There’s No Single Music Business Anymore

Casey Rae's "Room for Debate" Op-Ed in the New York Times talks about the challenges and opportunities of the current music streaming model:

It’s important to remember that there has never been a single business for music. Why should we expect the digital era to be one-size-fits all? Taylor Swift and her label have the goal of “moving units," and that’s fine for her. Other artists just want to pay for gas to the next gig. And some artists don’t tour at all. We should consider which business models give the broadest swath of creators an opportunity to reach fans and earn a living. Easier said than done.

But there is an opportunity to improve on the existing streaming models, including — but not limited to — direct payment to creators under equitable splits, premium tiers for super fans and purchase-to-unlock incentives. It would be great if music licensing laws allowed for more services to compete on how well they serve artists and fans. That way, we can have our heads in the clouds with our feet firmly planted on the ground.

Is There a Music Festival Bubble?

An opinion piece from Heru's Casey Rae in the New York Times' Room for Debate column looks at the past, present and future of mega-festivals.

"The very first music festival probably took place in a small clearing, just a pterodactyl’s throw from the main cave; the manufacturers of crude stone implements no doubt sponsored the one after that.

"Woodstock came later, demonstrating huge demand for music, drugs and the communal experience. With recorded music revenue in a protracted free fall, the live space has become an even greater industry obsession."

Read more...

Growing the Digital Marketplace

Here’s a simple way of looking at things for those at the intersection of intellectual property and technology. There are two basic choices with any given use of intellectual property: block/deny or license. Each choice comes with a submenu of options, and that’s where things can get sticky. With “block/deny,” it’s a question of which regulations and technologies can be applied to allow owners/creators to exercise their rights, along with which exceptions/limitations to those rights best serve the public interest (and let’s not forget the fact that authors and the public are the express Constitutional beneficiaries of intellectual property and copyright). Option II, “license,” is what establishes the marketplace for content and innovation. The questions here are about efficiency, investment and equity. In this space, things are rarely black and white. There are compromises and tradeoffs within both buckets. It should be the goal of industry and policymakers alike to ensure that any agreements—statutory or marketplace—serve the fundamental interests laid out in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution. 

Here at Heru, we're committed to helping you understand your options and how they can be exercised within a policy and marketplace framework. Understanding what's coming around the bend is crucial to success in this space. Drop us a line for a free introductory consultation.

Quartz Reports on Streaming Music Trends

Heru's Casey Rae talks about marketplace trends in digital music at Quartz:

"Streaming music, it’s kind of like the moon race, everybody wants to get there first,” says Casey Rae, an adjunct professor at the University of Georgetown and a vice-president of the Future of Music Coalition, an advocacy group for musicians. “It seems like an open contest, but it’s really not.” The winner, Rae told Quartz, “is probably going to be a company that has other properties, that doesn’t need to depend on the streaming platform itself."

The world of media and technology is moving at warp speed and each new development requires consideration and informed analysis. We're thrilled that press outlets are starting to ask the right questions about where things are heading.