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2023 Year In Review

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Well, we are nearing the end of the year 2023, which has involved massive upheaval in the music business globally. This post is a reflection of events with a few predictions for the future of the music business and technology in a world where change is occurring daily.

 

The Rise of AI and its Impact on the Music Business

The rapid rise of AI is probably the biggest event to hit music. It’s been an almost weekly occurrence of lawsuits, and panels at conferences discussing the pros and cons of its impact on artists and the business. On top of this, we have also witnessed new inventive ways for artists to utilise Ai to enhance their creativity You should check out Wayne Rosso’s post on what would happen if an AI-composed song won an award at the Grammy’s.

We saw mashups banned by Universal Music amongst many others. We would suggest that probably the biggest issue to raise its ugly head has been the illegal usage of music to train AI juggernauts like ChatGTP, Google Bard, and others. These AI monopolists think it is fine to rip off artists and pay them nothing despite their $100 billion-plus valuations. TMV states these VCs that back them and the services themselves are no better than thieves and should be treated as such by the law.

Whilst technological advancement is meant to be good for society why is it always the creatives/artists in our community who are the first to be stolen from as technology advances? And worse the thieves (big Mafioso VCs and the services they fund) think there is nothing wrong with doing that…

Streaming and the New Royalty Calculation Method

Next on the list is the change in how streaming royalties are calculated. Global Universal Music boss Lucian Grange gave his statement of the year ahead at the start of 2023 that he wanted a fairer system for the distribution of royalties to artists from streaming. Now at the close of the year, it turns out this supposedly ‘fairer’ streaming royalty system involves stealing from those artists who can least afford it.

Yep, any artist’s songs with less than 1000 streams will receive no payment at all – instead, it will be stolen and paid to the major artists who are, already doing fine.

It feels like the new motto for “fairer” streaming royalty payments equals stealing from the poor to pay the rich. Why is it in the music business that big major label corporations who complain about being stolen from are the first to be advocating for stealing from long-tail artists who are already doing it extremely tough? TMV believes these label execs need to take a long hard look in the mirror before complaining about being stolen from…

Bots Gaming the Streaming Ecosystem

Following on from the last theme the issue of bots gaming streaming services like Spotify to enrich criminals and depriving actual artists of payment is a clear issue.  It is probably the only area I will agree with major and indie labels alike. It needs to be stopped, no ifs, no buts.

The fact streaming services have and are continuing to do so little to combat such conduct is concerning. Going further it could be implied from the lack of effort to stop it that a number of these streaming services are complicit in such dodgy behaviour.

TMV would go even further and state very clearly as we have done previouslythat such conduct could only be carried out with the complicity of certain performing rights organisations and associated streaming services. How else will these scamming bot companies get paid? They can only get payouts for streams of their bot songs from the streaming services for the recorded rights and performing rights societies for the publishing song rights.

We believe more effort needs to be actively shown by streaming services and performing rights societies to tackle this issue head-on.

SXSW Sydney & Its Two Fingers to Australian Music Street Press

The Inaugural SXSW Sydney was a success according to many people – however, we would not know as we were denied a press pass as yes you hear this right “because we (TMV) are not afraid of speaking truth to power” That was a comment from the press officer to my face. Just wondering how the folks at SXSW HQ in Austin feel about that as it was never an issue for TMV to get a press pass back in the naughties to attend the real SXSW in Austin.

Going further, we also heard along the grapevine the organisers of SXSW Sydney refused to spend any advertising dollars on Australian music street press instead spending over $250K advertising in Murdoch publications that ironically pay no tax in Australia.  I wonder how the Australian taxpayer should be feeling about that considering it was primarily Visit NSW that funded SXSW Sydney (i.e. NSW taxpayers).

Does the music-loving public, music business generally, or press in Australia feel it is right that such an event excludes Australian music street press from their advertising budgets? More importantly, how does the Australian music business feel about the fact SXSW Sydney is supporting a media organisation that actively supports Trump, his insurrection against the US government, and climate denialism in every single cable channel and newspaper the Murdochs own around the world?

Essentially, SXSW Sydney actively went out of its way to exclude independent Australian music street press from its advertising budgets and instead chose to support a media organisation that actively creates division and hatred and pays no tax. Shame on you SXSW Sydney!

Twitter wait no X…

What was once Twitter and now named X is a mere skeleton of what it once was. Elon Musk certainly knows how to blow $44 Billion, piss off advertisers and lose tens of millions of users from the platform.  This led to his arch neediness Mark Zuckerberg launching an X competitor called “Threads”. According to current numbers, Threads is ahead of Twitter/X in active user numbers.

TMV called out Elon’s double standards when it comes to free speech sending him a direct message stating we thought his taking away proper moderation, especially of child sex abuse material reprehensible and the fact he ignores many countries’ privacy laws as illegal conduct. We stated people should be able to criticise him without being booted off the platform.

But lo and behold, TMV was ejected and had our account deleted. So much for freedom of speech. Clearly, Elon has very thin skin when it comes to being told honest opinions of him and his conduct. It has already become a festering shithole of racists, Ku Klux Klan, and Trump-loving idiots. We predict that X will be further starved of advertising revenue and die within the next 12 months if not earlier.

Artists Cancelling Other Artists

2023 witnessed numerous Australian artists cancel other artists from playing festivals like Blues Fest 2023 in Byron Bay. We wrote about it here. It is TMV’s view that it is wrong for artists to insist they will not play if another artist is playing because of that band’s previous antics. Especially where said band had apologised on numerous occasions and done more than these bands combined that cancelled them in terms of outreach for doing good.

Said band’s lead singer had well-documented mental health problems and these artists cancelling them impacted their income and earning capacity. Most successful artists have experienced mental health issues whether that be Kane West to Britney Spears – but is it right to then cancel their career? Who gives artists that right when it is another artists profession?

At TMV we do believe in rehabilitation or for people, countries, and artists to make amends for previous bad deeds. What is it about these artists who want to cancel other livelihoods and not take into account artists’ mental health? Just for taking such a stance, TMV believes these artists’ acts of cancelling are worse than said band’s original bad antics in the past.

So, there has been a lot of change and chaos in 2023 when it comes to the music and technology sector. 2024 is going to be interesting and we look forward to continuing to report on it. Peace out!

Author

  • Jakomi Mathews

    Jakomi was the original founder of The Music Void in 2007. His first startup was www.akamedia.net. Where back in 2001 we were able to track audio and audio visual broadcasts. We targeted the music industry performing rights societies as customer but ironically it was the radio broadcast who used our service to prove ads were broadcast to their advertising clients - yet the ironically PRO's started using the service from 2015 when they were dragged kicking and screaming into the 2nd decade of the 21st century. He has deep insights into the inner workings of the music business and digital music generally from working with RWD Magazine and then Rock Sound in the UK during the early 2000's. He was then involved in building some of the first artist mobile apps both before and just after the release of the first iPhone. He also worked with Muse's management for a short time and has managed an assortment of artists from Australia and the UK. He now has a new startup called goto.health which is focused on disrupting the healthcare booking sector on a global basis.

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