“Listeners are well-served by streaming platforms, but for artists, they cast the question of compensation in a stark new light. While the value debates that dominated the mp3 moment pitted fans against artists, the emergent streaming era has so far seen the return of corporate exploitation, with a speculative twist: The rich or soon-to-be-rich build innovated products, convince an ailing recording industry to sign over their catalogs, acquiring the bricks-and-mortar of their operations–digitized recordings–for fractions of a penny on the dollar. These operations are mostly funded by venture capital, periodic rounds of investments, or as cogs in vast empires of information, and they can feel overwhelming for fans and artists alike.
As streaming takes center stage for music commerce, questions with long histories must be reframed. In what ways are the non-stop interactions between databases and algorithms shaping our musical tastes? Do streaming platform business models inherently exploit artists when listener choice scales to infinity? Should speculative capitalism be the driving force for large-scale innovations in music technology, and is there a feasible alternative? Are we living in a technological golden age of creative possibility, cross-cultural communication, and sheer abundance, or a surveillance state controlled by privately-held brands promising endless access at the expense of imperceptible control? Answers to these questions are piloting digital music deep into the 21st century, but critically evaluating current technological developments means keeping an eye on the lessons of the past.”
From Jari Mäenpää:
“This is the way a record deal works: The label gives an advance to make an album. This is a loan and they will recoup every penny back from the record sales. The reason why TIMEI&II has taken so long to make (and is still taking long to finish TIME II), is because I haven’t gotten enough advances (money) to make these complex albums. Not even close. So I’ve been struggling all these years and sacrificed everything to make these albums. I have never really made any money from Wintersun. All my money has gone into album production, but you can guess who have made tons of money from Wintersun. The point is that I need my own studio to make the future albums, but Nuclear Blast won’t be able to loan enough money to make that happen and then they won’t allow me to do a crowd funding campaign either that would make it happen.
This is all stressing me out very badly and it’s slowing my workflow. I’ve got enough technical problems to deal with making these albums. I just want the freedom to make music, but I guess it is what it is. Honestly, I feel like I’ve signed a deal with the devil and I’m just a slave in the system.”
“The live music market is flourishing even as sales of recorded music have mouldered. Between 2012 and 2013 it grew by a quarter, according to the Performing Right Society for Music, an industry body. Gig-goers now spend more than £1 billion ($1.7 billion) a year on tickets and almost half that again on food, drink and the like. Festivals make up a large chunk of this. In the early 1990s Britain had few of them, recalls Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, a promoter. Around 450 will take place this year. The festival season, once limited to July and August, now stretches until early autumn. On the first weekend of September four festivals battle it out.
All this is changing the way the music industry works. Festivals are increasingly seen as a way to test whether big-name artists have enough fans to warrant arena tours, says Rebecca Kane of the 02, a large venue in London. Newer names find them essential: Clean Bandit, a British band who brought out their first album this year, are performing at around 20 festivals this summer. And music executives are increasingly taking into account how successfully they think artists will perform at big outdoor gigs before deciding to sign them.”
From September 2nd:
“I (Filip) work as a paver for my father (he has a company), our bass-player Kenn works at a gas station, our drummer Simon works in a kindergarten, our guitarist Toby is working with some computer-stuff for the Danish state and our second guitarist Rasmus is looking for a job at the moment. None of us is earning any money from the band and we are spending all our free time on this project, we are 100% doing it because this is what we like to do and not because we are expecting to be famous and rich.”