The Evolution of Radio: How satellite radio is competing

99% of the world’s population owns a radio. Lets step back and think about this for a second. In a world where wars are being fought each and every day, in a world where situations get tense over something as simple as sports, in a world where you can be oppressed because of different belief systems, almost 100% of the people can agree on one matter. They see the radio as both a recreational tool as well as a necessity.

When Marconi was first able to send a radio signal farther than a mile his mind wasn’t necessarily thinking it would be an avenue for talk radio as well as a music listening experience as we know it as today. After all, the radio waves were still unable to transmit the human voice, but rather Morse code. (Radio)

Not until the 1920’s, after World War I broke out was broadcast radio bursting onto the scene. At this point radio had been much improved from the war. That paired with savvy businessmen realizing the money that could be made from broadcasting led to terrestrial radio, as we know it today. (Radio)

As we step into the twenty first century however, even more advancements have been made in radio.  In the early 2000’s, two companies, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio emerged with this new concept of satellite radio. “A satellite radio service works by transmitting its signal from a ground-based station to one or more satellites orbiting the Earth. The satellite bounces the signal back to specialized receivers on the ground, commonly located in automobiles and home stereo systems” (Satellite Radio). This form of radio has created new strides within the radio industry and has created fresh energy for the still thriving business.

XM and Sirius began in 2001 and 2002 respectively. They had dozens of channels being broadcasted which include anything from kids shows to sports to hip hop stations. Because they are not advertisement based like most of their terrestrial and Internet counterparts, they rely on revenue from subscribers to stay in business. You can listen to their content nearly anywhere, just like you would an actual radio and more and more shop and restaurant owners are looking to Sirius for content to play in their buildings. (History of Satellite Radio).

In February of 2007, the competition was no longer just pushing the two to create better and better content but instead hurting the two companies. So much so, that they decided to merge into what is now Sirius XM Satellite Radio. They both offered similar content, and had similar strategies in how to get that content out to the world. They both tackled similar markets in order to keep their consumers happy, but in the end it seemed like there was only room for one satellite radio provider. (Taub)

Though it seems like this merger led to a monopoly, that is simply not the case. Sirius XM, though the sole satellite company, is still competing with terrestrial and Internet companies alike. They must continually push themselves to create content so that people will be willing to pay for what they can so easily get for free. First and foremost, they are completely listener supported and don’t make any revenue from advertisements. Because they don’t rely on advertisers, they also don’t have to rely on ratings to attract those advertisers. This means that they can focus on getting really niche content to a wide variety of listeners. Some might want strictly music from the 90s, or strictly Grateful Dead, and they can have just that, 24/7.  (Summers)

They spend an incredible amount of time and energy getting their stations to be exactly what their listeners are looking for. Now that they have merged, Sirius XM is a one-stop shop to anything you would ever need to listen to. No longer do you have to choose what is more important NFL or MLB, now you can get them both on the same provider. They also have acquired great on air talents such as Oprah and Martha Stewart, not to mention Howard Stern. (Summers)

With this star power, as well as their knack for delivering exactly what their customers are looking for, there is a bright future ahead for Sirius XM. Some people are afraid that it will lead to the end of terrestrial radio, but on the contrary. There is more than enough room for both to survive and prosper, and both will continue to do so.

Sources:

Dominick, Joseph R., Fritz Messere, and Barry L. Sherman. (2008).  Broadcasting,             Cable, the Internet, and Beyond: an Introduction to Modern Electronic Media.             Boston: McGraw Hill.

“History of Satellite Radio.” (06 Feb. 2011). Sirius Satellite Radio vs. XM Radio –             Compare on Satellite Radio USA. 2008. Retrieved from:            <http://satelliteradiousa.com/satellite_radio_history.html>.

“Radio.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.  (2008)             Encyclopædia             Britannica. Retrieved from:            <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1262240/radio-technology>.

“Satellite radio.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. (2008)            Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Retrieved from:             <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1019375/satellite-radio>.

Summers, Dion. TRF 235. Syracuse University. 10 Feb. 2011. Lecture.

Taub, Eric A. “Laded With Personalities, Now Satellite Radio May Try a Merger.” The             New York Times [New York City] 1 Jan. 2007, Late Edition ed., sec. C: C1. Print.

Posted in Radio, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Personalization in Radio

Since the 1950s, radio has been an accessible medium where the general public can discover and enjoy new music. It is everywhere: in the car, at home, in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. In other words, radio is hard to avoid. A 2009 study showed that 93% of the U.S population is reached by radio at least once a week. However, thanks to the internet and sites such as Pandora and last.fm, the way in which people consume radio no longer entirely depends on the traditional AM/FM format. Given the fact that terrestrial radio stations primarily air music of their preference rather than that of the audience, listeners are beginning to turn to internet radio where their niche is more likely to better represented. Instead of waiting hours for a requested song to be aired, the listener now has the option mold his or her own radio station

Terrestrial radio is indeed a way for new music to reach ears, but is the music that is aired on FM and AM radio music that everybody wishes to consume? There are genres and particular artists that will probably never receive airplay on any AM or FM station despite talent. This is primarily because they lack economical and social resources to get their music on major radio stations across the country. Lack of airplay does not destroy an artist’s career, per se, but it does tend to hinder artists from not only reaching more people, but from expanding their fan base at a faster rate. The artists who do have the opportunity of having their music on a rotating playlist, most likely belong to major record labels or have connections to powerful players in the music industry. But now that the internet has made a significant impact on people’s lives by allowing everyone to disperse ideas at lightning speed, radio innovators have created an entirely new atmosphere of music listening.

