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Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



We Got Us A Bread posted:

She's half-japanese, so not only would she never use that (or any other) slur...but the word was "cap."

Wait so the algorithm decided it was a different word that shares one consonant and differs in the other consonant and the vowel?

Ain’t the future grand?

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the holy poopacy
May 16, 2009



Fun Shoe

Platystemon posted:

and the vowel?

time for a pronunciation derail I guess.

(not that mixing up a hard c & a j is exactly a ringing success for the bot.)

We Got Us A Bread
Jul 23, 2007



Platystemon posted:

Wait so the algorithm decided it was a different word that shares one consonant and differs in the other consonant and the vowel?

Ain’t the future grand?

Yep. It does that ALL THE TIME. It converts speech to text, and then pings you based on what it thinks you said, not what you actually said, and then it can take up to a week to get a person to fix it. There was one creator that did a video on the history of witches, and she got hit for the word "hag." Which is not the "anti-gay" slur the bot thought it was.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



the holy poopacy posted:

time for a pronunciation derail I guess.

(not that mixing up a hard c & a j is exactly a ringing success for the bot.)

My bad.

I was thinking of the one that didn’t take a trip through bad Portuguese transliteration.

MarcusSA
Sep 23, 2007




Grimey Drawer

Not that anyone should watch it but Jim Sterling did a video kinda related to that (his was more DCMA take downs) and YT is incredibly hosed up towards its creators lol

Euphoriaphone
Aug 10, 2006



Clubhouse launched their Android app today. I'm guessing the timing is related to the downright anemic install rate on iOS. It peaked at 9.5 million download in February, but only squeaked out 900K two months later.

I think there are several factors that will cause Clubhouse's demise this time next year:

1. Lack of differentiation: Every other major social platform has already built a knockoff of Clubhouse's spaces (even Reddit)
2. Lack of unique content: Clubhouse is trying to develop exclusive content, but at the end of the day the best they can output is audio AMA threads, which are highly limited in scope (and again, every other platform can easily imitate)
3. An end to the pandemic: I think what made Clubhouse really take off in the first place is people seeing it as a place for business. Major VCs were hosting discussions there, and users were clamoring to either find some inside knowledge to trade on, or hawk their startup ideas. There's been an explosion in MLM crap during COVID, since so many people have been desperate to generate income after getting laid off (and most MLM stuff you can run through your smartphone now).
4. Poor discoverability: After installing the app, it's hard to find content that's appealing. Searching for a topic brings up an endless amount of room ('clubs') that all sound like scams
5. Most fatally, just a plain poo poo core concept: It's basically podcasts but with without scripting. The only perk is the live interaction, where you might get to chime in or ask the speakers a question. However, since the most engaging clubs will have hundreds or thousands of people listening, your chances of getting to interact with the speakers is null.

https://gizmodo.com/clubhouse-launches-android-beta-as-downloads-nosedive-1846856771

Euphoriaphone has a new favorite as of 03:39 on May 10, 2021

a mysterious cloak
Apr 5, 2003

Leave me alone, dad, I'm with my friends!




Silly Burrito posted:

Maybe Pi-Hole would work for the AppleTV if you have a spare Pi Zero W? Haven't messed with an ATV in awhile, but we use Smart Youtube (plus our own Pi-Hole) on the Shield and it works perfectly.

I need to get a Pi-Hole kit. It's easy enough to block ads per device for the most part, but it'd be nice to just have something that plugs in and kills them all house-wide.

Last Chance
Dec 31, 2004



I don't think a Pi-Hole kills YouTube ads on anything. I think Google loads the ad videos from the same servers as the normal videos and the Pi Hole can't tell the difference.

Euphoriaphone posted:

Clubhouse is launched their Android app today. I'm guessing the timing is related to the downright anemic install rate. It peaked at 9.5 million download in February, but only squeaked out 900K two months later.

