Tech News June 2012

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League posts 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. 

If you have questions about this material or any other electronic media topic, please contact Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

1.  On-demand music gets own chart

The popularity of music streamed on-demand is to be measured in a new weekly chart.  The top 100 rundown will be compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC) using statistics from audio streaming sites such as Spotify, We7 and Deezer.  However, video streaming services, including YouTube, will not contribute to the new chart for the time being.   (Source: BBC News)

 

2.  Broadcasters Warn of Apocalypse in Dish’s Ad-Skipping Service

Broadcasters are claiming in federal lawsuits that Dish Network’s DVR service, which allows the automatic skipping of commercials, breaches copyright law and retransmission agreements.  The suits by Fox, CBS and NBC are the broadcasters’ latest legal salvos against technological innovations, as those advances bring into question whether broadcasters’ longstanding business model can survive the digital age.

The Dish Network litigation concerns the March introduction of what the satellite company calls PrimeTime Anytime, which allows customers to record and store about a week’s worth of prime-time broadcast television without users seeing commercials.  The networks are labeling it a “bootleg” service that produces unauthorized copies of their shows and say it breaches signed licensing deals. And the consequences are dire, they warn. If the courts don’t block the service, it “will ultimately destroy the advertising-supported ecosystem that provides consumers with the choice to enjoy free over-the-air, varied, high-quality primetime broadcast programming,” the broadcasters told the court.   (Source: Wired)


3.  Digital music spending greater than sales of CDs and records for first time

The amount of money made from digital music services has outstripped the sale of traditional CDs and records for the first time, according to first quarter revenue figures from British music industry trade body BPI.  The BPI said that in the first three months of the year consumers spent a total of £155.8m ($240M) on music, up 2.7% year-on-year. Digital music revenues – which includes buying tracks as downloads, paid-for subscriptions and ad-funded services from companies such as Spotify, Napster, We7 and eMusic – accounted for 55.5% of that total.  (Source: The Guardian)

4.  Facebook Finally Lets Page Admins Schedule Posts, Have Different Roles

Third-party apps like HootSuite just got a little less relevant with an update from Facebook that lets Page administrators schedule posts. A new help center page from Facebook also outlines how brand pages can now dole out specific duties to multiple page administrators, each with varying degrees of permissions.  The help center page includes a chart, which outlines the new roles of manager, content creator, moderator, advertiser and insights analyst.   (Source: Mashable)

5.  My personal take: 3 reasons I don’t like newspaper paywalls

In a blog post on GigaOM, Mathew Ingram articulates several reasons he thinks that newspaper paywalls are not in the best interests of readers and, in the long run, the content creators.  He believes that paywalls restrict the number of people who can receive and are backward looking, rather than forward looking.  He says it may be a smart move in order to stem the decline in ad revenue, but it isn’t helping a paper adapt to the web and to inexorably changing market conditions.   (Source: GigaOM.com)

6.  National Arts Centre to stream concerts online

Ottawa's National Arts Centre (NAC) has announced that its new website, called NAC Orchestra Concerts on Demand (nacmusicbox.ca), will offer uninterrupted, commercial-free performances by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and guest artists. Each concert has its own audio file and a PDF file, which includes program notes and biographies of the artists.  Ten concerts are currently available, with two more to be added later this season. Approximately seven to 10 new concerts per season will be added in future years. Concerts will be posted online within 10 days of the performance.   (Source: Montreal Gazette)

7.  Pacific Symphony to offer free simulcast of Beethoven's 9th

The Pacific Symphony offered its first-ever "plazacast" on June 2, a live simulcast performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 projected on the wall of the arts plaza of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and free to the public.  The concert is part of the orchestra's regular classical subscription series, held inside Segerstrom Concert Hall. The second half of the event, featuring a performance of Beethoven's final symphony led by Carl St.Clair and featuring the Pacific Symphony, Pacific Chorale and soloists, will be shown to patrons in the arts plaza, who are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets and picnic on the plaza. No tickets were required.  (Source: Orange County Register)


8.  Classical WQED-FM 89.3 Launches Unique Pittsburgh Concert Channel Online

Classical WQED-FM 89.3 just made Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performances available 24-hours-a-day.  Now available at WQED.org/FM and WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) on HD Radio, the Pittsburgh Concert Channel exclusively broadcasts archived local performances (WQED-FM has recorded and broadcast) from the nationally syndicated Pittsburgh Symphony Radio series along with select concerts from Chatham Baroque, CMU School of Music and many others. Future plans for this one-of-a-kind channel include adding performances from other local arts groups.   (Source: WQED.org)  


9.  Video game Diablo III features performance by Pacific Symphony

The Pacific Symphony performs music for an unlikely audience -- gamers battling the hellish underworlds of Diablo III.  The symphony teamed up with Irvine-based game developer Blizzard Entertainment, known for the Warcraft and Starcraft franchises, for the long-awaited third installment in the Diablo series.  More than 100 musicians recorded the score live last July in Costa Mesa's Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall under the baton of Eímear Noone.  (Source: Los Angeles Times)


10.  Sound Matters: Classical Into the Download Era

In an article in San Francisco Classical Voice (sfcv.org), Jason Victor Serinus discusses the impact of digital recording and distribution techniques on the sound quality of classical recordings.  He says that, “only a few decades after it was touted as ‘perfect sound forever,’ the compact disc has lost its footing as top dog.”  Ironically, they have been replaced in recent years by compressed mp3 files, offered by iTunes and other digital distributors.  In comparing the sound quality of the current alternatives, he goes on to say that “iTunes has recently initiated ‘Mastered for iTunes’ downloads, an enhancement to Apple’s default mp3 format that sounds somewhat better, albeit still not as good as a redbook CD, and nowhere near as good as either high-resolution (digital tracks) or well-recorded (analog) vinyl.”  (Source: San Francisco Classical Voice)


11.  Start-up 2: A record label with real ideals

Odradek Records, which describes itself as “the first non-profit, artist controlled classical label,” has released an initial set of record releases.  John Anderson, the founder, explains in an ArtsJournal blog: “I’ve started a non-profit record company – non-profit in the sense that net profits are paid 100% to artists after their projects recuperate. The structure of the company shares out label expenses equitably over the roster’s earnings. Artists are chosen anonymously based solely on a demo recording by a committee of myself and four others, who rotate year to year.”  (See the “Comments” section of the Blog, for an interesting interchange with Anderson.)  (Source: ArtsJournal.com)


12.  ENO chief claims opera screenings don’t attract new audiences

English National Opera artistic director John Berry has claimed the current trend for arts organizations to screen their work live to cinemas in a bid to extend their brand was a distraction from ensuring a company delivers the best live performances possible.

“It is of no interest to me,” he said. “It is not a priority. It doesn’t create new audiences either.”  Berry added: “My time is consumed with making sure the performance is absolutely as good as it can be, and getting that right on the stage, that is hard enough, and that is my focus, on live work.”

Berry agreed that the New York Metropolitan Opera’s current success in screening live operas to cinemas outside of the US, “has caught everyone else with their pants down,” but he said they had pulled away from the competition by doing it with real conviction and investment in the transmission process, allied to their powerful brand.   (Source: The Stage)