Tag Archives: music

Record Label Demands on Music Streaming Services

New and potentially disruptive music streaming services are having a hard time breaking into the market, with many analysts blaming their business models and others blaming the contractual demands from labels for the troubles encountered. There are also complaints about the royalties paid to artists and poor revenues of existing services.

Michael Robertson–founder of MP3Tunes and MP3.com–attempts to lift the veil on the industry by looking at some of the (you could safely say “unreasonable”) contractual demands placed on music streaming services by record labels:

General deal structure: Pay the largest of A) Pro-rata share of minimum of $X per subscriber, B) Per-play costs at $Y per play, C) Z percent of total company revenue, regardless of other business areas.

Labels receive equity stake: Not only do labels get to set the price on the service, they also get partial ownership of the company.

Up front (and/or minimum) payments: Means large amounts of cash are necessary to even get into the game. […] This further stifles innovation in services and business models.

Detailed reporting, including monthly play counts: Providing additional reports unrelated to payment, including overall market share of sales in various categories. […] The labels effectively offload their business analysis (and the cost of such analysis) onto the music services.

Data normalization: Without standard naming conventions and canonical methods for referencing artist, tracks and albums, the services are left to try and match artist, track, album names provided by one label with those of another. It’s incredibly inefficient, as each service must undergo this process separately.

Publishing deals: Once you’ve signed deals with the labels, you then need to cut deals with the publishers. […] Although you may have the rights to stream from labels, you sometime can’t get the rights to stream from the publisher, or worse, even find the publisher.

Most favored nation: This is a deal term demanded by every major label that ensures the best terms provided to another label are available to it as well. This greatly constricts the ability to work out unique contractual terms and further limits business models.

Non-disclosure: This is the main reason music services, not the labels, have been getting heat from the artist community. Music services can’t defend against accusations about low artist payments because they pay the labels who don’t disclose what they’re paying to the artists.

It’s worth noting that while Michael Robertson is a trustworthy writer and likely to have access to people who know this information (if this isn’t first-hand information anyway), he’s also likely to harbour some resentment toward record labels from his business ventures. Still, even without a solid reference I felt that this was too interesting to just pass up.

On-Hold Music and Time Perception

With the correct choice of music and by giving the perception of progress customers on-hold in a telephone queue underestimate the time they have been kept waiting and will stay on the line longer before hanging up.

Newsweek summarises a number of research studies that have looked at the psychology behind telephone queues and on-hold music, noting the different reactions customers have when confronted with hold music, recorded apologies or estimated wait times.

Though it hardly seems possible that the Muzak (the term is often used generically, but Muzak Holdings LLC is a real company) pumped into malls could actually influence shoppers, the truth is, alas, that it does. James Kellaris, a marketing professor at the University of Cincinnati, says that music can have an impact on a wide array of customers’ behaviors, changing their perception of time, conditioning them to associate a song with a brand, or limiting their ability to critically analyze a potential purchase due to musical distraction. “When shoppers are exposed to music in a store, sales resistance decreases,” he says via e-mail. Our brains have a finite bandwidth for taking in and processing information, and clogging that bandwidth with music is sometimes enough to prevent us from making rational purchasing decisions, or worrying about the time.

The article also notes how we have the rather excellent Erik Satie to thank for the muzak phenomenon:

[Satie] developed a very cynical attitude toward the listener. Satie was so obsessed with the idea that music could no longer communicate to the audience, he concluded that music in the 20th century was destined to be a vacuous, comfortable apparatus best used as a background for other activities, much like a favorite chair.

via Mind Hacks

Get Running with PodRunner

About 7 months ago I moved house and – as expected – things got in the way and I stopped my regular exercise sessions. Ever since I’ve been meaning to get back into a serious exercise regimen and today is when I do.

I play squash regularly and love to swim and cycle… but I can’t run to save my life!  I’ve decided this has to change, and through a bit of lucky Google searching I found a couple of running websites I read a long time ago.

I present to you:

With the above two resources (and a good pair of running shoes), I should be back to my old fitness level in no time.

The “iPod Tax” and the Desperate UK Music Industry

How did this one sneak in under the radar?

The UK’s Music Business Group is requesting that a tax be levied on technologies that allow ‘format shifting’. To you and me that means that if you can transfer or copy your music from it, to it, or using it, it should be taxed. The reasoning behind this? Let’s have the BPI explain:

Enormous value is derived by those technology companies and manufacturers who enable consumers to copy. UK creators and rights owners are legally entitled to share in this value – as they hold the exclusive right to reproduce their music – but are currently excluded from the value chain.

Hands off Ctrl-C / Apple-C, pay up now!

via BBC dot.life