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Much has been written over the course of this year about exclusive releases on streaming platforms, with Frank Ocean’s Blond the latest of a number of high profile, profitable exclusives, with Beyoncé, Kanye West and Rihanna, among some of the industry’s biggest-selling artists carving exclusive deals on services such as Tidal and Apple Music...
Ringing in my ears from last week’s UK Music Diversity Summit was one of chair Keith Harris’ comments as he introduced the afternoon’s proceedings...
Fast forward to 2017, only time will tell whether we'll be discussing 2016 as positively, should the UK make a #Brexit on June 23, in which case the live sector, exports, manufacturing and copyright reform perhaps stand to loose the most...
The music industry’s tussle with the issue of diversity most recently typified by a near all-white role call of 2016 BRIT winners has rightly forced this important debate centre stage. And not before time. It’s bewildering why as an industry we find ourselves seemingly unable to embrace change and build a workforce that is truly representative of multi-cultural Britain.
With the Europe ‘In’ or ‘Out’ debate rarely off the news agenda, and with a forthcoming referendum that could take place as early as June, it’s somewhat surprising there hasn’t been more open dialogue across the music business about the implications of a result favouring Britain’s exit from the EU.
The legal instruments created in good faith to protect creators’ digital rights have comprehensively failed to evolve during the rapid development of digital and online distribution. Depressingly, to re-visit and amend WIPO Treaties is a herculean task involving 217 countries and a timeline that would see most of those currently grappling with these issues well into their dotage.
The inexorable rise in the growth of streaming services isn't good news for the majority of artists and performers, who currently reap significantly lower royalty payments from an increasing number of licensed streams compared to royalties they derive elsewhere, such as from broadcasts and sales of recordings.
The speed of development of innovative new models in the digital marketplace highlights huge gaps in legislative solutions for the application of IP rights and the urgent need for bold imaginative reform.
We know that the transparency technology brings in the digital space allows for grass roots movements to coalesce and drive change like never before. Change is both possible and necessary on many fronts. Today, that front is the inequitable status of commercial radio in the USA and the fight to ensure #fairplayfairpay for all artists, everywhere.
The idea of a blank media levy is not at all new - the debate has been around since cassette tapes enabled affordable, large-scale private copying, yet with the advent of 3D printing, the concept of making copies of an ‘original’ item is about to enter a whole new dimension.
In the race to legitimacy, those crafting the raw material on which licensed digital services depend - the song - face transpareny complexities of Gordian Knot proportions, and which show few signs of abating.
The UK remains the ‘odd man out’ in Europe by denying fair compensation to rightsholders for private copying. Should the High Court rule in favour of compensation being made, the issue is how that might be done.
Retail is indeed a diverse, complex and multi-channel connector between creators and consumers. Innovation in retail needs to be met with similar innovation in music – in particular, music licensing, especially music publishing.
Earlier this month, what for many is the bête noire of the live sector – Secondary Ticketing – saw its passage towards greater transparency and regulation by way of the Consumer Rights Bill frustrated in a Commons vote which contradicted the House of Lords who remain in favour of greater regulation of ticketing.
Continuing our think tank debate series, MusicTank today launches Future Thinking - a strand of activity driven by the foresight and critical thinking of outstanding MA Music Business Management students here at University of Westminster.
The simple truth is that the vast majority of small capacity live music venues ironically can’t sustain themselves solely through live music; rather they cross-subsidise live music from the profit made by club nights and private hires. It’s a pretty grim state of affairs.
Artists and managers must ultimately decide what’s right for them, and its within their gift to deny any platform content but clarity of approach is essential if it’s not to give consumers a mixed message, which is not in anyone’s interests. There are encouraging signs from some quarters that streaming platforms are growing their revenue generating capabilities - it just needs to flow through more equitably and transparently to the artist.
Whilst the environmental debate regarding global warming ebbs and flows on a near-daily basis, the issue of energy consumption of the storage, transmission and consumption of data – itself exacerbated by the explosion in cloud storage and cloud computing – appears to be more conclusive. In fact, Hewlett Packard predict that global electricity production won’t meet demand from digital services and devices by 2020...
Let’s hope the roll call of past and current policy contradictions spanning music education, noise abatement, the licensing act and the digital economy becomes less about being pawns in the electioneering game and more about a robust and fully considered music industry policy fit for a connected 21st Century.
It feels like we’re now at a cross roads, with one direction signposting incredibly exciting, viable and sustainable new opportunities; the other pointing to a single track road dominated by the on-coming tech-orientated juggernauts of Google, Apple and co. who show little sign of giving way.
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