What’s happening in regards to the streaming world, streaming services, and music. keeping you up-to-date on important issues that can affect music fans!
I know I’ve talked a little bit about this before, but.. I saw this article on Forbes’s website, about How Many Streams Make A Hit? This doesn’t work for old school music. There needs to be a way to mathematically convert old album sales to streaming numbers, in order to be included in the digital era (not compete, just simply included). Other wise the new generation of music lovers who like classics, could be missing out. Now that more people are using streaming, now instead of 100M being seen as a hit, now it’s over 2B. I’ll be lucky of some of the songs I write about hit 2k much less. Again, one of the many signs of our music history being lost. Not just from cultural ignorance, but because of how music streaming works. I guess also the mindset of the young too. These kids today will not listen to anything older than a month old it seems. That’s sad. Good music is good music, regardless of the year it was released. I digress.
I just wanted to take the time to personally say thank you for your support, and interest in reading my blog. The thousands of unique monthly visitors I receive every month, validates the desperate need to reconnect with both Black and Puerto Rican American music culture. Never forget that our history and life experiences are also told through our music. Music has always been in our blood since our existence. I deeply hope that new readers who may not use Spotify; make that as an excuse not to see value in what I’m doing. There are so many services that are ALSO FREE you can use to listen to the historic songs I post. All it cost is a few extra keystrokes of your time. Stop being so lazy & unwavering. You should know most music bloggers use Spotify and SoundCloud anyway.
Starting next week, my articles will get a little shorter. Writing blog articles is a lot of work, especially when you’re factoring in coding, gathering images, researching, deciding, spell correcting, grammar, and a host of other background stuff. I want to give you the best quality possible. Therefore to try and keep the 5 day consistency, I’ll write smaller articles. This will give me more time to do other things, and keep fans what they expect at the same time. Hope you guys are enjoying the diversity that my blog offers! Once again, thank you.
Every now and then, I think about this question a lot. I think that even many die-hard music lovers, who can’t live a day without listening to some form of music like I do, don’t realize the importance that music has in our lives. Now, what I’m writing about today is really more about personal feeling, rather than scientific research and hard numbers. Although I have found some interesting data to point you to. Whether we “listen” to music or not, we are effected by it in a profound way. Even when we watch a movie, without really understanding the scientific reasons for it; when we hear a particular music, it tells us when the actor is approaching danger. Another piece of music will send a subliminal message that something comedic is about to happen. Music isn’t just something we play when we feel like dancing or partying.
Not Based On Scientific Data, Although..
Music is almost like a miracle drug, once we take it, it can almost instantaneously effect our mood. Music just doesn’t heal us or make us feel good, it can also send us subliminal messages from the first musical note. This is one of the reasons I believe that although it appears that most people don’t pay attention to lyrics, it is important that music artist are mindful of the lyrics they use, because they are just as impactful as the music over a long period time. Furthermore, more so than not, I think that young people are still adversely effected by lyrics on a subconscious level, despite the fact that most young kids don’t take the time to reflect on them.
I stumbled upon an interesting report done by ifpi in 2018. It’s called a Music Consumer Insight Report. In essence, the report is not only a study on music behavior around the world, but the acceptance of music streaming. At the start of the report, it states that on average people listen to music over 2 hours everyday. Personally, I think we listen to music more than that. Why? The report doesn’t appear to take in to account people who have jobs in retail stores, who might be listening to music all day; or accurately representing data that may come from YouTube.
Understand how music plays a very important role in our lives, I’m kind of saddened by the new reality for inspiring artists today. Which is, if you’re not Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Drake, or lucky enough to get a once in a lifetime record deal, you’re just not going to get paid well from streaming services. I was watching a college interview on YouTube awhile back, and one of the women on the panel said that the value of music for new artists today (from streaming perspective), is the equivalent of someone making less than minimum wage. While legal streaming is still on the rise, according to that report, 38% of people (globally) still download illegally (despite being able to get it free legally by way of Spotify & YouTube). This reality confirms what I’ve been writing about for some time now, which is the fruits of their labor will not be seen until the old Napster generation dies off. Those old habits for most people cannot be broken.
