The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations 6 weeks ago

tod nelson Anyone see this post about “content resolution” between the various subscription streaming sites on Facebook? Seems like a pretty big deal to me. 6 weeks ago

Two Shoes Picciuto Great blog post, Jason. 6 weeks ago

maudeman MOG sucks today, and it will also suck tomorrow. 6 weeks ago

Matt Marine We’ll see. It looks like MOG is planning on something similar tomorrow. But they’re pushing users to share with friends and social outlets to earn more points, which will give them more free music. 6 weeks ago

maudeman There are ads, but I skipped ’em by giving them a cc. Would be surprised in Rdio does anything longer than 14 or 30 days, as they have contracts with pesky record companies, and the free offerings from Spotify was the primary reason it took so long to get launched here. 6 weeks ago

Matt Marine Are the first six months on Spotify free without ads? Guess I wasn’t paying that much attention! Glad to see Rdio is doing something to draw in new customers besides just working off our word of mouth. 6 weeks ago

maudeman For new subscribers, Matt. If people can listen to Spotify for free for six months – the current situation here in the US – why would folks settle for a few free days on Rdio. Turning freebies into paying customers is easier than getting people to pay upfront. 6 weeks ago

Matt Marine Anybody just see this? WTF?… 6 weeks ago

GrEtcHen Yes TB, I’ve heard if a artist can build up enough of a fanbase, they can eke out a living through self-distribution. Nothing lavish, but workable. In the last ten years, I’ve been amazed at growing number amount of music getting out there. Really really talented people. Really really terrific music. I think that model creates a sort of upward spiral of inspiration and workable expectations. People aren’t afraid to try, because they know they’ve got a reasonable shot at connecting and getting some compensation for it.

That’s just my impression of course, observing the boom of sites like Bandcamp. 6 weeks ago

Turdish Burl Here’s a blog post from the band “Uniform Motion” (never heard ’em) summarizing the breakdown for most common physical and digital media:

I know that most concentrators will charge either an initial setup fee and / or an ongoing fee. The truth is though that most lables are not going to be able to pay the bands either. If it is a major they will make sure they don’t via bookkeeping shenanigans. For indies the usual used to be you got a cut of the run (CDs, vinyl, tapes, etc.) and then sold them yourself at shows. Royalties are only going to happen if you start selling more than a 1000 discs and that is pretty rare for most acts.

Basically the only way you make any money from a release is by selling directly, assuming you can do enough volume to pay for the overhead involved. Royalty organizations like SOCAN (in Canada) or BMI in the States are essentially shake down operations for the majors since they control radio which dictates how most royalties are calculated.

That said, as someone who has played in bands for around 20 years and released stuff through labels and via self-releases this whole “the poor artist” stuff makes me mad. Music is not rare and not hard to make and people like to make it. Everything everyone does is based on prior art. If there is money, sure share it around fairly but everyone else works for a living, why shouldn’t musicians? If I put a bunch of hours into a really pretty needle point seat cushion, should I get royalties everytime someone sits on the bloody thing?

When you go see a band play you are trading money for work. . .it is akin to eating in a restaurant. But this whole magic money for doing nothing BS gets me down, it is the same sort of scam that patent trolls use.

IMHO of course.

Cheers 6 weeks ago

Jason Paul @CAW I hear what you’re saying. Until very recently I was the first one to extol the merits of free music. But this Rdio thing turned that around for me. I’d be spending that money on harddrive space if I really wanted to amass a collection to come close to the satisfaction I get with the Rdio plan.

4 thoughts on “The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations”

  1. Great post and comments!

    Right. So… Is Rdio the Future of Music?

    The problem with these sorts of “x is the future of y” discussions, particularly where technology is concerned, is that x always changes the nature of y. Because of this, you can never quite arrive at point y.

    I see Rdio and it’s ilk bumping into a few issues shortly that run along these lines:

    1) The closer these services get to delivering on the promise of offering “almost everything” in the world of music, the more they will underscore what isn’t offered. Put another way, how much music needs to be available to make up for the fact that what you want to hear right now isn’t?

    2) Part of the appeal of these services lies in the social aspect, which presently is built on the enthusiasm of early adopters and music nerds. The tone and quality of the social interaction will change as more users sign on. Will Rdio still be compelling?

    3) Rdio is presently a novel way of trying to monetize music in a time where monetizing music is difficult. It’s an experiment that is occurring concurrently with other experiments at trying to resuscitate the monetization of music. A verdict will be reached. Recent high profile releases by Coldplay, Black Keys, Tom Waits — to name a few — are not present on Rdio. Presumably this is because posting on streaming services is viewed as possibly undermining the success of other channels, both experimental and traditional. Is this the start of a verdict being reached? Will this assessment be shared by others?

    Just a few thoughts.


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