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NY Times and Rick Rubin
Old 17th November 2007
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
NY Times and Rick Rubin

Special guests,

I was wondering if you have read the NY TIMES article on Rick Rubin. He has a lot to say about this subject. Somewhere around page 6 of my pdf file he talks about music subscriptions, ipod and the direction of the music business. What is your perspective on what he has to say? (link to article below)
Skip Perkins

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/ma...gewanted=print
Old 19th November 2007
  #2
Peter Wells, SVP Operations, Customer Advocate - Tunecore
 
PeterTuneCore's Avatar
 

I read it, skipperkins, and there's a lot of meat in that article. The subscription model can do quite a bit, but "save the industry" is a bit too messianic for my tastes.

The very first time music subscription was discussed, I was lucky enough to be in the room. I was working with EMusic (back then they capitalized the E) and we were trying to find a way to sell unlimited downloads for a monthly subscription price. This was back in 2000. EMusic Unlimited was born, and perhaps it was an idea ahead of its time. The real problem? Mechanicals. How do you deal with someone downloading 500, 5000, ten times that much music, and you owe 8.7 cents each time (that was the rate then). Even if you cut a deal with publishers and get it down to less, eventually the multiplier catches up to you. You find yourself banking on the many who pay $19.98 a month an d download LESS than that much in mechanicals (not to mention other royalties) to make up for the kids who stay up all night downloading. Even so, and even with bot-blocking technology, it winds up being a losing proposition. You have so little left over after you split with the labels, they can't get the minimums required by their contracts with the artists per sale, and are forced not to use your service. So you don't have the catalog to attract subscribers. Vicious circle.

We still managed to make it work, after a fashion. And the laws around streaming are different, there may be a way to make it "unlimited" around streaming. But then new laws come along, and new requirements, new "floors" for royalties demanded by the rights-holders, which could strangle the idea in its crib.

Follow the numbers, and keep your eye on the legislation. Much will be determined by it...

--Peter
peter@tunecore.com
Old 21st November 2007
  #3
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile Just another wild guess.

I love my Sansa Connect, which accesses a Yahoo Music subscription. I get most of my new music there, so if you're not there (or CD Baby), I might not hear you.

My best friend *loves* her Rhapsody subscription. It's her one-and-only source, so if Rhapsody doesn't have it, she doesn't hear it.

The guys in the CD Baby warehouse love their Napster subscription, and listen to it all day.

Some people hate the idea of "renting" music. (I did too, until I got my lovely Sansa Connect.)

Others hate the idea of having to amass and manage hundreds of gigs of audio files, just so you can hear what you want anytime.

Anyway - real point is: don't believe anyone telling you what the future will be. People who claim to know the future are deluded.

Even those pointing at big trends can be completely reversed with one big move.

The original Napster changed everything.

The Apple iTunes Music Store changed everything. (EMusic had been selling 99-cent tracks unsuccessfully for years, and most people didn't seem to care. Any analyist could have called that a failed business, but then Apple made it a successful business all of a sudden. Now analysts point at subscriptions as a failed business, but Apple could have just as brilliantly chosen to go the subscription route instead, etc.)

Google might miraculously do the ad-supported music thing tomorrow, so that any song ever recorded can be playing in your browser or cellphone any time you want to hear it, all for free, paying the labels and artists more than they're getting paid for downloads or sales.

Or, just as likely, someone next week will invent some "oh my god" new business model or technology that nobody had ever thought of, is wildly loved by the masses, and changes the game completely, again.

Who knows.

Rick Rubin?

Nah.

Just another wild guess.
Old 21st November 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Do CD Baby or Tunecore get songs placed on Yahoo Music? I looked around quickly on both sites but I don't see it listed. It looks like an interesting service but unfortunately PC only.
Old 22nd November 2007
  #5
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile Yahoo Music is powered by a ****ty company called MusicNet

Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
Do CD Baby or Tunecore get songs placed on Yahoo Music?
Yes and no.

