Six media giants control 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to (see below). This has a profound effect on the music that we get to hear.
In three days, Adele’s new album, 25, has become the best-selling release of 2015, bypassing Taylor Swift’s 1989. In it’s first three days, 25 sold more than 2.4 million copies, also smashing the single-week US album sales record, previously held by 90s boyband ★NSYNC.
Adele’s success is an indication that large corporations have been using a terrible business model for the music industry. In 1999 worldwide music revenue was $27 billion, in 2014 it had dropped to $15 billion. In 1999, music companies forced people to buy albums, mostly fulled with crappy music to get the one or two songs that they really wanted to hear. Music companies also focused on disposable pop hits. The Internet has forced this to change.
Yet, now that the dominant model has gone from downloading to streaming, additional problems have arisen. One problems is that there’s less money in streaming. A second problem, described by John Seabrook in The Song Machine is:
Month by month, Spotify pays the major labels lump sums for the entire market share of their catalogs. How the labels decide to parcel these payments out to their artists isn’t transparent, because, while Spotify gives detailed data to the labels, the labels ultimately decide how to share that information with their artists.
This system is privileging the stars, whom labels need most, over the lesser known artists. Seabrook speaks to Rosanne Cash, who said she made $104 from 600,000 streams. A lot of artists are getting less of a cut of a shrinking pie. But what’s happening to songwriters is much scarier, and it has the potential to truly kill the music industry. In order to get into business in America, Spotify struck a deal with the labels that does not give much to songwriters: The owner of the recording, the label, gets most of the money, while the owner of the publishing rights, the songwriter, gets a teeny piece. “If streaming is the future,” the songwriter Savan Kotecha says, “no young songwriter will be able to make a living.”
The Song Machine also explores the large impact that Swedish producers have had on modern pop music. For example, the number one singles, “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” and “Bad Blood,” from Taylor Swift’s 1989 were produced and partially written by Swedish producers Karl Johan Schuster (Shellback) and Martin Karl Sandberg (Max Martin) and ★NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” was written and produced by Swedish producers Kristian Lundin and Andreas Carlsson.
Matt Daniels using data from Spotify
shows that these songs from Swedish producers generally don’t hold up over the years. For example, “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, and “Numb” by Linkin Park are the first, second, and third most played songs respectively from 1950 – 2005. In contrast, “Bye, Bye, Bye” is the 222th most played song from 1950 – 2005.
Click image to read article.
Music is bigger than religion, it’s bigger than politics, it’s bigger than pretty much everything…. Make sure you’re saying something, when you saying something.
Currently in the music business there is a lot of dumbing down, but there is no need to panic. We just need to teach our children well.
If you’ve read George Orwell’s Animal Farm which he wrote in the mid-1940s, it was a satire on the Soviet Union, a totalitarian state. It was a big hit. Everybody loved it. Turns out he wrote an introduction to Animal Farm which was suppressed. It only appeared 30 years later. Someone had found it in his papers. The introduction to Animal Farm was about “Literary Censorship in England” and what it says is that obviously this book is ridiculing the Soviet Union and its totalitarian structure. But he said England is not all that different. We don’t have the KGB on our neck, but the end result comes out pretty much the same. People who have independent ideas or who think the wrong kind of thoughts are cut out.
He talks a little, only two sentences, about the institutional structure. He asks, why does this happen? Well, one, because the press is owned by wealthy people who only want certain things to reach the public. The other thing he says is that when you go through the elite education system, when you go through the proper schools in Oxford, you learn that there are certain things it’s not proper to say and there are certain thoughts that are not proper to have. That is the socialization role of elite institutions and if you don’t adapt to that, you’re usually out. Those two sentences more or less tell the story.
“Journalism is printing…” is not an actual Orwell quote but it does capture the essence of his suppressed introduction to “Animal Farm.”
Moving from the Internet to more traditional media, we find other problems. In addition to mostly being owned by media giants, radio stations in the United States do not compensate performers when their songs are played on the radio. Very few countries do not compensate performers for radio airplay. In addition to the U.S., there is North Korea, Iran, and China.
To maintain the status quo, Gene Green (D-TX) and K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) reintroduced the “Local Radio Freedom Act” in February 2015 — the same pair dropped a similar resolution in the previous Congress. This resolution currently has 221 cosponsors
(171 Republican and 50 Democratic). Rep. Charles Rangel [D-NY-13] is an original co-sponsor. The language of the resolution proposes that:
“…Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.”
Why does the United States treat its music performers the same as China, North Korea, and Iran? The simple answer is that Congress is corrupt. In his farewell speech to the Senate, John Kerry said:
There’s another challenge that we must address and it is the corrupting force of the vast sums of money necessary to run for office. The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself.
[T]his dependence upon the funders produces a subtle, understated, camouflaged bending to keep the funders happy. Candidates for Congress and members of Congress spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress or to get their party back into power, and the question we need to ask is, what does it do to them, these humans, as they spend their time behind the telephone, calling people they’ve never met, but calling the tiniest slice of the one percent? As anyone would, as they do this, they develop a sixth sense, a constant awareness about how what they do might affect their ability to raise money. They become, in the words of “The X-Files,” shape-shifters, as they constantly adjust their views in light of what they know will help them to raise money, not on issues one to 10, but on issues 11 to 1,000.