One of the biggest radio innovations and a popular trend has been the usage online radio. A person like me who listens to independent Latin music has a harder time identifying and relating to music played on terrestrial radio. I am more likely to connect my iPod to my stereo than turn the radio on in my car. I take advantage of the internet to decide what I want to listen to, not what terrestrial radio wants me to hear. Online radio stations such as Pandora and last.fm allow me to focus on my particular genre of preference. On both websites, listeners can type an artist or genre of their choice and will be redirected to a “station” where music of similar artists will be played. Online radio has facilitated the process of bands reaching new people. Prior to this innovation, artists and bands would depend on terrestrial radio to spread the word of a new single. That was only if radio stations did not decide to filter out the artist for airplay. Since online radio is a venture where the listener finds his/her perfect fit, musicians not only have the advantage of targeting specific audiences, but are likely to gain more loyal fans.

Although terrestrial radio is still a medium the typical listener will depend on for new music, AM and FM radio both face a threat. We have yet to see terrestrial radio vanish due to online radio, but because online radio has gained attention from many internet users in such a small frame of time, it puts the life of major radio stations in danger. In fact, from 2000 to 2010, the percentage of young adults ages 12-24 who listen to terrestrial radio has decreased 30%. Of course, it may be too soon to decide how this radio innovation will change the medium exactly, but we can say that online radio is now entirely about the listener and not necessarily about the record label that is pushing to promote the artist.

Works Cited

A century of radio. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.californiahistoricalradio.com/100years.html

Internet radio playing more indie music. (2011, February 18). Retrieved from http://www.audiographics.com/agd/021811-1.htm

Radio facts. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.rab.com/public/adChannel

Taub, Eric A. (2009). Internet radio stations are the new wave. New York Times, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/technology/personaltech/31basics.html?_r=1

Teens and young adults favor online radio [Web log message]. (2010, October 15).          Retrieved from http://www.radiostreamingnews.com/2010/10/teens-and- yound-adults-favor-online.html

Posted in Radio, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Between A Rock And A Myspace: How social media is changing music promotion

In the 2006, I made my first Music Myspace page for an artist by the name of Chase Coy. It was designed to promote this artists’ music, letting fans listen to his songs while scrolling through his pictures, biography and upcoming performance dates. That winter we started out with a handful of fans on this page, people who would receive updates on their page about Chase and his music. By the summer of 2007, Chase had hundreds of thousands of fans; people even displayed his music on their personal Myspaces. In that year, Chase had played no shows as an artist or made any real efforts to promote his music live. However, I had helped Chase reach fans through this means of social networking. He became the number one unsigned artist in the United States, and thousands of people were listening to his music every day.

Social media sites like Myspace have become the cornerstone in the promotion of artists in the music industry. Promoters, managers, labels and artists are utilizing these sites to connect with fans on a personal level in a direct medium. The grass roots mentality has been applied to gaining fans more and more, as the Internet creates more globally connected communities. Now, just a few years after I set up Chase’s artist Myspace, new sites are now coming out as alternatives and supplements. Twitter, Facebook blog hosts, and several other sites all have applications for musicians that are heavily trafficked by new listeners, dedicated fans, and everyone in between.

Twitter has become an innovative way to grow a fan base. Justin Bieber is a primary case study for the effectiveness of tweeting. In the new documentary film about Bieber, Never Say Never, the young artist’s manager speaks to how much Twitter helped to push Bieber into mega fame. He would tweet to his fans, letting them know where he was performing, be it a gig or a radio station. These fans, after making this connection with Bieber, would come to hear him perform (Mapes). Other artists like Kanye West, Best Coast and 50 Cent receive additional attention because of their entertaining tweets.

Facebook has also become a profound way to promote artists, reaching millions of people who use their own Facebook sites everyday. The social media giant has even created the options for artists to develop pages specifically for promoting their music. These pages are now equipped with music streaming capabilities as well as way to help promote merchandise and ticket sales (“Music On Facebook”). Artists’ official websites and even other social networking mediums are constantly pointing to their Facebook fan pages. Facebook Ads has also become an easy and cheap way for artists to promote themselves. However, it is widely debated how effective this advertising is at reaching listeners.

Blogging continues to be a way that bands reach their fans on a personal level. Though many band websites have a blog embedded into their official websites, sites like Tumblr and Blogspot are also populated by artists who use these blogs to document their work. These are often used as a primary location for bands to inform fans about their tours or upcoming news about their recordings or press dates. Dan Frommer references Tumblr in an article for Business Insider. He cites the “Myspace collapse” as a huge growth opportunity for the micro-blogging website. This is because “1) better support for static pages like ‘tour dates,’ ‘bio,’ etc., and 2) some sort of digital playlist tool for music samples.” Tumblr and other blogs are proving to be a more intimate way to connect with fans, because of the ability to write extensively about upcoming shows, releases and news.

This trend is constantly and continuously evolving. Everyday there are new ways to reach fans via social networking and new websites. But with the growing number of sites and growing number of users, there will be new ways to filter this information. Fans will be able to more easily customize the information they receive on these sites, and when. They will also be able to access it more easily on their phones and other mobile devices. Some may view the increase of artist activity maybe take away from their performance as artists. Helienne Lindvall writes in an article for The Guardian, that she finds that artists become consumed with social net working and it takes away from their work as songwriters (“Behind the Music”).

