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Monthly Archives: September 2016

September 16, 2016

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/16/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 16th, 2016. There’s a lot of news in the streaming space, but also some interesting news with club music in Australia and the UK charts as well.

Tidal had huge loses last year. It appears that the streaming service is not doing well and burning around $2 mil per month. No wonder Jay-Z is looking for a buyer.

And it has a lot of unpaid bills. Over 100 in fact, including rent, accountants, recording labels, advertising agencies, and just about everything else you can think of. Tidal was never a serious streaming contender, and was only a money play for Jay-Z that looks like it’s not going to turn out well.

Why hasn’t Apple Music introduced hi-res music yet? It seems that the introduction of the iPhone 7 would have been the perfect time, since the transition over to digital earphones is now underway and audio reproduction is a big feature.

Pandora announced a number of licensing deals. With everyone except Warner Music, that is. Even most of the indie labels are now licensed, which leads you to believe that its new service will be launched just about any time now.

Spotify wants to go public, which means a change in service. The streaming leader may get rid of the free tier to make itself look better to the market, which the major labels will love as well.

YouTube told it has to pay more in the EU. The EU is going to reform copyright laws and video sites like YouTube will have to pay more to be in compliance. Very cool.

Is stream-ripping a real thing? It seems like it’s something that the music industry made up so everyone thinks piracy isn’t dead. People just aren’t a serious threat to pirate music from YouTube, not matter what the article says.

Sydney’s lockout laws are causing a dustup. The bars now have to close by 2AM instead of 3:3oAM, but just how much business can you lose at that time of the morning? Then again, those Aussies do like to party.

A change in the UK charts could influence the US as well. Top 40 charts don’t turn over much any more since they reflect streams of songs that are listened to over and over. The UK wants to reward new discovery, which might change how charts are determined.

Ameba Records in Hollywood will not see the wrecking ball. At least not until its lease runs out. Ameba sold its prime real estate on Sunset Blvd last year, so this might not end well, but at least any ending won’t happen in the near future.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

September 15, 2016

5 Tips For Building Your Email List

email listYour email list is one of the most powerful online tools that an artist can have, but how do you build one if you’re just starting out or you’ve neglected it for too long? Here are 5 tips from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that provide an easy roadmap to a larger list.

“Just like with your social media follows and Likes, building your mailing list takes some work. In general it comes down to the following:

1. Trust in your site. If your site or social page makes people uncomfortable in any way, chances are they won’t give you their email address.

2. An incentive of some kind. Generally speaking, people don’t want to give their address out unless they’re get something in return. Don’t think about the fact that you’re getting their email address, think of what’s in it for the fan. He only may care about regular communication, but usually access to something free (a song, ticket, ebook, article) gets better results.

3. Make it easy by not asking for too much information. The more info you ask from a potential subscriber, the greater the chance that he’ll give up while subscribing. Asking for just an email address gets the greatest response, but adding a first name allows you to include a personal greeting.

4. Cross-promote across social media, business cards, banners, and anywhere else you can think of. Anywhere you get a chance to mention your email list, do so.

5. Reminders in your content. Mention your mailing list in any podcasts, blogs, or videos, because sometimes even if it’s right in front of them, a reminder is still needed.

Your email list is extremely powerful for communicating, interacting, and promoting to your fans. Put sufficient time and effort into it and you’ll be richly rewarded.”

By the way, you can join my list over on the right.

You can read more from my Social Media Promotion For Musician’s book and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

Will The New Cheap Tier From Pandora And Amazon Be Worth It?

pandor more skipsEver since music streaming began in earnest, there’s been a mantra inside the music industry that’s gone something like this – “Until the paid subscription rate gets to $5 per month, streaming is never going to scale.” That’s only partially been true, as subscriber numbers have grown steadily at the now standard $10 per month, but not to the level that the industry wanted or expected. The question is, will they truly take off even when they reach the $5 cheap tier?

It looks like we might know soon enough as Pandora is reportedly about to launch a brand new service at that magic price, with Amazon to follow shortly thereafter.

But is what you get for that $5 going to be worth it?

According to reports, Pandora’s $5 tier is just another version of its other tiers, but with the ability to skip more songs and store several hours of playlists. And Amazon’s $5 tier will only apply to owners of its Echo smart speaker. That sort of limits the reach of these $5 tiers a bit, don’t you think?

