tipping_points   15

Music’s ‘Moneyball’ moment: why data is the new talent scout | Financial Times
JULY 5, 2018 | FT | Michael Hann.

The music industry loves to self-mythologise. It especially loves to mythologise about taking young scrappers from the streets and turning them into stars. It celebrates the men and women — but usually the men — with “golden ears” almost as much as the people making the music....A&R, or “artists and repertoire”, are the people who look for new talent, convince that talent to sign to the record label and then nurture it: advising on songs, on producers, on how to go about the job of being a pop star. It’s the R&D arm of the music industry......What the music business doesn’t like to shout about is how inefficient its R&D process is. The annual global spend on A&R is $2.8bn....and all that buys is the probability of failure: “Some labels estimate the ratio of commercial success to failure as 1 in 4; others consider the chances to be much lower — less than 1 in 10,” observes its 2017 report. Or as Mixmag magazine’s columnist The Secret DJ put it: “Major labels call themselves a business but are insanely unprofitable, utterly uncertain, totally rudderless and completely ignorant.”......The rise of digital music brought with it a huge amount of data which, industry executives realized, could be turned to their advantage. ....“All our business units must now leverage data and analytics in innovative ways to dig deeper than ever for new talent. The modern day talent-spotter must have both an artistic ear and analytical eyes.”

Earlier this year, in the same week as Warner announced its acquisition of Sodatone, a company that has developed a tool for talent-spotting via data, another data company, Instrumental, secured $4.2m of funding. The industry appeared to have reached a tipping point — what the website Music Ally called “A&R’s data moment”. Which is why, wherever the music industry’s great and good gather, the word “moneyball” has become increasingly prevalent.
........YouTube, Spotify, Instagram were born and changed the way talent begins its journey. All the barriers came down. Suddenly you’ve got tens of thousands of pieces of music content being uploaded.......Home computing’s democratization of recording removed the barriers to making high-quality music. No longer did you need access to a studio and an experienced producer, plus the money to pay for them. But the music industry had no way to keep abreast of these new creators. “....The way A&R people have discovered talent has barely changed since the music industry began, and it’s fundamentally the same for indie labels, who put artistry above sales, as it is for major labels who have to answer to shareholders. It’s always been about information.....“We find them by listening to new music constantly, by people giving us tips, by going out and seeing things that sound interesting,”.....“The most useful people to talk to are concert promoters and booking agents. They are least inclined to bullshit; they’ll tell you how many people an act is drawing,”...like labels, publishers also have an A&R function, signing up songwriters, many of whom will also be in bands)....“Journalists and radio producers are [also] very useful people to give you information. If you know you’ve got particular DJs or particular writers who are going to pick up something, that’s really good.”
.......Instrumental’s selling point is a dashboard called Talent AI, which scrapes data from Spotify playlists with more than 10,000 followers.....“We took a view that to build momentum on Spotify, you need to be on playlists,”....“If no one knows who you are, no one’s going to suddenly start streaming a track you’ve just put up. It happens when you start getting included on playlists.”......To make it workable, the Talent AI dashboard enables users to apply a series of filters to either tracks or artists: to sort by nationality, by genre, by number of playlists they appear on, by the number of playlist subscribers, by their industry standing — are they signed to a major? To an independent label? Are they unsigned?
.......What A&R people are looking for, though, is not totals, it’s evidence of momentum. No one wants to sign the artist who has reached maximum popularity. They want the artist on the way up....“It’s the direction. Is it going in the right direction?”....when it comes to assessing what an artist can offer, the data isn’t even always about the numbers. “The one I look at the most is Instagram, because that’s the easiest way for an artist to express themselves in a way other than the music — how they look, what they’re into,” she says. “That gives a real snapshot into [them] and whether they really have formulated a world for themselves or not.”......not everyone is delighted with the drive to data. “[the advent of] Spotify...became the driving force for signings...“A&Rs were using their eyes rather than their ears — watching numbers change rather than listening to music, and then jumping on acts....they saw something happening and got it out quickly without having to invest in the traditional A&R process.”... online heat tends to be generated by transient teenage audiences who are likely to move on rather than stick around for a decade: online presence is a big thing in electronic dance music, or some branches of urban music, in which an artist might only be good for a single song. In short, data does not measure quality; it does not tell you whether an artist has 20 good songs that can be turned into their first two albums; it does not tell you whether they can command a crowd in live performance..........The music industry, of course, has always had an issue with short-termism/short-sightedness: [tension] between the people who sign the cheques and those who go to bat for the artists is built into the way it works..........The problem is that without career artists, the music industry just becomes even more of a lottery. It is being made harder, not just by short-termism, but by the fact that music has become less culturally central. “It’s so much harder to connect with an audience or grow an audience, because there’s so much noise,”
.......Today the A&R...agree that the new data has its uses, but insist it still takes second place to the evidence of their own eyes and ears.......As for Withey, he is not about to tell the old-school scouts their days are done....Instrumental can tell A&R people which artists are hot, but not which are good. Also, there will be amazing acts who simply don’t get the traction on the internet to register on the Talent AI dashboard.....All of which will come as a relief to the people running those A&R departments. .....when asked if data will become the single most important factor in scouting talent: “I hope not. Otherwise we may as well have robots.” For now, at least, the golden ears are safe.
A&R  algorithms  analytics  data  dashboards  tips  discoveries  filters  hits  Instagram  inefficiencies  momentum  music  music_industry  music_labels  music_publishing  Moneyball  myths  playlists  self-mythologize  songwriters  Spotify  SXSW  success_rates  talent  talent_spotting  tipping_points  tracking  YouTube  talent_scouting 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
Trump and the problem with the new normal
Twenty years ago, Nasa scientists asked the sociologist Diane Vaughan to study the causes of the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster. Vaughan responded by developing a concept she called "the norma...
Gillian_Tett  Donald_Trump  NASA  deviance  '80s  normality  White_House  complacency  normalization  tipping_points  normalization_of_deviance  from notes
may 2017 by jerryking
Global Warming May Chill the North - WSJ.com
March 7, 2003 | WSJ | By SHARON BEGLEY | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

