We’re Being Imprisoned

Word Round Town is That the music industry is trying to imprison us.

What do you think about the way the music industry is heading? I don’t like it, but then again this is the music “industry” and not simply music. As I mentioned the week before last week, the industry (through music streaming services) are gradually bringing their users into a place where they’d have to pay for the music which they listen to. Think of it like money and the debit card or contactless payment. It starts off with the rare few and soon government will force it on every individual (the world will be paying contactless, no cash….maybe even no card….) Anyway, that same principle is what we are seeing here. The day will come, or at least the industry want the day to come, where listeners will have the option to either listen to music legally by paying for it or (the only other option) listen illegally through illegal downloads or pirate radio.

I think we should see music like a book (see Josh Mangel’s comments). We all have the right to read. The principle we often use with books is that I can read it in the library or loan it from them, borrow it from a friend etc.. If we like it, then and only then will we buy it. If anything, file-sharing and streaming only helps artists. It builds promo, recognition and can be the link to reaching out to untouched areas, locally, nationally and even globally thanks to the internet. Our word-of-mouth promotes the artists without costing them a penny. And true to the point those pirates buy just as much music, or even more, than those who don’t.

I listen to Spotify freely and if I like a song or album I’ll invest in buying it because it means so much more to me than the random tracks I may listen to whenever I check in the Spotify. I know I’m going to listen again and again, wherever and on whatever device. I love it.

I’m not going to pay for something I may not like. Simple. None of us should.

It isn’t just me, even the artists generating money from us listen to music for free.

  • Jake Bugg said “I stream music because it’s such a handy tool that, if somebody mentions a record, you can get it up straight there on your phone. And if I really like it, I will go out and buy the record.”
  • Kanye West went to the extreme and pirated Serum (…I know that isn’t streaming but still…).

To be frank, artists and the industry are making so much greater a deal out if this whole thing. Did you know that artists of all levels, wealth and status gain only 6% or less of their entire revenue from record sales. The top percentage of income, just as always, comes through performances and touring (other revenue streams come through songwriting, composing, teaching, endorsements and more). Taylor Swift generated over $39 million in 2013. ASTONISHING!!! 6 months on the road touring the US gave her an estimated $30 million. Remember, Taylor Swift has other revenue streams beyond record sales and touring, so $9+ million may very well link to endorsements, merchandise, interviews and special guest appearances, radio airplay and so on.

To add, the average artist will receive 10-20% from a sale. A band will have to split that 10-20% between them. So, from a £0.99 sale an artist would get 1penny, 20p if their lucky. See what I’m getting at?

With that into consideration, why are we being imprisoned into this cage of subscription fees? Who will we go with when we’re finally (if it goes that way) forced to pay for streaming? Will we go for Soundcloud? Tidal? Apple Music? some other new streaming major? Why? What artists will be exclusive to that subscription? Are we meant to pay for every streaming site if we want to listen to a variety of artists?


Kanye’s Latest…

Word/Question ‘Round Town is That…What is the deal with Kanye and his album The Life of Pablo?

We’ve probably all heard it now. The Life of Pablo is now available for fans outside of Tidal. After a somewhat huge emotional rampage by Chicago’s own Kanye West it seems the rapper couldn’t stick to his word, ‘My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal’ posted on his Twitter account mid-February. Recently, DefJam told New York Times the album (of which is continually bing updated) will be out for listeners on all major streaming sites from 1st April.

The question is why now? The Life of Pablo was released first for download on Kanye’s official website and in Tidal’s store for $20 (£14) in February following his Saturday Night Live performance. Some confusion must have arose when the link was suddenly taken down and KanyeWest.com crashed. Users were left with credit charges and a confirmed purchase only without the download code….the files were removed. Close to 4,000 fans paid for the album only to find it unavailable to own. Kanye, apparently unhappy with the masters continued to tweet the tracks and uploading new versions on Tidal for streaming and still claiming his album will never be available outside the walls of Tidal.

Why is The Life of Pablo suddenly available on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, HipHopDX, AND download?

Here’s what some bloggers and commenters have concluded/asked:

Is it because he just isn’t getting enough listeners on Tidal? Although Tidal stated they have over 3 million users now, we do not know for sure. For all we know this number may have just been a snapshot of Tidal’s memberships when The Life of Pablo was released along with the free trial. Many free trial users would have cancelled their membership immediately before Tidal began taking money from them. Even if the stats are for real, Kanye had still been missing out on the the millions of listens and downloads he could have received on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and so on, if his music were available on such major streaming sites.

Is it because Kanye West wants a chart position? Despite, apparently, having 250 streams in the first 10 days of Kanye’s release, The Life Of Pablo cannot compete in the BillBoard charts because reports were only disclosed to Nielsen Music, not BillBoard. Tidal refused to dish out any other reports.

Is it to stop illegal downloads? TorrentFreak estimated the album had been illegally downloaded 500,000 in its first 24hours of release.

Is it all part of a scandal? Did Kanye plan this all along and use his album as a means to getting more Tidal subscribers? It wouldn’t be the first time he’s lied. Do you remember him claiming that president Barack Obama calls his house phone? Or how about this one where he stated he ‘ate breakfast at Gucci’ (Gucci doesn’t serve breakfast) – see more lies of Kanye here. 

Or is it some kind of joke? It was scheduled to be released on April fool’s after all. What’s next? Will it be taken down again?


Unrelated Elmo picture found at Muppet Wiki:Tony’s User Talk Archive 02 – Muppet Wiki – Wikia

Just As Bad

Word Round Town is That … Music piracy is a huge issue and has been since Napstar (and even before that…we could still pirate tapes before the internet came along). One thing I question is “who are the real criminals here?”

When asking a musician or artists (especially unestablished artists), “Do you think people should pay for music?” They first response is, “Yes”. “Artists need to get paid”. Yet, when asked “Do you download songs illegally (e.g. YouTube converter)?” They say “Yes”. (My classroom was full of raised hands when asked if they do).

Isn’t this kind of hypocritical. I’ve heard so many people suggest reasons as to why it is ok for them to download music illegally but not for others to download their own music illegally, basing their opinion on the fact that these big artists don’t need our £0.99 because their rich as it is. Quick question. How is it they got rich? Many didn’t start off rich. Many artists started from the bottom and made it big because people bought their tickets, merchandise, etc, supported them and paid for their tracks.

I think many of us musicians/artists stand guilty regarding this, not just with music but also production software. Even the big ballers seem to be pirating – couch couch Kanye West!! cough.

Piracy is not dying. Check the stats. If we musicians/artists want to earn a living from music, we must first treat it as we wish others treat our own. Nothing will change if we don’t start with ourselves.

Thing is, even if we think music should be for free (which hey we all have our thoughts as to whether it should be or not), IT IS. #Spotify is basically music FOR FREE. At least sign up to that.

Thats the word on the street. What do you think?


Image taken from Sesame Street: Elmo The Musical – “Barnacle Subtraction Song …

Money Issues in 2016 – Celebs

Word Round Town is That Money Issues in 2016 are hitting celebs hard

It seems it’s not just the working class “struggling” with their money issues. Can you believe, those on minimum wage working in McDonald’s for £5.50 an hour aren’t even having as hard a time as those with a net worth of say $145million (£104,212,335.20).

How can this be?!!!

Almost three months into the year and we’ve seen some recent “struggles” in the celeb world (I say struggle….more like mishandling of possessions….actually scratch that, ignorance…and maybe greed taking it’s toll).

Now, of course we all have taxes to pay and unfortunately the more you ear the more you’re taxed. I‘m not saying that’s right, I’m just saying that’s how it is. Despite the huge accumulation of income these celebs are getting, many still find themselves in debt or simply refusing to pay off their taxes.

The biggest I guess at the moment, regarding debt, is Kanye’s recent plea for $53million (Kanye has a net worth, tough potentially at risk, of $145million, that £104,212,335.20). Anyone gonna chip in? Nah, not me either. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) will either after ‘liking’ a now deleted Facebook post by a former Facebook software engineer,

“Dear Kanye West: If you’re going to ask the CEO of Facebook for a billion dollars, maybe don’t do it on Twitter”.

Kanye isn’t the only one in debt this year. Rapper Tyga (real name Michael Nguuen-Stevenson) is also in debt over his unpaid rent bills. The Rack City star is facing eviction from the $4.8million (£3.3million) Hollywood Hills house that rents out for $17,000 (£11,840) per month….imagine!!!

T.I (rapper) is gonna have to dig into his pockets a little too. The rapper has reportedly refused to pay his backlog of unpaid taxes totalling to $1.6million (£1.1million) from 2014. Some might already know that T.I is not unfamiliar with the IRS (America’s Internal Revenue Service) after his trouble with them last year over unpaid taxes from 2012 and 2013, a total of around $4.21million (£30,257,51.25). He’s also been sent recently another lien against his mansion in Georgia after having failed to pay the Lost Valley Homeowners Association in December last year.


Picture from expatchild.com