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Hey Alexa, Regift Yourself: Google Overtakes Amazon in Biometric Data Acquisition Tools — Artist Rights Watch

August 20, 2018 Comments off

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According to the Canalys research outfit, Google has taken the lead over Amazon for the first time in the acquisition of biometric identifying data–aka “smart speakers”.  It should come as no surprise that Google is vastly more interested in acquiring “phonemes” by which to identify users and track them through a variety of means.

The “smart speaker” is the latest step in government contractor Google’s long running campaign to track users and build speech-to-text and speech recognition tools.

The program goes back to at least 2007 when Marissa Meyer said of “GOOG-411”:

The speech recognition experts that we have say: If you want us to build a really robust speech model, we need a lot of phonemes, which is a syllable as spoken by a particular voice with a particular intonation. So we need a lot of people talking, saying things so that we can ultimately train off of that.

So who do you think the customers are for speech-to-text and speech recognition tools to whom government contractors like Google and Amazon might be selling your biometric data?  The biometrics harvesting tools allows Big Tech to connect your voice print and maybe your fingerprints to all the other data that they have already harvested about you from other means.  And of course when you add in facial recognition or iris recognition it’s game, set and match.

Think about that when you enable your fingerprint, iris or facial recognition authentication or talk to Alexa or your Google Home Mini.   Or you could just ask the Shoe Gazer at the Internet Association.

“Hey Alexa, re-gift yourself.”

 

Must Read: @AnneMarieSteele: An insightful interview with Jody Gerson about songwriting and breaking artists

August 14, 2018 Comments off

[This interview is one of the best statements of what signing and breaking a songwriter or an artist is all about.  When I was reading Jody Gerson’s interview I remember when I asked David Anderle once why we didn’t do bidding wars at A&M.   He said quite simply that A&M helped compelling artists make great records and then stuck with them until they found an audience.  They didn’t always work out but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  That had nothing to do with bidding wars.]

I think it is a difficult time for songwriters who aren’t writing massive hit songs. When I first came into the industry, you could write a cut on a big album, like for Whitney Houston, and it would sell a lot of records, and you could make a lot of money as a songwriter. But unless you’re writing hit singles or you have pieces of songs on enormous numbers of streamed product, it is very difficult right now….

A lot of people are relying on data today. I don’t go in that direction. I judge music based on what I feel. Does it move me? Is that a lyric that articulates a feeling that I have better than I can articulate it? Is there a driving beat that makes me want to move? Is there a melody that makes me want to sing along? I have found in my career anytime that I have trusted my instinct, I’m right….

What everybody’s missing is the role of the record company. There’s talk about whether artists need to be signed to a record company. I would like you to show me one streaming platform that has broken an artist, made a major investment in breaking an artist. It is not easy.

Just because a song is on a digital platform doesn’t mean you’re breaking that artist. The companies that put the most into the development of artists are still record companies. The investment in breaking artists still is something that we can’t underestimate, and platforms do not do that.

Hit artists, superstars, are never flukes. It just doesn’t happen that way. It takes a village to break an artist.

Read the post from the Wall Street Journal

h/t Artist Rights Watch

@CeeMo100: As Vinyl Surges, a Boutique Pressing Plant @goldrushvinyl in Austin Helps Smaller Indies Get an In

May 6, 2018 Comments off

[Really proud of Caren Kelleher at Gold Rush Vinyl for getting this great idea off the ground in ATX.  That’s (512) 298-1346.]

Amid the ongoing vinyl resurgence, if a small independent label or indie band goes looking to get LPs pressed by the limited number of plants that exist to meet the demand, the response is typically: “Take a number.” That’s particularly true in the run-up to the semi-annual Record Store Day, when hundreds of exclusive releases get added to an already overtaxed manufacturing system.

Enter a new concept: the boutique-level LP pressing plant. Gold Rush Vinyl, a new facility in Austin, Texas, is now catering to those formerly shut-out imprints and acts by pressing small runs ranging from 1,000 units to orders as small as 100 copies, with a speedy turnaround time of four to six weeks….

In a world in which CD and digital download sales have contracted violently over the last decade, burgeoning LP sales are a significant source of revenue for indie acts. Artists will make as much from the sale of 100 vinyl albums as they can from 368,000 Spotify streams or 2.3 million YouTube views.

Read the post on Variety

@profgalloway: Must See Presentation by NYU Professor Scott Galloway on “The Four Horsemen”

December 3, 2017 Comments off

A deep and prescient 2015 presentation by NYU Professor Scott Galloway, who predicted the Amazon/Whole Foods acquisition.

“Facebook will disrupt YouTube…”

@luluyilun: Tencent Music Seeks Pre-IPO Funds at $10 Billion Value [for Music Streaming App]

September 5, 2017 Comments off

Tencent Music Entertainment Group, controlled by China’s biggest social network operator, is seeking new funding at a $10 billion valuation ahead of an initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said.

The operator of karaoke and Spotify-like streaming apps plans to sell about 3 percent of its shares to strategic partners, including record labels, one of the people said, asking not be identified as the details are private. Tencent Holdings Ltd., owner of the WeChat messaging service, held about 62.45 percent of the music group at the end of last year.

By forging an equity link with record labels, Tencent Music would be securing its right to hold on to vital streaming rights in China’s increasingly heated music market. Tencent spun out its music division after merging it with China Music Corp. to win over a larger slice of a domestic streaming market forecast to reach 4.37 billion yuan ($664 million) of subscription revenue by 2018.

The company, which competes with products from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and NetEase Inc., is scooping up content to cater to users who turn to the web for entertainment and want services tailored to personalized preferences. Tencent Music has deals in place to distribute songs from artists including Beyonce and Taylor Swift after signing up with some of the world’s largest record labels, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music.

Some of the other most influential record labels for the China market include Huayi Brothers Media Corp. and Korea’s YG Entertainment, both of which have distribution deals with Tencent. Shares of Huayi Brothers rose as much 0.9 percent in Shenzhen while Tencent Holdings dropped 0.9 percent in Hong Kong.

Read the post on Bloomberg

@irvingazoff: Irving on the Value of YouTube to Biz: “None”

May 22, 2017 Comments off

“My report about the ‘Value of YouTube to the Music Industry’ would be really brief because I can summarize the benefit of YouTube to artists in a word: none,” says Irving Azoff, responding to a controversial U.K. study that has been the subject of much ink since its debut earlier this month. Azoff disputes numerous […]

via @irvingazoff: IRVING ON VALUE OF YOUTUBE TO BIZ: “NONE” — Artist Rights Watch

@stuartdredge: @BASCA_UK @CrispinHunt “Rules Won’t Break the Internet, they’ll Mend It” — Artist Rights Watch

May 22, 2017 Comments off

YouTube and Facebook were squarely in the sights of Crispin Hunt, chairman of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), as he delivered the opening address at yesterday’s Ivor Novello Awards in London.

via @stuartdredge: @BASCA_UK @CrispinHunt “Rules Won’t Break the Internet, they’ll Mend It” — Artist Rights Watch

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