Technology News of Note

November 2015

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League publishes a monthly summary of relevant news and information regarding changes, trends, and developments that may affect the electronic media activities that orchestras use to achieve their institutional missions. League members with questions about this material or other electronic media topics—e.g., planning, strategy, and production—may contact the League’s electronic media consultants 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. .

  1. Pandora buys Ticketfly, a competitor to Ticketmaster

    Pandora Media, the biggest player in Internet radio, has moved into the ticketing business with an agreement to buy Ticketfly, an independent firm that competes with Ticketmaster and is popular with clubs and festivals in the United States and Canada. The deal further expands Pandora’s interests in providing services to artists. Last year, it introduced a data system, the Artist Marketing Platform, or AMP, that shows musicians which songs are most popular on the service and where. And in May, Pandora bought Next Big Sound, another data service, which studies the listening and searching patterns of streaming music customers. Pandora, which has nearly 80 million regular listeners, said that its acquisition would benefit artists and listeners. (Source: New York Times.)

  2. When Amazon dies

    When you purchase a movie from Amazon Instant Video, you’re not buying it, exactly. It’s more like renting indefinitely. This distinction matters if your notion of “buying” is that you pay for something once and then you get to keep that thing for as long as you want. In order to keep a film in your on-demand collection watchable, however, there’s a constellation of pieces that must be in place: The software that streams the video has to work, the devices you use to run that software have to remain compatible with it, and the film itself has to be accessible on that software. So what happens if the company that sold you that content goes out of business? All this signals a larger cultural shift in the way people think about ownership of media in the 21st century, or how they ought to be thinking of it. (Source: The Atlantic.)

  3. Making waves: classical music and the rise of streaming

    Streaming has changed the way an increasing number of people now listen to music, yet many record labels say that the numbers just don’t add up. Charlotte Gardner takes a look at how the classical music industry is facing up to this fresh challenge. (Source: Gramophone.)

  4. How signing a major record deal nearly destroyed my career

    Terra Naomi, who was the #1 most-subscribed musician on YouTube in 2006 (Puff Daddy was #2), has written an essay chronicling her decision to sign a recording deal with a major label and explaining how and why it turned out to be a bad career decision.In January 2007 she signed with Universal Music Publishing and Universal Island Records, because she “was deeply in debt and barely getting by as an independent artist, and…also very much attached to the old paradigm…[wanting] the support of a major label as much as the acceptance and approval of the industry that had ignored [her] for what felt like so long.” She quickly came to realize she had made a mistake, as “the people now in charge of [her] career knew nothing about YouTube. [They] needed [her] to be ‘less accessible’ and more untouchable,’ ” which was completely at odds with the expectations of her fans. (Source: CuePoint.)

  5. How to add a call to action on your Facebook page

    About a year ago, Facebook rolled out its “Call to Action” buttons for organizational pages that could be crafted to invite people visiting your page to take some form of action. Recently, they’ve added more options, including a “Donate Now” button. A Call to Action button is very easy to add on Facebook by following these steps:

    1. Go to your page’s cover photo and click “Create Call to Action.”
    2. Choose the call to action, whether it’s “Book Now,” “Watch Video,” “Contact Us,” or “Donate Now.”
    3. Enter the URL that you want to take people to when they click the button.
    4. Click Create.

    (Source: ArtsHacker.) 

  6. Does Facebook’s donate button hurt the nonprofit sector more than it helps?

    Although non-profit organizations can now add a “donate” button to their Facebook pages, Facebook seemed to be missing what nonprofits really want. The gift that charities really want is an Ad Grants program akin to Google’s, where Facebook would give accredited nonprofits $10,000 worth of promoted posts monthly. That way, nonprofits could get their pages in front of more eyeballs, garnering more supporters. This is especially needed in light of a move by Facebook to de-clutter newsfeeds, through an algorithm change that drastically affected pages’ viral reach in newsfeeds. The main take-away from this latest change is that it’s going to be a lot harder to gain a large audience on Facebook unless you want to pay for it. (Source: Nonprofit Quarterly.)

  7. Appeals court gives Google a clear and total fair-use win on book scanning

    The Authors Guild’s lawsuit against Google for its book scanning project has been hit with yet another blow. The 2nd Circuit appeals court has told the Authors Guild that Google’s book scanning is transformative fair use. The 2nd Circuit has affirmed the lower court ruling and given another appellate ruling establishing the importance of fair use—and a reminder that, yes, commercial uses can still be fair use if the primary purpose is to benefit the public. The Court’s decision was based in part on a view that  “Google’s division of the page into tiny snippets is designed to show the searcher just enough context surrounding the searched term to help her evaluate whether the book falls within the scope of her interest (without revealing so much as to threaten the author’s copyright interests).” (Source: TechDirt.)

