Monthly Archives: December 2016
Monthly Archives: December 2016
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 30th, 2016, the last week of the year. As expected, there hasn’t been much in the way of blockbuster news, but there have been some interesting pieces.
Mozart was not #1 in album sales. A story made the rounds that a box set by the composer outsold even Drake, but the measurements have proven to be specious at best. It was a bad year for the physical album as a whole though, as the article points out – even for Drake.
Here’s a list of the top 50 biggest songs on Beats 1 radio last year. There are many that are expected, but a few surprises as well.
Rolling Stone has 6 reasons why 2016 was a great music year. There are a few that I don’t quite agree with, like radio being healthy and album releases being events, but other than that its spot on.
6 music tech predictions for 2017. Culled from 20 industry tastemakers, these are mostly out-of-the-box in that you probably haven’t heard about them before. They also lean towards live music rather than recorded.
Warners is getting back into compilation albums. This is spurred on by the fact that singles are hot again thanks to streaming [subscription required].
Deezer plans to take over the streaming world. The streaming universe is still young and will be expanding for some time yet, so why not?
Tencent is a big threat to Apple Music and Spotify. It already dominates Asian streaming and has the money to come West [subscription required].
Billboard looked at the 10 best music memes. I must admit that I missed these during the year, but don’t feel too bad about it.
PC World looks at what went right and wrong with VR in 2016. Virtual Reality still hasn’t caught on the way everyone had hoped, but it did make some progress.
Warners is going head first into VR though. It plans “hundreds” of VR music releases in 2017.
Many Top 40 hits had ambiguous key centers. This is a little music geeky but interesting. It shows the evolution of the hit song and consumer tastes.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Happy New Year everyone. See you next year!
It looks like you can expect a lot more from Facebook in 2017 in more ways than one. The company is advertising for an in-house composer to add to its in-house sound design team. According to the advert:
The in-house Music Composer role requires 10+ years of professional experience in the music industry, plus experience in ProTools and the ability to “work closely with a wide variety of sound artists”.
“CANDIDATES MUST HAVE EXCEPTIONAL COMPOSITION SKILLS AND MASTERY OF MODERN PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES. THE ROLE COMBINES MUSICAL RECORDING AND COMPOSITION CHALLENGES WITH PROJECT MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP.”
The link turns out to be dead, which either suggests that the position is now filled, or that it was getting to much visibility. Facebook is under fire for still not having a way for artists, labels and publishers to get paid for songs and videos that are played on the network, so everyone is a little chagrined at the fact that the company is trying to develop what looks to be in-house production music first.
That said, rumors still persist that 2017 will be the year that FB finally puts their own version of YouTube’s Content ID in place, which will compensate creators when their works are played on the platform.
This is much more problematic than it sounds given the fact that Facebook measures video views much more liberally than YouTube, so potentially it will be paying out more as a result, even if the royalty rate is the same as YouTube. The royalty will undoubtedly be higher though, since the music industry views YouTube’s 45% cut way too high and out of line with the other delivery systems, so any license from the major labels or publishers will no doubt go beyond that rate.
That said, it should be interesting to see exactly what Facebook has in mind for its new composer in residence, and how the sound design team will be implemented.
If you look closely, streaming is teaching us all some marketing lessons, according to analytics service Next Big Sound (now owned by Pandora), a company that looks at social, streaming and event data as well as the interaction between an artist and a fan. While many look at it as just a way to get their music to the public, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Here’s what the company found.
1. Streaming platforms provide a path to niche audiences
When you’re trying to reach a specific demographic, streaming music platforms coupled with social media channels provide the most direct path. For example, according to the report, “latin artists now account for one-third of the most popular artists on YouTube. Half of the top 20 artists on Pandora are most popular with 25- to 34-year-old women.” Streaming, along with social media, allows you to specifically target the group that you’re interested in reaching.
2. Underground EDM and hip-hop fans are the most engaged
Some of the biggest top 40 artists may have larger followings, but that doesn’t mean they’re the most engaged. Artists like Vinny Cha$e, Marshmello, and Logic haven’t even sniffed radio or the Top 40 but have extremely strong audiences, in some cases more loyal than the superstars.
3. People still listen to older hits
Believe it or not, in America people are is still listening to bands like Nickelback—a lot. On Pandora, legacy rock artists like Journey and the Eagles perform just as well as Katy Perry and Kanye West.
4. Some musical genres resonate more with listeners
If you look to the Top 40 as a barometer for what’s popular, you’d come to a wrong conclusion as you’d probably get the idea that pop or country ruled. On Pandora, 60% of the top artists are hip-hop artists, compared to just 15% on the top 40.
5. Emerging artists can be social influencers too
Once again, it’s easy to think that Beyonce or Katy Perry rule because they seem to dominate the streaming and social networks but that’s not the case. Young electro pop artist Halsey, for instance, has a follower growth on Twitter that outranks the Top 40 artists like Iggy Azalea, Adele, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears.