I think there are several factors that will cause Clubhouse's demise this time next year:

1. Lack of differentiation: Every other major social platform has already built a knockoff of Clubhouse's spaces (even Reddit)
2. Lack of unique content: Clubhouse is trying to develop exclusive content, but at the end of the day the best they can output is audio AMA threads, which are highly limited in scope (and again, every other platform can easily imitate)
3. An end to the pandemic: I think what made Clubhouse really take off in the first place is people seeing it as a place for business. Major VCs were hosting discussions there, and users were clamoring to either find some inside knowledge to trade on, or hawk their startup ideas. There's been an explosion in MLM crap during COVID, since so many people have been desperate to generate income after getting laid off (and most MLM stuff you can run through your smartphone now).
4. Poor discoverability: After installing the app, it's hard to find content that's appealing. Searching for a topic brings up an endless amount of room ('clubs') that all sound like scams
5. Most fatally, just a plain poo poo core concept: It's basically podcasts but with without scripting. The only perk is the live interaction, where you might get to chime in or ask the speakers a question. However, since the most engaging clubs will have hundreds or thousands of people listening, your chances of getting to interact with the speakers is null.

https://gizmodo.com/clubhouse-launches-android-beta-as-downloads-nosedive-1846856771
Never heard of this thing before now. RIP

pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


Euphoriaphone posted:

Clubhouse launched their Android app today. I'm guessing the timing is related to the downright anemic install rate on iOS. It peaked at 9.5 million download in February, but only squeaked out 900K two months later.

I think there are several factors that will cause Clubhouse's demise this time next year:

1. Lack of differentiation: Every other major social platform has already built a knockoff of Clubhouse's spaces (even Reddit)
2. Lack of unique content: Clubhouse is trying to develop exclusive content, but at the end of the day the best they can output is audio AMA threads, which are highly limited in scope (and again, every other platform can easily imitate)
3. An end to the pandemic: I think what made Clubhouse really take off in the first place is people seeing it as a place for business. Major VCs were hosting discussions there, and users were clamoring to either find some inside knowledge to trade on, or hawk their startup ideas. There's been an explosion in MLM crap during COVID, since so many people have been desperate to generate income after getting laid off (and most MLM stuff you can run through your smartphone now).
4. Poor discoverability: After installing the app, it's hard to find content that's appealing. Searching for a topic brings up an endless amount of room ('clubs') that all sound like scams
5. Most fatally, just a plain poo poo core concept: It's basically podcasts but with without scripting. The only perk is the live interaction, where you might get to chime in or ask the speakers a question. However, since the most engaging clubs will have hundreds or thousands of people listening, your chances of getting to interact with the speakers is null.

https://gizmodo.com/clubhouse-launches-android-beta-as-downloads-nosedive-1846856771

I went to a paid focus group for a tech thing that as far as I could tell was trying to position itself as a premium discord-like service, talking about "best in class audio" something or other and the entire time all I could think was how it was a massive waste of time because tons of free services do exactly what they were trying to push via marketing words.

Teriyaki Hairpiece
Dec 29, 2006

Ask me about my dream Frasier episode where Frasier and Bulldog oil their heads and then rub them together. It's definitely not a fetish of mine, I swear!

There's those missed opportunity stories about how Sears could've gotten up a good internet storefront and beaten Amazon and how Blockbuster could've diversified into discs by mail and then streaming and utterly beaten Netflix in its infancy but goddamn no one talks about how these forums could've continued to be the forefront of internet cultural innovation if it wasn't for the awful moderation and leadership by Lowtax.

Rick
Feb 23, 2004
And now the whole nation - pulpit and all - will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.

From what I'm reading you have to jailbreak your AppleTV for pihole to work. Which isn't that hard but bleh.

I honestly don't mind youtube ads that much but what really annoys me is when I turn my Apple TV on and they start playing an ad if Youtube was the last thing I had on there. Like come the gently caress on I'm not even watching anything yet.

