Tag Archives: Streaming media

The Rights To Music Rights

“Today….music can sell just about anything except itself!.” Even Religion?

A good friend of mine, Dave Kaplan, who manages Brian Setzer and has a very cool indie label named Surfdog out of San Diego (yes they are real surfdogs) lamented that to me the other day. Think about it; just about every single consumer product you can think of has been defined or redefined with cool music, as MEGA helped establish with the original launch of the Cadillac Escalade driven by Led Zeppelin’s “Rock n Roll”. As I talk to artists about their careers, senior label and publishing executives and how they are faring in this transitional era where culturally and behaviorally, we are moving from ownership of music to permanent rental via streaming; the incomes of many artists, especially legacy artists is way down.

However here is a real world example of how music discovery is leading to fan status and more income for artists. Recently on one of my Spotify playlists, a new song, “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me” appeared; its by an artist named Blake Mills. Never heard of him but hey it’s Spotify; it does not cost more to check out any song so I fired it up and WOW…the song mesmerized me: incredibly well written, a haunting guitar sound (I call him the Count Basie of folk/blues) and in that moment I decided hell yea, let me see if this guy is a one hit wonder or has he depth? So, one click more and I had his latest album (such an antiquated format) streaming and like WOW…..Blake can really write and sing and that guitar sound of his is truly magical!. I had to see him live. So I did a quick google search a few days later and wound up at City Winery in NYC and delighted in an amazing gig. And yes, I bought the tickets.

Back to music selling everything but itself and people thinking that just because they can grab a song nearly free, they can use it to sell something else, for free? Not so fast. At MEGA, we receive dozens of calls from folks who really have no understanding that for each and every song there are two copyrights: sync (publishing) and a master. Both must be legitimately licensed if you want to promote a product including your faith or not-for-profit organization.

Join a streaming service; Beats or Spotify or whatever you’d like. Discover thousands of new songs that can motivate and inspire you to help commercialize or publicise a political campaign or a new road bike or a new social network. But do not mistake the fact that the song is owned and controlled by many people. It did not fall out of the sky even though it seems that way with digital music. Dream on but have the good sense to use music legally; even if it can’t sell itself well these days (and that will change as streaming goes mainstream)….have respect for the artists and people who help your ideas come to life. It’s good karma.


The Dawn of Digital Aura’s

The Beatles, Indianapolis, IN © CURT GUNTHER, 1964
The Beatles, Indianapolis, IN

Ever look at your screen when you are using Pandora, Spotify, or not look at the screen when using the incredible service @ www.soundcloud.com or the lately, un-amazing itunes? Why would you? Its pathetic.

The visual content is boring because its repeated over and over and over again. Of limited range and never curated directly by the artists, it’s usually a static mix of album covers, a narrow band of promotional pictures or legacy bios all served up to us over and over and over again. Until our eyes are numb….tune out and so everyone is kinda like; why look? there’s nothing to see.

The dirty little secret is its a mess and this whole music digital meta data business is ripe for disruption. The images we see on digital streaming services have been aggregated by some of the companies above who literally scrape it off promotional websites of labels or social media sites with zero intent to make it compelling or interesting or cool. They are doing the least possible, paying nothing to the artists or photographers. They are making a fortune, think millions of dollars licensing the meta data they aggregate to music streaming services we all use every day who otherwise would have no practical ability to put any images together for millions of artists.

The result is SUPER BORING….visually

Well now,  consider the notion of artists having an opportunity to curate their own digital aura’s; the composite visual images and stories that make up their “aura” on the www. Think it could get really compelling? I do.

Close your eyes and stoke your brain to recall the photographs of your favorite artists: jazz, classical, rock, pop, hip hop that span their careers taken by gifted pro’s like the ones in residence here at the legendary gallery The Morrison Hotel https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/new.aspx or from fans on social media  in whose hands there are now hundreds of millions of powerful cam’s embeeded in smart phones. Tweets and Facebook posts during gigs. Some are really fantastic.

Now imagine that some very clever bloke, serial entrepreneur and music fanatic friend of mine has decided to change the way artist’s digital aura’s are curated and served up to us….to make the experience of marrying dynamic images and music s digital devices, streaming media, simply… magical.

