We've been around for almost 20 years, and I've had my fill of letting older people, especially older men, tell me what punk rock is and tell me what punk rock is not.
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Tuesday October 25, 2022
"Unholy" pairing: Kim Petras and Sam Smith at the iHeart Radio Music Festival, Las Vegas, Sept 23, 2022.
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
quote of the day
We've been around for almost 20 years, and I've had my fill of letting older people, especially older men, tell me what punk rock is and tell me what punk rock is not.
- Hayley Williams, Paramore
One Dollar Bill, Y’All

It hasn’t gone unnoticed over the years that while the prices of video streaming services tend to inch up with some regularity, music subscription prices—at least in the US—never do. A standard NETFLIX subscription has nearly doubled since 2014. Neither SPOTIFY nor APPLE MUSIC had raised the price of a standard subscription even a penny since the day they launched—until Monday, when Apple, as part of a company-wide price hike, pushed the basic price of its music service from $9.99/month to $10.99. That’s a 10 percent jump in the middle of a rough, inflationary economy if you want to be alarmist about it. Or, at the risk of sounding a little cavalier, you could say it’s a dollar a month; who’s really going to care?

Either way, it's about time. Musicians and songwriters, whose compensation from streaming services is based on a fraction of a fraction of those monthly fees, have been wondering for a long time if some service might consider offering them a fraction of a fraction of a higher fee, even if only slightly higher. The answer repeatedly has been no. Consumers won't go for it, the services said. Too many will cancel their plans, leaving artists with a higher percentage of a smaller pie, not to mention a smaller audience. Spotify has shown a willingness to raise the price of family plans and other bundles, and it’s experimented with higher prices for its basic individual plans in a few markets, but it’s resisted pushing that particular button in its biggest markets, including the US. In most of Spotify’s world, the 9.99 price point, whether expressed in dollars, pounds or euros, has been sacrosanct.

On Monday, Apple said higher licensing costs finally forced its hand, “and in turn, artists and songwriters will earn more for the streaming of their music.” “And in turn” is an odd phrasing. Even as they get what they’re asking for, artists are being told the company isn’t necessarily doing it on their behalf. (Also, since the company’s music licensing costs are directly tethered to those subscription prices, it’s literally raising those licensing costs through its own actions.) But a raise is a raise and 10 percent is 10 percent. Attention no doubt will now turn to Apple Music’s bigger rival, Spotify, which will report it Q3 earnings today.

Has the 10 dollar wall finally fallen? Has the idea of a single, unchangeable price for music—an idea that was invented in 2008, the year Spotify launched—gone out the window? Will music fans fly out the same window, or will they find that $10.99, and maybe eventually $11.99 or $12.99, isn’t so unreasonable a price after all for (seemingly) all the music in the world? Especially when, in turn, some of that money will wind up in the pockets of their favorite artists?

Etc Etc Etc

They might also work on cutting their own excessive ticketing fees. Just sayin’... SAM SMITH and KIM PETRAS are, respectively, the first nonbinary artist and first openly trans artist to top the BILLBOARD pop chart, with the ascension to #1 of their “UNHOLY” collaboration. Smith had hit the top 10 six times previously, while Petras had never appeared anywhere in the Hot 100 before “Unholy.” “I just really don’t want to be the last,” Petras told Billboard when the song reached #2 last week. “I hope I can help break the cycle”... LUMINATE says TAYLOR SWIFT's MIDNIGHTS is the first album to move 1 million units in a week since Taylor Swift's REPUTATION in 2017... RICK RUBIN’s desert island discs... Jamaica’s radio ban explained.

Rest in Peace

Sisters JOANNA and LUCY SIMON, who died a day apart, both from cancer. Joanna was a mezzo-soprano who was acclaimed as both an opera and concert singer, and Lucy was a singer/songwriter and Broadway composer. Both also collaborated with their pop star sister Carly: Carly and Lucy got their start as a 1960s folk duo called the Simon Sisters; Joanna sang on Carly’s blockbuster 1972 album, “No Secrets”... ROBERT GORDY, a singer/songwriter who ran Motown’s publishing division, Jobete Music. He was label founder Berry Gordy’s brother... Popular Kachin singers AURAI and GALAU YAW LWI, who were among at least 50 people killed Sunday night when the Myanmar military bombed a music festival celebrating the rebel group the Kachin Independence Organisation. Keyboard player KO KING was also killed... Jazz singer JANET THURLOW, who performed with Lionel Hampton and with her husband, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland... LENNY LIPTON, who wrote the lyrics to “Puff the Magic Dragon” and used the song’s royalties to support a career developing 3-D film technology... Actor LESLIE JORDAN, who duetted with Brandi Carlile, Dolly Parton and others on a 2021 gospel album, “Company’s Comin’”... Actor/singer ZURI CRAIG, an “America’s Got Talent” finalist in 2015 as half of the CraigLewis Band.