Despite an added source of stress, social networking does primarily positive things for a mucian’s career. In a study of local musicians in various cities, Carey Sargent found that an online presence could accelerate an artist’s career. “Extra-local connections were not only formed between geographic places, but also by the creation of a ubiquitous, hyperlinked, on-line presence (478).” By connecting with fans and the music industry online, musicians are creating new ways to promote their music and reach an endlessly-searching public.
Works Cited

Frommer, Dan. “Music On Facebook.” Jan. 12, 2011.http://www.businessinsider.com/myspaces-collapse-is-a-big-opportunity-for-tumblr-and-facebook-2011-1#ixzz1ArMgDXY (accessed February 20, 2011).

Lindvall, Helienne. “Behind the music: The winners and losers of social networking promotion.” Sept. 23, 2010.http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/sep/23/music-social-networking-promotion-blogs (accessed February 20, 2011).

Mapes, Jillian. “Breaking Bieber.” January 28, 2011.http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/genre/rock-and-pop/breaking-bieber-in-new-video-clip-manager-1005015612.story (accessed February 20, 2011).

“Music On Facebook.” http://www.facebook.com/Music (accessed February 20, 2011).

Sargent, Carey. 2009. “LOCAL MUSICIANS BUILDING GLOBAL AUDIENCES.” Information, Communication & Society 12, no. 4: 469-487. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 22, 2011).

Posted in Internet, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breaking Records

After being assigned the topic to investigate a current issue that has affected the industry, I felt I should choose an event that affects me the most. I decided to look into the decreasing amount of record sales and the causes for this decline. Contributors to this decline are the Internet, short attention spans, EP’s and singles and new music consuming behavior.  This decline in sales spirals out of control when record companies can’t afford to spend as much as they used to on an album. Soon, more and more EP’s and singles will start to be released and before you know it the growth of pick-and-choose methods of buying music has spawned. Once Internet usage accelerated, attention spans thinned even more. With the demand of new music on the rise, consumers flock to the internet and are bombarded with music sites spanning from blogs to aggregators, and music services such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, giving independent artists opportunities they wouldn’t have had without the internet.

The Internet is also to blame for the fact that 95% of music is acquired illegally. The situation only seems to be getting worse. It’s no secret that the music industry is facing turbulent times. There are different reasons for this change but there are also different solutions. As the industry continues to consolidate, there are fewer major labels heading the forefront and the playing field is beginning to level. Some believe that it is the industry itself that is at fault for driving consumers to their music pirating ways, but the internet has given consumers the option to explore music and find exactly what they are looking for that will fit their unique tastes. Downloading music is as simple as a Google search or the click of a mouse on iTunes. Either way, using the Internet has become the primary medium through which we consume music.

Since 1997 physical album sales have steadily decreased. The creation of the Internet plummeted the industry into a downward spiral.  CD singles tumbled from 67 million units sold in 1997 to a low of five million five years later. CD album sales went from 943 million in 2000 to 803 million units in 2003. Now in 2009 we are at 71.6 million units sold. According to the RIAA “music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes.“ This is not a phenomenon; it is unabashed crime taking place.  95% of music acquired is illegal. “Generating value in an environment where 95 per cent of music downloads are illegal and unpaid for is still the biggest challenge for music companies and their commercial partners,” the IFPI said in a release.

It seems as though things are only getting worse. “The days of releasing an album with 17 or 18 cuts are over. It’s difficult to give full quality with such an abundance of music. … I think we can expect to see more extras in the future instead of additional songs.”” said Charles Goldstuck, president and CEO of the RCA Music Group.   Charles aptly points out that with this abundance of music as a side product of the Internet, attention spans have thinned. Efforts to find a solution are growing. Also growing are single, EP and digital download sales. Digital music sales have risen 15% since 2007. Increasing by an estimate 25% to 3.7 billion dollars in trade value.  This was never a strategy that record labels were fond of. Labels were always opposed to releasing singles because they looked the format as being “money losers.” But since labels can’t spend $18 million on an album, it seems the format is “poised for a comeback.” Artists that refused to conform to this format in 2003 include Linkin Park and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Consumers have demanded a pick-and-choose method of buying, which has attributed to the success of iTunes. People would go to record stores if they could walk out with an individual song for a dollar. This holiday season album sales were affected by the weather conditions in the south and east that kept shoppers away from the stores.

Recently it seems that the music business is on its way to a slow collapse, but there are some bumps along the road. With digital sales on the rise and 39 new tracks breaking the $100,000 at the end of the 4th quarter we can still go home smiling. Digital and physical sales are practically dividing the music market in half, sure to surpass physical sales in the next couple of years. Outsiders may see the industry in turmoil, but from a young consumer perspective, the internet only gives us more options to explore and find exactly what we’re looking for, eliminating the unwanted and unnecessary. The modern day music consumer is looking for quality over quantity.

Sources

  1. Online search of EP’s and Singles effects on the industry.
    1. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1477001/album-format-dead.jhtml
  2. Online search of Record Sales and The Internet effects
    1. http://www.tomsguide.com/us/mp3-downloads-music-piracy-ifpi,news-3315.html
    2. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10192343-47.html
  3. Nielsen Soundscan
    1. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/industries/media-entertainment.html
  4. Lexis Nexis
  5. Ulf Oesterle, my Music Industry 305 teacher
  6. Michael Howe, A&R executive at Downtown Records
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Online Internet Privacy

Over the past decade, since the Internet has been on the rise, there has been an increased awareness of how much information people are putting on the Internet. Some of these things include secured bank account information, social security numbers, and even addresses. The Internet is not a toy and is definitely not something to mess around with. Serious crimes can be committed using the Internet and lives can be ruined.