While all streaming services are feeling the pressure to reduce prices, they’re bound by their agreements with the major record labels, which doesn’t provide a lot of wiggle room for lower prices. In fact, it’s rumored that Apple wanted to set the price of its Apple Music to $8 at launch but that idea was quickly laid to rest by the major label’s powers-that-be.

Pandora and Amazon dipping their toes in the $5 water could be a gateway to a new round of streaming discounts though. Whenever Spotify runs a sale (like the recent $3 for three months student special) its paid subscriber numbers rise pretty quickly, although it’s yet to be seen what the churn rate for those new subscribers is. That’s not enough evidence for the labels however, who still cling to the $10 per month price point as the floor that will never go lower. [Read more on Forbes…]

September 13, 2016

Engineer Tom Weir On Episode #126 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

tom-weirIf you ever wanted to hear a true Hollywood story, then you’ll love this week’s episode of my Inner Circle podcast. Engineer Tom Weir has had some studio experiences that you could only get if you grew up in Southern California, and you won’t believe how cool some of them have been.

Tom is also the owner of Studio City Sound, and we’ll discuss just how different having a Hollywood-area studio is compared to almost anywhere else in the world.

In the intro I’ll take a look at what people are really listening to when streaming (it’s not what you think), and talk about the famous console from Abbey Road Studio 1 being up for sale.

You can listen to it at bobbyoinnercircle.com, or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.

September 12, 2016

Warner Brothers Reports Its Own Site As Illegal

warner_bros-_pictures_logoIf you haven’t had a site or channel or video that you owned be contested because someone is claiming you don’t own the content, consider yourself lucky. This practice seems to be growing by the day and it can be a real pain to straighten out. For the most part, this process is automated either by the social platform or by a third party, and some glaring mistakes can be made. One of the worst, and there’s some poetic justice here, came from a recent report that Warner Brothers Pictures actually asked Google to remove its own website from from search results for violating its copyright.

It didn’t stop there though, as it also asked that links to its own films on streaming sites like Amazon and Sky be removed, as well as the film database IMDB.

All the hubbub didn’t come directly from Warner Brothers though. The request was submitted on behalf of Warners by Vobile, which is a company that files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month, and has submitted more than 13 million links in total for removal.

As this case illustrates, this entire process has gone wrong, and if it can happen to a major entity like Warner Brothers, then of course it can happen to you if it hasn’t already. If you are issued a takedown notice, you’re usually able to contest it, and if it’s only for a single property, the process isn’t too lengthy, with just a simple form to fill out attesting that you’re the owner of the content. The time involved can really add up when multiple properties are involved however.

On the other end, I once issued asked Google for a takedown of a YouTube channel that illegally posted all 101 videos from my 101 Mixing Tricks course. I had to fill out a separate form for each video that included the each of the links, and the entire process took about 3 hours out of my life that I’d like to have back. That said, the channel and all the videos were removed within a day.

So the moral of this post is that illegal infringement is wrong, but accusing someone of it can be just as bad. Initiating the process manually instead of by automation makes you think twice about it, and hopefully fewer mistakes will happen as a result.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/9/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 2nd, 2016. Lots of big news this week so lets get into it.

Apple Music now over 17 million subscribers. It still trails Spotify by a lot, but that service has a 5 year head start. The future still looks bright in Apple-land.

Pandora about to offer new low cost service. But it won’t be this week like every thought. The $5 service would make a huge difference to many consumers, but the major labels have to sign off first.

You’ll never guess who had the first exclusive 15 years ago. Believe it or not, it was The Beatles with their Anthology 1 release and it was really effective.

YouTube Red looks like it’s actually beginning to be used. It looks like the service has already turned 3% of users into paid subscribers, which doesn’t sound like much but is a big deal.

Here’s a new one. YouTube demonetization. You better play nice or YouTube is going to penalize you; and this can happen even if you’re one of the platform best performers.

Drake racks up insane listener numbers during the summer. Drake has been the king of Spotify, and he has some wild numbers to back it up. If this is what we have to look forward to in the future, then the music industry should be okay.

If you’re a superstar, you’ll like these “20 ways to release an album.” Yes, there are a lot of strategies when it comes to releases a new album, but most of them only apply if you’re already a superstar. That said, there are some good tips here.

Streaming service Deezer has a new owner. It’s Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, which owns Warner Music. Conflict of interest for a label to own a streaming service?

