Media & Music

By covering news, politics, weather, sports, entertainment, and vital events, the daily media shape the dominant cultural, social and political picture of society. Beyond the media networks, independent news sources have evolved to report on events which escape attention or underlie the major stories. In recent years, the blogosphere has taken reporting a step further, mining down to the experiences and perceptions of individual citizens.

An exponentially growing phenomenon, the blogosphere can be abuzz with news that is overlooked by the press and TV networks.

Media coverage during the 2008 Mumbai attacks highlighted the use of new media and Internet social networking tools, including Twitter and Flickr, in spreading information about the attacks, observing that Internet coverage was often ahead of more traditional media sources.

Media integrity

Media integrity refers to the ability of a news media outlet to serve the public interest and democratic process, making it resilient to institutional corruption within the media system, economy of influence, conflicting dependence and political clientelism. Media integrity encompasses following qualities of a media outlet:

• independence from private or political interests
• transparency about own financial interests
• commitment to journalism ethics and standards
• responsiveness to citizens

MUSIC INDUSTRY

The music industry consists of the companies and individuals that make money by creating and selling live music performances, sound recordings and music videos of songs and instrumental pieces. Among the many individuals and organizations that operate in the industry are: the songwriters and composers who create new music; the singers, musicians, conductors and bandleaders who perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music and/or sheet music (e.g., music publishers, producers, recording studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organizations); and those that help organize and present live music performances (booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew).

The modern music industry emerged between the 1930s and 1950s, when records supplanted sheet music as the most important product in the music business. In the commercial world, people began referring to “the recording industry” as a loose synonym for “the music industry”. In the 2000s, a majority of the music market is controlled by three major corporate labels: the French-owned Universal Music Group, the Japanese-owned Sony Music Entertainment, and the US-owned Warner Music Group.

Labels outside of these three major labels are referred to as independent labels. The largest portion of the live music market for concerts and tours is controlled by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of iHeartMedia Inc, which is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States. Creative Artists Agency is a large talent management and booking company.

The music industry has undergone drastic changes since the advent of widespread digital distribution of music via the Internet, which includes both illegal file sharing of songs and legal music purchases. A conspicuous indicator of this is total music sales: since 2000, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially while live music has increased in importance. The largest music retailer in the world is now digital: Apple Inc.’s online iTunes Store.

PRINTED MUSIC IN EUROPE

Music publishing followed the evolution of printing technologies after the mid-15th century, when mechanical techniques for printing music were first developed. The earliest example, a set of liturgical chants, dates from about 1465, shortly after the Gutenberg Bible. Prior to this time, music had to be copied out by hand. This was a very labor-intensive and time-consuming process, so it was usually undertaken only by monks and priests seeking to preserve sacred music for the church. The few collections of secular music that are extant were commissioned and owned by wealthy noblemen. Examples include the Squarcialupi Codex of Italian Trecento music and the Chantilly Codex of French Ars subtilior music.

The pioneer of modern music printing was Ottaviano Petrucci (born in Fossombrone in 1466 – died in 1539 in Venice ), a printer and publisher who was able to secure a twenty-year monopoly on printed music in Venice during the 16th century. Venice was one of the major business and music centers during this period. His Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, a collection of chansons printed in 1501, is commonly misidentified as the first book of sheet music printed from movable type. Actually that distinction belongs to the Roman printer Ulrich Han’s Missale Romanum of 1476. Nevertheless, Petrucci’s later work was extraordinary for the complexity of his white mensural notation and the smallness of his font. He printed the first book of polyphony using movable type. He also published numerous works by the most highly regarded composers of the Renaissance, including Josquin des Prez and Antoine Brumel.

Until the 18th century, the processes of formal composition and of the printing of music took place for the most part with the support of patronage from aristocracies and churches. In the mid-to-late 18th century, performers and composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began to seek commercial opportunities to market their music and performances to the general public.