According to an article that CBS has posted, they have an inside scoop on a school teacher who’s private information online was suddenly made public. The article titled “Did the Internet Kill Privacy” talks about a public school teacher whose private photos on Facebook were seen by a student and caused an issue for that teacher. Ashley Payne, the high school English teacher, was called into the principal’s office one day of school to be questioned about a vulgar picture that one of her students had stumbled upon on Facebook. The picture was of Ashley holding a glass of wine and a mug of beer. The Principal of the school gave her an ultimatum of being suspended from her job, or to resign her position as an English teacher. She ended up resigning her position and is now in a law suite against the school to try and get her job back. Her argument is that that information that was found was her private information. The incriminating photo was not taken on school property and she is allowed to do what she wants with her life. There was nothing illegal going on in the photo accept a person who is above the age of 21 having casual drinks at a restaurant.

The problem with this case is that Ashley would still have her job if the information had not been leaked. This is a serious issue when it comes to privacy and it starts with the kind of security measures Internet browsers are using to protect people’s private information. Take Mozilla Firefox for example. The Internet browser offers what is called the Privacy panel. In this panel, you can control how Firefox handles your history. The history is all of the previous websites you have visited. It also offers control of what sites can send you cookies and you are also able to remove cookies that any website has sent you. The last privacy feature is control of how the address bar uses your history to suggest matches for what ever you type into the bar. Google Chrome, another leading Internet browser, basically has the same privacy settings as Mozilla Firefox. You can control the way your browser handles pop-ups, cookies and images. These browsers are clearly taking precaution when it comes to people’s private information but how are criminals still stealing this information?

There are 3 main ways that criminals can go about stealing someone else’s secured information. The first way is to find out what people’s Internet identities are made up of. They are made up of “IP address or internet protocol addresses, address where we live, usernames, passwords, personal identification numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, account number, and mothers maiden name.” Once you have found this type of information its on to step 2. This step is called phishing. This technique is a way for criminals to lure their victims in by sending them spam mail. They are often in disguise as emails from companies we trust, like our banks or our favorite place to shop online. These emails try to trick us into typing in our personal information and them tracking what information we write down. The first way to steal information is by something called pharming. This is where a criminal some how hacks into the ISP or Internet service providers and hijacks that domain name of the website. Once the person is on the website it will ask them to enter personal information. Once that information is entered the criminal can now see all of this and can use the information for what he or she wants.

These issues are being dealt with. ISP are cracking down on their security as are Internet browsers. Many Internet browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer have been working on new and improved ways to keep unwanted websites from tracking a users activity. Google Chromes new way of action is through a program called “Keep my Opt-outs.” This program helps Chrome block any unwanted websites from tracking your activity.

As of now people using and abusing the Internet and people are very vulnerable to being taken advantage of on the fault of the Internet browsers. Hopefully these companies creating these Internet browsers will expand on their security measures and further protect us against “internet attackers.”

Work cited page

Anonymous, (2011, February 6) Did the Internet Kill Privacy, retrieved from

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/06/sunday/main7323148.shtml

Carling, A, (2011, January 30) Safer surfing as browsers increase privacy retrieved from

http://www.neurope.eu/articles/Safer-surfing-as-browsers-increase-privacy/104457.php

Verdi, (unknown date) Options window – Privacy panel, retrieved from

http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Options%20window%20-%20Privacy%20panel

Zibreg, C, (2010, March 5) Google Chrome gets richer privacy controls, automatic web page translation, retrieved from

http://www.geek.com/articles/google/google-chrome-gets-richer-privacy-controls-automatic-web-page-translation-2010035/

Posted in Internet, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Wikileak in the Government

Max Gredinger
Professor Charles
TRF 235
20 February 2011

Wikileaks was created in 2006 and was based upon the premise that nothing is off limits.  Government papers or unedited war video footage was all on limits through their website for any citizen to access.  Julian Assange, the sites creator, believed that the government should not own any stamps that say “Confidential” on them, but instead everything should be completely out in the open for the public to consume as they wish.  In December of 2010, the website was shut down.  This particular case begs the following questions, what is the limit to free speech on the Internet, and what effect has Wikileaks had on Internet and governments oversight of the world wide web.

In order to completely understand the Wikileaks case, one has to know the background of both Julian Assange as well as what he created with Wikileaks.  “The most important website in the world right now isn’t Facebook, Google or Twitter but one that’s lifting the lid on the machinations of governments the world over… Wikileaks, for good or bad, is offering up the truth in a way that’s not been seen before.”  Over the years, Wikileaks has exposed some things that the government and other private organizations have not wanted anyone to get their holds on.  They released “the collected secret ‘bibles’ of Scientology,” Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo email account was leaked on the site in 2008, much to her dismay, and their biggest leak in their history occurred in late November of 2010 when they released over 250,000 US government documents for the public to download (Wikileaks).  The future of Wikileaks, and exactly how the government decides to handle their existence could be an incredibly influential case as to what exactly the limits of free speech are, and what kind of influence the government has as to what goes on the Internet.

