Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Sway of Artist’s Rights

The Sway of Artist’s Rights

November 30, 2015

Caroline Strickland

The atmosphere within the music industry is arguably as convoluted as ever. The industry is infamous for “ripping off” an artist by using their work as content, while paying little to no royalties out. This story is as old as the dawn of the 18th century when player piano companies were not paying royalties to artists when they programmed an artist’s piano piece into the piano. At the time, Congress declared that only music that could be read by the human eye (read: sheet music) would be protected by copyright. That decision was later appealed in favor of requiring a copyright for each mechanically reproduced song.

One could say that the wheel turns, but nothing ever changes. However, such is not the case here. Today’s playing field is vastly different in that the technologies used are infinitely more advanced and an artist’s work is infinitely more widely spread. As soon as any song is uploaded to a single website, it has the capacity to permeate thousands of websites, webpages, streaming services, etc. by the next day. Thus, royalties today are not nearly as simple as a player piano company copying down a song into their machine. It is a matter of defining who is responsible for an artist’s royalties, what portion of royalties is distributed to the artist themselves versus the others involved, and how ethical current practices are in the face of plummeting album sales for most artists in the industry.


Artists like Adele, who are highly influential in the music industry, have the ability to pull their albums from various streaming services with stock-moving influence. (Photo Credit:

Some people have speculated whether or not the few major artists’ decisions to pull or keep their albums from streaming services is a trend. However, it is important to note that there is a big difference between the power held by the “big guys” and the “little guys” in the industry. The highly influential artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé have enough clout to hold back albums and actually make so much of a difference that they can directly influence stock prices. They stand to lose enough that pulling an album is a viable option. For instance, the year Taylor Swift pulled her album 1989 from Spotify, she was on track to make $6 million from the streaming service. Contrast that to the fact that Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer” streamed 6.5 million times within the course of a year, and only brought in $110 in royalties for the artist and his two co-writers. However, the industry has very few of these artists. The rest of the crowd is made up of less influential bands everywhere in notoriety from Maroon 5 to St. Lucia. These bands don’t have the power to pull their albums from streaming service, so the “trend” created by the big artists are little more than individual choices. The following video is from ABC News and helps one to fully grasp the numbers involved with these artist’s choices.



Although the country star has “shaken off” spotify, the real trend here is still barreling toward streaming services. . . Unsurprisingly, artist’s rights are still being mauled in the process. The hope of streaming services “[making] music cheap — or free — for consumers while assuring that the artists who created the songs would be fairly compensated,” as quoted from Rolling Stones, is just not coming into fruition.

My forecast at this point in time is that, in the near future, artists will feel enough pressure from streaming service’s drain on their profits. They will migrate to a new breed of content-sharing: direct-to-peer platforms. In this way, they will share their content directly to fans without the third party that is SoundCloud and iTunes. Most often, changes in the industry has come when artist’s rights have been infringed upon so substantially that millions of dollars are being lost because copyrights aren’t being applied to their work in some capacity. Largely, that has been due to new technologies.


Mentioned Sources:

The Wall Street Journal; Adele Says Hello to Pandora

The Motley Fool; Adele’s “25” Isn’t on Spotify or Apple Music–Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter

CBS News; Songwriters: Spotify Doesn’t Pay Off. . . Unless You’re a Taylor Swift

Billboard; Official: Adele Breaks *NSYNC’s Single-Week Record U.S. Album Sales Record

Rolling Stones; The 10 Biggest Holdouts in Digital Music

YouTube, ABC News; Taylor Swift Shakes Off Spotify

Disruption in Education Conclusion

Education in the beginning of the 21st century has changed drastically. Being actively engaged in the system during this time has allowed us as college students to see its immediate impacts first hand. 

Starting with the traditional education model, we outlined what it was like to sit in a classroom before technology disrupted it. It generally looked like a teacher standing in front of a room full of students with notebooks taking down everything the teachers said. A test was then administered and a student was accessed on their knowledge regurgitation and retention. 

Fast forward to 2010 and beyond – the way a student attends school is drastically different. The concept behind the way information is conveyed is very different. At least at the collegiate level, the idea is to teach problem solving, team work, and analytical skills to the students to allow them to find knowledge. This takes the teacher out of the driver seat and allows students to be more active in what they learn and how they learn it.

