Streaming The Beatles

We are enjoying the entire Beatles catalog streaming via Sonos in our vacation house this morning. That’s because the Beatles finally decided to put their music on the various streaming services and their catalog arrived today.

The Beatles did not put their music on iTunes until 2010. So it is not surprising that they took such a long time to join the streaming music world.

It is worth noting a few things.

First, you don’t need the Beatles to build a great streaming product. They are a nice to have but not a need to have. It seems that there are no “need to haves” in the world of streaming music as long as you have most of the artists. No one artist is that powerful, even the greatest artist of the pop music era.

Staying off iTunes until 2010 and streaming until 2015 may have made good business sense for the Beatles, but it was certainly not a fan friendly move. It took me all of one minute to load up their entire catalog into our Sonos queue and hit play. That is such a superior experience to loading CDs, one by one, into a CD player, or downloading each and every record from iTunes and then creating a playlist. I am not sure where the line should be drawn by an artist between maximizing profits and maximizing the fan experience. But I don’t think the Beatles drew that line correctly over the past fifteen years.

The Beatles’ music is timeless. Unlike most pop music, the Beatles’s music seems to appeal to generation after generation. We have several generations in our house this morning and everyone is totally enjoying the music.

So I’m so happy that the Beatles finally decided to join the streaming party and we are celebrating that move. But I sure wish they hadn’t taken so long.

#Music#streaming audio

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    I’m sure Paul McCartney somewhere is going – “Yesterday… all my troubles seem so far away. Now it looks like they’re here to stay..”

  2. Twain Twain

    How Blockchain can reinvent music business:*…* http://ujomusic.comWe like to imagine that everything can be “free” as fans but there are lots of fees payable in DRM for music and lots of contract issues.

    1. awaldstein

      Fortune article is good.Intelligent, easy to read and understand and not one list!I think there is an intentional cult to making BlockChain hard to understand. It’s not really.

      1. Twain Twain

        LOL, Arnold! I don’t know if it’s an “intentional cult” as much as what Nathaniel Popper has called “a bunch of misfits” who’ve been in their echo chambers for so long that they’ve developed a lexicon that only they understand — without being aware how alienating that lexicon can be to others.

        1. awaldstein

          Very little out there that is just more of the same.

          1. Twain Twain

            Maybe it’s less about obfuscation and more about Blockchain developers’ general inability to understand that their abstractions about the maths behind the crypto-graphy makes 99% of people’s eyes glaze over.It can be the same in AI. Researchers geek out about Hermitian operands, Dirilecht and Hilbert spaces.However, Joe+Jane Public simply want to know that if they ask, “Show me where a great Italian restaurant is between Broadway and Times Sq…” the AI plants some pins onto a map because it pulled in some data from a Yelp / Zagat API and correlated the keywords “great”, “Italian”, “restaurant”, “Broadway”, “Times Square.”

    2. Mario Cantin

      As a side note Imogen Heap is an awesome artist, IMO.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Nice share. I keep thinking that it’s going to be music or video that finally presents the ‘breakout’ app for bitcoin.

      1. Twain Twain

        You’re likely right, :*). It’s just that the origins of Blockchain developer philosophy seems to be about, “Global financial crisis showed the banks are bad actors and their systems aren’t transparent and too much decision-making and power is too concentrated in the hands of elite few so let’s Blockchain everything and make it publicly decentralized.”Meanwhile, investors see themselves as the architects of a new Finance World Order.Amidst this, the whole “How is Blockchain useful for Joe+Jane Public and why would they (incentives)?” can get somewhat lost.Especially when the developers geek out about the maths of the hash trees.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Agreed. Investors are often very interested in money (economics), itself. Something that possibly holds very little interest for the average consumer (at least as far as the gory details are concerned).

  3. Mario Cantin

    Whoever owns the rights to the music had a “fiduciary responsibility to be assholes”, as Bijan from Spark Capital would put it, he he!The fans must be all thankful of the new addition indeed.

  4. William Mougayar

    Finally, they didn’t Let us Down. They waited for the Revolution.Now, Let it be, Let it stream. It’s been a Hard Long wait.So, Twist and Shout,On AVC Lane.Tomorrow Never Knows,But Christmas is in the Sky with Diamonds.I’m the William.All You Need is Love.

    1. kenberger

      Here Comes the Puns.

      1. William Mougayar

        And I say it’s alright!

    2. LE

      Beatles music BD and AD. [1][1] Before drugs and after drugs.