The Wikileaks situation will have incredible impact as to how the general public views government, and will be a large statement as to how much power government has over the average citizen.  It seems as though the public is on Assange’s side, “#wikileaks” was trending on Twitter for a great deal of time, and the Wikileaks Facebook fan page has over 1,600,000 “likes” on it.  There was controversy on both of these sites as to whether or not their accounts would be shut down because of the battle that Wikileaks was going through with the government, but both Twitter and Facebook looked into the situation and ultimately determined that Wikileaks does not violate any of the terms of use of either of the sites.  This decision to keep the pages on both social networking sites was very well received by the fans on both of these social networking sites.  There could quite possibly be large public outcry if the government chooses to further harass Wikileaks existence, and this could quite easily determine exactly how much control the government has over the general public.  Wikileaks could argue that they want free speech on the web, and although free speech exists, there are often questions as to exactly how far it goes.  There is a free flow of information that is available on the internet, and taking out a major website that was simply exercising its free speech to a great extent may be justified, but will not go without large scrutiny from the public, particularly fans of Wikileaks.  Wikileaks has not only released information that was crucial to how government operates, but they did something that could worry the government even more than their well being, Wikileaks embarrassed the government by showing it can be penetrated by the average citizen, which could cause even more incentive for the government to shut them down for good.   The government was not very secretive either about their anger with Wikileaks, P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman said “we believe that hundreds of people have been put at potential risk because their names have been compromised in the release of these cables” (New York Times). Wikileaks posted some of the governments most confidential files and political gossip for the public to consume, and made it so government is not an untouchable watch dog in Washington, but instead an organization that its people can look at and know the details of.

As the situation surrounding Wikileaks continues to shape, we will soon find out the limit to free speech on the Internet and what the government can oversee.  Either way it turns out, Assange is going to be idolized forever by fans of free speech and open government, and will long be idolized as a brilliant anarchist.  Even after being shut down, a new site appeared with a Twitter post from the WIkileaks account that said the following “WIKILEAKS: Free speech has a number: http://88.80.13.160” which is the new Wikileaks site.  Assange’s future and the future of this new Wikileaks site remain to be seen, but however it does end up turning out will be a large statement as to where the future of the Internet and free speech are heading.

Bibliography

Chacksfield, Marc. “Wikileaks: 8 biggest leaks in its history | News | TechRadar UK.” TechRadar UK | Technology News And Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/wikileaks-8-biggest-leaks-in-its-history-911493>.

Wikileaks. (2010, December 3). WIKILEAKS: Free speech has a number: http://88.80.13.160 (Twitter post). Retrieved from http://twitter.com/#!/wikileaks/status/10621245489938433

“Wikileaks: Keep Us Strong.” Wikileaks. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <wikileaks.ch/>.

Mackey, Robert. “WikiLeaks: No Harm, No Foul.” NYTimes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. <http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/u-s-officials-reportedly-said-wikileaks-revelations-were-not-damaging/>.

Posted in Internet, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Performance Tax on Radio: Will it help or hurt the Music Industry?

Local terrestrial radio has long since played a prominent role in the promotion of artists. The deal between radio and record labels has always been free radio play, free promotion for their artists. However, within the past decade a digital revolution has occurred, knocking the original business model of record labels off balance. Music consumers are now pirating all of their music via peer-to-peer sites such as Limewire, BitTorrent and Mediafire rather than buying artist’s albums in stores or digitally online. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has stated a decrease in revenue over the last ten years with album sales decreasing by about 8% each year (Goldman, 2010). This leaves record labels clambering for ways to make a profit in this newly digitized music business. In comes the possibility of the RIAA putting a performance tax on the airplay of every song on local radio stations. The relationship between local radio broadcasters and record labels could change forever, threatening the survival of local radio stations and musician’s greatest promotional outlet.

The Performance Right Act, officially known as H.R.848, would levy a tax on local radio stations, designed to ensure that artists and record labels are being rewarded for the airing of their music. Though it seems like the pure promotion that record label’s artists get on the airwaves would be enough, it is not. Due to federal copyright law, radio stations currently are paying yearly royalties to the writers and publishers of the songs that they play. This Performance Right Act would tack on paying the record labels and the performing artists themselves while still paying the writers and publishers. According to a website opposing the performance tax, suitably called “No Performance Tax”, the record labels would like listeners and more importantly voters, to think that their effort is all about compensating the artists for all of their talent and hard work. In actuality, the record labels would get at least 50% of the cut from the fees being put on local radio. As mentioned above, radio stations are only required by federal copyright law to pay royalties to the writers and publishers of songs being played on their stations. Most performers are also the writers of their songs so it is erroneous to say that artists are not getting paid at all from radio stations. The free on-air promotion and royalties that they are already receiving are enough to repay them for their music.

The importance of free airplay of songs on terrestrial radio stations is essential to not only the livelihood of different local broadcasters all across the country but also to up and coming musicians. With the onset of a potential performance tax, radio stations would have to tap into all of their extra funds to pay the record labels and artists meaning that they would have to compensate for that money elsewhere. For example, they may have to cut other services they provide listeners such as the news or the weather. This would be a huge loss and a complete devastation to both radio broadcasters and listeners alike. Many people hear their national/local news, weather, and traffic reports from the radio and need that media outlet to hear this information, especially if they are driving in the car (Lopez, 2010). Musicians that are just making their footprint in the music business would struggle significantly trying to get airplay on local radio stations. Where broadcasters used to not have to worry too much about playing new artists since it was free, now they will have to invest in them before they consider airing them. For a company that is already in financial troubles, this would not be an easy decision for local radio stations. General Manager of Entercom Stations in Wichita, Kansas Jackie Wise states, “Why would we pay the recording industry to play new artists when we don’t know if our listeners are going to like it or not?” (KAKE) New artists that have the potential to become superstars may never have the chance because of the promotion they will not receive from local radio.

