Thanks to streaming, recording industry revenues are back up to pre-internet levels, but musicians are poorer than ever

(via boing boing) by Cory Doctorow

Since the days of Napster, record labels have recruited recording artists as allies in their fight against unauthorized music services, arguing that what was good for capital was also good for labor.

But as Teresa Nielsen Hayden says, “Just because you’re on their side, it doesn’t mean they’re on your side.”

Since the rise of streaming services, recording artists have complained bitterly about the pittances they receive in royalties, while the streaming services countered that they were sending billions to the labels, who were pocketing all the money without passing it on to the talent…

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Has music streaming killed the instrumental intro?

(via the Ohio State University website) By: Misti Crane

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Remember those drawn-out, dramatic intros into the pop power ballads of the 80s? They’re all but gone in today’s chart toppers, according to new research, and listeners’ short attention spans may be to blame.

Intros that averaged more than 20 seconds in the mid-80s are now only about 5 seconds long, the study found.

Depending on what rocks your musical world, the popularity of streaming services might be to thank or to curse for a move away from the instrumental intro, said Hubert Léveillé Gauvin, a doctoral student in music theory at The Ohio State University. His study appears in the journal Musicae Scientiae

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With no more income from album sales, a 69-year-old rock legend has to go back on tour

(via Quartz) by Amy X. Wang

For musicians, it’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times. Streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify are booming, helping the long-suffering music industry grow for the first time in decades.

But these new services make very little money for artists, with ephemeral streams paying out only a fraction of the revenue of actual album sales and downloads. Beyoncé, the highest-paid artist of last year, made the bulk of her money from a world tour. So did Guns N’ Roses, the second name on that list, and that band hasn’t even released a new album in a decade.

Another sign of the times is Donald Fagen, the 69-year-old cofounder of rock band Steely Dan, who has just announced a new tour in the US and Japan with an entirely new backup band called the Nightflyers. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), Fagen’s explanation for the new tour was decisively blunt

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Digital Underground: Who Will Make Sure The Internet’s Vast Musical Archive Doesn’t Disappear?


The Internet can be a wonderland of musical discovery and discourse, but it’s not built to be a permanent archive. Photo illustration: Claire O’Neill/NPR. Photos via iStockphoto and Flickr Creative Commons hide caption itoggle caption Photo illustration: Claire O’Neill/NPR. Photos via iStockphoto and Flickr Creative Commons

(via npr music)

by Ann Powers


“Archiving used to be the domain of the tangible,” Cheyenne Hohman, the director of the Free Music Archive, wrote in an email. Hohman holds a degree in library science, and she sees pluses and minuses in the shift to the cloud. “Now that we’re in a sea of born-digital media, storing and accessing information and media has shifted to favor the ubiquity of web-based collections. But would I call an aggregator like Spotify an archive? Not really, because if they go bankrupt, they’ll probably shut down, and they’re not motivated by preservation and access as much as they are interested in providing a commercial music platform for consumers.” Hohman’s concerns echo Marshall’s, and reflect the reality that commercial streaming services aren’t primarily intended for the public good. They exist to make money, whether through subscriptions or ad revenue.

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