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Let Me Explain Why U2 Is Damaging the Music Industry…

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The following guest post comes from Paul Quirk, president of the UK-based Entertainment Retail Association.

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U2’s much-publicised decision to give away 500 million copies of their new album around the world resulted in sales of just 6,047 additional copies of their 19-album back catalogue in the UK last week, according to Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) analysis of Official Charts Company data.

And less than 60 of them went through High Street stores.

This vindicates our view that giving away hundreds of millions of albums simply devalues music and runs the risk of alienating the 60% of the population who are not customers of iTunes.

If one of the justifications of this stunt is that it would drive sales of U2’s catalogue through the market as a whole, then so far at least it has been a dismal failure.

Aggregate sales of U2’s catalogue amounted to 697 albums across Great Britain and Northern Ireland the week before the band announced it would give away 500m copies of their latest album, Songs Of Innocence. Last week they amounted to 6,744, a massive 868% increase, but worth at retail prices less than £50,000.

Of those sales, a massive 95.4% were digital downloads, since physical retailers were not briefed in advance to order in extra stock.

 This promotion is a failure on so many levels.  It devalues music, it alienates the majority of people who don’t use iTunes and it disappoints those who prefer to shop in physical stores since few shops had U2 stock available.

Giving away music like this is as damaging to the value of music as piracy, and those who will suffer most are the artists of tomorrow.  U2 have had their career, but if one of the biggest rock bands in the world are prepared to give away their new album for free, how can we really expect the public to spend £10 on an album by a newcomer?

Independent research conducted for ERA indicates that more than 60% of the UK public does not use iTunes.  For U2’s last album, No Line On The Horizon, 87% of UK sales in the first month were on physical formats, according to Official Charts Company data.

Dumping an album in hundreds of millions of iTunes libraries whether people want it or not, reduces music to the level of a software update or a bug-fix or just plain spam.

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Paul Resnikoff
Digital Music News

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Yelle’s New App Translates Lyrics in Real Time…

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Yelle is the latest artist to release an app that enhances the fan experience.

Yelle sings in French, but has a large English-speaking fan base. The new “Yelle Translator” app filters text from lyric videos, translating her lyrics to English in real time. Fans can also toggle the French lyrics if they want to read along.

The app is available for iOS in the App Store.

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For now, the app only works with the lyric video for lead single “Complètement Fou”. Compatible videos have been created for every other song on Yelle’s forthcoming album. These videos will go live once the album comes out on September 30th.

 

Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

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Nina Ulloa
Digital Music News

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Future Classic’s Basenji: “Musicians Need to Appreciate All Types of Art”

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Basenji is the stage name of Sebastian Muecke, a rising Australian electronic producer. Muecke recently signed with cutting-edge electronic label Future Classic.

Blogger Sterling Hedges interviewed Basenji for West Coast Fix (full disclosure, I own WCF). When asked about his influences, Muecke shared some insightful thoughts about musicians finding inspiration.

+OWSLA’s Nick Thayer: “Do You Wanna Know Just How Much Money I Make?”

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I think I hang out with a lot of people that make stuff that’s the complete opposite of what I do, but I think that’s the secret to staying inspired. Don’t be selective, just surround yourself with everything. If you’re a producer and say “I make house music, I’m only going to listen to house music“, if you live that kind of life it’s unsatisfying. You need to take risks and you need to try to understand every type of music, that’s how you improve your own. Say, if you go to see a band or a DJ and it’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen, it’s not time wasted because you’ll know you don’t want to do that. You can think about specific features of it and be like “I don’t like when they did that“, which is as valuable as learning what you want to do. It is important to know what you don’t want to do. I think the most important thing for inspiration is to constantly put yourself out there.

When it comes to art, you need to appreciate all types of art, whether it is visual arts, fashion, music, or film.

You might watch a movie and it might not directly inspire you to make music, but at the end of the day I think it will. Your brain just takes experience and will try to paint a picture, if you have an artistic expression that is what it lives off of. I think you need to indulge in creative expression and you’ll find it easier to write stuff.
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Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

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Nina Ulloa
Digital Music News

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Sam Roberts Band Announce ‘Lo-Fantasy’ Dates with Besnard Lakes

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Sam Roberts Band Announce

It’s high time Sam Roberts announced another round of tour dates behind the band’s recent Lo-Fantasy full-length. In fact, the act have done just that, revealing Roberts and the rest of his group will be cutting through Canada for a quick stretch of concert dates later this fall. The Quebec-born artist revealed the tour plans today (September 16), confirming that following a few assorted dates in the UK and the U.S., he’ll be bringing pop-rock songs from past and present to the home country in November. The Canadian trip kicks off in Kelowna, BC, on November 13, with the Sam…Read More

! Exclaim.ca – News

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Soko Responds to Filmmakers Seeking Free Music: “F*CK YOU”

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French singer and actress Soko, aka Stéphanie Sokolinski, has pursued music and acting since 2002. She’s become successful and well-known in both her professions. She’s worked and toured with the likes of M.I.A., Spike Jonze, and Chromeo, and has been in films such as Augustine and Her.

