American girls love British boys: One Direction won artist of the year at the American Music Awards, taking home three honors and was the night’s big winner next to Katy Perry, who didn’t attend the show.

One Direction also won favorite band, duo or group – pop/rock and favorite album – pop/rock for “Midnight Memories” at the fan-voted show on Sunday night.

“This has been a real perfect day … America feels like a second home to us,” Liam Payne said onstage with his band mates when they won the night’s first award. The group released its new album, “Four,” last week.

Perry won three honors as well, including single of the year for No. 1 hit “Dark Horse,” favorite female artist – pop/rock and favorite artist – adult contemporary.

Though she was absent – she’s on tour in Australia – the 2014 AMAs was still jam-packed with star power at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. Breakthrough newcomer Iggy Azalea, who was the top nominee with six, won favorite album – rap/hip-hop for “The New Classic” and favorite artist – rap/hip-hop, taking down rap heavyweights Eminem and Drake.

“This award is the first award I’ve ever won in my entire life, and it means so much to me that it is for best hip-hop because that’s what inspired me to move to America and pursue my dreams, and it’s what helped me when I was a teenager to escape and to get through my life and to better times,” the 24-year-old Australian rapper said, as her mentor T.I. stood beside her.

“And it means so much that I can stand here against Eminem and Drake and come out with this,” she continued.

Azalea performed her massive hit, “Fancy,” which was nominated for single of the year, as well as her new song, “Beg for It.”

Taylor Swift kicked off the AMAs as a mad woman and man eater by feeding a boy a poisonous apple, holding burning roses and giving crazy eyes during a performance of her song about her dating life.

She was aggressive, grabbing her male dancers by their blazers and singing in character on bended knee when performing her new No. 1 hit, “Blank Space.” She even removed part of her dress to reveal a shimmery, leg-revealing gold number.

She later received the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, presented by Diana Ross.

“To the fans who went out and bought over a million copies of my last three albums, what you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you’re saying you believe in the same thing I believe in – that music is valuable and that music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated,” said Swift, who recently removed her music from streaming service Spotify.

Ariana Grande took the stage to sing lounge-y, piano-versions of her upbeat hits “Problem” and “Break Free.” She followed that with a duet of her latest hit, “Love Me Harder,” with The Weeknd, as Grande’s older brother jumped up in joy, MAGIC! leader Nasir Atweh sang along and Heidi Klum bopped her head.

She returned again to sing “Bang Bang” with Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, who kicked off the song in the crowd. She was rubbing against Khloe Kardashian, singing closely in front of her boyfriend, R&B singer Luke James, and dancing next to Swift and Sam Smith.

Smith, who also performed, won favorite male artist – pop/rock.

“Genuinely from my heart I didn’t think I was going to be winning this. This is unreal,” the British singer said, who beat Pharrell and John Legend. “But mainly, thank you to my fan base. You guys are amazing, and last year I wrote an album about being lonely and tonight, I couldn’t feel further from lonely, so thank you so much.”

Mary J. Blige performed “Therapy,” a new song she wrote with Smith and host Pitbull performed with R&B singer Ne-Yo. Fergie gave a hip-hop flavored performance of her comeback single, “L.A. Love (La La),” while Selena Gomez slowed it down for the emotional “Heart Wants What It Wants.”

Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer won new artist of the year, and they also performed a cover of The Romantics’ “What I Like About You.”

Beyonce, who didn’t attend, won favorite female artist – soul/R&B and favorite album – soul/R&B for her self-titled effort.

Luke Bryan took home favorite male artist – country.

“I wanna thank God above for letting me tour night in and night out on the road. I want to thank the fans for making it possible to stand up here and win the awards,” he said, also thanking “my band, my crew, bus driver, momma and them, you know.”

Carrie Underwood was named favorite female artist – country and the soundtrack for “Frozen,” the year’s top-selling album, won top soundtrack.

By Mesfin Fekadu | Associated Press

Go here for a ful list of the winners and photographs:

* * * * *


Record companies’ total investment in A&R and marketing tops US$4.3 billion annually and more than US$20 billion over five years, according to IFPI’s Investing in Music report

Labels’ investment in A&R and marketing up from 26 to 27 per cent of industry revenues over the last two years

Report unveiled at ‘Friends of Music’ evening for MEPs in Strasbourg hosted by IFPI chairman Plácido Domingo

Record companies remain the engine room of the global music industry, investing US$4.3 billion annually in artists and repertoire (A&R) and marketing, according to a new report from IFPI on the changing face of the music business.

Labels remain the primary investors in artists, investing 27 per cent of their revenue in A&R and marketing, up from 26 per cent in 2011. Over the last five years it is estimated that record companies worldwide have invested more than US$20 billion in A&R and marketing.
More than 7,500 artists were signed to major labels’ rosters in 2013, with tens of thousands more on independent labels. One in five artists on labels’ rosters is a new signing, highlighting the role of fresh talent as the lifeblood of the industry.

