What’s happening in regards to the streaming world, streaming services, and music. keeping you up-to-date on important issues that can affect music fans!
You know, I was reading a recent article that discussed the issue of “The Death Of The CD And Optical Drives.” Actually we can add the old standard HDD drives that will also become obsolete very soon. From the standpoint of being music collectors, I think this is an important discussion we should have (especially people who are non-technical). While the article presents valid points, there are some issues I’m worried about that doesn’t seemed to be addressed.
The Eventual Extinction Of Backup CDs.
A lot of people may not care about making backup CDs, because even back in the 90s, almost no one made them! Then people would get mad because they had to pay a $150 fee for a Geek Squad employee @ BestBuy fix their computer. Backups were so important because if you did not take the time to create the backup CDs, if your HD died, the manufacture would charge you about $125 for the OEM discs. In fact, some of the lesser expensive laptops/netbooks were not designed to create backups. They were literally “as is.”
So, having said the above, here’s why I think this is relevant to music collectors. Simply put, eventually there will no longer be any mechanisms to digitally archive our personal history. Not just music, but our family photos, or artwork you don’t want uploaded anywhere. People are increasingly relying on cloud based systems. The problem with that is, the legal aspect! The legal aspect of saving copies of your purchased music on the cloud (your possible liability); and from the standpoint of you saving your photos on a cloud service, and it gets hacked (company liability, but there is no company liable to you, because when you clicked “I Agree” before using it, you freed that company from any financial responsibility). There are so many companies and third party entities tracking your habits, collecting all sorts of browser data on you, and then profiting from you by selling that information to other companies; I think it’s worth it to fight for the continued existence of optical media. Optical media is the only permanent storage that is least likely to malfunction. When and if CD media do become extinct, the law should require manufactures to have OEM recovery available on line for free download. Which probably means you would have to save it on a USB drive (hopefully that will still exist). All of this adds to the very real reality that we are facing a significant loss of our music and cinematic culture.
ueen of Hip hop, MC Lyte! You know, despite the fact that I felt MC Lyte was too ruff as a rapper, and the fact that she used a lot of profanity in her music, she was one of the very few rap artists I liked growing up. She had some hot beats that rivaled many rappers in the game back then. But, I couldn’t understand the “hardness” that many of the female rappers were projecting to the public. It wasn’t until much later that a I realized that there was so much stigma regarding female rappers, that I now believe that that “hardness” served as a representation of being just as good as a male rapper, in a male dominated rap culture. When I’ve watched “hip hop documentaries,” I’ve never saw one that mentioned the contributions to women in hip hop. Despite the success of people like Niki Minaj, it’s quite obvious that even today, there’s still a lot of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia (I may add) within hip hop.
Out of the blue, I happened to find a YouTube video of the Rev. Al Sharpton interviewing MC Lyte. It was aired on MSNBC, and the segment was called “Rap Legend MC Lyte Talks Rap Artists’ Importance In Time Of Donald Trump.” It was an interesting conversation about the vast contrast between hip hop then, and hip hop now. Lyte talked about how rap was extremely political when it first started out; how rap told the story of what was going on in the poor Black communities; and the videos for those songs helped to paint a picture of reality in the streets. It’s only a short 9+ minute interview, I highly recommend watching it.
Here’s my take on this tho. We’re not dealing with the same set of young people now as we did then. Back in the day, rap wasn’t just political, fun, and indirectly educational. Educational from the standpoint of forcing kids who wanted to be rappers to eventually move away from Ebonics, and actually pick up a dictionary.
I Still Say, Most Of Today’s Hip Hop Is All About Tits & Ass!
In the interview, Lyte talked about how rappers like KRS1 and Public Enemy are still doing their thing, helping the young to be more socially conscious. She also noted some newer artists are helping to carry that same torch, such as J Cole. However, I still say that the vast majority of hip hop’s young audience today is only interested tits and ass, because that’s the era they grew up in. Keep in mind, I’m not the only one saying this; people that’s been in the game forever is saying the same thing I am! The music industry help to glorify sex and violence in order to make money for so long; you can’t just undo all of that so easy after being exposed to that everyday, and every hour on the hour. I’d also like my readers to consider the real fact that the faces of hop hop has changed. Hip hop is no longer about “Black street music;” or telling the story of what goes on in the poor Black communities. Having said that, I’m really not sure if what people like MC Lyte are doing can really make an impact in the same way they once did today; ’cause of the cultural differences, and the fact that a lot of young kids only care about the beat (or can they twerk to it).
