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Neo-Napsters and the Devaluation of Music

SOUND MATTER

Neo-Napsters and the Devaluation of Music  by Steven Halpern

Column: Sound Matters

For most of the people I’ve been speaking with since Apple’s big announcement on June 30th, about Apple Music, their new streaming music service, nothing major happened.

Just about every musician I’ve spoken to has a very different reaction, from their perspective as a music producer and content creator. It reminds me of the cultural shift and devaluation of music that occurred when Napster first came on the scene, in 1999.

Because the implications are so enormous, I wanted to share two of the most insightful and thoughtful analyses from a music journalist and a musician.

Although I’ve never met them, I felt an instant camaraderie when I read their blogs.

I think you’ll find what they have to say very thought-provoking if you’re someone who loves music, no matter what genre.

LP Albums, CDs, Downloads, Streaming:  Evolution or De-evolution?

I was introduced to the work of Anil Prasad by my associate Diana Ziegler. At first, I was a bit shocked by his intensity, though as I read further, I understood that indie New Age musicians like me are affected in the same way as most major label artists.

Anil Prasad is the founder and editor of Innerviews: Music Without Borders, the world’s first online music magazine, launched in 1994. 

He compares the current situation with corporate music streaming services to the tobacco industry.

In his article “A Fair Music Streaming Model is Possible: Why Artists and Indie Labels Must Emancipate Themselves from Big Music,” Prasad writes, “Spotify, Apple Music, Google/YouTube, Rhapsody, and the rest of the streaming services have officially taken control of the music industry. Your [Musicians’] art is nothing but software in the cloud for them. It’s content as a service.”

He goes on to offer a well-thought out alternative. I encourage you to read the entire article for yourself: medium.com/@Innerviews/a-fair-music-streaming-model-is-possible-453d4a9b34c2.

I know a lot of musicians read my newsletters, and if you’re a music lover, this concerns you as well. Anil goes into greater depth in his keynote presentation on YouTube, “The Economic Reality of Streaming for Musicians”: youtube.com/watch?v=B0n3kLQwz0c.
Synchronistically, as I am typing this paragraph, I look up to where I have a recent monthly check from Google Play music streaming service taped to the wall.

When it arrived in the mail, I thought it was a misprint. Then I looked more closely. My eyes did not deceive me. It’s for a grand total of…wait for this…$0.28! That’s less than the cost of the stamp that brought it to me!

Jeff Miers is another writer I was not aware of until recently. I was doubly delighted to learn that his column was first published in the city I came of age in as a musician, Buffalo, New York. In the July 22 issue of The Buffalo News, Jeff’s article, “Streaming may well be the death of music,” he rightly calls out another author who encourages his readers to scam the system to get music for free all summer long. Read his article here: buffalo.com/2015/07/22/news/music/streaming-may-well-be-the-death-of-music/.

The points these authors make are going to become more and more important to bringing consciousness to people in the coming years. Many individuals might think they are simply ripping off Apple, who makes billions, and won’t miss the royalties. In reality, it’s destroying the livelihoods of the musicians who create the music you enjoy.

New Sound Healing Conferences and DVD Series

Speaking of bringing more consciousness into the world of sound and music, two upcoming conferences offer intensive information, training, and live concerts:

The 5th International Globe Sound Healing Conference, organized by David Gibson, is returning to the beautiful Kaiser Center Tower by Lake Merritt in Downtown Oakland, CA. I was a presenter last year, and I can tell you that it’s the premier event of its kind on the West Coast, possibly in the entire country.  The conference runs from Sept 11-13 with keynotes, workshops, and concerts. The exhibit area alone is worth the trip, with a huge Crystal Tones Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowl Temple. Find out more at: GlobeSoundHealingConference.com.

In November, the Cymatics International Conference will highlight the latest research and developments in the world of cymatic therapy. Held in Atlanta Nov. 5-10, 2015, this will be an important gathering for practitioners, and anyone wanting to learn about this aspect of sound healing. Find out more at: cymaticsconference.com. This field was pioneered by Dr. Hans Jenny and Dr. Peter Guy Manners. If you’ve never seen the video of sand, liquids, and powders self-organizing in the presence of specific frequencies, do yourself a favor and search Cymatic Soundscapes on YouTube.

Sonic Healing: Meet the Masters video course is now available on DVD. The producers, Dudley and Dean Evenson interviewed many of the leading experts in the field. You’ll find much to agree with, and likely, some to disagree with. If you want to find out more about the continually expanding world of sound healing for your personal and professional use, this will make a fine addition to your library. Learn more, and purchase here: stevenhalpern.com/prod/sonichealingdvdset.html.

Until next time, stay tuned.
Steven Halpern

Steven Halpern is a Grammy® award nominated recording artist and pioneering sound healer. His latest albums are Among Friends: 1975-2015, and Mindful Piano.