This is honestly one of my favorite pieces on the broad topic of music streaming I’ve read in a minute. It repeatedly asks the question: “What exactly is social music listening in this digital world?” Then by the end realizes that perhaps no one yet knows the answer to that question. Thus creating a nice little history of the many attempts to digitize the act of telling a friend you love a band.
There should be little surprise that I loved this story in the New York Times that investigated people who sold and bought fake YouTube views. There is a good nugget about how a number of musicians bought fake views but sadly they don’t name any names. I’ve heard accusation of artists buying views, but of course people get quiet once I ask one too many questions. This once again reaffirms my skepticism towards sum total stats as a good measurement of popularity, rather than simple ego boosting.
The google alert I set up for “IGTV” certainly isn’t going to waste right here. I still haven’t seen much compelling content on IGTV but I’m gonna find it hard to not keep some tabs on a platform with over a billion users and is one that nearly every musician in some capacity uses.
I don’t usually include press releases, even in the form of guise of journalism, for this section but I wanted to make a small exception. This is fairly interesting news for where Spotify’s future may potentially be going but I’ll hold off on deeper thoughts till next week.
I. L o v e. D r a m a. Seriously though of course the next round of negotiations between majors and Spotify will be interesting…or maybe better put, the press / leaks / fighting for a certain media narrative around those negotiations will be interesting.
Originally I was going to spend this week’s newsletter breaking down this report but about twenty pages in I wrote so many annoyed notes that it didn’t feel like it’d be worth it. There was also the fact Billboard kept writing excellent take-downs of Citi’s analysis. An aspect of this piece that I really enjoyed was the author Robert Levine pushing back from the Borg Complex that often leads most discussion of the music industry—self included. The nearly twenty year old idea being that labels will eventually crumble and the only thing left will be musicians and distributors. That isn’t to say it can’t happen, but why carry an umbrella with no clouds in the sky.