Pandemic stricken SXSW has sold half its stake to Penske Media – The publisher of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Vibe, and Variety.
“It’s been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” Roland Swenson, SXSW CEO & co-founder said in a statement. “When [Penske founder] Jay Penske came to us with interest in becoming a partner, it was a true lifeline for us. While SXSW’s core business will retain its focus on the March event in Austin, this strategic investment also brings the exploration of new capabilities in providing quality programming to our diverse community of highly engaged creative professionals.”
The popular conference that drew artists and media creatives around the world has been forced online. It’s been 2 years since the last in person gathering.
Songwriters getting stiffed has been breaking the internet as of late. This all came to light during the covid pandemic that permanently changed the music landscape.
ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus the man behind “Dancing Queen” urges changing the structure to ensure fairness for writers behind the music. Another community of songwriters called The PACT have also called out artists who take songwriting credit without contributing to the song.
Also, performing artists would generate income from concerts and merchandise, but songwriters just generate from the song itself.
Nevertheless, the streaming payout is a bit funky. The big streaming platforms split the subscription money and spread it out based on play counts to rights-holders or management organizations, who then distribute it according to their agreements.
The biggest super star artists are disproportionately making the lions share at the expense of middle class artist. Winner takes all!
Apple Music revealed that it pays penny per stream, roughly double what Spotify pays music-rights holders.
The Union of Musicians said that all music streamers should pay one penny per stream at a minimum.
Apple has 60 million Music subscribers while Spotify has 155 million. Amazon has 55 million subscribers.
Artists aren’t paid directly by streaming services, rather they pay royalties to rights holders (labels, publishers, distributors). The right holders then pay artists.
Apple roughly 52 cents of every dollar, to record labels, whereas Spotify says it pays two-thirds of every dollar of revenue to rights holders, with 75% to 80% of that going to labels—translating to 50 to 53 cents on the dollar.
TikTok is disrupting the music industry. It’s done good for the industry, but the good also has a downside.
Users on TikTok are all about the song, not the artist. The song goes viral, not the artist. Sure, the artist is attached to the song, but remembering the name of the artist is like remembering the 9 digit phone number. No doubt, TikTok is an explosive marketing tool for song exposure. Warner Music, Sony, and Universal Music Group struck licensing deals with the platform, artist have signed deals with labels, and a few TikTok viral tracks even bubbled into the mainstream sphere. With all that, it has created some long term problems.
Right now, TikTok is the dominant algorithmic machine that’s being fed daily with tracks. I’m not sure artists have another go to place outside of TikTok. It’s certainly not Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Also, the 30 to 60 song clips are furthering hijacking attention spans which is not necessarily healthy for the creative business. TikTok has changed the way music sounds. As far getting paid for your work, that’s another issue and I’ll delve into that next time.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino predicted in February that large-scale 2021 concerts could return in the United States by this summer. Since then, he’s been very quiet. We all thought we’d be further along ahead with the covid virus. Unfortunately, the CDC predicted a tough rough ahead before getting back to normalcy.
Also, Live Nation has invested more into virtual events, acquiring the streaming platform Veeps.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster are focusing on selling tickets for 2022 events, including The Weeknd’s After Hours World Tour. The Weeknd is scheduled at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Jan. 29, 2022 and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on April 3rd.
“On the artist side, there is a broad desire to get back on stage – to connect with their fans and to provide economic support to their bands, crew, and the hundreds of others employed each night putting on the show. Given the limited touring activity in 2020 and 2021, the pipeline for 2022 is much stronger than usual, with almost twice as many major touring artists on cycle in 2022 than a typical year – about 45 artists versus the usual 25. And there remains plenty of scheduling availability at arenas, amphitheaters, and stadiums to accommodate these additional tours, with over two-thirds of these venues’ nights unused by sporting events or major concerts in a typical year.”