On Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” record-breaking chart success and the propensity of people to discredit the song as not being of good quality:
I am reading social media posts by old people (30yo plus) who assume that consumers care about music quality.
Guess what? They don’t.
We have entire genres of music born out of shitty quality (i.e. mumble rap) and entire genres going extinct as a result of apathy to music quality (i.e. soul).
The youth of today have their own standards for consumption. What matters to youth today is the social aspect of music — that is, how music creates a gateway to a sense of community. This has been going on for some time now, but the rise of social music apps and the growth of the first generation born with cell phones in their hands has exacerbated things.
Music quality need not be measurably “good” against songs we’ve historically deemed good and worthy of chart-topping recognition. For consumption in a streaming and social music era, music needs only to strike a chord with audiences that have the time and incentive to play it on repeat.
Charts, after all, are measurements of popularity and not quality. The latter is too subjective to measure anyway.
I think it is quite disingenuous and frankly misleading to slap on the term “rights” to every music tech platform that collects some minimum amount of metadata regarding musical works.
Music rights administration (including publishing and neighboring rights) is not a frivolous add-on to be used as a way to beef up one’s otherwise undifferentiated service offerings in an effort to attract customers in an ever more saturated music monetization and catalog management marketplace.
Music rights administration requires a comprehensive understanding of music publishing, copyright administration, licensing and multi-territorial relationships with CMOs, intermediaries, and administrators that goes well beyond delivering releases to DSPs or creating playlists to pitch to music supervisors. Understanding the nuances between royalty accounting and royalty forensics (not just parsing income statements), and having a grasp on the complicated music licensing and rights management ecosystem — not just direct deals — are bare minimum requirements for being a “rights” company.
Music rights administration requires knowledge, experience, and skill set that only comes from spending years doing nothing but this kind of work (it doesn’t hurt to have a masters degree specifically in music industry administration either); handling complicated issues around works registrations, disputes, and conflicts; combing over raw CWR and certain types of DDEX files; being in the room with the powers that be at CMOs and adjacent entities; and understanding how works are licensed and how income participants are accounted to in different territories under potentially overlapping representation mandates framed by international treaties (Berne, Rome, etc.) and bilateral agreements and supported by local copyright laws and termination terms.
In a word, slapping “rights” into the company tagline/description of a music tech platform that was founded to do anything but rights administration and for whom the founders have little to zero background and experience specifically in music rights administration is the new adding “decentralized” to data company descriptions.
Music industry people, be careful regarding the services that you sign up for. Your copyrights are the most important assets that you have. Putting the management, representation, or administration of these assets, for any period of time, in the wrong hands can and will lead to a world of trouble for you now and potentially for years to come.
Music industry colleagues, don’t let non music rights people abuse the term “music rights”. It isn’t a trendy phrase to add to your tagline to be current with everything that’s going on in the industry (e.g. MMA, MLC, CRB rulings, Article 13, etc.)
Statement By Dae Bogan On The Cancellation Of His ‘Music Industry Entrepreneurship’ UCLA Summer Class
Dear UCLA and non-UC Students who enrolled in my Summer 2019 Music Industry Entrepreneurship class:
Regrettably, my class, which was scheduled to begin this Thursday through UCLA Summer Sessions and UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, has been cancelled. If you enrolled in the course, the school has already unenrolled you and you can find another course in the Music Industry program.
I decided to cancel the class due to low enrollment, which has impacted a number of classes this summer. Unlike my winter class, which is generally over enrolled with a wait list, summer has proven to be particularly difficult (Maybe students do not want to take class in the summer?).
My curriculum requires a significant amount of group work (60% of the grade) to be distributed across student group members as groups progress through the class as mock co-founders of a fictitious music industry startup business. Consequently, the class requires a minimum threshold of enrolled students to make the course dynamic enough to highlight the entrepreneurial principles, fundamental business strategies and music industry best practices that I teach.
While I hate that the class had to be cancelled with such short notice, I felt that to maintain the integrity of my curriculum and to ensure that student who get to take my class benefit from the way in which it was designed cancelling was the only option.
Student reviews of Dae Bogan’s Music Industry Entrepreneurship class:
Hi Dae, Just wanted to thank you for an awesome class. This was one of the few classes at UCLA where I felt I was taught skills, not just about the subject matter but in how to go about achieving my career goals, that were applicable to my endeavors and will be used for the rest of my life. I got more out of it than I had with any other course here and I would highly recommend your class to to anyone interested in a music industry career.
– Student testimonial, Winter Quarter 2019
Without a doubt one of the most useful classes I have taken in my undergraduate career at UCLA. Professor Bogan has so much real world knowledge and knows how to convey that knowledge in a classroom setting immensely well. All the course material was invaluable to my progression and aspirations of being in the music industry. Every lecture was extremely well-prepared, with amazing guest speakers and information that I will be using for the rest of my life. Professor Bogan did a phenomenal job and I will be recommending this class to all my friends interested in music or starting their own company. Can’t say enough good things about this class.
– Student testimonial, Winter Quarter 2018
If you are still interested in exploring entrepreneurship in the music industry, you may consider taking my online program Music Industry Entrepreneurship Masterclass which is a 4 hour sample of my full course. You can sign up for the masterclass at www.marcatoacademy.com.