Editorial April 2010

As we emerge from the depths of winter, I hope you enjoy this latest issue of the MBJ.  I continue to be amazed at the amount of interest we are able to garner both from students and alumni, always submitting articles, and our readership–which continues to expand outside of the Berklee campus through our renewed internet presence.

Our cover article features Caz McCrystal, a Berklee alumnus and attorney, and Peter Alhadeff, our own faculty advisor. It tracks the mechanical rate since the Copyright Act of 1976 and uses economic analysis to suggest why, during much of the time, songwriters lost ground against the record companies. Revenue from rights’ collections is as key to musicians today it always was. So is income from live music. In this issue, we feature a remarkable interview with Live Nation’s distinguished COO of Global Touring, Gerry Barad.  Barad gives an exclusive to MBJ’s Silvina Moreno, and tells us about the massive undertaking of top tours such as U2 and Lady Gaga and some of the operational considerations that play out in the world stage.

Students Kerry Fee and Ben Hong support our Law Section. Kerry was able to speak with a talented music lawyer, Ms. Linda Edel Howard, during her trip to Nashville this Spring.  The two spoke a bit about multiple rights deals, i.e. the famed “360 deals”, and the legal challenges therein.  Ben writes well about developments in the market for mobile applications, and the importance of intellectual property protection. There are still plenty of opportunities that the music industry can seize. As streaming continues to grow in popularity–Pandora just recently posted their first profitable quarter– Lau Meng Wai has given us a timely and engaging piece on music streaming models and their pricing.

Of course, we would be doing our readers a disservice if we did not cover South-By-Southwest, arguably one of the most important music festival/conferences of the year.  Shawn Wolfgang, a Berklee student and event manager and talent buyer for Cafe 939’s Red Room in Boston, attended South-By this March and writes about the experience. Fellow student Steven Gringer sheds light on the undertow of new investments in the music industry, and Caz McChrystal appears once again, this time reviewing at length Music Law in the Digital Age, a new release by Allen Bargfrede and Cecily Mak, published by Berklee Press.  Kevin Block-Schwenk, another Berklee faculty member, gives us insight too into Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, which delves into the emerging field of behavioral economics.

Overall I feel inspired by the quality and quantity of work we continue to receive, and I hope you will feel the same way.  Be sure to check out or new website at thembj.org if you haven’t yet, where you can always download the latest issue or use our database for all your music business researching needs.  You can also find us on Facebook so if you like what you see, become a fan!  As always, thanks for reading.


Michael L. Benson

Erratum: In last month’s cover article, ” A Marketplace Like No Other”, we quoted Allen Bargfrede as saying that Spotify was paying 10% of their revenue to the labels. This was a misstatement. Bagfrede was giving a hypothetical figure. We should have said that Spotify pays only  “a percentage” of their revenue to the label.