Friday, May 13, 2016

Distribution as a Service #DaaS Altavoz is Flexxin

The ability to go online select a distribution solution (digital | physical | global) has been something I've worked on since 1994 when I bought Altavoz Distribution from Mary Liles in Raliegh, NC packed it up in a Uhaul and moved it to Rockville, MD as well putting it on the information superhighway, thanks to Doug Humphries inventing modern day hosting, at   Moreover,  when Jessamyn Sarmiento and I  restated Altavoz in 2011 one of the first domains we registered was and it's been our intent all along since DaaS and platforms like it is the next generation of (which is for sale to raise money for HelpEarth)
Let's be clear,  there is NO team that has been working on Brick to Clicks Distribution longer than the team at Altavoz's 22 years and going. 
So! it's with great pleasure that Altavoz announced this week that another distributor, Musgrove Distribution has chosen as  it's physical distributor using Manufacturing On Demand Music new capabilities as well.  AVOZ is recruiting a new senior level manager to oversee this so let any experienced distro people know,  With the channel for other distributors and groups to use the DaaS platform now open AVOZ expects to be announcing many more of these deals.

To boot:  The DaaS platform is enabling other service offerings that being announced this week and next that shows the Future of Entertainment Today is here at Altavoz Entertainment, Inc (OTCPK:AVOZ)

And, in the words of Lua Proc, we #Flexxin
A video posted by Nelson Jacobsen (@sonofnels) on

BTW not using the #AmazonEcho  yet, your way behind the curve. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

First quarter results are in and like this weeks' sales --digital's only 42%

I've been so busy with bringing an to life, that I've not really been able to look too deep into the sales of music as reported via the National Sales report from Nielsen Soundscan. I figured it was a good time to test my gut (that physical was kicking digial ass, dispite all the hoba-abo -blo about streaming), address the  growing grumble about the value of Record Store Day, issues about Independents getting on Pressing Plants to even become competitive with the majors, and how the USA is still floundering with it's cultural and economic policies, and make a prediction for what this means to the overall marketplace and our culture as we export it.

For a lack of better analogy, the USA is Entertaining our Economy to Death.

Let's  start with my growing bewilderment of the Obama Administration inability to move forward any kind of exporting of US Made Music.  The USA each year under this Administration has exported less.  Sure, The independent community was excited when Obama first entered office and everyone was onboard with Rep, Jerry Nadler when he introduce the M.U.S.I.C. Act, which I've blogged about many times however I'm givin the highlights below.

(c) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term ‘‘United 18 States independent music label company’’ means a cor- 19 poration, partnership, or other association created under 20 the laws of the United States or of any State (including 21 the District of Columbia or any commonwealth, territory, 22 or possession of the United States) 

(1) signs musical recording artists to contracts 24 to assist in the recording, promotion, and sale of the        25 recorded music;  for the immediately preceding fiscal year 2 has— (A) total revenues of less      than $50,000,000; and (B) total recorded music sales of less than one percent of the total    recorded music sales in  the United States; and is not majority owned by a corporation,  partnership, or other association that has total revenues of more than $50,000,000. 

(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2013 14 through 2017 to carry out this section.

Here we are at the door step of this program ending in 2017 and a look athe Seasonally Adjusted U.S. Eports of Good by End Use Cataegory -- shows that the USA is still importing more music than it exports.
That is just crazy (arent the most of the largest recording artists in the world are from the US) since so many often sing about how proud they're of being an American. Aren't we as a nation proud enough to export it? 

This bring me back to part of the issues.  The Majors understand too well if the Indies start to get into this larger pool of fans that are still buying physical ( a majority 58.1 percent is physical) and start to export US Made Music,  the Majors goolden goose is cooked.

However since I've watched this MusicAct pretty much come and go with the situation only getting worse;  I'm not sure what can be done short of the revolution along the lines of  what  is happening in politics. Yet, The US music business is owned by Multi-National-Corporations that don't want "Made In the USA" exported (for any number of reasons with $ being online 1 of them) and surely don't want to have it known that Congress has sat on it's hands every year since the enactment of this measure and done NOTHING.

On a peronally note, I"ve asked my Representive Eleanor Homes Norton in person and on social media more than once, if she'd setup to support DC Made Music by inquiring into how #DCMusic makers can access Music Act funding; And, never gotten a response.   I also know the Music Act wasn't  brought up this year for Grammys on the Hill and that' because the Majors Suck and Congress don't care about local music or don't known that it's important?
 It can't be understanding of it's Economic Impact or Congress would do more to support this Export item (334612) that happens to be our Culture and often the Cornerstone or cultural diplomacy  
Now on to the Occuping of Vinyl plants since Vice  was covered it people are thinking something may be afoot.  And, after last weeks Record Store Day, I'm sure more grumbling will commence.   However I've been on about this for some time infact about a year ago I posted on Reddit about the "Occupying of Vinyl Plants" and got labeled a tinfoil hat fools and this issue of them just clogging up the plants (Capacity Restraint). Now they're rubbish that is being pressed is keeping the fans from getting releases from the Indie bands they truly are going to record stores day-in-and-out to discover and reward recording artists by Buying This and helping a local music release find an audience.

