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Things I learned from re-watching the movie, Ballerina

If you could still recall, it was in January 2017 when Ballerina was released in theaters. The movie tells about the story of an orphan girl who strives to fulfill her dream to become a famous ballerina. Together with her best friend, the two began their journey as they slip away from the orphanage. I’ve been watching this movie last Saturday and guess what? That was the 5th time that I have spent my spare time for just watching it. I don’t know it has been such a good motivation for me since the day that I have watched it. It never bores me in fact, I have a couple of favorite scenes in this movie, few gems, and a little slap on the face realization that I would gladly share to all of you.

 

Ballerina taught me…

 To “NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS”

This movie paints a picture of a poor little girl struggling in life, lost … nobody but look at her, her persistence and courage has been her strength to achieve her dreams.

 

That no matter how powerful is your competitor, don’t just yield and let them win the game. Felicie, the poor orphan girl has encountered the most powerful people during her early age. She stole the identity of Camille, daughter of Regine Le Haut, the wicked sneering antagonist. Surely, it must have been so much for her to be humiliated and threatened but Felicie did not just stoop down (well, yes it damaged her self-confidence but she didn’t give up that easily), she stand up and fight for what she ever dreamed of–dancing.

 

Passion is the key.

Oh, we all know this. You will never do something fulfilling without putting love in it. Ballerina illuminates the people that no matter how deep are your depiction of your expertise in a certain skill, what is lacking could always be seen.

 

In a way, Ballerina is simply a wake up call to movie producers/directors/writers because what they are trying to draw to its viewers is quite discomforting. Here are a few points:

 

Ballerina wants us to know that

People usually judge based on status. Remember when Felicie coincidentally found the Opera? She was accused of stealing when in fact she was only earnestly watching a ballerina doing a little practice.

Well, it isn’t hard for someone to judge because she looks like a street children and she’s one, actually. I just hope that next time producers and writers would be able to come up with a new movie portraying a different outlook with society. This is a children movie, aren’t it supposed to teach them positive outlook not only in life but also with the people in it?

 

Though you cheated and lied just to achieve something, it is tolerable once you proved that you’re better than the rest. Ah…Does that even make sense?

 

Rich people are cruel to poor people and that only those will help them is the people who are also poor. This is clearly a red flag for children. Not all rich people are inhumane, there are also some who rich out for poor people trying to help and supply their needs.

 

So basically, Ballerina is indeed a good movie. You just have to supervise your children while watching it because as to what I shared with you, there are things that needed to be explained to them to avoid the misinterpretation. Ratings? 4 out of 5, not bad though and I love this movie.

Chivalry in Love (A look back on Carlos ‘Charlie’ Ledesma and Susan Magalona story)

Before the popularity of this generation’s well-known amour, it was back in the 1950s when several yet truly unspoken love stories have first emerged. Have you ever heard about the story behind Carlos Ledesma and Susan Magalona’s marriage?

Well, we’re all aware that during those era, wealthy and prominent families have had execute fixed marriage for some reasons, it could probably be a way to secure each means, or to establish partisan between the families or maybe they just simply find their sons and daughter suitable for each other so they just decided for them to tie the knot. Whatever their reasons, there has never been anything good about it (Carlos and Susan) were just one of the unfortunate people who have been struck by this ill-tradition. It was actually only the legendary beauty during her time who was totally devastated by this decision.

susan magalona
photo credits to the owner.

The two was arranged married, it was said that Susan was even seen in tears while walking the aisle. So, as expected it has resulted to a loveless marriage bounded by unrequited love. Carlos and Susan have stayed together for around 7 or 8 years, it was then that Susan Magalona couldn’t take what she was living in anymore and calls for nullification of their marriage that Carlos Ledesma unhesitatingly permitted.

The church said (because as I have said, annulment has not been imposed on the Philippine executive orders back then) that the marriage will and only will be nullified, void if the marriage was not consummated. And so, test has been made to Susan Magalona proving that she has been a virgin from the day she got married up till the nullification of the marriage. Due to the earnest love of Carlos to Susan, the two remain in good terms.