Duckman2008
Jan 6, 2010

TFW you see Flyers goaltending.

Grimey Drawer

Teriyaki Hairpiece posted:

There's those missed opportunity stories about how Sears could've gotten up a good internet storefront and beaten Amazon and how Blockbuster could've diversified into discs by mail and then streaming and utterly beaten Netflix in its infancy but goddamn no one talks about how these forums could've continued to be the forefront of internet cultural innovation if it wasn't for the awful moderation and leadership by Lowtax.

“The Last Blcokbuster” documentary came out on Netflix recently.

One tidbit that they brought up: when Blockbuster went through their first bankruptcy, the re structured blockbuster got saddles with debt, ala similar to what we saw Toys R Us, Sears, etc.

The other big short term killer was they lost all their cash flow over night once late fees were removed.

I mean, no doubt said former executives have a reason to use debt for the reason they didn’t make it, but I think now a days we are at least seeing how lovely it is that a few people profit by re structuring companies and saddling them with the debt.

Blue Footed Booby
Oct 4, 2006

got those happy feet




Slippery Tilde

I don't know anything about Blockbuster, Toys R Us wasn't just saddled with debt, it was saddled with the debt of a leveraged buyout. Bain Capital bought out the company using the company's own assets as collateral.

Krispy Wafer
Jul 26, 2002

I shouted out "Free the exposed 67"
But they stood on my hair and told me I was fat



Grimey Drawer

Enron probably helped kill Blockbuster. Back in 2000 they inked a deal to provide movies on demand (Enron was trying to resell bandwidth like they did energy). That deal failed and may have made the execs at Blockbuster hesitant to change their business model. After all, they were making record amounts of money just renting VHS tapes and DVD’s. It was around that same time that Netflix tried to sell itself to Blockbuster for 50 million dollars.

fartknocker
Oct 28, 2012

Damn it, this always happens. I think I'm gonna score, and then I never score. It's not fair.




Wedge Regret

Toys R Us was also horribly mismanaged at nearly every level and squandered lots of opportunities to, if not unfuck their situation, then at least mitigate it during their last few years. I say this as someone who had worked at one of their most successful and profitable locations and just how horribly they handled almost everything.

FlamingLiberal
Jan 18, 2009

Would you like to play a game?





Wasn’t another issue that they got their lunch eaten by Walmart?

Sir Lemming
Jan 27, 2009

It's a piece of JUNK!

Re: music streaming, everyone compares streaming revenue to purchases, but I have to wonder more how it compares to radio royalties. Maybe I'm not like most people, but I see streaming as a replacement for radio and piracy, not for buying albums. If I really like an album or an artist I'm still gonna buy their stuff. (Though I might wait a little longer, admittedly.) I'm thinking people just don't buy as much music in general, and so it seems faulty to look at the numbers in that way. Like "I made this much on Spotify, here's how much I would've made if they bought the album instead, ergo Spotify is robbing me." I'm sure it could be better, but I'm still not convinced those numbers will really add up.

FlamingLiberal posted:

Wasn’t another issue that they got their lunch eaten by Walmart?

Just anecdotally, it surely must have been. As a parent I can't imagine a situation where I would rather go to a store that only sells toys.

fartknocker
Oct 28, 2012

Damn it, this always happens. I think I'm gonna score, and then I never score. It's not fair.




Wedge Regret

FlamingLiberal posted:

Wasn’t another issue that they got their lunch eaten by Walmart?

Yeah, them and Target were a big part of it and became their biggest direct competitors. Phone/work posting, but as those stores started getting remodeled starting around 2007~ to include full supermarket sections, they also remodeled and expanded their toy departments as well, often doubling their size to be almost the size of a small mall toy store. This made them easy one-stop locations, and parents bringing kids along with them could just promise to walk to the other side of the store to let their kids browse or get what they needed, rather than making a separate trip to a Toys R Us like would happen in the past.

