Newsletter #83 November 2011
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
The world is in the midst of a global financial and economic crisis. Last week European leaders arguably saved a faltering Euro by agreeing to write off 50% of Greek debt and set aside 1 trillion Euros to promote financial stability. Closer to home, protesters at St. Paul’s argue that capitalism is broken, and banking and political systems are to blame.
Juxtaposed against all this doom and gloom, the UK recordings business isn’t faring too badly. Illustrated perhaps most acutely by Adele’s continuing domination of the US Billboard chart with 21 in its 13th week at no.1, and 19 not far behind, the independent sector’s continuing success sets a positive tone for AIM’s forthcoming inaugural Independent Music Awards, an event so popular it could have sold out its ticket allocation many times over. We’ll report from it in the next MusicTank newsletter.
But it’s not just indies who are in the pink. On the digital side of the business there’s a lot to shout about too, with anticipation building for Google’s new music service, which if it’s as innovative as is reckoned, when aligned with Google’s core search service, could give iTunes a run for its money. Elsewhere, smartphone apps are creating a new land-rush of innovation, with some promoting (or in Björk’s case actually constituting) frontline artist releases and others, like Universal’s Timewheel app, breathing new life into catalogue sales. Meanwhile, the growing use of HTML 5 is releasing Apple’s stranglehold on iOS Apps, enabling the creation of apps that circumvent Apple’s 30% fee of in-app purchases.
While there’s clearly a bright future for apps, given there’s no single format for music apps and no single player enabling people to group and play the various music apps they have together – a sort of iTunes for apps – we are some distance away from music apps becoming a new format for music. But we believe that it can only be a matter of time before apps have their own iTunes moment (just as MP3 downloads did in 2004). There are companies today working on exactly such a technologies – all of which makes 2012 set to become a very interesting year.
Continuing the theme of innovation, this newsletter features the first in a series of exclusive guest editorials on the subject by Keith Jopling, who chairs the BPI’s Innovation Committee, set up last year to accelerate the development of the UK’s digital music market. He outlines three key areas of digital music innovation that need development if the recordings business is to encourage the creation of long term sustainable music services and formats.
There’s been another development this summer that cannot have been missed by many who work across the UK music business and that is that Tim Ingham has taken over the reins at a Music Week magazine that was itself taken over by publishing group Intent Media over the summer.
One time Music Week Editor Steve Redmond neatly described the vital importance of Music week on ERA’s blog: “Its most important function… is to hold up a mirror to the industry it represents. It’s a magnifying mirror which makes that business look bigger. Take it away and the business is diminished.”
But apart from all of us benefiting from the fact that Music Week still exists, we should all be relieved it’s found such a good home: an energetic, fresh and keen publishing team who are not only aware of the task ahead of themselves but are relishing it.
The process of change at the magazine has only really just begun, and is set to continue until Xmas at least. It’s a process of experimentation, and as with any experiment, not everything will go right every time. What’s important though is the energy they are bringing to the publication – again, coming up with regular innovations, trying things out, keeping them if they work and dropping them if they fail – an attitude and way of working which all of us need to adopt if we are to take this business forward.
Of course the music trade media landscape has changed over the last decade and we are all of us lucky to be in a position to benefit from the service that Record of the Day, Music Ally and CMU provide. But it’s Music Week that’s read outside our industry, and which more than any other magazine represents our business to others, be they in government, neighbouring industries or other countries.
So while it’s not quite a return to the “good old days” (whenever they were), as the skies cloud over and nights creep in, it still feels good to be part of an industry that is as alive and new as ever.
Edtorial by Sam Shemtob
MUSICTANK LOUNGE: Live industry course & transcript; membership
Amidst a raft of tributes and opinion clamoring for our attention surrounding the sad and unfortunate death of Apple’s Steve Jobs, this inspiring gem appeared to get overlooked by press and commentators alike. In this Stanford speech, Jobs talked openly and touchingly about motivation, life and loss. An inspirational speech running at around 15 minutes, it’s well worth watching and as such is our ‘must-listen’ recommendation this month. Watch it here.