The Performance Right Act Bill was rejected from Congress in 2010 but may be making its way back into the House later this year. Gordon Smith of Oregon, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and also former Republican Senator, said the issue is unlikely to go away until an “equitable solution” is reached (Boliek, 2011). Hence, this is an issue in the music industry that will be dealt with in the oncoming years as radio broadcasters and recording industry execs battle out their opinions. Record sales are unquestionably at a large decline and this is hitting the record labels quite hard. However, relying on the already struggling radio industry to help get them out of this debt is unreasonable and will only further hurt the music industry as a whole.

Works Cited

Boliek, Brooks. (2011, February 10) Performance Right Act On Repeat. Politico. Retrieved Febraury 23, 2011 from, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49194.html

Diffin, Stephanie. (2010, February 17) Tax On Radio Songs Could Limit Listening Options. KAKE News 10. Retrieved February 23, 2011 from, http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/84637477.html

Anonymous. (2009, May 15) Performance Tax Threatens Radio Stations. Dayton Daily News. Retrieved February 17, 2011 from, http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/ dayton/artsandentertainment/entries/2009/05/15/performance_tax_threatens _radi.html

Goldman, David. (2010, February 2). Music’s Lost Decade: Sales Cut in Half in 2000s – Feb. 2, 2010. Business, Financial, Personal Finance News – CNNMoney.com. Retrieved February, 17 2011 from, http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster_music_industry/

“Radio at Risk.” No Performance Tax Home. 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2011 from, http://www.noperformancetax.org/Radio at Risk

Lopez, Lucas. (2010, December 30). The Performance Rights Act: Strange Fruit In Tough Economic Times. Web log post. Beyonce Blogmatic. Retrieved February 17, 2010 from, http://beyonce.blogomatic.object-ive.com/?p=1863

Posted in Radio, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What is left for MGM Studios??

At the beginning of a movie, it tends to start off with some background music, with logos popping up. Well those are the names of the studios that created the movie you are about to watch. MGM Studios (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) was one of the major film studios of our time. For almost a century, MGM created dozens of multimillion-dollar movies. Until recently MGM’s multimillion business has fallen creating an open door for two potential buyers to salvage the company.

It all started in November 2010 when MGM filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which came as a shock to the film industry. MGM Studio will rid itself of $4 billion in debt from major lenders such as JPMorgan and Credit Suisse to protect itself. MGM apparently knew about this issue because Andrew Moran of “Digital Journal,” explains “It has been more than a year for MGM and its creditors to come up with a reorganization strategy”(Moran). Moran adds, MGM was offered a deal from Time Warner of $1.5 billion for acquisition of the company, but creditors felt the deal was not sufficient because of MGM’s critically acclaimed blockbuster hits such as “The Wizard of Oz” and the James Bond franchise. Due to the bankruptcy, MGM was in search of potential buyers to resalvage part of the MGM franchise.

In late November 2010, MGM’s prime investor, Carl Icahn, sought a potential buyer in Spyglass Entertainment. In The New York Times, Andrew R. Sorkin claimed Icahn sought to reach a settlement, which would limit the role of executives at Spyglass Entertainment after the merger. While Icahn’s settlement was in the process though, MGM received another potential bid from Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation. Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood reported Icahn’s previous history with a Lions Gate filmmaker, Jay Firestone. She stated Icahn was reluctant to work with Firestone because Firestone apparently burned through $100 million in finances at a previous company they worked at. Fortunately, as of February 9, 2011, MGM is now partially owned by Spyglass Entertainment and is now finalizing a deal with Sony Pictures regarding move distribution.

Currently, Gary Barber and Roger Brinhaum, CEO executives of Spyglass Entertainment, are seeking a deal with Sony Pictures. This will allow MGM to have movie distribution and co-financed movies already in production. Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming reported Sony Pictures landed a deal to produce the new James Bond Movie, Bond 23, as well as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. “The new MGM brass, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum managed to leverage the James Bond #23 film for a piece of Sony’s in-the-works big movie based on the Stieg Larsson bestseller, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which has already been shooting in Sweden under director David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara. “

“…Sony Pictures bosses Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton agreed to give MGM a co-financing deal for the big title and possibly other films already shooting, too, to help the reconstituted studio generate quick cash flow.” (Finke & Fleming). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is already in production in Sweden, which is one step for MGM to salvage their company. In addition, to be part of those two future blockbuster hits, Sony Pictures developed a final deal to settle MGM’s lawsuit. New York Times reporter James Sterngold claims that Sony Pictures will pay MGM $10 million to settle their lawsuits. MGM will initially pay $5 million back to Sony for doing the reboot of Casino Royale back in 2006. Thanks to Spyglass and Sony Pictures, MGM’s name will return in the future.

Bibliography:

Sterngold, J. (n.d.). The media business: advertising; sony pictures, in an accord with mgm, drops its plan to produce new james bond movies.. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/30/business/media-business-advertising-sony-pictures-accord-with-mgm-drops-its-plan-produce.html

Finke, N. (November, 2010 24). Update: carl icahn wants 2nd hollywood vip for his lionsgate board + mgm news. Retrieved from http://www.deadline.com/tag/lionsgate-mgm-merger/

Finke & Fleming, N & M. (February 8, 2010, 2011 8). Sony about to recapture james bond #23; update: mgm leverages 007 for deal on sony’s ‘the girl with the dragon tattoo’. Retrieved from http://www.deadline.com/2011/02/sony-about-to-recapture-james-bond-23-mgm-leverages-007-for-co-finance-deal/

Fritz, Brian. (February 8, 2010, 2011 8). Sony finalizing distribution and co-financing deal with mgm, including next two ‘bond’ films. Retrieved from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/02/sony-mgm-distribution-bond.html

Moran, Andrew. (November, 2010 3). Metro-goldwyn-mayer studio files for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Retrieved from http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299789#tab=comments&sc=0

Sorkin R. , Andrew. (November, 2010 3). Mgm files for bankruptcy protection. Retrieved from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/m-g-m-files-for-bankruptcy/

Posted in Film, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3D Movies: Will They Save the Movie Industry?