In the 19th century, sheet-music publishers dominated the music industry. In the United States, the music industry arose in tandem with the rise of black face minstrelsy. In the late part of the century the group of music publishers and songwriters which dominated popular music in the United States became known as Tin Pan Alley. The name originally referred to a specific place: West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, and a plaque (see below) on the sidewalk on 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth commemorates it. The start of Tin Pan Alley is usually dated to about 1885, when a number of music publishers set up shop in the same district of Manhattan.

ADVENT OF RECORDED MUSIC

At the dawn of the early 20th century, the recording of sound began to function as a disruptive technology to the commercial interests publishing sheet music. During the sheet music era, if you wanted to hear popular new songs, you would buy the sheet music and play it at home. Commercially released phonograph records of musical performances starting in the late 1880s, and later the onset of widespread radio broadcasting starting in the 1920s, forever changed the way music was heard. Opera houses, concert halls, and clubs continued to produce music and perform live, but the power of radio allowed obscure bands to become popular on a nationwide and sometimes worldwide scale.

The “record industry” eventually replaced the sheet music publishers as the industry’s largest force. A multitude of record labels came and went. Some note-worthy labels of the earlier decades include the Columbia Records, Crystalate, Decca Records, Edison Bell, The Gramophone Company, Invicta, Kalliope, Pathé, Victor Talking Machine Company and many others.

Many record companies died out as quickly as they had formed, and by the end of the 1980s, the “Big 6” — EMI, CBS, BMG, PolyGram, WEA and MCA — dominated the industry. Sony bought CBS Records in 1987 and changed its name to Sony Music in 1991. In mid-1998, PolyGram merged into the Universal Music Group (formerly MCA). Since then, Sony and BMG merged in 2004, and Universal took over the majority of EMI’s recorded music interests in 2012. EMI Music Publishing, also once part of the now defunct British conglomerate, is now co-owned by Sony as a subsidiary of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

RISE OF DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION

In the first decade of the twenty first century, digitally downloaded and streamed music, much of it illegally downloaded or streamed, at least at first, became more popular than physical recordings (e.g. CDs, tapes). This gave consumers almost “frictionless” access to a wider variety of music than ever before. At the same time, consumers spent less money on recorded music (both physically and digitally distributed) than they had in the 1990s. Total revenues in the U.S. dropped by half, from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $6.3 billion in 2009, according to Forrester Research.

Worldwide revenues for CDs, vinyl, cassettes and digital downloads fell from $36.9 billion in 2000 to $15.9 billion in 2010 according to IFPI. The Economist and The New York Times report that the downward trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future This dramatic decline in revenue has caused large-scale layoffs inside the industry, driven retailers (such as Tower Records) out of business and forced record companies, record producers, studios, recording engineers and musicians to seek new business models.

In response to the rise of widespread illegal file sharing of digital music recordings, the record industry took aggressive legal action. In 2001 it succeeded in shutting down the popular music site Napster, and threatened legal action against thousands of individuals who participated. However, this failed to slow the decline in revenue and proved a public-relations disaster.

Some academic studies have even suggested that downloads did not cause the decline. The 2008 British Music Rights surveyshowed that 80% of people in Britain wanted a legal P2P service, however only half of the respondents thought that the music’s creators should be paid. The survey was consistent with the results of earlier research conducted in the United States, upon which the Open Music Model was based.

After 2010, services such as Deezer, Pandora, Spotify, and Apple’s iTunes Radio began subscription-based “pay to stream” services.

The turmoil in the recorded music industry altered the twentieth-century balance between artists, record companies, promoters, retail music-stores and the consumer. As of 2010, big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy sell more records than music-only stores, which have ceased to function as a major player in the industry.

Recording artists now rely on live performance and merchandise sales (T-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.) for the majority of their income, which in turn has made them more dependent on music promoters like Live Nation (which dominates tour promotion and owns a large number of music venues). In order to benefit from all of an artist’s income streams, record companies increasingly rely on the “360 deal”, a new business-relationship pioneered by Robbie Williams and EMI in 2007. At the other extreme, record companies can offer a simple manufacturing and distribution deal, which gives a higher percentage to the artist, but does not cover the expense of marketing and promotion.

