Analysis: Five Reasons To Doubt PWC’s New Report

A sharp critique by Glenn Peoples to the recent and just-mentioned PwC report:

In addition, PWC does not help its credibility by calling Lala a Canadian company (it was based in California before being purchased by Apple). Nor is its report helped by PWC’s reference to Pandora and Slacker as examples of “on-demand” streaming services – both are squarely in the non-interactive streaming camp and a world away from on-demand both in terms of functionality and licensing costs.

PWC’s forecast for physical revenues are more believable – they follow an established trend of roughly 13% to 16% annual declines. PWC believes there is a core group of CD buyers that will help slow annual declines and keep the format afloat. Such a prediction depends on retail’s involvement in the format, but it’s a possible scenario.

via Analysis: Five Reasons To Doubt PWC’s New Report.

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Pwc Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2010-2014

PriceWaterhouseCooper is releasing the latest edition of it’s traditional Global Entertainment and Media Outlook. This note has some UK highlights:

Digital music sales in the UK will overtake physical revenues next year while total recorded music spend will reach $2.6bn (£1.75bn) by 2014 – up 4.4% from 2009, according to PwC.

That is the claim in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) latest market forecasts for the entertainment and media sectors – Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2010-2014.

While steady growth is projected over the next five years, the total market will still fall short of the $2.9bn (£1.96bn) generated in 2005.

According to PwC’s numbers, 2010 is the turnaround year for music sales in the UK, with revenues of $2.2bn (£1.48bn) expected – up from $2.1bn (£1.41bn) last year.

I just wonder how and why the editors decided to include this picture in the article:

Zeros and ones are so cool

I mean, this “‘Matrix”-like 3D digital wall of zeros and ones in citric colors might be the cheesiest visual representation ever of digital music.

via Music Week – Music Week – Music business magazine – UK digital sales to overtake physical next year.

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Retro Thing: Early Cassettes Were Pink?

That’s not too bad for an audio format that was never meant for more than low fidelity recordings of dictation. In those earliest years of the “compact cassette”, music labels didn’t quite know how to handle selling music on this new format. Probably a good idea to keep your pink tapes hidden away.Early tapes sounded pretty poor, betraying the format’s origins in office-fi. It even took several years to figure out what to store tapes in. As you can see from this Bryan Ferry album from 1974, the tape is in a sort of sheath. The setup keeps tapes safe by making it remarkably difficult to actually remove the thing in order to play it.

The label wraps around the outside of the case (which has some curious grooves on the ends – for some snap-in storage system perhaps?), and the cassette itself is pink – so there’s some overall sense of art direction. This kind of respect for the original music was largely absent in 8 tracks – songs were frequently re-ordered from the original album, or interrupted in the middle by the loud ka-chunk as your player changed tracks. I always thought that 8 tracks were created by people who despised music, whereas we can see that even in the earliest days of cassettes there was at least some consideration to keeping the original music pure. And pink.

via Retro Thing: Early Cassettes Were Pink?.

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David Byrne’s TED Talk On How Place Drives Music

As his career grew, Talking Head founder David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. In this just released TED Talk video, recorded earlier this year, Byrne asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation.

Here is my summary/ cheat sheet (don’t cheat)

  • CBGB: a lot of crap, uneven walls. Sounded good. One could understand words. rhythm was kept intact
  • Africa: open spaces, no reverb. Loud instruments, no amplification
  • Gothic cathedral: huge spaces, no change of key, long notes, almost no rhythm
  • Bach: smaller churches, acoustics allow change of key, more intricate sounds
  • Mozart: even smaller salons, less reverb, ‘thrilly’ (did I hear that right?) music
  • La Scala: cozy space. People eating, drinking, talking, yelling to the singer
  • Wagner’s Bayreth: smallish, but large orchestra pit for bombastic sound
  • Carnegie Hall: bigger, more reverb. Audience kept quiet. More quiet passages, textures, dynamic range, Mahler

Reaching the pop/modern/20th Century:

  • Jazz:small clubs, riverboats. People shouting, drinking. Dancing. Improvisation to keep everybody dancing.
  • Radio and microphone: crooning, intimacy, Sinatra, Chet Baker
  • Distinction of Live vs. Recorded Music
  • Discotheque: no need of performers
  • Hip Hop: people breakdancing, MCs improvising
  • Sport stadiums: worst acoustics. Results in Arena Rock. Mid tempo, social elements. U2.
  • Music for cars with big subwoofers
  • MP3 players: music detailed, not much dynamics. (Indie?)

via David Byrne’s TED Talk On How Place Drives Music (via hypebot)

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Hit Me With Your Best Memoir

Sorry about the pun, but here there is an excerpt of Pat Benatar’s upcoming autobiography:

For my first record deal, I’d signed with a label called Chrysalis Records. I’d been knocking on doors in New York for a couple of years when Chrysalis offered me a deal. My manager, Rick Newman, was a comedy club owner with no music experience. He’d discovered me while I was performing at Catch a Rising Star, a club in New York, and he believed in me enough to take on management duties. Early on, what he lacked in music knowledge, he made up for in passion, and he’d been fantastic in presenting me to labels. His enthusiasm was infectious. But though he was my biggest cheerleader and the greatest guy, he had to rely heavily on our attorneys, business manager, and the record label for advice. Chrysalis had signed a chick singer, and a chick singer was what they expected me to remain. The result was the all-too-perfect sound of my first session.