  5. Matt Zagaja

    I still haven’t gotten onboard with music streaming services and stick with iTunes like a luddite. Spotify was built on top of Adobe’s Flash/AIR technology and my poor system felt abused by it. I did do the “trial” of the Apple Music streaming service and I definitely liked that one the best out of them all so far, but at the end of the day the few new songs I wanted to listen to were cheaper to buy than subscribe to. Meanwhile I get all the iTunes Radio stations for free. If I didn’t already own most of the music I want to listen to I could see the value, but at this point I just don’t see it.

    1. Drew

      My sentiments exactly. I guess I’m old-school because I still rely on my iTunes even though I feel Apple needs to give the software a major overhaul. I was so excited for the arrival of Spotify but found it underwhelming, especially the UX. I’ve gone back to it many times but it never sticks with me. I agree that I enjoyed Apple Music more than Spotify, but not enough to pay for. I’d rather just purchase the few new tracks each month I’m interested in.

    2. JoeK

      Probably a generational thing. I’ve been subscribing to Spotify for around 5 years now, and it’s the most value per dollar I get out of any media service. And with the addition of playlists it has gotten even better – music discovery is very easy. I think the key difference is in your last line – the majority of music that I listen to is new, a lot of which is from artists I had never heard of before, and most of which I will only listen to a few dozen times before something fresher makes it sound stale.

  6. leeschneider

    Good time for a Sonos discussion. Speakers/ease of setup are A+, app is a C+. @fredwilson what service did you add the music from?

      1. pointsnfigures… Check out this new Aiwa bluetooth speaker. It has pretty darned amazing sound for the price.

        1. William Mougayar

          Jeff, stop pushing Chicago-based products ! 🙂

          1. pointsnfigures

            (At least it wasn’t a hot dog, pizza or italian beef!)

          2. William Mougayar

            haha. true.

      2. leeschneider

        That’s a different stratosphere! Looks cool though.

        1. William Mougayar

          $2,000 . I choked when I first saw the price. That’s $2,800 Canadian Dollars. A mortgage payment for many.

  7. TeddyBeingTeddy

    I am the egg man. they are the egg men. goo goo ga cho goo goo ga go chu. ggg hee hee ha ha ho ho ho. I am the walrus.

  8. Salt Shaker

    Despite their enormous wealth, the Beatles, like many artists, got hosed in the early days. In year 1, the Beatles received 75% of a penny (18.75% each) in royalty payments on the sale of their music, while Brian Epstein, their mgr., received 25%. They gave away 90% of rev on all merchandising/licensing, which turned out to be a shitload of lunch boxes and other collectibles. On publishing rights to Lennon/McCartney songs, each only owned 20% (Ringo/George 0%). The company that set up the pub deal, Dick James Music, received 50%, Epstein 10%. Subsequently, Northern Songs, the Beatles pub arm, did an IPO in 1965 to avoid cap gains. John/Paul each got 15% of the issuing stock (worth $640K each), while George/Ringo received a very small %., Dick James received 50%. Lennon/McCartney never, ever owned their songs outright.

    1. Richard

      Nobody ever mentions all the bands that went no where. Managers / Labels were the Music VCs of their day. Is there any evidence that the labels were disproportionally enriched?

      1. Salt Shaker

        Well, unlike most artists, the Beatles are clearly outliers. A cash machine. Everyone in the food chain was enriched. No one went hungry, except for perhaps poor Pete Best. Dick James was a huge beneficiary and his sole contribution was controlling the publishing rights. A paper pusher.

        1. Richard

          Does a VC provide significantly more value than a label? One provides 90% money and 10% guidance the other 10% and 90%

          1. Salt Shaker

            Not sure you can compare the two. Different industries, biz models, economics, roles, ethics, standards, etc. Both industries don’t have particularly great reputations, but there are outliers like Fred in VC and Ahmet Ertegun, Irving Azoff, etc., in the music biz.

      2. LE

        I was telling Phil in another thread that a neighbor of mine is was in an 80’s glam band and had some nominal fame and now he is giving guitar lessons out of his house to kids in the neighborhood.

        1. Richard

          Yep, I’m sure he would sign off 70% of his earning to have been with a better label / mgmt co.

