It’s been yet another roller coaster ride of digital fun this week:
This week the music industry collided with the internet in some weird and wonderful ways, featuring DJ Khaled, Tyler, The Creator, The Biebs and more.
1. Khaled Can’t Deal
We’re currently about twenty years into the era of digital music acquisition and companies have still not quite figured out how to monetize the industry properly. The Billboard Top 100–the entity that has driven the music industry for the past sixty or so years– has struggled with adopting new classification standards for its famous list. The number one spot still means something. It’s a measure of success for an artist that means ubiquitous respect and monetary gain.
This week the system found itself in the spotlight for a minute as DJ Khaled, purveyor of pop hits was outdone for the top spot on the Billboard chart by Tyler, The Creator. Khaled reportedly stormed into his record label’s office to make his ire known.
The problem appears to be that a payola-esque system of ‘bundling’ that’s become an industry standard. Basically, it goes like this: album downloads carry 1400 times more weight than individual downloads in the charts. Knowing this, artists offer incentives to download an album, like t-shirts and hats. In Khaled’s case, it was energy drinks. The problem was that they talked about it. Khaled’s management team promoted the drinks as a boost to the album. That apparently is a no-go.
It seems that despite the music industry’s best efforts, the world of streaming is still the wild west wherein rules are made to be bent, broken and remade.
2. The Battle for Radiohead Bread
The bizarre tales of music industry hijinks continue. This time superfans, a thief and a smart band are the players.
This week, a would-be leaker was thwarted when Radiohead decided to sidestep the assault on them by preemptively releasing the potential leak.
The thief was looking to unload the whole package for 105,000 Euros. While the very active Radiohead online community sprang into action to ascertain the identity of the offender, Radiohead dodged the bullet intended for them by beating the thief to the punch. They simply released the recordings themselves.
Moreover, Radiohead offered a limited time download of the material with all proceeds going toward an environmental non-profit. A win for all involved, except maybe the thief who ended up with nothing but shame.
3. Selfie Rules
More news from music-ville.
Tact is rarely considered when social media glory is at stake.
Fans shared a video of the incident and it was soon trending on Reddit. The band released a statement to curtail any possible backlash, saying that selfies while performing are a no-fly zone. Also, the phone in question was apparently recovered unharmed.
4. The Biebs vs. Cruiser
What??? More weird and wild digital music news? What a week!
But, why?? And would it actually go down? The buzz was palpable.
In the end the mystery surrounding the call out was easily explained away by Biebs himself. It turns out he was just being his zany self!
Hey, you have to do something to fill your time when you’re young, famous and outrageously rich.
5. Cave Rescue
It’s a testament to the power of the Internet that the very fans that romanticize their relationship with their heroes are often granted a channel to speak directly to them. It’s like a private line to a personal god.
This week on the Nick Cave fan site, The Red Hand Files, one lucky fan with writer’s block received some direct advice from the man himself, as reported by the BBC. Nick Cave went so far as to gift the fan with an unused song of his own.
Cave told the man to act as a conduit and let the rest of the song come to him. Sage advice and an amazing gift from a legendary performer and the type of story that could only exist in an era when fans and their heroes have the ability to digitally interact with each other.