Get Plugged In: Live Music, Promotion & Venue Management – our extensive, including links to resources is now available FREE to MusicTank members (join here) – it can also be bought as a standalone download for £99, here. As detailed elsewhere in this newsletter, this course is set for a re-run in London Feb 2012, meanwhile MusicTank is finalising plans to take this course out and about to some regional UK centres throughout 2012, with tutor Andy Inglis. If you’d like us to come to a venue near you, please contact us…
A new tier of reduced-price MusicTank membership and event rates for bona fide UK students has now been launched. Costing just £22.50 per year – saving you 50% – student membership conveys all the benefits of full-price membership, including event discount. We’ll also help smooth your transition into the industry by offering a discount on full-price membership for one year following graduation – register .
January 2012 will see MusicTank launch its membership upgrade, providing members with access to specific music industry discounts and offers. To get your business involved, from today Nov 1st, we’ll be accepting marketing contra partnership offers. If you’re interested in heightening your business’ exposure through MusicTank and becoming a MusicTank Membership Partner, please for further details.
Calling All Music Lecturers And Academics
MusicTank is working on several projects to assist and facilitate engagement between the music industry and the HE and FE sector. If you are an academic, lecturer, course leader or head of department and wish to be informed specifically about opportunities and initiatives as they may arise, please enter your details .
Enter And Win! MusicTank Members Survey
Please help us continue to develop MusicTank’s activities and membership benefits by completing this survey. Open to all and taking no more than 5-10minutes to complete, your responses will be invaluable to us in shaping our activity. All responses will be treated in strictest confidence and will not be shared outside MusicTank. As a thank you for your time, all fully-completed surveys will be entered into a free prize draw to win one of three £10 Amazon vouchers. Winners will be notifed in December. Take the survey .
MusicTank Report: Remake, Remodel – The Evolution Of The Record Label
‘This report comes at a dynamic and exciting time for the music industry, with labels having gone through an unprecedented period of change in the last decade. Tony Wadsworth is perfectly placed to undertake a project like this, having been at the forefront of many of these changes throughout this period, both at label and industry level.’ – David Joseph, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music UK.
‘The document is definitely worth reading for anyone in this business…’ – Emmanuel Legrand
This report is FREE to all MusicTank members. Annual Membership is £45. Individuals can sign up then log into this website with their username and password to then download the report. Corporations and Institutions (education and charites) can find out about membership here, meanwhile, the report is on sale to businesses, corporations and institutions at rates starting from £199. Further details are available here.
‘Remake, Remodel…’ is supported by Robertson Taylor.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Keith Jopling
Is the music industry really ready to innovate?
Innovation is the watchword in business at the moment, with all sectors keen to look to new ideas to help drive some growth out of the glum depths of the current recession. The music industry is no exception with a slate of new digital services – from Deezer, Blackberry and Virgin Media in the UK (and Facebook and Google initially in the US). There is some genuine excitement about a potential new wave of growth for digital music.
Existing players are making progress too, with new in-device music deals being driven by 7digital – and with iTunes moving into locker services it’s good to see the steadiest of digital innovators taking another major step forward.
But there is plenty of anxiety as well. The streaming model has come under scrutiny since Spotify launched in the US with some abstentions from a handful of indie labels and certain prominent artists. All of the UK’s new launches face the challenge of acquiring customers via the hard route of premium subscriptions.
Over a series of guest editorials for MusicTank I’ll take a look at what’s required on an industry level for the music sector to rally around new innovations. The critical outcome needs to be another one, two or preferably many more long-term sustainable services. We know that hundreds of services have been licensed over the past five years. While that’s a healthy trading business – it’s a very short term focus. The industry’s record on the delivery of long-term sustainable music services and formats needs to improve and quickly.