Record companies invest a greater proportion of their global revenues in A&R than most other sectors do in research and development (R&D). Comparisons show music industry investment in A&R (16%) exceeding the R&D investment of industries including software and computing (9.9%) and the pharmaceutical and biology sector (14.4%) .

Investing in Music is published today by IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, in association with WIN, representing independent labels internationally. It is being launched at a ‘Friends of Music’ event for MEPs in Strasbourg hosted by IFPI and its chairman Plácido Domingo.

With fresh data and several case studies, the report outlines the evolving and enduring partnership between labels and artists in the digital world.

Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI, says: “Investing in Music highlights the multi-billion dollar investment in artists made every year by major and independent record labels. It is estimated that the investment in A&R and marketing over the last five years has totalled more than US$20 billion. That is an impressive measure of the qualities that define the music industry, and which give it its unique value.”

Alison Wenham, chair of WIN, says: “Most artists who want to make a career from their music still seek a recording deal. They want to be introduced to the best producers, sound engineers and session musicians in the business. They need financial support and professional help to develop marketing and promotional campaigns.”

The report features data from record companies and case studies from around the world, including studies on Ed Sheeran, 5 Seconds of Summer, Lorde, MKTO, Negramaro, Nico & Vinz, Pharrell Williams and Wei Li-An.
Other highlights of the report include:

The costs of breaking an artist in a major market remain substantial at between US$500,000 and US$2 million. The cost typically breaks down as payment of an advance (US$50,000-350,000), recording costs (US$150,000-500,000), video production costs (US$50,000-300,000), tour support (US$50,000-US$150,000) and marketing and promotional costs (US$200,000-700,000).

Record companies invest in local talent and break them to a global audience. The recording industry is global in scale and exports artists internationally; but it heavily invests in local repertoire. In 12 of its leading markets, local repertoire accounts for more than 70 per cent of the sales of the top 10 albums.

Live performance has not replaced recordings as the driver of the music industry. While record companies invest US$2.5 billion in A&R, there is little evidence of such substantial investment in new music coming from any other source. All of the five top grossing live tours of 2013 were by artists who first released albums nine or more years previously, with one group having recordings going back 50 years. Few artists can achieve a scalable, sustainable music career without producing recorded music.

Unsigned artists want a record deal. Research conducted with the Unsigned Guide in the UK found 70 per cent of unsigned acts wanted a recording contract. The top drivers for wanting a recording contract are marketing and promotional support (76%), tour support (58%) and getting upfront financial support in the form of an advance (45%).

Brand partnerships and synch deals have grown in importance. A recording deal unlocks a range of different revenue streams for artists and labels. These include a new generation of brand partnership and synchronisation deals, involving the use of recordings in TV, film, games and adverts.

Global A&R and Marketing Investment: 2013

A&R                                                             US$2.5bn
A&R as % of revenues                                    15.6%
Marketing                                                  US$1.8bn
Marketing as % of revenues                        11.4%
Total investment (A&R + marketing)   US$4.3bn
Total investment as % of revenues              27.0%
Total industry revenues                         US$16.1bn

Source: IFPI. A&R spend includes advances, recording and origination, video costs, tour support and staff overheads. Marketing spend includes TV advertising, co-op marketing and online marketing/promotion.

Investing in local repertoire
Country    % of local acts in the national top 10 albums of 2013

Japan        100%
Netherlands    80%
Italy        90%
Denmark    78%
Sweden    90%
France        75%
US        90%
UK        71%
Brazil        90%
Germany    70%
Spain        86%
Norway    56%

Source: IFPI National groups/local chart companies. Excludes multi-artist compilations. Japan: Physical sales only

For further information contact:
Adrian Strain or Alex Jacob, IFPI London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7939 / 7940

To order a hard copy of the report please contact laura.childs-young@ifpi.org


* * * * *


Daniel Ek, the C.E.O. of Spotify, is a rock star of the tech world, but he is not long on charisma. At thirty-one, he is pale, boyish, cerebral, and calm. Jantelagen, the Scandinavian code of humility and restraint, is strong in him. He doesn’t greet you with a firm handshake from behind an imposing desk; he doesn’t have a desk. He sprawls on a couch with his laptop, like a teenager doing homework. Or he wanders the company’s offices, which form an oval around the open core of a big building on Birger Jarlsgatan, in central Stockholm. The design encourages “random encounters,” which Ek once read was Steve Jobs’s plan in laying out Pixar’s offices.

Ek’s phlegmatic manner makes his unshakable, almost spiritual belief in Spotify burn all the more brightly. His vision, that Spotify is a force for good in the world of music, is almost Swedenborgian: salvation in the form of a fully licensed streaming-music service where you can find every record ever made. Spotify doesn’t sell music; it sells access to it. Instead of buying songs and albums, you pay a monthly subscription fee ($9.99), or get served an ad every few songs if you’re on the free tier. You can listen to anything on the service—the Beatles (as with iTunes, the surviving members are not rushing in) and Taylor Swift (who left the service in a flurry of publicity in early November) notwithstanding—and there is an astonishing amount of music. When Spotify launched in October, 2008, in Sweden and a handful of other European countries, Ek’s dream seemed like the longest of long shots. Now Spotify is the Netflix of music sites. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, says, “Daniel just saw the opportunities of streaming music before anyone else.”

