Monday, November 30, 2015

International ISRC Agency Announces A New US Country Code

ISRC Code image
Believe it or not, the IRSC code has run out of numbers for the US. Not to worry though, as the International ISRC Agency has come to the rescue with a new country code that will add an additional block of numbers to save the day.

ISRC codes are used to identify different recordings from one another either on a CD, vinyl record or upload to a digital service, and each starts off with a country code. The early ones that used code "US" ran out of numbers long ago, so "QM" was instituted as a replacement for all new codes in the US.

Now that's run out of numbers as well, so the Agency has now introduced "QZ" as the latest country code for the United States.

That being said, the Agency points out in a bulletin that the new country code should be used carefully and the following should be kept in mind:

  • ISRCs that have already been assigned to recordings must not be changed 
  • Existing registrants should continue to use the "US" or "QM" codes that have already been allocated to them 
  • New users who are notified that their registrant code is to be used with the ‘QZ’ country code should never to use it with ‘US’ or ‘QM’ since that would result in ISRCs being generated that are a duplicate of previously assigned codes. 

So basically, don't use the new code unless you've been told to do so.

Friday, November 27, 2015

101 Mixing Tricks Black Friday Sale

33% Off Black Friday Sale

Today only - register for my 101 Mixing Tricks coaching program for only $197.
That's $100 off (33%) off the regular price of $297!

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---> You get all 5 Mixing Tricks modules consisting of:
  • Module 1: “In Your Face” Interest Creation Mix Tricks including16 tips on balance, panning, automation, EQ and compression that add some amazing interest to any mix.
  • Module 2: Mondo Effects Mixing Tricks, including 18 mixing tips about creating great reverb and delay effects that either jump out or blend seamlessly into the track.
  • Module 3:Interesting Instrument Mixing Tricks, including 23 mixing tips that specifically cover guitar, bass, and keyboards, which includes how to get the famous Elton John piano sound, or a bass sound that pops through small speakers.
  • Module 4:  Wicked Cool Drum And Percussion Mixing Tricks, including 28 tips for getting killer drum and percussion sounds.
  • Module 5: Bad-Ass Lead And Background Vocal Mixing Tricks, including 16 tips to make that lead and background vocal either pop out of a mix, or blend in just right.
---> Lifetime 24/7 access

---> Q&A webinars and forums

---> Plus a Bonus Module consisting of all the editing tricks that the top mixers use to prep their tracks for mixing.

---> And I'll throw in my Mixing Engineer's Checklist eBook if you order today.

Find out more about the 101 Mixing Tricks online coaching program at

Order now because at midnight tonight, the price goes back to $297 forever!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Reality Of The Music Industry Holiday Shutdown

Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks For Reading
Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings and banquets, but it also marks the beginning of a time of year that those in the business of music either love or hate - the Holiday Shutdown.

The Holiday Shutdown is the toughest time of the year to do business because the execs that can green light a project begin their extended vacations, so they're rarely in the office. It begins on Thanksgiving week (some leaving on Monday rather than Wednesday), and really continues until about the second week in January. Oh, they'll be back in the office between now and then, but they're usually so backed up with work that if you're not on the top of the pile you'll be pushed to next year.

One of the reasons why record execs leave is that the release schedules for the year and even into the first quarter of next year are set in stone. The Christmas releases are out by now, and while there may be a record that might drop in the first week of December, it's a rarity. It's a slow season work-wise, so why stick around?

On the other hand, agents and managers are still working as they line up fill-in dates for the end of the year and work on tours for the new year, merch vendors are still working because it's a prime time of the year for retail sales, and publishers are still getting payments and working on synch licenses for television shows and movies (although many of the producers have also left unless they're still in production).

This is also the time of year where bands may still be negotiating for a New Years Eve gig, which may be the best paying, but the worst gig of year, as the audience tries too hard to have the good time they think they're supposed to have.

With all that being said, it's a good time of year to get your marketing in order for 2016, since there's bound to be some downtime in whatever sector of the business that you're involved it. We'll review that more in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving and don't eat too much turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

This Is The Revenue From A Single Taylor Swift Concert

Taylor Swift
If you ever wondered where the money goes when an A-list artist gives a concert, the Tampa Bay Times laid it out pretty well.

Most of the time the income and expenses for a concert are hidden, but in this case the venue (Raymond James Stadium) is publicly owned and operated so most of the data is readily available.

This is financially what happened during a Halloween concert given at the venue by Taylor Swift:
  • The show was a sellout at 56,987. Swift received 100% of the ticket sales, which initially amounted to almost $4 million, including a $2.75 million guarantee.
  • But there's some intrigue here, as at the last minute Swift's production company became the concert promoter, which means she may see even more money in the end since the final income from tickets was actually more like $5.8 million.
  • $843,947 of that was split between the Tampa Bay Sports Authority and Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team.
  • Merchandise sales brought in $40,784 (which sounds low to me).
  • Food and drink sales amounted to another $244,626.
  • Parking is always a big money maker at concerts and this one was no exception at $127,798.
So the concert brought in about $6.2 million and Taylor Swift kept over $4 million of it, which just goes to show how much money is generated by an A-list artist on the road.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Google's Removal Of Pirate Links Soars

Take down notice image
If you're a content creator, then you may know how it feels when someone steals your content and passes it off as their own.

