I Feel It Coming – How Streaming is Changing Music Consumption

Over the past couple years, we’ve published two massive articles about the current state and impending trends of music consumption—my deep dive on the tough realities of streaming platforms and Nick’s bullshit-free synopsis of Nielsen’s 2016 music industry report. While both of these pieces had minimal references to metal, the research and analysis we presented outlines some staggering changes to the entirety of music, changes that continue to expand and show no sign of slowing. And though it’s been just over a year since I channeled my B.A. thesis on streaming for my deep dive, Billboard published a story that compelled me to revisit the topic and write down my thoughts as soon as possible. The facts of the story are relatively simple—because Billboard now incorporates track streams into the sales figures they consider, The Weeknd’s Starboy remained at #1 on the Top 200 for this week because it technically “sold” more albums than The XX’s I See You, landing the British indie pop trio at #2 on the list despite selling more actual albums. This story stopped me in my tracks, as it poses an equally intriguing and worrisome question – are streams and purchases comparable, and what are the implications if Billboard thinks they are?

Heavy Chat Is Heavy: Streaming Exclusivity

We’ve covered the concept of streaming exclusivity before, including our extensive deep dive on steaming services and our multiple opinion pieces on Protest the Hero’s Pacific Myth. But 2016 has seen an explosion of high-profile artists releasing exclusive, stream-only releases on platforms like Tidal and Apple Music. With industry heavyweights like Kanye West, Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean signing on to the trend, it seems as though this might be a new feature of modern music consumption that – for better or worse – might be here to stay. So we assembled a group of editors and contributors interested in the subject to dissect the issue in our latest Heavy Chat. The conversation ended up running long, but we think you’ll find we covered a lot of ground and – hopefully – you’ll learn a bit more about the way your music consumption is likely morphing right in front of your eyes.

Sailing the Seas of Sound: A Brief Overview Of Music Exploration Tools

To try to describe the sheer amount of music available to people today would be bordering on redundancy. It’s just way too much in terms of content—too much for any one person to ever digest in their lifetime. And that’s a bit of a double-edged sword, as there is a lot of really great music out there, just begging you to listen to it. Streaming tools like Spotify and Soundcloud make this music incredibly available. But, as powerful and laden with tunes as those programs are, there isn’t much in the way of actually exploring it.

Bandcamp Changes The Game; Now Provides Exclusive, Site-Specific Embeds

Bandcamp has been growing rapidly: in 2015, fans gave artists $100 million in total (since Bandcamp was founded that is) and almost $3.5 million per month! Now, it looks like the service is taking its game to the next level by providing exclusive embeds. This means that artists can embed tracks that haven’t been released to the public yet, something which was unavailable until now.

Protest The Hero want to cut out labels for good using Bandcamp’s new subscription service. But is it enough?

Since the closing of the Scurrilous tour cycle, it seems that Protest the Hero have reached an important decision: they are through with the middleman – by middleman, I of course mean the record label — and, after finding themselves in financial trouble after producing three top-tier albums, you can…

Hey! Listen to Mezonz!

Marty Eason, guitarist of WANZWA, released a few tracks from his new project, Mezonz.  Harmonic Oscillator is a very crazy, chaotic mix of textures and technicality reminiscent of a lovechild between Animals as Leaders and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza.  This release is 3 tracks long and comes in at about…

Not Even Remotely Metal – Grey Gordon

As much as I love metal, it’s nice to take a break from it and jam some things that have no connection to metal. Normally I go with some Hiromi Uehara, Frank Ocean, Jack Johnson or even some dubstep (don’t hate on it; there’s actually some really good artists out…