Apple Music is coming

apple-musicI don’t often talk about the ‘business’ side of music, but today is different.

I’ve always used Apple computers. I remember sitting in front of my Apple Power PC (just a grey box like all of the other grey boxes, I could just find my way around the software easier) wondering if I’d finally have to buy a PC as it really looked like Apple were going bust. I think it was an input of cash by Bill Gates that kept them afloat at that point. Then they got Steve Jobs back, out came OS X and the iPod, and suddenly Apple were back in business.

In April 2003 Apple launched the iTunes store. This one act changed the music business. Until then it was unthinkable to actually pay money for a download. Napster, Limewire and other file sharing services were literally killing the music business. Great for ‘fans’ who could get the results of their favourite bands for free, but utterly unsustainable for everyone else.

Along came iTunes and it changed the landscape.

It was also completely punk.

What I mean by that is back in 1976/77 when the Pistols were doing their thing there was an underground, self-produced music industry growing. The first single by the Buzzcocks was self produced and sold quite well, but the distribution wasn’t there. To get proper distribution bands still had to sign with record labels. The will was there, but the technology wasn’t. When Apple launched iTunes it gave everyone the potential of worldwide distribution of their songs without the need for a record label. So when I produced Herne’s Apprentice back in 2003 I was posting out CDs and selling them at gigs – I had no idea I could get my music heard overseas. During my first trip to the USA in 2006 I was constantly asked to get my music on iTunes, so when I got home I found out how to do it and suddenly I had three albums available in over 100 countries. iTunes was a gift both to the independent musician, and the lover of music. It took the power away from the labels and placed it in the hands of the music creators. Totally punk.

Soon others followed suit and Amazon etc joined the party. But Apple and iTunes made it the most current way to get music.

A few years ago Spotify and Rdio launched. They were saying that people didn’t need to actually own music, they just needed to listen to it. People paid a monthly subscription and that opened the doors to almost any song ever written. It’s taken a while but gradually streaming has grown. The problem for anyone earning a living from music is that the payment per stream is tiny, but there was no denying it, it was the way things were heading, but streaming hasn’t entered the mainstream.

Until today.

At 5pm UK time Apple are launching Apple Music. It’s an upgrade for iTunes (on both Mac and PC) and iOS (Android app is coming in the Autumn), and it’s their streaming service. Apple are a force to be reckoned with in the music industry so this could change everything. It could bring streaming into the mainstream.

It’s very attractive. There’s a three month free trial which is generous, and after a little kerfuffle with Taylor Swift Apple are now paying streaming royalties during that time. They are also paying a little more per stream than Spotify, and there is no free add-supported tier. They are launching a worldwide internet radio station, Beats 1, and Apple Music will also have a ‘connect’ feature which will mean that musicians will be able to post videos, demos, updates etc on their Apple Music profile (I’ve applied for mine but haven’t had anything through just yet). It all sounds good so far.

As someone who puts food on the table through music I am a little worried. I don’t know what would happen if everyone stopped buying CDs and downloads and opted for streaming. I don’t know whether that would allow me to keep doing what I do, the way I do it. One thing is for sure, the landscape of music will change after 5pm this afternoon. I’ll be ready for iOS 8.4 and am open to whatever the future brings. My music will be on there from launch.

Do you still buy CDs? Downloads? Or have you already opted for a streaming service? Do you think streaming is good for music?

Leave your comment below and let me know your thoughts.

44 Comments

  1. jacki woolmington June 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I still buy CD’s and use them – not really into all this downloading stuff and playing it on my computer or other device. I like to have and own the music that I like. I’m probably old fashioned but that’s who I am.

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      I get that Jacki. There’s something wonderful about the artwork, lyrics etc that we just can’t get with downloads and streaming. I remember getting Yes albums on vinyl and spending almost as much time exploring the art as the music.