Carlos and Conchita Arenas
Carlos Ledesma on his marriage with Conchita Arenas (photo credits to the owner).

Susan Magalona then married diplomat millionaire Federico Elizalde while Carlos Ledesma wedded Conchita Arenas, daughter of Vicente Arenas and Julieta Lopez.

 

The story of Carlos Ledesma and Susan Magalona has conveyed a very important message for every man, those people who have been in the midst of unrequited love, also those people who simply love someone that it is only when you want the best and happiness for that one person you love will give you the courage and strength to certainly let them go once their happiness is entirely not being with you. And I must say (because it should be said) that the portrayal of chivalry, of being a man by Carlos Ledesma is what men nowadays shall grandfathered in because as much as it seems unusual, men these days are actually getting far from what men were once used to be.

 

 

Rodrigo Duterte on his second SONA as President of the Republic of Philippines

photo©totheowner.

First of all, I’d like to commend President Rodrigo Duterte on his eagerness to continue his fight against crimes and drug related cases despite of several anti-campaigns who have been eyeing to stop him from its implementation and his acknowledgement on the sickening situation of the environment. PDuterte blasts mining firms saying either he will raise their taxes or they come up with a substitute. These mining firms have been quarrying for many years I don’t think that they deserve to have the liberty to think of ways in order for them to keep their business. Honestly, PDuterte’s awareness in the environment situation is quite out of date. Yes, in his first SONA he addressed the climate change saying that global warming should be the nation’s top priority but this one–mining firms who little by little dig into the destruction of mountains, watersheds, forests and aquatic resources is supposed to be the stepping stone in the alleviation of global warming once hopefully prohibited. I fully support the anti-mining advocacy of Former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez who then supported by Pres. Duterte despite of him being surrounded by mining interests. Additionally, he also blasts media due to their irresponsibility and failure to deliver non-partisan news to the people.

 

Similar to his previous SONA, PDuterte’s full-support and assistance in AFP never failed to be addressed. He mentioned that families of soldiers will have secured assistance from the government, additional medical equipment for AFP due to its insufficiency. He also expressed his dedication to retrieve peace in Mindanao saying that the P25Billion tax settlement of Mighty Corporation will go for the rebuilding of Marawi.

 

Now, one of the issues that Filipinos are expecting to be disclosed (and one of my expectations as well) is Pres. Duterte’s promise to lower income tax rates and corporate tax rates. As he opened this issue, he first commended the House of Congress for passing Tax Reform Bill in its third hearing however, he cleared that no matter how much he wanted for the bill to be imposed it is still in the hands of the senate’s jurisdiction. So consequently, it gives us the 50:50 standing on this promise, it will be approved but no, not yet (just like that). The objective of Tax Reform Program is to increase the national budget. One of its focuses is the increase of tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, P10-per-liter excise tax will be imposed on the said beverage this will include all carbonated drinks, sports drinks , juices, teas, coffee and cereal. This program is said to be “anti-poor” but upon seeing one of its key points,  I’m afraid that it is only the poor who will be mainly affected in this proposed bill. It may simply dissuade the consumers to purchase the said beverages.  What will happen then?

 

Overall, I may say that the second SONA of PDuterte tackled the issues that Filipinos have been waiting to be disclosed, majority of the top issues (traffic problems, internet speed connectivity, increase in minimum wage of workers, additional jobs for Filipinos) have not been FULLY-disclosed but I believe through patience and willingness to support the president’s agendas, we will all achieve what we’ve been aching to achieved as we all wanted change. Besides, he still have 5 years to serve the nation so as long as he’s alive and kicking, we shall be hyped on all his upcoming action plan for the betterment of our country. Keep in mind that no matter how great is your authority, if nobody dares to change a thing, nothing… not a single thing will change. The president himself is seeking for our help. Change comes from within. It starts with us. I believe that only when nation unites to cooperate, change will finally come.

“Believe me, it is easier to build from scratch than to dismantle the rotten and rebuild upon its rubble. Let us work together and lay a new foundation in which a better Philippines can be reconstructed. Help me build a better tomorrow,” President Rodrigo Duterte as he ended his speech.

