Stiff Records Documentary

Hey – check out this BBC4 doc about the English punk label, Stiff Records.

About Stiff

Founded in 1976, Stiff Records was at the heart of the new wave, bringing the world artists as diverse as Elvis Costello, Kirsty MacColl and Ian Dury and what is generally regarded as the first ever punk rock single, New Rose by The Damned.  The label set the yardstick for music business marketing, with artwork by Barney Bubbles and an array of memorable slogans, not least “It It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth A F***”.

Stiff continues to this day, with the 2012 UK #1 single Bom Bom by Sam And The Womp and a back catalogue comprising 150 singles and more than 50 albums of revered 70s and 80s pop, punk and rock.

Catalogue highlights include Tenpole Tudor’s Swords of a Thousand Men (as synched in 2012 to Aardman Animations’ Pirates! and in 2011 to US TV ads for EA Games’ FIFA 11), Tracey Ullman’s They Don’t Know (a #8 US hit in 1983 on the Billboard Hot 100), Wreckless Eric’s Whole Wide World (recently synched to 2012 MacDonalds Canada TV ads) and Desmond Dekker’s Israelites (as featured in Drugstore Cowboy).


Music Business Bootcamp

Hi Everyone – check out this playlist on YouTube called Music Business Bootcamp. There are some really interesting things here and it’s quite nice to just have someone explain how these things work.

And here’s David Byrne talking about the music industry, film and art

Key Focus for Case Study

Remember, your Section B Case Study is based on:

production, ownership, distribution, audiences and exchange, the role of digital technology, convergence and synergy

Make a document with boxes for these terms so you can start filling it up with research based on your case study. For example, if I were to do a case study on Domino Records then I might research how the above are related to the label but use a band/artist signed to them. So, I could look at the band Hookworms who are signed to Domino and then start to research the above with relation to the band.

We could even simplify the above with the following:


Audience/Audience Consumption


File Sharing

The examiners will be looking for the above in your answer so it’s vital that you cover them in your Case Study. The best way might be to have documents for each section as this will make revision a lot more effective for you.

The British Phonographic Institute

These reports from the BPI can offer insightful data on the British music industry. Click on the image below.




Piracy in the Music Industry

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Tackling music piracy

The music industry is a business whose success depends on certainty in the legal environment and on copyright law. This is a constant and ever-changing challenge – the music market internationally continues to be distorted by unfair competition from unlicensed services.

IFPI estimates, based on comScore/Nielsen data, that 20 per cent of internet users worldwide regularly access unlicensed services. This estimate applies only to desktop-based devices: it does not include the emerging, but as yet unquantified, threat of smartphone and tablet-based mobile piracy as consumers migrate to those devices.

The industry is responding not with a single strategy, but with a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach. It includes: consumer education on copyright and the value of music; working with law enforcement agencies to tackle online piracy; litigation against online pirate services; and engaging with policymakers and legislators worldwide to create an environment in which the music sector can grow. The industry is also working with online stores to remove infringing apps and to ensure that apps cannot access illegal websites.

The industry believes all parties in the digital economy have a responsibility to support legitimate digital commerce and help tackle piracy in all its forms. Record companies are looking work with advertisers, domain registrars, internet service providers (ISPs), payment providers and search engines to achieve this goal. Courts around the world are finding that the law also requires greater cooperation from online intermediaries.


Here is what The Recording Industry Association of America have to say on piracy. Click on the image below:

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Check out this short documentary about music piracy

How the Stars Are Fighting Back Against Music Piracy

And check out the image below. Click on it for further information

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David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

This is an outstanding article from David Byrne about the changes the music industry has been through and what the future might hold. Click on the image to go the original Wired Magazine. I cannot recommend this article enough, outstanding and an essential piece of research for your Case Study.

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Music Distribution

Music Distribution is concerned with how the products gets from the Institution to the actual Audience. This can happen in many ways and it has changed over time and will probably continue to do so.

Check this out for more info for your Case Study Music Distribution

The following is from

What is Music Distribution?

It might sound like a silly question but you’d be surprised how hard it can be to give an accurate definition of what music distribution actually is.

In the first instance, an image of physical albums being transported to shops around the country may spring to mind, and in essence that is the main concept. Music distribution is the process of getting music from artist to store, making it available to the public for purchase, whether that store be a physical or digital music retailer.

what is music distribution


The more traditional method of distribution; this is how albums get into shops. A distribution company signs deals with record labels or artists that then gives them the right to sell that label’s or artist’s music to shops that have an account with the distributor. Put simply the distributing company act as a middleman between the artist/record label and the store.


Digital distribution works much the same, just on a different platform. Instead of transporting albums to a physical store the distribution company will distribute music in digital format (usually mp3 or .wav) to online music platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and AmazonMP3.

Some digital distributors accept everyone that wishes to sell via their site. Others also sell via their own site but are more picky with who they allow to sell on it.

Horus Music accept musicians that provide music in a standard that would be deemed acceptable by the stores then distributes it to over 600 download, streaming, mobile and radio platforms in 170+ countries.

 See for yourself.