The bottom line is that we tend to think that the world revolves around music’s 1 percenters, but that’s not the case at all. Maybe in radio and on the Top 40, but not across all streaming networks, which gives hope to indie artists everywhere that are trying to improve their marketing .
Episode 141 of my Inner Circle Podcast features my annual year end review as well as a look ahead to what might happen in the music business in 2017.
So much went down last year that was eventful, and some of it was completely under the radar, so you’ll want to listen to this episode for sure. The deals and acquisitions, what happened in social media, Record Store Day, new vinyl technology, the beginning of the end of big companies, technologies, and some gear favorites that you won’t believe – it’s all there.
Plus, we have an interesting year ahead of us in 2017, and I’ll give you a peak into some of the things we know will happen, and some predictions as well.
In an effort to “own the topic of music online,” the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group has acquired SpinMedia, whose assets include Spin, Vibe and Stereogum. This means that the company is now the world’s largest online music brand and its sites will see traffic of about 45 million per month as a result. It will now reach 1 out of every 3 millennials, a powerful benefit for advertisers. The Media Group has also partnered with Facebook to create custom content for the recently launched Facebook Live.
While this sounds like a great business move on Billboard’s part, since millennials don’t read Billboard or the Hollywood Reporter (unless they happen to be in the entertainment industry), it’s probably not so good for Spin, Vibe and Stereogum in the long run. Those sites were vibrant when run by the founders (except for Spin, which was acquired by BuzzMedia, which then rebranded as SpinMedia in 2012), but much of that street knowledge and connection is diminished once the corporate suits get involved.
While it’s not impossible for a news website to maintain its audience once it’s acquired, it does start to lose its edge and it’s only a matter of time until something newer and edgier comes along. That won’t happen overnight though, so if you’re a regular visitor to those sites, you probably won’t see an immediate change. That said, it should be interesting to see how things evolve over time as the suits get more involved.
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 23rd, 2016. Surprisingly enough, there’s a lot of music business-related and social news this week, despite the Holiday season.
iHeart Radio is in big financial trouble. Radio is dying in general, and a few years ago when the hedge funds bought in they didn’t realize that fact. The company probably won’t change much because of the problems (at least in the short term) but the investors will take a haircut soon.
Apple Music is trying to become more than a streaming platform. It’s now more of a quasi-label, offering lots of promotion in addition to streaming. This interview with two Apple Music execs is revealing.
Not to be outdone, YouTube is quietly beefing up promotion for some artists as well. Not that it helps the indie artist much, but you can see where all this going. [subscription required]
There are indie artists making it on streaming alone though. Yes, it’s not only possible, but this article outline a number of indie artists in different countries with massive streaming numbers.
The VR revolution is here, but it has yet to break with consumers. Many think that this will change in 2017, but the consumer uptake so far is disappointing, and understandable.
Dance music hit a big speed bump in 2016. This article outlines 11 things that broke the hearts of EDM aficionados.
The album cycle is pretty much dying, with Drake the perfect example of the new singles paradigm. But playlisting plays a big part in streaming success as well, and this interview with Spotify’s Troy Carter is enlightening.
Streaming is changing music again, finally making the Long Tail concept viable. This Harvard Business Review article shows how streaming is turning the music industry into a singles business, and is killing the album. Oh, and more people are listening to music other than the hits along the way.
Streaming apps aren’t keeping pace, and user experience is the thing to concentrate on. Industry analyst Mark Mulligan makes a number of good points about music falling behind in engagement to non-music apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Buzzfeed.
Twitter is toast, according to one financial analyst. The company is experiencing plateaued growth and a brain drain, and the stock is expected to take a dive soon.
Finally, Facebook is correcting its metrics for ad reach, streaming reactions, Likes and Shares. It looks like the numbers we were seeing weren’t really true after all. If you advertise on Facebook, you should read this article before placing another ad.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.
Every artist, whether they’re selling out arenas or still working in clubs, has two types of fans. Most artists never bother to differentiate between the two and therefore don’t grow their fan base as quickly because they tend to cater to the wrong group. In this excerpt from the latest edition of my Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age book, you’ll see the differences between these groups and why one is more critical to your success.
“Music 4.0 is totally dependent upon the development, care, and feeding of your fanbase. Your core fans or “tribe” is only a piece of your total audience though. Your audience can be broken down into the following two categories: your casual fans and your core fans.
Your total audience, or your fans, are fervent about a particular small niche of music that’s usually a subcategory of a larger genre, which means that they love speed metal (as opposed to the much larger metal or hard-rock genres), bluegrass (as compared to the larger country-music genre), or alien marching bands (as opposed to either of the larger alien-music or marching-band genres). If you’re an artist in that particular niche, your audience will automatically gravitate toward you, but still might not be your fans. This includes casual fans, occasional listeners, and people who like what you’re doing yet aren’t particularly passionate about it.
