What I Read To Stay Current On Music Industry Affairs — For Better Or Worse
(UPDATED 10/15/17 – Added more outlets to the list)
Music industry professionals — especially consultants who work with a variety of clients across numerous sectors of the music industry — are behooved to stay up-to-date on the latest affairs and current events in the music industry. We do this a number of ways such as catching up with colleagues, attending conferences and networking events, and (the easiest) following and reading music industry trade publications and certain bloggers.
There are many publications and bloggers out there, and they range dramatically in terms of depth and breadth of coverage, level of objectivity, and overall value of insight.
Media analyst Mark Mulligan is known and respected for his in-depth and research-driven approach to offering deep dives into music industry trends via his work at MIDia Research and his blog Music Industry Blog while music attorney Chris Castle offers critical analysis of nuanced legal matters, especially those affecting copyright owners, on his blogs Music x Technology x Policy and Music Tech Solutions.
Then, there are some publications and some bloggers, while they offer interesting insight and news, can come off as “gossipy” from time to time (as one artist manager put it, when I shared this list in the Artist Manager’s Connect Facebook group); while others rant on about nothing of significance (said another).
Moreover, some publications are loaded with advertorial that is sometimes disguised as news (an “advertorial” is the term used to refer to an article that has been paid for (or commissioned in some way) by a brand and written (sometimes by the brand itself) for the purpose of advertising the brand without the content coming off as an advertisement — thus, advertisement + editorial = advertorial). Generally, you can recognize an advertorial and read through the advertisement to extrapolate what’s important to you (if anything). Advertorial falls into the wider spectrum of content marketing (content created by or for a brand to reach and engage target customers; including blogs, videos, advertorials).
Not all content marketing is inherently bad, though. Many articles written by or for brands offer enriching insight for its target audience, like this one that I wrote, which was published on Bandzoogle’s blog and RepostNetwork’s blog. While the article does promote my company TuneRegistry at the very end, the majority of the article details “5 Royalty Streams Every Indie Artist Should Know” and helps DIY musicians and artist managers wrap their heads around these issues.
So, whether you’re a seasoned music industry professional or an up-and-coming DIYer, if you want to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the music industry, subscribing to a few outlets may be helpful.
Below is a select list of the music industry publications, blogs, and newsletters to which I am subscribed. Where applicable, I included the name of the primary curator/blogger and their personal Twitter handles. Follow them or connect with them up on LinkedIn.
ArisTake (Ari Herstand | @aristake)
ASCAP Daily Brief (Dean Kay)
BMI The Weekly
CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog (Christopher Robley | @chrisrobley)
Dae Bogan Musc (shameless self-promotion — Dae Bogan | @daeboganmusic)
Digital Music News (Paul Resnikoff)
Hypebot (Bruce Houghton)
Leftsetz Letter (Bob Leftsetz | @leftsetz)
Library of Congress Blog
Motive Unknown (Darren Hemmings | @mr_trick)
Music Ally (Wesley A’Harrah | @adreadpirate & Anthony Churchman)
Music Business Worldwide
Music Industry Blog (Mark Mulligan | @mark_mulligan)
Music Tech Solutions (Chris Castle)
Music Think Tank (Bruce Houghton)
Music x Tech x Future (Bas Grasmayer | @basgras)
Music x Technology x Policy (Chris Castle)
SXSW Daily Chord
The Trichordist (David Lowery)
Added on 10/15/2017 from reader submission
- CMU Daily (Complete Music Update)
- ICMP Global Briefing (ICMP)
- Music World News (IMC – International Music Council)
- Music Week Morning Briefing (Music Week)
- Music REDEF (REDEF)
- Platform & Stream
- Synchtank Weekly (Synchtank)
There are several publications not listed here because they do not soley cover the music industry, but are still good sources of information when they periodically publish music industry related pieces (e.g. Wall Street Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Forbes, Techcrunch).
QUICK TIP: Subscribing to many blogs and newsletters will result in many emails hitting your inbox. To keep your inbox free for your day-to-day business/personal email, create a new email address just for subscriptions (e.g. email@example.com). Then, all of the newsletters and new post announcements will go to that inbox and not clutter your primary inbox. Ok great, you now know how to keep your inbox clutter-free. But, what about keep up-to-date? Well, you can check the inbox once a week, twice a week, or whatever frequency that works for your schedule. I like to scan all emails on Monday. Some newsletters curate other stories, so they link to the same sources. Some publish original content. I like to read the headlines, choose what matters to me, and then read at my leisure.
My list is by no means exhaustive. And since I’ve already heard from some very passionate music industry folks about their support or disdain for some of the publications/blogs/bloggers listed, I’d like hear your thoughts.
Tell me in the comments what you read that isn’t on the list or feel free to share your opinion about any of the listed outlets.