**Before we start, please take a moment to remember the sacrifice and tragedy that took place on and as a result of September 11, 2001.**
Our next Music Biz 101 & More radio show this Wednesday night will feature Stephen Dallas, monster VP of Digital Legal Affairs and Business Development at Warner/Chappell Music. Tune in and hear him live in the studio at 8pm.
In the meantime, listen all of our other on-demand podcasts HERE – and we’re always open to answer your tweets, so ask away.
Today’s newsletter will focus on two items – the Taylor Swift thang alluded to above and movies, movies, movies. We hope you like it. Your feedback is always appreciated, so hit Reply whenever you want and tell us how you feel about stuff. Agreed? Good.
Your Professor David Kirk Philp
Do you know the answer to this question? Lots of people have their own ideas. Some people think receipts are down because of an over-reliance on blockbusters. If a Marvel superhero or Star Wars movie doesn’t meet expectation, that can doom a studio’s balance sheet.
Others think that there’s too much visual competition out there. Netflix and Hulu and additional alternatives offer movies on demand and on the go. Who needs to pay big bucks for a ticket and then wait in line for popcorn and a 97-ounce Coke, pay $15 for each, then wait another 15 minutes to watch ads on a big screen that you can see on screens of all sizes elsewhere?
In other movie business news, Disney announced this week that it will launch its own streaming service in late-2019. They’ll take their catalog off of Netflix and any other services and use it to promote the Disney one. The titles also include Pixar films, all of the Star Wars movies, and Disney-produced television shows. The company also said it would create content exclusively for the service.
Will Disney succeed? To a degree, because there will only be one place to get their visual entertainment. Star Wars is its own brand. The animated Disney films, from Cinderella and Snow White to The Lion King and Mulan are their own brands. Plus, there are approximately 300 Disney retail stores around the world. Disney owns the ABC television network and everything that is ESPN and a whole bunch o’ theme parks. You can bet that they’ll use their assets, and mega-dollars, to promote their new service.
But the company must know that it won’t be easy to generate subscribers. Netflix and Hulu and everyone else have two more years to further entrench their brands and services into the minds and hearts and phones of consumers. While they’ll lose some content on their services, both will still offer catalogs of many other big studios, whether it’s Fox or Paramount or Warner Bros. And both will still create their own original content.
Don’t forget Amazon, which, through its Prime service, also offers streaming of filmed and original content (plus music – which many of us forget).
And don’t forget Apple, which announced in August that it would spend $1 billion over the next year on original content, presumably for its Apple Music service and/or to replace/reload iTunes, which is losing to streaming in a big way.
Disney has a huge mountain to climb. Like the overall film business, are they over-relying on too little to push too much? Do you think consumers will care about a Disney-only platform?
Keep in mind, this would never work in music. Sony and Universal tried PressPlay back in the early-2000s. This service was missing a huge piece of music owned by the Warner Music Group. And it missed the indie labels, which at times can account for 30+% recorded music market share. The service failed. Consumers don’t know, or really care, about the label homes for Katy Perry or Selena Gomez or the Foo Fighters or Palisades. They just want the music. In fact, if you go to Spotify right now and stream a song, it’s not exactly easy to determine what label owns (or distributes) a particular song on a particular playlist.
Granted, music can be as much a source of active participation as it can be passive. When people stream a film or TV show, in general, the idea is that they’re watching it because the entire concept of filmed entertainment is the visual aspect. I can’t paint a bedroom or drive a car while watching Empire Strikes Back.
Disney is smart. They know what they’re doing. They’ve run numbers and focus groups and done internal studies. They are a public company that answers to shareholders as much as their Board of Directors. One has to assume that this service is, from their perspective, a smart, calculated business move, not a move based upon pride and ego and love-of-Kool-Aid-that-makes-me-over-love-my-company. We’ll see what happens. What do you think?
After posting this last week here, on our website, on Instagram and on LinkedIn, we received some good feedback, especially from people in the publishing area. Here’s one comment from a veteran copyright manager at one of the major publishers:
“I felt the article was spot on. I have been explaining to my friends the situation the songwriters and artists are in with streaming vs. CD sales, as they are not realizing the dramatic drop in income.”