African Americans in losing touch with the land and with traditions handed down for generations, they have also lost an important set of skills: how to grow and prepare healthy food. This has lead to an epidemic of diet-related illnesses now sweeping the country—obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes.
[T]he issues that confront most Americans directly are income, food (thereby, agriculture), health and climate change. (And, of course, war, but let’s leave that aside for now.)
These are all related: You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything. (It’s one of the keys to war, too, because large-scale agriculture is dependent on control of global land, oil, minerals and water.)
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
According to an American Psychological Association article
, a group of social and cognitive psychologists have approach this problem not based on the idea that at least some of these disparities are the result of faulty teaching or broken school systems, but instead spring from toxic stereotypes that cause ethnic-minority and other students such as women to question whether they belong in school and whether they can do well there. While such a major problem might seem to require widespread social change to fix, the psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference.
For more about Closing the Achievement Gap click here
The Music Revolution will help urban youth learn safe and inexpensive agroecological management and technology practices that emphasize diversity, traditional knowledge, agroforestry, landscape complexity, and water and soil management techniques, including cover cropping, composting, water harvesting, computer programming, robotics, and machine intelligence. In addition to creating delicious and healthy food to reverse disease these practices sequester CO2 emissions to help reverse climate change.
For more about The Music Revolution reversing disease and climate change click here
The “digital divide” is the inequality between those who can reliably connect to the Internet and computers and those who cannot. At one Newark public high school, accessible Wi-Fi can be more valuable than a bus ride home.
For more about The Music Revolution addressing the digital divide click here
Center for Urban Agriculture
One of the long term goals of The Music Revolution is to build a facility similar to the Center for Urban Agriculture
. The building will include fields for growing vegetables and grains, greenhouses, and rooftop gardens. It will also include affordable housing.
In January 2009, The Music Revolution founder, Terrance Jackson’s mother, Lezlie Linder, was diagnosis with lung cancer. On his bookshelf, he had a copy of Ralph Moss’s The Cancer Industry which argues that chemotherapy and radiation are largely ineffective and so toxic people often die from their treatment rather than their disease. She really wasn’t interested.
In May 2009, in order to help encourage his mother to eat healthier, Terrance attended a screening of the documentary Fresh
which included a reception that featured Joel Salatin and Will Allen. Living in Williamsburg, Virginia he was motivated to host a screening and panel at the local library.
Will Allen and Joel Salatin
One of the frequent guests of Live From VA [LFV] was Kanye West. LFV first interviewed Kanye at a Norfolk hotel here he was performing. The venue capacity was less than 200. The next LFV interview was in Hampton where he perform at the Mercury Entertainment Center, a venue with a much bigger capacity but the crowd was no larger than 300 people.
The next interview was at his sold out performance at the Norva. After the Norva, Kanye West performed at the Hampton Coliseum opening for Usher.
These experiences planted the seeds for The Music Revolution which will be featured in the documentary I Could Be…
The Music Revolution will address the drought in the United States
According to Dickson Despommier’s The Vertical Farm:
Agriculture runoff is responsible for more ecosystem disruption than any other single kind of pollution. Most of the world’s estuaries have been so adversely affected by runoff that they no longer function as nurseries for the ocean’s marine fish, crustacea, and mollusks. That is why the United States must import more than 80 percent of its seafood from abroad….
The Department of Energy secretary, Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu, flatly stated three weeks after he took office in 2009 that the entire agricultural sector of California would become obsolete in less than fifty years due to lack of a source of noncontaminated fresh water: “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen. We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California…..”
According to Wire magazine:
Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California…says that his SoCal district, which serves 19 million people (that’s one out of every two Californians), has stored water reserves that will last three years with prudent conservation.
Urban areas get only 20 percent of the state’s water supplies; agriculture guzzles the other 80 percent. Last year, lack of water forced farmers to abandon 400,000 acres of cropland, and they’ll leave over a million acres unplanted this year. Some farmers in California have already had their water supply curtailed or completely cut off. If you like vegetables and fruit, this is a big deal. In 2013 the state exported $21 billion worth of agriculture. It produces nearly half the produce and nuts consumed in the US.
Steve Denning’s Forbes article, “Roger Martin: How ‘The Talent’ Turned Into Vampires:”
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?
These questions are being raised, not in some anti-capitalist rag from the extreme Left, but in the staid pro-business pages of the Harvard Business Review, in a seminal article by Roger Martin, the former dean of the Rotman School of Business and the academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute: “The Rise and (Likely) Fall of the Talent Economy.”
One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”
Contrary to what many claim
On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor. The funding for Engelbart’s work was provided by the Department of Defense.
I’m so sick and tired
Of the shit on the radio
And MTV, they only play the same thing
No matter where I go