    2. LE

      What is actually fair though? The support system for an artist and the manager is critical as are other people. It’s not just the music. If the beatles hadn’t been spotted by Ed Sullivan (as only one example) when he was at an airport in London perhaps they would have just been another band that we don’t think about now? Were they really that great prior to the big fame (over here)? Was that famed something that would happen no matter what? Who knows really all of the players in their success. It’s not just the music or the lyrics.I have a hard time feeling sorry for any of the Beatles based on someone else getting the money. Why is money the most important thing anyway? So what if Paul McCartney ended up with more money? He still has a boatload of money, right? And something (if this matters) more important than money. This is really the same mentality (not a dig at you btw) with startups ragging on VC’s and angels. Ok you don’t want VC’s and angels then try to do the same thing with the money your aunt gives you nobody is holding a gun to your head.Noting also that David Geffen told his artists (The Eagles I think) “you will be rich but I will be richer”. And David Geffen did his job with many of his artists and deserves what he got in the end.

    3. Twain Twain

      Thanks for sharing, I learn something new on AVC every single day!

  9. JimHirshfield

    [Off-Topic Alert]You know this is a hot button of mine…Employees screwed in startup equity game. Was hoping to hear your opinions Fred…When a Unicorn Start-Up Stumbles, Its Employees Get Hurt…

    1. LE

      Thanks for the link I hadn’t read that.Here is another one that was posted on HN yesterday that is along similar lines:

    2. fredwilson

      I don’t know enough about that situation to comment intelligently on it. And the ones that I know well enough about to comment intelligently, I can’t talk about.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Fair enough. Don’t need case studies cited by name. Just some thoughts about best practices startups can take or how the sector can/should be more transparent and fair to those that have *relatively* the most to lose.

        1. pointsnfigures

          “For some employees, it meant that their shares were practically worthless. Even worse, they had paid taxes on the stock based on the higher value.”-not sure I understand this. If employees sold equity on a previous valuation, they certainly owe tax on the gain. If they simply had the stock, they should only pay tax on actual realized valuation. That’s one nice thing about appreciation in stock prices over time (public or private).The article says the VCs had stock that made money. This is the difference between preferred and common. It also recognizes risk that VCs take. It’s unclear where in the funding cycle the VCs invested, and looking backward not accepting an $825M offer for the company looks bad-but it’s looking backward. If we had tomorrow’s WSJ today, we could be retired overnight.I am not diminishing the risk employees take working at a startup. Depending on how risk is framed, they might accept more un-diversified risk than anyone else. At the same time, they can’t accept the risk without the VC funding the company.In commodities, tax is owed based on the market settlement price on December 31. For example, in 2008, I had a position that was a winner-but no gain realized. I owed taxes on that position. The first three days of the trading year in 2009, the market was lock limit against me. I gave back a lot of the gain, but still owed the taxes.

          1. LE

            If we had tomorrow’s WSJ today, we could be retired overnight.There was actually a case I remember from years ago where someone profited from access to the printing plant for either Forbes, Fortune something like that to gain info to be published back in the day when that actually was actionable information.

          2. jason wright

            which says much about the true role of financial journalism

          3. LE

            I am not diminishing the risk employees take working at a startup. Depending on how risk is framed, they might accept more un-diversified risk than anyone else. At the same time, they can’t accept the risk without the VC funding the company.You should do a test with anyone you invest in. Before you give them money you should sit there for 10 minutes and lecture them fully on the risks that they have and how things might not work out the way that they think they might based on what they read about others who have hit it big.. Ditto for those people that they hire, the line employees. My guess is that it won’t change anything at all since this is all driven by basic human emotions, needs, and wants, and it boils down to grabbing the brass ring and trying to make a fortune. Quickly I might add. [1][1] Along similar lines there are plenty of actors in Hollywood (and NYC) waiting tables still thinking they will get their big break. And it’s certainly well known by anyone living in the midwest traveling out west that only very few become famous but yet that hasn’t stopped a constant set of new dreamers showing up every year.

          4. PhilipSugar

            You can say whatever you want but you can literally watch employees take out calculators (now on the phone) to see how much they are worth at the new round.

          5. LE

            I was thinking this morning about all of the warm weather we are having here (what is it 70 degrees today?) and that led me thinking about global warming (and the apparent impact or whatever) and then I thought about the 60’s and the space program and realized that we wouldn’t have the space program if we didn’t have all of those horn rimmed engineers who worked for Nasa. Those guys in this day and age are building things to solve problems that we don’t really need to solve (relative to the problems that we do need to solve). Like self driving cars or visiting Mars two of my favorite net wastes of time when you factor in what the brainpower on spent on those could be spent on. As opposed to just the potential gain from spending it on moonshots that we don’t need. [1] Like all of these best and the brightest kids not going into medicine or research [2] or the parts of technology that matter as opposed to solving a problem that we are fine with right now because some billionaire decides it’s his fancy.[1] Even if those moonshots end up producing technology that benefits us in other ways. Why? Because it’s not triaging labor in the way that we need it today. Deal with the most important things first, play the games later.[2] Or my favorite dropping out of Harvard to be part of YC and start a startup to get people their groceries delivered from an iphone app. Really important stuff.

