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There was a time, a long time ago, when I really took to streaming music. My music buying habits, but specially my music download habits, changed to basically streaming to the point when licensing and catalogs began changing, and I found my music collection shrinking. In the end, I started downloading once again.

I have come to the realization that I buy less and less physical albums, or it takes me longer to buy them. :(

As I found myself deeper and deeper into Kpop fandom once again, so deep into Mamamoo fandom that I begun to get irked by fans who publicly post about their illegal downloads AND complain about numbers of comebacks/group activities. I ended up writing this nonchalant post about music earnings, as well as other Mamamoo activities fans can support besides comebacks [1][2][3]. Yes, I’ve become that type of fan. The old one. LOL

As a grown-up who loves the arts, I always try to remind people that if they love and support their artists that they should buy instead of stream because streaming doesn’t pay. I was literally shook when Hyori mentioned that she had learned that PSY’s Gangnam Style only made $38k [1]; even though I knew some of the horror stories like the one of musician Lee Lang (이랑) who, during her acceptance speech for winning Best Folk Song at the Korean Music Awards, stated that she had only made $370 USD in total earnings on the month of January, so she decided to auction her award starting from the base price of her rent [1].

You can support Lee Lang by buying her album, Playing God (신의 놀이), on Bandcamp :)

And to my surprise, one of my favorite groups this year~~~ the lovely girls from Bolbbalgan4, who are considered digital monsters with their songs almost always charting within the Top10 of Melon, South Korea’s most used music site, had made only $61k USD by August this year [1]. Red Diary Page.1 didn’t drop until a month later, and all 5 songs in the album charted within the Top15. But that’s still besides the point. The point being that your faves don’t make money because you stream music on YouTube or Apple Music or Spotify.

So stop demanding expensive music videos that can cost from $100k-$500k for an average medium size budget, or go up to $1M for the splashy ones that we don’t often see nowadays. At the height of the music video era in the 90s, Michael Jackson and Madonna’s most expensive videos hovered the $5M budget without adjustments for inflation [1]. Stop demanding multiple comebacks a year with infinite number of physical prints (these cost production budgets AND storage budget for large stocks) that you will be waiting for price drops and re-sellers.

So now, let’s do some math~

Let’s say a physical album, a regular jewel case priced at -let’s say- $10 USD. According to prices in 2017— Apple takes a 30% cut [1], Bandcamp takes a 15% cut for digital sales and a 10% for merch [1], whereas CD baby takes a 9% cut off digital sales and $4 USD off physical sales [1]. That means that by selling a $14USD album, the independent artist makes $10USD. In the parallel universe in which your fave is an independent, they keep $7 of those $10 in iTunes, but if there’s a label, the artist (meaning singer) probably gets $1 of those $10. If they’re their own lyricist, musician, producer or sound engineer, fees are different.

Streaming is a whole different beast— according to this post on Digital Music News from 2016, to make a single dollar $1 in Tidal, Google Play, Apple Music and Deezer; you gotta play the song +180 times. 196, to be exact, for Apple Music and Deezer. Make that 279 times on Spotify, 483 times on Vevo, 766 times on Soundcloud, and… at the end of the list, YouTube, where you gotta play songs 776 times to make that one dollar. That means a song/music video that has 100 million views on its YouTube official channel, has made roughly $125k USD, which would be made by selling 12.5k physical albums on CD Baby.

So remember, the next time you complain about X official store prices or limited stocks, it’s because all adds up to the price. If you found a cheap album, it’s because someone along the way lost money.

Yes, I’m low-key talking about Bizent LOL I’ve compared prices with YesAsia, and since I don’t get YesAsia free shipping, that’s paying double shipping because the YA price includes the Bizent $20 shipping fee. I’d rather that money go directly to Mamamoo. xD

Hyori has been delivering on variety shows and interviews all week- people are loving Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast; I’ve been emo because of that moment when Hyori was teaching IU about life as a 20-something. She’s just full of ‘life as a celebrity’ wisdom. She talks about her marriage, controlling her temper, her insecurities releasing music, not having endorsements or doing commercials for a living, and trying to profit from just music.

She’s just realizing that you can’t make a living doing just music in Korea. I’m actually quite shocked that she says that Psy only made $38k with Gangnam Style. That’s a HUGE shock. I also hope that’s only what streaming and downloads did in South Korea, because I’d be super shocked if that includes the YouTube, iTunes and Spotify fees.

