Author Archives: ratpie

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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The World Is Singing A New Song

We live in an age of everyday activism, with every purchase an expression of values as well as needs. Ideas about fairness go far beyond the impact of certified fair trading schemes; they permeate consumer marketing. Social media drives a radical transparency in … Continue reading

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Dear Music Industry, There is No Saviour Machine!

My beloved music industry is winding itself up again in one of its periodic pursuits of a saviour, and this time the lucky victim is the blockchain. It will go through much the same process as any of the other … Continue reading

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Two Ideas for a Bigger, Better Music Industry

We have come a long way in the music industry since the first faltering attempts to sell music online in the mid 1990s. A couple of personal anecdotes (names withheld to protect the guilty) from those years illustrate just how much music … Continue reading

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It’s a Playlist World. Time to Break the Lock-in!

Playlists are moving to the front and centre of music discovery and consumption. They alter the balance of power in the industry in some obvious, and some less obvious ways. So who is winning in a playlist world, and how … Continue reading

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Equal Pay for Equal Play is Only Fair for Streaming

Popular music is popular because it is listened to by more people, and that includes more people who are not such great music fans. The music industry needs to take this kind of information on board as we plan for … Continue reading

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Fairness and Advantage in Future Music Markets

A debate is being conducted by the stakeholders in the future of the music industry, about who should get paid, how much, and by whom. So much devilish detail is being left out that an intelligent observer would get a … Continue reading

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