As the whole notion of having a Record Store Day --some where along the line has become this day where top artists release pet projects in very limited, for them, batches and essencially clogging up the whole ecosystem and keeping defacto local music deminutive to the majors.  IMHO It's got to stop and we need to get back to vialable stragegy for Clicks and Bricks Distribution issues.  And,  whomever is the next President can deal with the mess that Obama made of the US Recording business.

Predictions if we don't done anything it's going to get worse, if we just start to take notice of how other countries activally promote their export of this peice of culture and make a half ass attempt at it our econony can only improve.   Infact if we could get this going and the Majors back to exporting their US based artists as US Made Music the US Economy would be humming a different tune.

However until we close the loop hole created by President Clinton and reinstitute the Check Box Rule on Custom forms, asking if the item is IP, who's and pay them and the USA a tax on it', The USA will keep Entertining our Economy to Death and our Culture too as this has allowed one of the few indusries making jobs to become haliburtonized and it's hurting our standing abroad. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

The rise of #MusicCities and how Philly is failing Musicnomics

A new bill from Philly City Councilman Mark Squilla would require owners of nightclubs, cabarets, bars and restaurants in the city to collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of entertainers — bands, rappers and DJs — in a registry, and to share that personal information with police upon request. Billy Penn

The idea that music is on the economic bus, is new for many City Planners and Gov' officials (Austin, Seattle we know you've been on it for a while) and now there is even a very detail report from the data-suits called Mastering of the Music City and here are few of the highlights. 

  • In Melbourne, live music alone generates over 116,000 jobs and more than AU$1 billion in spending at small venues, concerts, and festivals.
  • The Rock al Parque music festival in Bogotá attracted 400,000 attendees to the city in 2014, making it one of the largest music festivals in South America. Since its inauguration in 1995, it has attracted more than 3.8 million attendees.
  • Music tourism in Austin accounts for almost half of their US$1.6 billion economic output and contributes US$38 million in tax revenue to the city.
  • In Berlin, the intermingling of music and technology businesses in the city has demonstrated the way that a successful music economy can attract and retain talent in other industries.
  • And in South Africa, organizations like the SAMRO Foundation have sought to use music to bring people together under a unified cultural banner.
Click here for the 106 Page report in PDF. 

To show the grown of this and the re-emergence of music as the more than a passenger on the bus, in some it's recognized as the driver of it. Take Mayor Brown's  State of London address to the London Chamber of Commerce, The Mayor stated:  “We set a goal to become a Music City and this began to take shape in a big way this year,” said Brown. “To lead the way, the City of London developed a Music Strategy that will make London a Music City and a music attraction.”

Even the Feds have been getting in on it via the Our Town grants program, which I strongly encouge any #MusicCities ambassadors to take a look gander. 

OUR TOWN: Introduction

The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Creative placemaking is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work - placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. This funding supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for existing residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place.
- See more at:

So it seems, that despite the best efforts of the overtechnated to STEM-roll our towns into factories of apps & widget makers -- Music Cities --are something that just is a part of each of these towns. And, that why each of our USA Music Cities needs to start to adopt and work on the Best Music Cities practices.

Well! then there's Philly. According to the sponsor of the bill  “Giving performers’ information to police when requested enables them to review past performances to see if there were any public safety issues during their events,' Councilman Mark Squilla told Billy Penn via email."  There is clearly work to do and that is the reason why I started the CityMusicDeal (TM) and let it be know the  is coming to help with the stakeholders the overall Musicnomics of Local Music. 

PS While all music sales were down for week ending 1/28, it interesting to note that digital fell another point behind physical.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Music is not leading in sales because it and the Majors suck

The blogs and socials have been blowing up over the recent to most news that new music is not selling as well as old music. However, as I pointed out here, news about what is happening in the Music biz doesn't always circulate in the Main Stream Media so information like this often seems like a suprise.

Moreover; there is a very simple reason why it's happening -- the music made before the auto hits ruled the airwave, it was better.  Now why it's better is from a number of reasons some of which are too much technology and others include the use of factory line processes to churn out hits.  In a factory how much diversity is there?  Not much, right.

The human ear, mind, and HEART needs music that is about something and or finds a place that wasn't being occupied by sound at the time and the right song, meleody or whatever it is that makes music, music...

It's a jagged little edge or a black hole sun that stirs our imagination, not the same micro-seconds reprocessed over-and-over again. We want to pour through the liner notes, look at the art and see where that music fits into our world and when it does there's just something magical about it and when you try to make it a process instead of a discovery the magic cannot find a place to bond to the music.