I’m not a social media fan, though I do spend a lot of time posting links on the YAM Magazine Twitter account. Less active on Facebook, though I regularly use my own profile. No Instagram or any other site. I’m mostly active on movie websites— still active on IMDb, because they make searching for stuff easier [year, country, language, etc. filters], still active on MUBI (and helping with profiles and database submissions), and Letterboxd coz they help keeping an orderly diary of movie-watching.

No longer have music sites, and Living Social FB apps have long gone.

I’ve always been reluctant in creating new profiles, new accounts, new emails and different passwords. However, my level of obsession with Mamamoo has reached such point that I finally logged in V Live with my real-life identity, and though I’ve only left like 3 or 4 comments (so far), I’m a Level 5. Each artist you follow starts with a Level 1, adding points by watching videos, leaving comments and who knows what else, but I digress~~~ I wanted to comment on V Live as a platform. I’m amazed by it. I don’t exactly know why. I’ve seen countless of web stream concerts [1][2], I’ve seen a couple of Facebook Live sessions, but somehow V Live sessions make me feel closer to artists.

Of course, they can start a random session just like in Facebook, though FB is always a 1:1 ratio, no? There’s comments, and the artist can actually reply to your comments, which is something V Live doesn’t have since comments are live, they scroll as they keep coming just like in a YouTube stream. But YouTube streams always seem so impersonal, more like online TV broadcasts, which is actually GREAT for TV broadcasts [KBS World 24][KBS World]. Add to V Live multi-camera broadcast, HD quality, multilingual subtitles and there’s just this added something to it.

I recently saw Brown Eyed Girls’ JeA’s Orgel Live with JOKER, a 50-min multi-camera phone shot in portrait. I didn’t watch it live, because the show began at 6AM, but the replay was available quite fast — in probably just a few couple of hours — with subtitles in English, Chinese, Viet and Korean; and available auto-translate for others like Spanish. They started reading some of the comments, I lamented not being able to say hi to JeA [this is what I’m talking about], and proceeded to perform a couple of songs, while also going through the live comments.

Fans are also allowed to give ‘hearts.’ Though, I haven’t actually figured out how to give hearts (it’s not by clicking the heart icon, lol), I supposed it’s just pasting hearts in the comments, and that’s why users can give multi-hearts all around. Since a video can have 200k views and one million hearts. :P

And apparently, if you have the V Live App, you can chat with your faves. I don’t have mobile, so……………….

jea-joker-live-v-live

If you could do this for movies, it’ll be amazing. About 8 years ago, I wrote a proposal for screening movies like this xD but I didn’t know how to go through with it. Imagine you have a screening event, fans gather online 30min. before the movie begins, they chat among them. The movie streams, and afterwards there’s an online Q&A with the cast/crew. Because videos from the Q&A and the movie to be screened are different video sources, you can only have the Q&A available for replay instead of the movie.

See? Someone make it happen.

Anupama Chopra’s Film Companion just published their interview with Anushka Sharma, where she talks about being an actress in the Indian film industry, Hollywood gender numbers, being a producer and a public figure. It all comes down to the simple~

At the end of the day you want respect.

It’s a big on the long side (33min. long), but it’s worth it. Anushka is really outspoken and it’s great to listen to with her back and forth with Anupama.

I like these one-on-one interviews, especially when you have performance-oriented people. Too bad Nawazuddin Siddiqui doesn’t feel comfortable speaking English- 1. Maybe these Meeting Ground interviews are always in English. 2. If they’re not necessarily in English, I wouldn’t understand a thing he says in Hindi. xD

This time Kangana Ranaut and Irrfan Khan are one-on-one after the commercial success of Tanu Weds Manu Returns and Piku, respectively. In the brief 20min interview, they talk about acting nuances with a super brief Acting 101, as well as people’s obsession with Box Office numbers (in this case, making the 100 crore club), the -now- discerning audience (and the massy one), not longer being a working actor who needs to constantly do movies to make a living, being an outsider, PLUS! the strength and vitriol that is social media.

Happy watching!

On the Box Office obsession and audience talks, it’s a general worldwide problem, you guys. Last year headlines declared How to Train your Dragon 2 a box office flop when it made “just” $50M USD. Joining the $1B USD club is big on studio heads, and having the most profitable franchise is a plus for actors.

The audience everywhere is half and half- good movie don’t make money, bad movies that make loads. The audience and press vitriol on review and social media. They’re not solely Bollywood problems ;)

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