A last thought I have to share. Again, as a blogger, I’ve paid very close attention to the new hip hop artists coming up in the new streaming era. A lot of these guys are putting out a lot of garbage; and I’m not calling it garbage because hip hop isn’t my preferred genre; I’m saying this because many of the people putting this music out really don’t have any talent and or possess anything of value to contribute. All I see being talked about is “how you can make money on Spotify or Youtube.” That’s it! Nothing about the art of creating music, just buy a bunch of beats and spit of bunch of crazy shit into the mic, and watch all the billions of plays you’re supposed to get. These are not the kinds of artists that are interested in social consciousness and or being political.
Today’s Topic: Music Streaming & American Billboard. I stumbled upon an interesting article on the American Billboard’s website, on how the organization uses music streaming data in order to help them rank today’s music. As I’ve explained before, music streaming is here to stay. We are now living in an age where today’s young children never seen a phonograph before (that really makes me feel old ? ). Despite the noted rise in vinyl sales, the vast majority of mom and pop record shops are still closing largely due to the rise in music streaming. Although I embrace streaming, as a classic blogger, I now believe we don’t have a way to truly measure a song’s greatness, worthiness, or popularity; because classic music has been migrated from an era where the business model was completely different.
I’ve Always Disagreed With Adding YouTube In Any Streaming Analysis
The one thing I’ve always had a hard time with, is organizations such as Billboard adding YouTube to their analysis. Now, some may say I’m just hatin’ on YouTube, but I’m actually not. I’m just coming from a point of view that, if someone actually buys a digital download, and or uses a paid streaming service, it has a greater value for the song in my opinion. WTF am I talking about? ? Well, think about it for a minute. Services such as Spotify are more personal than just watching a YouTube video. And if it’s in your playlist, you’re more likely to hear it again, and again if you really love it. Let me put it this way; there’s a difference between a single IP address listening to a song multiple times from a playlist, than an IP address coming from YouTube, who may be listening to your song in a mixed video with other artists (this doesn’t necessarily make a song popular in my opinion); in addition there’s a difference between royalties, and YouTube monetizing. The only way this could make a difference, is if every artist sets up “Content ID,” and if they only include customers on “YouTube Red.” And, to my understanding their services isn’t growing they way they’ve anticipated.
What’s interesting in Billboard’s article, is that it talks about how they have now added some more tier streaming services. In other words, they’ve now added ad supported streaming, such as on Spotify. This I agree with, because although it’s a lower payout for artist, it’s still consistent royalties. Unlike YouTube, where their metric system is entirely f**ked. To help you get a sense of how YouTube/Google handle’s artist pay out, check out this article. I just don’t see how they can include YouTube in order to help determine song rank. I think YouTube should be separate personally.
Didn’t Mean To Get On A YouTube Rant
The article also talked about including trial based subscription service. I’m not sure if that should be included either. Because they must be basing this on the assumption the user will stay a member. And we all know that’s not true (unless they have data predicting an average as to how many keep their service I guess). So, this is interesting how both technical and complex music has gotten (in addition to the business itself). If you’d like to read Billboard’s, here’s where you’ll find it “Billboard Finalizes Changes to How Streams Are Weighted for Billboard Hot 100 & Billboard 200.”
My new article “Music Artists, Understand Web Presence!” Is a necessary plea to artists, that talks about the vital importance for artists to have a web site (both from a blogger & a fan perspective). I know I’ve written about this before on my old blog, but I wanted to write a new one here as well (officially).
Bluntly Speaking, Facebook Is Just Not Enough
You know, I get it! I’m sure a lot of musicians are saying to themselves, “I don’t have time to setup I website!” Or, maybe you’re just starting out and you don’t have the financial resources to pay someone to build a professional looking site for you. So, to make it easier for yourself, you simply created a Facebook account, ’cause everyone is on Facebook right? Or maybe you’re old school, and still believe in the power of “word of mouth?” I guess that ol’ saying still applies to the new streaming generation. However, bluntly speaking, Facebook is not enough! At the end of the day you still need to have a website built, with your OWN URL.
