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Music Industry News- June 2012

-Guitars are on the verge of getting much, much cooler.
3D printers are getting cheaper and more ubiquitous. No longer will you need a C&C or full workshop to make custom guitars, anyone with a few grand will be able to become a quality custom guitar maker. Check out this New Zealand professor who makes hollow, mesh guitars full of scarab beetles and butterfly designs. (Extra cool note, his guitars are using a material that is much stronger than traditional woods os they're durable too!)

The Pirate Bay already has downloads for object files to be printed. Once someone specs out a fender or a gibson, if they haven't already, the artists / makers are going to create some wild and crazy designs. I for one welcome our coming super-wild guitar overlords.

This is gonna create some copyright headaches though. Count on it.

-Songza is fantastic. Pandora continues to lose its edge.
New-ish internet radio service Songza got 1.15 million new downloads since releasing it's iOS app for iPhone and iPad. Pandora stock is down to $11 from $17 from its IPO a little over a year ago.

For me, Songza blows Pandora out of the water. Instead of Pandora's auto-generated playlists, Songza offers up human-curated playlists served up through an intuitive "concierge" menu that helps select playlists based on mood, genre, and time of day.

The difference between the two services is night and day.

Songza has better song choices with better playlists. Songza has a significantly higher hit-to-miss ratio than Pandora in terms of the percentage of artists I favorite over the total number of artists I hear on the station total. The human touch to Songza playlists makes all the difference. (Spotify just announced a free radio app for iOs, but the song selection algorithm is much weaker than Pandora or Songza)

My current "music discovery stack" on my phone is Songza for guided discovery and Spotify for targeted discovery. Pandora I only use to listen to stand up comedy radio. iTunes I'll use sparingly for releases that are essential to purchase, such as bands like Intronaut whose label Century Media left Spotify. This leads to my next point.

-Spotify pullouts
This is my primary method of listening to and developing fandom for new bands. For bands fans are crazy about, this leads fans to buy the digital album instead of stream it. But Spotify pullouts disincentivize new artist discovery on the label. While they get the increased revenue for one band, the label loses

-Where's my swear words Spotify?
When I search for Killer Mike on my phone it defaults to to the clean version of his album R.A.P. Music! Getting every other word removed is no way to experience an album.

I can't blame the label for making this the default version of the album though. This strikes me as a method of price discrimination similar to the delayed Spotify release as an incentive to buy the actual download. It's a smart business move actually, especially for rap where abrasive lyrics as an intergal part of the art.

But come oooooon man!

(Edit: If I search for the album itself and not the artist I can still find the dirty version. Phew. My point on it being a useful method of getting true fans to buy the digital download still holds. Censored albums won't fly with this musician.)

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