          6. PhilipSugar

            I disagree with self driving cars. If we truly had those think of the productivity gain. My brother and his robotics engineer cohorts have been working on this for two decades. I think we will get there.Think of the productivity. Not just on commutes (which is huge), but if I could just get in a car go to sleep and wake up in Boston or DC or Pittsburgh it would be tremendous.

          7. LE

            but if I could just get in a car go to sleep and wake up in Boston or DC or Pittsburgh it would be tremendous.If you are talking about that scenario I double down that will not happen in our lifetime. (And certainly not your working lifetime).To many variables to account for and control for. Only slim possibility is if each and every vehicle was equipped with some kind of transmitter that was able to communicate with other vehicles. That’s a massive undertaking and there will be no political will to make that happen. Ever been in a mall parking lot during Christmas? Bad weather? Plus car needs to be safe driver doesn’t always want to operate that way. No maybe in a controlled city environment in a restricted area sure but not on legacy roads “Maryland to Boston” not going to happen. (By the way you can hire a driver to do that for you, right?)That said I did cruise through the Lincoln Tunnel in my wife’s new X5 and it was able to stop and start but I still had to be vigilant and at the ready to hit the brakes just to be sure. Ditto for on the highway (NJ Tpke). It did fine and did it’s job (within the lane). But it took a great deal of mental energy and not let me guard down. Not sure I would take a chance and not pay as much attention.You know why? Small chance of a big thing happening. Outlier cases. That is really why this is such a fantasy. Much much much harder than climbing a wall by robot. Or landing a rocket back where it took off from. Or an airplane taking off and landing.

          8. PhilipSugar

            I don’t know. All I know is this: Twenty years ago people like my brother and his classmate that went onto be a Professor at Stanford were working on this problem. It was considered crazy and impossible. If you could have showed them the controls on my wife’s Denali they would not have believed it. Much less whatever Google’s car is and Uber must not be far behind because they essentially stripped the entire staff of Carnegie Mellon. I believe things are accelerating. Yes I could hire a driver but that would be expensive and I’d have to arrange it, etc, etc.The consensus seems to be about 10 years. http://www.driverless-futur…I’ll give it twenty.

          9. LE

            It was considered crazy and impossible. If you could have showed them the controls on my wife’s Denali they would not have believed it. Much less whatever Google’s car isThe “it was once thought crazy” is not a good way to give confidence that this particular thing might happen. For one thing there are many events (take the fact that it seemed possible that everyone could have an airplane to get to work or similar) back in the 40’s (or whenever that was). Never happened. Likewise pointing to experts (without any backup to their reasoning of how the potential problems will be overcome) isn’t good, Watson thought they’d only sell 5 computers (or whatever that story is). Of course it’s probably more likely to have self flying quadcopters since at least you can more easily identify all of the things you need to avoid (and equip those things with some kind of collision avoidance easier then a country with millions of legacy autos and trucks and bicycles).Cancer hasn’t been “cured” yet it’s still something that we have to worry about (much less of course). I am sure 50 years ago we figured it would be totally licked. AIDS when it came out in the 80’s they didn’t even see a horizon for a cure but then they figured that out. (So just compare AIDS to cancer). AIDS isn’t cured but it’s further along I think from cancer (or perhaps the same who knows).By the way check out this page from the company that google bought:http://www.bostondynamics.c…Now if you say that robot will get sleaker and more normal that I can believe. Because it’s a prototype and failure (and this is important) is an option. The bar (failure wise) is much lower. Ditto for robotic legs vastly different worst case scenario then totally self driving cars with, and this is super important, a legacy system in place of hundreds of millions of cars that aren’t autonomous.Anyway, to restate this would take some way for all vehicles to communicate with each other so if that is possible and you can flush out over the course of 20 or 30 years all of the legacy vehicles then maybe it could happen.The “can’t drive in bad weather” I can see that being licked possibly though.

          10. PhilipSugar

            If you could have showed me a smartphone in college I would not have believed it.