There are a handful of new disruptors that are making changes in education by the day! Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and hybrid-online classes are extending the access of education to anyone who has a desire to learn, not just who has the means to pay. The quality of information at the fingertips of the many is going to change the way people become educated and are employed in the workforce. College degrees may not hold as much wait against an untraditionally educated person as they do now. Virtual reality is expanding the reach of the classroom. It is bringing a fourth dimension to schools, allowing teachers to take students to foreign places to expand the breadth of experience from the comfort of a school desk. And of course, all of this is possible because of the largest disruptor of them all – technology. New devices and ways to be connected on the internet of things is opening endless possibilities for students and everyone in the academic arena. 

Wanting to see how this affecting others in academics, not just how the group researching this saw it, we spoke to faculty and students around the university to see their take on disruption and how it is affecting them and their fields. 

The Music Industry: The State of the Union

The Music Industry: The State of the Union

November 30, 2015

Sean Reagan, Megan Gordon, Ryan Stetz, & Caroline Strickland



The music industry itself can be likened to a very intricate song. As with any industry, it has various moving parts. If a song melds the sounds of percussion, brass, woodwinds, and strings, then the music industry strives to find the balance between artists, producers, consumers, and content-sharing platforms, whether those be streaming services such as YouTube and SoundCloud or a physical device, such as the iPod. As with any song, a single point in time may find  one section overwhelming the others, thus momentarily taking control of the song’s ambiance. Likewise, there is an ebb and flow of power between the industry’s different players. It crescendos in the form of major policy changes and content-sharing disruption. It becomes adagio when the industry settles into a new technology for a while, such as the introduction of radio and vinyl, which dominated the markets without significant challenge for many years. In this, the Music Industry Team’s Final Podcast, we illuminate the song that we feel the industry is playing at present. Most importantly, we forecast how the song is likely to develop.

This podcast is largely focused on Adele’s new album, 25, and her decisions to allow or disallow her music to be played via streaming services. From this conversation, we stem into more general topics that diagnose the music industry at present. We speak about the rights of the artist, the surprisingly positive affects piracy has on competition within the industry, and we make our final remarks (for now) concerning how the industry will proceed and which major players will be driving the change. Will it be the consumer, the record label, the artist, or some new center of influence that will emerge through technology-based disruption? Do you suspect a crescendo will be coming soon? We encourage you to listen and share any thoughts you may have concerning the analysis.

As always, the Music Industry Team hopes you enjoy the thought provoking points that stem from this discussion, and we thank you for your thoughts.


Sources Mentioned:

Fortune; 3 Questions for Musicians After Adele’s No-Streaming Strategy

PBS; Chronology: Technology and the Music Industry

Business Insider; The REAL Death of the Music Industry

The Wall Street Journal; Adele Says Hello to Pandora

The Motley Fool; Adele’s “25” Isn’t on Spotify or Apple Music–Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter

Billboard; Official: Adele Breaks *NSYNC’s Single-Week Record U.S. Album Sales Record

The Detroit News; Adele’s Record “25” Sells 3.38 Million Copies, Breaks Record

Rolling Stones; The 10 Biggest Holdouts in Digital Music

Rolling Stones; Mid-Year Music Updates: Streaming Is King as Downloads Fade Away

Digital Music News; Apple Says Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube Are “Building Their Services Off the Backs of Artists”

AUX TV; Music Industry Executives Say Artist Aren’t Treated Fairly

CBS News; Songwriters: Spotify Doesn’t Pay Off. . . Unless You’re a Taylor Swift

University of Washington, Foster School of Business; The Upside of Digital Piracy: Greater Investment in Quality



Tablets: The new way we learn?

Tablets have had an impact on a good junk of businesses in various fields, for better or worse! In the following article we look at the impact tablets have on the education sector. The articles go over what the advantages are of having tablets in the classrooms and how they do not only benefit the students but also the teachers. So which tablet is the best option? Apple? There is a school in Switzerland that even bought its teachers and students iPads. In my high school we had iPads and for some students they helped but others it proved to be a distraction. Are tablets the future of learning in the classroom? If yes, than how do you prevent the iPad from becoming a distraction? The iPad could revolutionize how we learn and help kids who have disabilities.


