Music industry

Coldplay and Spotify: What’s an Album Worth in 2011?

You’ve probably read recently about Coldplay’s decision to keep their new record Mylo Xyloto off insta-streaming sites like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, etc. The move has led to much industry hand-wringing, and headlines like “Coldplay snub sounds alarm for streaming music.” It’s certainly an interesting choice on the part of the band and their management, and after the jump we wonder what might be behind it — and what a similar decision might mean for bands who aren’t quite the commercial juggernauts that Coldplay are. … Read More

  • 9

Q&A: Grooveshark VP Paul Geller on King Crimson and Copyright

Last week we ran a piece about the ongoing battles between King Crimson and Grooveshark. If you missed it, the upshot is that King Crimson have been struggling for months to get their songs taken down from Grooveshark, and apparently making little headway, so much so that the band provided email transcripts of their dealings with Grooveshark to industry website Digital Music News. After we published the piece, Grooveshark VP of Business Development Paul Geller contacted us and asked to present his side of the story. We figured this was only fair, and spoke to him earlier this week — we’ve published the transcript of our interview verbatim after the jump, and invite readers to draw their own conclusions. As we hope you’ll agree, it makes for very interesting reading. … Read More

  • 11

Is Grooveshark Purposely Screwing Over Musicians?

Here at Flavorpill, we’ve been happy to use Grooveshark in the past on the assumption that it was, if not entirely legal, at least a service that offered artists a chance to get their music heard and made for a convenient, free alternative to Spotify. On the basis of what we’ve read this week, however, we’re starting to wonder whether that view might be just a wee bit optimistic, and whether Grooveshark might in fact be just another representation of a recurring trend in the music industry as a whole — the trend whereby everyone gets rich at artists’ expense. Plus ça change, and all that. … Read More

  • 27

RCA Kills Long-Running Pop Labels Arista and Jive

Despite the news yesterday that album sales are up over last year, it looks like the ongoing music-industry apocalypse is still in full swing. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that RCA is folding two long-running labels that have represented some of the biggest pop stars of the past four decades. Arista, which was founded by Clive Davis in 1974, and Jive, launched three years later by Clive Calder and helmed by Barry Weis since 1991, will both be shuttered, and their artists funneled to RCA Records. According to RCA execs, the move is a branding decision: “The concept is that there is value in branding RCA and not having it confused or diluted by other labels,” RCA president Tom Corson told THR. Although Arista only represented a handful of big names (Jennifer Hudson, Santana, Whitney Houston), Jive — the label that was largely responsible for the turn-of-the-millennium teen-pop boom — still boasts an enormous roster ranging from Pitbull and Rick Ross to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. A full list of artists currently on each label is after the jump. … Read More

  • 0

A Brief History of Litigious Music Industry Idiocy

You might have seen the picture doing the rounds on the web over the last couple of days – a screenshot of a YouTube video of John Cage’s 4’33″, with a whacking big notice at the bottom proclaiming, “NOTICE This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.” The joke, of course, is that 4’33″ doesn’t have any audio — it’s four minutes and 33 seconds of silence. We’re sure that Cage would appreciate the humor here, but the fact that it’s all too believable that WMG might have actually done this is kind of sad. After all, getting this audio pulled from YouTube would be far from the most ridiculous thing the music industry has done in recent years in its ongoing war-on-drugs style exercise in copyright-litigating futility. Join us after the jump for some key moments in legal idiocy. … Read More

  • 4

10 Blogger-Owned Record Labels You Should Know

In the course of our morning reading today, we came across this article in Wired about San Francisco label and music blog offshoot Love Letters Ink. The article’s not helped by a silly headline (“hacking the record industry,” indeed) but the premise of looking at blog-related labels is worthy enough — the rise of labels built on music blogging foundations has been one of the more interesting developments of recent years. Unlike Wired, we’re not so sure that they are in any way altering the landscape of the record industry — they’re indie labels, basically — although their origins do raise some interesting questions about where criticism ends and publicity begins. Either way, they’re certainly home to some fascinating music, and after the jump we’ve pulled together ten more noteworthy blog-based labels. What are your favorites? … Read More

  • 2

Is the Record Industry Making a Comeback?

Despite what Tommy Mottola thinks, the music industry may still have some life in it. Consequence of Sound points out that not only are album sales up for the first time since 2004, but single, digital tracks are also doing 11 percent better than they were last year. And, as has… Read More

  • 1

It Costs Over $1 Million to Make a Hit Pop Song

We’re fascinated (and also somewhat taken aback by) a new post on NPR’s Planet Money that breaks down the cost of creating a hit song. As Zoe Chace explains, the process begins with a writing camp, where a label gathers top songwriters and producers to put together the tracks for a star’s upcoming album, renting out around ten studios for around two weeks and dropping approximately $25,000 a day. For Rihanna’s Loud, the example Chace follows throughout the piece, that comes out to $18,000 per song. Of course, the entire cost of writing, recording, producing, and finishing a pop hit pale in comparison with the promotional budget. See an infographic with the full expense breakdown after the jump, and be sure to read the Planet Money piece for all the industry-insider details. … Read More

  • 2

5 Fascinating Musical Revelations from the UCLA Pop Conference

Last week, the Pop Conference — held since 2002 at Seattle’s Experience Music Project — shifted locale to the UCLA campus. As before, the conference — a mix of accredited academics, critics and journalists pursuing pet themes, and musicians with ideas about what they and others do — featured a lot of smart talk about all kinds of pop, from the shape-shifting beats of Low End Theory (the LA club that served as the crucible for Warp Records star Flying Lotus), which served as the subject of a climactic roundtable, to the prototype minstrels of Thomas Jefferson’s time, brought to life by Ned Sublette. Here are five notable lessons from a weekend packed with them. … Read More

  • 3

Not-So-Awesome Infographic: Album and Single Sales, 1973-2010

As if you needed proof that the sky is falling on the music industry, here are two graphs that confirm our worst fears. Album sales — including digital purchases — are hovering at around a third of the all-time high they hit only a decade ago, in 2000. In fact, we’re buying fewer full-lengths now than we did in 1973. There is some good news here, for the music industry if not for fans of the album as an art form: sales of singles have skyrocketed, as the chart after the jump illustrates. … Read More

  • 0