WBEZ | Spotify http://www.wbez.org/tags/spotify Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is YouTube the new record store? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-06/youtube-new-record-store-107605 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4481461680_4273d06822_z.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/Rego Korosi)" /></p><p>When <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanthony" target="_blank">Romanthony</a> passed last month, I rushed to YouTube to pull up as many of his songs as possible. My iPod was broken. Spotify would only have bits and pieces. But on YouTube, I could find the classics that spoke to me years earlier and still resonated deep in my psyche. I started with <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kN6Ix9lv_k" target="_blank">&quot;Hold On&quot;</a> and transitioned to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt-FyuuvNRg" target="_blank">&quot;The Wanderer,&quot;</a> eventually falling into a beautiful hole of soulful and deep house, genres I hold up as beacons of truth and musical beauty.&nbsp;</p><p>YouTube is my iPod. YouTube is my record store.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s not about the rejection of the physical space. Rather, it is about how we discover and rediscover new and old music. It is my place for accessing something quickly and then moving on. It is my place for finding something lost, for discovering one song after the next as related artists and albums and genres blend together to form one perfect space of music. A song is just a click away. Consumption is easier and more accessible. Discovery happens in an instant.</p><p>I cannot remember the last music video I saw. I grew up fascinated with the form, sure that I would someday create them. In music, I found perfect snapshots of the human condition. My favorite films are slices of life, quick glimpses into a character&rsquo;s life, and then a slipping away as fast as the audience entered the story. Songs exist in much the same way. They too were slices of life, were snapshots, were ways in which I could gather a quick glance of the musician&rsquo;s state of mind and then slip away. A music video then was a way to explore this: what was he or she trying to say and how can we continue to say it.&nbsp;</p><p>But the way I consume music now is so radically different than in childhood. The aural and visual were intertwined then. Now, I think about music as the soundtrack to my life, a way to escape the outside world, a way to concentrate on things that need to get done. It exists as a complement to my everyday existence. Visuals matter little. Sometimes I fear lyrics do as well. What I crave then is mood, rhythm, the way the song feels, and access.</p><p>In March, Google announced a plan to launch its own competitor to Spotify through YouTube, though YouTube already surpasses Spotify in many ways. Specifically, it is a great source for underground, obscure, and out of print music. Will these songs be eliminated with the launch of the new service? It appears unlikely, but Google is known to make swift cuts with little notice. YouTube certainly won&rsquo;t go away, but will our unlimited access to just songs for songs sake still survive? At its core, this is what brings me back again and again to YouTube. Actual music videos matter little.</p><p>According to an <a href="http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/03/05/youtube-streaming/" target="_blank">article</a> from CNN, this consumption practice is more common than not. Writers Ryan Bradley and Jessi Hempel wrote:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Most of the website&#39;s top viewed videos are music, and the viewers of those videos represent a demographic that the record industry has always coveted: teens. Most tellingly, according to a Nielsen &quot;Music 360&quot; report from 2012, a startling 64% of teenagers prefer YouTube over any other music listening and discovery engine.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Not everyone went to the record store in the past and not everyone needs to go to one in the present. For the next generation, discovery happens with a few clicks. I can&#39;t say that this is worse than discovering music in the past. If one never grew up finding music by pouring through record bins, how could I dismiss how it is discovered now? What matters is that the curiosity and eagerness to find something different still exists. The medium in which they discover is less relevant.</p><p>The Internet and our access to a variety of different musicians, singers, albums, and genres of music within a matter of seconds has changed the way we consume music. It was during those late nights my freshman year of college that I first started listening to many of the musicians I still call my favorites. I think this has been a similar experience for many. Their tastes are now expansive. Perhaps they wouldn&rsquo;t have given the local hip hop or R&amp;B station a chance in the past, but now they can sample and discover and genuinely enjoy.</p><p>I cannot know for certain, but a part of me understands that the bands and artists that I most enjoy would not have been a part of my life without constant access to the Internet. I went through an intense phase obsessed with mutant disco, no wave, and post-punk music. Would I have found myself &quot;there&quot; if there was no YouTube, no access to millions of songs uploaded by faithful fans? I doubt it. I fell into that love by discovering other favored genres. The Internet as a whole led me from one source to the next. The consumption might be gluttonous, but it is still born out of a love of the overall power and pleasures of music.&nbsp;</p><p>A browser window is open at work as music plays. I don&rsquo;t look at the screen except to change the song. And it is the changing the song that is key. I understand the appeal of the cloud, but there is something to be said for wanting exactly one song and grabbing it immediately. I do not need everything with me all at once. What I need is to know that what is wanted at the right moment is there.&nbsp;My iPod has always reflected this idea. I keep the discographies of my five favorite artists, but for everyone else, it is dependant upon the force of my moods. &nbsp;</p><p>At its core, YouTube&rsquo;s appeal stems from its usability. It is the top video streaming service because of its ease and simplicity. With YouTube, audiences are able to share clips immediately and quickly. This same idea can be applied to music itself. Videos must be created for the songs to stream, but the image itself typically remains static. The song is what is really necessary.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-06/youtube-new-record-store-107605 So you want to be a famous musician? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/so-you-want-be-famous-musician-107318 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TYSEGALL.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="File: Garage rocker Ty Segall. (L.A. Record/Rachel Carr)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">On May 15, prolific noise rocker <a href="http://ty-segall.com" target="_blank">Ty Segall</a> announced that he will be releasing a&nbsp;<a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/50747-ty-segall-announces-new-album-sleeper/" target="_blank">new album</a>&nbsp;this August&nbsp;called <em>Sleeper</em>: his seventh solo record and first 2013 addition to an impressive discography of over <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ty_Segall#Discography" target="_blank">35 releases</a>&nbsp;(both solo and collaborative) since 2005.