Yahoo Music is currently powered by MusicNet aka MediaNet.

MusicNet/MediaNet is a ****ing awful company that is supposed to be powering the backend to many stores, but has some major problems:

(1) - they suck at it. (we would deliver them albums with perfect audio and metadata, then Yahoo would show us that it had arrived with the audio wrong and the metadata mis-spelled! which means someone at MusicNet was actually re-typing it! WTF?)

(2) - they suck slowly. (their only job is to take music from labels/distributors and re-deliver it to Yahoo/Zune/etc. then they got months behind in doing so. then they sent us back 50,000 albums worth of unprocessed hard drives saying, "We're too busy to import these.") Huh?

(3) - their clients hate them. Yahoo and Zune, the two main stores they power, have both expressed their desire to stop using them as soon as possible. (Many of the people who work at Yahoo Music and Zune are musicians who sell their music through CD Baby! So they're helping push their executives to work it out.)

(4) - just to top it off : MusicNet/MediaNet, after a couple years of sucking bad, told us they needed to start charging ALL companies (CDBaby, IODA, Orchard, TuneCore, etc) - $1.25 per song to import our catalog into their system. For CD Baby, that would be over $3000 a DAY, so we said no. Instead, we have great relationships at Yahoo and Zune who are working out systems to work with CD Baby directly and bypass the suckass bastards at MusicNet/MediaNet.

Oh, uh, is this mic on?
Old 23rd November 2007
  #6
Gear maniac
 

HAH!
brutal, derek!
brutal and amazing. heh

you know, come to think of it, there are a few things that i would like about the subscription model. i definitely want to own my music, especially the music that i love and need to listen to in hi-fi all the time. but classics, back catalog stuff, lots of jazz and soul and 70s rock, much of that stuff is not necessarily stuff that i need to own. not stuff that i will listen to time and again. some of it, yeah sure. but i can see being okay with paying a subscription to have access to great songs or great albums that i'm only going to listen to a limited number of times.
Old 23rd November 2007
  #7
Gear nut
 
mark mcg's Avatar
 

I think Derek speaks wisely. The Rick Rubin articel was a fascinating read though!
Quote:
Yahoo Music is currently powered by MusicNet aka MediaNet
God! Just reading the press releases at the MediaNet website (going back to 2001) made my head spin! ...as it was so reminiscent of what was going on at Amplified.com when I worked for them ('98-2001). And the "Subscription Model" had been bandied about since back in those early days - plenty. What a great time and yet what a crazy time! It was like one big "dog and pony show" until the NASDAQ meltdown! Sorry, memories!
Old 23rd November 2007
  #8
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile any song ever recorded available to you any time you want to hear it, anywhere

Quote:
Originally Posted by freestyle tromb View Post
i definitely want to own my music
With real broadband to mobile devices, we're really not that far away from being able to have any song ever recorded available to you any time you want to hear it, anywhere in the world, legally. (And maybe some day in 96k full quality?)

Once that's available, why maintain a music collection?

I still have and love my massive music collection, but I have to admit: since getting this little Sansa Connect, I've been going to it much less often.
Old 23rd November 2007
  #9
Founder, CEO, President - Tunecore
 
Jeff Price's Avatar
 

Yahoo! and other digital stores

Yahoo! is sorting out their music initiatives. It's a complex problem and hopefully someone with Yahoos! resources and Net background can provide additional solutions and possibilities.

During the transition period, things are going to be a bit rocky

That being said, this thread inadvertently raises an interesting point. There are a lot of digital stores out there in the world. I believe it is important to have the digital stores live up to certain criteria prior to delivering music to them

1) Can they handle the volume of music that we can deliver to them
2) Will they display the music, band name, album name and art properly
3) Will they account on time with accurate information via a trusted and (as much as possible) security proof system
4) Will they pay the money generated from the sale of the music in the required way and time frame

Also keep in mind that the majority of music being sold and discovered is happening in just 5 - 10 stores.

