Loud Folk Live: Quote of the Day

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:01 pm by George Smith

“It’s just very difficult to convince people to buy music.”

Said to the New York Times by Keith Caulfield, exec director of charts at Billboard, in the context of next week’s release of Taylor Swift’s new album, “1989,” expected to be a million-seller.

This, as a feature, because in 2014 the music industry has cratered again with not a single million-selling album in this country. It is, as Iggy Pop observed in London, an exchange of the private rip-off for a public one.

In related matters, today’s Business section of the Los Angeles Times has a piece on Pandora, one of the Internet “radio” streaming services, allegedly giving something to artists on the site, because … like … not paying anyone much of anything has really made people negative.

And what is it that is so swell, this thing Pandora is giving away for free to artists?

Well, since you read this blog, you know that anytime an Internet company talks about wonderful stuff it’s giving away for free, it’s either something worthless or another stab at something in your wallet.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Pandora Media, the king of personalized online radio services, pays recording artists, songwriters, record labels and music publishers close to $300 million a year in royalties. That’s not nearly enough to satisfy the company’s critics in the music industry, who resent how little Pandora pays each time a user plays a track.

On Wednesday, the company plans to start offering artists more than just royalties. It’s opening a new Artists Marketing Platform that provides detailed analytics for bands and their managers about their songs and their fans

Artists “will be able to see the number of thumbs up (the Pandora equivalent of a Facebook ‘like’) each of their tracks has earned from listeners, and some basic demographic information…” reads the newspaper.

Well, that’s just like money in the bank! You’ll know that you received 15 listens and two likes in Manhattan last month with no promotion at all. See how well the Internet and digitization of music so that it’s free or virtually so works for you?

“Consider Pandora AMP a peace offering of sorts to the artists who’ve complained bitterly about the royalties paid by streaming radio services — even as Pandora has pressed Congress to lower them,” continues the newspaper inconveniently.

Then you get a longish recitation, a shaggy dog story really, by Pandora founder Tim Westergren who reveals that he, too, was once in a struggling band before he “threw in the towel” (and started Pandora as an aggregator of music to rip off huge numbers of other strugglers).

One assertion is fabulous Culture of Lickspittle material, or as I also like to put it, more of the pissed-in-bathwater of progress the tech industry likes to pass off as lemonade: “Westergren argued then that Pandora can offer struggling musicians a path into the middle class by making it easier for them to attract, find and connect with fans.”


Or, more elegantly, paraphrasing from All’s Well That Ends Well: “He’s an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.”

Such remarkable benefits from being in the digital landfill.

But heck, you can still have a copy of Loud Folk Live, CD or digital. Any price! I guarantee enjoyment. A polemic to stomp your feet and shout along to. Or not.

Or, as written by Rock NYC this week:

[The] album is a joyful leap into Whitemanistan, into the big muddy where nothing matters but the readies.

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