  2. Hennie June 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Well, I think streaming can work 2 ways. One thing is to listen to your favorite music online; the other is that I now and then listen to a performer I wouldn’t have bought a cd or a download from. So, yes, you’ll loose income on the one hand, but gain a (potential large) audience on the other hand. But I wouldn’t dare to predict what this means to your income…

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      It is brilliant for music discovery. As a consumer of music I totally get streaming and will be playing with Apple music all night tonight.

      • Pete Quinan June 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm - Reply

        I will still buy cd”s I prefer that medium, but I can understand why streaming is so popular with both consumer and artist. For the artist they can get their music out to a far larger audience, this I feel will increase revenue for the artist too.
        Keep up the great work Damh.

  3. MezzieCrow June 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    I do all three my Lovely. I stream to listen to new music often by unknown/ not listened to before musicians. If I can’t live without it then I buy the cd…I have all of yours but I also have downloaded some too before I had my iPhone for when I’m out and about. Mostly too I stream blasts from the past that suddenly come to mind but listen to randomly. Things I hate!!! No sleeve notes. No lyrics! I’m very excited about AppleMusic too. Let’s see what it brings xxx

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Yes! It’s great to re-discover those old vinyl albums you never got around to replacing.

  4. James June 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    I disagree. The only reason it became popular is because they literally FORCED anyone buying an iPod to use the iTunes software. No other mp3 player company would *dream* of locking down their users like that: they would see it as completely counter to the philosophy of the technology field which was about enabling users. No other mp3 player manufacturer make you only use their mp3 shop.

    The fact Apple did that forced users to make a lot of money for apple. And uneducated users were like ‘wow this is amazing everyone’s using itunes and it’s so easy.’

    The idea of Apple being ‘punk’ is bizzare, they were the most money oriented, user-restricting, capitalist company out there. And the money they made and the lack of options they gave users powered their ubiquity.

    Do they even offer a lossless download option yet? Or are they still the only service lacking that option too?

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      … so I’m guessing you’re a PC person… 🙂

  5. Robin June 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Music which I really love I buy on CD – because CDs are not just the music but also cover artwork and (hopefully) lyrics. I also like to listen “through” CDs, from the first track to the last. Being a musician myself I know how challenging it can be to decide the order of the tracks and I appreciate the time artists spend to bring their tracks into a certain order, creating a unique arc of suspense.

    On the other hand, I understand that all I have said are more or less preferences styled by habit. In my childhood days I listened to cassettes and later I had CDs. Today’s children are growing up with streaming widely available. The way to listen to music is changing – from appreciating interconnected pieces of artisanship (i.e. an album) to single pieces of music, listened to mainly to alter the background noise of busy days and busy times in general.

    I feel that the growing of streaming services will accelerate processes we already see now: Here we have the super-popular music, listened to by so many people and played by so many radio stations worldwide that it doesn’t matter too much to the artists if the royalties per stream are not that high. And there we have several niches with few but very dedicated and loyal fans. For these fans it is still important to “own” the music – because that is what actually makes them fans and not just listeners.

    Your music clearly belongs to the latter group and my guess is that you’ll be fine. Your music is quite special and of very good quality and your fanbase is, as far as I can tell, full of people who do really care for what music they are listening to.

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Absolutely! I did wonder if the idea of the ‘album’ would quickly die out with downloads, but thankfully it didn’t. Releasing an album is an art in itself, and I always find creating the flow of songs to be just right one of the most challenging times of that creation.

  6. Davan June 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    I love downloading… not sure streaming would work for me, I like to own a track that I can listen to anywhere and not have to rely on a data connection (even now they are getting more realistic).

    I think one way ahead is for more content on CD’s/DVD’s to make them “Collectable” bonus tracks, digital booklets and videos are all options and I am sure there will be more than that.

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      You’re right. I don’t think CDs are going away, particularly at live shows. You can’t sign a download… 🙂

  7. DebbieF June 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    I still purchase cds and also download on occasion. I am old enough to not be a fan of earbuds or headsets in order to listen to music (want to protect my hearing into my older years), I want to hear it all around me in a room or in a car. I have bought all of your music, Damh, on cd and in download form, so that I can always listen to you and choose the way I do it. I have done that for a small handful of artists whose work is so important to my daily life:-) But…if the world is changing in a new direction, then I will follow you there!