 

 

#HappyNationalIceCreamDay: 10 facts you probably didn’t know about ICE CREAM

photo credits to the owner.

Yesterday, people have celebrated one of the most anticipated holidays in the history — National Ice cream Day. In 1984, Former President Ronald Reagan declared July as National Ice cream month and the third Sunday of it as the National Ice Cream Day. It is said that the late president recognized the popular dessert as a wholesome and nutritious food that is enjoyed by over 90% of the people in the United States. It was only proclaimed in the US but due to the deliciousness and popularity of ice cream, some countries also joined in the celebration including us, in Philippines. One of the leading fried chicken best sellers, KFC also joined to celebrate the said holiday. They were reported to had offer free ice creams in their selected stores and branches.

So, you love ice cream but how depth is your knowledge about it?

Let me share these facts that you probably didn’t know about this all-time favorite dessert.

Did you know?

  • It was the Chinese who created the first concept of ice cream. It is believed that ice cream were originated on the idea of a simple dish of rice mixed with milk that was frozen due to being packed with snow. They are also said to be the men behind the invention of the first ice cream machine.
  • The first introduction of ice cream in America appeared in 1744. It was then followed by its first advertisement which appeared in New York Gazette back in 1777.
  • It was in 1851 when the first ice cream plant is opened. A milk dealer named Jacob Fussell became a successful businessman when he built an ice cream factory in Pennsylvania.
  • The tallest ice cream cone was achieved by Mirco Della Vecchia and Andrea Andrighetti. The cone is too tall having the measurement of 2.81m (9 ft 2.63 in) in height. The tallest cone got it to the Guinness World Record and is still unbeaten. By the way, the traditional waffle cone that we got used to made its debut back in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • In celebration for WWII victory, Americans ate more than 20 quarts of ice cream per person.
  • Ice cream was once known as ‘cream ice’. It was King Charles I of England who was one of those people who once called ice cream as cream ice.
  • New Zealand is the biggest consumers of ice cream in the world ahead of Australia and the USA.
  • It takes 3 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.
  • Brain freeze” occurs only when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth
  • According to several sources, it takes about 50 licks to consume a single scoop of ice cream.

And lastly, did you know that my favorite ice cream chain, Dairy Queen opened its first franchise in the Philippines in 2006. DQ started more than 60 years in Joliet, Illinois but it was only in 1972 when they began the expansion internationally.

“Life is like an ice cream. Enjoy it before it melts.”

See original: https://medium.com/ceeart/happynationalicecreamday-10-facts-you-probably-didnt-know-about-ice-cream-d706dc05960b

BOOK REVIEW: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

photo credits to the owner.

It’s been a long time since I wrote a review so here you go.

I have finished this book last month. Normally, once I finished a book I go ahead and create a review about it but this time right after I finished ‘Our Chemical Hearts’ I was not able to do so. This is due to untold task that I had to finish throughout those days. Well, yes, I had a couple of days off but usually I spend them in sleeping to gain my vitality. I just don’t force myself to write especially when I know that I am drained completely.

Sothis book is about a seventeen year old boy named Henry Page who has never found himself being in love, a boy who’s happy by the thought of getting good academic grades to finally become their school’s newspaper editor in order to achieve a semi-decent college life. Things began to change when he met the odd girl, Grace Town.

Grace isn’t Henry’s idea of what a typical girl should be like, walking into his first period class wearing an oversized shirt (a boy’s shirt!) with that look as if she hasn’t been taking a shower for how many days plus the fact that she walks with a cane… she is indeed that type of girl who is odd and mysterious. The story began when they were both chosen to edit the school paper which Grace immediately turned down for the reason that she no longer writes. That situation made Henry pissed off because he thinks about the opportunity that is simply going to be wasted. He then had a little talk with Grace, an awkward one, actually, which made her finally accept the position.

They became friends, yes but Henry knows there is something broken about Grace Town that he needed to know and he did. I do not wish to spoil anything now. Here’s a quote from Henry to give you an idea of what’s with this book.

‘So this is certainly not a story of love at first sight.
But it is a love story.
Well.
Kind of.’

