Catching up on October links

Apologies for the lag on these stories. I’ve been doing a lot of other things (getting a wood stove, decorating, watching DVD series and playing music) and before we launch into Christmas I’m catching up with the music biz tail-end of 2012.

I’ve also been thinking about some articles and planning some interesting changes for the web site in 2013.

So here, later than I wanted, is the October music biz news I think mattered and other stuff worth reading.

(First, an interesting comment about social networking whether you like it or not—How social networks can destroy your social life—I never thought I’d be asking people to turn their phones off, but it gets more likely.)

The Register On-demand streamed music services compared a useful table.

Opposing Views Music Licensing Company SESAC Accused of Monopolizing Radio Music another tale of American licensing going askew.

The Register Pandora boss urges 85% pay cut for musicians highlights a feature of all the new music start-ups: staff, investors and labels are paid well while musicians—who provide the content—are not. The Truth About Pandora’s Payments to Artists was a follow-up to Pandora’s PR in support of its proposed legislation to reduce royalties paid to the music industry for its content. Here’s another Music streaming: what do songwriters really get from YouTube or Pandora? by Helienne Lindvall at the Guardian. Music Business Stays in Apple’s Shadow some good background on iTunes.

Torrent Freak Artist Can’t Get Pirated Music Off iTunes, Google and Microsoft Stores an increasing problem for independent artists in music and ebooks.

Koltais Whatif The Music Industry Twelve Year Technology Cycle (A Retrospective Analysis) has some interesting charts, although the original shellac format (50 years) and future of digital (more than 12 years already) rather test his 12 year rule. Also, Big Champagne and RIAA shipments data are not great, although good music biz data is hard to find.

Telegraph Robots are already prowling the world looking for copyright infringement was another big trend in October—automated takedown systems seem to be getting out of control.

Ars Technica Have we lost 41 percent of our musicians? Depends on how you (the RIAA) count is an interesting analysis of music biz soundbite numbers and the pitfalls of using single sources.

BBC US judge orders piracy trial to test IP evidence I’m not sure this will be sorted out but it’s a good question and the big flaw in all the current 3-strikes systems around the world.

Public Domain Review Caruso The Pop Idol or at least the first recording industry megastar.

Next, November, in which not nearly as much happened for some reason.

5 thoughts on “Catching up on October links

  1. Interesting set of links, with a few bits of fairly lazy journalism and some really thought through stuff as well. The more I think about these things though the more I wonder if we need to completely start again with copyright law. We’ve tweaked and tugged it with each new technology but the shift to non-physical distribution really has pushed it beyond the point where the historic definitions and concepts make any sense.
    I reckon…

    • Well, copyright got where it is by evolving, it was never designed. Modern music publishing was largely invented by Boosey and others who are no longer central. The same thing can happen again but I think changes that stick need to come from the originators. At the moment, streaming and other mainstream online businesses are largely sponsored by the old players and nothing useful is coming from them. The new technology interests simply want everything cheap or free so they’re only going to drive it down. My guess is the future will come from composers, writers and distributors who are doing new things that work. If that is ever mainstream it will be easy, otherwise a long slow disruption awaits us all.

      In the mean time, copyright, as it remains is very flexible and those new creators are using it in ways that are nothing like the Majors, or even Creative Commons. I’m a firm believer that it will all work out and having loads of money or power doesn’t help or hinder in the long term.

    • I think both angles are important but fixing the practice (especially the mainstream malpractice of Big Content corporates) won’t happen by fixing copyright itself. I don’t know if you’ve read the Copyright Designs and Patents Act itself but it’s well worth a look. What is actually there in law is what copyright is, nothing else. Most of the stuff people are talking about online is Big Content behaviour. Obviously, there are some glaring holes in the law (we have time-shifting but no format shifting for example) but these would be fairly straightforward to fix, if Big Content and all the academics got down to it.

  2. Actually the Shellac albums evolved from around 1904 through several technology improvements,

    Evolutionary Materials path – foil, wax, shellac amberol (plastic), with recording developments – acoustic, electronic, and by 1947 they were recording to tape.
    The consumer choices also expanded at approximately 12 year intervals, crank handle, clockwork, coin operated (dance halls), stirling engine and electric.

    The sizes also varied in popularity between 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 21 inch formats depending on the length required for the recording.

    You are right about the lack of accurate music industry data, however, in another article, I tracked format adoption and decline in Japan, a country that has the most accurate production and sales numbers amongst all the music producing countries going back to 1904 with only 1943-1945 missing.

    Another series of adoption/decline Graphs is available at

    e.g.: Decline

    The average across 130 years of recorded music is 12.5 years adoption with a similar period for the decline giving us the effective work lifespan of music lovers – being an approximate 25 years per technology. i.e.: New tech every Generation.


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