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Apple Music, is it worth it?

Solar

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Apple Music, is it worth it? And by it, I mean $10/month. I guess it depends on the individual, but here’s my pro’s and con’s.

-Do you care if artists are being paid for their work?
If the answer is NO, then use YouTube.
If the answer is YES, then short of buying a physical copy or download for all music you want to listen to, this is the best and cheapest way to do it. Like Netflix and Hulu, this service is a great for a LARGE Variety and New Creations.

-Are you a “audiophile”? Does the compression rate make or break your listening experience?
If the answer is YES, then use a different format.
If the answer is NO, the music quality is perfectly acceptable.

Imo, those are the 2 make or break reasons to not have Apple Music. (besides not being able to afford it)

The ability to download music, and listen to it where there’s no service, can be a life saver on long drives in ‘no service’ areas.

You will listen to things you normally wouldn’t listen to.

Some people get SiriusXM @ $5/month, but I never get offered that deal, that’s why I don’t have it.

They’re really apples and oranges to compare, personally, I prefer choosing my own music set list.
 
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scottm4211

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I prefer google play music because it includes YouTube red which lets me download easily anything from YouTube. I listen radio shows that are on there.
 
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Solar

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I turn on my radio..... It's free.
Lol
So is YouTube.

When it comes to free, you can find sites that will turn YouTube videos into mp3s, then you have them, can burn them on a cd, and have a library of music second to none, all for nothing.

But...

Musicians no longer take 6 months to a year creating awesome music anymore, because it brings zero profit. Everyone’s getting it for free.

Sure, people used cassettes and recorded the radio back in the day, so free music isn’t a new concept, but technology has made the ability to take music and mass replicate it to absurd levels.

Long story short, if we don’t find a way to make creating new music profitable, then you’re never going to get another Led Zeppelin. You’re going to get rip offs, covers, and 3 chord songs written in 15 minuets from now on.

At least Apple Music and Google Play are paying the artists something.
 

Turtle

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A few points...

Artists, creative types, will create, no matter the business model. A very, very, very lucky few will be able to make a living doing their art. And a tiny fraction of those will become stars in their field.

Led Zeppelin was Led Zeppelin long before they made their first recording (well, sure, the were the New Yardbirds for a while). Having 8 successful albums in 11 years enabled them to have the longevity of 12 years. But creativity itself put an end to that.

Except for the very few superstars,recording artists make almost nothing off of their recordings. Beyonce made nearly $2 million a day for a couple of weeks there on streams of Lemonade. But that's because there were a gagillion steams of it. If it had been 2 million streams, she'd have made about $400. I'll get back to that.

In the traditional model of albums (vinyl and CDs), the artist (band, whatever) makes about 13 percent of each sale. The record label gets about 62 percent. Because the record label is who owns the recorded performance. They literally paid the artist to perform while it was being recorded. Another 15 percent or so of each sale goes to the distributors (retail stores and related entities who sell the albums). The remaining gets split between personal management, legal, promotion and producers.

Out of the label's 62 percent, they pay about 8-10 percent each to the writer of the music, as well as the writer of the lyrics (if there are lyrics). So if you write your own music and lyrics and also record it, then you'll make nearly 25% of the sale. Dolly Parton, for example, made bank off Whitney Houston's recording of I will Always Love You, because Dolly wrote the music and the lyrics. Dolly made more off the sales of that that recording than Whitney made. But it put butts in the seats for Whitney's tours. There are far more song writers in the music business than there are recording artists.

Recording artists make their money on live performances, on tour. If they're famous and popular they can get sponsors to help with the costs, but they rent out the venue, pay all expenses, and keep the profits from each live show.

Record labels make money on the sale of records. The artists make their money by using the recordings as self-promotion vehicles to get people to pay to come see them live.

Back to streaming. The label still makes 60-70% of the money from streaming, pennies per stream (of per play on traditional radio). The artist makes along the lines of .0002 cents per stream. If you have a song that gets 40,000 streams, times .0002 nets you about 8 bucks. I'm not kidding.

If these are digital downloads where people buy the MP3 (or whatever) for 99 cents (or whatever), then the artist is gonna get about 12 cents per download. So 40,000 downloads will get you $4800. If you're Beyonce you're getting closer to 19 cents a download and you're getting a buttload more than 40,000 downloads, so you're making real money off these things. Still, it's a fraction of what the label makes off the recording.