There is something that you can do about it online though. You can appeal to Google to delete the links to the pirated content via what's known as a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Takedown Notice.

Google has been flooded with these requests lately to the tune of 1,500 per minute (25 per second, or 2 million a year), so it's happening more and more these days.

Over the last month alone, Google received notices from more than 5,600 different copyright holders targeting more than 65 million links spanning more than 68,000 domain names.

Amazingly, Google does respond in a timely manner and most links are removed quickly, although duplicate requests are common, which can slow things up.

Prior to actually removing the link, Google will downrank the URL in its search results, which is one of the main reasons that pirated content via torrent sites doesn't show up as high as it used to.

This applies not only to Google searches, but Blogger posts and YouTube posts as well, so be careful when you post something. If you don't have the rights, it could cost you your search engine ranking. On the other hand, if you feel that your content has been infringed, start here first.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gigmor's David Baird On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

David Baird of Gigmor
David Baird of Gigmor
If you ever wanted to replace a player in a band or find a band to join, you know how difficult the process can be. Finding players of the same interests and proficiency levels really complicate things.

David Baird had the same problem when he moved to Los Angles (just about the last place you'd think that would happen), so the savvy technologist built a new platform called Gigmor that allows not only players to connect with each other, but bands and artists with venues as well.

On this week's podcast David will tell us how Gigmor got started and how to get the most from this innovative website.

In the intro, I'll talk about the implications of Pandora buying some of the assets of the Rdio streaming service, and the hi-res music logo that the RIAA just introduced that seems to cause more confusion than it solves.

Remember that you can find the podcast at, or either on iTunes, Stitcher and now on Mixcloud and Google Play.

Adele Foregoes Streaming In A Last Dash For Cash

Adele live
Adele’s new album 25 was released last week and, as many predicted, it won’t be on any streaming services, as she and her record label make what might be the last attempt at some serious money from physical product before the format disappears.

That Adele should even be in this position speaks well of her music and her generally older fanbase, as the music deeply motivates fans to acquire her music at any cost (just like Taylor Swift and her last album 1989).

Although the songs from 25 won’t be on any of the major streaming services at least initially, you can be sure that by latter today it will be spread all over YouTube by zealous fans posting audio-only and lyric videos. Of course, these will be joined by official Adele videos, so at least some of her music will still be available on the largest streaming network currently available, especially now that YouTube Red and Music have launched.

While it’s easy to see why Adele (or her management or label) chose to forego streaming, the decision only postpones the inevitable. It might take 90 days or more before 25 appears on Spotify or Apple Music, but rest-assured it will be there eventually. 

The real question is how much sales might have been hurt had the decision been made to go the streaming route the day of the release of the physical album. In fact, it’s likely that the songs from 25 would have racked up some massive numbers on the various streaming services and might have even caused some new fans to register, which would have been a win for entire music business. Read more on Forbes.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Google+ Revamping Again

Google+ Collections
Google+ Collections
It looks like Google+ is giving it another shot, revamping the current service to better reflect what its users were requesting.

And what did they want? The most asked-for features were Communities and Collections, which the service is now emphasizing, making it easier for people to share their passions.

It looks like Communities is indeed going to be popular, with an average of 1.2 million new joins per day. Collections is still so new that most users haven't gotten their arms around it yet (see the graphic on the left to see what it looks like).

The new G+ has streamlined other functions too, making it easier to post, search and connect as well.

The new UI change can be a shock to users, so it's possible to toggle back to the "classic" design, although it will be eventually phased out.

To get started with the new Google+, just click on the "Let's go" prompt when you first log in.

Let me know if you think this is a good idea and if you'll use it more now.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Pros And Cons Of Pandora’s Rdio Acquisition

Pandora acquires parts of Rdio
The music streaming wars just became a bit more interesting early this week when Pandora agreed to acquire some critical assets of the Rdio streaming service out of bankruptcy for a reported $75 million. This will the second strategic acquisition that Pandora has pulled off recently, following its $450 million purchase of Ticketfly a few months ago.

On the surface this seems like it could be a huge positive for the company, but there are also a few potential land mines that come with the deal. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pro: On-Demand Infrastructure Can Provide Growth
Pandora is acquiring Rdio’s streaming technology (as well as some of its staff), which could be key to its global expansion. Right now the service is only available in the United States, and to a lesser degree, Australia and New Zealand.

A real problem for Pandora until now has been its ability to expand beyond those territories, mostly due to the company not being able to come to a suitable agreement with the licensing organizations in various countries (which all seem to favor on-demand streaming).

