Streaming services, most notably Spotify (by far the largest) use what could be called a parimutuel royalty system: all the money collected goes into a big pool, Spotify takes their 30% off the top, and whatever is left is distributed to artists based on their share of overall plays. Spotify explains how it all works right here. It sounds perfectly fair and reasonable: if an artist wants to make more money all they need to do is get more plays. But there’s a major disconnect in this economic model that has not been discussed widely: Spotify doesn’t make money from plays. They make money froms subscriptions.
Music industry analytics firm Next Big Sound and FRUKT, a marketing company dedicated to the creating and delivering of smart ideas for brands through strategic partnerships with entertainment influencers, just concluded an in depth study of the relationship between brands and bands. Their research illustrates a progressive shift among artists and brands alike, illuminating the path of possibility for exponential growth and gain if the partnership is properly aligned and executed correctly.
If bands and brands can set their sights further down the road of a lasting partnership instead of a one-off collaboration, possibilities abound - and FRUKT has the stats to prove it.
Just days after taking Taylor Swift to task for removing her music from Spotify, musician and activist Billy Bragg has apologized and offered her his "full support." More than about free streaming music, Bragg's criticism had been more about why he believed to Swift's decision to 'secretly' side with Google and YouTube over Spotify. "Google are going after Spotify and Taylor Swift has just chosen sides," wrote Bragg. But after learning that most of Swift's music had also been kept off YouTube's new Music Key, he quickly changed his tune.
Millenials know only a world where free music is everywhere, but one group is still willing to pay and has the disposable income to do it - adults 50+. Chasing that market, Sony Music Entertainment and its catalog division, Legacy Recordings, have formed a new relationship with the American Association Of Retired Persons to offer its 37 million members special music packages, deals and discounts.
The Financial Times yesterday reported that Apple is planning on integrating Beats Music into an iOS update as early as the first quarter of 2015. Which means the entire base of Apple’s 500 odd million iOS devices suddenly become Apple’s acquisition funnel. As I wrote back in May, this was always the strategy Apple was most likely to pursue. Of course being available to 500 iTunes customers is not anything like converting them all. Just ask U2. But it does give Beats Music – if Apple keep the name – a reach like no other subscriptions service on the planet. Especially if Apple is willing to roll out free trials to them all. Currently just 8% of consumers in the US and UK have experienced a subscription trial, which translates into approximately 30 million people. Even if Apple does not quickly succeed in taking subscriptions to the mainstream it is about to take subscription trials to the mainstream, which is the crucial first step.
As my recent "Ask a Publicist" article explained, having a publicist is an essential tool for your band's growth and success. But not every band can afford the spend, depending on where they are in their development. So if you're not signed to a label with in-house PR, relax. You are not S.O.L. There are ways to do your own PR and get some placements on a limited level so you can lay the foundation and make inroads in the media before a trained PR pro, with limitless contacts, steps in and takes over.
Warner Music Group and Tencent Holdings Limited announced a landmark agreement that includes the industry's first-ever master distribution partnership between a major music company and a leading Internet provider in Mainland China. Under the terms of the deal, Tencent will distribute WMG's repertoire and manage new releases to all legitimate local Chinese audio services, with the exception of Mainland China mobile carriers with which Warner Music China will continue to develop partnerships. WMG will oversee relationships with all global service providers, as well as drive all marketing and promotional activities across the region.
BitTorrent has tasked themselves with the building of a sustainable ecosystem for artists and fans alike. Fostering a community where fans can connect directly with artists and vice versa, BitTorrent demonstrated their commitment to sustainable art with the launch of BitTorrent Bundles, a publishing project that allows fans to access content via a key that becomes available when users provide an email address or a direct payment to the artist. In September, BitTorrrent asked 2,500 users about the presence of and interaction with content, creativity, music and film in their daily lives. Despite the recent manifestation of streaming as the enemy and the thought that if music isn't available for free it won't be heard, 50% of users still purchase music monthly and 52% buy films. Streaming is holding its position as an inevitability, but according to the BitTorrent survey, their average user still wants more.
[UPDATED] In what most in the music industry see as a long overdue move Nielson Soundscan will add both streams and downloads to their weekly Top 200 album sales chart published by Billboard. Beginning with the Dec. 3rd chart (sales for the week ending Nov. 30 which includes Black Friday), music streams from Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Beats and others will become part of the ranking using the calculation of 1500 song streams as as equal to an album sale.
Facebook executives drew a line in the proverbial sand on Friday when they announced their plans to restructure the way posts placed by brands appear in newsfeeds. As if it hasn't been hard enough to gain organic reach, Facebook has essentially closed the door on anything other than paid advertising. Starting in January, as Facebook told marketers, if you want to reach customers on Facebook, you'll need to buy an ad. This change could arguably be long overdue for commercial brands raking in revenue at minimal advertising cost, but if you're a band on a budget or a musician trying to jumpstart a career, and you plan on using Facebook to reach your fans, it looks like you'll need to adjust your finances accordingly.
