KCRW's On the Beat
By Celia Hirschman
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Each week, industry veteran Celia Hirschman considers the changes and trends happening in the music business. An independent consultant for the music business, she founded the marketing consulting company Downtown Marketing and also runs the UK-based record label One Little Indian in North America. She works with artists such as Bjork, The Twilight Singers, Lloyd Cole, Daniel Agust, Polly Paulusma, and many others, and has served in senior management at Palm Pictures, Mercury Records and A&M Records.
||LimeWire and the RIAA||At the behest of record labels, last October, US District Judge, Kimba Woods ordered LimeWire, the popular file-sharing service to suspend its peer-to-peer site. The judge ruled that LimeWire had committed copyright infringement, was engaged in unfair co||1/5/11||Free||View In iTunes|
||IPad Apps||No doubt about it. The most exciting growth in the record business this year has come from Apple. In fact, Apple has dominated the last decade of excitement in the record business with the iPod, iTunes, and the iPad. The iPad applications have taken the||12/22/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||EMI, Spotify and Google||Guy Hands may finally be losing control of his company, EMI Music Group, to their chief investor, the financial bank Citigroup. EMI owes Citibank almost $3 billion. Mr. Hands recently signaled to his closest allies to expect the worst...||12/15/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||Creative Protection||As we come upon the close of another year, it's hard not to be just a little nostalgic. Think about how much has changed in your life in the last ten years. How much of that change has been built on the backs of hard work and creative vision...||12/1/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||Advertising as Marketing||Pomplamoose, the Bay area music duo, have done it again. Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte had already built a strong following around the country, making quirky music videos at home. Last year, they sold over 100,000 tracks out of their living room with only a||11/29/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||The Beatles - The Long Now||The Beatles catalog has finally made it to ITunes. It?s a business deal ten years in the making.||11/17/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||Radical Act||Punk rock music had its roots in the mid 1970's with bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The defiant act of getting onstage, regardless of one's music experience, and embracing your unguarded truth in electrified raw sound created an e||11/10/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||The SoundExchange Debate||The record business has notoriously been a closed mouth business. There's been little airing of laundry in public. But the digital music business is a bit more progressive...||11/4/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||The Record Business Is Volatile||Predicting the future is often a fool's game, especially in the record industry. The business is a complex environment, with many micro-climates ? each one affecting the next. One significant shift of a large retailer, a talent agency or technology compa||10/27/10||Free||View In iTunes|
||This Year's Statistics||In the film The Social Network, the character of Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, claims he ruined the record business with his disruptive digital online company. While I think that's a misstatement of the truth, now 10 years later, here's where the r||10/20/10||Free||View In iTunes|
Remember: She’s a Marketeer, not a Musician
Hirschman is quite obviously an industry shill; her presence on KCRW is baffling, and a little embarassing. Her commentary ranges from underinformed to flat-out RIAA lies, with the occasional FUD thrown in for variety. Hirschman’s style comes across as “their press release is my opinion,” which combines badly with her supremely odd—and irrITatING—infLECTion STYle. (Please note, I am not mocking any kind of speech impediment; Hirschman speaks in an exaggerated rhythm thAT only COuld haVE coME FROM some BROadcASTing SEMinAR.) The iTMS must have loved Hirschman’s 13 December “commentary,” wherein she merrily spreads the “plummeting sales” myth with disinformation like “[consumers] may love their iPods, but it turns out they’re not necessarily buying music with them” (she means “for them”). This climaxes in a love-letter to Universal/Micro$oft: “one can only assume that most ipods are filled with illegal files of music.” (Hello? Did I just hear that?! I assure you, this is only her most recent slander—a final straw perhaps, but I am far too weary to listen through the archives and transcribe her transgressions.) Finally, if your job is “independent consultant for the music business,” you might benefit from defining terms before you use them. A simple example: people don’t buy songs from “iTunes,” they buy songs from the “iTunes Music Store” through iTunes. This is a minor quibble, but it is indicative of the larger idea: the dangerous idea that you don’t have to understand something to have an opinion.
For an up- to-date review of the business side, this podcast is just what I'm looking for. If you run a Label or interested in the music Business side, this is where to get a quick fix and, whether you like it or not, a general overview of some top items happening in the industry. Celia, keep doing what you're doing -great job. As for the haters, let them hate. It only proves that you're doing something worth while. If you weren't no one would care, nor criticize
Celia Hirschman tends to get it right
I respectfully disagree with the other reviewers. I am an avid iPod owner, a techie (I work for Nokia), and a very avid music collector, with over 99% of my large music collection completely legal and purchased. Hirschman is frequently critical of the RIAA and the record companies, and their inability to adapt to the disruptive environment of the digital age. The dearth of decent music promoted by the major labels are frequent targets. There are a lot of good bands, they just aren't being promoted by the big guys. In the end, it is her opinion, and you may not always agree with it. But, I find them insightful and fairly well thought out, to the point, and generally fair. I look forward to them in my daily mix of mostly music on my iPod.