Lance Cleveland

Why #Songwriters Are Getting Left In the Cold by #ASCAP and #BMI…

This article is wrong in so many levels. Where do I start?

First it pits the PROs against The Labels. They are not adversaries. They are two parties that represent the same side of the coin – the rights and royalties due Creatives (Creatives is my way of describing ALL parties involved in creating music: recording artists + songwriters + composers + backup artists + ).

The owner of the master recordings , often referred to as The Labels which is itself an outdated nomenclature, can and should be getting paid fairly as should the copyright holders for the musical composition – often simplified as the PROs. Labels AND PROs both need to be compensated fairly.

The premise of this article is fatally flawed. It assumes the streaming companies like Spotify are already paying fair rates for the product they sell – digital music. In nearly every case this is false. Most streaming companies are not paying anywhere near fair market rates for music. Millions of plays generate pathetically little compensation to the Creatives. Half a billion dollars sounds like a lot to pay but they leave out the fact that this equates to a dollar paid for tens of thousands of songs they sold their listeners.

The article says there is only 100% of the pie to give away. The streaming service needs their piece, and the labels should fight the PROs for what remains. Sounds great in theory until someone points out the pie is 3x too small to feed everyone at the table.

Fixed price all you want to hear streaming services are a flawed business model as is the back room negotiations that are setting the streaming rates with NO involvement from Creatives. The right solution is based on pay for what you consume streaming services and a true fair market system for both buying and selling creative works.

Why #Songwriters Are Getting Left In the Cold by #ASCAP and #BMI…

Amazon Search Tricks

Here are some tricks I use at Amazon when searching for products. I just realized today that many people don’t know these “hacker” options.

Search For NOT That

To search for all backpacks that are NOT 16″ or 12″ sizes enter this in the product search box:
backpack -16 -19

The minus directly before a word means “NOT this”.

Search For This OR That

To search for all backpacks that are either jumbo or 19″ enter this:
backpack jumbo|19

The vertical bar, or “pipe” in terms Mr. Robot would use, means “OR”.


A non-search trick, to donate to charity without costing you anything extra start by using this URL any time you are going to buy from Amazon:

I’ve attached my account’s smile access to my son’s school.  Every time I buy something Amazon sets aside some money and sends it to them every quarter.   It adds up quickly!

Get Prime

If you place more than 12 orders per year from Amazon, get Prime.   The average shipping will pay for the fees PLUS you get TONS of extras that make this even more valuable.    If I didn’t place 12 orders per year, which I do I’d still consider it as I no longer need my Netflix account that was costing $10/month or my Spotify account at $10/month.

Prime Videos has most of what Netflix has and is supported by nearly all the same devices.   Netflix is good, but it doesn’t give you free shipping AND free music.

Prime Music is MUCH better than it used to be and the new Prime Stations easily compete with most music services today.

I’ve been a Prime member and fan-boy for nearly a decade now.  Love it; if you can’t tell.


Pandora Looks for a Way Out of the Doldrums. Cue Questlove. –

It is nice to see streaming companies getting artists involved, but how about paying them fair compensation?

You cannot have a $10/month “all you can eat” song buffet. For most listeners you are not paying fair royalties. Forget Sound Exchange and their $35 per 10,000 songs played; these rates push the PRO compensations levels way below 1/3 of that.

Fixed fee monthly streaming services is a failed business model.

Pandora Looks for a Way Out of the Doldrums. Cue Questlove. –

Pandora Looks for a Way Out of the Doldrums. Cue Questlove. –

Amazon wants to sell a cheaper music subscription service that will only work on its Echo player

This kind of thinking in the streaming music industry is what is screwing music creatives (artists, songwriters, and everyone else involved).

Unlimited music at $5/month means that for the typical listener your favorite artists are earning hundreds of dollars for a million plays of a song.

Attracting listeners by screwing artists is NOT a good business model.

Amazon wants to sell a cheaper music subscription service that will only work on its Echo player

Intro To Amazon Compute Instances (EC2)

Here are some “crib notes” on setting on an Amazon compute instance based on my most recent research (Aug 2016).  You may find some of these notes useful or interesting or just plain boring geek-stuff.   I’m sure I will find them in 6 months from now when I Google “what is AWS HVM” or something equally obscure.

M3 versus M4

Amazon classifies their EC2 instances by general “compute types” or “profiles” for how the virtual machine is configured.     They have things like “T*” for “burstable performance” , “M*” for what I call “moderate usage”, and a few others like C* for “crazy CPU cycles” and “X*” for “X-Men Memory Monger” if you need to track the thoughts of every person on earth.

The most common profiles I like to use for standard production servers is the “M-class”.   Because it is faster than the regular 3-series… no , wait, that is BMW.    Regardless the M-Class is good for decent disk + network performance and comes in reasonable “sizes” for most daily production sites.

M3 is the older generation EC2 class and uses “local SSD drives” to store your operating system and software.     They tend to have slightly slower CPUs and less memory than the M4 equivalents.   Also if you terminate and permanently delete the instance all that software and configuration stuff you did goes away. Forever.

M4 is the newer generation and is only “EBS” (Elastic Block Storage, not to be confused with Elastic Beanstalk) based disk drives.   When the machine is running this works just like a local SSD drive but it is stored in a more resilient “disk farm”.  The contents of an EBS drive can also survive an EC2 instance termination ; this means you can kill an older M4 instance but keep the drive intact and re-attach it to a new instance.  Think of it like pulling out a physical hard drive from a physical PC and putting into a new physical PC – but with a lot less hassles on driver configurations and other “gotchas” that normally accompany the physical-compute world.

I recommend using M4 instances for new servers.

On Demand versus Reserved

You can either pay for your servers each month (On Demand) or pre-pay for a year (Reserved).     If you pay each month you pay a stiff penalty for the ability to “stop using AWS whenever I feel like it”.  Turn off your server and the bill goes away.  Nice.   But expensive.

If you plan on running your server for more than 9 months then reserved is almost always the better option.    I prefer the 1-year partial reserved payment.  Here you pay a chunk up front on day 1 – usually equal to several months of “On Demand” (pay-as-you-go) fees in return for much lower ongoing monthly fees.

In the case of an M4.large instance the fees are currently $956 up-front + $130/month for reserved ($2,516/year = $210/month) versus $352/month ($4,224/year).    You pay a $1,708 premium if you decided you want to go “month-to-month”.

HVM versus PV

When you create your EC2 server you will need to pick your operating system.    These are pre-packaged with the base OS and possibly pre-installed software in what is known as an “Amazon Machine Image” (AMI).    All AMIs come in two basic “flavors” that determine how the machine configuration (virtual hardware) is created.

HVM is a harward virtual machine.    HVM-based AMIs take advantage of the AWS virtualization at a lower-level of the operating system and tend to provide superior performance.

PV machines use paravirtualization which is an older methodology.

When possible choose the HVM image and use a newer AWS EC2 instance such as the M4 instances.

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