The music industry has drastically changed in recent years. We no longer live in a world where we anxiously wait outside of a record store to get a new album. In fact, we no longer want to buy albums at all. Today, streaming music is the go-to way to consume music. Companies like Spotify have begun to fill the needs of illegal downloaders who want to support artists but not have the pressure of buying the music themselves. Although Taylor Swift believes that music streaming is one large experiment, Cherie Johnson believes that it is here to stay.
1,112 members of the TuneCore community responded to the survey they dispersed asking indie artists and label management about the current state of the music industry. The industry has been and is continuing to rapidly evolve and as those changes take place, artists are both challenged and expected to keep up. TuneCore posed the survey looking for helpful answers - their users did not let them down.
It may come as a surprise to those not familiar with the Chinese indie scene that BandCamp is fairly widely adopted as part of local artists’ promo toolbox – at least for serious gigging bands with releases under the likes of Genjing Records and Maybe Mars. BandCamp chief executive Ethan Diamond told the Guardian recently that the service would be giving every artist the ability to create a subscription service of their own on the site. The offering can be tailored to an artist’s audience, with flexible pricing and the option to include back-catalogue bonuses for subscribers being some of the variables on offer.
Reports surfaced yesterday that Apple will relaunch Beats Music in March inside an updated version of its iOS operating system. But even placement within the core of Apple's eco-system does not mean Beats will become a music subscription market leader, according to a top anlayst. It could, however, be an important tool to help convert iTunes users to paid streamers.
Jordan Blaugrund has been upped to Vice President, Digital Marketing, at RCA Records. Blaugrund previously was of Senior Director of Digital Marketing at the label. In his new role, Blaugrund will oversee all digital marketing initiatives and direct to consumer business for the label. Blaugrund will report to Tom Corson, President & COO, RCA Records and remain in the label’s New York headquarters.
Move over Neil Young, the options for those who care about sound quality are expanding. Today, newly relaunched audio brand Technics announced the opening of a hi-resolution music download service offering 24-bit FLAC tracks powered by 7digital.
Apple is planning to relaunch Beats Music in March, according to new reports. The "new" paid streaming music service would reportedly be a part of a new version of Apple's iOS operating system. If true, it would be consistent with how Apple handles most of its core applications and services keeping each within Apple's closely integrated eco-system.
On November 10, Dutch record company, Black Hole Recordings introduced a digital pop-up store, using Twitter as it's form of currency. The first pop-up store of it's kind, website visitors can purchase products like tracks, ringtones, and digital booklets in exchange for mentions and engagements via Twitter.
Last week's SF Music Tech Summit was crammed with expertly curated sessions, industry acclaimed panelists, and inspired attendees that cultivated contemplative conversation. If you weren't able to make the conference or were torn between two sessions occurring simultaneously, you can make up for lost time by streaming the conference sessions on the SF Music Tech Soundcloud.
Singer and activist Billy Bragg has taken exception to Taylor Swift's decision to remove her music from Spotify, calling the move a part of a "corporate power play" between Google and Spotify. In a post on his Facebook page, Bragg takes Swift to task, suggesting that her decision to pull her music from Spotify was part of a deal with Google to headline the beta launch of their new Youtube Music Key streaming service.
In a Social Media Marketer's arsenal, there are undoubtedly fancy tricks to reach fans through Instagram. For a musician wearing the hat of both Rocker and Publicist, tackling Instagram could seem daunting. Thankfully, this social media platform is one of the simplist ways to create connections with fans and it seems that Joe Marson has the tips and tricks to help achieve that goal.
What’s with pop stars these days? It’s as if they don’t appreciate steaming services giving their music away for free! Taylor Swift’s July editorial in the Wall Street Journal might have been easy for snarky pop media to denigrate, but the singer made some cogent points about the future of the music industry. Her experience as a multi-millionaire superstar was used against her, but it actually makes her someone whose opinions need to be considered.
The sheer number of tasks that need to be completed on any given day can overwhelm anybody involved in music professionally. In today's industry, most musicians end up wearing many different hats in order to make ends meet. Everywhere you go, independent artists have to not only write and perform the music, but record it, market it, book shows, and do their own press. Getting organized is essential to avoid getting bogged down by tasks and overwhelmed to the point of stagnation. Below are five tasks that you can add to your daily to-do list that will without a doubt put you closer to achieving your goals.
Irving Azoff is ratcheting up the pressure after YouTube apparently ignored his warning to make a deal or take down music and videos relating to the 20,000 songs under his control. The catalog managed by Azoff's Global Music Rights (GMR) includes music written by The Eagles, Pharrell Williams, Boston, Foreigner, Smokey Robinson, John Lennon, Smokey Robinson and George and Ira Gershwin.