The Disruptive Forces that Changed the Culture of Retail

It is no doubt that the culture of retail has changed. When you look at the outline of my findings, you can see that disruption has really changed the way we interact with the retail industry. Even the physical store was changed to reflect a more innovated design. The use of mobile technology has impacted not only communication by eCommerce. You can buy anything from your phone, via the internet or even a mobile application.

Thinking about the future, I was left puzzled. The trends went from solely a brick and mortar store, with tangible items to a robust online platform that uses technology to drive sales. Although, it looks as though the future is going to be a balancing act between the two. Stores will leverage an online platform as well as a store of sorts to continue to drive sales.

I personally feel as though we will become a seamless, technologically driven shopper, who uses the resources in our hands to purchase an item through a more convenient platform. I do not, however, feel as though the tangible store is gone for good. I instead feel that the way the store looks will change. It will be more technologically advanced on the inside, just like how their online platforms work.

Below is the summation video of my findings. Check it out and think about it for yourself. What do you think the future holds?


The Fight Against Piracy

According to Universal Music’s Olivier Robert-Murphy, brands can help fight music piracy. He explains how now brands see musicians as more than performers and people that are creative and whom they can form broader partnerships with.

Some examples of these were with Intel and Lady Gaga with Polaroid. Intel hired as Creative Director. He helped Intel develop new technologies, music and in technology advocacy. The main goal was to improve the optimal sound experience the way that the artists intended it to be heard by their customers when playing through headphones or speakers. Lady Gaga was named Creative Director for a special line of Polaroid Imaging products. Polaroid was interested in her due to her fashion forward aesthetic and close connection to her fans. They worked on merging the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film along with the digital era.

will                                                  lady


Robert-Murphy said that now brands form partnerships with these musicians and they are able to give customers the same experience as free, but even better. The more people that like this option the more people that they can recruit to subscribe as well. This will help customers realize it is more than just the content of the song and it is more about the whole experience, including the technology and brands and branding are helping musicians and helping spread awareness. with Intel:

Lady Gaga with Polaroid:

How we Stream

No matter the medium, a cable box, a satellite dish, or now a computer with an HDMI cord. How and what we stream has been changing and evolving, but so has the televisions we use to do all our streaming on. Growing up I remember tube TV’s, these box boxes that if they came with a VCR were the coolest thing ever!


As we progress through the years it then became all about Flat Screen TV’s and 1080p. Flat screens became all the rage and everyone was desperate for the upgrade.


Then something funny happened. The latest innovation in television became the 3D TV.


This was the point went the market decided, “No we don’t want that, this is not the future please try again.” The 3D TV fad never did catch on maybe it was because it required glasses? Shortly after the 3D TV demise we saw the rise of the Smart TV.


In recent years the market has proven it wants smart TV’s and so how does the market continue to disrupt? Flexible glass of course!


Pretty soon you will have a smart TV that can be completely transparent and flexible to the point where you can roll it up.


Televisions, like mobile phones and computers, are constantly changing and evolving. In the last 15 years we have bared witness to the transformation of televisions from being a box in our homes to something that weighs 1/5th of the weight that we mount to our walls and has internet capability. This proves how much power, we the market, have in terms of dictating what disruptive products survive or die. With the example of the 3D television, the market didn’t want it and therefore it is no longer here today but we the market do want flexible screens and so that can stay for the next iteration of televisions.  Using the evolution of the television as an example one could then propose the question.

Do we the market control the pace of disruption or is disruption an independent variable unconstrained by mass adoption and acceptance?



A SWOT Analysis of the Music Industry

(My first post can be found here.)

While some parts of the Music Industry are caught in a downward spiral, streaming services along with the new Direct to Fan platform have done well in adapting to the disruptive technologies in our society today.  So where does the Music Industry stand as a whole? In order to answer this question we must do what all businesses do when they need to see where they stand, and that is we conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats,) Analysis for the Music Industry.



Streaming music sales in the US beat CDs for the first time

Adele Is Said to Reject Streaming for ‘25’

Apple to end Beats Music on November 30

That’s Business, Man: Why Jay Z’s Tidal Is a Complete Disaster

Recording Studios Face Uncertain Future