Michael Nelson

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The Black Market: The Month In Metal – March 2015

It seemed like every day of March brought with it a new controversy or calamity worthy of coverage here: There was the Ghost Bath hoax; the revelation that Lars Ulrich was to blame for the absence of bass on ...And Justice For All; the bizarre dissolution of Lord Mantis; the Liturgy album… More »

By: Michael Nelson / 3:41 pm

Behold The Half-Assed Hubris Of Tidal

About three hours after the conclusion of yesterday's titanic Tidal announcement, Billboard posted a story called "8 Things We Found on Jay Z's Tidal Streaming Service." Those eight things were:… More »

By: Michael Nelson / 12:58 pm

Watch Blur Play “There Are Too Many Of Us” At Magic Whip Secret Show (Stereogum Premiere)

Last Friday, Blur played a secret show for 300 people at the West London club Mode. Can you even imagine? I'm a lifelong Blur fan who has seen the band at clubs that would, in most circumstances, be considered pretty small, and I will be the first to say: That is a goddamn TINY… More »

By: Michael Nelson / March 27, 2015

30 Essential Max Martin Songs

The thought came to me in a drug store. Or a department store. Or the backseat of a taxicab. I don't remember where it was, exactly, except that it was the type of place where, in 2015, one might hear Taio Cruz's 2010 hit "Dynamite" playing in the periphery. That is to say: anywhere i… More »

By: Michael Nelson / March 26, 2015

Van Halen To Play Jimmy Kimmel In First U.S. TV Performance With David Lee Roth

It seems literally impossible that a DLR-fronted version of Van Halen have never before performed live on American television, but apparently that's the case, because the band's upcoming two-night stand on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live is being touted as "Van Halen's first U.S. television performance with original lead singer David Lee Roth." How is that… More »

By: Michael Nelson / March 24, 2015

Comments from michael

Sorry, those are euros, not dollars -- you can see Spotify's 2013 P&L here: http://recode.net/2014/11/25/spotify-is-a-booming-billion-dollar-business/ I can't break it down as much as I'd like because they list "royalty, distribution, and other costs" as a single line item. But you can at least get an idea of how their finances look, and how Tidal's finances would differ without the unpaid subscribers.
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March 31, 2015 on Behold The Half-Assed Hubris Of Tidal
Because Spotify has something like 50 million unpaid subscribers who generate ad revenue, and a percentage of that is paid to the artists, too. So Tidal's subscriber base would have to generate more revenue than all of Spotify's revenue streams combined. What Spotify pays per song is almost irrelevant, because the numbers are skewed so significantly by unpaid subscribers. In 2013, Spotify subscriptions generated $678M, while advertising generated $68M -- they could eliminate the non-paying subscribers and lose only a fraction of the bottom line but that would mean a much less vital service as well as less actual money (and a GREAT DEAL less exposure) for artists. There are too many variables to actually build out an equation but realistically, for Tidal to write bigger checks to artists based on songs played, it would need a near-monopoly on streaming music. Maybe not 60M subscribers, but at least, say 25M or 30M, which would constitute a Netflix-esque ubiquity IMO.
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March 31, 2015 on Behold The Half-Assed Hubris Of Tidal
They won't take their music off Spotify because they make a fucking fortune from Spotify. In October 2014 Spotify paid Calvin Harris $300k for plays that month of "Blame" alone. Tidal is just an additional revenue stream. What they will do is give Tidal exclusive content in advance of Spotify and Beats, so a new Calvin Harris song might stream for a day or a week on Tidal before Spotify gets it. But there would be no profit in them taking their music off Spotify. This is just more profit.
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March 30, 2015 on Tidal Owners Including Jay Z, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Jack White, & Madonna Share The Stage At Launch Event
Spotify's payout is also affected by their 45 million unpaid subscribers, because their ad revenue is lower than their subscription revenue, but still they have 12.5M paid subscribers (which is a huge number) and still those 45M unpaids are generating actual revenue for the artists. A pay-only service like Tidal would have to get like 30M PAID subscribers in order to generate more revenue for the artists than Spotify is currently delivering. But that assumes Tidal/Sprint are in fact cutting a larger percentage for all songs played, and I am pretty confident in saying Sprint shareholders are not exactly looking for ways to make sure artists are getting a larger piece of the pie. I predict they will pay exactly as little as is absolutely necessary, and I expect that figure is approx. between $0.006 and $0.0084 per song played.
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March 30, 2015 on Tidal Owners Including Jay Z, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Jack White, & Madonna Share The Stage At Launch Event
There's almost no way Tidal (or anyone) is paying more per play on average than Spotify because Spotify is still not profitable (yet) and its largest operating cost by a wide margin is royalties paid to labels and artists. But even if Tidal were to say publicly that that they are paying (for example) $0.0095 per song while Spotify pays somewhere between $0.006 and $0.0084 per song, it would be misleading because Spotify's subscriber base is so much larger than Tidal's. Tidal might pay fractionally more per song, but at the end of the month, the check paid to the artist from Spotify will be larger because the subscriber base is larger. That said, I imagine Sprint is paying Tidal's "owners" a substantial sum upfront for their involvement, so some of those artists will end up with a better payout via Tidal/Sprint than they will via Spotify or Beats/Apple, at least initially, although I don't see how this thing survives a year.
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March 30, 2015 on Tidal Owners Including Jay Z, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Jack White, & Madonna Share The Stage At Launch Event
That Brandon Flowers song got a lot of backing over here actually. It just missed the cut.
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March 27, 2015 on The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
"...And the burping..."
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March 27, 2015 on Limp Bizkit Frontman Confirms He Is Not Robert Durst
LIMP BIZ PR: "Fred you are blowing up on Twitter!" FRED DURST: "Oh hells yeah! What happened?" LIMP BIZ PR: "Well apparently some reporters were confusing you with ROBERT Durst -- a doddering decrepit scion who seemingly admitted to killing three people in an HBO documentary -- so Associated Press had to send out a clarification." FRED DURST: "Ow! That is hot stuff. Well we gotta keep this train rolling. How soon can we get the shirts printed?"
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March 27, 2015 on Limp Bizkit Frontman Confirms He Is Not Robert Durst
Does anyone actually mistake Robert Durst for Fred Durst? I can't believe the best publicity this guy has ever gotten is based on the fact that he is NOT the septuagenarian sociopath with whom he has apparently been confused. That shirt should say "NO LONGER THE WORST DURST."
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March 27, 2015 on Limp Bizkit Frontman Confirms He Is Not Robert Durst
Yep, I knew about the "Woman In Love" rip -- I actually thought the Gibb Bros. had a songwriting credit on that one. It surprises me to see they do not. I was honestly under the impression that Max and Rami had admitted to lifting that melody, to the extent that "Oops" was something of a reference to the Streisand song.
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March 27, 2015 on 30 Essential Max Martin Songs