It helps to think of the Gulf Stream as a checkout counter. When this warm, salty current reaches its Northern terminus, the arctic air cools it, causing it to sink (cold water is denser than warm). Much like a grocery-store conveyor belt that dives underneath the counter pulls up the other end, the Gulf Stream's plunge pulls warm tropical water up to the Northeastern U.S. and Canada and Western Europe. That makes these regions at least 9.5° F. warmer than they'd be without the Gulf Stream...."We're seeing huge freshening in the North Atlantic," says Mr. Gagosian. "The sinking of the cold, salty water has slowed 20% in the last 30 years." No one knows how much of a freshwater influx would shut down the Gulf Stream (this winter's big chill in the Northeast is not a sign that the current is weakening so much as a sneak preview of what climate would be like without it). But if the tipping point were reached, the nations of the North Atlantic could face a so-called little ice age in under a decade. Icebergs would lurk off Portugal....The surprising discovery, based on airborne surveys and satellite images, is forcing scientists to re-examine the possibility that ice shelves act like corks in a bottle: Remove them, and the glaciers behind accelerate toward the sea. Glaciers are moving as much as 200% faster where an ice shelf has disappeared, says glaciologist Robert H. Thomas of NASA: "Individually, the extra water a glacier adds to the world's seas doesn't amount to much, but if more and more glaciers start surging as we lose ice shelves it's a much bigger problem."
climate_change  Arctic  Gulf_Stream  tipping_points  Atlantic  Sharon_Begley  counterintuitive 
january 2013 by jerryking
The Startling Science of a Starling Murmuration
Video of a massive starling flock turning and twisting over a river in Ireland has gone viral, and with good reason. Flocking starlings are one of nature’s most extraordinary sights: Just a few hundred birds moving as one is enough to convey a sense of suspended reality, and the flock filmed above the River Shannon contained thousands.

What makes possible the uncanny coordination of these murmurations, as starling flocks are so beautifully known? Until recently, it was hard to say. Scientists had to wait for the tools of high-powered video analysis and computational modeling. And when these were finally applied to starlings, they revealed patterns known less from biology than cutting-edge physics.

Starling flocks, it turns out, are best described with equations of “critical transitions” — systems that are poised to tip, to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling in a flock is connected to every other. When a flock turns in unison, it’s a phase transition.

At the individual level, the rules guiding this are relatively simple. When a neighbor moves, so do you. Depending on the flock’s size and speed and its members’ flight physiologies, the large-scale pattern changes. What’s complicated, or at least unknown, is how criticality is created and maintained.

It’s easy for a starling to turn when its neighbor turns — but what physiological mechanisms allow it to happen almost simultaneously in two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds? That remains to be discovered, and the implications extend beyond birds. Starlings may simply be the most visible and beautiful example of a biological criticality that also seems to operate in proteins and neurons, hinting at universal principles yet to be understood.

Video: Liberty Smith & Sophie Windsor Clive, Islands and Rivers/Vimeo

Image: ad551/Flickr

See Also:

Amazing Starling Flocks Are Flying Avalanches
Sex-Changing Chemicals Make Male Starlings Sing Sweet Songs
Autonomous Flying Robots Flock Like Birds
Pigeon Flocks Let the Best Bird Lead
How Mass Migration Might Have Evolved
Animals  Biology  birds  Mystery  Physics  tipping_points  from google
november 2011 by roomthily
More Than Charismatic: The Ecology of Big Animals
<< Previous
|
Next >>











































































Of all mankind's impacts on nature, perhaps none is more pervasive than the systematic elimination of large animals.

