70% of Nothing is Nothing

On Spotify payouts:

“Here’s the simple fact that no one wants to talk about. Spotify says it pays out seventy per cent of its revenues to rights holders. Well, that’s very nice, that’s lovely. But if I’m making a shoe, and it costs me a hundred dollars to make it, and the retailer is selling that shoe for ten dollars, then I don’t care if he gives me seventy per cent, I don’t care if he gives me one hundred per cent—I’m going out of business. Dead is dead.”

Shazam’s Hit Detection

While most users think of Shazam as a handy tool for identifying unfamiliar songs, it offers music executives something far more valuable: an early-detection system for hits.

…“We know where a song’s popularity starts, and we can watch it spread,” Titus told me. Take, for example, Lorde, the out-of-nowhere sensation of 2013. Shazam’s engineers can rewind time to trace the international contagion of her first single, “Royals,” watching the pings of Shazam searches spread from New Zealand, her home country, to Nashville (a major music hub, even for noncountry songs), to the American coasts, pinpointing the exact day it peaked in each of nearly 3,000 U.S. cities.

Don’t be so negative

A Facebook engineer on why Facebook doesn’t have a dislike button:

Actions on Facebook tend to focus on positive social interactions. Like is the lightest-weight way to express positive sentiment. I don’t think adding a light-weight way to express negative sentiment would be that valuable. I know there are times when it’d make sense, like when a friend is having a rough day, or got into a car accident like my sister yesterday (she’s okay!). For these times, a nice comment from a friend goes a long way.

Michael Crichton on “It’s Science”

Saw this on Goodreads.

“I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

Drunk Uncle

“It’s Science”

When Liberals Use ‘Science’ To Attack Conservatives, They Demean Science

For progressivism, ‘science’ has become a safety blanket in which its adherents can swaddle themselves to avoid confronting alternative beliefs.

Whatever your politics, be wary of this tactic of trying to shut down discussion.

“Science” is an ever-changing body based on what we know or what we think we know. The Earth used to be flat. The Earth used to be the center of the universe. Pluto used to be a planet.

That’s not to say that evidence should be ignored, but I often wonder when you hear something like “95% of scientists agree that X” what it is that the other 5% disagree with. Consensus does not equal truth.

So that’s why you only get 6 skips an hour

We all skip tracks while listening to music — whether on CD, via Pandora, or via our favorite music service like Spotify, Beats, Rdio, Google Play, Deezer, etc.

What most of listeners don’t realize, however, is that royalties are paid for music that we skip. In fact, and in most cases, a full royalty is paid for music that we skip — even if we skip a track in less than a few seconds. Whether you think it is fair or not, in order to get the license, services pay for music even when a track is skipped.

Steve Albini’s Face The Music Keynote / More on Beats and iTunes

Reading this I’m beginning to believe things could be getting better in the recorded music industry.

This past weekend I started playing with Beats Music again and have begun questioning the care and meticulousness of my own iTunes collection. I can’t think of a better example then last weekend when I was updating Elton John metadata, hunting for the right year, trying to get high-quality artwork. Then it dawned on me. “Wait a second, I don’t even really like Elton John that much!”

In a single $10 a month payment nearly all my music collection is available, as are all the new releases I’d be paying $10 each for anyway. Sure, if I stop paying it all goes away, but has there ever been a month where I haven’t paid at least $10 in iTunes downloads? No.

So after years of using iTunes, updating ratings, organizing smart playlists to help me wade through tens of thousands of songs, I’m coming around on the idea that I don’t need to own and organize this stuff anymore. I probably haven’t listened to most of my collection in years. These digital music files may as well be like the boxes of CDs I have in a storage room. Except they show up in smart playlists and are often skipped over.

…I still wish I could just login to my Beats Music account using iTunes on my Mac.1

I’m also liking the idea that a new band can get the ears of millions of people in as little as two days.2

Maybe this right now is the golden age of music.

I know that goes against other things I’ve written here, about how the streaming model is unsustainable…but that was before reading Albini’s address and his deconstruction of “We need to figure out how to make this digital distribution work for everyone.”


  1. Spotify has been real buggy for me. I think I’ve hit a collection limit. 

  2. $19.99 a year for unlimited releases using DistroKid means you don’t have to wait to release a CDs worth of material. 

A Look At Beats Music on iOS

“Mark just…obliterated you”

Related to the idea of corporate social responsibility.

Screen Shot 2014 11 12 at 5 13 08 PM

Drucker on Corporate Social Responsibility

From Peter Drucker’s Management:Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices’, after noting that expectations are placed on corporate entities not because they’re disliked, but because they’re one of the only institutions left that can effectively work towards their interests…so, the public thinks, let’s make our interests their interests.

Clearly, the demand for social responsibility is not as simple as most books, articles, and speeches on the subject make it out to be. But it is not possible to disregard it, as such distinguished economists as Milton Friedman of Chicago have urged. To be sure, Friedman’s argument that business is an economic institution and should stick to its economic task is well taken. There is danger that social responsibility will undermine economic performance and with it society altogether. There is surely an even greater danger that social responsibility will mean usurpation of power by business managers in areas in which they have no legitimate authority.

But it is also clear that social responsibility cannot be evaded. It is not only that the public demands it. It is not only that society needs it. The fact remains that in modern society there is no other leadership group but managers. If the managers of our major institutions, and especially of business, do not take responsibility for the common good, no one else can or will. Government is no longer capable, as political theories still have it, of being the “sovereign” and the “guardian of the common good” in a pluralist society of organizations. The leadership groups in this society, and this means the managers of the key institutions, whether they like it or not—indeed whether they are competent or not—have to think through what responsibilities they can and should assume, in what areas, and for what objectives. If there is one moral to these cautionary tales, it is not that social responsibility is both ambiguous and dangerous. It is that social impacts and social responsibilities are areas in which business—and not only big business—has to think through its role, has to set objectives, has to perform.

Social impacts and social responsibilities have to be managed.

Beatboxing Is Already Popular

Facebook’s own Rooms app similarly promises to recreate the lost sense of online intimacy, by giving users single-purpose spaces to discuss their passions (beat-boxing is already popular) pseudonymously.

This says everything you need to know about people who use Facebook.

Not a dry eye in the house

Seems like Billy Joel is done with love:

Before long, at the sound check, he began substituting bawdy lyrics: “I just want someone . . . to have sex with” and “Now you know I’m . . . full of shi-it.” “I couldn’t have loved you any better, unless . . . you grew some bigger tits.” Cohen walked by, shaking his head.

After a while, Joel stopped. “Should we really do that one? Really?”

“There won’t be a dry eye in the house,” the saxophonist Mark Rivera said.

When Nepotism Has Its Place

Nepotism vs Materialism:

In developing countries, they do not have the sophistication of management. No job descriptions, no 360 appraisals. No control systems. So, what keeps the organization working is trust. Trust based on family relations. Remove that and the system will collapse.

Also “find your passion”