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But while some people idolize the 26-year-old <a href="http://pitchfork.com/features/cover-story/8996-ty-segall/" target="_blank">garage-punk prodigy</a>&nbsp;from San Francisco&nbsp;(his name was even <a href="https://twitter.com/HeyWhoreHey_/status/334700628720889856" target="_blank">trending on Twitter</a>&nbsp;on the day of his announcement via Pitchfork), others still have no idea who he is.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Segall exists in an odd bubble of half-fame and half-obscurity, in which he can play to sold-out venues across the country and still hang out in local record stores without being bothered too much. Unfortunately, most aspiring rock stars won&#39;t even get that far.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>The digital age is both a blessing and a curse for modern-day musicians. Websites like YouTube and Kickstarter can equal big business for artists, as online campaigns allow them to reach out to their fans directly via socia networking and potentially become viral sensations overnight.</p><p>On the other hand, free music streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora provide little financial yield for the musicians themselves (<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2012/09/26/161758720/how-musicians-make-money-by-the-fraction-of-a-cent-on-spotify" target="_blank">$0.004 per play</a>&nbsp;if you&#39;re unsigned) and cannot be relied upon to cover the ever-mounting costs of travel, instruments and gear, recording sessions and software, album distribution and any additional publicity required to become a household name.&nbsp;</p><p>Also, it should be noted that unless you&#39;re playing sold-out ampitheatres á la Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber, ticket sales won&#39;t net you a fortune either.</p><p>Lots of musicians get a jumpstart due to wealth or family connections, like when Taylor Swift&#39;s <a href="http://tasteofcountry.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-taylor-swift-2/" target="_blank">investment broker </a>father spent millions of dollars to finance her first album in 2006 and when Lana Del Rey&#39;s<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Del_Rey" target="_blank"> millionare parents </a>bought her out of one contract to sign her with another more lucrative label for instant stardom in 2011. &nbsp;</p><p>Does it depress you that Kelly Osbourne (daughter of Ozzy) got a record deal to sing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DunbWiCEvgU" target="_blank">horrible Madonna covers</a>, while scores of other truly talented bands and artists have dwindled into obscurity? Unfortunately, this kind of gross nepotism runs rampant in the music business today (see Jann Wenner putting his <a href="http://gawker.com/jann-wenners-kid-is-the-new-head-of-rollingstone-com-508921163" target="_blank">22-year-old son</a>&nbsp;in charge of RollingStone.com) and in most other areas of the entertainment industry as well.&nbsp;</p><p>So, how do artists <a href="http://stereogum.com/1218552/deconstructing-how-can-indie-musicians-break-even/top-stories/lead-story/" target="_blank">make money</a> when they don&#39;t already have the money to spend?</p><ul><li><strong>Selling merch: </strong>Retail&nbsp;CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, lighters, koozies and other creative items that are cheap to buy in bulk (and thus more likely to turn a profit).</li><li><strong>Campaigning on Kickstarter:&nbsp;</strong>Need some extra cash for your next album or tour? This popular crowd-funding site is worth a shot (hey, it worked for Amanda Palmer!)</li><li><strong>Dominating YouTube:&nbsp;</strong>Racking up views on this global channel could not only catch the attention of a major record label, but also garner you up to $1,500 per one million streams from&nbsp;advertising and/or corporate sponsorships.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Making a deal with iTunes: </strong>Independent artists usually see the most revenue from their albums via iTunes digital downloads. Full album downloads at roughly $9.99 could add up quickly, especially as you build your fanbase through touring and social-networking around the world.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Getting your song on a TV show:&nbsp;</strong>Start making those L.A. connections, because licensing fees for even just a small clip of one of your songs on a show like <em>Breaking Bad&nbsp;</em>could amount to a cool $250,000-$600,000 paycheck.</li></ul><p>Many relatively well-known musicians <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/apr/23/nick-hemming-music-day-job" target="_blank">still keep their day jobs</a>; not surprising, considering that the average musician makes only <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/musicians-income_n_1719908.html" target="_blank">$34,000</a>&nbsp;off their music in America each year&nbsp;<em>before</em> deducting expenses from touring, recording, etc. (which, given the rising prices of gas and fancy recording software, can wrack up quite the bill).</p><p>Even Pitchfork-famous indie artists like Grizzly Bear and Cat Power&nbsp;<a href="http://stereogum.com/1218552/deconstructing-how-can-indie-musicians-break-even/top-stories/lead-story/" target="_blank">have struggled to make ends meet</a>; so be&nbsp;practical about the pros and cons of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/11/how-musicians-really-make-money-in-one-long-graph/249267/" target="_blank">musician&#39;s lifestyle</a>&nbsp;before committing to it full-time.</p><p>If you&#39;re only making music for the money, then you should get out now. But if you truly love what you do&mdash;and don&#39;t mind riding in a smelly tour bus, starting out in tiny venues and living off Ramen noodles for months (or years) until you get your big break&mdash;then ignore the haters and keep rockin&#39; on.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter </a>or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/so-you-want-be-famous-musician-107318 Consuming music in a Facebook-friendly world http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-27/consuming-music-facebook-friendly-world-92493 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-27/Zuckerberg.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.spotify.com/" target="_blank">Spotify</a> hit American shores in early summer but the streaming music service really hit the spotlight when it recently teamed up with social network giant <a href="http://www.facebook.com" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. Spotify, which gives users access to more than 15 million songs, is free but different subscription rates provide users with more music and less commercials. So, is it as good a deal for music lovers as it sounds? And what does it mean for musicians and the music industry?&nbsp; <em>The A.V. Club</em>’s music editor, Steven Hyden, joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>to discuss.</p></p> Tue, 27 Sep 2011 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-27/consuming-music-facebook-friendly-world-92493