NOTABLE PASSAGES:

“I was a decent enough writer, but talking? With sounds? From my mouth? That was a bitch.”

“The things you own end up owning you”

“Space is the best cure for sadness that I know.”

“When I look up into the night sky, I remember that I’m nothing but the ashes of long-dead stars. A human being is a collection of atoms that comes together into an ordered pattern for a brief period of time and then falls apart again. I find comfort in my smallness.”

“The best thing the universe ever gave us is that we’ll all be forgotten.”

“I kinda like the idea,” she said. “That when we die, despite any pain or fear or embarrassment we experienced during our lives, despite any heartbreak or grief, we get to be dispersed back into nothingness. It makes me feel brave, knowing I’ll get a blank slate at the end. You get a brief glimmer of consciousness to do with what you will and then it’s given back to the universe again. I’m not religious, but even I can appreciate that that’s redemption, on the grandest scale. Oblivion isn’t scary; it’s the closest thing to genuine absolution of sin that I can imagine.”

“People are perfect when all that’s left of them is memory.”

“You know how you sometimes have the most exhausting day and you can’t wait to get home and fall into bed and sleep for hours? I feel that way about life. There are people out there who read books about vampires and they crave immortality, but sometimes I’m so thankful that at the end of it all, we get to sleep forever. No more pain. No more exhaustion. Death is the reward for having lived.”

“Stories with happy endings are just stories that haven’t finished yet.”

“Why is it, I thought, that we’re so willing to hurt the ones we care about the most?”

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THE BOOK…

Life lessons being interpret through character’s point of view. You know that a book will left an impact to its reader when or if he/she learned something from the book itself. I loved Krystal Sutherland’s idea in life and death,

I find it quite broad to depict but there were things that will surely left you in a realization thinking ‘Ah yes, point taken.’

I also loved the idea that Krystal filled it with references to music, films, also book etc. Once you finished a book, I suggest that you do not skip the author’s note or the acknowledgements because that’s when you’ll discover the author’s journey throughout the entire completion of the book and it never fails to amaze me. It is such an inspiration for young writers like me.

Overall, Our Chemical Hearts is a tear-jerker novel. (Yes, I mean it. Read on and see for yourself, guys.) The moment I read the most painful and heart-breaking part of it, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. The apparent feeling is there and for me, that’s what makes a good story, that feeling when you feel like putting yourself in the shoe of the characters, when you felt their pain… Goodness! You probably think it’s crazy but it’s absolutely satisfying.

WILL I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ALL AGES?

Yes, but with supervision. It’s a good-read but there are certain parts that may need a little discussion (if got curious about it) with matured readers.

RATINGS: 

5 stars for the entirety of the book: cover, concept, structure/flow of the story.

This blog is originally published on medium. See original post: https://medium.com/ceeart/our-chemical-hearts-by-krystal-sutherland-7e595dac893f

Movie Review: DCEU’s Wonder Woman

(photo credits: http://static.srcdn.com)

 

Wonder woman is the fourth installment in DC Extended Universe. Diana Prince first made her appearance in the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice where a certain scene shows Bruce Wayne discovering a World war I-era photograph of Diana revealing her true identity as Wonder woman. It has given me the idea of where Wonder woman’s story goes and I find my speculations right in some ways.

 

Using the strategy of nonlinear film, the movie revolves around Diana Prince (Wonder woman) present and past where it has portrayed what had happened behind that photograph sent by Bruce Wayne. I think for me through the glimpse on Diana’s past, her battle for humanity against Ares, the God of war is DC’s way to unveil a new storyline for the next installment. Perhaps, it’ll be Justice League, which will be in cinemas on November. I don’t know but I believe DC drops hints regarding the next DCEU movie. One of the hints which made me believe on my theory is when Diana emails back to Wayne to reaffirms her mission to protect humanity against all odds. Having said that, it obviously means that the battle continues what’s only making it an unsolved mystery is the question ‘who is she fighting with, Batman alone?’ There I believe Justice League made its way.