“Open Aura” is going to launch in the next few weeks. I’m beaming with excitement to be helping the founder as an advisor and stoked to see what the f’k happens.

Stay tuned for more updates on Kevin Arnold’s next big idea and hopefully if he and his great team get it right we can wake up our eyes to be in sync with our ears as the digital revolution enters another next bend in this amazing journey for us all.

The Future of Music 2013

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So, I think we should exit 2013 with some optimism.

Who’s got the time?
Youth. And plenty of it. Like always, like when we were young, remember?
Youth’s got the time and they fall into a couple of distinguishable camps.
First there’s the Popsters. They are the biggest group.  They are gliding through their lives, interested in sports, money, fashion, boys, girls, coding, hiking, biking, and they love about 10-20 “hits” they can hum and sing the chorus, each year. Gimme a GaGa, throw in a Mars, maybe one Macklemore, a Lordes…you know the drift. Beyond that, they don’t really give a shit about the artists, or their rants or anything else beyond ~ten to twenty songs a year. And I may be overestimating.
Second there’s the Musesters. Oh, they LOVE music and musicians and listen to everything from every era, mostly on Spotify (more about that later) and my gosh, they are true FANS. They listen HOURS a day to music, on their phones, streaming, on their laptops, streaming, streaming streaming and could not imagine living without music. They cook to music, make love to to music, walk to classes to music, train in gyms to music and on and on and on. They care about the experience, the sound, the lyrical meaning of the songs and oh yea, just ASK them, they’ll rate and debate you on the fine points of hundreds of artists big and small, established and niche; music helps define who they are like you and me and many of the people who read your stuff.
And then my friend theres the Whocaresters. The third group of up and coming Youth. They really don’t care about music. Oh they may catch on to a few songs a year that kinda like is akin to commercial fishing where you know, the net just grabs anything in its wake; people, dogs, politico’s etc. Can you watch PSY Gangnam Style again (uh…..nope)
Sure. This is a brief note about the NEXT generation. Not us, or people in their 30’s. Those folks are a whole different kettle of fish. I’m talking about the FUTURE. YOUTH
There’s big money from the Popsters. There’s careers engaging the Musesters. And good luck beyond that.
Spotify will rule the Musesters. I mean, holy shit. For $10 a month you can own (yeah I know I said own) over ten million songs, whole albums and listen to them on demand in any order you want wherever you want on any device you want. FOR LESS MONEY THAN A F’N PIZZA a month. Tell me owning music is different than I can listen to whatever I want whenever I want, locally stored if there’s no online connection. Thats ownership man; ownership as its defined to YOUTH in 2013.
Wow, I wish I had all that as a kid growing up. I mean I had to CHOOSE what to buy or trade with friends because, shit man, music was expensive. Now, I can have it ALL for ten bucks a month with no commercials….free if I put up with the crap that is called commercials these days on streaming services but the Musesters; they’ll pay $10 a month for the sheer bliss of listening and dreaming to the MAGIC of what they love in music without the commercials . Musesters may sustain many more careers. And I’m talking about a global group of YOUTH.
Most people won’t care. The album as an art form is practically dead. So its back to the fifties with an explosion of consumer technology now. Smartphones, Beats (and lots of other GREAT headphones) bluetooth everything, synch devices, etc. etc.
So, WRITE GREAT SONGS, learn to PERFORM THEM LIVE like AMAZING (Kanye may define that more than anyone today). And welcome to the new world order. Steaming, playing live, selling merch; its all gonna be just fine. The glass is more than half full. Onward to 2014!


Celebrating Led Zeppelin on Spotify

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form] If you are still buying tracks from iTunes you must be over 40. Its no wonder that as my college age son said with glee in his eye, “Dad, I have 20 million songs with no commercials for ten dollars a month! On my phone, on my computer, anywhere.” Well, I’m not sure if 20 million is the right number on Spotify but you get the point. Buying music is a dying behavior when you can instantly, on demand, listen to almost any track in the world with lovely services like Spotify. And now, what great news, that one of my favorite artists of all time and for whom my company, MEGA, had the enormous good fortune to license their only song to a brand, Cadillac, in 2002; now has announced a deal with Spotify to stream all their music.

Congratulations Image

to the Band, to Spotify and its time (again) to “celebrate” this iconic artist’s music.