To be honest, I really didn’t know what the hell I was going to call today’s article. But, I’ve been thinking of a subject I find interesting (kind of). For those of us older folk who decided to live in the 21st century (in regards to entertainment), how has music streaming changed (if any) your personal relationships with others? For instance; has creating a digital playlist, instead of making a cassette tape/CD for a “significant other,” indirectly made love feel a bit impersonal? On a deeper level, it’s not just about “the old days,” right? When someone made you a cassette tape (especially if it was a 90 minute tape), you knew that person spent all day deciding the right music to express his or her love to you. Then there’s the work of actually digging up all their albums and putting their final choices on the cassette with your name on it. Nowadays, your new mate can just have iTunes do it 10 seconds, and they will tell you “I’ve made a playlist just for you!” 🤣 😂
I’ve realized, while music streaming is the best thing that could have ever happen to mankind, it also can be the absolute worst for mankind. There are times I wish we could go back to the old business model. Although we couldn’t afford music, when we could we purchased music we appreciated, and were also able to physically archive them. I think that the unlimited access to music has somehow made this generation of music consumers even less diverse. And I now that there are many factors for that. Don’t get me wrong, I still keep in mind that not every young listener is closed minded to listening to other music genres, but at the same time they are a very very small minority. Also, the flip side to that is we now have a plethora of music history on streaming platforms that the average older folk refuse to learn, or too intimidated.
Music isn’t just about “changing someone’s mood.” The type of music we listen to, is often linked to the kinds of personalities we all have. With so many of the young generation almost exclusively listening to pop or hip hop, I often wonder what their social life would look like for these same individuals in their 60s? Or even 70s. I also wonder whether this can signify a lack of social growth? Not having parents that are musically diverse has really killed a lot of our culture, and no one seems to care, or willing to take responsibility. Then again, why would they? If you don’t understand the impact, they’re not going to give a rat’s ass.
Of course, it is also true that the future could surprise all of us and take a completely different direction. Naturally, as we get older (musically speaking), for many of us at some point we’ll start looking for different music as the old genres get repetitive. My only concern is that the algorithms are based one the artists we listen too overall. It will not be so easy to change those algorithms. I think this may mean we still need traditional radio. I know I’ve thrown a lot of different things in this article, but that was what I was thinking today. Some food for thought! Thanks for reading.
I know that I’m gonna ruffle a lot of feathers on this post! But, I don’t care because it’s my blog, I have the same right to exercise my opinion the same way everyone else does! I’ve been wanting to write about this ridiculous topic for quite some time now. I actually forgotten about it until recently. I was browsing some music blogs and I came across a rapper named Nyukyung. He appears to be Korean, and although I’m not really a fan of today’s rap music, I can hear this brotha has skills that rival some of the best American rappers!
My intent isn’t to write a whole big article on this subject, because the answer is really quite simple. We need to stop buying into the lie that “Caucasian people are stealing rap music.” The fact of the matter is, there are people all over the globe who not only love hip hop music, they’re also making hip hop music in their own countries. Any good psychologist will tell you, when someone is effected by something he/she love so much, it is inevitable that at some point, they will mimic that which they love.
Black music is good music. Period. It’s not about anybody stealing anything. I think what it boils down to, some Black artists who made rap their career feel a little threatened. Therefor try to apply the topic of systemic racism to hip hop music, and then literally have tried to force a “halt” on what’s seen as White hip hop. Music is a free market, you cannot try to control who makes hip hop, in the same way Blacks try to exclusively own the right to use the “N” word.
Damn Folks! We Must Get Rid Of Some Of This Excess Baggage.
