Category: Music

Taylor Swift and Other Top Artists Stand United Against DMCA & YouTube

taylor swift 2In the past couple of months things have been getting more heated as a coalition of over 180 top musicians have aligned to complain about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The 1998 law governs the way big internet companies can use material uploaded by their users. As technology has progressed over the past two decades, the artists’ stance is that their royalties have been diminishing relative to the many new devices and services that have sprung up in that timeframe. And in tandem as they’re making their voices heard about concerns suggesting that the DMCA is broken in today’s terms, they’re taking aim squarely at YouTube as a primary example of how this structure no longer works for artists (if it ever did). …

Close Encounters with Prince

princeWe lost a unique legend and pioneer last month in Prince’s passing. The man was multi-dimensional, and though he was revered as an artist by many, he was so much more — and I think the other facets of who he was and his contributions will be revealed as time goes on. I was fortunate to have interacted with Prince on several occasions during the past couple of decades, and I’ve been reflecting on those experiences over the past few days. I never really shared much ’til now about these interactions because he was fiercely private, and I respected and honored his desire for that. …

The Quiet Passing of a Giant

The music industry has experienced whBeatles_and_George_Martin_in_studio_1966at seems like an unprecedented string of losses since the year began. Add to that list, a legend in Sir George Martin who passed a few days ago at the age of 90, and was considered by many to be “The Fifth Beatle”. Sir George was perhaps among the most talented record producers, music arrangers, and A&R men of all time. He was a true master at his craft — he pioneered all mann
er of unique things artists could do in the studio — and truly co-created with the artists he worked with to amazing results.Unusual things like running the tape backwards to create new sounds as in “Tomorrow Never Knows” or adding in unique instrumentation like strings over “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yesterday” or weaving a mellotron into “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. And as gifted as he was and a master at his art, equally important is how well-loved and respected he was by all who had the chance to meet and work with him. I’ve never heard a bad word said about George by anyone throughout his career which is telling; quite the contrary. …

Zeeshan Zaidi, Ticketmaster

Zeeshan Zaidi is the General Manager of Artist Services at Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, where he works with artists, managers, agents, promoters and labels to help make tours more successful through leveraging Ticketmaster’s marketing reach, data insights, and commerce opportunities. He’s also the lead vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and founder of alternative rock band The Commuters. …

Gail Zappa: Tireless Champion, Wonderful Friend

Pascal-Le-Segretain-630x420Gail Zappa recently passed away from cancer. Gail was a unique person, perfectly suited for her role as advocate and champion. She just didn’t hold back. She did not censor herself and went for everything she did with gusto. It’s a huge loss for her family and friends.

Gail, the wife of musician Frank Zappa, was a role model and a tireless champion on behalf of her husband and children for many years and has been a protector of Frank’s estate. She was compassionate, extremely smart and creative advocate and champion, and over time, she became an outspoken advocate for artists to retain their rights and their masters.

Spotify Could Go Away Overnight And No One Would Care

1Although Spotify was able to get its foot in the door early, the presence of companies like Apple Music, Amazon Prime, and others means that the historically un-profitable streaming service either needs to find away to differentiate itself from the competition or risk crashing and burning.


Op Ed by Kelli Richards

Before Apple Music was ever announced, it had already sparked controversy. Word on the street was that Apple wasn’t just trying to create a killer product — it was going for Spotify’s jugular.

Reports spread quickly of Apple working hard behind the scenes to convince record industry executives to kill the freemium model upon which Spotify has essentially built its audience.

Streaming and Beyond: Apple Will Lead the Way to the Next Music Experience

If you wanted to listen to a certain song just 30 years ago, you had two options: You could buy the physical album, or you could spend an afternoon waiting for the song to come on the radio so you could record it on a cassette tape in your boom box.

Now, almost any song is just a click away. First, there were on-demand services such as Napster, then came the iPod and other portable MP3 players. Today, millions of people sign up for streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, and Google Play Music for a nearly unlimited supply of music.

Listeners now control the entire experience. We can listen to our favorite artists or songs at any time and on any device. Streaming has even made the listening experience social. Services such as Spotify are integrated with Facebook, allowing listeners to see what their friends are listening to in real time, making it easy to discover new music.

But what’s next for the listening experience? For now, streaming music services are going strong, but the future of music — streaming and beyond — will likely be heavily influenced by the company that has already remade the music industry: Apple.

Apple’s New Streaming Service Will Start With a Lead

During my 10-plus years leading music and entertainment initiatives at Apple, I helped set the company on a course to become an innovator in the way artists create, market, and distribute music. Back then, the effort revolved around the Macintosh and Pro Tools, leading into the digital revolution. Then, Apple created the iPod and iTunes to move the music industry beyond the analog era, and the rest is (well-documented) history.

Apple has retained its focus on music to this day, so it’s no surprise that it will continue to play a key role in determining the future of the listening experience. Its latest effort began last year when the company bought Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion. At the time, I predicted the acquisition might be the company’s smartest move yet, and if recent reports can be trusted, it appears this will prove correct.

The first fruits of the Apple-Beats collaboration are likely to arrive this year, according to 9to5Mac, which reported in February that Apple was working on a new paid streaming music service based on Beats’ technologies and music content integrated into the iTunes service.

The service reportedly will cost $7.99 per month — which is $2 cheaper than rivals such as Spotify and Google Play Music — and will be integrated into iTunes and the default Music app on iOS.

The lower price tag is a clear advantage, but beyond that, the service would launch with a huge potential customer base. By integrating the new service into iOS, iTunes, and Apple TV, Apple will reach all of its hundreds of millions of customers in addition to existing subscribers to the Beats Music streaming service.

Apple is also reportedly revamping the Beats Music Android application, so it, too, will attract customers who use the mobile operating system with the largest global market share.

Combine Apple’s price advantage, its marketing prowess, and its unsurpassed market penetration with its history as a music innovator, and you have a solid foundation for streaming success.

Music Innovation Won’t Stop at Streaming

Although Apple is set to launch a streaming service that could quickly become an industry leader, the company isn’t content to stop there. Apple knows that customers crave a unique experience that combines the best of streaming and physical CDs, and it’s working on a product to meet that demand.

Apple and U2 have been collaborating on a secret interactive digital music experience— something so unique and engaging that it could tempt music fans into buying whole albums again. According to Bono, this new audiovisual format can’t be pirated and will bring back album artwork while giving fans a behind-the-songs experience.

Fans always want to be closer to their favorite artists. During my time at Apple, my friend Ty Roberts of Gracenote created the technology behind the enhanced CD, which offered an immersive listening experience and helped to usher in the digital music revolution.

Today, Apple and U2 appear poised to bring a next-generation version of that concept to the digital world, while helping artists protect their rights and income.

Streaming music as it exists today probably isn’t the final destination for music because we crave something more — a richer experience that combines what we miss with what’s still to come. Just as it did with the iPod and iTunes, Apple will create the next listening experience that will help us delve deeper into our favorite tracks and get closer to our favorite artists.

This article was first published on

To your best success,

Kelli Richards, CEO of the All Access Group, LLC

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