I’m very happy to announce that I am working on a second edition of iTake-Over to be published by Lexington Books. This will be the first book in the new series that I am editing for Lexington called Critical Perspectives on Music and Society. The title will be changed a bit to iTake-Over: The Recording Industry in the Streaming Era.
When I completed the first edition of iTake-Over, we were on the cusp of the music streaming era. While the argument remains accurate, the discussion about iTunes needs to be situated in terms of the evolution towards streaming. My overall goal of undertaking a second edition to the book is to emphasize the importance of streaming, but with the continued critique of the recording industry’s rhetorical strategies. In the streaming era, the major record labels and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continue to use rhetoric of decline to change both the policy and perception of the music industry.
Approximately 2 months after the release of the book, what I called the “piracy panic narrative” took an interesting twist at the 2015 GRAMMYs. At that GRAMMYs awards show, then-President of the Recording Academy Neil Portnow contended that Spotify pays too little for people to continue to want to record music. The moral panic shifted to streaming, specifically ad-supported streaming. In 2016, the scourge shifted to YouTube. I will update the concept of the piracy panic narrative to include these shifts. The newest piracy panic narrative revolves around what the RIAA and the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) label the “value gap.” The value gap is the amount that the recording industry argues that YouTube and ad-supported streaming services underpay recording artists.
These and other topics will help to situate iTake-Over in the streaming era!
On May 2, 2000, Lars Ulrich, drummer for the band Metallica, announced that his group was suing Napster, a free file-sharing service that let fans download music online. During the press conference outside Napster’s headquarters, Ulrich presented the company with a giant stack of papers listing the names of 300,000 Napster users. His assertion: Napster was enabling these people to steal music. Continue reading →
As the US Copyright Office pushes forward with plans for the largest overhaul of copyright in decades, it is important not to fall back to the same patterns that have eviscerated musicians and other creative producers. These copyright rewrites always end-up making powerful copyright interests more powerful. Continue reading →
In 2009, Apple announced that all of its music would be Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free. At that moment, this announcement was huge. The iTunes store, the world’s largest music retail store, always had DRM, which restricts the number of devices a song can be played on and what type of device permitted to play the music. While iTunes may be “DRM-free,” DRM is still included on most digital music available on the Internet – they just call it something else. Continue reading →
More than a decade after the launch of the iTunes Music Store, parts of the recording industry are finally changing the way they calculate sales. Billboard changed the metrics it uses to calculate the Billboard 200. Rather than calculating only album sales, Billboard 200 will now use “track-equivalent albums” and “track-equivalent streams.” This is the biggest change in the way that Billboard calculates this chart since the implementation of SoundScan in 1991, and it already appears to be every bit as monumental. Continue reading →