Soko recently took to Facebook to respond to a request she received for free music. Filmmakers with a $ 45,000 budget were hoping to get music from her for $ 0.

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Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

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Nina Ulloa
Digital Music News

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Apple: U2’s ‘Song of Innocence’ Has Been Accessed 33 Million Times…

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Billboard reported that U2’s album was struggling with a mere 200,000 downloads, while refusing to count the flop.  Apple now says that’s totally and completely wrong.

“Just six days after its release on iTunes, a record breaking 33 million people have already experienced the album.”

Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue just announced in a statement to Digital Music News.

‘Experienced’ means accessing the album across iTunes, iCloud, iTunes Radio, or Beats, on any device.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul Resnikoff
Digital Music News

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The Original Idea for Mobile Music Streaming… Written In 1908

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…from “The Future of the Wireless Art,” Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony: Popularly Explained (p.67) by Nikola Tesla.

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An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant. In the same manner any picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred from one to another place. Millions of such instruments can be operated from but one plant…

More important than all of this, however, will be the transmission of power, without wires, which will be shown on a scale large enough to carry conviction. These few indications will be sufficient to show that the wireless art offers greater possibilities than any invention or discovery heretofore made, and if the conditions are favorable, we can expect with certitude that in the next few years wonders will be wrought by its application.”

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Paul Resnikoff
Digital Music News

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Drummer Kurt Dahle Leaves the New Pornographers

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Drummer Kurt Dahle Leaves the New Pornographers

Vancouver indie rock mainstays the New Pornographers have had a big summer with the release of Brill Bruisers and a slew of live dates across North America, but they announced over the weekend that they’ll be down a member going forward. Longtime drummer Kurt Dahle has left the band. Dahle formerly played in Age of Electric and Limblifter, but had devoted most of his professional time to playing with the New Pornographers since their debut album Mass Romantic in 2000. Dahle has also played with his New Pornographers colleagues on side-projects like Neko Case’s TheRead More

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R.I.P. Peter Gutteridge of Snapper, the Clean, the Chills

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R.I.P. Peter Gutteridge of Snapper, the Clean, the Chills

Although the news has yet to be officially confirmed, sources are indicating that New Zealand music scene staple Peter Gutteridge has passed away. Off the Tracks reports that the musician took his own life. While we still can’t say what happened with certainly, Twitter has begun buzzing with the sad news. Based in Dunedin, Gutteridge was associated with a few indie pop acts on the iconic Flying Nun roster. He played in one incarnation of the Clean, was a part of that band’s spinoff project the Great Unwashed, and co-founded the Chills. The busy Gutteridge has also been linked…Read More

! Exclaim.ca – News

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8 Things You’re Forgetting To Do On Show Day

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I meet (and play with) too many musicians who don’t want to get to the venue early enough. Some like to arrive shortly before they need to play, others slightly before doors and others feel they’re being responsible by allowing the bare minimum amount of time they believe they’ll need to load in, setup and sound check before start time or doors.

Until you have a tour manager, you will need to designate pre and post show duties within the band. These jobs cannot be overlooked.

I always schedule my load in time as early as the venue is comfortable with. Typically 2 hours before doors if there are just solo acts on the bill or 3 hours before doors if there are bands on the bill. And always 3 hours before start time for my solo show at colleges. Colleges are a different beast altogether.

Most musicians don’t understand everything that needs to get done before the doors open. The obvious necessities of loading your gear in and setting it up is understood. Many bands don’t fret over sound checks with an “it’ll be fine” attitude.

Leave Enough Time For Sound Check

Fret over soundcheck! It’s incredibly important. Sure there will be shows with venues that are so put together that everything runs smoothly and sound check takes 10 minutes or the engineer mixes you on the fly with no major issues, but you can’t plan for that. Always plan for something to go wrong: A faulty DI box, a shoddy mic cable, your tuner mysteriously stops operating, and the list is endless. Even if the equipment all works flawlessly, every room is different and responds differently to your sound. The room wasn’t built for your band so you have to allow time to let the engineer feel out your sound in the room. You don’t want the first three songs of your set to sound like butt, cluttered with feedback, because the engineer is attempting to mix you on the fly (giving the audience an unsettling opening feeling about you).

+9 Things Every Musician Needs To Know About The Sound Guy

You want time to feel it out on stage and get comfortable with the space. I’ve played too many shows where a sound check wasn’t possible or was cut too short and I hated performing because it felt awful on stage and I couldn’t settle in to my performance and therefore put on a bad show. This can be overcome by setting aside enough time for the sound check.

And yes, of course, there are venues that just do line checks. Especially in LA and NYC where they book bands every night on the hour. Nothing you can do about that! Bummer.

Setup The Merch

Once the sound check is finished your night has just begun. Setting up your merch is the next step and almost equally important as getting a good sound check. If you aren’t touring with a tour or merch manager, you should designate one band member who will be in charge of the merch for the entire tour. She should be responsible and decent at math. She’ll need to count in and out the money every night and she should also be friendly enough to train your merch seller (fan) for the night. And make sure your display is big, organized and in a prominent section of the venue near the door (or the place the venue has designated). You should bring lights for the merch display because many times venues will not have well-lit merch tables. And make sure you accept credit! Square, PayPal and Amazon all have free swipers and only take about 2.7%. It’s the difference between making an average of $ 5 a head and $ 10 a head in merch.

+Double Your (Merch) Income.. No Really

Get A Merch Seller

You see touring bands tweet about this all the time: “Need someone to sell our merch tonight in Lincoln. Get into the show for free. email merch@ourband.com” Until you’re packing theaters, you won’t be able to afford to bring a merch manager on the road with you, but you MUST have a seller at the table before, during and after the show. Not having someone by the table while you’re playing will cost you. Bands bitch all the time about low merch sales, but most of the time they aren’t selling because they aren’t doing it right. If someone wants your t-shirt or CD but has to leave early and glances at the merch table on his way out and there’s no one there, he’ll leave without buying anything. No one is going out of their way to try to pay you. And they definitely won’t go online and buy it once they leave the venue. Get a merch seller!

Park The Van

Many venues will allow you to load in near the stage door, but won’t have a spot for you to park and you will need you to move your car from the load in door. This can be huge hassle if there isn’t a free, dedicated parking spot. I’ve had to spend up to 30 minutes finding parking and walking back to venue. Be mindful of this and plan accordingly. And to make sure you avoid this hassle, always go over parking when you advance the show with the venue a week or two beforehand.

Setup the Room

This is typically very overlooked by most artists. It’s your night at the club and you want your fans to have a good show, so look out for them. Many venues (and especially colleges) will be able to setup their room multiple ways. Sometimes the way a room is setup needs to be changed for your show. For instance, if you want people to dance, but the room is full of chairs, all it takes is asking your point person at the club (or sound guy) if you can get rid of the chairs or shift them around to clear a dance floor.

Some venues are set as is and you will not be able to change anything ever, so be aware of that too.

Nearly every college I’ve played (over 100) I’ve had to rearrange the room to make sure people would be comfortable. No one knows your show experience better than you. Take initiative and work with your point people to rearrange the room to fit what’s best for your show and your sound.

Hand Off The Guest List

You then need to make sure the door guy has your guest list. Some venues require this list to be emailed well before the doors open. Make sure to go over this information when you advance the show.

Settle Up

You should also find out who you are settling up with at the end of the night. Hopefully that person is the same person you advanced the show with. Before the show, go over the other agreed upon details that are in your email confirmation and that you advanced: drink deal, food deal, lodging, door cut or guarantee, set length, curfew, etc. And ALWAYS count the cash in front of the manager. It’s not insulting, it’s expected.

I once played a show where lodging was included in my deal that I negotiated with the talent buyer, but the venue manager on that night didn’t know about it and no one booked a hotel. (I also forgot to advance this show!) At the end of the night, all local hotels were booked and I ended up crashing on the beer stained couch of a fraternity with a party happening around me till 5am. That’s when ear plugs come in handy!

Dinner

It may seem like musicians NEVER forget to eat, and most of the time you’d be right, but I can’t tell you how many shows I didn’t actually schedule time to eat, got caught up in all the other show prep, and felt light headed by the end of my set because of my growling stomach. Schedule dinner!

Photo is by Davmi Pics from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter who has played over 600 shows around the world. He is the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

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Ari Herstand
Digital Music News