wonder-woman-photo-1000359.jpg

In terms of production and all aspects, I believe what made Wonder woman astonishingly amazing (for me) is the incredible contribution of the people behind it. Patty Jenkins, the director whom for Matthew Jensen, its cinematographer, is a great collaborator. The official soundtrack contributes a good impact to the movie as well. It may seem no big deal but I think it is one of the factors that made Wonder woman a victory and of course, Jenkins’ casting. Gal Gadot shows great efforts when playing the role of Diana and Wonder woman. I have no words for that, if you’ve watched the movie surely we’ll both raise our thumbs up to that and not only Gal, Chris Pine who’s known for his role as James T. Kirk in the movie Star Trek, also did a good job together with his team: (the marksman, the spy and the smuggler) Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremmer and Eugene Brave Rock.

 

I’m giving 95% as its overall ratings; all I can say is that the ending of this movie made me long for Justice League. Goodness, I have to wait for four months before it comes. I’m recommending you guys to watch it simply because it’s incredible, an intense theatrical action packed with a humor which I believe quite unusual with DC since they are more-like the dark and edgy type.

Wonder Woman is still showing in cinemas so go ahead and watch it. Let me know your thoughts below.

 

Team bahay na naman ba, bes? Ariana Grande back in Manila for her album “Dangerous Woman” tour.

 

 

August 23, 2015, nearly two years ago when Ariana Grande held her first concert showcasing ‘The Honeymoon Tour’ here in Manila. The concert featured her first hit songs such as “Problem”, “Breakfree”, “Bang bang”, “The Way” and “Baby I”. I heard that night was a blast at oo, bes, I am one of those unfortunate fans who wasn’t able to attend the concert. Why? Error 404 IPON NOT FOUND. I was broke back then, broke in a way that I still have money but they were already distributed to all my expenses the following days. And now that I have given another chance to finally get to watch Ariana live mukhang 50:50 na naman. Mangutang? No, I don’t think it’s a reasonable thing to do it. Ang babaw naman masyado.

 

Bakit mukhang alanganin akong makapunta?

 

Four days ago, it was announced that Ariana Grande will be returning in Manila for her Dangerous Tour album that will be held again at Mall of Asia Arena and guess what? It was just yesterday, when the ticket prices for the said concert was revealed which has resulted to minutes of me in deafening silence of hopelessness. Why? Check out the photo below for the ticket prices.

arianagrandeconcert

 

What should I expect? Just like her previous concert ang mahal pa rin talaga, bes. Kunsabagay, si Ariana yan eh hindi naman yan indie band o kung sino lang kaya what to expect diba?  Kung makakapanood man ako, for sure, Gen Ad lang or worse pass na naman muna, Team Bahay na naman ako. Ang saklap eh. Ang nakakatawa dito, according to Inquirer.net, the ticket prices are relatively lower compared to her last concert na kung titingnan mo naman ilang daan lang ang ikinamura.grande 2015 ticket prices.jpg

Well, except yung sa General Admission mas pinababa talaga ngayon. Ariana Grande’s coming concert will feature her R&B hits “Dangerous Woman”, “Be Alright” and “Side to Side” which is my favorite song of her till now.

I’ve been there all night…

I’ve been there all day

And boy, got me walkin’ side to side

I’ve been there all night

I’ve been there all day

And boy, got me walkin’ side to side (side to side)

 

Lagi na lang ba? Lagi na lang ba akong Team Bahay? No, I would not let it be like that forever. Sino bang may gusto na laging ganun? Gusto ko din silang ma-cover kahit once in a lifetime noh?

Makakapanood din ako and when that time comes, I would not write about this Team Bahay-thing instead I’ll share to you my unforgettable experience during that event together with the #TeamConcert!

Hintay lang, bes! Ipon- ipon din kasi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I wanted to watch 13 Reasons Why and yet I haven’t done so…

I’ve seen this book a couple of times before it became a television series released on NetFlix. For some reasons, it didn’t catch my attention maybe because that time, I was searching a specific book which was urgently needed. Now, it has been one of the most anticipated adaptations. It was released on March 31, 2017 and here I am flooded by everyone’s commentary, friends asking me to check it out or give the book a shot to read which lead me to go ahead, try and just watch the series though first of all, I do not have an account on NetFlix (probably my №1 problem here).

