May 10

Dance Music History – First electronic sounds, via Disco, House, Dance to current developments

For my PhD thesis, I have analysed Dance music history briefly, from the beginning of electronically produced sounds, via the early genres of Dance music (Disco, House, Techno, EBM), the boom in the 1990 and current developments. This article gives an overview of this genre history. Feel free to have a read!

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Feb 27

Definition of Music Genres – Purposes, Difficulties and Confusion

If you listen to Dance music, you are not just listening to Dance music, but you often need to refine, which genres (Dance, House, Techno, Trance, Breaks, Hardcore…) and subgenres (e.g. within Trance: Uplifting Trance, Progressive Trance, Vocal Trance, Psy-Trance, Hardtrance, …) you prefer to be able to orientate in the ocean of available music and scenes.

The appearance of new music genres is an ongoing, never-stopping process. New sub-, sub-sub-genres and fusion of (sub-)genres occur again and again, which can cause confusion. But why do new genres constantly come up? I have done some research in this topic, during my PhD studies, which I examine in this blog post. Click “read more” to see the full article:

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Feb 21

(German only) Loveparade Dokumentation: “An einem Tag… Todesfalle”

Kürzlich war das Thema der Loveparade Katastrophe wieder in den Medien aufgrund der Abwahl des Duisburger Oberbürgermeisters Adolf Sauerland.

Im Juli 2011 hatte das ZDF eine Dokumentation ausgestrahlt, die die Tragödie, meiner Meinung nach, sehr gut aufarbeitet. Damals starben 21 Menschen in der Massenpanik, über 500 wurden verletzt. Insgesamt wurden von der Staatsanwaltschaft Duisburg gegen 16 Personen Ermittlungen eingeleitet.

Die komplette Dokumentation ist in der ZDF Mediathek unter folgendem Link zu sehen:

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1383920/An-einem-Tag-..-Todesfalle-Loveparade

Alternativ wurde die Doku auch bei Youtube hochgeladen. In der erweiterten Ansicht sind ebenfalls die Videos eingebettet:

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Jan 27

Music Documentary: Tiesto in the Booth

I apologise that my last post here is some weeks ago. I am in the final time of my PhD, which requires a lot of time. But here we go for the next post. It is again the presentation of a music documentary, after the last one was about David Guetta.

Tiesto uploaded a documentary of his DJ life on Youtube, which is divided in several parts. It gives a nice insight into his activities and personality. Check it out!

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Dec 14

Music documentary: David Guetta – Nothing but the Beat

Over the last years, David Guetta definitely put himself in the spotlight of the electronic music scene, in particular the House music scene. Number 1 hits, successful albums, worldwide headliner bookings, awards. This year, that resulted in the top ranking in the DJ Mag list for the most popular worldwide DJ.

I don’t want to lose too many words on David Guetta, because most people will know him. What I just found on Youtube, is the 1 hour-documentary about him, House music in general and artists around him. It gives some good insights into his career and House music. The epynomous documentary to his recent successful album “Nothing but the Beat” is definitely worth watching it (and definitely better than the “One” documentary about Swedish House Mafia) 🙂 !

Here we go:

Edit (19.12.2011): Additionally, I would like to recommend an interview of the German magazine SPEX with David Guetta (it’s in English language), as it provides more interesting insights into David Guetta’s career: http://www.spex.de/2011/11/28/vorspiel-david-guetta-interview/

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Dec 06

Readjusting Artist Development

Recently, I’ve found a great article in the MIDEMblog on artist development with the title:
Emily Gonneau: It’s time artists took centre stage of the music business again

This article actually addresses the topic of my PhD thesis on organic artist development. The term ‘organic’ derives from Keith Negus (1992) “Producing Pop” and explains the artist-led, authentic approach to develop artists. Typically, ‘organic’ artists develop on a natural basis: artist projects are initiated by musicians; the repertoire evolves from the ideas of the participating musicians; managers or record labels believe in the artist’s ideas, repertoire and identity, and help to enhance the artist’s career in the long-term, but only hardly influence the creative tasks and outcome of the artist.