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Thank you Debbie! We shall see where things go. I think the answer is to be everywhere and do everything. CD, download, be on streaming services, anywhere people listen to music, be there.

  8. Dero June 30, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    I will use apple music. But if there is a song I like, than I would buy the song or the entire album. Like I always did. Because streaming is not owning a song! If one cancel the apple music streaming service you will not have access to that songs. So Damh my favorite bard, your wounderful music, I will listen per apple music and will buy the songs too.

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Thank you!!!

  9. Chris June 30, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I like to own the CD and to be honest I still prefer vinyl. Flicking through an MP3 player album list is not the same as looking through your own (or a friends) album collection, be that CD or vinyl. I’ve downloaded MP3 albums in the past but it never feels like I own something that’s real. Also if everything went digital what happens to the album cover, without that we lose all that beautiful artwork.

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      True Chris. I miss really big album artwork. Sleeve notes, lyrics. But I think we are part of a dying breed my friend.

      • Chris June 30, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

        I agree and I fear books are going the same way.

        • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:22 pm - Reply

          I agree. It’s only a matter of time and Amazon have already started with their Kindle lending service. BUT, people listen to music over and over, not always with books. How do you equate a ‘stream’ with a book. But I think you are right, it is coming.

  10. melliecarma June 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Hi,

    I just wanna say that for me streaming per notebook, tablet or smartphone is the actual big thing since about 2-3 years already. Streaming here means not only music but movies, documentaries, games and audiobooks as well. I might not be typical but more of a computer nerd and digital native but i might be an example of where things are heading as i don’t listen to/don’t watch/don’t read conventional radio, normal tv or printed newspapers any more. I use newsletters, mailing lists, specialized online portals, video streaming platforms, ezines, audio- and gaming flats; most of these i pay for on a monthly subscription basis. I supplement this by reading printed sustainability magazines like oya or enorm.

    Actually i’m subscribed to 6 video streaming portals (Amazon Prime Instant Video, Maxdome, Snap, Netflix, Watchever and Viki Pass/viki.com), 2 music flats (Spotify Premium + MTV Music powered by Napster), 1 audiobook flatrate (Audible) and 1 gaming flat (Big Fish Games). So it’s a bit of a digital overkill i’m afraid but i like it that way. Then again i’m single so i don’t have to pay for a girlfriend/wife, a car or the rent (own flat/no car) so i can afford it.

    One last thing i want to mention: while i like to download tracks + albums occasionally (some free + legal, some paid for) i still want to buy CD’s/DVD’s in certain situations, like on a festival as MPS in Karlsruhe, on a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt), a medieval fair (Mittelaltermarkt) or a concert. On the other hand i’ve never been to a record shop for years now (besides the fact that there’s only one left in my city – they’re dying out). The same goes for cinemas: i think there are 2-3 left now but i’m single, i want to watch at my own convenient time and the film i choose and i hate going to the movies alone. Streaming also means it’s cheaper. In most cases you don’t need the DVD cause you will only watch the film once – DVD is for your cherished collectibles only.

    About Apple going to pay: 0,2 us cents in the trial period i read. Do you call that payment? Anything below one cent doesn’t even feel real to me. Just another new player in the market trying to catch up. Competitors started about 3 years prior. But to be fair it might feel like a big thing for the apple universe (if you like a golden cage/walled garden policy).

    Blessed be,
    melliecarma

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      Absolutely! As a consumer of TV and music I have an Amazon Prime and Netflix sub, and I also pay for a premium Spotify account, and I love the on demand features of all of those. In fact I probably watch Prime and Netflix more than I do any other TV. For the consumer streaming is brilliant. There are some great aspects for the musician too – music discovery for example, and Apple’s ‘connect’ feature looks interesting (if people actually use it). I’m not going to get into a PC/Apple argument as I’ve learned that the people in each camp want different things from their digital experiences, and each to their own tbh.