Of those that lived 20,000 years ago, many are gone: There are no more saber-toothed tigers or dire wolves or woolly mammoths. Many others, like rhinoceros and South China tigers, are so few in number that from an ecological perspective they're already extinct. Other big animals have retreated into fragments of their former ranges.

Despite the ubiquity of these changes, however, the ecological consequences are hard to perceive. Most people grew up in places where so-called apex predators and megaherbivores were already gone. Absence is a tricky thing to quantify. Ecologists have also been challenged to study processes that can involve subtle interactions over large regions, and take decades if not centuries to become apparent.

In recent years, however, the science has matured. Researchers have a better understanding of just how important large animals are to their environments. They affect what lives and grows, how nutrients cycle and even how disease spreads. Take them away — or reintroduce them — and you change the very nature of nature.

This research is described in a review published July 14 in Science. On the following pages, Wired.com looks at comparisons of environments without and with large animals.


Above: Big Fish and Coral Reefs
At left, the coral reef ecosystem around Kirimati Island in the South Pacific, where fishing pressures have eliminated large fish. At right, a reef ecosystem around nearby Jarvis Island, which is unfished.

Image: Science



<< Previous
|
Next >>
View all



See Also:

Restoring Missing Lynx – The Rejuvenation of an Ecosystem
The Dingo – Australia’s Wildlife Watchdog
In the Bowels of Carnivorous Plants, a Tiny Model of the World
Living With Wolves
Scientists Seek Warning Signs for Catastrophic Tipping Points
Early Warning Signs Could Show When Extinction Is Coming

Citation: “Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth.” By James A. Estes, John Terborgh, Justin S. Brashares, Mary E. Power, Joel Berger, William J. Bond, Stephen R. Carpenter, Timothy E. Essington, Robert D. Holt, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Robert J. Marquis, Lauri Oksanen, Tarja Oksanen, Robert T. Paine, Ellen K. Pikitch, William J. Ripple, Stuart A. Sandin, Marten Scheffer, Thomas W. Schoener, Jonathan B. Shurin, Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Michael E. Soulé, Risto Virtanen, David A. Wardle. Science, Vol. 333 No. 6040, July 15, 2011.
Animals  Environment  ecology  History  tipping_points  from google
july 2011 by xmarquez
Op-Ed Columnist - Our Three Bombs - NYTimes.com
October 6, 2009 | New York Times | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN. "As
we continue to build up carbon in the atmosphere to unprecedented
levels, we never know when the next emitted carbon molecule will tip
over some ecosystem and trigger a nonlinear climate event....people are
worried that our next dollar of debt — unbalanced by spending cuts or
new tax revenues — will trigger a nonlinear move out of the dollar and
torpedo the U.S. currency."

If people lose confidence in the dollar, we could enter a feedback loop,
as with the climate, whereby the sinking dollar forces up interest
rates, which raises the long-term cost of servicing our already massive
debt, which adds to the deficit projections, which further undermines
the dollar.
Tom_Friedman  climate_change  nonlinear_systems  debt  step_change  tipping_points  apocalypses  feedback_loops  interest_rates  discontinuities  think_threes 
october 2009 by jerryking
Mexico's Drug Cartels May Have Become Too Powerful to Control - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 21, 2009 WSJ article by By DAVID LUHNOW and JOSé DE
CORDOBA on Mexico's poise on the tipping point into rule by drug
cartels.
law  security  Mexico  drugs  cartels  criminality  tipping_points 
february 2009 by jerryking

related tags

'80s  a&r  algorithms  analytics  animals  apocalypses  arctic  atlantic  biology  birds  cartels  climate_change  competitive_landscape  complacency  counterintuitive  criminality  dashboards  data  debt  deviance  digital_economy  digital_media  discontinuities  discoveries  donald_trump  downloads  drugs  ecology  environment  feedback_loops  filters  gillian_tett  gulf_stream  history  hits  inefficiencies  instagram  interest_rates  internet_advertising  law  mexico  momentum  moneyball  music  music_industry  music_labels  music_publishing  mystery  myths  nasa  nonlinear_systems  normality  normalization  normalization_of_deviance  physics  playlists  publishing  security  self-mythologize  sharon_begley  songwriters  spotify  statistics  step_change  steve_brearton  success_rates  sxsw  talent  talent_scouting  talent_spotting  television  think_threes  tips  tom_friedman  tracking  videogames  white_house  youtube 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: