Soundcloud is in the final stages of a licensing deal with the Universal Music Group, sources tell MBW. The deal would reportedly give UMG a substantial stake in Soundcloud.
While details of the deal are not yet known, many in the industry question the efficacy of similar label deals with other music streamers which exchange potential revenue for artists for an equity stake for the corporation which artists often do not participate in.
That leaves Sony, the second largest player after UMG, the missing deal in Soundcloud’s monetization strategy; and given Sony forced takedowns earlier this year, a deal may not be imminent.
It’s been said that we live in an era of “access” – a kind of golden age of artist communications and marketing. Rather than rely upon the faulty medium of the journalist or the tabloid, artists can now talk “directly” to their fans without any intermediary. Well, except for SoundCloud, or Twitter, or Facebook, or…
The reality is that you don’t own your fanbase. You just “access” them. You rent them in exchange for your data. And at moments like this – when you want to end your lease and move to another block – it becomes incredibly clear what the distinction is.
The important thing to realize is that these barriers between fan and artist are entirely artificial. There’s really no reason why they need to exist, other than to impede you from doing exactly what SoundCloud’s frustrated producers want to do: leave.
Terry Matthew’s insightful piece could almost serve as a thesis statement for our blog here. Musicians now live in an incredible time, when autonomous promotion, presentation, and distribution are all completely attainable. But why are so few artists choosing this? As I’ve opined here before, these tools (Facebook, SoundCloud, etc.) are useful, but should compliment the artist’s subservient infrastructure rather than serving as that infrastructure.
Anyone who knows about the current record industry knows that vinyl presses are hard to come by. There are a limited number of functional machines on the market, and none are currently in production (at least for the moment, although you will occasionally hear rumors). In order to locate and purchase presses, the founders of Cascade had to go on what Lanning describes as an “epic quest to locate equipment.”
As demand for vinyl continues to increase, old record presses have rapidly been escalating in price. The Cascade crew searched for equipment, while watching their dream of record production sky-rocket in cost. Finally their epic quest led them to Canada where Cascade was able to acquire six presses from the former Rip-V plant. Originally those six presses were used by the Hub-Servall Record Manufacturing Corporation in New Jersey.
However, there were still many challenges ahead, as their “new” presses were 43 years old, and needed considerable maintenance and set-up. Lanning jokes that the presses are “like tanks”; sturdy and well-made, just in need of some TLC. Amazingly, Rainey, Gonsalves, and Lanning were able to convince Dave Miller, one of the original builders who worked on those presses in the early ‘70s, to help with the project. Miller flew out to Oregon in November of 2014 to help with the set-up and repairs.
It’s heartwarming to see new vinyl pressing plants opening up, like Cascade Recording Pressing in Oregon, as profiled here on Discogs. I’ve known that an impediment to opening a new plant is the limited number of working presses available and I’m intrigued by these intricate tales of quest, like searching for the remaining Valyrian swords (Game of Thrones reference, watch out). It’s also nice how the plant aims to serve labels in their region foremost … in a perfect world, every part of the country would have its own pressing plant.