But even a gold or platinum selling record, the artist will still make gobs more off those recordings by going on tour than they will in record sales.

It's a little different now where recording artists can produce and record their own music, bypassing a label, and do direct-to-consumer distribution via iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, whatever. In those cases, the artists make 60 or 70 percent of the digital download price (still at .0002 per stream, tho).

For a little while there I made a living playing trumpet. I had a band, a jazz-rock band that was basically a rock band with 5 trumpets, and we cut 3 albums with Epic Records (now Sony Music, who is pure evil, by the way), and I did a really lot of studio work; backup for other artists, movie and TV soundtracks, commercials, lots of stuff. Most of my money was made on tour, tho, mostly with the band being the opening act for more established bands like Chicago, BS&T, Edgar Winter, Earth Wind and Fire, Lighthouse, etc., but I was also in the touring bands for Lou Rawls, John Davidson, Mel Torme, Ray Charles Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. I occasionally get a royalty check from ASCAP or BMI and/or RIAA, but it's a lot smaller than you'd think, thanks to Sony Music (who is pure evil, by the way) and to US Representative Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono who spearheaded a copyright extension act that, while it rightfully extended the copyrights for decades, also had a side effect that made it impossible for recording artists to ever reclaim ownership of their own recorded performances from record labels (it used to be that you could reclaim ownership of your recorded music after 22 years, but now it's 75 years). Sonny Bono was an owner or part owner of several record labels. Funny how that worked out.

I once got a royalty check for $2300 when a couple danced to one of my band's recording on Star Search. I got that because I wrote the music. The mechanical fee (the play fee) was $8 and change, which was split between the 9 members of the band. Woot. The label's mechanical fee was probably about 8 grand, maybe a little more (depends on the ratings of that particular Star Search episode).

So I'm a bit jaded and snarky when it comes to paying for music, because I know how it all works. Most of that narrative comes from the RIAA (the labels) and the bigger selling artists (who actually DO make money off streaming, because they have bazilions of streams). I get most of my music from bittorrent.
 
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Solar

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When I say there will be no more Led Zepplins, I don’t mean talented musicians and artists wouldn’t exist, capable of making such high level music. I mean, as you said, record labels make money on the sale of records.

Metallica’s Black album cost $1 million to create. That was the 90s. Who’s going to invest $1 million for a band to create an album today, knowing it will immediately be passed around for free.

And it’s not the $, it’s the Time for the musicians to create. What band, especially new band, can take 6 months to create music? 3 months? 2 months? 1 month?

Face it, songs are thrown together on the road, they get together in a studio, maybe a week, rarely 2 weeks, then back out doing something that makes money. Only people able to afford a home studio, working on material in their spare time, could take 6 months working on a album.

So, at the end, it does seem pointless in what little they make from Apple Music, it’s a step above Napster. And if you love the band, buy it on iTunes.
 

Solar

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That said, I do appreciate your story, that is all quite interesting. I remember the fall out between Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney when Jackson bought his music. Still, that’s “rich man” games.

Maybe I’m wrong on how I see it, but it “appears” that a band could get signed to a major label, record a record, and if they got a hit, they would make a little money off it, but mostly could tour the rest of their life off that song. Sure, the record company made the biggest %, but they made the $ investment.

I was listening to a interview with KIX the other day. They finally got a hit on their 3rd major label record, “Don’t Close Your Eyes”. I don’t think anyone made any money off the record, since they were so far down from the other 2. But, to think today even, KIX can tour, doing those Monsters of Rock Cruises.

All in all, the only person making money on the records is record labels. I get it. But it was also only a record label that would take a band living in a van every night, and invest $50k-$100k in them to make a record, and work the system, push the radio, get them airplay, advertising, promotion, etc.

So don’t get me wrong, I can see why you would be jaded. I’m really appreciate your story. Really interesting. I just think record labels have bands the opportunity to tour for life if they could produce 1 hit song, and a lifetime of work isn’t a bad deal. Look at KIX, they got 3 shots at it. That’s unheard of today. In fact, record deals are unheard of today. People are only investing in sure things now, that’s why the top artist haven’t changed in 20 years.
 