Spotify appeared nine years after Napster, the pioneering file-sharing service, which unleashed piracy on the record business and began the cataclysm that caused worldwide revenues to decline from a peak of twenty-seven billion dollars, in 1999, to fifteen billion, in 2013. The iTunes store, the industry’s attempt, in partnership with Apple, to build a digital record shop, opened in 2003 to sell downloads, but that didn’t alter the downward trajectory; indeed, by unbundling tracks from the album, so that buyers could cherry-pick their favorite songs, Apple arguably hastened the decline. Legal actions against individuals—thousands of people in the U.S. were sued for downloading music illegally—only alienated potential customers. As bad as the bloodbath was in the U.S., the situation was even worse in Sweden. Pelle Lidell, an executive with Universal Music Publishing in Stockholm, told me that by 2008 “we were an inch away from being buried, and Spotify single-handedly turned that around.”

Ek was one of the pirate band. Before starting the company, he had briefly been the C.E.O. of uTorrent, which made money in part by monetizing pirated music and movies on BitTorrent, a major file-sharing protocol. Later, the Napster co-founder Sean Parker, for years Public Enemy No. 1 to record-company executives, joined forces with Ek. Who would have imagined, as one label head put it recently, that “your enemy could become your friend”?

Spotify is now in fifty-eight countries. (Canada, its latest market, got the service at the end of September.) It has raised more than half a billion dollars from investors, including Goldman Sachs, to fund its expansion, and there are rumors of an I.P.O. in its future, to raise more. Spotify’s user base exceeds fifty million globally, with twelve and a half million paying subscribers. At the current rate of growth, that number could reach forty million subscribers by the end of the decade. To date, it has paid out more than two billion dollars to the record labels, publishers, distributors, and artists who own the rights to the songs. “I’m very bullish on it,” Tom Corson, the president of RCA Records, said. “The all-you-can-eat access model is starting to make sense to people. And we expect that free is going to roll into subscription and that is going to be a really huge part of our business.”

The question of whether Spotify is good for artists is considerably more vexed. The service has been dogged by accusations that it doesn’t value musicians highly enough. In 2013, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke memorably called Spotify “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse,” a remark that “saddened” Ek. In July, Taylor Swift wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial, “In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work.” For Swift, streaming is not much different from piracy. “Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently,” she wrote.

In early November, when Swift’s new album, “1989,” was released, her label, Big Machine Records, not only declined to make the album available on Spotify but also removed her entire catalogue from the service. Is this a gesture of artistic solidarity, or, as one insider put it, “a stunt to wring the last drop of blood out of what is a dying model”—i.e., album sales? Swift’s impressive first-week sales of “1989,” which were just under 1.3 million albums, making her the year’s top seller, are still well short of the all-time first-week high, 2.4 million, set by ’N Sync, in 2000. And the sixty-nine-per-cent drop-off in “1989” ’s second-week sales suggests that Swift’s seventy-one million Facebook fans didn’t rush out and buy the album when they couldn’t get it on Spotify. They just streamed whatever was available on YouTube, which pays artists even less than Spotify does, or on other sites. Or they set sail for the Pirate Bay, where the alb

In Spotify, music consumption is “frictionless”—a favorite word of Ek’s. In tech terms, we’ve gone from a world of scarcity to one of abundance. Nothing is for sale, because everything is available. The kind of calculations you make on iTunes, such as “I like this song, but not enough to buy it,” don’t matter. It is a music nerd’s dream, which may be why the user population on Spotify tends to lie outside the mainstream. On Spotify, the Pixies’ top songs have about four times as many streams as Neil Diamond’s biggest hits.

The difference between Spotify and Internet radio services, like Pandora, is that Spotify is interactive. You can sample the complete catalogue of most artists’ recordings. (Spotify also has a non-interactive radio component.) Spotify now has some twenty million songs on the service, and twenty thousand new ones are added every day. If you are a “lean forward” listener—that is, the kind of motivated fan who takes the time to discover the music you want—Spotify is a celestial jukebox. But, for Spotify to continue its rapid growth, it must bring in the “lean backers” Pandora caters to. Spotify tries to do this with playlists. It has staff-curated playlists, and users can also make their own—there are more than a billion on the site. The playlist is the album of the streaming world. Spotify is working on getting its service into car stereos, and is negotiating agreements with automobile companies; one such agreement was announced this week. The power of playlists will only grow.

Read the whole article here:


By John Seabrook, who has been a contributor to The New Yorker since 1989 and became a staff writer in 1993.

* * * * *

Leave a Reply

Close Search Window