There are a number of key areas in digital music innovation that need more exploration and implementation, including:
- Multi-channel innovation, not just digital. Is the CD really ‘dead’? Are there no alternatives at all but to allow the industry’s core format to wither on the vine, as it has in the US? The majority in the industry probably think not – but surely the time is now to work up viable mid-term options for physical formats as well as develop more music experiences beyond just gigs and festivals;
- How to facilitate experimentation but prioritise as well. With the growing use of APIs (think of how when you discover a new tune on say Shazam you are immediately offered links to hear a clip on iTunes, stream the video on YouTube, and can purchase gig tickets – that is all via APIs) it’s now the right time for labels & publishers to help facilitate new music discovery service experiments by allowing access to repertoire via technology platforms using APIs. Think access to stream perhaps the whole track once or twice rather than just a clip, join the band’s mailing list etc. I would expect this to become commonplace over the next few years. But the critical thing is for the most promising ideas to quickly scale up from being simply ‘code’ to fully fledged services with strong consumer proposition and proper marketing.
- Better customer insights. It’s surprising in many ways but the industry still lacks a common platform for better understanding of music consumption trends and consumer needs. Yet this is so critical to success. We are sure about the long term shift from physical to digital – but less sure of digital’s ability to drive growth. And we need not only consumer insights, but a better understanding too of what ‘business’ buyers want from music – from the biggest ISP’s to the smallest SME’s.
These key areas need to be understood along the value chain too – for labels and publishers, retailers and services – and artists of course – who have more & more choices about their route to audiences these days.
There’s a need here for active and empowered cross-industry initiatives and forums. It’s been an industrious year for the Innovation Panel – set up by the BPI in early summer last year. We have worked largely behind the scenes this year on developing further consumer research, developing partnerships between labels (and publishers) and music services and developing separate initiatives very much in the areas outlined above.
In this short series of editorials on innovation I’ll tackle each of these key areas and say more about how each one can potentially drive growth along the music value chain.
Keith Jopling – Chair, BPI Innovations Committee
OUT & ABOUT: MusicTank events
FEB 27-MAR 26 2012 – Get Plugged In: Live Music, Promotion and Venue Management
Building on the success of its popular and over subscribed debut in 2011, MusicTank is again partnering with AndyInglis, the hugely respected co-creator and manager of north London venue The Luminaire to create a unique 5-part live industry course.
“A very enjoyable course. A great mix of information, frank discussion, humour and profanity. A pint down the pub afterwards was also a great way to network and have a general chat about the course. Monday nights will never be the same again!” – ANDY KNIGHT, RGS Entertainment
“…really good, thought provoking, straight talking course. Andy was great at leading it, and it felt well planned out and thought through.” – METTE JOHNSEN
“A well run course with useful insights into the industry within live music, promotion and venue management.” – WAYNE YARDLEY, Creative Sound
Designed as a much needed best-practice roadmap for live music promotion and venue management, this six part course draws on Inglis’ two decades of experience, sharing lessons learned and highlighting the pitfalls plaguing promoters and venue operators UK wide. The course will update on an extensive range of topics concerning venue owners, promoters, artists and programmers including promotion, ticketing, legislative issues as well as the future concerns facing the UK’s live music industry.
Inglis will be joined by a raft of leading industry figures (tbc) to give their accounts of the industry focusing on areas of specific expertise. Despite the 100 Club’s recent rescue from the brink there have been some much publicised London closures of late, The Luminaire itself not escaping the recession’s icy clutches. Part of the course will investigate the events that led to its closure, as well as what this award winning venue did to gain such an avid following and a special place in the hearts of Londoners.
Appealing to venue promoters and owners as well as tour managers, booking agents, artists and artist managers, this extensive course promises to guide and encourage those learning their trade as well as identify the risks felling even the industry titans in one of the last sectors of the business still able to generate income for new bands.