Turtle

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That's it exactly - the record companies make records and sell them, and the recording artists make records to promote themselves and their music. The artists, except for the mega stars, make very little off the recordings. They even have to pay the record label back for the sturio time.

A basic but mostly adequate recording studio will run you between $50 and $300 an hour. Most studios are in the $500 an hour range. And a high end premium studio will be in the $1000 to $1500 an hour range.

Depending on the type of music, the genre, orchestrations and size of the band or artists, and how much producing (or over producing) is involved, while it varies wildly, on the average it's about 100 hours to record a song. With my band, we usually recorded the rhythm section as a group on one track, the horns as a group on another track, and then the solos individually as separate tracks. It was riskier that way, because when recording multiple musicians at once, if one made even the slightest flub, the entire recording was spoiled, and you had to start over, giving a different person the chance to make a flub (although Jazz is a lot more forgiving with that). We averaged about 50 hours per track, but we did have one that was over 400 hours.

We didn't get a lof of radio airplay, because we didn't fit neatly into a format. Too Jazz for rock radio, too rock for Jazz stations. But we sold a decent number of records, that got us gigs in jazz clubs, theaters, and a few colleges. Being an opening act on tour for a headliner was actually much better promotion than the recordings, mainly because of that whole not fitting into a format thing. It got us a lot of jobs. The first headliner we toured with was Chicago (and we toured with them on 3 separate tours), which at the time was very unusual since they were with one label (Columbia, now owned by Sony Music, who is evil, by the way) and we were on Epic Records (also now owned by Sony Music, who, if I haven't mentioned it, is evil, by the way).

In 2001, I think it as, the Dixie Chicks sued Sony Music and took them down a peg or three, When the writing was on the wall that Sony was going to lose huge, they settled big time. The exact details of the settlement were never made public, but it forever changed the way labels pay the artists and do their accounting. No more creative accounting. Studio time and promotion costs are kept completely separate from royalties. Once the artist reimburses the label for their costs, all of the royalties go to the artist.

Digital music has changed things forever. It hasn't rendered the label moot, but it has lessened their impact and control. Musicians can now put out individual songs, and it's why the EP format is so common compared to the LP (or full CD) format. The bigger names can still work on a full album, which as a concept is a collection of art put together specifically to take you on a journey, instead of just a bunch of individual songs slapped together.

YouTube has also changed things, because the artists can self-promote directly to the listener.

On a side note, many people would be surprised at how similar expediting is to being on tour.
 
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Turtle

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One thing I would add that is relevant is, I also have Amazon Prime, which comes with a snotload of free music (and video).
 
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Solar

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I had Amazon Prime for a year and maybe used it twice.

I have to admit, with Netflix and Hulu for shows and movies, Crunchyroll for animations, YouTube for current events, and Apple Music and Podcasts for the long drives, for a guy living in a van, I have more entertainment than most homes, and all for less than $40/month.
 
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RoadTime

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I had Amazon Prime for a year and maybe used it twice.

I have to admit, with Netflix and Hulu for shows and movies, Crunchyroll for animations, YouTube for current events, and Apple Music and Podcasts for the long drives, for a guy living in a van, I have more entertainment than most homes, and all for less than $40/month.
Very true lol. My rolling home is far superior (entertainment and cost wise) then my physical home ever could be :D
 
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Solar

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I had Amazon Prime for a year and maybe used it twice.

I have to admit, with Netflix and Hulu for shows and movies, Crunchyroll for animations, YouTube for current events, and Apple Music and Podcasts for the long drives, for a guy living in a van, I have more entertainment than most homes, and all for less than $40/month.
Very true lol. My rolling home is far superior (entertainment and cost wise) then my physical home ever could be :D
Ikr
My phone is $55/month unlimited everything. I bought a Gaemes entertainment setup with a screen (no audio), so I set it on my dash, use a Apple Lightning wire to mirror my phone on the screen, converting to HDMI, and Bluetooth the audio into my stereo system.

All this costs me less than $100/month. I paid more than that just for cable at home.
 
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Solar

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I’ve never had Spotify. I’ve seen people use it, they, Spotify and Apple Music, seems very similar.
 
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