Subscribers pay about $10 a month for most streaming services — with that kind of cash, shouldn’t musicians be making more from these platforms? For their short history, music streaming services have operated by putting all of their subscription revenue into one big pool. The pool is then divided by the total number of plays — this is called the pro rata method. Some people believe that this system is ripping customers off. Why shouldn’t your money go directly to the artists you’re listening to rather than into the big pool? Today on The Future of What, we talk to two of the people championing a new way of streaming called subscriber share, Sharky Laguana and Dick Huey. We also talk with Tim Quirk, formerly of Google Play, who argues against subscriber share.
In this episode, Portia moderates a SF Music Tech panel entitled “The Future of Indies,” that was chock full of laughs and indie stalwarts of the past, present and future. Her panelists included: Molly Neuman (A2IM, Lookout! Records, Bratmobile), Bruce Pavitt (Sub Pop, 8Stem), Amy Dietz (INgrooves), Christiane Kinney (LeClairRyan), and Kevin Breuner (CD Baby). The panel discussed their individual introductions to music and the music industry, and provided advice to both musicians and tech entrepreneurs from their unique vantage points inside the industry.
For the 15th annual Future of Music Summit, we headed to Washington DC for a special taping of The Future What. Portia talked with musician and innovator Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs about her creative process, puppeteering past and more. Then we sat down with Tim Quirk, founder of Freeform Development Inc. and former Google Play exec.
On the front page of Pandora’s website, there’s a statement that says “It’s a new kind of radio — stations that play only music you like.” How can it be that Pandora knows what you’ll enjoy? Isn’t liking music purely up to personal taste? Pandora, like many other digital music platforms, uses a complex algorithm to predict what their listeners want to hear. Other services employ human beings to curate their music discovery systems. So who’s the more effective tastemaker? Man, or machine? On today’s episode we tackle this question with writer and consultant Jim McDermott, then talk to two people who get paid to listen to music all day: New Music Scout and Artist Relations Manager for Marmoset Brandon Day and Rumblefish’s Senior Music Supervisor William Nix.
When people hear about the Recording Academy, some scratch their heads in wonder, while others immediately recognize them as the organization that puts on the Grammy Awards every year. However, both of these responses bely the true effort and intent behind the organization, as they are just as involved in awards shows as they are in advocacy for musicians on Capitol Hill and beyond. After several successful years of doing the music industry lobbying day, “Grammys On The Hill,” the Recording Academy decided to take the model that they had developed for Washington, D.C. and bring that back to musician’s home districts. This year represents the second time that “Grammys In My District” has happened, and we speak with three different players inside the organization about what’s different about this year’s event, and catch some soundbytes of the event that took place in Seattle on October 14.
Some music services are more “artist friendly” than others, and some might say that Bandcamp is the penultimate in that regard. Unlike other services that charge artists a per year fee for their services, regardless of units sold, Bandcamp is totally free until you sell a song or album, and then their take is only half of what other services charge artists for distribution. In this episode, we speak with Andrew Jervis and Jennifer Elias of Bandcamp about the company’s history and future, and their different roles within the company. We then toggle over to Christopher Kirkley (Sahel Sounds) and Greta Kline (Frankie Cosmos), to get their impressions as long-time Bandcamp users, as label and artist, respectively. We end our episode with a snippet from our Bandcamp subscriber exclusive segment called, “How Did You Get Into Music,” where we talk to singer-songwriter, Laura Veirs, about her past, present and future!