Andy Inglis, The Luminaire “I have 21 years experience in the music industry and co-founding and running The Luminaire has been, by turns, a hugely rewarding and massively frustrating experience. If I can’t illuminate the mistakes I made and stop others from making them, then what the hell. At least I got to hang out with Wanda Jackson.“
Date: Feb 27, Mar 05, 12, 19 & 26 2012 | Time: 18.00 – 21.00 hr | Venue: The Boardroom, University of Westminster, Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW
MEMBERSHIP: Why not buy MusicTank’s annual membership (membership benefits here) for £45, reducing the course price to £170, saving £59 on the full price of £229?
FEATURED PARTNER: Music Business School
THE MUSIC BUSINESS SCHOOL
This fast-track music business course aims to instil in 12 intensive day-long lessons over 3-months, the complete guide to working in the music biz and is specifically suited to entrepreneurs and self-starters – DIY artists, producers, label owners & managers.
With regular guest experts across the industry providing unique insight to rapidly changing business issues, enrolment has now opened for its Jan ’12 course. Early bird 20% discount applies until 30 Nov.
**SPECIAL OFFER** – additional 5% discount for bona fide MusicTank subscribers.
INDUSTRY DIARY: Events
NOV 10: AIM – INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS
Shining a light on the talent, creativity and innovation in the independent music sector, the first of what promises to be an annual event will take place at Floridita, a stunning and eclectic venue in London’s West End. With independents having a stellar year, there has never been a better time to celebrate the hard work, dedication and passion that have become synonymous with indie labels and artists. Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, renowned for their passion of music and support for the indie sector, will host the event, which will also feature performances from some of the indie sector’s most prominent artists. Voting is now open for the following three publicly-voted categories: Booking…
NOV 15: UK FESTIVALS CONFERENCE
Returning for its 4th year, the UK Festival Conference brings the festival industry together for a day of debates, discussion, networking and information sharing. Panel discussions at the UK Festival Conference will present and debate the latest thinking and business insight in addition to reviewing the year’s key achievements and challenges. Following the success of last year’s sold-out event, there will be further focus on the most important issues in the industry, plus extended and expanded networking opportunities. Festival Republic’s head honcho, Melvin Benn, is this year’s confirmed keynote. Booking
NOV 17: MUSIC FUTURES, NEWCASTLE
Music Futures is Generator’s new music business conference taking over Newcastle’s Live Theatre on Thu 17 November for a day of debates, discussion and networking. Kicking off with a keynote from Tony Wadsworth, discussing key themes of his recent MusicTank ‘Remake, Remodel’ report, other discussions include ‘Monetising Everything but the Music’; ‘Marketing Direct to Fans’; ‘Record Label Reboot’; ‘Discovering and Developing New Artists’; ‘Synchronisation and Licensing’. Booking
NOV 22: MUSIC TECHPITCH 4.5
In partnership with EMI Music, the purpose of MUSIC techpitch 4.5 is to showcase some of the latest music-tech startups in Europe, including some which have taken part in the UKTI pitch-training workshop, and to provide them with a platform to build awareness, gain investment and users in an environment where they can present to and network with industry experts and potential partners. Taking place at EMI’s Kensington headquarters,the evening will feature a keynote by Jim Brady, EVP Strategy and Insight for EMI Group, and will be chaired by Danvers Baillieu, co-founder of Bootlaw and senior associate with law firm Pinsent Masons. Eight music-tech startups will present their business ideas and revenue models during a three minute pitch followed by a five minute Q&A by a panel of judges. Booking
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
If you have any queries regarding any of our events or activities, please call us on +44 (0) 20 8357 7317, or email: email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily condoned or shared by MusicTank. MusicTank is a non-profit organisation owned and operated by University of Westminster. University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Reg Number: 977818, England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London, W1. MusicTank is based at University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3TP
Sections Below:MUSICTANK LOUNGE: Live industry course & transcript; membership
GUEST EDITORIAL: Keith Jopling
OUT & ABOUT: MusicTank events
FEATURED PARTNER: Music Business School
INDUSTRY DIARY: Events
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
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