@adamlashinsky: Time for the Internet to Grow Up

[Apple gets it–it’s about the reporting…it’s time for Spotify to raise prices and dump the free service.  Netflix has done it a bunch.]

The news business hasn’t shown so much promise in years—and not because of the specifics of Apple’s offering or anyone else’s. Leading publications like The Journal, The Times, and The Post all already have robust subscription offerings. Whether or not they enhance their business models by participating with Apple is neither here nor there from an existential perspective. The point is the industry is surviving, maybe even thriving, by charging its customers for their high-quality product. Finally.

Read the post on The Data Sheet from Fortune and subscribe here

@digitalmusicnws: Mastodon’s Guitarist Says It’s Nearly Impossible for Bands to Survive Financially Anymore

It’s becoming extremely difficult for musicians to make a living these days —even successful and award-winning bands like Mastodon.

Mastodon’s guitarist, Bill Kelliher, recently gave an interview on the music podcast “Let There Be Talk,” where he explained how streaming services are killing music as we know it.  And potentially putting promising bands out of business.

Kelliher puts a lot of blame on popular music streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify, who pay artists way too little money.  In Kelliher’s estimation, if this doesn’t change, a number of ‘successful’ artists and bands will have to leave the business.

Perhaps most shockingly, Kelliher further says that bands like his can no longer afford to make records.

Read the post by Marsha Silva on Digital Music News

Must-Read by @LizPelly: Discover Weakly: Sexism on Spotify

ON MARCH 2, SPOTIFY ANNOUNCED the most Spotify thing imaginable: The Smirnoff Equalizer, a brand partnership in the form of a woke algorithmic discovery tool. Together, Spotify and Smirnoff claimed that the app would analyze users’ listening habits and “equalize” the gender ratio of their listening experience. Applying a binary understanding of gender, the Equalizer would quantify the user’s past six months of streaming, display the percentage of male-versus-female artists in their history, and provide them with a personalized, more “balanced” playlist. The Smirnoff Equalizer will be live through this summer, available for Spotify users of a legal drinking age in the United States and five additional countries, which should serve as reminder enough: this tool is meant to sell vodka.

Read the post on The Baffler

Must Read: @ChrisRizik: How Spotify Is Killing Jazz, Soul, Classical Music

[This is a must read post on the growing revolt against Spotify as the first known example of Orwell’s versificator.  As Chris Rizik notes, Spotify and its ilk are hardly saviors of music, more like destroyers of music and any popular culture that is more than a foot wide and an inch deep and a few years old.  There’s a reason why 10% of the music accounts for 90% of the revenue–and I think it’s more like 5% acccounts for 95%.]

Two events happened recently that caught my attention:

  • Lil Pump, a 17 year old Miami rapper, signed an $8 million recording deal with Warner Bros.
  • Around the same time, one of the leading modern soul singers in the US celebrated on social media the one millionth stream of her latest song on Spotify. Her financial haul on it? Likely around $3,000.

Though these two stories appeared unrelated, they are instructive of the strange new world of music streaming payments, and the inherent bias against soul, jazz, classical and other genres of music aimed at adult listeners….

And while there has been a lot of press about how streaming initially reduced the overall payments to record companies and artists (which has since turned around), what hasn’t been addressed as much is how streaming has changed which artists get paid. And, without a doubt, streaming has stacked the deck toward hip-hop, pop, and other genres whose listeners are teenagers and twenty-somethings.

Read the post on Hypebot