Programming Shift
3 min read

Programming Shift

Hello, there is a bit of switch up this week on Penny Fractions. This week I originally wrote about YouTube, but ended up not having enough time to properly finish it. Then yesterday afternoon, as I saw the news of a shooting on their California campus, I just decided to wait a week or two for me to do that write-up. So, this week is just very brief thoughts on Spotify’s initial listing and links to read. Next week hopefully should return to slightly normal programming.

Last week, I admitted to be rather uninterested in Spotify going public because my gut says that it’ll go fiiiiine. Well after the initial 24 hours opening higher than their initial reference price and closing only slight down *knocks on wood* I didn't appear too far off the mark. Still, what I’m more living for are these headlines from business publications: “Spotify's unique listing that cut out Wall Street is a success so far, but bankers shouldn't be too worried” said CNBC this Wednesday morning. I won’t pretend to act like I undrestand stock markets, but seeing the stories about Spotify direct public offering and the tension it creates between wall street is to be honest ever so fun see.

Variety reported on the how all of the major labels appear to have over a billion dollar stakes in Spotify after the first day of being on the market. So, here comes the fun. Variety reached out to Sony Music to ask about how much this will be given back to the artists and a Sony said: "Sony Music and The Orchard are committed to sharing with their artists and distributed labels any net gain they may realize from a sale of Sony Music’s equity stake in Spotify. This is consistent with our previously announced policy of sharing breakage and equity proceeds from digital catalog licenses with our artists and distributed labels. The next few weeks and months there will be a lot of eyes on that little SPOT ticker, but I’ll be more interested in just how much of this money ends up in artist hands if any of these labels start selling."

A Hip-Hop Signing Frenzy Sends New Record Deal Prices Soaring - Billboard
I texted a couple people once this article dropped, because I’ve been waiting for something like to be written for a minute. Rap is the genre of the moment, labels are making money, of course money is getting thrown around a bunch. My only minor grip, beyond fiscal irresponsibility, is just that this doesn’t properly credit SoundCloud for creating Juice Wrld’s initial buzz. I know Cole Bennett is the video start of the moment, but Juice Wrld was already a SoundCloud star before that video.

Hit Parade: The Veronica Electronica Edition - Slate
I mentioned this podcast before, but Chris Molanphy’s breakdown of chart and pop music history is always a must listen. His selection of Madonna’s Ray of Light proved to be a great jumping off point to see all of the different ways that electronic music took root in the 90s.

After Driving Streaming Music’s Rise, Spotify Aims to Cash In - The New York Times
In lieu of the Spotify going public, the Times did one more story looking back at the company and doing a little bit of forward guessing as to the streaming platform’s future. Not the most exciting piece, but a nice little time capsule.

Live Nation Rules Music Ticketing, Some Say With Threats - The New York Times
Now, I saw a lot of commentary on Twitter from people being like “Of course this happened what did you expect when two of the biggest companies in live music fused together.” Which is like fair and true, but also like part of the reason of journalism is to highlight when massive companies do fuck shit even though it was clearly obvious they were going to do fuck shit. It’s a great read and honestly is a nice parallel story to what’s happening with iHeartMedia in radio.

Growth At Any Cost: Top Facebook Executive Defended Data Collection In 2016 Memo — And Warned That Facebook Could Get People Killed - Buzzfeed
This is a nearly a week old, but still wanted to include this, because the intense eye that’s getting placed on tech companies is certainly long overdue, but also interesting to see how an industry that isn’t used to actual reporting face it day-to-day. What a lovely awkward dance to witness.

[A Closing Note]

Are we post-playlist? I just keep thinking about the conversations I’m having with people and were I see certain music trends going and I feel we’re 8-10 months away from being post-playlist. Not that playlists won't exist, but just that the cultural value in "Big Playlists" will be far more reduced and under-appreciated. I’d also argue that I’m really interested to see how streaming goes in markets where Spotify hit their saturation point, but maybe I’ll just get into that next week.

If you wanna reach me just shoot a quick email to I’m always eager to chat.