Music Blogs Are Not Dead!
It appears as tho many new independent artists are programmed to stay on social media, as if music blogs are dead. I don’t know who started that rumor, but, music blogs are not dead! They maybe a little harder to find because of all the changes with search engines (programmatically speaking), however we still exist. You must take in to account that bloggers are a close nit community that are dedicated to specific genres of music. People are more interested in independent artists than ever before because of music streaming.
Niche Blogs Are Still Vital!
Artists, need to broaden their perspective, because niche blogs are still vital! Why do I say this? And how does this relate to you having a web domain? Well, first of all your web domain is part of your brand! Having a website makes your existence official. Second, bloggers who are dedicated to writing about specific genres, have fans that are more likely to be really interested in the music you have to offer. Also let’s not forget the fact that high ranking bloggers often have a large faithful following. If you don’t have a web presence, how do you expect bloggers to write about you? People who discover and like your music, will want to find out more about you. So, it’s critical to have meaningful write ups about who you are, what your music is about, and whatever else you’d like to share. Not to mention the fact that it will make a bloggers job a hell of a lot easier. ?
You know, before I begin, I’d just like to say “off the bat,” I don’t mean to start off sounding negative. However, I need to share with my readers that, I’m finding the new face of Motown very troubling. It’s not that I don’t like change, ’cause long-time readers know that I am all for technology and diversity! But…… My goodness…. After Berry Gordy done the unthinkable!! Exactly 20 years ago, Mr. Gordy sold Motown records (the largest Black owned anything) to MCA records, which is now known as Universal Music Group for 60+ million dollars, sh*t went downhill after there. In 2003 Universal Music Group’s label became defunct. However, the company reestablishes several of it’s acquired labels as stand-alone, which included Motown.
Even Bigger Issues!
But…. Here are my even bigger issues I have with Universal Music Group. I’ve named this article “The Changed Face Of Motown Records!” for a reason. Although they saved the Motown label; despite the fact that Motown is supposed to be its own independent label, Universal Music Group has the credits (music streaming at least). Motown’s name doesn’t appear anywhere, with the exception for old album art. Second issue, do we know if Motown is making any money? Is this why the legendary Motown name is omitted from advertisement? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Badu, and I also love me some Ne-Yo, but we can’t compare them to Diana Ross & Smokey Robinson. Universal Music Group has basically turned Motown in to a less than average grade Hip Hop label. This is NOT the history of Black people! Thirdly, and most importantly, in the past twenty years since Motown has been sold, I saw absolutely no attempts to advertise Motown’s history! I mean I haven’t seen ANYTHING! Not even a greatest hits of anything!! Today, unless you are old enough to remember Motown, it doesn’t exist.
Need More Black Writing!
So, although many of you cop an attitude when I say this, but this is a perfect example why Black folk need to start writing, and take a minute from watching “Love And Hip Hop,” and learn how to put a blog together. We need more Black Writing! No other race is going to write about us, with the same sense of urgency the way we should! I just don’t know how to explain it any clearer than that! For the 90 millionth time, we are loosing not only Black music culture, but our classic music culture in general. When this happens, just make a note that it’s going to be no one else’s fault but your own. I’m doing my part by personally building this Blog.
The Magic Is Gone!
When Gordy sold Motown, he put a price on the worth of Black music. Now the magic that Motown had is completely gone! Decimated…… Destroyed….. Sooner or later, you’ll Google Motown, and all you’ll see is some ugly n**** rappin’ about some bitch, who needs his *expletive* in her whoohaa. Is this the kind of legacy you want to leave behind? All you “xtians” need to get out of church and teach your grand kids what music history is. Don’t wait until their twenty-five, cause they’re not interested in what you have to say by then. People are going to start easily believin’ in what “sounds believable,” ’cause we’re not going to have any documentation to go back too. You can get mad at me all you want! You can say how disrespectful I am all you want! But deep inside, all your *sses know I’m talking real. You’ve failed!