I didn’t set out to be a solo artist. My dream was to be the singer in a rockin’ band, like Robert Plant was to Led Zeppelin or Lou Gramm to Foreigner. I wanted a partnership, like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had — an unrelenting back-and-forth between talented musicians. The sound I heard in my head was raucous, with hard-driving guitars speeding everything forward. I was a classically trained singer with a great deal of musical knowledge, but I had no idea how to make that visceral, intense sound happen. I had to evolve, but I didn’t know how to make that evolution happen. And apparently, my record label didn’t either.

via Pat Benatar: I didn’t set out to be a solo artist – Biographymemoirs.

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Facing the Music

Michael Wolff suggests that the future of recorded music business will resemble the book business in size, margins and stature:

In other words, there’ll still be big hits (Celine Dion is Stephen King), but even if you’re fairly high up on the music-business ladder, most of your time, which you’d previously spent with megastars, will be spent with mid-list stuff. Where before you’d be happy only at gold and platinum levels, soon you’ll be grateful if you have a release that sells 30,000 or 40,000 units — that will be your bread and butter. You’ll sweat every sale and dollar. Other aspects of the business will also contract — most of the perks and largesse and extravagance will dry up completely. The glamour, the influence, the youth, the hipness, the hookers, the drugs — gone. Instead, it will be a low-margin, consolidated, quaintly anachronistic business, catering to an aging clientele, without much impact on an otherwise thriving culture awash in music that only incidentally will come from the music industry.

via Facing the Music.

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History of Compass

Compass Point Studios were founded in 1977 by Chris Blackwell, owner of Island Records.

In the late ’70’s and mid 80’s, Compass Point was one of the great recording studios of the world. Artists came from around the world to record in the Bahamas. Many major producers utilised the facilities, including Chris Blackwell himself, in his role as record producer. The resulting records sold in the many millions of copies worldwide. AC/DC’s Back In Black, widely regarded as the ultimate, and largest selling rock album of all time (and soon to be largest selling ALBUM ever), was just one of the many great albums recorded at Compass Point Studios. Some of the well known artists who were a part of early Compass Point were: AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, U2, Robert Palmer, The B-52’s, Talking Heads, Dire Straits, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, The Cure, Adam Ant, James Brown, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Mick Jagger, Whitesnake, ELO, Serge Gainsbourg, Status Quo, Tom Tom Club, Madness, Spandau Ballet, Third World, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Eurythmics, Julio Iglesias, Power Station, Roxy Music, Thompson Twins, Wings, Ringo Starr, Julian Lennon, Bad Company, Average White Band, Carly Simon, and many others.

via History.

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Compass Studio rates


Wondering how much it would cost to record an album in the famous Compass Point Studios in the middle of Bahamas? Check their website to see if it fits on your budget:


Weekly lockout: $15,400 per week for A or B studio (12 hr day)

Building “privacy” lockout for one studio: $24,500 per week (12 hr day)

Building “full use” lockout: $35,000 per week (plus extras) (12 hr day)

Rates negotiable for longer bookings or extra equipment

Hourly rates upon request

ProTools operator: Call for rates

Studio overtime fee: $200 per hour after 12 hrs, $250 per hour after midnight

Assistant engineer overtime fee: $35 per hour after 12 hrs


One bedroom apartments: starting at $150 per day (includes kitchen, extra sofa-bed in LR, Cable TV, Wireless Internet, Local phone, etc.)

The famous Compass Point Resort is located across the street. (As seen on TV!) Gourmet restaurant and bar on the grounds. For rates and schedule, call Linda Scully on (242) 327-4500.

For reference, you can check with previous clients: AC/DC; Talking Heads; The Rolling Stones; Shakira; Celine Dion; Roger Waters; Julio Iglesias; U2

via Rates.

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Mick Jagger Career in Banking

The most recent movie that Mick Jagger appeared in was the entertaining heist film The Bank Job (Roger Donaldson; 2008). It’s one of my favorite films in recent years so I was happy to see Jagger make a brief and incredibly ironic appearance in the movie. The Bank Job is a creative throwback to earlier British crime movies and it takes place in London during 1971. In the film Mick Jagger has an unaccredited role as an employee of the bank that the criminals plan to rob. His appearance is so brief that you’ll miss him if you blink, but it’s interesting to note that before Jagger committed himself to The Rolling Stones he was a promising student at the London School of Economics. He could have easily ended up working in a British bank if he hadn’t joined the band. In the alternative world of The Bank Job, Mick Jagger’s sudden appearance seems to hint at that possibility. It’s a funny little moment that makes you take pause and appreciate the route that Jagger’s life did take. I’m sure he would have been a wonderful banker but I’m extremely grateful that he decided to pursue a career in music instead. Mick Jagger’s acting will never be as celebrated as his musical achievements with The Rolling Stones but he’s a talented performer and I’ve enjoyed following his career wherever it happened to take him.

via TCM’s Classic Movie Blog.

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