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Three Reasons Why We're not Getting the Most Out of Streaming Audio

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  • #16
    Originally posted by KB Gunn View Post
    What are we doing wrong? We are saying we love streaming...
    It's easy to love streaming, but not the various business models based on it.

    15 years ago, when Napster was first happening, I proposed that record companies put their entire catalogs online - using 8-bit resolution. My theory was that 8 bits was good enough to decide if you were interested in something, but not good enough for "real" listening which would induce them to buy the download. I also felt that being able to audition anything would cause people to find music they would not have heard otherwise, and buy the high-fidelity version.

    Eventually I saw this evolving into a "celestial jukebox" where people could pay to hear a song on demand, or buy an unlimited subscription like cable TV, or purchase a download. I was hoping was this would start a model where people budgeted for music, like they budgeted for TV or season tickets to events or whatever.

    It didn't quite turn out that way



    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by KB Gunn View Post
      Major studios are folding left and right. Musicians are now waiters and fast food employees who will soon get $15 an hour which is more than they make as musicians. 50 cent went bankrupt. He said his lifestyle is an illusion. He gets things for a day and then returns them to the stores. It is all because of free downloading. Now streaming is the final nail in the industry's coffin.

      Sorry for the rant. I just can't accept the idea that we love streaming. It has resulted in the destruction of the music industry.
      I'm not sure it's that simple...,many factors contributed to kill the music industry. Bear in mind that most musicians didn't make any real money off music. It was an illusion from record companies taking the money from the top 10% of acts and investing in studio time and touring for new acts, most of which stiffed. But, they got a ride in a studio to make an album or two and opened a couple tours. Then they became waiters and fast food employees

      Where this really started to go south was when record companies adopted the blockbuster mentality from movies, where they poured all their money into a "sure thing," with the most famous example probably being Michael Jackson's "History." As companies were acquired by multinational corporations, the emphasis became tomorrow's bottom line, not investing in a band because some producer's instincts said "this band is gonna be big someday." Someday was not good enough any more.

      Then the US missed the opportunity for a resurgence of music from the performing DJ culture because of draconian drug laws that made it too risky to open a club. No venues, no places to play...the only strain of DJs that could survive were the mobile DJs playing Barbra Streisand songs at weddings.

      Apple, intentionally or not, devalued music even further when they introduced the iPod. Sure, it could hold thousands and thousands of tracks. Were people going to pay for thousands and thousands of tracks? Of course not.

      Digital technology is a big problem, and it's one the record companies gleefully embraced because they could repackage music released on vinyl, preferably from someone dead, and get a huge profit margin. Granted, digital technology was inevitable...but it was driven by greed initially, and remains set on that course today.

      Ultimately, there's a chance streaming will be a solution. But it's going to take a while for a model to solidify.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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      • #18
        As the MBAs and numbers guys flooded the industry in the 1970s, they appear to have quickly realized that sophisticated, adult music lovers simply don't respond much at all to the sorts of promotion that do work with teen and dance pop markets, which are much more responsive to paid media promotions, TV and other co-promotions, and orchestrated hype campaigns -- some of the very things that drive more independently-minded listeners away.

        But in the market that centers around the top of the pops, hype and notoriety alone can drive sales. Cue H.L. Mencken quote.
        Last edited by blue2blue; 07-30-2015, 05:20 PM.
        .

        music and social links | recent listening

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Anderton View Post

          Bear in mind that most musicians didn't make any real money off music. It was an illusion from record companies taking the money from the top 10% of acts and investing in studio time and touring for new acts, most of which stiffed. But, they got a ride in a studio to make an album or two and opened a couple tours. Then they became waiters and fast food employees
          The odds have always been against musicians "making it" in the traditional sense of the word - even for those who had recording contracts.

          Where this really started to go south was when record companies adopted the blockbuster mentality from movies, where they poured all their money into a "sure thing," with the most famous example probably being Michael Jackson's "History." As companies were acquired by multinational corporations, the emphasis became tomorrow's bottom line, not investing in a band because some producer's instincts said "this band is gonna be big someday." Someday was not good enough any more.
          The Suits sometimes don't understand that art must be nurtured if the goose is to continue laying the golden eggs... A little R&D investment today can sometimes pay off big tomorrow.

          For many artists, it's probably better to go it alone rather than to rely on a big multinational corporation to help them get their art out to the world - especially if they want to maintain artistic control. The problem is, it's harder to break an act without their huge promotional resources.