Although this part of your audience can’t be ignored, it’s probably not a good idea to expend all your energy on it. They’re aware of you and will probably give you a try with every release, unless they’re disappointed too many times in a row. They can be turned into passionate fans though. One “hit” song or album, a change in image, or a change in general perception, and they become the passionate critical mass needed for the breakout that turns a respected artist into a true star.
In Music 4.0, your most important core audience contains your most passionate fans, or your “tribe.” They’ll buy whatever you have to sell, work for free, recruit other fans, and basically do anything you ask. All they want is access to and communication with the artist, which is the basis of Music 4.0.
So to summarize:
Knowing the difference between fan groups can make a difference between chasing your tail trying to please casual fans that only marginally care about you, or growing your audience by cultivating your most passionate ones.
You can read more from The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
Video is an important part of every artist’s tool box these days. While many prefer to stay within the confines of produced videos uploaded to YouTube or Facebook, live streaming video can be extremely effective as well. Google Hangouts and Facebook Live have been the predominant ways to broadcast to fans and followers, but Facebook has now introduced an alternative with Messenger Video Chat.
Video Chat is similar to Google Hangouts in that you can interact with others that are streaming on the same call. It beats Hangouts though, in that up to 50 people can stream both video and audio simultaneously (Hangouts is limited to 10, as is Skype). The limitation (although it may not be if you’re using it for promotion) is that after 1o people, Messenger will display only the dominant speaker’s feed.
There are other alternatives to Messenger Video Chat. Both Slack and Snapchat also introduced this same feature recently. The difference is that pretty much everyone is on Facebook, so it’s as universal as you’d want if you need to get your message out.
Live streaming can be an easy alternative to produced videos when it comes to promotion from the standpoint of ease of use and timeliness. As with everything social, consistency is important, and if fans and followers expect a video at a certain time, sometimes the only way to deliver is with a live stream. Not only that, it’s the perfect tool to be able to broadcast from events like gigs, backstage, release parties, in-store signings, and just about anything else that you can think of.
While video chatting, Messenger’s other functions still operate, which means you can still send texts, stickers, and other animations while video and audio are transmitting. iOS also has one additional exclusive feature called Live Masks, which is similar to Snapchat filters that animate a visual overlay over your face in real time, Facebook’s live masks tale this a step further and allow the user to overlay animation to the live video chat. The feature should also be arriving on Android soon.
Give it a try and let us know how it works out.
Mike Elizondo is a musician, songwriter and producer who’s worked with hit artists as diverse as Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent, to Kieth Urban, Maroon 5 and Carrie Underwood, to Avenged Sevenfold and Mastadon.
He was nominated for producer of the year in 2008, and has a ton of huge singles and albums to his credit. He has a great story and lots of insight about working with superstars. I’m really pleased to have him as a guest on my Episode #140 of the podcast.
On the intro I’ll look at how streaming music is finally make the Long Tail concept work, and how we acquire our musical tastes.
If you read my Production Blog, the you’ve probably seen my 10 Cool Holiday Gifts For Musicians post a few days ago. Here’s another gift guide, but this one concentrates just on music business and social media.
1. Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age
You know that I’m biased about this, but I really believe that if you’re looking for one book that best outlines the new music business, Music 4,1 is it. With lots of great traditional and social media tips to help you market yourself successfully and efficiently, the book (now in it’s 4th edition) is currently used in music business courses in colleges and universities around the world.
2. Crowdstart: The Ultimate Guide To A Powerful And Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign
If you want to know the ins and outs about crowdfunding before you begin a campaign, there’s no better resource. There’s also a lot of great social media info here as well. Ariel Hyatt is the queen of social media PR and her Cyber PR company has been a huge help to hundreds of artists, so you might want to check out her other books as well.
3. All You Need To Know About The Music Business
This is the 9th edition of LA music attorney Don Passman’s excellent book and there’s a good reason why it’s been popular for so long. Let me put it this way, if you’re in the music business, this book is essential reading, since it outlines just about every business scenario that an artist might come up against. The best part is that it’s written in plain English so that even complex ideas (and there are lots of them in the music business) are easy to follow. Highly recommended.
4. The Music Business Registry
This is actually the site for a series of different specialized registry’s, including Film & TV, A&R, Publisher, Attorney, Music Blogs and more. If you need some contacts in the music business, this is a way to find them.
5. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of A Human Obsession
This is indirectly about the business of music in that if you know the phycology of how your music works on your fans (and you, for that matter), then you’ll be in a better position to present and promote it to them. Fascinating!
6. Lynda.com Video Courses
Lastly, you’ll find all sorts of great business and software courses on Lynda.com, the absolute best portal for learning on the Web. If you’re into Social Media, Mixing, Recording, or Mastering, you’ll find some of my courses there as well, but just about anything else you can think of that revolves around tech or business is available there. Here’s a free 7 day trail pass.
If you’re interested in some big picture strategies about how to approach your online presence this is the book for you. Although some of the social aspects are a little dated, the approach to your online music and video promotion is still current.
Each of the above makes a great holiday gift, but don’t forget to treat yourself to a present as well!