BUSINESS STRUCTURE

The music industry is a complex system of many different organizations, firms and individuals and has undergone dramatic changes in the 21st century. This is known as disintermediation. However, the majority of the participants in the music industry still fulfill their traditional roles, which are described below.

There are three types of property that are created and sold by the recording industry: compositions, recordings and media (such as CDs or MP3s). There may be many recordings of a single composition and a single recording will typically be distributed into many media.

COMPOSITIONS

Songs and other musical compositions are created by songwriters or composers and are originally owned by the composer, although they may be sold. For example, in the case of work for hire, the composition is owned immediately by another party. Traditionally, the copyright owner licenses or “assigns” some of their rights (e.g. distribution and sales) to publishing companies, by means of a publishing contract. The publishing company (or a collection society operating on behalf of many such publishers, songwriters and composers) collects fees (known as “publishing royalties”) when the composition is used.

A portion of the royalties are paid by the publishing company to the copyright owner, depending on the terms of the contract. Sheet music provides an income stream that is paid exclusively to the composers and their publishing company. Typically (although not universally), the publishing company will provide the owner with an advance against future earnings when the publishing contract is signed. A publishing company will also promote the compositions, such as by acquiring song “placements” on television or in films.

RECORDINGS

Recordings are created by recording artists, often with the assistance of record producers and audio engineers. They were traditionally made in recording studios (who are paid a daily or hourly rate) in a recording session. In the 21st century, advances in recording technology have allowed many producers and artists to create “home studios”, bypassing the traditional role of the recording studio.

The record producer oversees all aspects of the recording, making many of the logistic, financial and artistic decisions in cooperation with the artist. Audio engineers (including recording, mixing and mastering engineers) are responsible for the audio quality of the recording. A recording session may also require the services of an arranger, studio musicians, session musicians, vocal coaches, or even ghostwriter to help with the lyrics.

Recordings are (traditionally) owned by record companies. A recording contract specifies the business relationship between a recording artist and the record company. In a traditional contract, the company provides an advance to the artist who agrees to record music that will be owned by the company. The A&R department of a record company is responsible for finding new talent and overseeing the recording process.

The company pays for the recording costs and the cost of promoting and marketing the record. For physical media (such as CDs), the company also pays to manufacture and distribute the physical recordings. Smaller record companies (known as “indies”) will form business relationships with other companies to handle many of these tasks. The record company pays the recording artist a portion of the income from the sale of the recordings, generally known as a mechanical royalty. (This is distinct from the publishing royalty, described above.)

This portion is similar to a percentage, but may be limited or expanded by a number of factors (such as free goods, recoupable expenses, bonuses, etc.) that are specified by the record contract. Session musicians and orchestra members (as well as a few recording artists in special markets) are under contract to provide work for hire; they’re typically only paid one-time fees or regular wages for their services, rather than royalties.

MEDIA

Physical media (such as CDs) are sold by music retailers and are owned by the consumer. A music distributor delivers the physical media from the manufacturer to the retailer and maintains relationships with retailers and record companies. The music retailer pays the distributor, who in turn pays the record company for the recordings. The record company pays mechanical royalties to the publisher, composer, and songwriter via a collection society. The record company then pays royalties, if contractually obligated, to the recording artist.

In the case of digital downloads or streams, there is no physical media other than the consumer’s hard drive. The distributor is optional in this situation; large online shops may pay the labels directly, but digital distributors do exist to service vendors large and small. When purchasing digital downloads, the consumer may be required to agree to record company and vendor licensing terms beyond those which are inherent in copyright; for example, some may allow freely sharing the recording, but others may restrict the user to storing the music on a specific number of hard drives.

LIVE MUSIC

A promoter brings together a performing artist and a venue owner and arranges contracts. A booking agency represents the artist to promoters, makes deals and books performances. Consumers usually buy tickets either from the venue or from a ticket distribution service such as Ticketmaster. In the US, Live Nation is the dominant company in all of these roles: they own most of the large venues in the US, they are the largest promoter, and they own Ticketmaster.

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