  8. Digital theater model embraces small-scale producers

    “Theater for screen” offers small-scale producers “benefits beyond the purely financial”, according to a theater company that has been exploring affordable ways of making and distributing digital versions of theater productions to dispersed, often rural venues. This approach can increase visibility and develop new audiences, as well as a new income stream, says Miracle Theatre, which led the “Live and Digital” project and has now published its findings in A Manual for Bringing Theatre to the Screen. The manual outlines how small arts organizations can best use digital technology to capture live work and make it available—in both live and recorded forms—to a wider public. (Source: Arts Professional.)

  9. Apple Music has 6.5 million paying subscribers

    Apple’s new streaming music service, Apple Music, has a total of 15 million users, 6.5 million of whom are paying subscribers, suggesting that about 60 percent of those who sampled it stayed on. Apple Music, a competitor to Spotify, was introduced at the end of June and offered customers three months of music free; those who continue after their trial periods end pay $10 a month for individual accounts or $15 a month for family plans. (Source: New York Times.)

  10. Label news: Warner enters distribution of small labels

    Distribution of small labels is dominated by Naxos and its subsidiary, Select. Now Warner Classics is entering the market. For the first time, Warner Classics is extending its global distribution and marketing infrastructure to third-party labels. From November 2015, the company will offer a comprehensive, tailored classical service to select partners including orchestras, artists, and independent labels. (Source: Slipped Disc.)

  11. Spotify in dispute over royalty payments

    Victory Records, an independent record label in Chicago, hired Audiam, a technology company that specializes in tracking down unpaid royalties online, to study the royalty reports that Spotify sent for the label and its associated publishing company, Another Victory, which handles songwriting rights. Audiam found that for as many as 53 million streams of songs represented by Victory, Spotify had paid the label to use its recordings, but had not paid royalties for the songwriting portion to Another Victory. Spotify has said that Another Victory and Audiam had not supplied sufficient data to support their claims, which they dispute as well, saying that they have given Spotify detailed information going back to January 2012. Until the dispute is resolved, the Victory content has been removed from the Spotify service. (Source: New York Times.)

  12. Spotify isn’t killing record sales

    A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research takes a look at the streaming services, sales, and unpaid downloads in order to figure out whether, all told, these services are helping or hurting the music industry. To find out how streaming platforms impact record-industry revenue, researchers took a look at Spotify. The authors of the NBER study find that, at least in the case of Spotify, streaming brings virtually no financial gain to the industry, but it also prevents losses. When looking at the top songs each week and calculating how much rights holders were paid, researchers find that streaming usage increases music-industry revenue thanks to the ability to convert those who were either downloading illegally or not listening to tracks at all. But those gains are pretty much offset by streaming’s displacement of permanent track purchases or downloads. (Source: The Atlantic.)

  13. Independent musicians find unexpected rewards in streaming

    Spotify and other streaming services like Pandora are frequently under attack from artists and their advocates over what they contend are unfairly low royalties or failure to pay. But Perrin Lamb, a singer-songwriter in Nashville, wrote a song that has been listened to some 10 million times, earning him more than $40,000. Lamb is an example of a growing class of musicians who are far from superstars—he still has a day job—yet can reap sometimes substantial wages from streaming. (Source: New York Times.)

  14. Pandora and big labels settle suit for $90 million

    Pandora, the Internet radio service, took a step toward détente with the major record labels recently when it announced that it had reached a $90 million settlement over royalties for older songs. The settlement, which follows a similar deal in June for $210 million between the labels and Sirius XM, resolves one aspect of a dispute over an obscure legal point: Federal copyright protection applies only to recordings made after 1972, with a patchwork of state laws applying to earlier recordings. (Source: New York Times.)

  15. Drop in younger listeners makes dent in NPR news audience

    Listeners to NPR stations are aging faster than the overall radio audience and listening less to the network’s most popular radio programs, according to new data shared by the network.

    Though NPR is seeing some listening gains on digital platforms, particularly with podcasts, its broadcast audience has dropped. Average-quarter-hour (AQH) listening during morning drive time has dropped 11 percent in the past five years, and afternoon drive audience has declined 6 percent. The only age bracket that has increased listening to NPR stations is the 65-plus audience. (Source: Current.)