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

September 8, 2016

How Facebook Determines What’s In Your News Feed

facebook-algorithmFacebook is the most important social platform for many artists and bands, but the problem is, once you start to get good at using it for promotion, FB goes and tweaks the Newsfeed algorithm, which changes everything works. TechCrunch recently posted an great overview on how the FB News feed works, as well as a whole list of algorithm tweaks, which I’ve copied below. What’s even better is that each tweak leads to an post specifically about it, so there’s a wealth of Facebook info if you’re willing to read for a bit.

Here are all the News Feed change announcements so far:

High Quality Posts From Pages – Timely, relevant, from a source you trust, you would share it or recommend it, genuinely interesting and not trying to game the News Feed, not low quality or a meme, wouldn’t complain, doesn’t get hidden, complete Page profile, fan base overlaps with other high quality Pages.

More Relevant Ads – Fewer ads that other people hide, Fewer ads similar to ones people have already hidden

Higher Quality News – More links to high quality articles, Fewer links to meme photos, related articles to ones you clicked, highlighting stories with new comments

More Status Updates From Friends – More text status updates from friends, fewer text status updates from Pages, more link share stories from Pages, fewer text updates with embedded links from Pages

MoreStories About Topics You Like – Page posts that tag another Page may be shown to followers of the tagged Page

Cleaning Up News Feed Spam – Fewer Page posts that explicitly ask people to Like, comment, or Share. Fewer Page posts that have already been shared by that Page, fewer spammy links that use inaccurate language or formatting to trick people into clicking

Focusing On Explicitly Shared Stories – More explicitly shared stories from third-party apps and fewer implicitly or automatically shared stories

Showing Better Videos – More videos people watch and watch for a long time, more videos to people who watch videos and fewer videos to people who skip videos

Fighting Click Bait – Fewer links that don’t tell people much about what they’re clicking to, fewer links to web pages where people don’t spend much time and come right back to Facebook, more links to web pages where people spend a lot of time, more links to web pages people talk about after visiting and fewer links to web pages people don’t talk about after visiting, more stories with links shared with the link format and fewer stories with links in the description or caption of a photo or video.

Incorporating Feedback About Ads – Using surveys about why people hide ads, fewer similar ads to ads someone hid because it wasn’t relevant to them, fewer ads shown to anyone that people hide because they were offensive, more heavily weighting the hides by people who infrequently hide ads

More Timely Stories – More stories that reference current Trending Topics, more stories shown soon after they’re posted if people Like them soon after they’re posted but Like them less later

More Control Over What You See – When you hide someone’s story, you can select to see less from that person in the future without completely unfollowing them

Reducing Promotional Page Posts – Fewer posts that solely push people to buy a product, install an app, enter a sweepstakes, or that reuse the exact same content from ads.

Minimizing Hoaxes – Fewer posts that people flag as hoaxes or delete after posting because they are scams or deliberately false news

Showing More Content From Friends More posts from friends instead of Pages, fewer stories about friends Liking or commenting on a post, more posts from the same sources for new users without much content in their News Feed

More Stories You Spend Time Reading – More stories that other people spend significantly more time looking at in their News Feed than other stories.

The See First Feature – A new feature lets you choose friends or Pages whose stories you want to see first at the top of your News Feed

Accounting For Differences In How People Hide Stories – People who hide an extremely high number of stories in their feeds including ones they’ve Liked and commented on will have their hides taken less into account by the News Feed algorithm

Incorporating Actions Taken On Videos – More videos that people turn on the sound for, watch full screen, or watch in high definition.

Improving News Feed For Slow Connectivity – Fewer videos and more status updates and links shown to people with slow Internet connections, re-showing stories you’ve already loaded if you have no Internet connection

Incorporating Reactions – More stories similar to ones you react (just as with Likes)

Surveys To Reduce Low Quality Viral Stories – Fewer viral stories that surveys say people would rather not see

Offline News Feed – When someone has slow connectivity, Facebook will re-rank previously downloaded stories by relevance and display them instead of a loading symbol

Incorporating Qualitative Feedback – More stories that surveys and qualitative research show people would be likely to both rate highly and engage with

Matching Reactions And Stories – Over time, Facebook hopes to show people more stories similar to the ones they React to in a certain way, so people who often use the “Haha” Reaction see more funny stories

Showing Live Videos When They’re Live – More Live videos shown while they’re currently Live

Incorporating Time Spent Viewing Sites – More links to Instant Articles and mobile web pages loaded inside of Facebook that people spend more time viewing, fewer posts in a row from the same Page

Prioritizing Friends And Family Over Pages – More stories from humans you care about, and fewer stories by businesses and news outlets

Punishing Clickbait Headlines That Mislead Or Withhold Information – Fewer news stories purposefully trick people into clicking by omitting or exaggerating core details

You can read the rest of this incredibly informative post called Ultimate Guide To The News Feed.

