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Quick Hits: Streaming vs songwriting; an RIAA critique; a direct-to-fan future

News items and worthy reads from around the web:

Will Streaming Music Kill Songwriting?: In what might be the most lucid recent review and explanation of how music royalties work for songwriters, John Seabrook’s New Yorker column charts the history of that craft’s business side, from the U.S. Copyright Act of 1973 into the streaming age. Provocative title aside, the article explains why songwriters feel they are not getting a fair share of money that moves through online music services. “Once streaming gets into cars in a big way, it’s over,” says one Grammy-nominated songwriter quoted in the piece.

The RIAA’s half-measures in streaming: The RIAA’s move to adopt streaming counts in its designations for gold and platinum albums was seen as a positive step by many, but the change was not without critics. An article in Wired argued that the solution put forth by the RIAA doesn’t go far enough in acknowledging streaming’s place in today’s music consumption: “The RIAA’s ratio…is a clear indication they think streaming is a lesser form of listening—and that’s where the trouble lies.”

Forecasting a direct-to-fan future: An industry panel in London hosted by Cooking Vinyl discussed the recent moves toward direct-to-fan engagement in music. Tools such as Connect in Apple Music offering artists a chance to interact more directly with their listeners, but adoption has been cautious thus far. Several leaders weighed in on the various business and tech angles of this trend and where it might go next.

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Anna Washenko

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