          11. PhilipSugar

            BTW: I agree with you on most things. I have no idea why GE is spending money on these commercials (seems a very, very expensive way to recruit) but it is true:

          12. LE

            It’s not about recruitment it’s about getting the stock price up.Making it appear that GE is moving and groving and hiring the best and the brightest. It appeals to middle age and older people who need to be reassured that GE is taking steps in the right direction and not going to end up being GM back in the 80’s. Also anyone in the investment community fund managers, the press and so on.I really like those GE commercials they are very well done. The one in the video iirc is the one where at the end someone says “this isn’t a contest”. The other one is where the mom says “you’re going to change the world”.Advertising (like movies) are easy to reverse engineer. I spend a great deal of time (well not really) thinking about this type of thing. One genre I like is pharma commercials they are very well done. Especially the part at the end where they say “ask your doctor” which most people don’t understand the reason they say that is not the reason they think they say that.

          13. awaldstein

            This will never change.

          14. PhilipSugar

            You are right.

          15. JLM

            .Sec 83b election to convert future value to capital gains?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          16. PhilipSugar

            You have to pay taxes on the value of the option grant when granted. That is set by the accountants.

          17. pointsnfigures

            Really? I didn’t know that. The income is unrealized though isn’t it? The tax treatment would be similar to a commodity position then which makes options unfavorable to employees if I am understanding it correctly.Is this a correct assumption of the way gains are treated? Suppose I received options with a $2 strike price and our startup was valued at $4/shr. I make $2 per share if I exercise and sell. Assume at the end of 2016, Big VC comes in and invests in our company at $8/shr. Do I have to pay on the extra $4 gain? Doesn’t make sense to me, but I am not a tax accountant.

          18. LE

            The question that comes to mind mind is actually how is this all reported? Does the startup file some form with the government that values the investment and then triggers defacto compliance? Or is this simply something (like so many other things) where you tell your accountant and he reports it and you pay the taxes (since I am assuming Phil knows what he is talking about of course). If the latter is the case well then…

          19. Salt Shaker

            Stock options vs. stock grants are quite different, in terms of value, issuance and tax implications.

          20. JLM

            .Not in the sense that one pays taxes on the “constructive receipt” of value. The principles are almost identical.It is a very complicated issue and companies would be cautioned to know the differences and what it means as it relates to “non-cash compensation” and other considerations.The use of “faux stock” is a worthy consideration.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          21. JLM

            .In this instance, you have immediate constructive receipt of $2/sh which is taxed at ordinary income gains.If you had received those options at fair market value, $4/sh, with a strike price of $4/sh, then you had constructive receipt of $0.This is why companies almost always grant options at fair market value.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          22. JLM

            .Only if the option strike price is lower than the current market value of the underlying stock which is not likely to be.Most stock option plans provide for “neutral” or market value rather than “in the money” strike prices.It is further complicated by the fact that vesting period has an impact on value.A recipient of a stock option can make an 83b election which is a means whereby an option is “fairly valued” using something like the BlackScholes Model, pay taxes on the value received as ordinary income, and, thereafter, receive capital gains tax treatment when they ultimately exercise their options.DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME. CLOSED COURSE, PROFESSIONAL DRIVER REQUIRED.This is a very complicated issue for startups because a recipient of a stock option who makes an 83b election, pays ordinary income taxes on the value, can then find themselves with nothing of value if the company tanks.Options for startups are far riskier than options for established businesses. I would take the position that startup options — ground floor options — are worth zero and make an 83b election at that value. It could be a problem in the future though.The GAAP accounting for options for the company — “non-cash compensation” — is insane and must have been dreamed up while under the influence of hallucinogenics.This was all brought to you by a Democratic Congress years ago making war on wealth creation. Arguably, they won the war.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          23. PhilipSugar

            Agree with Professional Driver Required. By the time the company has raised money at a Billion dollar value, it isn’t a ground floor company. Many times options are granted in the money. I just know what accountants do and say I have seen taxes paid. I don’t (nor does the author probably) of the exact situation. All I know is people will lose money on some of these valuations, and the ones that lose the most hold common shares. I also have said too many times that until you have cash in the bank, everything is on paper.

        2. LE

          Just some thoughts about best practices startups can takeHow exactly do you take steps to prevent young (or old) and naive people from not being cynical, skeptical and being greedy and wanting to strike it rich? You can put in place any “disclosure and caveat theater” that you want and most employees will probably end up ignoring it much like a 13 year old taking their first cigarette wanting to follow the crowd and be cool. (And I am serious btw I am not joking..look at any legal or marketing related disclosure it is for the most part, tuned out, right?)The thing going on here is really greed and business practices that are more typical than not typical. Companies simply can’t be transparent in the way that this article seems to imply that they should. Not in the companies best interest to air dirty laundry or give 100% truthful play by plays. Managing information is critical for many reasons. This is different than lying of course but that is really a matter of nuance and degree not an exact line.Shitty things that happen in business? Ever have a company who knows they have no money in the bank and can’t pay their current bills continue to order goods or services pretty much knowing they won’t be able to pay you for them? And that person is a major customer?

        3. Twain Twain

          Yours is a great idea, Jim. This type of best practice guide for exited startups counts as much as the lessons learned from deadpooled startups.

      2. jason wright


    3. Salt Shaker

      Well in the spirit of today’s post and your off topic alert, I guess “everybody has something to hide except for me and my monkey.”

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Oh man, that one’s gonna take a little extra eggnog to recover from. Gave me flashbacks.

    5. PhilipSugar

      I have been beating this drum for years.

    6. jason wright

      Conflict of interest?

  10. Salt Shaker

    Gotta love the Beatles Christmas messages, which they recorded annually for the first 7 years of their existence. They boys were inundated w/ fan mail and this was an easy, efficient way for them to thank their fans. Full of fun, humor and youthful exuberance.

  11. Elia Freedman

    I thought they drew the lines in perfectly. Are you less a Beatles fan today because they waited for iTunes and streaming? I’m not. Furthermore, they owned the news cycle with their timing. If they would have been added to streaming services five years ago (or two or one) it wouldn’t have been news. Now? People who wouldn’t have played the Beatles on Spotify before will now because they heard the Beatles were on Spotify.

  12. William Mougayar

    And the cool part is Google Now has integrated an answer. You say “Play the Beatles”. It answers ” Which player”? And it displays a list of Apps to choose from. Priceless!

  13. JaredMermey

    Perhaps Apple might think Taylor Swift is necessary for a streaming product. Though their acquiescence towards her might have been for the PR rather than her music itself. Either way, she played her cards very impressively.

  14. creative group

    Spotify has already remixed the Beatles catalogue into 7 playlists.DISCLOSURE: None, Don’t use.

  15. William Mougayar

    The music is free, but the listening experience is not, due to Ads. I wonder who much Ad money will flow out of this, and what % is going back to the Beatles copyright owners.

  16. Pete Griffiths

    I believe that the economics of streaming (for the artists) are absolutely heinous.

    1. fredwilson

      They aren’t much different than downloads other than you get paid over time getting paid up front. It’s very similar to the way publishing has worked forever. On a net present value basis the artist likely comes out about even. The issue is artists don’t do NPVs so it seems a lot worse to them and they complain about it. I get it but I think over time they will realize that owning a residual steam may be better in the long run for them

      1. Matt Zagaja

        If 80 year old Fred loves the Beatles as much as 30 year old Fred, that makes sense. The only thing the artist may prey for is a more prominent repeat button :).

      2. Pete Griffiths

        Maybe. I don’t know any artists who take that argument seriously. I will however discuss it with them further next week.

    2. Dennis Mykytyn

      This is, of course, totally false, an urban myth. I have an indie record label and can tell you musicians are the least financially astute of any profession I know, so when they write articles about how they get paid, be dubious.Streaming has grown this year to be the largest component of compensation to most record labels, and hence to musicians (IF they have recouped their advances). Bigger than iTunes, which is shrinking. Bigger than physical sales (CD sales plummeting, vinyl growing but tiny).There is a lag, of 6 months or more, due to antiquated record industry bookkeeping, before revenues show up, so the huge growth in streaming has just started to show up as serious revenue, but it is now growing quickly as other sales shrink.By next year, streaming will totally dominate music revenues, and checks to musicians (again, if they have recouped their advance) will be increasing significantly.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        I respect your experience. Let me share mine.I have several intimate friends who are extremely extremely extremely successful musicians and record producers. I am talking huge global artists and most successful producers of all time. I have another intimate friend who is one of the most successful attorney’s specializing in music industry IP. These are in fact my closest circle of friends.All I can tell you is that this people are universally agreed that streaming has had a devastating financial impact on artists. I can also tell you definitive that there is widespread usage of artists IP without payment that has been and will likely continue to be subject to major lawsuits.There is no disputing that streaming is the business model of the future. It has eaten out downloads. It has also eaten out returns to artists. Maybe you are right and all will be well, but I have heard no tell of this.(PS I can’t speak for the people you know but the ones I know aren’t financially naive, nor are they poorly advised)

  17. sigmaalgebra

    No one artist is that powerful, even the greatest artist of the pop music era.100% rock solidly true! Why? It’s a special case of a much more general truth:I grew up surrounded by pop music. I listened to pop music. I gave pop music a really good chance, for years. I really love music, am a total music fan. I can’t stand pop music. I deeply, profoundly, bitterly hate and despise pop music! So, for me, of course, there are no pop music artists that are “powerful” at all. For the beatles, can buy some really good spray bottles for those; kills them right away; they turn upside down with their legs in the air, and then can use the wet-dry shop vac to suck them up. Then in the back yard with a hose, wash out the shop vac! Works great at getting rid of hated beatles!Instead, this Christmas, I found:For some short pieces,Anna Moffo, Bach/Gounod, Ave Maria…Renata Tebaldi, Melichar / Schubert, Mille cherubini in coro…Barbara Bonney, Franz Schubert, Ave Maria…Die Wiener Sängerknaben, Franz Xaver Gruber, Joseph Franz Mohr, Stille Nacht, Heilige NachtRemember that from before age 3.…For some longer pieces, there isLuciano Pavarotti, A Christmas Special, Natale a Notre-Dame, Montreal, 1978.Pavarotti is in rare form. Tough to have better Christmas music or any music than that.…Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Theatre, Piotr Tchaikovsky, The NutcrackerAstounding. Beyond belief. Never thought that art could communicate so well. Yes, from the place where that ballet began.From all the performances of just the musical suite to the full ballet I’ve heard and seen, this one is special:Of course, the story is about a girl of about 9 dreaming about Christmas. So, essentially the whole thing is a dream scene.But this performance communicates with music and dance and without words but better than nearly all art with words. In particular, the choreography, astounding, is to communicate. E.g., near the beginning, notice the depiction of the social posturing of the adults as they greet. For more, and really special, the dance scenes are astoundingly effective metaphors for nicely put aspects of the story. As often in great art, usually it is exaggerated so that it’s easy enough to get the point being made.The dance sequences are often just overwhelmingly impressive, e.g., the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and then end with an astounding still image. Have to stare at it to make sure it was from real people on a real stage.As in the original, there are a lot of children in the performance, and that helps the whole story.Maybe 110+ years ago Tchaikovsky intended such art, but this performance may have achieved it for the first time.

  18. Raj

    I tend to have a view that if one maximizes the fan experience, profits will follow over the long term. Totally anecdotal, but it’s my experience with music. I end up buying records, merch and show tickets that follows my listening experience.

  19. Harisun Sutji

    I love listening The Beatles while relaxing on my chaise lounge. If you wanna know about chaise lounge, visit our website at….

  20. Susan Rubinsky

    I ripped all my Beatles CDs to MP3 years ago (I ripped my whole collection of CDs. No way I was going to pay for it all again). I don’t mind that they waited until the back end of the curve. They were being conservative. I get that.

  21. rich caccappolo

    Partially, probably true – but I still like to try to blame Yoko!

  22. jason wright

    i thought Paul quite recently bought the rights back.

  23. pointsnfigures

    Interesting observation “Brian Epstein was one of the worst businessmen of all time”, but he made the Beatles stars. I might push back and say they were so good they rose above all the dreck that was around them.

  24. Salt Shaker

    Lefsetz Letter is generally good, but a bit of a sham, too. He has a royalty deal with Rhinofy and never reveals that he has an economic interest in his posts. He’ll push artists’ music and doesn’t indicate that he’s compensated. Not very professional journalism.

  25. fredwilson

    Yup. Bob got it right as usual

  26. Kirsten Lambertsen

    We agree! They were the hardest working guys in show business.

  27. LE

    Speaking of proofreading I bought your Cinnamon Raisin Swirl at WF 2 days ago (haven’t tasted yet..). It had no expiration date on it or lot number zilch. Some of the other bread had non-readable numbers that may have contained expirations (that were impossible to read) but the CRS had nothing (I even asked the bread lady and she couldn’t find it). Your competitor had easy cinch tags (or whatever they are called). In all honesty if I didn’t know it was your bread I would never have bought it w/o the expiration date clearly readable it’s a non-starter for me so I am mentioning so you can figure out why this is happening.[1][1] Anyway, so how long is this bread good for when I squeezed it it felt fresh and I could smell the raisins can’t wait to taste it.

  28. Dennis Mykytyn

    And how do you know Rhino pays him for occasional posts? Because he wrote about it!Maybe next you’ll say VCs shouldn’t blog about their own companies?

  29. Salt Shaker

    Lefsetz is a journalist, not a VC. Big difference. He doesn’t have an equity stake in Rhinofy. Lefsetz acknowledged only once his biz relationship w/ Rhinofy in his very 1st post. He has never acknowledged in the dozens of subsequent Rhinofy posts his relationship, as if mentioning it once is enough. It Isn’t. There should be a “full disclosure” mention in each, as Fred does, for example, when he touts one of his investments.

  30. Dennis Mykytyn

    He is not a journalist, he is a music industry consultant who writes a popular newsletter.

  31. Salt Shaker

    Think you’ve got it a bit backwards. Lefsetz’s blog led to his consulting gigs. Regardless, journalist and/or consultant, full disclosure is warranted. If one is on the dole, then their objectivity can easily be compromised, or at the very least it can build a perception of impropriety, particularly when one isn’t forthright, which Bob hasn’t been. Being candid and open eleviates that concern. I like Bob’s writing (at least most of the time), but I think he’s been quite disingenuous here.

  32. Dennis Mykytyn

    Lefsetz has been a music industry lawyer/executive/consultant for his entire life, the newsletter came after, though it has made him (in)famous. The Rhino label posts you seem to object to were all labeled “Rhinofy” in the tile, and ended this year anyway. I am not even sure what possible conflict you see in being paid to write about your favorite Joni Mitchell or Led Zeppelin songs?Does Lefsetz get paid by record labels and other music industry companies? I am sure he does, to give talks, etc. But he is not a journalist, and doesn’t have to disclose who is paying him, no more than any of the commenters here have to disclose where their income comes from in order to comment. As to being forthright, he disclosed the Rhino deal and posted it in the header every time. I was never confused about it, and it appears you weren’t either, so I am not sure who you think was mislead.Lefsetz is often an asshole in his newsletter, but half the time he writes very good posts about the industry and he is not afraid to say what he thinks.

  33. LE

    Does Lefsetz get paid by record labels and other music industry companies? I am sure he does, to give talks, etc. But he is not a journalist, and doesn’t have to disclose who is paying him, no more than any of the commenters here have to disclose where their income comes from in order to comment.I agree with many of the things you are saying (based on my limited knowledge of the music industry) however I don’t agree with what you have said above that I quoted.There is a big difference between commenting on a blog (often anonymously or semi-anon) and writing a blog. Now in a perfect world of course people would be skeptical however a blog under your name and persona while not the same as being a journalist is almost certainly a higher standard than commenting that is obvious.What is particularly ironic is this on his “about” page:Bob Lefsetz is the author of “The Lefsetz Letter.” Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself…Not knowing much about Bob the “beholden to no one” is pretty clear to me. What am I missing here?

  34. Salt Shaker

    There’s no conflict in getting paid, the conflict exists when he doesn’t alert his readership that he is being paid. Lefsetz sort of positions himself as a “voice of reason” in the industry and not beholden to anyone. As you know, he’s frequently opinionated and not afraid to criticize the old guard, whether it’s label execs, venue operators, promoters and/or an artists. He wears his heart on his sleeve, often I’m afraid embarrassingly so. Just because he uses Rhino in his header doesn’t mean anything. He’s a shill for Rhinofy and likely gets paid by the post and/or via a small royalty from sales tied to his writing. He has an economic incentive, yet publishes as if this is solely from the heart. If Lefsetz just acknowledged he was getting paid, yet still indicated in all posts that he retained 100% creative control on what he reviewed/published, then I’d have no problem. Unfortunately, he keeps it all under a veil of secrecy, and I’m quite certain that’s intentional.Lifted from his own bio: “Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth….” (well, when you get paid by a label, you’re beholden to that label.)Dennis, we certainly can agree to disagree here….Merry Christmas!

  35. LE

    I actually found where it says in small print “Best By”. Under that is something that is in no way readable (which is why I and the clerk missed it at the store). The other packages (of other bread types) I was able to see that line but it was super hard to read (low ink on the ink jet I am guessing). You need to pull samples and check this. Just like I check envelopes coming out of the PB meter when we are mailing invoices.Picture attached. And the photo is accurate it’s that hard to read! What type of quality control do you have in place to catch things like this? (Also the cinch tags are much better the type even with the ink right really is to small for this and many people in the food business do the same thing and it’s not consumer friendly..)Also you are saying “14 days from the production date” however “Best by” indicates the date should be the best by date meaning it’s already 14 days from production..”.

  36. LE

    So how’s the bread?Actually I just opened up the bag, reached in to grab a slice (about 4 or 5 slices from the front) and everything fell apart in my hands. See attached picture. Something is definitely not right with production it’s the entire loaf. I tasted and it didn’t taste stale or bad but in all honesty (and this is strictly as feedback so you can correct) wasn’t that great (and the way it fell apart not really usable either).See attached pic…