          Then the US missed the opportunity for a resurgence of music from the performing DJ culture because of draconian drug laws that made it too risky to open a club. No venues, no places to play...the only strain of DJs that could survive were the mobile DJs playing Barbra Streisand songs at weddings.
          Which leads to the question - is this an example of survival of the fittest, or a rare exception to the rule?
          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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          • #20
            What did I end up doing while on holiday last week?

            Splicing a pair of proprietary Samsung speaker connections onto speaker cables, so a friend could use his old Sony bookshelf speakers with his Samsung HD surround receiver. It's still not the best, but at least he can enjoy TV and music without it all sounding like a thick blanket of unintelligible bass, with 5 kazoos on top.

            They're not making this gear like they used to.

            That Samsung unit could play every digital format we threw at it. Including mp3s from the SD card in my buddy's Samsung phone, but the sound it puts out in the room is actually pretty disgraceful for a system of that price, even for movies/talkies.

            I suppose it's always a bad sign when the sound of a subwoofer makes you laugh
            Last edited by gubu; 08-01-2015, 08:42 PM.
            flip the phase

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Dendy Jarrett View Post
              Adrian: GREAT article.

              And to your point about this generation of listeners.

              I thought you and others would also find this article by Chris Marion a nice tie-in (if you hadn't already seen it) He talks about a multi million dollar studio using $18,000 mics to record music that will be listened to by people wearing $10 earbuds.

              http://www.harmonycentral.com/articl...r-bud-business
              Thanks Dendy. Actually, the argument in my article for using old hifi systems was definitely informed by CM's article. Inspired by it, in fact.


              All of us who work with audio have bemoaned streaming and other data compressed formats at one time or another. But the fact is, that in addition to sourcing and using the best possible gear, often at great expense, the best studio engineers have really figured out how to represent their recordings through digital media since everything went pocketshaped. This century has seen really exciting innovations in the integration of analogue signal paths with digital dsp for music recording. There is some really cool recording gear out there these days, being backed up by insanely powerful and beautifully engineered software and DSP, and a lot of stellar sounding music is being produced in these formats as a result of all of that.

              But you can't hear that through many modern consumer systems.
              Last edited by gubu; 08-01-2015, 09:40 PM.
              flip the phase

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              • #22
                Convenience trumps sound quality every time for the average consumer. Always has; always will. My wife loves using Pandora and uses the Bluetooth to play it off her phone into her car when driving. Lately she's taken to just listening to it off her phone while in the kitchen. Which, of course, sounds nightmarish.

                I asked her why she doesn't just turn on the Pandora on the sound system in the living room and she says "it's too much trouble to deal with all the remotes". I ask her "yeah, but how can you like the way that sounds off the phone?" She says she doesn't like it much, really, but it's easier.

                So I go out to buy her a little Bluetooth speaker at Best Buy. Wow. They've only got what seems like 1,000 different models to choose from. Some sound horrid. Some sound pretty darn good. Not wanting to spend a fortune on something I won't likely use much myself and for which my wife only has limited concern about sound quality, I decide on a $120 Bose speaker that I thought sounded the best at that price point.

                Not great, but sounds a million times better than the kitchen radio my parents had when I was a kid.
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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Anderton View Post

                  I'm not sure it's that simple...,many factors contributed to kill the music industry. Bear in mind that most musicians didn't make any real money off music. It was an illusion from record companies taking the money from the top 10% of acts and investing in studio time and touring for new acts, most of which stiffed. But, they got a ride in a studio to make an album or two and opened a couple tours. Then they became waiters and fast food employees
                  Yep. I'm sure it's true that Joe Walsh isn't collecting as many royalties from "Rocky Mountain Way" as he used to under the new paradigm of streaming. And of course record sales are just a fraction of what they were during the peak years in the 70s and 80s.

                  But you're right that even back then, only a few artists at the very top ever made any real money in the business anyway. And even without things like downloading and streaming, I suspect the record industry still wouldn't be what it once was. Young people's connection to music and music artists peaked during those years and today seems to have receded back to more of what it was during the earlier parts of the 20th century. It's a cultural shift that the technological changes certainly have played into, but I can't blame it on streaming and downloading alone for the fact that there is no modern equivalent of The Beatles or Led Zeppelin.


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                  • #24
                    I just came across this great article from a couple of years ago, about the audio quality of the iPhone 5. There is plenty of subjective analysis, but it is backed up by technical data. And the author makes a couple of very interesting points about clocking and grounding.

                    Well worth a read:- http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iph...io-quality.htm
                    Last edited by gubu; 08-05-2015, 04:21 PM.
                    flip the phase

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