- Matty Karas (@troubledoll), curator
expensive s***
The Exploitation of New York Drill Hits a Disturbing New Low
By Alphonse Pierre
The murder of 14-year-old drill rapper Notti Osama was recently twisted into a grisly YouTube hit and TikTok dance.
Blink-182 Tickets Are So Expensive Because Ticketmaster Is a Disastrous Monopoly and Now Everyone Pays Ticket Broker Prices
By Jason Koebler
Or: Why you are not ever getting an inexpensive ticket to a popular concert ever again.
Popular Information
How Ticketmaster gets away with it
By Judd Legum
The face value of these tickets has gone up considerably. But an even bigger problem is fees, which can be as high as 75% of the ticket price.
The New York Times
Bono Is Still Trying to Figure Out U2 and Himself
By David Marchese
“That alchemy, there’s something I would love to understand about it that I don’t,” says the singer, author of a new memoir “Surrender.”
The New Yorker
In Taylor Swift’s “Midnights,” the Easter Eggs Aren’t the Point
By Lauren Michele Jackson
Fans treat her every song as a decoder ring, but it’s Swift’s vocal technique that gives her new album its power.
The Atlantic
Black Country Is Not a Fad. It’s a Legacy
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“The root of country music is blues, and it’s Black as hell.”
Why this instrument explains Black American folk music
By Estelle Caswell and Halley Brown
Jake Blount, a banjo scholar, explains.
Music Business Worldwide
Apple Music just raised its subscription price to $10.99 in the US. Will Spotify be next?
By Murray Stassen
In the US, starting from Monday (October 24), an individual Apple Music subscription will go up by $1 per month.
Armani Caesar Is Proving Herself as the First Lady of Griselda
By Mackenzie Cummings-Grady
Armani Caesar is embracing her role as Griselda’s First Lady with her hotly-anticipated ‘Liz 2.’
‘Khendreek!’ — Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Big Steppers’ Tour Mesmerizes Paris: Concert Review
By Jem Aswad
The Parisian crowd is chanting but it's not immediately clear to American ears what they're saying. It gets louder as the object of their adulation stands on the stage and calmly soaks it in. Then it snaps into focus: "Khendreek! Khendreek! Khendreek!"
love don't cost a thing
The Guardian
‘There is no safety net’: music festivals in UK raise ticket prices as costs soar
By Safi Bugel
Organisers grapple with increasing financial challenges amid ongoing effects of Brexit and the pandemic.
UK Live Music Business Looks to New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Cut Taxes Affecting Concert Tickets
By Richard Smirke
Amid double-digit inflation, live music execs want VAT to be reduced to pandemic-level 5% from current 20% to boost advance sales.
The Marginalian
Nick Cave on Creativity as an Instrument of Self-Forgiveness and the Necessity of Hope in a Fragile World
By Maria Popova
In praise of “the necessary and urgent need to love life and one another, despite the casual cruelty of the world.”
No Bells
Cracking codes with Girl Talk
By Vivian Medithi
Producer Girl Talk talks about cheat code samples, digital life and his album with Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA, Full Court Press.
Love is the Message
"We The Undersigned...": The New York City Record Pool pt.1
By Tim Lawrence and Jeremy Gilbert
In this episode Jeremy and Tim begin the first of a two-parter on the New York City Record Pool - a cooperative venture that saw DJs in the city come together to distribute the records they received from the labels equally and with a spirit of egalitarianism.
Music Business Worldwide
Why aren’t music royalties paid by the second?
By Stef Van Vugt
The next generation of consumers does not consume audio in the same way that previous generations did. That’s why the music industry needs to wake up – and reshape the digital remuneration system for visual and audio creators as a whole.
Caryn Rose's jukeboxgraduate
"no commitment" will end up meaning exactly that.
By Caryn Rose
"it's background."
The New Yorker
A Unified Field Theory of Bob Dylan
By David Remnick
He’s in his eighties. How does he keep it fresh?
The Guardian
Barbra Streisand: ‘It’s the funniest thing to me that people still can’t get my name right’
By Jim Farber
In a rare interview discussing her music, the star details the highs and lows her early career, the difficult transition into pop and how she rose above jabs at her appearance.
No Depression
RETRO READ: Leslie Jordan Revisits Hymns of His Childhood
By Chuck Armstrong
Leslie Jordan has an unmistakable voice, though it might be more recognizable when put to use in his acting career than in his singing. Now, at the age of 65, he's harnessing the gift of his voice in a new way.
Is ‘Tár’ Rooting For or Against Cate Blanchett’s Superstar Predator Conductor?
By Owen Gleiberman
There are a lot of enticing questions that haunt "Tár," Todd Field's rapturously fascinating, dread-fueled, immersive drama about a symphony orchestra conductor who is living an above-the-clouds existence of art and fame and sensuality...until she isn't.
Texas Monthly
Faith, Love, and Scandal: The Wild Origin Story of a North Texas Heavy Metal Band
By Rachel Browne
With its fourth album and a big upcoming tour, Tulip, which is led by an ex-evangelical opera singer, is on the verge of its big break.
what we're into
Music of the day
“Meth & Mary”
Armani Caesar
From "The Liz 2," out now on Griselda.
Video of the day
“Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes”
Peter Schnall/PBS
Streaming at PBS.org.
Music | Media
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