For those that have been part of a creative process the alchemy of events, peoples, weather and timing all come together, or not, and the hows and why's aren't really documentable.  It's just that feeling and it makes it's way into the recording process. Maybe it's love and that spark goes from the minds to words to each song; And, carries into the engineering, mastering and manufacturing and the gestalt of a recording is just much bigger then the limited creative soul that multinationals are kinda know to have since they've always got their mind on the money.

Too bad giving them money it's on the minds of today's record buyers?

Now what does this all mean? Is there more afoot and what is the bigger question?  Let go back to last years midyear report from Nelison and it was 1st starting to show the decline of the hits and the power of being in a catalog, which is something that the majors wanted to keep from the indies.   Back in 2013 I was starting to really focus in on the lack of cooperation and hoped the news about catalog sales would be a final blow to the notion of Doing it Yourself "DYI" and that being part of a distribution catalog was everything.  Of course, the music biz is just one of those things they don't teach you in music biz school or on the Intertubes.  One usually finds out by being in it, luck helps, and after years of not being a catalog or having already been in one the value of it start to become self evident.

Our company, Altavoz, has been preparing for this day, when the back catalog was again worth something,  think the best kind of passive income, and having a Back-catalog Distribution Deal now is the play!

Coming up in the next few weeks Altavoz will make another announcement or two that will further reshape how music, particularly pre-1972, masters and recordings are brought back to the public domain.

PS Physcial is leading in sales over digital with 53.1% of the total market.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Software and Other Prerecorded Compact Disc, Tape, and Record Reproducing in DMV

Bringing this down to a local level and get into some Muiscnomics here is the DC, MD and VA which is arguably one of the largest economic blocks which operates under the guise of a Metropolitan area ``which can include across State borders alliances and is primarily where the economic growth is coming from  and come to find out we don't really have any organized effort to export entertainment out of the DMV.

So I've taken the time to search for how the District, Maryland and Virginia fared in exporting its local music by compiling theIndustry Snapshot Software and Other Prerecorded Compact Disc, Tape, and Record Reproducing (NAICS 334614)  for each of them via the website. Each of the outcomes is linked on their initials DC, MD VA.

Until now there has been no recorded record industry output from the District of Columbia. There is a developing effort which I've been part of called  DCMadeMusic which is soley about exporting DCmusic out of the District. Currently, Mayor Bowser and her administration are making strides in  music and signaled this renewed focus by bringing music into the purview of the TV & Film office ~music and changed the name  Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. Then let a campaign and industry veteran Angie Gates.On a personal note I've made it no secret that the workforce in DC is ideally suited to be the holders of 100s if not thousands of jobs in the growing economic arena. 

While Maryland is showing some industry data, as the CEO of one the companies reported as an exporter of 334614 goods in MD there was not much help from our local or State economic development offices and basically under the former Gov, we were under assault as a business in MD. I've noticed that the new Governor Hogan has been active in the arts via his wife's time and efforts including working with Jane Chu at the NEA on supporting the Maryland Arts Council. It's still up in the air as to what if anything the Governor will do and I've seen no effort to support Maryland Made Music so your guess is as good as mine. 


I've  talked then candidate Terry Mculliff, now Governor, prior to his election about a vision and any plans to be part of the growing trend of techtainment with music in particular, being a priority.  And, while he was enthusiastic for it there's just no one focused from the top of the state as far as I'm aware.  On the local level an effort by Tim Anderson Associate Professor & Chair Communication & Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University. to stabilize and grow the Norfolk music scene while capturing the historic gifts that have come to music from Norfolk, VA. I'll have a blog about this later in 2016. 

Why not jump in the game with the Brits and sell ourselves some entertainment, jobs and culture diplomacy by the release from the hearts and voice of it's citizens. 

In a Medium post about Entertaining our Economy to Death Im sorry to say I can highlight the point by the September trade data with the US showing a whopping (((((-1,112.3 for September)))) which is when 25 hit our shores in route to the stores for holiday shoppers to snap up at record-breaking pace

Adele's 25 has now sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.

Think about this...The number one record in the USA is coming into the USA reflected in the trade data totals; And, little ole UK is kicking our asses!

Ending on a positive note

This local level thread is something that we saw explode with the birth of a MusicCitiesConvention and the expansion of our City Music Deal (TM) into Cleveland via the lead by Quincy Taylor.  Moreover, I hope to see in 2016 various levels of government across the DMV and the country for that matter (Who doesn't support US Made Music?) coming up with more #musiccities coordinators, czars and economic development plans that include music such as Mayor Megan Barry in Nashville with her continuation of the Nashville Music City Council. Theses are all great steps and who knows what could happen if we got the Music Act going.

PS Digital was only 42 percent of total sales for last year.