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Monthly Archives: October 2016

How Video Views On Various Platforms Are Counted

video viewsVideo views are an important measurement for not only artists and bands, but record labels, advertisers and sponsors. A high number of views can lead to not only to label and sponsor interest, but also has a snowball effect of more viewers wanting to watch as well. When it comes to monetizing video views though, the problem is that most services like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat all measure what they consider a “view” differently.

According to an article on Business Insider, there are 4 factors that determine a view:

1. Whether the video autoplays or was user initiated

2. The required amount of time spent watching the video

3. The amount of video that’s on the screen

4. Whether the video is played in the app or embedded in another site

Let’s look at what the qualifications for a view are on some popular platforms:

  • Facebook is the most liberal with what it considers a view. If a video is autoplayed for just 3 seconds, and it’s 100% on the screen for desktop or 50% for mobile, it’s considered a view.
  • For Snapchat, as soon as a video is played, even with autoplay, it’s considered a view if it’s 100% in view and played in the app.
  • With Instagram, if the video is played for 3 seconds either in the feed or upon opening a story, and it’s 100% in view in the app only, it’s considered a view.
  • For Twitter, the video can be autoplayed, and as long as it’s watched for 3 seconds and is 100% in view either on mobile or desktop, it’s considered a view. This counts across all platforms and embedded posts as well.
  • For Vine, autoplayed Vines that are watched all the way through are considered a view, but only user-initated are counted for longer videos as long as a certain % of the total video is spent watching. The videos must be 50% in view for Vine, and 100% on Twitter.
  • YouTube is much tougher than any of the above. The video has to be user initiated, and it has to be viewed an indeterminate % of the total video length. For advertisers, it has to be 50% in view, but that includes all devices, all platforms, and embedded posts.

As you can see, not all views are equal and some of the view numbers you see can be taken with a grain of salt as a result.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 10/14/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup from the week of October 14th, 2016. Streaming is back in the news this week as Amazon and Pandora both launched new services. There’s so much more though that you could easily have missed. Let’s get to it.

Amazon finally launched its stand-alone streaming service. But is the company taking after Apple and using it to sell hardware?

Pandora launches it’s new service too. Not to be outdone, Pandora finally launched its interactive service as well as a total rebranding. It was curious that it launched on the same day as Amazon though. It was pushed down the list of news as a result.

Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine hints at things to come. He’s claiming that we’re going to love the upcoming features and upgrades to Apple Music, but then again, he’s always been a salesman.

Doing an artist deal with Apple may not be what’s it’s cracked up to be. It seemed like a good deal at first, and the money was good, but in the end Anohni feels that the company tempered her political style.

Is canned music on the way out? An organization in the UK is trying to ban elevator music, blaming it for noise pollution and world-wide hearing loss.

Michael Jackson topped the list of dead celebrity earners. That was mostly because of the sale of his publishing to Sony Music so this might be a one time only thing.

Will Emotional Radio save the medium? This new smart radio senses your mood via artificial intelligence and programs it accordingly.

Speaking of radio, BBC 1 is losing all its best DJs. It’s shaping up as a big problem as it’s affecting the ratings.

Streaming exclusives may be here to stay. Labels hate them and there’s evidence that they don’t actually boost an artist’s album, but the evidence says they’re not going way.

A new agreement opens the door to unofficial mixes on Spotify and Apple Music. The contract with Dubset sets the stage for more indie artists and more music that haven’t been able to get on the platforms before.

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

Don’t Be Fooled By Amazon Music Unlimited’s Price

amazon music unlimitedAmazon has finally launched it’s long awaited stand-alone streaming music service and it’s called Amazon Music Unlimited. On the surface it has a number of interesting features that differentiate it from the other major streaming services, but one has to wonder whether potential users will find them compelling enough to subscribe.

Perhaps the service’s biggest feature is price. If you’re already an Amazon Prime customer, Amazon Music Unlimited is available for just $7.99 per month or $79 per year, undercutting the norm of $9.99 per month charged by most other services. If you’re not a Prime customer however, you’ll still be charged the customary $9.99 per month.

If you happen to own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap device, the price is even lower at $3.99 per month, but music playback only works on that device. If you want to receive the full Amazon Music service on your phone, for instance, you’ll still need to pony up for the full Unlimited tier at either $7.99 monthly if you’re a Prime member, or $9.99 if you’re not.

On the surface this seems pretty interesting in that a lower price for streaming is what major industry consultants have been advising for years. Even back at the peak of the CD boom, the average music buyer never purchased $120 worth of music per year, as is the case now with a $9.99 per month streaming plan. Though there’s been a decent amount of streaming penetration at that price point, it’s still only 10% or less in some territories, according to industry pundit Mark Mulligan. Potential subscribers that might not ever buy at $9.99 are more likely to change their minds if that monthly threshold was lower.

That’s why Amazon Music Unlimited’s $7.99 per month price point looks so inviting. It’s a step in bringing that monthly fee more in line with the expectations of the greatest number of users.

The problem is that this price is really a mirage.

You have to be an Amazon Prime member in order to have access to the $7.99 price, and this is after you’ve already payed $99 for your Amazon Prime subscription for the year. And, as a Prime member, you already have Amazon’s Prime Music service available to you for free, so why would you want to pay the extra 8 bucks a month for something that you’ve already paid for?

To be fair, Amazon Music Unlimited is different from Prime Music in a number of ways. There are a lot more songs available (Amazon will only say its in the “tens of millions” as compared to Prime Music’s two million), there are curated playlists, behind-the-scenes artist commentaries, and a new app. Is that worth the extra money per month? It will be interesting to see just how many of the estimated 60 million Prime members say, “Yes it is!” [Read more on Forbes]

There’s A New Sound Recording Metadata Standard

RIN: Metadata StandardMany artists, bands and musicians don’t think much about metadata when creating a song but record labels take it very seriously. It’s a major way to be able to track a song to make sure that all the stakeholders get paid. That said, metadata isn’t standardized and is sometimes filled out incorrectly, defeating its purpose. That’s why the new Recording Information Notification (RIN) metadata standard rolled out by the Digital Data Exchange consortium (DDEX) is so important.

The Recording Information Notification (RIN) standard is an XML-based file format that makes it possible to describe all aspects of a recording session, from the participants to the instruments and equipment used to the time, location, length and other technical and creative elements of the recording. It’s designed to be implemented by digital audio workstation manufacturers and to be interoperable with all other DDEX standards as well.

DDEX also announced the release of an updated version of its Digital Sales Report (DSR) Flat File standard, which is designed to track sales and usage data in streaming-based platforms. DSR allows song streams to be reported in a form that allows music publishers and rights societies to allocate the correct royalties from each sale or use of a work to the appropriate rights holders and organizations, rather than use a percentage, algorithm or market share to determine the payout. The original DSR standard was developed in 2006 and was designed to track and report downloads. The latest version is more in tune with music consumption of today and the future.

A number of companies and organizations, including Apple Music and SECAM, have already endorsed the new releases.

This is potentially a big step in the right direction for getting everyone in the streaming pipeline paid both more fairly and in a more timely fashion. Of course, it depends upon all of the industry adopting it, but it’s a good strong start so far.

 

October 11, 2016

PR And Crowdfunding Expert Ariel Hyatt On Episode #130 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

ariel hyattAriel Hyatt was one of the first in the PR world to realize the value of social media, and her Cyber PR agency has been helping artists and bands with their online presence ever since.

Now Ariel breaks new ground with her latest book called Crowdstart, which provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. Ariel’s my guest on this week’s podcast to talk about what she’s learned in the sometimes confusing world of crowdfunding.

On the intro we’ll look at the streaming wars and how Spotify and Apple Music own the majority of the market at the moment, and how many believe that the latest generation of audio plugins are “cheating” in that they may allow you to bypass years of experience during mixing.

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

Spotify’s Paid Over A Billion Dollars To Record Labels This Year

spotify royalty paymentsThe major record labels seem to have it out for Spotify, but the platform is contributing mightily to their bottom lines. It’s been reported that the company has already paid $1.2 billion dollars in royalties to the music industry this year, and over $5 billion lifetime. The platform is paying out around $133 million per month, and over $4.4 million a day, according to Music Business Worldwide.

Spotify recently announced that it now has 40 million paid subscribers, which goes a long way to contributing to that royalty payout. Apple Music, the next most popular streaming music platform, has less than half that at 16 million. The music industry currently favors Apple Music because it doesn’t offer a free ad-supported tier like Spotify. Allowing users to access music for free, even with ads and listening limitations has been ridiculed by artists, songwriters, publishers and labels, but many platforms, including Spotify, feel that it’s important to introduce users to the the value of streaming music first before asking them to pay. That said, many users are now hip to the the benefits of streaming music and that introduction may no longer be as necessary as it was previously.

Regardless, Spotify’s royalty payments are now a huge part of the revenue stream for most labels. Even though that amount still doesn’t make up for declining CD and download sales, the streaming user numbers are steadily rising, and many feel that it’s only a matter of time until streaming makes up the largest segment of recorded music industry income. Spotify might be leading the way, but until it eliminates its free tier (which has been rumored), the company will still receive the wrath of the industry. It won’t be alone, however, as other companies offering the same free tier will be lumped in the same boat, as the industry tries to move away from anything free.

Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 10/7/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of October 7th, 2016. There’s a little less on streaming this week for the first time in a while, but still lots to cover. Let’s get to it.

Music supervisors don’t think they’re hurting songwriters. I wrote about this last week and now a music sup responds. The bottom line is that if you change your music to please people you’re really compromising your art.

Americana music is being kept alive by the Brits. Is this the same thing that happened with Blues in the 1960’s happening all over again?

Spotify is launching in Japan, but it might not be successful. It’s a different music culture over there, and digital music still hasn’t caught on.

iHeart is looking for the casual music fan. It’s new streaming service is trying to stay out of the way of Spotify and Apple Music.

Streaming revenue is increasing for labels, but not so much for artists and songwriters. So what else is new? History repeats itself again.

Shazam is making a lot of money, but not from music. It’s the image and sound recognition technology that advertisers pay big bucks for.

Piracy isn’t new; we’ve been stealing music for a long time. Although this article outlines more recent instances, I can remember Rupert Perry telling me that EMI felt it was losing as much as 20% of its sales way back in the days of the reel-to-reel tape recorder.

It just might make sense for Spotify to purchase SoundCloud. Mostly because it gives new artists a way onto the platform without using an aggregator.

SiriusXM launches a talk show about music. It’s called Volume and has been dubbed “Sports talk for music.” I’ve waited a long time for this.

EDM is trying to expand to Asia. The genre is slowing elsewhere in the world, but Asia is still a big open market that promoters are keen to develop.

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

October 6, 2016

The Best Times To Post On Social Media

best times to postWhen it comes to social media promotion, the time of day that you post can be just as critical as the content that you’re posting. There are some generally accepted post times that apply to the various networks, but some new research has tweaked those a little. Hubspot took a look and came up with the best times to post.

Remember that we’re looking at primarily a United States audience. It’s best to combine Eastern and Central time zones, since that represents almost 80% of the U.S. population, so all the times below are Eastern. Obviously, for audiences located outside the U.S. you’d use the time zone that your audience is in. Let’s get into it.

1) The Best Times to Post on Facebook

The overall best time to post on Facebook is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, but other good times include 12:00–1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and weekdays from 1:00–4:00 p.m. tend to see the highest clickthrough rates. Although the research says that Facebook use spikes by 10% on Fridays, I’ve personally not seen that happen. In fact, Friday always seems to be the worst day of the week for engagement, at least for me. The overall worst times tend to be before 8:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m.

2) The Best Times to Post on Twitter

The best times to post on Twitter are weekdays from 12:00–3:00 p.m. and at 5:00 p.m. The overall best day to post is again Wednesday and the weekends, which is also when the clickthrough rate is highest. According to the article, some businesses have also had success with 2:00–3:00 a.m., 6:00–7:00 a.m., and 9:00–10:00 p.m. post times, although I’ve personally found those times (except for 6a.m.) to be dead.

3) Best Times to Post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is used by professionals, and they tend to use it mostly during working hours, and just before the workday starts or after it ends. That means that the best time to post is midweek from 5:00–6:00 p.m. Other optimal times include Tuesdays from 10:00–11:00 a.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7:30–8:30 a.m., at 12:00 p.m., and from 5:00–6:00 p.m.

As for the best day, Tuesdays tend to see the most clicks and shares, especially between 10:00–11:00 a.m., while Mondays and Friday’s see lower engagement rates than the rest of the workweek, which is typical of most social media. As you would expect, the worst time to post on LinkedIn is during the night, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

4) Best Times to Post on Instagram

The best times to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays at any time except between 3:00–4:00 p.m., which is a surprise. Videos tend to perform best any night of the week between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., according to TrackMaven’s research, which is also a surprise.

These may be some times that work for others, but they may not work for you. It’s still best to use the above times as a guideline, and check other times as well to find the ones that best fit your audience.

Amoeba Music Can Now Sell Weed Too

amoeba music marijuanaIn what seems to be a match made in heaven, the Amoeba Music record store based in Berkeley, CA can soon begin selling marijuana as well. An Amoeba employee leaked the announcement on Facebook, according to Fact. It’s been reported that the store intends to put a dispensary where its current Jazz Room is now located to handle the sales.

While Amoeba is still one of the largest record store chains still left standing in terms of overall sales volume, it only generates about half the revenue that it did in 2008, according to co-founder Marc Weinstein.  If there ever was a product that was perfect for a brick and mortar store, it’s marijuana, and for many, there’s no better place to distribute it than a record store. Amoeba already houses a medical marijuana doctor, which would make it a one-stop-shop so to speak, although that could be a moot point since a referendum for  total legalization of the weed is on the ballot in November.

Of course, the big problem with music sales is still the convenience of the format, and streaming has physical product beat no matter how baked you are. That said, Amoeba’s move could predict a wave of the future for record stores in general, where marijuana dispensaries sell music, and record stores house dispensaries. Either way, you’d have to believe that the foot traffic through a record store would improve dramatically thanks to weed availability.

Amoeba Music’s dispensary doesn’t yet have an opening date though, since it has a number of permits still pending from Berkeley’s Department of Planning and Development. It’s still only a matter of time before Berkeley, and Amoeba, leads the nation on this front once again.

Publisher Greig Watts On Episode #129 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

greig wattsMusic publisher Greig Watts is the guest on this week’s Inner Circle Podcast, and his UK company DWB Songs has been very successful in Asia. We’ll discuss the differences in writing for that market, the challenges of getting paid and how he gets around it, writing in an EDM world, and the company’s very successful songwriting camps in the interview.

On the intro we’ll look at the rumor that Spotify is buying Soundcloud and why that might be beneficial to both the company and artists, and I’ll give a report from both GameSoundCon and AES 2016 in Los Angeles.

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