I agree with Gonneau’s statement that the music industries need to readjust their approach to artist development to a more organic one, because that’s what they have nearly lost in the last years/decades…

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Nov 21

Rumble in the Streaming-Jungle

So many announcements about streaming services have hit the music industries news in the recent days. It all kind of started with the news that more than 200 independent labels removed their catalogue from Spotify due to the low royalties paid by Spotify. This heated up the discussions about fair payments for audio streaming and whether streaming services cannibalise record sales. Some demonise streaming services, some deny the negative effect on record sales. Two interesting articles on this topic are this one and that one.

In this whole context, there were two other interesting announcements regarding streaming services today:

Apart from that, Apple, Amazon and Google push their cloud-based music services which compete on the digital music market as well.
The next days and week will certainly have more news around digital music, whether it is streaming or cloud-based services.

There is definitely some “rumble in the streaming-jungle” at the moment!

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Nov 09

The CD is dead? Long live the CD!

Approximately two weeks ago, some blogs announced the death of the CD in 2012, with some rumours that major record labels will stop producing and distributing CDs in 2012. Such a big announcement for a medium which still is responsible for the largest income stream of the recording industry. In that moment, when I read this article about the CD death, I was quite sure that these are only some rumours to arouse the discussion of CD vs Digital.

German music business magazine Musikwoche.de published an article now on their website with the information that a recent study forecasted that CDs have a longer life than expected generally. It still is responsible for 2/3 of income from record sales.

From my point of view, the CD will be with us for many more years. Obviously, it won’t grow anymore because the main consumption method is based on digital files or streaming, but the CD offers values, which digital files don’t provide. CDs function as collection and identification project for fans. Therefore, special deluxe versions, which offer an added value to the digital copy, will attract fans in the future as well.

The interest for physical records was also showed by some consumers, who I interviewed for my PhD thesis. Only a few have completely switched their consumption to digital files only. But the others were much into purchasing CDs of their favourite artists or brands (such as compilations). For them, this is a matter of collection, fandom, identification, and the feeling “I support the artist with this more than with digital purchases”.

For digital consumption, a new study was published with some interesting forecast information for digital downloads and subscription services. Despite of growing in this area, digital income streams won’t compensate the decreasing CD sales, according to this study. So, there is the need to monetise new channels and areas, where music is used, especially in the digital world (e.g. Youtube). But WITH the CD as great opportunity to offer added value to the fans, which digital files do not provide!

And I personally will keep on buying albums.

Long live the CD!

Update (01.12.2011): German Music Business magazine Musikwoche.de has just done a survey about the CD and its future. 45 % think, it will remain a major device and income stream for the recording industries over the next years. 28 % also agree, but expect digital income become more important than CD sales soon. The rest expect the CD to be past soon.

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Oct 06

The importance of the personal network in the current music industries

It is a known issue in each business, as well in the music industries: If you have a good personal network, you achieve more than without.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. A known expression for this phenomen.
The era of the current Internet with Social Networks enables the direct contact and simple research of people and their contact details, which suppose to make this rule of the personal network less relevant, but I think this is a false conclusion. These new contact opportunities are without any doubt very good to initiate the first contact.
BUT: due to the fact that a large (and growing) amount of  people are using this  opportunity, the added value of enlarging the contact list through the Internet only is limited. In this situation, most people prefer to fall back on their closer contacts, who they know personally, and not virtually only.

A more specific example are A&R Managers at record labels. In my research, I have spoken to a couple of A&R Managers. One discussion topic were their decision making regarding new releases. They were mourning the high (and rising) amount of demos, which they receive. For the larger and successful labels, the number of demos has reached an amount, which can’t be handled in the daily business. The digitalisation in the production environment has caused that many more new artists/talents compete in the market and try to get their music signed and distributed.
As solution, the A&Rs reported to concentrate their scouting and collaborations mainly on the personal network. This underscores the rule “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This behaviour is reasonable in matter of efficiency (how to handle so many demos without neglecting the normal daily business?) and trustful collaborations (rather collaborate with people you know than with new, maybe unreliable people).

For this reason, it is very important to build a personal network with non-virtual contact. Social Networks, Email and Chat might be useful for a first initial contact, but it should take further steps. And apart from that, it is much better to meet people in person than communicating only on a written basis. If the person is meetable due to the distance, a telephone call might help.

This article contains a few thoughts and ideas about this topic. I could write much more about it, but I think I got the core message.

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