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  • Jack Grace


Listening to music on the speaker of a cell phone is about as enjoyable as eating a burrito through a straw. You can get the taste but did you really experience the textures it had to offer?

Ok, get yourself a damn high-quality stereo already and listen to it often. Yes, vinyl is that good; it’s not just a fad. You also own it and it can’t disappear when a disc drive dies (but it can get stolen, melt, scratch, warp, etc.).

I highly recommend the Bose Mini 2 Bluetooth speaker for much of your modern digital musical needs. It sounds amazing. I love everything Bose. Most Americans have a huge TV, yet so few have epic stereo systems anymore. It is all too common to find people listening to horrible quality mp3s on crappy little speakers and then a lot of those same folks have the gall to complain about how there is no good new music out there!

Bose Mini 2 Bluetooth speaker
Bose Mini 2 Bluetooth speaker

How could you fall in love with any music on a phone speaker? It ain’t easy. That is one of the reasons why Game of Thrones was the water cooler talk rather than a new amazing band. America (and beyond) for decades has been getting better and bigger TVs and smaller and lower quality stereos – or, hell, not even stereos: we now have to downgrade the name of what many possess to “music delivery systems”! Let’s make a law that says everyone has to watch football on a nine-inch black-and-white TV. If we could do that (a man can dream), I predict football would be out of fashion by the end of the year (hooray!).

So that brings us to streaming. Spotify is here to stay – well, at least streaming is (AOL once looked like it would dominate the email business forever). I would like to shift to what the company pays for its content. It fits really well with that crappy little “music delivery system”.

Spotify’s payout rate is among the worst of all streaming services. Apple wanted to improve songwriter pay to $0.00091 per stream for all. Guess who helped shoot down that fair and decent proposal? Spotify and Amazon.

Paul Vogel, Head of Global Financial Planning and Analysis and Investor Relations at Spotify, in 2016 claimed that “lower royalty rates are critical to Spotify’s future”. He added, “Lower royalty rates would allow Spotify to spend more on revenue growth drivers, which would result in more absolute revenue for everyone as well as for the company. With lower royalty rates, we can develop a better product, and if we can develop a better product, more people will be willing to pay, the market will expand, and the total value to the entire ecosystem will grow.”

Who the hell believes that? Trickle-down economics has been proven to be complete BS. Seriously, screw you.

Below is the intro of the legal document from Apple submitted to the United States Copyright Royalty Judges (The Library of Congress).

“Music has inherent value. It has value to the public, which benefits from listening to the creativity of artists. It has value to artists, not only as an outlet for their creativity but as a source of financial support for their continued creation. And it has value to the services like Apple Music, whose important role in innovatively bringing together the public and artists also must be recognized by any rate structure. The music compositions embodied in interactive streams are protected under the U.S. Copyright Act, and the publishers and songwriters who create these works have a constitutional right to be compensated for their use. The business model designed and used by a distributor of these musical works does not diminish the value of the music. In recognition of this fact, Apple is proposing an all-in royalty rate of $0.00091 per PUBLIC 2 stream (or 1/100th of the current rate for downloads) for all interactive streaming services. This rate is more favorable to copyright owners than the conversion rate used by Billboard for its Billboard 200 chart and is consistent with the UK Official Single Chart’s 100:1 ratio for converting streams to downloads.” This was the right move. But it is not happening.

Apple is no saint to the music world either. CDs were still a viable music delivery system into your computer before Apple eliminated the disc drive, in part to drive music sales to iTunes (they’ll never cop to this theory), but that victory was short-lived as streaming was to take over at the same time. iTunes is going away as of...right now (fall of 2019), this will certainly produce hassles and several ramifications for musicians and true music lovers all around the world. You won’t lose the music you own when you get the new Mac OS Catalina operating system, but, you will likely be confused and frustrated, which is not what listening to your music should be about.

I don’t recommend this as your only music source. I have surrendered to Spotify and discovered lots of new music there. One major record label president told me, “Look at Spotify as the new radio.”.To be a music lover and have access to the biggest catalog of music you could imagine is tough to ignore. But they can choose to take away any of it away, any day they decide to do so.

One of the benefits of streaming is it costs very little for an artist to release music there. Making 500 vinyl records will cost $2500 on the cheap side, and then mailing them out is not cheap!

Being that we are entering the holidays, I suggest we all bypass this mess; go see bands and gather around pianos with people from our towns and sings songs. It worked for hundreds of years and it can still work today. 


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