“How NBC’s The Voice Sold 20 Million Songs Without a Single Star”

I’ve never watched this show, and that’s why I don’t get the current music culture.

…The Voice isn’t actually designed to discover a new pop star. The show, which pulls in close to 14 million viewers each week and is currently the most watched reality-TV program, works best as a vehicle for the judges’ careers.

…Maybe that’s why shows like Idol and The Voice do so well: People feel like they’re discovering new artists even though they’re listening to the same old tunes.

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.”

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.

Chris Ruen – “How a generation’s freeloading has starved creativity”

What’s very damning are the sites people go to for free stuff that benefit by selling advertising space.

A report by the Digital Citizens Alliance released earlier this year found that pirate sites took in nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in revenues in 2013, with the largest 30 sites averaging $4.4 million in ad revenues and even the smallest sites pulling in $100,000 annually, all on the backs of uncompensated artists. As these sites need not bother with licensing fees, their profit margins are estimated to range between 80 and 94 per cent.

It’s more lucrative to leach than it is to create.

Finally, A Razor With Balls

NYMag states that Gillette’s new ProGlide Flex Ball razor is “everything wrong with American Innovation.”

A new razor is now a testament to the state of American manufacturing and business. The article leads you to believe that people are going to be willfully swindled into buying it – that we solved the shaving problem decades ago.

I’m not so sure. Between electric razors, r/wicked_edge,1 and razors with balls, there are still people out there doing everything “right” and dealing with irritation from shaving.

Sure, Gillette is cashing in on a market still looking for a solution to their problems short of laser hair removal, but I thought that’s what the point of innovation was anyway. People are asking where the flying cars are – like it’s going to be less expensive and get us where we need to go any faster.


  1. r/wicked_edge has its own feeling of commercialism – people selling books on how to shave (which I bought, read, and still had isuses), people recommending razor packs to sample, creams and lotions to put on your face…yet people still have problems, cuts, and irritated necks. This is not a solved problem and there are plenty of threads (warm water didn’t work? I guess try cold water) and product recommendations to prove it. 

Adam Carolla won’t let it drop

If you’ve listened to any podcasts recently you may have heard the appeal from Adam Carolla asking for donations to defend against patent trolls. Ars Technica reports that Personal Audio, the company with the patents, has been trying to get out of the lawsuit:

According to Personal Audio, they’ve lost interest in suing podcasters because the podcasters—even one of Adam Carolla’s size—just don’t make enough money for it to care.

“[Personal Audio] was under the impression that Carolla, the self-proclaimed largest podcaster in the world, as well as certain other podcasters, were making significant money from infringing Personal Audio’s patents,” stated the company. “After the parties completed discovery, however, it became clear this was not the case.”

Then later:

The patent company is charging ahead with its patent case against the big three television networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC. Personal Audio is trying to wring a royalty from those companies for releasing video “episodic content” over the Internet.

Don’t worry, little guys. They only want money – and you don’t have any. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Artwashing

On trying to increase property values through fostering a rich, artistic community. “Rich” could mean at least two different things.

However, we need to be aware of a couple troubling trends underneath these celebrations of the transformative power of art. First, we have to ask who are they transforming an area for? And at whose direction? Because, as the excellent, if sobering, article “The Pernicious Realities of Artwashing” on CityLab.com details, too often the presence of artists is becoming a deliberately engineered move to increase the cache of a building or area, until prices rise and the artists themselves are priced out, along with the original lower income residents of an area.

Mom Or CEO – The Choice of A New Generation

PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi on being a mom and a CEO:

Q. What’s your opinion about whether women can have it all?

I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom. I’m not sure. And I try all kinds of coping mechanisms.

“The end of the roadie”

After the big money came in everybody had to start being professional.

Roadie annals are full of such stories, many of them involving unpleasant treatment of female fans. But that era has long passed, and with it the idea of roadies as folk legends. They have since osmosed into “techs” – low-key professionals who often have degrees and treat the job as a job. “Bad behaviour isn’t acceptable any more, to be drunk and carrying on,” says Chris McDonnell, the Charlatans’ sound engineer. “A lot more is expected of you. People think it’s crazy backstage, and it’s girls and drugs, but it’s not. It’s people working and having a cup of tea.”

Edit: The other thought that occurs to me is that you need to be a NERD to be on productions today. Think of the technology involved in concerts. Media servers that require knowledge of video technology, projection technology, and content creation. Overhead trussing that requires a lot of math to make sure that they’re properly holding all the equipment hanging from it so that people underneath it are safe. Sound engineers that need to mix monitors and mix for a different venue night after night. These are things you need to be obsessive about, thus – nerds on the road.

“Why I Love Spotify and Think You Should Too”

Why I Love Spotify and Think You Should Too | Pansentient League

“Well, there’s a lot of misconceptions and rumours about Spotify,” I started. “And most folk like us, who grew up with vinyl, don’t seem to ‘get’ it. It’s a harder sell if you’re used to owning music instead of renting it.”

Rusty looked at me quizzically.

“But what do you write about?” he asked. “Why do you think Spotify is so great?”

So this is what I told him:

The writing for the music download market is on the wall. Articles like this by Jer White make me think of jumping in head first to Spotify and getting started now.

In the past few months Spotify added the collection model, which helps if you’re like me and are against the idea of having a playlist for everything. Where Spotify falls short for me is in the organization of a collection. I like having smart playlists and viewing things by genre. Spotify would rather you give that all up and just let them take care of it through their radio and playlist/mixtape curation.

Sometimes I wonder maybe that is a better model so I can stop maintaining tags and playlists and start listening to music.

The other rub is that if you have music from independent services, like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, how does that fit into the streaming model? It can’t, not unless you’re allowed to add it to your own collection and treat it as if it’s part of the music service. The closest anybody has gotten to that is iTunes Match and Google Music (but, imo, if your desktop app is a web app, you blew it).

Until that’s resolved my use of Spotify will be a free account I use for first listens.

It’s not lost on me that a lot of what keeps me using iTunes is that I have a lot of care and energy into my current library. However, if I were 11 years old and didn’t have the baggage of a collection I’ve built for over 20 years, I’d probably be ok with streaming music.

“I don’t listen to any new bands.”

A guitar teacher writes to Digital Music News about the music preferences of students, why female students knew all the current bands and the male students stuck to Metallica and Bon Jovi:

I asked my male students what the heck is going on. “I don’t know, the new stuff just isn’t good. The old stuff is better, the production is better. It’s just better.”

I asked one of my female students the same question, why only the girls are bringing new bands. “It’s because the new bands are better looking.”

Brands Aren’t Teenage Girls

Selfie is now a word most often heard out of the mouths of marketing execs, the ones who call youth marketing agencies and say, “Let’s do something with selfies!” “I hear that all the time,” says Gregg Witt, chief engagement officer of Immersive Youth Marketing. “They’re either a full poseur or someone who wants to fit in. Man, it’s like 50 days late and a million dollars short to say that.” As the selfie makes its final duck face, let’s consider this last chapter of its legacy: Trend chasing in the Internet era is desperate and lazy. And bad for business.

I guess narcissism is only acceptable when attractive girls do it?