Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Steve Jobs' Music Vision

After the digital revolution took place, many people, artists and the music industry labels became outraged at music peer-to-peer sharing networks such as Napster. Steve Jobs took it upon himself to put an end to this 'madness' with the creation of the iTunes Music Store.

The vision that Jobs sketched ended up redefining the future of music. From 2003, Apple sold 300 million iPods and 10 billion tracks via the iTunes Store. These figures were superior to that of Wal-Mart and Best Buy, who previously were the top music retailers.

As such a visionary he can be seen as a world leader. In most of my classes in the management program he is brought up and studied as an inspiration on how to run a company, and inspire change.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Online Music Festival

It is shocking the ways in which technology has changed the way people are able to enjoy music. Recently I read an article that described an "online music festival." Normally, a music festival would take place in a large grass field or a stadium, but now it is possible for one to take place in a social media site.

This virtual festival will take place on a site callead: This website is a place for mashup DJ's to display their music and connect with others interested in the same music. During the festival more than 20 mashup artists will gather in three different Turntable rooms in hopes to give the audience something they have never been exposed to before.

Album Leaks

Since technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, it is extremely difficult to prevent certain events from taking place, such as album leaks. It is common now for artists to expect that their album will be leaked previous to the date of their album release. Recently, Toronto based rapper, Drake, experienced this with his most recent album. The set release date was November 15, 2011, yet on the night of November 6, as he was debuting one of the songs, the album was leaked on the Internet.
Before reading this article I was positive that any artist would be very angry if this happened to them. However, I found it very interesting how Drake reacted in such a positive manner. Minutes after he was informed of the leak, he posted a tweet saying, "Listen enjoy it, buy it if you like it.... and take care until next time." When an album is leaked it allows the listener to judge the music before they purchase it, which can either benefit or hinder the sales of the album.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Music Needs Weirdos

Kate bush became a pop star as a teenager, then turned into somewhat of a musical recluse. In this rare interview, she talks about "the death of the album," saying a worst case scenario would be when people cannot "afford to make what they want to make creatively." I think that her recent almost twenty-year hiatus has caused her to miss a few things.

Radios do not play albums anymore, Kate, as mainstream music is dominated by singles. Yes, quality albums get noticed and recognized, but on a much smaller scale than they used to. The singles from even the best all-around albums are what make the money, and in turn get the written, audio, and visual publicity. For example, upon the release of The Black Keys album entitled "Brothers" earlier this year, despite well deserved rave reviews of the album itself, the single "Tighten Up" overshadowed the album as it blew up on the internet, radio, and even as background music to the most branded commercials.

I also think Kate might be a bit out of the loop with relation to technology and its ability to eliminate financial barriers to music. She doesn't elaborate on this point much, making it hard to know what she means exactly, but with computer-generated instruments built into most new laptops (ex- Garage Band), I don't see how musical production is getting anything but cheaper for the little-guy.

Anyways, her new album is a "concept album" with each song themed around snow. I listened to it. It's weird. So why did I like it so much? Because the music industry needs reclusive weirdos like Kate Bush. Who else would challenge old topics like albums, reminding us of how the industry grew? I believe that the music industry holds arguably more niche markets than any other, and the best part is that the smallest niches are driven by musical passion and personal exploration, not financial gain. If people like Kate Bush stop appearing, we'll be left with top 40, and nobody wants that.

Future of Advertising Music

The presentation by Group 4 today got me to thinking about advertising of music in the future. Group 4 suggested the use of personalized ads which would respond to RFID tags carried by people.

Recently, I read an article about outdoor billboard advertising that would follow the line of sight of passers by. The really cool thing about this technology was that it was equipped with a camera, and facial (expression) recognition software. The add would switch its content in response to the facial expression of the passer by. Changing to a different ad, or tactic, if the expression was negative; and offering more info if the expression is positive. Sending messages to personal electronics was also a factor. The ad would search out blue-tooth connectivity and would send ads to devices with happy, intrigued, customers.

In relation to music advertising. A record store, an elevator, or really anywhere applicable, could alter the music it is turning out in relation to the reaction of consumers. This technology could also provide incredible research into what types of music, or techniques, are popular. The selection of music could be done on a consensus basis, of all the persons in the camera sight line; or individually to customers personal electronics.

The possibilities for personal advertising and market research are very exciting.

Napster sold again

Napster, the peer to peer online music service was sold to Rhapsody for an undetermined amount. Napster was resurrected in 2003 when Roxio inc bought it for 5 million in bankruptcy court. It was then sold to Best Buy for 121 million in 2008 and now finally sold to rhapsody. The move will shut down Napster and incorporate it into Rhapsody.

Rhapsody's main competition is Spotify and this move should help Rhapsody compete in the market. It's interesting to note that Shawn Parker, a member of the board of Spotify now competes against a rival company Rhapsody.

Grooveshark sued by Universal Music

Grooveshark - an online music streaming service similar to Napster and Limewire is being sued by Universal Music for 17 billion. The lawsuit is regarding "bulk uploading" copy right infringement. Universal claims that Grooveshark employees would receive bonuses for sending music files to Grooveshark servers and as a result is asking for 150,000 for each transaction that was made.

Grooveshark plans to fight the lawsuit. It will be interesting to see what happens as it could be the end of another online music streaming service.