The book was written by Jay Asher which was published under RazorBill. The story revolved around how Hannah Baker, a high school student, life has ended. In the book, the story is told from the perspective of Clay Jensen, Hannah’s classmate who has been in love with her through numerous flashbacks from the cassette tapes that has been anonymously dropped on his doorstep. Each tape states the reasons why she committed suicide, which also includes the people behind the trigger to do so. Before the tapes arrived on Clay’s mail, they were also sent to those particular people.

So basically, the book is about teenage lives, a definitely awareness to some that do the same or shared the same experience of Hannah Baker, who has been ruined by the detrimental emerging “youth”, Hannah was abused, physically, mentally and emotionally by the people within her school. This is not an odd- happening, right? You could possible witness the same scenario anywhere most especially in your school or at home. Out of curiosity, I’ve read reviews about the book, among all of them; I find this review on-point or enlightening especially to people like neither me who haven’t watched nor read the book yet.

This review was taken from Goodreads. Credits to the rightful person.
Continuation of the featured review.

 

Indeed, Thirteen Reasons Why is both a must-read and watched but why I haven’t done so?

Three things;

First, I am currently reading a popular contemporary novel which already had its movie adaptation in 2009, The Time traveler’s Wife which was written by Audrey Niffenegger in 2003. The movie left a bitter-sweet feels in me and I’m in the midst of comparison whether the book will also do the same. What are the events that didn’t make it to its adaptation? Surely, there were some or maybe a few. Who knows? I am adamantly curious that I couldn’t abandon this book for a while just because I got intrigued with a controversial book. It definitely can wait till I finished this book. It doesn’t matter if I get to watched 13 Reasons Why when the hype is over, abandoning books that I’ve began reading is not my thing.

Second, (Sure, you’ll find this a shallow or a lame reason) as what I’ve mentioned earlier, I don’t have a NetFlix account. I don’t usually watch on it because I don’t know, I’m not interested? Or maybe I just got use to watch in YouTube. Sorry.

And lastly, I haven’t tried watching 13 Reasons Why also because like Hannah Baker, I am depressed. Not because of school matters but due to random late night thoughts, every day stuffs, everything. I can’t tell you specifically my countless reasons why because even I don’t know where to start. I am okay, the thoughts of ending my life doesn’t pop out of mind. It did before, but I do not have the courage to do so because just like the others, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the amount of blood that will come out rushing through my skin. I’m afraid of what will happen next. Reading has been a good therapy for me and somehow, I slowly forget what I was anxious about. Slowly but at least it helps. Even if The Time Traveler’s Wife turned out to be a boring book that would lead me to stop reading it, I wouldn’t mind watching 13 Reasons Why,now that I also heard, how Hannah Baker killed herself will be portrayed.

It is a good book, television series but I’m afraid. I will be watching it but not this time, not till I recover and get a little better.

Originally posted on medium.com: https://medium.com/ceeart/why-i-wanted-to-watch-13-reasons-why-and-yet-i-havent-done-so-8e27654f7fe2

Are We Witnessing The Beginning Of The End For Free Music Streaming?

“Our theory was simple,” wrote Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify, in 2014, “offer a terrific free tier, supported by advertising, as a starting point to attract fans and get them in the door.”

So what happens after everybody’s crossed the threshold?

At the time Ek wrote that post he was reacting to the high-visibility exit of Taylor Swift from his platform over a disagreement (to put it kindly) about the vast catalog of “free” (what the industry refers to as “ad-supported”) streaming music it offered. At the time, Spotify had 12.5 million paying users and 37.5 million listening for free — it now has 50 million subscribers and at least 50 million free listeners. Through that growth, the company has vehemently (and in that blog post from Ek, quite dramatically) defended its two-tier “freemium” approach — free streaming with ads and paid subscriptions with no ads — despite repeated criticism from artists over the much lower royalty rates it paid for those ad-supported streams.