I came across an article last weekend in which Donald Fagen, one half of Classic Rock band Steely Dan, was complaining that he didn’t make enough money from his recording royalties anymore to make more records. So, he had to tour as a necessity.
I thought this was B.S. Here’s a guy who has made millions over the years off of his music, and now he’s crying poverty? I took a deep dive HERE into the numbers and found out…he’s right. When it comes to royalties that would be paid to him from his record label and publisher, there’s not as much there as you would think.
Sure, he can make quite a bit from the road, but you’ll be surprised why he doesn’t make as much from, say, cover songs, as other artists. There’s a lot here with quite a bit of detail.
For those of you trying to get a handle on streaming revenue and other potential income sources, this article covers much of how those calculations can be made. Click and read the article. Then let us know what you think.
Your Knowledge Presented By:
The book is out! Did you buy it?!?
Don’t be afraid to flaunt your purchase! Order & memorize this masterpiece HERE. The showrunners at William Paterson University’s MEO (Music & Entertainment Organization) are clearly tickled pink because of their good choice.
Make your best choice today!
What is the single most important aspect of the music industry an artist manager needs to understand?
This Week’s Response: Alex Fletcher – Fletcher Artist Management
In the classical music industry, taste and subjectivity are big factors. I think it’s important for an artist manager to learn the tastes of the colleagues in his or her network, and use that information as effectively as possible when it comes to pitching artists, etc.”
We interviewed James back in May and, if you missed last week’s radio show, you can catch his words of wisdom here. He talks all about how McGraw’s company, EM.co, planned out the release of Tim’s 2016 cross-format hit, “Humble And Kind.”
There’s a ton of stuff here for us to hear, so give it a listen.
John Boulos, music industry veteran who has worked for record labels as varied as London, PolyGram, Warner, Vanguard, Virgin, Epic, and Capitol, will be the Resident Expert of the William Paterson University Music & Entertainment Industries (formerly Music Management) program for the 2017-2018 academic year.
John is currently Executive Vice President of Roadrunner Promotion/Atlantic Records, working multi-formatted artists such as Twenty One Pilots, Wiz Khalifa, Saint Motel, Paramore, Charli XCX and newly announced Kelly Clarkson.
This is exciting. Don’t ya think?
branding to marketing to developing a story, there’s some good stuff in here. Click and give it a read.
Thoughts On Taylor Swift’s Master Plan, Parts I & II
A writer for BuzzFeed was looking for information and insight about Taylor Swift’s new release model for her single, “Look What You Made Me Do.” Your Professor Philp was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to provide some to the writer, Kelsey McKinney. HERE is her final article.
But how do these writers put it all together? If you look at the final product, that article, you don’t think about what didn’t make the cut. Philp was asked a series of questions via email. He sent in his answers, some of which were very lengthy. In the blog series above, you get to see what the questions were, what the answers were, and how those answers were used in McKinney’s article.
Give it all a read. Along the way, you’ll hopefully learn more about the writing process and the music biz.
Our 2017 schedule looks like this:
September 13 – Stephen Dallas: VP Digital/Legal Affairs and Business Development, Warner/Chappell
September 27 – Erin Jacobsen – The Music Business Lawyer
Rocktober 4 – Ben Weinman – Dillinger Escape Plan/Giraffe Tongue Orchestra; Kimbra’s Manager
Mark those dates on your calendar; 8 PM on Wednesdays. What do you want to know? Who do you want to hear from? Let us know! The best part? It’s FREE music biz talk.
For full details about the Music & Entertainment Industries Program, including courses, the minor, and our MBA, click HERE.
For full details about the WPU Pop Music Studies Program, including courses and audition requirements, click HERE.
Professor David Philp is Assistant Professor Music & Entertainment Industries and Popular Music Studies at William Paterson University. He is the co-host of the only FREE advice college radio-based music & entertainment industry talk show in America, Music Biz 101 & More, which airs live most Wednesday nights and is available as a podcast HERE every night (days too). Your favorite professor is also co-author (with Dr. Steve Marcone) of Managing Your Band – 6th Edition. Reach him at PhilpD@wpunj.edu or find him on LinkedIn HERE.