Author Archives: ratpie

My Platform, Right or Wrong!

It was an early hero of the United States navy, Stephen Decatur, Jr., who gave the world the dubious chant of nationalist zealots, reportedly in an after dinner toast to, Our country – in her intercourse with foreign nations, may … Continue reading

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A New Social Contract For Music

Music, in its various forms, has done quite well in the age of copyright. Digital technology has brought with it many tipping points, when old certainties give way to chaos before finding new stable states. Any new stability will rely, as … Continue reading

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Record Labels! Beware of Fake Independence!

Giant corporate groups are a fairly recent development in the music industry. The most extraordinary and wonderful music has always been produced outside the city walls by innovative and committed independent record labels. Around 40% of recorded music industry value … Continue reading

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A Fair Way to Bridge the Value Gap

The music industry says that artists, labels, and songwriters are getting a raw deal from services that allow users to upload content. The beef is that user-uploaded songs, which may generate advertising revenue for the service and the uploader, compete … Continue reading

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Pricing Music Fans in the New Data Economy

In 2003 digital artist Angie Waller released a wonderful project she called ‘Data Mining the Amazon’. Asked about it by art community Rhizome Waller offered the following: I was surprised that books about military battles and corporate takeovers pointed to the … Continue reading

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The Simple Maths of the New Music Industry

The pre-modern music industry could be navigated with some very simple maths. Bands made records, record labels sold them to shops. Wholesale revenue wasn’t that much more complicated than units x price. And what mattered to most bands was the size … Continue reading

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The Sadness of Crowds

Marillion’s 2001 release, Anoraknophobia, was a pun for a different age. Singer Steve Hogarth told the BBC in May of that year, “In those days everyone was pointing and laughing and calling us nerds. Now it’s the trendy thing to do.” They … Continue reading

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One Music Copyright Can Be Better Than Two

Music copyright was developed in nineteenth century France as a response to an obvious unfairness. Bars and restaurants could hire musicians to entertain their customers, raising sales and profits. The restaurant owner benefited, the musicians got paid, but the composers … Continue reading

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Streaming versus Downloads? The Fight is Far From Won

The recent decline in the music download market, coupled with an acceleration in the streaming revenue numbers, has led many to predict the kind of transition that saw the end of the cassette tape, or indeed the cart and horse. There … Continue reading

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Change How We Think First, Technology Second

Many years ago I was asked to discuss with the board of a trade association how the music industry was changing. One prominent executive summed up by saying “complexity has served us well”. A few days ago Spotify’s James Duffett-Smith … Continue reading

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