Think Record Labels Are Redundant? Try Telling That To 75% Of Artists Surveyed …
Three out of four independent artists want to be signed to a record label, according to a survey of 1,869 artists by ReverbNation and Digital Music News.
When asked if they still want to be signed to a record label, 75.4% of artists said yes and 24.6% said no. The responses varied by genre. While 81% of hip hop and 80% of pop artists answered yes, just 63% of alternative and 72% of rock artists did so.
Artists were also asked which label they most desired. Sony was tops in pop, rock, alternative categories while Def Jam was tops in hip-hop. Atlantic was desirable for all four genres. Geffen was desirable for rock and alternative. Indies 4AD (#12) and Sub Pop (#13) were among the most desirable labels for alternative artists while Rawkus (#14 -- a label that is considerably less active than it was a decade ago) and Rhymesayers (#15) made the list for hip hop.
How can this be? How can artists want to sign with record labels in the era of self-released music and do-it-yourself tools, from ecommerce to social networking, that allow artists to circumvent the traditional record label system? Either the artists are ignorant of their options or they deserve more credit than they've being given. Considering that the survey was done by ReverbNation, a provider of do-it-yourself digital tools, it's safe to assume the artists surveyed know the options available to them.
The truth is there's a big disconnect between reality and commonly held beliefs about the new music business. Read newspapers and blogs and you'll be given blanket statements about the CD being dead, nobody listening to the radio and nobody buying music anymore. In reality -- at the moment, anyway -- the CD is far from dead, radio is still incredibly popular and powerful and U.S. consumers buy over 1 billion digital tracks and hundreds of millions of CDs annually.
Similarly, a myth has been building for a few years that artists don't want or don't need record labels. All they need, we've been told, is GarageBand, a web site and the tools to connect with their fans. But as the ReverbNation survey shows, for most artists those tools make independent status a means to an end.
Music Subscriptions: What's Taking So Long?
-- When will consumers figure out music subscriptions offer them a great value? When will they realize that access has numerous benefits over ownership? The questions have been asked for many years. It seems we were always just a few years away from a light bulb going off in the consumer's mind. When mobile apps allowed these services to be accessed on popular devices, it seemed subscriptions' tipping point was within reach.
But the wait continues, and even the folks at music companies understand what they're up against. According to a Mercury News article from SXSW, Malthe Sigurdsson, VP, Product Design at Rdio, admitted Rdio's own research has revealed consumers are skeptical about the business model. "There is still a whole ton of work to convince people that they want to select what they want to listen to -- that they don't want to just turn on the radio and listen to the country channel," he said.
It's a line Rdio is repeating. "Subscription music services will still take some time for people understand why it is the future," co-founder Drew Larner told the Los Angeles Times last month. "Once we reach the tipping point, though, I think it will move quickly."
But it could take a while to reach that tipping point, says Steve Savoca, the former head of digital at Domino Records who was just hired by Spotify to run its content operations in the U.S. "It's a behavior thing, and it takes a long time to get there," said Savoca, adding that MOG and Rdio "have great products." ( Mercury News)
Live Nation's Maryland Venue Moving Forward
-- Live Nation's Fillmore venue in Silver Springs, Maryland is moving forward again after a judge dismissed a lawsuit aimed at stopping tax dollars from building the music club. The suit was filed last year by It's My Party, Inc., a competing concert promoter which operates Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club, among other venues. The cost of converting an abandoned department store into a music venue is $11.2 million. From the Gazette: "According to an undated opinion and order received by The Gazette, Judge Steven I. Platt recently determined the doctrine of separation of powers precludes the court from reviewing or interfering with the lawmakers' decision. Platt rejected IMP's argument that it has standing to sue as a competitor because of the advantage Live Nation might gain as a result of the deal." However, the judge said IMP could sue as a taxpayer. ( Gazette)
Spotify's Malware Attack Explained …
-- Wondering about last week's malware attack on Spotify? The Register explains how it happened: "Once the ad is displayed, the application runs the ad code (as if it were run in a browser), and the computer then connects to a site where the exploit kit tries several vulnerabilities -- including a vulnerability in Adobe Reader/Acrobat -- in an attempt to infect the user with various strains of malware. Most of the malware could be detected by widely used consumer anti-virus scanners such as Avast and AVG."
In response to the problems, Spotify disabled third-party display ads on Friday (since the malware was centered around display ads, users of the premium, ad-free service were not affected). The service was back to normal by Saturday. "We sincerely apologise to any users affected," Spotify said in a statement. "We'll continue working hard to ensure this does not happen again and that our users enjoy Spotify securely and in confidence." ( The Register)