AvesPKS
Sep 26, 2004

I don't dance unless I'm totally wasted.

fartknocker posted:

Yeah, them and Target were a big part of it and became their biggest direct competitors. Phone/work posting, but as those stores started getting remodeled starting around 2007~ to include full supermarket sections, they also remodeled and expanded their toy departments as well, often doubling their size to be almost the size of a small mall toy store. This made them easy one-stop locations, and parents bringing kids along with them could just promise to walk to the other side of the store to let their kids browse or get what they needed, rather than making a separate trip to a Toys R Us like would happen in the past.

Walking into a KB Toys was pretty magical as a kid. The place was just stuffed to the gills with toys, toys towering over you, toys overflowing off the shelves, hell they usually had a little table out in front with some extra toys on it to entice you to come in. And that little toy labyrinth at the entrance of a Toys R Us before you even got to the main part of the store....

the holy poopacy
May 16, 2009



Fun Shoe

Sir Lemming posted:

Re: music streaming, everyone compares streaming revenue to purchases, but I have to wonder more how it compares to radio royalties. Maybe I'm not like most people, but I see streaming as a replacement for radio and piracy, not for buying albums. If I really like an album or an artist I'm still gonna buy their stuff. (Though I might wait a little longer, admittedly.) I'm thinking people just don't buy as much music in general, and so it seems faulty to look at the numbers in that way. Like "I made this much on Spotify, here's how much I would've made if they bought the album instead, ergo Spotify is robbing me." I'm sure it could be better, but I'm still not convinced those numbers will really add up.

This may have been a good comparison at one point but I think the rise of subscription stream-on-demand music service has blurred the lines. When you can sign up for $x/month and listen to that one song you like whenever you take away the practical impetus to buy the music yourself, and because you are already paying for the privilege of listening to the music you like there is a nebulous notion that the artists are being compensated so the impetus to buy the music to support artists also gets undermined. Radio was understood to provide compensation to artists but had the practical disadvantage of not letting you listen to music on demand; piracy let you listen to music on demand but could not replace the role of album sales in supporting artists. If you don't understand how awful the streaming model is for artists, stream-on-demand seems to satisfy both roles.

Iron Crowned
May 6, 2003


fartknocker posted:

Yeah, them and Target were a big part of it and became their biggest direct competitors. Phone/work posting, but as those stores started getting remodeled starting around 2007~ to include full supermarket sections, they also remodeled and expanded their toy departments as well, often doubling their size to be almost the size of a small mall toy store. This made them easy one-stop locations, and parents bringing kids along with them could just promise to walk to the other side of the store to let their kids browse or get what they needed, rather than making a separate trip to a Toys R Us like would happen in the past.

I definitely remember, as a kid, the pure misery of being dragged to the local grocery stores, and at best their toy sections were just a sad little wall of cheap poo poo, Kroger is still that way. Toys R Us was always a special trip, it was just wall to wall every toy you could think of at age 9.

I remember going into them in my 20's to buy video games, and they just seemed sad, cheap, and run down in 2007. I don't know if that was just me being older, or if the stores themselves just refused to remodel into a new century.

fartknocker
Oct 28, 2012

Damn it, this always happens. I think I'm gonna score, and then I never score. It's not fair.




Wedge Regret

Pretty much. Most of the big, full size stores had their last major remodel/renovation around 2000-2001 and unless they got merged with a Babies R Us or added a section for that merchandise, didn’t see a major change in layout until they closed in 2018.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Sir Lemming posted:

Just anecdotally, it surely must have been. As a parent I can't imagine a situation where I would rather go to a store that only sells toys.

As a parent, I actually really enjoyed going to Toys'r'Us. Even if they were larger, target/WalMart/etc you sections are still relatively limited, which meant that I had way more ability to figure out something that would work as a birthday present. And, unlike Amazon, if I hosed up and forgot to get something, or my kids didn't want to decide until the last minute, I could get it right then and there.