  11. Usacotts June 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    I occasionally buy CDs — for very special albums, sentimental reasons, and such — but so much of the music I enjoy is foreign that it would bankrupt me pretty quickly to import every single one at US$30+ per CD. As such the majority of my music purchases are through digital download services, which 1. don’t involve shipping a tiny object halfway across the world at significant cost in time, energy, and money, and 2. give more of my total payment to the artist than to myriad import and shipping services, especially if they’re through a service (e.g. Gumroad) where virtually all of the money goes to the artist directly.
    I’m not an Apple fan for many reasons and have never used iTunes. Amazon’s digital selection is quite good and DRM-free (which is handy as I have a bad tendency to fry hard drives every six months or so); if possible, though, my preference is for Bandcamp and similar services that allow paying more than the displayed/recommended amount. If I download something through Jamendo and like it, I generally try to toss a few bucks the artists’ way as well.
    I’ve never used a streaming service and have absolutely no desire whatsoever to use one. See, some of us live out in the sticks and have intermittent ‘net access — I’d rather not suddenly lose access to my entire collection on a daily (or hourly…) basis, thanks! I just don’t know why some people have such trouble understanding that not everyone is “always on”, but seriously, I download rather than stream for pretty much anything I can. Cuts down on “buffering” time, too.

    • Damh the Bard June 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      The internet access thing really is a thing, you’re right. I use Bandcamp for my own music store and they are brilliant.

  12. bish June 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    All my music – and more to the point and literally, all your music! – is loaded onto my network server and streamed over my devices at home and away. I do still have some three thousand CDs in boxes in the loft, and even a couple of boxes of vinyl LPs from the old days (not the revival). I have every one of your Druidcast podcasts, which I started to listen and love from day one. It’s odd, but I still have some kind of ‘ownership’, even over the ones and zeros on my server… How will I feel about this service? If I can access the screen sized album covers and sleeve notes, with additional clickable information and images, I’m probably in. If it’s just a rented radio, not so much. Time will tell.

  13. Bess June 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I will always buy the CDs of those musicians I want to support. Listening to the stream is like listening to the radio…background. When I listen to a CD, I spend the time to listen to the music. Usually multiple times. It gives me an exposure I can’t get through streaming.

    The only advantage I see of streaming music is that I can listen to the whole song/album, not just a snippet…and then make the decision whether or not I want to buy it. There are artists I don’t hesitate to buy new albums, unheard (like yours). But too much of what is out there can be disappointing, and it is really disappointing to buy an album based on a snippet and find out it really isn’t in my listening preferences.

  14. Jennifer R in the Pacific NW June 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    I found your music via my (then) teenage daughter. She found it via YouTube. She is also the iTunes user & any cards that I get go through her account & she buys/downloads for me, installing “my” music on my mp3.

    I miss buying albums like I miss buying books. I like the “feel” of having the real thing in my hands. However, after my parents died & I inherited ALL their possessions, I’ve been in “Do I really have room for this?” mode.

    We will still be buying your music no matter how we have to get it. You have a permanent place in our music library.

  15. Emily Radulescu June 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    I rarely buy anything that is digital only. I much prefer to buy the actual disc, and then import that into my iTunes library. WIth the life expectancy of a computer hard drive being only a couple years, I don’t want to risk losing my favorite music, and at least if I have the physical copy I just have to import it all again. And before anyone says that the companies will store it, and you can re-download it, I still remember the kerfluffle over the Kindle and the deleted (paid for) books.

  16. Mike Hodgson June 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I expect this form of distribution is ideal for the younger end of the age spectrum, and who are usually more PC savvy than me, however, I am an old “stick in the mud” or a PC Luddite, when I buy music I much prefer to own the cd. In the future I will still buy your albums no matter how its released but, the cd is my 1st choice. I would love to see you around Leeds sometime, there are plenty of pagans & druids up here too. Best wishes.

