According to a press release, DME would “showcase and promote the success of the European digital music industry.”  It would also serve as a “resource for policy-makers, media, and the digital music industry.”

Now, Digital Music Europe has taken aim at other major companies, specifically large US tech companies.

The Financial Times reported earlier today that Spotify and Deezer have penned a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.

According to Spotify and Deezer, Amazon and Apple unfairly harm smaller companies that “rely on their services.”  Along with other “big US tech companies,” Amazon and Apple “regularly abuse their advantaged position.” Spotify, Deezer, and smaller digital platforms called on Brussels to “ensure a level playing field.” (…)

What Millennial Content Consumption Means for the Music Industry

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Whether you love millennials’ tech-savvy, often flighty, always unique habits or shake your head at evidence that the many stereotypes about this divisive demographic are true, it’s unavoidable that they’re usually the key to forecasting trends and serve as the pulse of marketing’s new frontier.

In recent years, the habits of these young tastemakers have become crucial to everyone from retail brands to app developers to, well, musicians and artists, especially because more content is being consumed than ever before.

Recently, Nielsen surveyed a group of these 18-to-34-year-olds to understand their media-consumption habits, enlisting the company’s own Millennial contingent to collect empirical data from their peers and develop a system for analyzing their activities and methodology. Predictably, their findings revealed a slew of insights into this powerful generation.

For example, it might not be surprising that streaming is popular with Millennials, but what’s interesting is that over half use multiple music apps monthly. The real head-turner, however, is the fact that, while digital radio continues to gain listeners among Millennials, 93% still tune into terrestrial radio each week. Those numbers underscore the importance of AM/FM broadcasting even as stations branch out into digital platforms.

Other major areas covered in the report include podcasts (Millennials love them), the demo’s penchant for sharing media like photos and videos over social platforms and texting, and the implications of their non-committal nature. What does it mean when consumption is high but loyalty is low? Will Millennials simply move onto the next best thing if what’s readily available doesn’t suit their needs?

The report takes an in-depth look at those questions and more and hypothesizes what exactly it means for the music industry as Millennials move into the driver’s seat.

Millennials are consuming more content across more platforms — but presume their loyalty at your peril. That’s one of the key findings of Nielsen’s second Millennials On Millennials report. The analysis considers millennials and advertising, social media, communication, entertainment, spending and technology – and there is plenty for the music industry to chew over as well as for the radio business to breathe a sigh of relief about.

Millennials (i.e., those aged 18-34) are now the second-largest generation in the US, but they are not necessarily abandoning “old” media. They might be glued to their smartphones (1,179 minutes each in Q4 2016 on their devices compared to 659 minutes for those aged 35-49), but their consumption of broadcast radio is pretty much holding steady while overall listening to digital radio has grown.

“Millennials are spending about the same amount of time listening to traditional radio as they were a year ago – even with a wealth of new media fighting for engagement time,” says the report. They listen to 10 hours and 14 minutes a week, a figure that is not significantly lower than the 11 hours and 17 minutes that those aged 25-34 spend listening to radio.

Specifically around music, 57% of millennials use two or more apps to stream music while only 39% of those aged 35+ are as app promiscuous. They also over index in terms of podcast listening, with 24% listening to podcasts at least once a week and a further 13% listening every day (it’s 12% weekly and 5% daily for those over the age of 35).

Their loyalty is proving increasingly harder to win, however, which is a lesson that all media and content producers need to take on board. “Millennials are an unfocused audience and they are less likely to stay loyal to specific media the way other generations are,” say the report’s authors.

They are very much not sit-back listeners when it comes to music. “Millennials are active listeners of music streaming services and are 21% more likely to frequently choose songs than to let the music play without making changes,” claims the report. “They also access digital music more regularly than consumers 35 and older.”

They may be zipping across multiple consumption platforms, but the net effect is they are powering through more content. “The reality of today’s media scenario is that the addition of new offerings has actually inspired increased consumption,” runs the report’s conclusion. So, in brief, they are consuming more, but just because they are listening now doesn’t mean they’ll be listening tomorrow. (…)

Grammy-winning Producer Leo Sacks

“I keep my heart open by listening” – Click here to read full article

You clasp a Grammy Award in your hands, for a few fleeting seconds imagining your name etched on the gold-plated gramophone trophy. For Cold Spring’s Leo Sacks, that’s no flight of fantasy. His name can be found on the Grammy he brought along to Haldane last Friday, when he taught a class called “Musical Trees.” A group of awe-struck fifth graders was able to hold the award individually, something Sacks allowed them to do, hoping that tactile, tangible moment would touch that “this can really happen” nerve. Sacks’ “Best Historical Album” Grammy was awarded to him in 2014 for producing the 9-CD “Bill Withers: The Complete Sussex & Columbia Albums.” He currently works as an A&R consultant and producer for Sony Music Masterworks.

Discovering new talent

In over two decades as a music producer, Sacks has produced boxed sets of such artists as The Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin, and other giants of soul and R&B. He’s done a lot of other things, too, spending much of the 1990s as an editor, writer and producer at NBC News. Earlier he wrote and reported for newspapers and music trade papers. Having helped some of America’s most influential artists “preserve their life’s work as a living language,” as he describes it, Sacks calls it “a privilege and also a tremendous responsibility” to discover new artists. Sony doesn’t need me to help them find the latest beats. Somewhere there’s a singular voice, or a boundary-busting band that’s utterly fearless, or a writer with a passionate point of view, and they’re not on TV. So I keep my heart open by listening and wondering whether anyone else will feel what I’m feeing. Scouting, signing and recording an artist may have satisfied the old business paradigm,” he adds, “but in today’s business of music, the real A&R job begins once the artist leaves the studio. It’s about formulating a plan that clearly communicates the story of any new project. And I love a good story.”

