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Will Tidal Make Waves In The Music Industry Or Get Washed Out?


Great article with lots of intelligent insights. But, maybe it never was about creating a competitive service. Maybe it’s about building to sell and any patents Tidal controls.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editor’s note: Kelli Richards is the CEO of The All Access Group.

In late March, when a group of A-list musicians gathered in Manhattan to show support for Jay Z’s new music streaming service, Tidal, expectations were sky-high. The music stars, many of the brightest in today’s pop constellation, were selling an artist-owned streaming service that they affirmed would “forever change the course of music history.” But a lot has happened since then.

Tidal CEO Andy Chen was replaced in early April. Kanye West, Jay Z’s best pal and label mate, deleted all of his tweets about Tidal after its app tumbled out of the App Store’s top 700. Even though West — in true Kanye fashion — later reversed course and tweeted his support for the service, the damage had already been done.

In response, Jay Z pledged that Tidal is “doing just fine.” In…

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Safe harbour

Very interesting article on CNET today. Never knew about safe harbour and how it relates to YouTube. Has to be particularly tough for streaming companies that are paying out royalties when YouTube is basically getting their content for free.


‘We tell Spotify no, YouTube does it anyway': The music industry’s love-hate relationship with YouTube

Quote from CNET:

How does YouTube get away with not paying out royalties? “There’s an inequality in the marketplace where we have a piece of the legislative framework called safe harbour”, explained Mulligan. Safe harbour rules are designed to give legal protection to companies such as, for example, Internet service providers in case their users do something dodgy using the service they provide. YouTube claims it’s covered by this law because the service is only a conduit for people to post content. As a result, said Mulligan, “YouTube has got a far bigger catalogue than any other music service will ever have under the current framework, and it does so because it doesn’t have to license it on a work-by-work basis.”


Backing Tracks

Don’t know what to think about Rihanna’s SNL performance last night. Even if you’re going to lip sync or sing along with the tracks, what is the point of starting a line and then letting the track finish it? Is that to acknowledge that the audience knows you’re singing to tracks or lip syncing? Maybe this is the latest cool thing and I’m even more out of touch than I thought I was…

Small Shifts

I think it’s interesting how small shifts can make for some real changes.  I picked up a Simon & Patrick Parlor guitar a couple months ago and I’ve been experimenting with a variety of strings. Strings are such a personal thing — only your ears and hands can tell you what set of strings are best for a particular guitar.

I put on a set of D’Addario Silk & Steel (EJ40) strings a few days ago. While the obvious thing is they sound different than phosphor bronze (which I usually use), they also make me play and write differently. So what does “differently” mean?  I don’t actually know, but I did get the start of a new tune out of this string experiment.  And that’s not half bad.

20 Feet From Stardom

Watched 20 Feet From Stardom last night. I don’t want to be one of those “spoilers”, so for those of you who haven’t seen the documentary, I’m going to be somewhat vague in this post.

First off, it’s a really good documentary. Lots of insights into the world of professional background singing and the music industry in general. And probably more importantly, the film looks deeply into the human, emotional challenges of playing a supporting role. There’s also some thoughtful comments from established artists like Sting, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Bette Midler.

Many of the background singers showcased in this documentary have strong ties to gospel music. Their early musical training in the church clearly worked wonders as many of the singers could (and can) move easily between a wide variety of genres. What was interesting in the documentary was how many of the background singers had not only the ability sing in a supporting role, but could just as easily step out and take the lead.

And this is what 20 Feet From Stardom is really all about. Why does one artist become a “star” and another ends up cleaning houses for a living. Or teaching Spanish. Or singing background. The film touches on a variety of reasons and I think they’re mostly spot on. Some singers get sideswiped by business. It’s no secret that the music industry has its fair share of weasels. Some singers don’t have that centre of attention, look at me thing. And some singers don’t have a distinct point of view. They like blending with other singers and a band and are happy in that role.

20 Feet From Stardom is a good film. Go and check it out!