  17. Ed Bonthron June 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Not everybody is an apple fan. I still buy CD’s and upload them on my network. I like to have a physical copy of things when I buy them. I have purchased one too many “downloaded items” and had computer issues and items were lost and unavailable there after. As long as you have a copy you can just up load it again. If not you are at the mercy of others. So as long as you are putting out CD’s I am sure their will be a few of us picking them up 🙂

  18. Brendan Leber June 30, 2015 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    I prefer high definition audio when I can get it. This means I buy a music from places like HDTracks.com. As I already have the setup to play digital audio I tend to use Bandcamp as the FLAC support makes it simple to add my new Damh albums into the setup and just play them.

    I have to say the High Fidelity Pure Audio (HFPA) Blu-Rays are brilliant. My favorites so far are the multi-channel high definition releases from artists like Steven Wilson, Peter Gabriel and Jethro Tull. I know those will continue to be uncommon because the production costs don’t justify them for every release but dang, wouldn’t that be nice?

    B

  19. Marcus June 30, 2015 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I love to hold the CD and love looking at the artwork, notes and lyrics in my hand. If you released vinyl, I would love that even more but I know that just isn’t realistic. I do occasional downloads but I havn’t figured out how to get things on to my IPhone – I bought one of those purple speaker things so I can listen to my music in the car. It is still in its box – I just don’t have the attention span to get it done!

  20. melliecarma June 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I once digitalized my whole audio collection (about 500 cd’s and a 100 mc’s), it took practically all of my spare time, about 3 months i think. About 9 months later i bricked my hard drive to that extent that it wouldn’t boot up any more. Boy was i pissed of! So much time invested and no access possible. Not enough RAM to boot it up, to defrag, to access the desktop or the start menu. Had i used streaming back then i would have been able to download many tracks on my new machine . . . You know that premium accounts on musicflats have a download option? But you’re right once you cancel your subscription you loose access to the music you paid for. I once read that there is one service which offers a download-to-own model but i can’t find the article any more and i don’t remember the name/website. But it surely was not one of the big players but a name i never heard of before. Still looking for it . . .

    Although i mostly use streaming and download services i’m 51 years old. I’ve been into computers and online since about 1998 with my Amiga 1200 which i later switched into a A1200ti meaning you took the A1200’s motherboard and built it vertically into a Micronik Infinitive tower case. Since then i had about 20+ systems (still have them all) from Sega, Nintendo, Commodore, Amiga, Sony, Open Pandora, Ouya, JVC/Victor, Apple, Asus, Acer, Dell, Network, Retrode, Actebis/Targa, Amazon… These include desktop + power pc’s, consoles, ebook readers, notebooks, netbooks, ipod, iMac, a smartphone and a portable MiniDisc recorder. Actually i use different operating systems like win xp, win 7, linux (ubuntu), linux and android combined (Sailfish OS with Android support on my Jolla smartphone), stock Android (netbook), Fire OS (Android based) on my Kindle Fire HD 7“ tablet. Another Tablet (Jolla Tablet, again Sailfish OS with Android support) is due to arrive in july. Sadly, some systems i purchased via Ebay came without an operating system, like my C64, my C128d and my Apple iMac. As i tend to fill up all my hd’s i opted for a NAS which can hold up to 8 hot-swappable drives up to a capacity of 4TB each, a total of 32 TB. So far i’ve two 4TB drives installed. The system is controlled from a medium-spec notebook with 750GB hd.

    I don’t want to boast, i just never sold or discarded any system i owned. I also don’t see any value in fighting over an operating system. If it does what you envision it for you then fine. But i don’t like walled garden policies like with Microsoft or Apple. I don’t like being forced to use a certain browser, download client or app/music store over the other. Or being forced to use an app/client when i can use the browser instead. I want the freedom of choice, always. I want to try out different operating systems, distributions, desktops, process managers, media players . . .