You know, these lawsuits against Spotify are really f***ing stupid. Now, I know I’m late with this particular story, but sometimes it’s just hard to keep up with all these hater lawsuits! In 2013, GEEK.com, published an article about a music label called “The Ministry Of Sound,” or “MoS,” took Spotify to court over playlists! I lost my mind! I just kept saying to myself just how RETARDED that lawsuit was. So in short, the label was alleging copyright infringement on the order of songs in a playlist. Are you f***ing kidding me? These dumb ***** actually took them to court over a playlist that existed, where the exact contents of a CD was curated. Now get this…… What the plaintiff argument was…. The exact order of the songs within the playlist violated their copyrights!! When you read that article, you’ll clearly see that MoS does not like Spotify, and I’ll bet you those guys are from old school, and still doesn’t understand how music streaming works. A lot of these old, old, old music business men treat Spotify as tho they were in the same league as the old Napster/Kazaa. But the only difference is….. Spotify can’t turn a profit, because it tries to do the right thing and pay their greedy *sses the royalties they demand! This is why Spotify can’t make money, because you have opportunists that can’t see an awesome company like Spotify succeed. Meanwhile, you have the “beloved” Apple/iTunes that takes away 70% artists revenue (worth of fees and whatnot), and no one says s**t. I just don’t understand how Daniel Ek could emotionally handle all these dumb *ss lawsuits left & right. Well, It’s been 13 years since Spotify was launched, and their still kicking. Just know that your fans love you… Thank you.
In 2018, are you still downloading mp3s? If not, do you miss them? I was reading a number of different blogs on the subject; and turns out there are just as many different opinions about mp3s. Some bloggers talked about the beauty of gaining access to obscure music not easily found in stores; not sure if that’s still true because the best way back then was via Kazaa & Imesh. Now that both of those are basically defunct; I’m almost positive that the way people get their MP3s now are by way of YouTube. As I’ve gotten older, I just don’t see the point of going through the trouble of finding and downloading mp3s anymore, now that streaming is here. There is a point (speaking from my experience) where large amounts of mp3s becomes too much to organize/manage. No matter how much you try, you can’t really truly organize them; unless you obsess over them to the point you can’t do anything else with your life. Which is also one of the many reasons I’ve come to the conclusion that downloading mp3s now are just too primitive in the current age of streaming. I liken this to people who have emotional attachments to physical albums; once you come from a certain era, it’s really hard for most people to change towards something better. We all fall victim to it (whatever that thing is).
I think the only sites that supports mp3s now (legally) are independent artist sites, such as Jamendo and the like. What I find even more stunning, is that many artists who want more fans, still don’t use music discovery platforms such as Spotify. Let me tell you, the vast majority don’t even know what a Jamendo is. Some bloggers I’ve read suggests that mp3s are dying. I’m not sure if I agree with that either; maybe if we look at it in a relative sense (in comparison to streaming)?. When we look at legal sites such as Amazon and GooglePlay, there needs to be a site that has music not available on your chosen service in mp3 form. On the other hand, I’ve also seen sites that automatically and illegally RIP YouTube music into mp3 formats. Now, taken in account that storage has gotten larger and cheaper, there still comes to a point when downloading huge amounts of mp3 files (also large sized files cause most of us care about quality), can and often does effect you’re mobile’s performance. Hardware do get slower as space diminishes. Again, to solely use mp3s today just doesn’t seem practical to me anymore (unless there’s no other way of getting it), and it has become a habit that is impossible to break, especially now that music is essentially free now via streaming.
I was thinking, I haven’t seen a Time Life infomercial in ages! Remember those? I think they used to come on PIX or WWOR. They used to spread out about 10-15 CDs containing all kinds of classic music for the sale of $120, with 5 easy payments of $23.99. 😀 Although those infomercials may have been annoying to some, one thing’s for sure, it was a great way to rediscover your favorite classic music. I’ll doubt this will comeback ever again, as all we have to do now is stay in front of the TV with our Shazam up and running. I remembered that I recorded a couple of those long infomercials on VHS. I just Shazam’d all the songs I liked. Didn’t need to make one single purchase. Yup… Free & legal….. Gotta love technology!! Now you have people creating playlists derived from those same albums. LOL