September 7, 2016

Which Music Streaming Services Will Survive 2016?

Music Streaming ServicesNote: Here’s a guest post from Caroline at Culture Coverage.

In a world of free music, not all streaming services are created equal.

Between premium subscriber systems and free platforms with limitless libraries, there are a lot of options that can cloud a music lover’s desktop and not provide any real advantages. For these five industry leaders, however, it can be a different story. To figure out the future of streaming, check out this list of what’s up and what’s worth a listen. 

Spotify

As the behemoth winner of the streaming music world, Spotify started out just like any other digital age streaming startup, but it’s as much about what critics would consider faults as it is about its apparent successes; the truth is, everything is working for it. The easy-to-use interface, the completely free use of its music catalogue and mobile listening features make it perfect for all ages. Customizable playlists, radio stations, and great social features that mean easy sharing—it’s easy to see why Spotify is top dog in a world of free music. From customized Discover Weekly playlists tailored to your likes and cool features like the one that matches your songs to your running pace, this service is one that only gets better.

Apple Music

While the streaming service isn’t free (and therefore a huge negative), Apple is the leader in everything else tech related, which gives the service strong staying power even if it’s had slow success since debuting in 2015. With only 15 million followers since it launched, Apple Music has been rumored to be acquiring Jay-Z’s TIDAL, which is predicted to be a smart business move. While it may have only 4.2 million subscribers, the clout TIDAL has with big musicians like Kanye West and Rihanna is suspected to boost the listener experience and advantages of subscribing to the Apple Music service.

YouTube

YouTube is the uncontested largest music streaming music service around with over a billion monthly visitors, and since it launched YouTube Red, it’s finally available without pesky ads. YouTube also leads in the music category by allowing users to search concert tapes, music videos, live recordings, and a plethora of uploaded work ranging from wedding videos to covers. While sifting through all the noise can be a drawback, the lyric video revolution and payout to artists means this globally unifying music source isn’t going anywhere soon. 

Pandora

With 80 million active users, Pandora gets away with having a limited number of skips for one reason: it’s the best way to discover new music. With personalized radio station features and the opportunity to use the app across multiple platforms, the music service has a great price, and it’s perfect for customized listening. While the geographical limitations on this one are a little archaic (though nothing a Virtual Private Network can’t fix), and it’s not your best option when you’re looking for a specific song, it’s free level is one that can’t be beat. The ever-updating and shifting song selection also make it a road tripper’s go-to. 

SoundCloud

A hotbed for indie artists, remixes, and the Next Big Thing, SoundCloud is still free, though this could change in the next year with its execs looking for a buyer. In the meantime, it offers something none of the other streaming services can. With raw mixes, unreleased EPs and fresh demos, this platform is where untested, undiscovered and underground artists flex their chops, which means it has serious staying power for listeners who want something outside of the commercialized music industry. Plus, there are options for sharing privately with friends or on social media; and with SoundCloud Go, you can listen anywhere.

From on-the-go to at-home listening, these five streaming services are providing the bulk of the industry’s listening platforms, and for 2016, they’re the masters of their trade. What’s next for the 2017 leaders? Only time—and the ear—will tell.


About Me: Caroline is a music junkie and streaming service lover, uploading any and all of the available service apps to her phone to continue her hunt for the next best one. Currently leaning toward the platforms that let her take the music with her, she’s open to being persuaded if you feel like leaving a comment and pointing her in the right direction. 

[Image courtesy of Nickolai Kashirin under CC BY 2.0]

September 6, 2016

Music Business Guru Dave Kusek On Episode #125 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

Dave KusekI’m happy to have my friend Dave Kusek on this week’s episode of my Inner Circle Podcast.

Dave has been a pioneer in the digital space in many ways, going way back as one of the creators of the Synare (the first electronic drum) and later the first computer sequencer with Passport. Dave was also the creator of Berklee Online, one of the first online education programs in the world, and now teaches music business with his own courses with New Artist Model.

In the intro we’ll take a look at how Spotify is making their own records under fake names, and the big sub-industry of microphones on mobile devices.

You can listen to it at bobbyoinnercircle.com, or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.