It was also nice that I could let them pick a small (read: cheap) toy themselves, since it would let them have agency and also give me a chance to figure out other interests of theirs.

SweetMercifulCrap!
Jan 28, 2012


Lipstick Apathy

Did any of you have a local Toys R Us that added an arcade? Around 1998/1999 the one in my hometown added a section of ticket redemption games. Instead of redeeming prizes you would insert the tickets into a machine for money vouchers to use at the store. So in other words, you were trading cash for "Geoffrey Dollars" at a horrible exchange rate. I want to say they were removed by 2001.

Groovelord Neato
Dec 6, 2014




Toys R Us was the first time I bought a video game on release date (and it's the first time I remember finding out a game was delayed when I tried to buy it at EB). They didn't even have it on display yet when my dad took us to buy it haha

It's a shame they didn't die naturally and got destroyed by vampire capitalism.

Krispy Wafer
Jul 26, 2002

I shouted out "Free the exposed 67"
But they stood on my hair and told me I was fat



Grimey Drawer

I was a little amazed that Baby’s R Us went under. I guess everyone started shopping online for that stuff. Or perhaps that was another industry murdered by Millennials intent on only having fur babies.

Up until 2007 we were pouring money into our local Baby’s R Us. The curse of having children with sensitive asses that couldn’t handle Costco brand diapers.

Phy
Jun 27, 2008





Fun Shoe

fartknocker posted:

Yeah, them and Target were a big part of it and became their biggest direct competitors.

Up in Canada we managed to kill Target and keep Toys R Us

Empty Sandwich
Apr 22, 2008

goatse mugs

SweetMercifulCrap! posted:

Did any of you have a local Toys R Us that added an arcade?

holy gently caress, that sounds cool

I bought my Basic D&D red box set at Toys R Us (before I discovered the badass local game store that's still flourishing)

Boywhiz88
Sep 11, 2005

floating 26" off da ground. BURR!


I thought the Babies R Us did well enough to help TRU stay afloat, but that it was mainly Bain doing what they can to really gently caress things up.

Also on the topic of streaming: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/arts/music/streaming-music-payments.html

quote:

When the pandemic hit last year, the British singer-songwriter Nadine Shah saw her income dry up in an instant. The concert bookings that sustained her vanished and, at age 34, she moved back in with her parents on the northeast coast of England.

“I was financially crippled,” Shah said in an interview.

Like musicians everywhere who were stuck off the road, staring into the abyss of their bank accounts, Shah — whose dark alto and eclectic songs have brought her critical acclaim and a niche following — began to examine her livelihood as an artist. Money from the streams of her songs on services like Spotify and Apple Music was practically nonexistent, she said, adding up to “just a few pounds here and there.” So she joined other disillusioned musicians in organizing online to push for change. Last fall, Shah testified before a Parliamentary committee that has been taking a hard look at the economics of streaming, raising the prospect of new regulation.

“If we got paid a meaningful income from streaming, that could be a weekly grocery shop; it could contribute to your rent or your mortgage when you need it the most,” Shah said. “That’s why I felt compelled to talk about it. I saw so many artists struggling.”
Image“When it went to Parliamentary inquiry, I felt like doing a fist pump,” Nadine Shah said. “I felt like, finally, people are listening to us.”
“When it went to Parliamentary inquiry, I felt like doing a fist pump,” Nadine Shah said. “I felt like, finally, people are listening to us.”Credit...Ollie Millington/Redferns, via, Getty Images

Shah is one voice in what has become a grass roots referendum on the music industry itself. In Britain, more than 150 artists, including stars like Paul McCartney, Kate Bush and Sting, signed a letter asking Prime Minister Boris Johnson for reforms in the streaming economy. In the United States, a new advocacy group, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, has waged a guerrilla campaign against Spotify, demanding higher payouts. The terms of record companies’ contracts with artists, like royalty rates and ownership of recordings, are under more scrutiny than ever. Even streaming’s fundamental accounting rules have been getting a fresh look.