Newser turned producer

Those good stories harken back to the years Sacks spent as a newsman. “I always wanted to know how many slugs did the perp fire? Why did she lead a double life?” he exclaims. His news reporting slid into music business scribing. As he himself bylines, “I’ve wanted to make records ever since that magical, mysterious Sunday night in the winter of 1964 when the Beatles unleashed all those pent-up feelings on the Ed Sullivan Show. By that time I was tall enough to turn on the radio and was forever touched — and haunted by the voice of Levi Stubbs and the street lamp harmonies of the Four Tops singing Reach Out, I’ll Be There. I didn’t know he was singing to his buddies in the foxholes of Vietnam. But it made me want to become an artist’s advocate and write about the music that was touching me, and it kindled my appreciation for music journalism. In that respect, I was following in the tradition of music journalists who became record producers: John Hammond wrote jazz reviews before he discovered Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Billie Holiday. Jerry Wexler coined the term ‘rhythm and blues’ as a writer for Billboard before he joined Atlantic Records and produced Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.”


5 Bad Habits That Songwriters With Home Studios Need To Quit

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If you’re reading this, you’re probably a songwriter, musician or producer with a home studio. But let me guess, you don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done and, as a result, your songwriting has suffered. Right?

Being aware of our bad habits can bring about change and get us back on track.

Here are the 5 Bad Habits That Songwriters With Home Studios Need To Quit.


In the quest for the perfect plug-in or new gadget to make your sounds better, it’s easy to start going down the rabbit hole. I know this because I’ve done it. There are so many products out there, new ones that become available each day. My inbox gets stuffed with new product emails and videos and my tendency can be to get lost in exploring all the latest and greatest. I’ve had to call to task my “gear lust”.  What I need to remember, though, is to keep writing and focused on creating songs. Looking at all the latest and greatest stuff is fine, but in balance with the goal of creating. It shouldn’t be taking up your whole day. Most of the day, IMHO, should be spent writing and re-writing. All of the best gear in the world can’t write a song or even improve one.

This leads into the second bad habit of Home Studio Owning Songwriters.

Read the other 4 habits here

Somebody Asked 13-17 Year Olds How They Listen to Music. Half the Answers Didn’t Exist When They Were Born.

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The question was simple: ‘How do you listen to your music?’  The answers were anything but.

So, how do teenagers really listen to music?  What started as a simple question by a music research firm revealed an unbelievably complicated set of answers.  In fact, most people between the ages of 13-17 exercise a myriad of options when it comes to accessing, discovering, and relaxing to music.

Most amazingly, that blend includes both old and new formats, with everything from AM/FM radio to podcasts.

But the most amazing part: most 13-17 year-olds prefer formats that didn’t even exist when they were born.  But that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily opposed to age-old formats like broadcast radio.


FAKE HITS: Millions Of Streams vs. A True Fan Connection

In this article, David Emery explores the industry wide issue of “fake hits” tracks which, although they may amass a host of plays on platforms like SoundCloud, generate little to no appreciable revenue for artists or any label with which said artist may be associated.

“You can’t sell out shows based on big streaming numbers alone. These numbers represent attention and revenue, which is great, but the engagement is transitory, at least to the scale that the numbers would suggest. They’re the start of a fan’s journey with an artist rather then the end.”

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Soundcloud has new potential buyer: Deezer

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Spotify already passed on buying SoundCloud.  But Deezer thinks this just might be a winning play.

SoundCloud is enormous.  And, enormously unprofitable.  The site has amassed 150 million songs on its streaming service, mostly from indie DJs, rappers, and other musicians.  Chance the Rapper has thanked the service for his success. However, the company has quickly bled through most of its cash.

Now, as it faces certain bankruptcy, a new buyer may have emerged to save the company: Deezer.

Last July, SoundCloud apparently mulled a $1 billion offer.   Yet, late last year, Spotify walked away from SoundCloud acquisitions talks.  Had they acquired the popular yet underperforming platform, it would’ve slowed down their IPO plans. Then, after posting a very poor financial report, co-founder and CEO Alexander Ljung admitted that the company may close its doors at the end of 2017.

That’s now less than 6 months away.

Following the dismal financial news, top executives quickly jumped ship and deserted the company.  Its COO and Finance Director saw that SoundCloud had no straightforward way to post a profit.  As a last-ditch effort to gain users, it slashed the price of its premium Go+ service to just $5.

Things continued to deteriorate.  Clearly in a dire situation, to obtain at least some cash, the company reportedly offered to sell itself for $250 million.  The company also reportedly then begged German investors for money.

In less than a year, SoundCloud had lost 75% of its valuation.

After Spotify walked away from acquisition talks, Google reportedly wanted to purchase the company for $500 million. Apple’s Jimmy Iovine had also reportedly expressed interesting in purchasing the company. Cupertino insiders quickly dismissed the rumors as “fake news.” Now, sources close to SoundCloud have told the New York Post that the company “is being eyed by a host of players.”

A ‘senior music source’ told the New York Post,