Article Index


 

Tris Taylor
Creative Director
Pink Lizard Music Limited
http://pinklizardmusic.com

Access vs. Ownership in the Musical Landscape


Recently Ambient Visions spoke with artist Matt Coldrick about his music and career. During that discussion for a question I had posed to him about streaming vs. sales of music Matt suggested that I speak to the Creative Director of Pink Lizard Music as he might be able to better articulate the various considerations that go into just how you determine which would be better, access vs. ownership,  for the artist in terms of them being fairly compensated for the time and effort put into composing and recording their music. Tris Taylor is that Creative Director and when I got back his reply to those questions I realized that there was enough material there for an intelligent article to offer up to the readers of Ambient Visions. So if you are up for an interesting disertation on the ins and outs of the streaming model vs. the ownership model then this should be a good read for you. I'll start with the question that I asked Matt and what follows is Tris' thoughts on the question. For the entire interview with Matt Coldrick click here.  I appreciate Tris taking the time out to go through and try to explain what for many has become a very complicated issue in regards to how these streaming royalties work and how they are determined and tracked. Enjoy!-- Michael

From my point of view we simply won’t have comparable data for about 20 years, or perhaps for about 10, which I think begins to be a fair comparison point for looking at income from CD/download sales against income from streaming. 

Added to that, I think there are a number of confounding variables, including accurate, competent registration of music rights, transparent reporting of sales and usage both now and before, and opacity & variability in the deals done with streaming services. 

If you talk to reasonably successful electronic music labels, they may still be investing thousands into promotion for a release that’s viewed as popular and end up with total sales of 140 or less.  So you are at a loss straight away.  Sales are heavily, heavily down, which completely changes the business model. 

Now, I personally like access instead of ownership as a model. It seems, at least theoretically, fairer to the people whose music gets listened to more.  Of course, that listenership will still be unduly influenced by marketing spend, which is always where indies are at a disadvantage compared to majors. But really, I’ve bought plenty of indie CDs and vinyl that turned out to be disappointing – and if I listen to Patti Labelle more than Ishq, it’s fair that she should get more of my money.  What I can also see from a recent soundtrack release is that, while it sold single figures, it was streamed by listeners in more than 20 countries.  So, streaming, for those of us who are looking to increase the size of our audience, is better, I think. 

Click here for the rest of Tris' thoughts


Michael Foster, editor
Ambient Visions

The Evolution of the Listening Experience

There was a time a few decades ago that I considered myself to be in front of the audio equipment curve when it came to audio gear and how I would listen to music in my home. I didn't consider myself an audiophile as I never achieved the financial means to plop down enormous amounts of money to have the "perfect" set up to listen to my music. Having worked the retail end of music and audio sales I always mentally kept up with what was available even if I couldn't really afford to own it. But there were some advantages as I could always catch the floor models on sale as they made way for new equipment so in some ways I did have better gear than others who were in a similar situation. With names like Yamaha, Sennheiser and Cerwin Vega on my rack and floor I enjoyed my music and spent many years trying to squeeze a little bit more out of my wallet to upgrade my equipment when major innovations happened.  

That was then. This is now. Perhaps it is simply because I had never crossed over the line and became a true card carrying audiophile that I find myself where I am now in regards to my listening habits. Oh I still have a nice Yamaha amp albeit one that has not been upgraded in quite a few years and I do have a pair of Yamaha floor speakers that are part of my set up along with a couple of nice desk speakers that sit on either side of my monitors and a fairly decent pair of Sennheiser headphones for more critical listening but the source of my music is now my computer and not a separate deck like a CD player or a blu ray player that handles all disc formats. There was a time not that long ago (less than 10 years give or take)  when I was still getting CD's in the mail and putting them in the CD player and doing my main absorption of the music from a physical format such as a CD or DVD if the music also had visual content. The one exception I still might make to that would be something like Robert Rich's sleep concert Somnium (2004) that came out in DVD format and packed a whopping 7 hours of music onto a single disc. For that I would make an exception and listen to the original hard copy as opposed to music files.  

Click here for the rest of Michael's thoughts


Michael Foster, editor
Ambient Visions

The Evolution of the Digital Marketplace

I am a member of a Facebook group that was recently discussing an article that appeared on the Variety magazine website about the place of full albums vs. single songs in the music marketplace as it currently exists. If you’d like to check out this article first as a reference point for this column you can get there by clicking here and then heading over to Variety. Even though I am not an artist myself I do consider myself a fan of ambient/new age music and I still like to explore what goes on behind the scenes of the music industry because I am just curious that way. If you are another such curious soul then you might find this column of interest as well. As with any group of artists discussing the issues that have arisen since the advent of the digital age there were several opinions as to the validity of the assertion by Variety’s writer and how much that assertion held true for the ambient/new age genres of music.

I will stick with my own ideas though and not try and distill their thoughts into something that I hoped would truly represent them here. It is hard enough sometimes to put your own ideas into words much less take someone else’s thoughts and try to accurately represent them with your own words. The article was written by Bob Lefsetz and the main points of his article were that very few people are buying full albums, sales are low even for the so-called superstars, selling individual songs is more profitable than albums and the whole attitude of the buyers of music is “what have you done for me lately?” And in this case “lately” seems to be an increasingly short interval of time between an artist’s last release and their newest compositions available to purchase.

Click here for the rest of Michael's thoughts

Michael Foster, editor
Ambient Visions

Digital Musings from an Analog Guy

Ambient Visions started up back in 1999 and at that point in time most of the review material that came in to the P.O. Box was of the physical CD variety. Some good, some great and some bad but they all had a couple of things in common....they were physical CD's and there was a cost for the artist to put them into my hands. That had been the way it was done for decades since the beginning of radio and music promoters trying to get artists played on the most stations across the U.S. I remember many of the reviewers who wrote for Ambient Visions over the years insisted on having the "whole package" in their hands to offer up a review of the music. The "whole package" in this case was a physical CD, the artwork and the liner notes.   

 

Click here for the rest of Michael's thoughts


Pete Kelly
aka Igneous Flame

AV's State of the Ambient Union 2008

Things have certainly changed from when I started looking up ambient resources on the web a few years ago, some established sites and forums have come and gone, but I think the main change is that the ‘ambient world’ has become wider. Certainly for musicians, MySpace (in particular) has really opened things up. While it has a lot of rubbish attached to it, the networking side really does work. The correspondence I've had with other ambient musicians has been very encouraging (the private messages thing that goes on behind the scenes), as has been the comments and messages from fans and 'friends'.     

I would say that the vast majority of previously unknown artists' music I've come across recently has been from MySpace and the 'viral' nature of it leads to a degree of 'cross-pollination' that I don't think exists anywhere else. I get friend requests from people outside of the ‘ambient world’ and I find this very refreshing. It’s the whole social-networking element, which has brought about this diversification. 

Click here for the rest of Pete's thoughts


Michael Bentley
 Founder of Foundry Records

Welcome to The Foundry
by Jim Brenholts


 

Jim Brenholts has been a regular reviewer here at Ambient Visions for over a year now and we are proud to present Jim's latest foray into the world of journalism as he takes an in depth look at an innovative label that has been releasing quality music since about 1997. Their alliance with Hypnos records will only continue to see the spread of Foundry product into more and more markets in the coming years. This article encompasses many formats as it blends reviews and interviews to give the reader a close look at what Foundry records is all about and what the future might hold for these talented individuals. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Bentley and all of the artists who comprise Foundry records for their cooperation in the creation of this article and for the photos of the artists that you see scattered throughout this piece. For now, step inside and get to know more about The Foundry and just what kind of music that they have been forging over the last few years. I'm sure you'll be glad that you did. 

Click here to read the whole article


Deborah Van Dyke

Traveling the Sacred Sound Current: 
Keys For Conscious Evolution©
By Deborah Van Dyke

 

Deborah Van Dyke is the author and artist of the newly released book, Travelling the Sacred Sound Current:  Keys for Conscious Evolution and the companion CD, Travelling the Sacred Sound Current:  Divine Chants & Sacred Tones For Healing & Meditation.  She is also the creator of Crystal Voices and Sounds of Light crystal bowl meditation CDs, definitive healing tools in the field of therapeutic sound.   She holds ceremonial concerts of Sound and Light at the Vancouver Planetarium Star Dome and teaches Sacred Sound Intensives.  For more information you can call toll free 1-877-777-6863, or visit her website at www.soundcurrent.net   Her book and CDs are also available at Amazon.com, Borders stores, or your local bookstore.

Click here to read the whole article


Lloyd Barde 
Owner/Founder of Backroads Music

Music Directions: Trends for 2001
by Lloyd Barde

 

Lloyd Barde is the owner and founder of Backroads Music, the Source for music since 1981. He produces and writes the Heartbeats catalog, has written music reviews for Common Ground since 1993, and has fifteen years of experience as a radio show host. He currently resides in Fairfax, CA with his 14-year old son Robin, and is readily available to make music recommendations by contacting him directly at Backroads Music.

Click here to read the whole article


Stephen Hill 
Founder and Host of Hearts of Space.

Powered By Love: Niche Music in the New Millennium 
by Stephen Hill

 

In 1973 Stephen created Music from the Hearts of Space as a weekly live three-hour local radio program. National syndication of a one hour program began in 1983. Stephen and original partner Anna Turner created Hearts of Space Records in 1984, in response to radio listeners demands to purchase music played on the program. He has produced thousands of live and recorded radio broadcasts, as well as dozens of record albums and soundtracks, including one Academy Award-winning feature length documentary. In addition to hosting and directing the production of the radio program, he handles A&R and directs mastering for the record labels, and currently serves as in-house Art Director of packaging graphics and print and online and promotion.

Click here to read the whole article.


Lloyd Barde 
Owner/Founder of Backroads Music

Making Sense of the Last 20 Years in New Music
by Lloyd Barde

 

Lloyd Barde is the owner and founder of Backroads Music, the Source for music since 1981. He produces and writes the Heartbeats catalog, has written music reviews for Common Ground since 1993, and has fifteen years of experience as a radio show host. He currently resides in Fairfax, CA with his 14-year old son Robin, and is readily available to make music recommendations by contacting him directly at Backroads Music.

Click here to read the whole article