Guest Blog: Digital, Artists, Labels and the Crisis of Plumeting Expectations

Enough of the empty cheerleading. Web-only networking can have a dark side, too — and the music community can do better. Playing devil’s advocate this week to one-dimensional Web 2.0 optimism, we welcome Dave Dri, musician, producer, and founder of Segue. -PK I write a column for a weekly street press magazine in Australia. The vast majority of the universe won’t have picked up that magazine, of course. But my topic this week has been bouncing around Interwebs, cafes, and clubs like an alarm clock, waking the electronic music community from a happy slumber. The cause for alarm: the dire …

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Will the Next Album You Buy Be Flash Memory? SanDisk Joins Major Labels, Big Box Retail, with slotMusic

Distributing music on USB sticks or removable flash memory is an idea various parties have tried for the last few years. The Creative Commons advocates at self-proclaimed “non-evil” indie label Magnatune sold USB sticks pre-loaded with ten albums in 2004; Barenaked Ladies had the nicely-named Barenaked on a stick. But to really make the idea (ahem) stick, you’d need some big distribution. And that’s what a new initiative backed by the major labels and massive flash memory manufacturer SanDisk promises to do. slotMusic.org | Press Release See also GearLog, which notes that SanDisk previously did a free promotional SD of …

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Track Where Your Fans Come From, Free

Brad Sucks, the (despite the name) well-loved Internet musician, has been blogging and releasing tools he’s building to make his online music life better. This one is especially nice: it’s a simple, open source script that connects mailing list sign-ups to Google Maps. Armed with this information, it’s easier to see where your fans are. (Image at right seems to suggest at least a one-person gig offshore of Nigeria, but you get the idea.) Brad’s Mappy Email Signup Release Early data is really interesting already. Of course, you need to have more than, say, five fans, but now’s a good …

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Web2 Watch: Mixaloo Launches “Digital Mix Tapes”

Mixaloo is a new service for building digital mix tapes. Counter-clockwise from upper left: assemble tracks, get recommendations and previews (or add your own recommendations), promote your mix online (via an embeddable widget), and make custom skins and cover art. The Web holds huge potential for music sharing and music discovery, but figuring out how to make that potential work — and how to navigate copyright and licensing laws in the process – has been a major challenge. This week, the creators of the website Mixaloo promised to “bring mix tapes into the digital age.” Whether you buy into that …

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Meatspace Networking for Musicians: Chicago Demo Swap Party Wrap-up

Ed.: Social networking, online sites (this being one of them), Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace … sometimes it seems like all the connections are being done online. Naturally, the Web’s real power is when you can meet all those virtual personalities you’ve gotten to know offline. Far better than getting demo CDs in the mail or listening to someone’s tracks on MySpace: meeting them at a party over a drink and getting their music from them directly. Such is the genius of Chicago’s Demo Swap. Co-organizer Liz has this wrap-up of what July’s party was like. Non-Chicagoans (heck, fellow New Yorkians), clearly …

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Internet Radio Wins Temporary Delay, Possible Minimum Rate Break

This may stretch your definition of “good news” for webcasters, but the latest on the Internet Radio crisis runs something like this: Webcasters don’t yet have to pay new fees for their broadcast. But they’re still accruing debt — fast. Sort of like our credit card debt. Webcasters may get a small break on the minimum fee, one that could literally have shut down “personalized” radio services. SoundExchange explains the deal thusly: Under the new proposal, to be implemented by remand to the CRJs, SoundExchange has offered to cap the $500 per channel minimum fee at $50,000 per year for …

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The Day the Music Died, Otherwise Known As The Dawning Era of Negotiations

Several readers have observed this quite eloquently, but let’s summarize: laws around music are complicated, messy, and confusing. If they don’t seem that way to you, you’re either a lawyer or you haven’t done your homework. That said, without question, proposed changes to streaming music licensing fees would be devastating to Internet radio, because not just top 40 music requires license fees — even many indie labels are RIAA members and participate in SoundExchange. But here’s the key: they’d be devastating as proposed. And suddenly, at the eleventh hour, SoundExchange seems to be backpedaling. (Their strategy, evidently: push as hard …

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Eerie Quiet, Days Before Monday’s “End of Internet Radio” Deadline

Photo: geodesic. Cricket sound: provided by you. Hear that? Nothing. No, it’s not silence making a political point, as with the Internet Radio Day of Silence staged last week by web radio to protest punishing new royalty rates by showing what they could cause. This is an even more disturbing silence: as the deadline for new US rates for Net radio approaches, online radio’s supporters seem to be desperate and exhausted. Here’s the problem: net radio supporters, concerned that new rates (and the backdated royalty rates that would be owed along with them) could kill Internet radio, haven’t exactly gotten …

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Today is Internet Radio Day of Silence; Join Musicians in Support of Fair Rates

If you switch on your favorite radio stream and hear something unusual — people talking about Internet policy, ambient sounds, or nothing at all — you’re getting a glimpse of a world that could be here by next month. To illustrate the devastating effect new US royalty rates could have on online broadcasters, broadcasters large and small are making today, Tuesday, June 26, a “day of silence.” They’re not just being dramatic: online broadcasters from public radio stations to big services like Rhapsody have said they simply won’t be able to swallow the new rates. Small broadcasters don’t have the …

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