The company is now more more likely to be able to grow, as having Rdio’s on-demand streaming infrastructure available as an integral part of the service not only makes for a more attractive package for the consumer, but may make it easier to gain approval to operate in other countries.

Pro: The Public Prefer’s On-Demand
Give Pandora credit, as it saw the writing on the wall that on-demand streaming would eventually become a clear winner with consumers over the radio-like non-interactive service that it currently provides.

This was blatantly evident with Apple’s recent entry into the market with it’s on-demand Apple Music after only offering the Pandora competitor Apple Radio previously. You could see the trend in user numbers as well, as on-demand Spotify’s numbers continue to grow while Pandora’s have been relatively stagnant.

Con: On-Demand Licensing Costs Are Considerable
While that on-demand infrastructure is important, Pandora didn’t inherit any of Rdio’s roughly 1 million customers in deal, mainly because it’s not buying the Rdio business itself. Maybe more importantly, it didn’t get any of its licenses with the record labels, which were non-transferable. That means that the company will need to negotiate these deals, which can be both costly and time-consuming. Read more on Forbes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

YouTube Debuts Its "Music" App

YouTube Music app
Don't look now but YouTube just launched another music app. This one is fittingly titled YouTube Music and is an audio-only version of its recently launched YouTube Red service.

YouTube Music is free to download, and there's a free, ad-supported tier, but you unleash its power if you become a YouTube Red subscriber for $9.99 per month.

The experience is optimized for music and allows you to search for a particular song from its 30 million licensed tracks. The key here is that when you search in the app, you'll only get music-related results.

It should be noted that the app doesn't replicate Google Play Music (which is included if you sign up for Red) as it doesn't allow you to create a playlist. What it does instead is create a playlist for you based on what you've listened to before as well as some songs that it thinks you'll like.

Of course, its ad-free if you've signed up for Red, but it's yet to be seen if that will be enough to attract new users.

If you're using either YouTube Red or YouTube Music, let us know what you think. Is it worth the money?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The RIAA Introduces A Hi-Res Music Logo And Some Confusion To Go With It

Hi-Res Music logo
While the number of streaming sites that feature hi-res audio is still limited (Tidal and Deezer come to mind), there are plenty of download sites that will happily sell you some very hi-res files for a premium price.

That said, it looks like the RIAA (the major label's lobbying organization) is trying to get serious about hi-res music with the introduction of an official hi-res logo (seen on the left). It's asking distributors to display the logo so music consumers will have no confusion over what kind of fidelity to expect, but it may end causing more confusion than it alleviates.

Interestingly, the RIAA defines high resolution music as "lossless audio capable of reproducing the spectrum of sound from recordings which have been mastered from better than CD quality (48kHz/20bit or higher) music sources which represent what the artists, producers, and engineer's originally intended."

Take notice the 48kHz/20 bit (it's not a misprint). This is a significant difference from what many online services (including Apple's Mastered For iTunes program) call "hi-res," which is 44.1kHz/24 bit.

There's virtually no recording done at 20 bit these days and that's been the case for about 10 years, so why not just make the standard 24 bit, which is what virtually everyone records at anyway? Also, why not just go and make 96kHz the true lower limit of hi-res, like in the real world?

This new logo and definition is bound to cause some confusion in the marketplace where there was little before. This just goes to show how behind the times the powers that be actually are.

According to the press release, "Retailers who have adopted the Hi-Res MUSIC logo include Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez, Blue Coast Music, HDtracks, IsoMike Recordings, ClassicsOnline HD*LL , PonoMusic, and ProStudioMasters. In addition to these digital music retailers, the logo also features on advertising and promotional materials of both independent and major record labels."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Apple Music Now Available For Android, But Will Anyone Care?

Apple Music For Android
Apple is finally letting the other half of the world in on Apple Music. A few days ago the company announced that the streaming service is now available to Android smartphone users. This now puts the service within reach of about 52 percent of the market  (that's about 1.2 billion users, according to Google) that couldn’t previously experience the streaming music app when it was relegated only to the iOS platform. The real question is, how many of those Android users are really interested in trying Apple Music?

Actually Apple Music Android can still be considered in beta, with two of its features, the family membership plan and Apple Connect videos, currently not available. Other than that, the app is same as what’s found in the iOS version. It’s currently available in over 100 countries, except for China, where the largest group of Android users happen to live.

A Look Inside The Numbers
On the surface, this looks to be a good move for increasing user numbers for the streaming service. Apple Music currently has 6.5 million paying subscribers a little more than 4 months after its launch. That’s good enough for second place behind Spotify’s 20 million paying customers, and that’s with being available to less than half of the available audience.

That said, the 6.5 million number may be deceiving, since many of those may have forgotten to turn off their subscriptions at the end of the three month trial period. This means that we won’t know the true number of iOS subscribers for some time yet.

The user number still may not get a huge bounce even with the release of the Android version though, since the new version won’t have the marketing momentum of the original launch. This may result in far fewer opt-ins to the 90 day trial period than might have otherwise been possible with a day and date launch on both platforms. Read more on Forbes.


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