I have never witnessed any Black hip hop artists try to claim that “the Japanese are trying to make money off of Black hip hop.” I never heard a Black artist yell and accuse “rappers from Sweden of hip hop appropriation!” In fact, when Black rappers “sample” music from other regions such as the Middle-East; I never heard anyone from those Asian countries complain that Black rappers are making money off their heritage and culture. The whole notion is absolutely absurd! The Black community as a whole really need to work on removing the unnecessary baggage we have concerning White racism. It’s not productive to us; especially at a time where Blacks have more creative power than ever. The truth of the matter is, since music was invented, different styles of music have been adapted into each modern music. That is a very natural part of creating DIVERSITY! This is why it is important for Black folk to be musically cultured.Shop Skincare at Fragrance.com and Save Up to 80% Off Retail Prices
You know, I was reading a recent article that discussed the issue of “The Death Of The CD And Optical Drives.” Actually we can add the old standard HDD drives that will also become obsolete very soon. From the standpoint of being music collectors, I think this is an important discussion we should have (especially people who are non-technical). While the article presents valid points, there are some issues I’m worried about that doesn’t seemed to be addressed.
The Eventual Extinction Of Backup CDs.
A lot of people may not care about making backup CDs, because even back in the 90s, almost no one made them! Then people would get mad because they had to pay a $150 fee for a Geek Squad employee @ BestBuy fix their computer. Backups were so important because if you did not take the time to create the backup CDs, if your HD died, the manufacture would charge you about $125 for the OEM discs. In fact, some of the lesser expensive laptops/netbooks were not designed to create backups. They were literally “as is.”
So, having said the above, here’s why I think this is relevant to music collectors. Simply put, eventually there will no longer be any mechanisms to digitally archive our personal history. Not just music, but our family photos, or artwork you don’t want uploaded anywhere. People are increasingly relying on cloud based systems. The problem with that is, the legal aspect! The legal aspect of saving copies of your purchased music on the cloud (your possible liability); and from the standpoint of you saving your photos on a cloud service, and it gets hacked (company liability, but there is no company liable to you, because when you clicked “I Agree” before using it, you freed that company from any financial responsibility). There are so many companies and third party entities tracking your habits, collecting all sorts of browser data on you, and then profiting from you by selling that information to other companies; I think it’s worth it to fight for the continued existence of optical media. Optical media is the only permanent storage that is least likely to malfunction. When and if CD media do become extinct, the law should require manufactures to have OEM recovery available on line for free download. Which probably means you would have to save it on a USB drive (hopefully that will still exist). All of this adds to the very real reality that we are facing a significant loss of our music and cinematic culture.
ueen of Hip hop, MC Lyte! You know, despite the fact that I felt MC Lyte was too ruff as a rapper, and the fact that she used a lot of profanity in her music, she was one of the very few rap artists I liked growing up. She had some hot beats that rivaled many rappers in the game back then. But, I couldn’t understand the “hardness” that many of the female rappers were projecting to the public. It wasn’t until much later that a I realized that there was so much stigma regarding female rappers, that I now believe that that “hardness” served as a representation of being just as good as a male rapper, in a male dominated rap culture. When I’ve watched “hip hop documentaries,” I’ve never saw one that mentioned the contributions to women in hip hop. Despite the success of people like Niki Minaj, it’s quite obvious that even today, there’s still a lot of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia (I may add) within hip hop.
Out of the blue, I happened to find a YouTube video of the Rev. Al Sharpton interviewing MC Lyte. It was aired on MSNBC, and the segment was called “Rap Legend MC Lyte Talks Rap Artists’ Importance In Time Of Donald Trump.” It was an interesting conversation about the vast contrast between hip hop then, and hip hop now. Lyte talked about how rap was extremely political when it first started out; how rap told the story of what was going on in the poor Black communities; and the videos for those songs helped to paint a picture of reality in the streets. It’s only a short 9+ minute interview, I highly recommend watching it.
Here’s my take on this tho. We’re not dealing with the same set of young people now as we did then. Back in the day, rap wasn’t just political, fun, and indirectly educational. Educational from the standpoint of forcing kids who wanted to be rappers to eventually move away from Ebonics, and actually pick up a dictionary.
I Still Say, Most Of Today’s Hip Hop Is All About Tits & Ass!