I believe it is important to limit who is worked with to make sure they meet these 5 criteria. For example, had we delivered to Burn Lounge , we would have been delivering to a store that the US government stated was illegal (they view it as a ponzi scheme)

Take a look at AllOfMP3.com (do a goolgle search for RIAA, AllOfMP3.com for details) as well


Jeff Price
TuneCore
TuneCorner
Old 24th November 2007
  #10
Gear addict
 
Orren's Avatar
 

Gimmie gimmie gimmie the liner notes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Price View Post
I believe it is important to have the digital stores live up to certain criteria prior to delivering music to them...
2) Will they display the music, band name, album name and art properly
Thank you for allowing me to air a pet peeve of mine.

I'm a musician with a CD for sale on CD Baby (go Derek! ), and my "day job" is as writer/editor in the pro audio field. As such, I take a lot of care and pride in the "artist bio" that I've written for my project, Ember After. I think it looks great and reads well on the CD Baby page for the album...but sadly, that text never made it to iTunes.

I'm not blaming CD Baby; I know that iTunes doesn't take bio text from TuneCore or any of the aggregators. Nor does it seem that any of the aggregators can offer "download only" PDFs of album artwork, which I've seen on major label releases. Again, I'm very proud of the text and artwork inside the CD insert; I try to use that as a reason people should by the physical CD vs. digital download, but I'd also love to be able to deliver the PDF to iTunes as well (I know I could put it up on my own site, but that's not my point).

Anyway, that's my beef with iTunes right now. Please let me know if any of you (meaning: guest moderators) are aware of any movement on that front.

And Derek: great job on adding mp3 sales to the site! Now how about direct PDF downloads for mp3 album buyers? heh

Orren
Old 25th November 2007
  #11
Founder, CEO, President - Tunecore
 
Jeff Price's Avatar
 

Hi Orren

Some good news, for TuneCore customers, anyone that wants to have their album art made available for download with the full album purchase at iTunes can have it. Just email support@tunecore.com with the request and they will walk you through the process

The other option, create a hi-res vesion of the art and allow anyone to download it from your homepage etc. There are lots of places that host large files for free download (RapidShare, YourFileHost, etc etc). You can also bit torrent the file and provide the link at your homeopage

Seems like a good idea to me - no costs involved and most people that are into downloading it will do so because they have the album. And if someone does not have the album, and downloads the art, hopefully they will be interested in learning about the music.

Jeff
TuneCore
TuneCorner
Old 25th November 2007
  #12
Gear nut
 
lazzaro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Sivers View Post
With real broadband to mobile devices, we're really not that far away from being able to have any song ever recorded available to you any time you want to hear it, anywhere in the world, legally. (And maybe some day in 96k full quality?)

Once that's available, why maintain a music collection?

For some people, the whole point is to select albums that mean
something to them, albums they want to listen to hundreds of times,
albums they can listen to over and over without becoming bored of them.
Each album says something about who they are as a person, and becomes
a part of them. If that's the way you look at music, its not
interesting to have access to every song every written, and
its not economic to pay rent on your favorite albums, rather
than buying them once. That's what I believe Steve Jobs really
means when he says "People don't want to rent their music".
Old 25th November 2007
  #13
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile iTunes DOES take bio text

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orren View Post
I know that iTunes doesn't take bio text from any of the aggregators
Actually, what's weird is, they do!

Since day one, in 2003, we've delivered full bio/notes/style descriptive info for every album we've ever sent them. This was done at their request!

So, they have it.

But, alas, they haven't found a way to incorporate it into display. But maybe some day.

& Thanks for the kind words, Orren. I appreciate it.
Old 25th November 2007
  #14
Gear addict
 
Orren's Avatar
 

Hi Derek,

Thanks for the response!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Sivers View Post
Actually, what's weird is, they do!
Since day one, in 2003, we've delivered full bio/notes/style descriptive info for every album we've ever sent them. This was done at their request!
So, they have it.
But, alas, they haven't found a way to incorporate it into display. But maybe some day.
& Thanks for the kind words, Orren. I appreciate it.
Yeah, that is weird. Ah well.