    That’s just who i am, that’s my personality. I choose when i watch a film. I choose the medium, the time, the platform, the genre. I choose ad-free, premium, paid-for quality content. Never the other way around.

  21. Paul June 30, 2015 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I do use spotify but as a better ‘preview’ service. If I like it I download it .. if I really like a lot I buy the CD. Streaming could turn music into valueless wallpaper, the process of buying it literally means you invest in the music.

  22. Jane McLernon June 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    I still buy music through iTunes, although I don’t buy many actual CD’s anymore. I will probably give the Apple Music thing a try but I make no promises. I don’t use Spotify but I do listen to music on Pandora when I’m using my Android phone. Oddly, I don’t use Google Play. I’ve also purchased music from Amazon to stream; what’s interesting is that Amazon mp3’s will play on iTunes but their music requires their player. I’m giving serious thought to switching to an iPhone and if that happens, Apple Music will be a much more attractive option for me. In the meantime, I have purchased your albums through iTunes and love them!

  23. Éilis Niamh June 30, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Damh,
    I can understand your misgivings about streaming. I agree it’s where technology is headed with respect to music, and that bothers me too, not just because I’m not sure how it will impact musicians, but because I don’t see it as a completely positive change from the point of view of a listener/consumer. I do still buy CDs and MP3 albums because I enjoy listening to music without an internet connection or using data. I like waking up in the morning to song mixes I have created from music I’ve bought and then burned to CD, or arranged in a playlist. Streaming, as far as I know, provides little control in this respect. I also find, as a visually impaired person, that streaming is baffling and time consuming, due to the inaccessibility of most of the websites and programs out there from which to stream. The Amazon cloud player for instance is almost impossible to navigate with a screen reader, and it can take me up to an hour just to find the song I want to hear. Popping a CD into a player usually makes much more sense to me than fiddling with icons that don’t talk, streaming options that are laid out on a page poorly, or grappling with having to scroll down a page of 400 songs one line at a time to find what I’m looking for because I can’t use a mouse and there are no built in short cuts.

    The only streaming option which works for me and I love is pandora. But I can wait weeks if there’s a particular song I want to hear on there. I like having as many options as possible, and think I’m not alone in this. So, even if CDs go out of fassion, I’m sure downloads will continue for quite a while. Hopefully streaming services will also continue improving and build in accessibility, as well as a way for composers and songwriters to be paid for their music.

    Sorry for the novel at you. Thanks for the post.

  24. Mairenn June 30, 2015 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    It won’t change how I buy music, I buy ITunes downloads and it will stay that way. It is how I buy your albums Damh and will continue to do so.

  25. celticgeek July 1, 2015 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I don’t support Apple in any way shape or form, if I can help it. I do download music from users sites, CD Baby, and Band Camp, though, in .flac, .ogg, and then .mp3, by preference. I also buy CDs at concerts and music festivals whenever bands come to town.

  26. paganmike July 1, 2015 at 3:00 am - Reply

    i am the sort of person that prefers to have a physical object ( ie ) a cd – just so its convient for me so when i want to listen to my music i can go get it ans play – no downloading fromthr cloud( which costs me more money)
    I have already made the purchase to support the artist so i dont understand why i have to pay again ( and especially after i already own the product)
    This is especially an issue after itunes updates and then decides what should be on my ipod and not .
    i wish you the best during this and will continue to support your music in what ever state it is

  27. Amy July 1, 2015 at 4:59 am - Reply

    I prefer to buy downloads for the most part these days. I listen to my music exclusively through my smartphone or computer. I don’t need more “stuff.” If I do get a CD I rip as soon as I get it home and then it sit on my shelf. I want to own the files and be able to play them when and how I want. Streaming is nice for a change of pace or to find new music but when I love something I buy it. I’ll buy CDs at shows for small indy artists as a way to put cash in their hands at a show, but if they offer a download code instead of physical CDs, so much the better.

