Saturday, March 9, 2019

Artist education is the new competition [PART ONE]. | Water & Music

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you’re all excited for spring, SXSW and/or whatever else is coming your way this March.

Before we dive into today's essay, there are lots of exciting updates to share since the last newsletter.

The biggest one is that the Water & Music podcast is now live on all your favorite podcast listening platforms—including but not limited to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play and RadioPublic!

As you may have noticed, the podcast shares the same name as this newsletter, and is meant to serve as a similar, living archive of conversations and big ideas in music and technology. In Episode No. 1, fellow music writer David Turner and I break down the key elements of Ariana Grande's wildly successful marketing strategy around Sweetener and thank u, next, and reflect on the myth that pop music is "behind" in the streaming era. You can find full show notes here.

The podcast is ad-free and supported entirely by my supporters on Patreon—which brings me to my next big update: my Patreon page has just surpassed the $1,000/month mark!!

Again, this has grown far beyond my expectations, and is already sparking new ideas on how to expand on my newsletter, podcast and writing at large that I had never thought of previously. There's definitely a steep learning curve in growing this experiment in real time, and I really appreciate all of your support so far—any and every small gesture really means a lot! :)

Since the last newsletter, I've posted a handful of exclusive Patreon essays, including a review of the book Spotify Teardown and a preview of my upcoming piece for Billboard about SoundCloud's expansion into distribution. I also just hosted my first monthly video hangout for $40/month patrons earlier this week, during which we had a really informative discussion on topics such as SoundCloud's new distribution venture and the potential over-saturation of paid subscriptions and memberships (e.g. Facebook's new Fan Subscriptions feature, which was met with lukewarm reception).

Special thanks to Alex Mitchell, Basak Kizilisik, Tony Guidry, Duncan Anjuna and Chris Lindsey for joining the $40 tier since the last send-out. 🙏

Today's newsletter essay ended up being so long, I decided to divide it into two parts to spare your eyes and your inboxes. Below is Part One—which I hope gives you a valuable overview of the ever-crowded landscape of educational resources for artists and music-industry professionals, and how I think the digital-literacy issue in music can be more effectively addressed.

I'll send out Part Two on Monday—and as a reminder, $3+/month patrons can vote on all future newsletter topics. This one in particular was a close call!


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