How about the second part of my query? Is there a way that CD Baby can deliver a PDF of album art to iTunes, and have them make it available as part of the downloaded album?

And you're very welcome!

Orren
Old 25th November 2007
  #15
Gear addict
 
Orren's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the response!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Price View Post
The other option, create a hi-res vesion of the art and allow anyone to download it from your homepage etc....Seems like a good idea to me - no costs involved and most people that are into downloading it will do so because they have the album. And if someone does not have the album, and downloads the art, hopefully they will be interested in learning about the music.
Thanks for the suggestion—I agree, hosting it on my page (and the full band website is in progress now) makes sense, and I'll do it. But to me, the ideal is both: to deliver a PDF to those services that will include a PDF in the album download, and then to host the PDF for people who buy the digital downloads from a service that doesn't include it as part of the sale.

Take care,
Orren
Old 25th November 2007
  #16
Founder, CEO, President - Tunecore
 
Jeff Price's Avatar
 

Hi Lazzaro

I completely agree with you. I can not imagine NOT owning my music. I don't want to rent it. It defines who I am. It's like a book - I don't throw it away after I read it, I put it on my shelf. The idea of renting music takes away something important for me, some how makes it less important

But that's me - staring at Queens "News Of The World" album cover when I was a kid had a deep impact on me. Listening to Sheer Heart Attack while imagining the people falling from the robots bloodied fingers - that was MY album. In MY collection.

And then I got older - and turned 40. I have to admit, I am not sure I am in the exact same headspace as a 10, 11, 12 year old and can understand how they view music and what it "means" to them.

To me it was sacred, but I did not grow up in my early teens with the net, video games, DVDs, portable players, texting etc. A 13 year old was 8 when the first iPod came out. A 10 year old was not even born when the first Napster came around.

The music industry itself sucked some of the soul out of music with processed, compressed crap clogging the airways. MTV was has been too busy "pimping" everything you can think of to bother playing an inventive / interesting video.

I still adamantly believe that people use music to define themselves - but does a 13 y/o today really care if he "owns" the music, the album cover and the art or are they just as happy to have an 8 gig iPod jammed with digital media, music to movies, that they got via IM or email not really knowing who/where/when/why?

I can see a day when there is a very gray line between owning and renting - the upside of digital media is you can have a lot of it at a moments notice. The downside of digital media is you can have a lot of it at a moments notice.

Jeff Price
TuneCore
TuneCore: Welcome
Old 25th November 2007
  #17
Gear nut
 
lazzaro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Price View Post
And then I got older - and turned 40. I have to admit, I am not sure I am in the exact same headspace as a 10, 11, 12 year old and can understand how they view music and what it "means" to them.
In my experience, at least, the pre-teens and teens are more likely to
bond to the music of their parents and grand-parents generation than
to 2007 new releases ... they start with the Beatles and move on the
Led Zeppelin and then some of them move onto Miles Davis :-).

I think the reasons are complex, though. Yes, a part is about the music
itself. But another part is that, generally speaking, serious rebellion against
your parents seems to be out of vogue these days, and so children are
more likely to adopt their parents musical tastes than to rebel against them.

I certainly see the end product of this trend when I teach college classes.
It's quite normal for students raised in the SF Bay Area to move back in
with their parents after they graduate from college for a few years, even
if they've lined up a job with a Silicon Valley company that would let them
live on their own from day one comfortably. If that's not the opposite of
rebelliousness, I don't know what is ...
Old 25th November 2007
  #18
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile artwork too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orren View Post
Is there a way that CD Baby can deliver a PDF of album art to iTunes, and have them make it available as part of the downloaded album?
Sorry: my answer was referring to both. They do have a hi-res master 600-by-600 pixel TIFF image of your art, ready to include in a downloaded PDF with the album, but for some reason (same as bio/notes) have not yet done so.
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