  28. Christine July 1, 2015 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I listen to Radio Caroline and discover lots of good music on there. When I hear something new that I like, I then preview the album on Spotify, and if I really like it, I buy the CD.
    A few months ago, they played a song that I liked, but I didn’t quite catch the name of the artist or the song. Fortunately, they played the song again the next day, and this time I paid more attention. The song was called “Sabbat”.
    And that is how I discovered your music. I bought the CD and am now working my way through your CD back catalogue.
    I won’t be using Apple’s streaming service, much prefer the human touch of radio.

  29. Stewart Brennan July 1, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Dave,

    I was a free lance DJ back in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Technology has always changed the playing field as was the case when the 6 major record labels went into collusion by making a joint announcement in 1985 that they would no longer issue vinyl records but instead adopt CD technology.

    The major label’s move back then, had the effect of putting hundreds of small and medium sized record labels out of business and at the same time, it destroyed the artists avenues of getting their music heard by industry professionals…in effect the doors were shut and there were fewer doors available. Most of the record labels were bought up for pennies on the dollar. Today, what remains are 3 very controlling major labels…

    On business inside the mainstream labels:

    Transition periods during corporate takeovers meant restructuring of the acquired labels where final decisions on artist signings and music productions were made by the parent company…and they applied the principals of lean manufacturing ie: standardized their products into “Lude, Crude, & Rude” (my term) while taking on fewer artists.

    End of an Age, Total Control, and a Revolution

    In effect, “Live Aid” in 1985, was like the swan song concert of the vinyl age, after that music changed and the variety we had before 1985 over the airwaves dried up. The airwaves were also bought up by deep pockets and put into top 40 syndication (at least here in North America that is.) Radio’s top 40, was driven by the 6 Major labels at the time and for 15 years they had total control of the music industry, that is until 1999 when the mp3 was created. At the same time, the Internet was buzzing with social activity and computers were advanced to the point that they came with CD burners and software. The world was music starved Dave and bursting at the seems to express itself, because as you well know, music is the peoples voice and for 15 years that voice was silenced.

    What “Napster” did was blow away the control that the major labels had on the music industry. The mp3, which was not known about by the public until Napster came into existence became a household word…the news spread like wildfire and the music revolution was born.

    When CD technology was adopted here in North America in 1985, the price to buy a CD was 3 times the price of an album, (it went from $7.00 to $21.00), the 45 single was no longer made or available and most of the vinyl generation of music from the 1950’s to 1985 was not carried on CD…some of the major artists were given Greatest hits CD’s because of public outcry…but they were made because the major labels knew they could make a lot of money from them. If you ask the artists back then about their share in their own record sales, most will tell you that the labels took the lions share and reserved all the rights…

    Fast forward to the computer age

    The old music that was not on CD (it was on vinyl only) could now be directly uploaded onto the computer with a turntable, interface and software, that created an mp3, and then converted into a “Wave” file and burned as a CD. Napster became a major revolutionary hit that broke down the iron fisted control that the major labels had over the entire music industry and history of it.

    “Napster” was more than just file sharing, it was also a huge revolutionary social network because it’s chat rooms & file sharing gave back music history to the people. It also opened the doors for musicians who could not even get their music heard by the major labels, and what I mean by that is it gave the artist a direct path and new means to reach a wider audience however small it may have been at that time…but it grew. “YouTube” came onto the scene in 2005 and became the new social network to carry new and old music…but especially for independent and unsigned artists.

    Music streaming started on YouTube by music fans creating playlists. The interconnectivity of people on YouTube between 2005 and 2009 became a powerful vessel for new and emerging artists. The tide in the music industry had changed in the peoples favour because coming at them was and is a tsunami of music that’s no longer bottled up by the closed doors of the 3 major labels.

