I’d like to apologize to everyone for the three day lag. It was unavoidable. Unfortunately. So, during that time, I was thinking about (on a deeper level) just how music streaming has permanently changed the game, for both new artists & fans of music forever! While there exist so many things that the streaming industry has done right, there are so many other things that has gone wrong!
The Growing Disappearance Of Music Labels, Turned Today’s Musicians In To Spam Hustlers
You know, I’ve always had mixed feelings about music labels. Although I disliked the fact that they’ve cheated both artists and fans for over a half a century, I also could not deny the reality of how much it actually cost to manage an artist or band. It’s not just getting up on stage and singing. It used to be that an artist needed a publicist, wardrobe planner, studio rentals, coaches, travel expenses, and even an office to handle their revenue and taxes.
Although the music labels were crooks, they also took on all of those responsibilities (and then some) previously mentioned for the artist. Suddenly, the artist realizing not just how much work it is to be a musician, but the financial strain of becoming a successful one. It’s also quite obvious how hip hop is hitting hard on social media, to the point of becoming spammers. Especially when it comes to Facebook. I think it’s important to note, once you start looking like a spammer, people eventually ignore you, and many times block you. Almost all artists are using automated bots. Most have no personal websites with their own music. Most don’t have a bio. The mindset is, get your music on Spotify and watch the money roll in. When it doesn’t, the artist blame Spotify.
Real Talent Needs To Interact With Fans, Bots Can’t Do Everything For You!
This is why, despite what many foolishly think…… The reality is we still, and will forever need music bloggers. Although albeit, technically you don’t need us to review music anymore, ’cause people can just look it up on YouTube and listen to the artist themselves. However, music bloggers can point you in the right direction, provided that our musical tastes are similar. Bottom line, the problem with YouTube is that you still need to know what you’re looking for before you can find it. But, the other problems is, many people want everything instant, and don’t want to take the time to read, or take time to see what bloggers offer. It’s a behavior that makes our web presence difficult, but it’s the reality we live in. You just have to work harder to find venues that attract people that are still in love with music, and venues that attract the kinds of fans you’re looking for. The same goes for music bloggers. This is why it’s important to do it because you love it, not because you have dreams of making millions of dollars with Spotify; because the landscape has changed.
Maybe it’s the blogger in me, but I’ve often wondered…. If streaming existed 50 years ago, would legends such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Jose Feliciano, be the legends they are today? Or perhaps let’s go 50 years further with men like, Willie McTell or Leon Payne, would they have been just as successful? I haven’t seen any real write ups on this, and this subject matter has drummed up quite a few interesting questions for me. As YouTube grows and becomes even more powerful every day, how is it that we’re not seeing not only talented visually impaired musicians, but any musician with disabilities today making a statement on the web?
I guess, someone could just as easily make the argument that I’m perceiving this in the wrong way. That is, if we use examples like Andrea Bocelli, who not only has an incredible voice, he has worked with some big names in his career. We’re talking Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Edith Piaf, and has even worked with today’s mainstream artists such as Jennifer Lopez. But, this still doesn’t explain the lack of presents of disabled musicians today; especially when we consider the level of technology now available. AND considering artists like Andrea, Stevie, etc, made their mark before streaming. How could we begin to even measure this?
Then again, I also thought to myself, this could also be due to how streaming works now, in terms of being an independent artist. Indirectly, it would take an incredible amount of additional time for promotion alone. Which also means, a lot of money would be involved to trust someone to do these things for you. This I guess is one of the unfortunate downsides of the growing extinction of music labels today. I’m sure that there are many other factors I haven’t thought of, but it would really be an interesting subject, and I wish there were in-dept articles about it.Barbasol Ultra 6 Plus Premium Disposable Razor Value Pack Bundle (3 Packs/9 Total Razors)
I almost forgot to share with you guys! Last week, I was walking through Manhattan and spotted this amazing digital ad, featuring the legendary Calypso Rose! I was just shocked & stunned. It took me about 10 minutes before I realized my jaw hit the grown! Understand that I have not seen anything physical that pertained to Calypso Rose since I was a little boy in the seventies. No album, no magazine article, no nothing! A lot of Jamaicans and West-Indians I’ve encountered in my life time claim they love calypso music, & know music history, yet did not appear to have ever owned a Calypso Rose album, or have trouble remembering who she is. Fire In Me Wire (c.1967) was one of her biggest calypso hit of her career. Every party my family thrown together always included Calypso Rose’s music. Damn, thinking about this makes me miss my grandpa all over again. Anyway, I was elated to see that she is honored in this way. Maybe now as we advance in to digital technology, we can see more of our lost culture!
To be honest, I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with this post, but… It seems to me that music has gotten a little more complicated. In the age of streaming, it has become more than just access to listen to whatever type of music you want. Believe it or not, it just now occurred to me that privacy in regards to music streaming is an issue too. How is privacy an issue? Well, let me start off by saying that “privacy” isn’t just making sure your name and credit card information is secure while your on the web.
Music Has Become A Privacy Issue Too!
How so? Companies like Spotify are collecting large amounts of data that contain our music habits. While I understand the data collected is essential and necessary to putting together the best possible app experience, it’s the 3rd party applications I’m concerned about. As I’ve said once before, although it’s fun to share music on social media, music is also a personal thing too. Different types of music has personal meaning to it. There are times when you may not want certain groups of friends know that you love to listen to certain artists. We shouldn’t be a shamed of the music we like to listen to; however at the same time, social pressure is real (especially for young people).
A perfect example of this is when I tried a site called Last.FM. It’s a cute site that scrobbles your music. There is a third party Spotify application that allows Last.FM to keep track of the music you’re listening to on Spotify. Other members of Last.FM can see your listening history and then some. Problem? You’d have to remember to disable that third party plugin, if you don’t want friends to know that you actually love Metal music, or music that is so obscure no one has ever heard of them.
Why Should I Even Care?
You might be saying to yourself “why should I care what people think?” Well, once you pass a certain age, you really shouldn’t in my opinion. On the other hand, I’ve seen younger people get frustrated when friends don’t invite them to social gatherings, simply because of assumptions made solely based on the music they listen to. That’s the one issue that never, ever seemed to exist when I was growing up. Sometimes, even as a blogger I find all this information a nuisance, because I don’t want people to get an idea of what I want to write about before I actually write it. It spoils the surprise. I think it’s important that the public becomes aware of how data collection/migration is effecting our lives in the most subtle of ways.
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.
Congratulations to the legendary performer Stevie Nicks, member of Fleetwood Mac, of being the first woman ever to be inducted in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame twice! That is phenomenal! Both Stevie and Fleetwood Mac are incredibly talented, and they deserve all the accolades! As far as I’m concerned, Stevie Nicks has been officially immortalized! She is now forever etched in music history. Check out The Rolling Stone Magazine, and watch her acceptance speech. It’s kind of long, but it’s hilarious to listen to her tell her story of how everyone met.
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.