By: Brooke Davenport

In a world where movie piracy, Netflix, and OnDemand pose an amazing threat, many believe that 3D is the answer to the movie industry’s problems. Although people are not going to the movies anymore, I do not think that 3D is the quick fix that the industry is looking for. The business model needs to be reevaluated and the industry needs to give moviegoers an incentive to actually go out to the movie theaters.

According to Paul Dergarabedian at Hollywood.com, 2010 was the second lowest attended year of the decade (only 2008 was lower) and this past summer was the lowest attended in over a decade. The Top 5 Grossing Movies of 2010 were Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man 2, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Inception. Although the top 2 films were in fact 3D, “the U.S. consumer is becoming increasingly less interested in 3D movies. While the horror and gross-out comedy genres may benefit from 3D (think Saw 3D or Jackass 3D), the vast majority of 3D movies this year have been disappointing at best” (Finke).

3D technology is nothing new to the world. It has actually been around for quite some time now. 3D images have been around for almost 200 years. The technology was invented in the later part of the 1800’s but in 1915, 3D cinema became a reality. Edwin S. Porter put on the first ever 3D screening, using anaglyph (the system where you where the two-color glasses). This was not a full film, but instead a “’proof-of-concept’, with unconnected blocks of footage” (Saint). On September 27, 1922, a film titled The Power of Love shot in red-green anaglyph was shown to an audience at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The film itself was a flop, but it generated a mini-boom in 3D movies over the next several years (Saint).

So why does the movie industry insist on dishing out more and more movies in 3D? After the success of Avatar, Hollywood was hot to jump on the 3D bandwagon. The owners of movie theaters and studio executives smell money. The industry heads charge more for 3D movies and the more of them they show, the more profit they make. That means if they have the resources to do it, you can bank on the fact that they will show it in 3D. But, to me, 3D is a gimmick with problems. There is a time and place for it, but not every movie deserves or needs to be shown using 3D technology. Content is king. Technology merely “serves as the frame to the mural of the movie” (Finke). The subject, characters, plots, and passions of the movie is what makes if appealing to moviegoers. The story is the backbone to any film, despite what technical wizardry you may employ. I feel as if particular movies make use of 3D to mask the fact that you are viewing a horrible film.

3D also poses some physiological effects. Roughly 5% of the population cannot see in 3D at all. Their depth perception cannot be tricked. Even with the 3D glasses on, they still see it as 2 separate channels. The remaining 95% will sometimes experience some negative physical effects. Usually, when an object come towards us, our “eyes turn inwards and out eyes’ lenses change shape to compensate for the alteration in depth to keep the focus. With 3D, because our eyes are being tricked, they only turn inwards, the lenses do not change shape” (Finke). As a result of this phenomenon, prolonged viewing of 3D can cause eyestrain and nausea because the body cannot counteract for the trickery. In addition, RealD, the company that creates the 3D glasses, have issued statements that say that the “3D viewing glasses have not been regulated by the FDA and that there may be possibilities of that happening in the future. Viewing with the eyewear could cause vision fatigue, headaches, motion sickness, or other health risks” (Dignan).

If the film industry’s goal is to get people back into theaters, I believe that they need to make people fall in love with the cinema again. In this case, the way to do it is quality over quantity. I am not suggesting that studios put on mushy love films or serious period dramas; I am merely saying that they need to start producing real, quality films. Films that take the audience to another world, make them think, and allow themselves to become absorbed in the plotlines. However, business is business. Money is the primary objective for most major studios, and that is the issue. They need to take the moviegoer into account.

Works Cited

Dergarabedian, Paul. (2010, December 29). Box Office a Bummer in 2010. http://www.hollywood.com/news/Box_Office_a_Bummer_in_2010/7744901

Dignan, Larry. (2010, April 12). Will 3D Glasses be Regulated by the FDA? http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/smart-takes/will-3d-glasses-be-regulated-by-the-fda/5846/

Finke, Nikki. (2010, December 31). Warner Bros Wins 2010 Film Market Share; Year’s Box Office Grosses Not A Record; Overall Movie Attendance Down Sharply; Should Studios Slash Number of 3D Pics? http://www.deadline.com/2010/12/warner-bros-wins-2010-market-share-years-box-office-grosses-wont-set-record-should-moguls-reduce-number-of-3d-movies/

Saint, Nick. (2010, July 9). From Stereoscopes to Porn to Avatar: The 110-Year History of 3D Movies. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-weird-history-of-3d-2010-7#

Posted in Film, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Internet: A Filmmaker’s Blessing

By: Alan Peterson

Behold, for we have reached the digital age! This is an age where anyone who participates in the wonder of Wi-Fi can make something of themselves. The Internet truly is something that has captivated the entire world. And more recently has become a way for people to communicate and connect with one another. The Internet has truly made the world a lot smaller, and has given a plateau for anyone with a signal to express their creativity. When mentioning ways we as people gain entertainment, you can no longer just say radio, TV, and books. You now also have to mention the World Wide Web. The Internet is now just as important as TV. And being that as it is, it is only right that filmmakers all across the globe take advantage of this golden opportunity to spread the word of their work; especially when it is now easier than ever.

