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November 13, 2014

The trouble with Spotify ....

There's been a stack of discussion about Spotify and its effect on the music industry lately, mainly driven by Taylor Swift's label's decision to withdraw her entire catalog from Spotify, which adds her to the list of acts who want nothing to do with streaming. (Incidentally, I don't buy the crap about "we're dong this for her fans" - business people make business decisions to maximise profits. No matter how she may feel about her fans, that's not the reason for the business decision, it's PR.) Daniel Ek responded, people responded to Ek, and the argument goes on.

As a very small-time self-publishing musician, I have no problem with Spotify. I appreciate the fact that they are getting my music played and I value the very-small-but-better-than-zero amount that comes back my way when people play the tracks. I also understand that very large acts stand to lose a great deal from the substitution effect of streaming services - that is, when people can listen to song streams on demand, some will do that rather than buying the track, which means a smaller payout per interaction with that person. I'm also happy to accept Daniel Ek's argument that people who want Swift's tracks badly enough will just pirate them and she gets nothing for that, so Spotify is better than piracy. All of that makes perfect sense to me and each artist can, and will, make their own decisions.

It also seems very clear to me that the complaints by Aloe Blacc and others that they, as songwriters, get very little from Spotify are easily explained by their relationships with their labels and/or publishers. Musicians have always got the rough end of the pineapple from music companies and if Spotify is paying millions to the companies and the artists get very little, that's the nature of that deal - you signed with the devil, take what you get. I get to keep every pathetic cent that Spotify pays me, less CDBaby's fee. :-)

But here's what I don't understand about Spotify, from an artist's point of view. I'm looking at my digital distribution report from CD Baby. It says that on 1 November I received a stack of small amounts from Spotify, accounted for on July 15. Fine - no problem with the delay in accounting as long as I eventually get the cash.

BUT the report shows, in part, that I received a number of payments for Wild Thyme's tracks (for example). Within that, there's a payment for ~$0.18 for 22 streams. Nice - Ek's right when he says that the payouts have increased over time and I hope they will keep increasing. But within that, there's one stream that paid $0.026 (I'll take that every time!), while a different stream paid $0.005 (one fifth) and four other streams of the same track paid $0.0019 (less than one tenth) each ... and there's any number of other amounts spread across other parts of the report for that and a number of other tracks. To further complicate the picture, these guys reckon they average ~$0.0044 per stream (and Daniel himself approved of this article via Twitter) while I average $0.0068. Here's my screenshot:



So, the unpredictability of it all does my head in. I have no way of knowing what amounts I am going to get from month to month. Maybe that's what pisses music business people off most ... ??? Business people hate uncertainty - especially in their revenue streams.

What do you think, dear reader?

Oh, and Mr Ek, if you could be so kind a to please explain this, I'm sure a lot of people would be very appreciative ...

Posted by Huge at 12:34 PM | Comments (1)

Budget Crisis

As readers of this blog will know, I have some fairly clear and strong political leanings. I've never been a member of any party but I know what I think is a good way to run the country: full equality of opportunity, minimal inequality of outcomes, an absence of prejudice, and a goverment that works consistently for the good of the majority, not the priviledged minority. So, when the Abbott government was elected, I was devastated. Based on what they promised, I knew this would be a government that worked towards reversing what I regard as progress towards a just Australia.

But when they actually took over and started implementing their agenda I was even more horrified. Not only did they lie about their pre-election platform, but the one they sought to implement will do so much damage to our beautiful country that I had to do something to protest. I could not sit by and watch while policies are implemented that hand massive economic advantages to the already super-rich while making life harder for the many who have so little.

As it happened, back on the late 1990s I had come up with a catchy hook about Brisbane's trafic problems called "Transport crisis" and quickly decided to use that as the foundation of the new protest song. I resolved to use grabs of prominent people - including the politicians themselves - to highlight the point. I did not want this to be all about me. A quick demo was thrown together, which people liked but said needed to be professionally produced, so I enlisted the help of ARIA winner Magoo, and the result is here, - iTunes version here. I intend to donate the proceeds to the anti-Abbott forces of Australia in the hope that we can minimise the damage ... you can hear it for free, but please part with your cash on this one to help make the world a better place.

Here's the artwork - video coming soon. There's a merch store on the other end of this link:

Budget Crisis

There seems to be some confusion
Does the treasury need transfusion?
Our leaders are so upset.
At the ever-increasing debt.

There's a deficit in accounting
Broken promises keep on mounting
The problem is plain you see.
Got a budget emergency!

Chorus:
We're talkin' 'bout a budget crisis
Talkin' 'bout a budget crisis
Wondrin' what the hell the price is
To fix this b-b-budget cri-i-sis
Say What?

Verse 2
There seems to be some digression
Are we heading for a deep recession?
The Treasurer has a bent
End the age of entitlement

There's an issue of definition
And monotonous repetition
Make the unemployed wait an age
Mining subsidies are the rage

Chorus:
We're talkin' 'bout a budget crisis
We're talkin' 'bout a budget crisis
Wondrin' what the hell the price is
To fix this b-b-budget cri-isis
Say What?

Verse 3
I think I got a good solution.
Can we go to double dissolution?
The Voters can have their say
Tell the Kiwis it's all OK

This cabinet of blue-tie bogans
Keep chanting their three-word slogans
And the signal to self-destruct
Is screaming #WorldisFukt

Chorus:
We're talkin' 'bout a budget crisis
We're talkin' 'bout a budget crisis
Wondrin' what the hell the price is
To fix this b-b-budget cri-isis
Say What?
Say What?
Say What?

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Please note: This song is APRA registered: Work ID TBA; ISWC TBA. You can copy, reproduce and distribute any part of these lyrics and chords for any non-commercial purpose as long as you acknowledge its source. I'm interested in your feedback, comments, suggestions. If you make something good out of it, let me know and I'll consider adding it to this site.

If you perform it or broadcast it for any purpose, please let APRA know.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

Posted by Huge at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2014

I'm wearing my breakfast

Many years ago, when my kids were babies, I wrote this silly ditty for my son, Edward, who was looking very proud of himself for finishing his breakfast - except that he was wearing a lot of it. I used to sing it to him every time I found him in this state, and also sang to to his sister when it seemed appropriate. A few weeks ago I heard about the international Songz4kids songwriting contest. Now, as a Regional Coordinator for the Australian Songwriters Association, I'm not allowed to enter their annual contest, so I thought I'd have a go at this one. I quickly finished and demoed the tune, and we'll see what happens in terms of the contest.

I'm wearing my breakfast

I'm wearing my breakfast
I'm wearing my breakfast
It's so yummy, I love the taste
It's in my tummy and all over my face
I'm wearing my breakfast
I'm wearing my breakfast
It's all on me.

I'm wearing my dinner
I'm wearing my dinner
It's so yummy, I saved the rest.
It's in my tummy and all over my chest.
I'm wearing my dinner
I'm wearing my dinner
It's all on me

I'm wearing my ice cream.
I'm wearing my ice cream.
It's so yummy, my head is froze.
It's in my tummy and the tip of my nose.
I'm wearing my ice cream.
I'm wearing my ice cream.
It's all on me
It's all on me
It's aaaall oooon a-meeeee

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Please note: This song is APRA registered: Work ID TBA; ISWC TBA. You can copy, reproduce and distribute any part of these lyrics and chords for any non-commercial purpose as long as you acknowledge its source. I'm interested in your feedback, comments, suggestions. If you make something good out of it, let me know and I'll consider adding it to this site.

If you perform it or broadcast it for any purpose, please let APRA know.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

Posted by Huge at 2:31 PM | Comments (0)
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