No longer. This week, Spotify relented, agreeing to withhold certain albums from the free tier of listeners. For a two-week window following their release dates, certain albums will only be available to paying subscribers. The deal was struck after a two-year-long negotiation with Universal Music, the world’s largest record label, over the structure and cost of licensing the label’s music. “We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way,” Ek wrote, surprisingly matter-of-fact, yesterday. Billboard reports that in return, Spotify got UMG to agree to lower royalty fees for hitting revenue targets.

“In a market this dynamic,” Universal Music chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge wrote* of the deal yesterday (Apr. 4), “one evolving more rapidly than ever before, success requires creative and continual re-evaluation of how best to bring artists’ music to fans.”

(*Note: Some possible motivation for Universal’s negotiating position can be traced to the moment in 2016 when Grainge and the label were the butt of a contractual joke engineered by none other than Frank Ocean, who used the release of his 45-minute-long visual album Endless to satisfy his contract with Universal Music. Hours later, he released his “proper” album, Blonde, as a self-released exclusive on Apple Music. Grainge reacted swiftly, calling for an end to all platform-specific album exclusives like Ocean’s. Grainge already had, for years at that point, been criticizing free streaming.)

A key element of the dynamism that Grainge seems to be referencing here is the fact that, unlike at the time of Ek’s blog post, a huge number of listeners are now “in the door.” Streaming is both the dominant source of revenue for the major labels (“streaming represents the majority of the business,” as Grainge wrote yesterday) and the primary way the western world accesses music. The industry is no longer as willing to subsidize Spotify’s growth (which has translated into its own success). And so we come to the death, by natural market causes, of a favorite Silicon Valley business strategy.

Now, the writing is on the wall for music fans — if you want to hear what you want to hear when you want to hear it in the friction-free and anywhere-access way you’ve become accustomed, the time is fast-approaching when you will be required to pay up.

Spotify’s deal with Universal (as well as contracts with Warner Music and Sony Music which are still under negotiation) is not the only thing threatening Spotify’s free tier. One month ago in Washington, D.C. a byzantine and little-known process, overseen by a panel of three judges named the Copyright Royalty Board, began to determine the rates that Spotify and its competitors will pay not to recording artists or labels but songwriters and music publishers.

Put simply (this part of the music business can induce headaches), this process involves the filing of arguments by companies about how much they should pay to license song compositions — and some of these arguments would all but annihilate Spotify’s free tier. Apple, arguing on behalf of Apple Music — which has become Spotify’s lead competitor since its launch a little less than two years ago — writes:

“Interactive streaming services do not need to be ‘protected.'”

What Apple is referring to is Spotify’s own arguments to the Board, in which the company spends a significant amount of time defending free listening. Apple posits that Spotify’s arguments to save its free tier amount to institutional protection. To that end, it has proposed a royalty rate that would, if accepted, essentially force Spotify to shutter its free tier, by making it pay the same royalty on paid and free streams. Songwriters have done essentially the same, asking for a raise and a similar change to the structure of their royalties from streaming services.

The Copyright Royalty Board revisits these rates every five years. The last time it met, it kept rates the same. But the music business has changed so vastly since 2012 that the argument to keep things as they are is now more difficult to defend. (We’ll find out in December, when the CRB expected to issue its decision.)

Now that the traditional music business, made up of the major labels and major publishers, has some semblance of stability after a decade-and-a-half of economic diminution and strategic chaos, it’s back on the offensive. Killing free streaming is one fight. Spreading its bets through licensing to virtual reality endeavors and being more open-minded to licensing its catalog to social startups — as we covered in early February — is another.

Listeners, musicians and tech companies are through the door now. Spotify, an extremely important source of revenue for the music industry, now has to worry about the next milestone — going public. (A report from The Wall Street Journal today says the company may pursue a type of initial offering that could be more lucrative for its equity holders, which include the three major record labels.) After years of the industry softly subsidizing Spotify’s growth into a mature business, they now want it to start acting like one.

 

Originally posted by/on: / http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/04/05/522762634/are-we-witnessing-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-free-music-streaming?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nprmusic&utm_term=music&utm_content=20170410

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