The artists’ demands are threaded with anger and anxiety over the degradation of creative labor. But the musicians face long odds. Despite solidarity among many older and independent artists, the most successful current pop acts have largely been silent on the issue. And while many musicians paint Spotify as the enemy, the shift to streaming over the last decade has returned the industry to growth after years of financial decline.

Dig deeper into the moment.

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“This whole thing is a punt,” said Tom Gray of the band Gomez, whose dissections of streaming on social media, labeled #BrokenRecord, gave the movement a viral identity. “Can we seize a moment to make an argument, to capture people’s imaginations about a problem that we’ve had for years, and is getting worse?”
Will Songwriting Survive Streaming? Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus Is Worried.
May 7, 2021
A Business of Pennies (and Fractions of Pennies)

Artists’ complaints about streaming are as old as streaming itself. Soon after Spotify arrived in the United States in 2011, musicians began combing through their royalty statements, raising alarms about the fractions of a penny they received for each click.

Back then, streaming was an unproven model. Now, with Spotify, Apple Music and services from Amazon, Tidal, Deezer and others, it is the dominant mode of consumption, making up 83 percent of recorded music revenues in the United States. Spotify, which now has 356 million users around the world, including 158 million paying subscribers, paid out more than $5 billion to music rights holders in 2020.

The heart of musicians’ critique is how that money is distributed. Major record labels, after contracting painfully for much of the 2000s, are now posting huge profits. Yet not enough of streaming’s bounty has made its way to musicians, the activists say, and the major platforms’ model tends to over-reward stars at the expense of everybody else. With more music being released than ever before, they say, it has become nearly impossible for any artist who is not a star to earn a living wage.

“To me, we’re not in a period of expansion,” said Damon Krukowski of the group Damon & Naomi, who is a founding member of the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers. “From an individual perspective of musicians, it has just been a downward trend of the rewards for our labor.”
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Image
Damon Krukowski of the group Damon & Naomi is a founding member of the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers.
Damon Krukowski of the group Damon & Naomi is a founding member of the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers.Credit...Jordi Vidal/Redferns, via, Getty Images

Part of the dispute is over streaming’s basic economics. Spotify, Apple Music and most other major platforms use a so-called pro rata system of royalty distribution. In this model, all the money collected from subscribers or ads for a given month goes into a single pot, which is then divided by the total number of streams. If, say, Drake had 5 percent of all streams that month, he (and the companies that handle his music) get 5 percent of the pot — meaning that, effectively, he gets 5 percent of each user’s money, even those who have never listened to his music.

This system, critics say, favors artists with mass appeal. Features like playlisting (where songs are selected for curated lists with sometimes gigantic followings) and algorithmic recommendations, they say, also contribute to a network effect in which popularity leads to more popularity, putting niche genres at a disadvantage and extending the gulf between music’s haves and have-nots.

Industry estimates put Spotify’s payout rate for recordings at about $4,000 per million streams, or less than half a cent per stream. Since that money may pass through a record company before making its way to an artist, hundreds of millions of streams may be needed for a musician to net anything substantial.

The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers have called on Spotify to pay one cent per stream, which may be impossible under Spotify’s current model — the company says it pays about two-thirds of its revenue to rights holders, and that amount is dependent on how many users and streams the service has at any given moment. Spotify also has a free tier that allows users to listen to music with ads, which reduces the average amount that each listener contributes to the pot. Apple, which does not have a free tier — and is warring with Spotify over antitrust issues in Europe — seized this opportunity to say that its Apple Music service pays an average of about a penny per stream, counting payments for both recordings and songwriting.

In March, Spotify released an online report, “Loud & Clear,” meant to provide detail about its payment structure and respond to musicians’ calls for transparency. It became a Rorschach test over the company’s role as an industry paymaster.

To Spotify, the report was proof that its payments are robust, and that a growing number of artists are earning substantial sums. Last year, 870 artist catalogs generated more than $1 million in payments, nearly twice as many as had done so in 2017, the company reported; Spotify paid out $100,000 or more for 7,800 acts.

According to Spotify, the music of 57,000 acts make up 90 percent of monthly streams on the platform.

“All the numbers we are seeing lead us to feel very confident that this is a less hit-driven and less star-dominated industry, one that is much more supportive of niche genres and niche fan bases,” Charlie Hellman, a vice president at Spotify, said in an interview.

To many artists and critics, those same figures told a different story. The number of artists that generated more than $1,000 was 184,500 — but since there are more than six million artist profiles on Spotify, that means that about 97 percent of them failed to reach that level.

Spotify counters that only 472,000 artists have crossed a certain threshold of professional activity, which the company defines as having released more than 10 tracks and drawn more than 1,000 monthly listeners at some point in 2020; 5.6 million artists have never released more than 10 tracks in total.

But even among that subset of presumptive professionals, at most 39 percent of them earned $1,000 last year from Spotify.
Do Labels Share the Blame?

In October, the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee opened an inquiry on the economics of streaming music, and the hearings — with aggressive questioning of tech and record executives — have riveted the industry. Its report is expected in coming weeks, and speculation has bounced around industry inboxes over what recommendations, if any, the committee will make.

In an interview, Kevin Brennan, a Labour lawmaker who has been an outspoken critic of streaming, said the committee might consider “whether this is an industry where there is a case for some kind of independent ombudsman or regulator to look at whether the industry operates in a fair manner toward the musicians and consumers.”

Some of the harshest testimony has focused not on streaming services but on the major record companies. As critical as musicians are of streaming, they often save the worst for their record labels and the terms in their contracts, like royalty rates and the recoupment of costs, that can keep artists’ accounts in the red for years. And the ownership of their copyrights? Just ask Taylor Swift or Kanye West how important that is.
Image
From left, Brett Hite and James Sunderland of Frenship. The duo credited Spotify with turning their song “Capsize” into a streaming hit.
From left, Brett Hite and James Sunderland of Frenship. The duo credited Spotify with turning their song “Capsize” into a streaming hit.Credit...Blythe Thomas

One example of this tension is the Los Angeles pop duo Frenship.

In 2016, the group, featuring Brett Hite and James Sunderland, had a breakout hit with “Capsize,” recorded with the singer and songwriter Emily Warren. Frenship released the song independently, and it was quickly added to a prominent playlist on Spotify. “Capsize” notched 40 million streams in 10 weeks, yielding $150,000 in payments, the group said.

“Spotify gave us our career,” Hite said in an interview.

Then the group signed with Columbia Records, which started a radio promotion campaign around “Capsize.” The song failed to crack the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it remained a steady streaming success, now at about 570 million clicks on Spotify. The band declined to disclose specific details of its time at Columbia — in its separation agreement with the label in 2018, it agreed to confidentiality — but Hite encapsulated his time in the majors with an anecdote about shopping for a car in the months after “Capsize” took off.

“I’m looking at BMWs, and then when I start doing the breakdown I ended up leasing a Honda CR-V,” he said. “I’ll let that be the narrative for where our hit song got us.” The group is now preparing its next release independently.

Columbia declined to comment.

Despite artists’ gripes about their labels, contracts at the major record companies have been evolving steadily in recent years in ways that benefit performers. Joint-venture deals and shorter commitments are now more common, according to music executives, lawyers and artist managers.

And the all-important royalty rate is going up, too. A study by Steven S. Wildman of Michigan State University in 2002 that looked at hundreds of major-label contracts from that time found that, on average, artists getting their first contract from a label were offered royalty rates of 15 percent to 16 percent. Speaking to the Parliamentary committee in January, Tony Harlow, the chief executive of Warner Music UK, said that since 2015, the company’s royalty payments to artists have “raised from 27 to 32 percent.”