In the interview, Lyte talked about how rappers like KRS1 and Public Enemy are still doing their thing, helping the young to be more socially conscious. She also noted some newer artists are helping to carry that same torch, such as J Cole. However, I still say that the vast majority of hip hop’s young audience today is only interested tits and ass, because that’s the era they grew up in. Keep in mind, I’m not the only one saying this; people that’s been in the game forever is saying the same thing I am! The music industry help to glorify sex and violence in order to make money for so long; you can’t just undo all of that so easy after being exposed to that everyday, and every hour on the hour. I’d also like my readers to consider the real fact that the faces of hop hop has changed. Hip hop is no longer about “Black street music;” or telling the story of what goes on in the poor Black communities. Having said that, I’m really not sure if what people like MC Lyte are doing can really make an impact in the same way they once did today; ’cause of the cultural differences, and the fact that a lot of young kids only care about the beat (or can they twerk to it).
A last thought I have to share. Again, as a blogger, I’ve paid very close attention to the new hip hop artists coming up in the new streaming era. A lot of these guys are putting out a lot of garbage; and I’m not calling it garbage because hip hop isn’t my preferred genre; I’m saying this because many of the people putting this music out really don’t have any talent and or possess anything of value to contribute. All I see being talked about is “how you can make money on Spotify or Youtube.” That’s it! Nothing about the art of creating music, just buy a bunch of beats and spit of bunch of crazy shit into the mic, and watch all the billions of plays you’re supposed to get. These are not the kinds of artists that are interested in social consciousness and or being political.
Today’s Topic: Music Streaming & American Billboard. I stumbled upon an interesting article on the American Billboard’s website, on how the organization uses music streaming data in order to help them rank today’s music. As I’ve explained before, music streaming is here to stay. We are now living in an age where today’s young children never seen a phonograph before (that really makes me feel old 🤣 ). Despite the noted rise in vinyl sales, the vast majority of mom and pop record shops are still closing largely due to the rise in music streaming. Although I embrace streaming, as a classic blogger, I now believe we don’t have a way to truly measure a song’s greatness, worthiness, or popularity; because classic music has been migrated from an era where the business model was completely different.
I’ve Always Disagreed With Adding YouTube In Any Streaming Analysis
The one thing I’ve always had a hard time with, is organizations such as Billboard adding YouTube to their analysis. Now, some may say I’m just hatin’ on YouTube, but I’m actually not. I’m just coming from a point of view that, if someone actually buys a digital download, and or uses a paid streaming service, it has a greater value for the song in my opinion. WTF am I talking about? 🤣 Well, think about it for a minute. Services such as Spotify are more personal than just watching a YouTube video. And if it’s in your playlist, you’re more likely to hear it again, and again if you really love it. Let me put it this way; there’s a difference between a single IP address listening to a song multiple times from a playlist, than an IP address coming from YouTube, who may be listening to your song in a mixed video with other artists (this doesn’t necessarily make a song popular in my opinion); in addition there’s a difference between royalties, and YouTube monetizing. The only way this could make a difference, is if every artist sets up “Content ID,” and if they only include customers on “YouTube Red.” And, to my understanding their services isn’t growing they way they’ve anticipated.
What’s interesting in Billboard’s article, is that it talks about how they have now added some more tier streaming services. In other words, they’ve now added ad supported streaming, such as on Spotify. This I agree with, because although it’s a lower payout for artist, it’s still consistent royalties. Unlike YouTube, where their metric system is entirely f**ked. To help you get a sense of how YouTube/Google handle’s artist pay out, check out this article. I just don’t see how they can include YouTube in order to help determine song rank. I think YouTube should be separate personally.
Didn’t Mean To Get On A YouTube Rant
The article also talked about including trial based subscription service. I’m not sure if that should be included either. Because they must be basing this on the assumption the user will stay a member. And we all know that’s not true (unless they have data predicting an average as to how many keep their service I guess). So, this is interesting how both technical and complex music has gotten (in addition to the business itself). If you’d like to read Billboard’s, here’s where you’ll find it “Billboard Finalizes Changes to How Streams Are Weighted for Billboard Hot 100 & Billboard 200.”