With the existence of the Internet, sharing what you create is very easy. Anybody with a camera and an Internet connection could publish their own movie by just a click of a button. This ultimately opens up a huge venue for filmmakers to make an impression. When just looking at YouTube (just one of the many video uploading sites), and their fact sheet, it states that “people are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.” This clearly means that people are definitely taking advantage of the platform the Internet provides. But YouTube isn’t the only site that provides this. Take the time just to imagine the mass audience a filmmaker could be reaching if they were to upload their own movie, or movie trailer, to YouTube or Vimeo, or countless other video uploading websites. That filmmaker has the potential to reach billions of people all within a matter of weeks, days or even hours. Said best by Christopher H. Wright, writer for the website Film Industry Network, “YouTube and social media tools are great avenues for sharing your low budget productions. Build a fan base for your short films, and create an experience for your viewers. Fan clubs are your audience, and can help you secure distribution if you can prove you have a good following.” The Internet makes it extremely easy for a filmmaker to get connected with their audience, and possibly receive feedback, or tips. The filmmaker can now openly interact with the viewing audience.

Similar to what is happening in the music industry, the very same is happening to the film industry. With these sites that have self publishing abilities, as well as the various products that allow you to create movies on your own personal computer, filmmakers no longer need to get their script approved by a film studio to make, produce, and publish a movie. You could just get a movie editing program, a camera, have a working e-mail, make your movie, and then release it. There is no longer the need for a “middle man”. In essence, filmmakers now have the ability to distribute the same way any big movie studio can. And with the vast use of technology, a single individual can make it just as professional. It is now incredibly inexpensive for someone to purchase movie making kits that can simply be installed on their computer. The idea of a “middle man” in the film industry (being able to help make and release your movie) is dead. And many people in the film industry know this, and definitely are trying to adapt.

For example, influential and revered filmmaker Rene Daalder is trying his hand at using the Internet to better adapt the film industry to the digital age. Daalder, along with interactive designer Folkert Gorter, created a community driven website, entitled SpaceCollective that allows filmmakers, as well as photographers, a chance to post their work relating to the “current state of our species, our planet, and the universe”. Though this is a very niche like site, it still is a prime example as to how filmmakers can produce the films they really envision, interact directly with the viewer, and can really create unfiltered, unregulated art, with whatever message they are trying to convey. Another way the film industry is best trying to adapt is by using the Internet as a tool for marketing and promotion. Big “blockbuster” movies that are to be released by the “big movie studios” are now definitely utilizing the Internet the same way an independent filmmaker would. They are now using something that they call “viral marketing”. Viral marketing is when one (any filmmaker, big, small, or individual) promotes, or advertises, their film through “digital word of mouth”, and/or the Internet (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Funny or Die, Vimeo, E-mail etc.). This is a very powerful form of marketing, and has benefited the film industry tremendously.

Many films, with low budgets, have gained a huge profit from simply building a considerable amount of hype via the Internet (trailers, behind the scenes interviews etc.). Box-Office smash hits such as Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, and District 9, are all prime examples of the success of viral marketing. According to Nick Butler, writer for movieviral.com, Paranormal Activity was only made for a mere $15,000, but grossed nearly $64 million upon its opening nation-wide release in 2007 (which is a $63.9 million profit!). According to Eve Conte, co-publisher and editor of geeksofdoom.com, Cloverfield was made for $25 million, and made a return of $46 million upon its opening release in 2008 (which is a $21 million dollar profit!). It’s really easy to understand when you look at it. I mean why pay a top marketing firm to advertise your movie, when you can have the people do it for you…practically for free (via the Internet)? In a digital age that loves to share, I simply cannot see how any filmmaker (big, small, or independent) wouldn’t take advantage of such a great opportunity that the Internet provides. I think the point of viral marketing is best summed up by, once again, Nick Butler of movieviral.com, in saying, “a lot of studios will be turning to viral marketing, that’s for sure. Between this [Paranormal Activity] and District 9, viral marketing has proven to benefit low budget films (albeit Paranormal Activity benefited a LOT more). It’s cheap and effective – at least until it becomes overused, at which point it will seem like just another advertisement in a magazine. Marketers are just beginning to understand how to adequately use the Internet for advertising.”

There truly is no better time for filmmakers of all the sort and size to make films; and no better time to be creative, for we have been blessed with the Internet. Filmmakers wake up and get to work, because this is no dream.


References

Butler, N. (2009, October 27). Paranormal Activity: Viral Marketing At Its Best. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from MovieViral.com: The Latest Vira lNews for Film and Beyond: http://www.movieviral.com/2009/10/27/paranormal-activity-viral-marketing/

Conte, E. (a.k.a Empress Eve) (2008, January 22). ‘Cloverfield’ Mythos Explored: Monsters + Marketing = Millions. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from Geeks of Doom: http://geeksofdoom.com/2008/01/22/cloverfield-mythos-explored-monsters-marketing-and-millions/

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. “SpaceCollective.” 12 December 2010. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 09 February 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceCollective>.

Wright, Christopher H. “Why Short Films Can Be More Rewarding Than First Time Features.” 11 October 2010. Film Industry Network . 09 February 2011 <http://www.filmindustrynetwork.biz/why-short-films-can-be-more-rewarding-than-first-time-features/5552>.

YouTube LLC. “YouTube Fact Sheet.” 09 February 2011. YouTube. 09 February 2011 <http://www.youtube.com/t/fact_sheet>.

Posted in Internet, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment