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Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 4/28/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week ending on April 28th, 2017. There was a wide variety of news stories this week, from streaming struggles to hardware development to streaming royalties to radio. Let’s get into it.

Spotify has acquired the blockchain startup Mediachain Labs. The company wants to use blockchain technology to help with attributing streams to the correct owner, a problem that its been having for some time.

It’s also developing its own hardware. Reports are that Spotify wants to have its own version of Amazon’s Echo wireless speaker.

Streaming music is booming, so why is SoundCloud struggling? A look at why the service is losing its successful artist customers, and its valuation.

The Global Jukebox displays cultural data. It’s a very cool interactive representation of the music of the world. Take a deep dive into the data.

The music industry had a big year, but it could have been better. Income (or lack of it) from YouTube is still hampering the recovery process.

A look back at Record Store Day. Its founders take a look at how it all started, and answer the critics about why its going corporate.

The top 1% of artists make most of the revenue from recorded music. No surprise there, but the amount (77%) really is.

UMG has fewer employees than 10 years ago. That’s even after acquiring EMI. There seems to be a new round of layoffs every time you turn around even though the company is worth more today ($22 billion) than ever.

iHeartRadio will probably enter bankruptcy. It’s carrying way too much debt and bankruptcy may be the only way to turn its financial hardship around.

Radio stations have to have a studio on-site. It’s an FCC rule, but since we all work in the cloud today, an outdated one that needs changing.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!

Audio Builders Workshop Founder Owen Curtin On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Owen CurtinThe DIY ethic is running deep in the audio and recording business once again as a variety of manufacturers now provide kits to build everything from preamps to compressors to microphones to ???.

It’s a great way to not only learn how your gear ticks, but also get some great sounding gear at a very reasonable price as well.

Engineer and educator Owen Curtin has been on top of this trend, creating the successful Audio Builders Workshops that happen every 3 months or so in Boston.

Owen is my guest on the latest podcast, where he describes how the workshops came about, some upcoming themes, and some trends in DIY gear.

On the intro I talk about a new source of royalties for backup and session musicians, and some big changes that are coming to your wireless audio gear (you could be breaking the law if you’re not careful).

You can listen to it at bobbyoinnercircle.com, or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.

The Reason Why YouTube Pays Artists So Little

YouTube user generated contentThe recorded music business is rejoicing at the fact that after more than a decade, it finally has some strong revenue growth. The best part is that the growth looks like it will continue, as paying for streaming has finally gone mass market and listeners have seem the light of the benefit of paying at least a little every month to enjoy their favorite songs. That said, all this growth comes with little help from YouTube, which still pays artists at a lower rate than every other streaming service.

According to the RIAA and just about everyone else who’s done a survey, YouTube pays around $1 per thousand plays, while Spotify may pay as much as $7 for the same number. That’s a huge disparity and it’s something that all record labels have been wrestling with for some time. YouTube hasn’t been terribly cooperative in these discussions, giving a “This is all we have. Take it or leave it,” response in just about any licensing negotiation.

How does it get away with it when other streaming networks can’t? The key here is that YouTube is primarily a user generated service. If a label was to refuse a license to to the company, its songs would still appear thanks to user uploads. The label can ask for a take down, but as soon as that happens, another one, or 10, pop up. This puts YouTube in a strong position to low-ball on any licensing agreement.

Of course every other streaming service plays by different rules. Their lifeblood are the songs that they’re only able to play thanks to the licensing agreements with the labels. No license, no songs to play. Users can’t upload their own content (legal or otherwise), so the user generated nature of the way YouTube works just doesn’t exist elsewhere.

All this means that YouTube probably won’t be paying much more than it already is in the future, much to the dismay of labels and artists alike. The only good thing in all of this is that there’s some evidence that we’re reached “peak YouTube” and more and more people now prefer to get their music on a dedicated service. That probably won’t have much of an impact on your bottom line if you’re an artist though. It’s still way too little, with no sign of getting better.