    As a DJ who made a living on promoting the best music between 1975 and 1986, I bought my own records (albums and singles) and made my own cassette tapes. The main source of music promotion back then was the radio airwaves and television. But once the majors cornered the music market with CD technology, and took control of the airwaves, music variety dried up over the radio and television airwaves (ie: no more Progressive Rock, Folk Rock, Protest Music, etc) There was a bigger reason why the deep pockets of the corporations cornered the music industry, but I wont go into it here.

    The computer age, social networks and the mp3 changed music history, but I think it was for the better because now I can find great music by artists like “Damh the Bard”. I was introduced to your music via “YouTube” and been a fan ever since…in fact I created my own project called World United Music so I could promote the artists I find and their music, but especially the Independent and Unsigned artists. Here is the Artist Profile I created for “Damh the Bard” in 2011 – http://worldunitedmusic.blogspot.ca/2011/11/damh-bard.html

    For the most part, the future in music sales will be the “Single”…for some artists it will be entire albums but what is important is that people buy the music, and they do, millions of songs are sold everyday, but we must note that we are still in a transition period and the 3 mainstream labels still hold the reigns on promotion even with iTunes…however, the future belongs to the people and so it will take a little time to build the new music Industry but look how far independent’s have come without the mainstream labels…

    I have been a music nut from the age of 3 (1963)…and like you, I used to rock back and forth on a horse on springs to the music and sing my heart out to all the great music heard over a suitcase style record player…stacks of 45’s (Beatles, Elvis Presley, etc) Music is life to me, and up to 1985 I was filled with a variety of fantastic music…then came the dark years (1986 – 2000)…the airwaves to music freedom and variety shut down…but holy smokes did it ever return in the mp3 age and from about 2007 onwards I have found music life again…a tsunami of music found online through the social networks like YouTube, and now also through soundcloud and Bandcamp. Great music is back bigger and better than ever…and very little of it comes from the major 3 labels but by Independent and unsigned artists…not to mention the ever increasing micro labels that specialize in specific genres. Hey and vinyl is back… 😎

    I buy my music, mostly from Bandcamp. I prefer Bandcamp because it is simple to use, offers a level playing field to the artists, gives more revenue to the artist than other music sites, and does not take over my computer like iTunes does. I can also share or embed the Bandcamp links while encouraging others to buy the music…I don’t like iTunes because they take over my computer and destroy my privacy… I don’t believe in spotify…but that’s just me…

    Corporate destruction of the music industry killed my DJ business (1986), which was profoundly called “Music on File”…today I’m back promoting music and I’m called “World United Music”. I promote Independent, Signed and Unsigned artists from a wide variety of genres…the way it should be on all our radio stations. But I do it for free because I believe in the artist and because music is life to me. It is people like myself that spread the word through blog posts and social media networking that has and will continue to make a difference for the artist…and there are many of us out there.

    Love your music Dave, and once I’m on my feet I will purchase a copy of your latest album “Sabbat” and also “Antlered Crown & Standing Stone”. I’ve introduced your music to my daughter who also really loves it.

    Best Regards,
    Stewart Brennan
    World United Music
    http://worldunitedmusic.blogspot.ca/

  30. Brad July 4, 2015 at 2:49 am - Reply

    There are hundreds of CDs & vinyl records in the attic at home but I still stream music, easier to find what I want to listen to. But when driving & I want to listen to music, it’s always a CD as I have an intense dislike of music radio stations; I listen to the music that what I want, not what they determine I should listen to (& buy) though I relent sometimes when it comes to the 50’s, 60’s or “Big Band” music of the jazz era etc.

    But streaming music is so “set & forget” whereas a CD has some continuity/legacy to it. When I pass on from this phase of life to the next, I hope my nephews & nieces will go through my CDs & vinyl & say, “Wow, Uncle Brad had a lot of interesting music (& books etc)” & don’t take it to the hock shop for $2.

    I don’t see that happening with my PC hard drive……..

    As for your music Dave, I buy it because I believe it’s worthy of being part of that music legacy, listening to it makes me put aside the corporate world & other foibles of the modern age & focus on what’s important.

    Cheers mate

    Brad

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