That may be cold comfort for older acts that are stuck with lower rates. Eve 6, the alternative-rock band whose 1998 hit “Inside Out” has over 100 million streams on Spotify, is not recouped on its original contract, and so earns nothing from streams of that song, said Jon Siebels, the band’s guitarist.
Can the Streaming Economy Be Changed?

Online campaigns by loose coalitions of musicians would seem like long shots. But they have already made more progress than expected, gaining the attention not only of Parliament but of Spotify and Apple. Last month, responding to years of pressure from the music industry, Spotify raised prices on some of its subscription plans in the United States, Britain and Europe, which could result in slightly higher payouts to musicians (but only slightly).

And some proposed changes about the economics behind streaming have been taken up. Last month, SoundCloud moved some artists to a user-centric royalty plan — an alternative to pro rata accounting that some in the industry, including many artist groups, see as a fairer and more transparent system.

Instead of dumping all the money from users into a single pot, the user-centric model segregates what each user contributes and then distributes that money based only on what that person listens to. Proponents say this model pays out streaming income more equitably, helping smaller acts. For example, a fan who listens only to jazz would see their money go only to jazz artists, not to pop stars. When SoundCloud announced its change, it highlighted some independent artists whose monthly payouts, it said, would increase by as much as five times.

Yet as with some other proposals favored by musicians, like a switch to “equitable remuneration” requested in the recent letter to the British prime minister — a program that would give some money to artists directly, rather than going through a record company — the user-centric model faces some opposition in the industry. As critics see it, the plan would have minimal impact and would actually be less transparent, resulting in a confusing situation in which one artist’s million streams would be worth a different amount than another artist’s.

And in any redistribution plan, there will be winners and losers. The losers under user-centric would most likely be pop stars. Who wants to tell Ed Sheeran or Drake they are going to make less money?

For many artists, the campaigns have already received far more attention than they ever expected, which may be encouragement enough.

“When it went to Parliamentary inquiry, I felt like doing a fist pump,” said Nadine Shah. “I felt like, finally, people are listening to us. People are taking this seriously. We just have to keep up the momentum.”

Bird in a Blender
Nov 17, 2005

It's amazing what they can do with computers these days.



Krispy Wafer posted:

I was a little amazed that Baby’s R Us went under. I guess everyone started shopping online for that stuff. Or perhaps that was another industry murdered by Millennials intent on only having fur babies.

Up until 2007 we were pouring money into our local Baby’s R Us. The curse of having children with sensitive asses that couldn’t handle Costco brand diapers.

Buy Buy Baby is the only dedicated baby store I can think of right now, and it is very annoying. I would've killed for a Baby's R Us a couple years ago, just to have another option. Target/Walmart sell a lot of the same stuff, but the specialty stores are just nicer because they have a bigger selection of everything, and especially for the pricey stuff that you really want to try out before buying.

fartknocker
Oct 28, 2012

Damn it, this always happens. I think I'm gonna score, and then I never score. It's not fair.




Wedge Regret

Buy Buy Baby is owned by Bed Bath & Beyond and also sucks, although they used to accept the coupons from the latter so that was good for some people. They’re basically where Toys R Us was in 2015~ in terms of stupid corporate decisions and mismanagement, just without the Bain Capital element and having not-totally terrible store level managers.

I went from 2+ years at Toys R Us to 4+ years at Bed Bath & Beyond before I escaped physical retail

Whooping Crabs
Apr 13, 2010




fartknocker posted:

I went from 2+ years at Toys R Us to 4+ years at Bed Bath & Beyond before I escaped physical retail

Do you sell ghosts now?

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MarcusSA
Sep 23, 2007




Grimey Drawer

I need to bitch about these peloton commercials for a second.

Who the gently caress is walking on hardwood floors with clip on bike shoes??? NO ONE!

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