Digital Media Digest

December 2017

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League posts a monthly digest of relevant news and information regarding changes, trends, and developments that may affect the digital media activities that orchestras use to achieve their institutional missions. For each monthly digest, the League's digital media consultants, Michael Bronson and Joe Kluger, draw from a variety of websites and publications to provide excerpts or summaries of articles. (These do not necessarily represent the views of the League.)  

As a service of the League, members with questions about the information in this digest or about other digital media topics – e.g., planning, strategy, and production – may contact Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Why classical purists should start taking video game music seriously 
Ask anyone who works in classical music what the biggest challenge of their job is, and they will unfailingly reply: getting young people to listen to it. It turns out that millions of young people are listening to hours of contemporary classical music every week, and they might not even know it. They do it while they play video games. As video game production has become yet more sophisticated, the games industry has increasingly looked to contemporary composers to write its soundtracks. Just as Hollywood film studio executives turned to established composers like Aaron Copland and Dmitri Shostakovich in the early twentieth century, today's games designers are using the best composition talent to augment the experience of playing their titles. (Source: New Statesman)
 
Jazz and classical label ECM records releasing entire catalogue to streaming outlets 
Huge news for fans of seminal jazz, contemporary classical, and New Age artists and composers: The ECM Records catalogue is coming to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and all major streaming services, under a new distribution deal with Universal Music. Previously, the Munich-based label had remained a steadfast holdout against streaming, though compilations of the biggest works by some of their most significant artists and some newer releases recently surfaced on Apple Music. The label specified that the reason for the change in policy was "unauthorized streaming of recordings via video sharing websites, plus piracy, bootlegs, and a proliferation of illegal download sites." They emphasized that they believed it was "important to make the catalogue accessible within a framework where copyrights are respected." (Source: Spin.com)
 
Video startup can't outspend YouTube, so it created a new currency to pay creators 
Adi Sideman, CEO of the live-streaming startup YouNow, spends his days hawking a new form of digital currency. The tokens are called Props—as in what you're giving when you offer someone a fist-bump—and Sideman wants people who stream video online to accept them as a form of payment. The first place the Props economy will exist is within Rize, a new live-streaming app that YouNow is releasing in January. People who use Rize will earn the tokens based on a mathematical formula determining how valuable their contribution to the service is. They can convert them into dollars or hold onto them as a bet that Props will increase in value over time. (Source: Bloomberg News)
 
Will AudioCoin change the music business and get artists paid? 
Imagine a world where artists don't have to worry about royalty checks. It's just automatic, and perfectly tracked. Artists wouldn't have to sue Spotify to get paid.  And, content creators would get their fair share, every time. While this reality does not exist today, ventures using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, such as AudioCoin, are starting to enter the picture as strategies to achieve these objectives. Based on the Bitcoin protocol, AudioCoin wants to help artists and fans "take back music" by letting fans "buy things like regular cash." They can also "keep them for investment" and trade them "against other virtual currencies." So, how do you earn Audiocoins? One of three ways. You can stream and download music, sharing content via Twitter or Facebook to earn coins. Fans can also refer their friends to sign-up on the website with a unique referral code. The more people sign-up on the website, the more coins you earn. Finally, you can also purchase Audiocoins on virtual currency markets like Bleutrade. (Source: Digital Music News)
 
Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will drop fees to nonprofit fundraisers, but the company will keep them for individuals trying to raise money on the platform. Zuckerberg said nonprofits had requested Facebook eliminate the fees, which total 5% for charitable organizations in the United States. Two percent covered things like vetting, operational costs and fraud protection, and three went toward payment processing fees, which Facebook will now absorb for accredited organizations. (Source: Quartz Media)
 
Pinchas Zukerman says embracing technology is key to saving the classics 
Can YouTube save classical music? Pinchas Zukerman believes the popular video-sharing website is doing just that.  He has no problem with patrons capturing a few minutes of video on their smartphones during concerts. He says it's not only a way to showcase the musicians, but it also helps educate students and bring classical music to a younger audience. A longtime advocate of using technology in the arts, and a pioneer of long-distance learning, Zukerman says he saw the potential of livestreaming and video-on-demand concerts years ago. Whether the screen is outdoors on the street or in the hands of a ticket buyer, the technology is here to stay. "We're so oriented to screens now. Don't be silly, let them have them. They won't come if you block it." (Source: Ottawa Citizen)
 
10 ways to dramatically boost the money you make from streaming 
Streaming is quickly becoming music's most profitable frontier. For many artists, that means skipping gatekeepers and developing a direct following. But with so many different streaming music platforms available, the digital rights management process has become highly fragmented, leaving hefty room for mistakes when it comes to ensuring that your content is being protected. Digital Music News created a guide for content creators, based on an interview with streaming expert and Vydia CEO, Roy LaManna, to help avoid the most common mistakes creators are making, before they get started. (Source: Digital Music News)
 
Pandora is losing 850,000 listeners a month. now for the bad news... 
As of today, the company has 73 million active users. At the start of the year, that number was 81 million.  Which means Pandora has lost 8 million active users in just 9 months. That boils down to 850,000 active listeners a month.  And the financial picture is considered even worse. Ahead of its earnings release, Pandora marked down its 4th quarter forecasts by roughly $30 million. Accordingly, Wall Street punished the stock, driving shares of 'P' down 26 percent—in one day. (Source: Digital Music News)