Monthly Archives: December 2016
Monthly Archives: December 2016
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 16th, 2016. There are a lot of interesting news items again this week (more than usual for so late in the Holiday season), so let’s get right into it.
Global music grew by a billion dollars in 2016. That’s a big deal because it was at $15 bil last year, and this year it’s at around $16 billion – a significant upswing. The big question – how much will actually trickle down to artists and songwriters?
Almost every country except Japan saw some growth. Japan is still tied to physical product by both customs and laws, so it hasn’t really experienced digital music yet. Good news for the rest of the world though.
Pandora is now open to selling to SiriusXM. This might be good for Pandora, but not so much for Sirius. Does Sirius even care? Do you?
Apple should by both Sirius and Pandora. This Barron’s article makes a case for it. I can see the Sirius part, but not Pandora, since Apple Music is doing just fine without it. Subscription required.
The music industry is asking president-elect Trump to get tough with pirates and YouTube. No idea how this will go down, but it’s worth a try.
YouTube is about to pay a lot of back royalties to publishers. Not only that, it provides more protection and opportunities to make more money. Too little too late?
YouTube still has a lot of unclaimed royalties. Although the above deal might take care of most of that. Can some of it be yours?
Elton John is both for and against YouTube. The superstar rails against the platform for inadequate copyright protection, then turns around and signs an exclusive deal with it. Talk about mixed messages.
Fashwave is the new music of the alt-right. Fash stands for “fascism” and the music is Synthwave, mostly out of Sweden. The artist’s music is co-opted and they have nothing to do with the movement, but what’s happened to it is pretty creepy.
This app makes all songs into Christmas songs. Can’t get enough Christmas carols? Then this might be for you.
Radio has forgotten about Millennials. It figured that it lost them to downloads 10 years ago and hasn’t worried about them since. Since like an opportunity lost.
The high-powered Irving Azoff is suing a large radio association. He’s trying to get more money for artists from radio play, but after 2 years there’s been no movement.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.
It looks like all of those rumors about Spotify buying SoundCloud have turned into nothing more than words on paper. Word is now out that any hopes of a deal between the two companies has been squashed, although months of talks almost lead to a deal.
Why? Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Spotify is planning on a public offering in 2017, and there were fears that this particular acquisition could negatively impact the IPO. The fact that Spotify hasn’t turned a profit yet and owes loads of money is bad enough, but at least it’s generating lots of cash and growing. You can’t say the same thing for SoundCloud, however. Despite many different attempts to both gain more users and get them to pay for the premium service, that hasn’t happened, so the company’s health is definitely in question.
The other question that potential investors and underwriters had was about the synergy between the companies. For SoundCloud, the acquisition would be a life preserver. For Spotify, it would gain some potential users, and perhaps provide them with an easy path to post their music on Spotify, but it’s difficult to see how that helps Spotify enough to justify a potential billion dollar investment.
Another negative is the fact that Spotify would have to enter into another round of negotiations with record labels and publishers for new SoundCloud license agreements. These licenses are the biggest hurdle for any company either trying to get into, or already in the music distribution business, and investors know how difficult they can be. As a result, it’s a headache that Spotify can’t afford to take at the moment.
If Spotify does go public next year and is flush with cash (after paying off investors that is), look for the company to revisit the SoundCloud acquisition again. Until that time, SoundCloud has to hang on.
Neil Young has finally gotten the message about his Pono high-fidelity service, only it’s a couple of years too late. Originally conceived as a download service complete with its own dedicated player, the development took way too long and when it launched potential users had already moved on to streaming instead of buying downloads. Now the artist has announced that the service will convert to streaming, although no other details were given.
This makes sense from the standpoint that the catalog is already licensed, the most difficult part of the equation, and it’s also online, although the format is probably not what will be ultimately streamed.
Of course the big problem here is that the idea of Pono is a service to deliver higher resolution audio than than currently available from the major streaming services. That said, it’s not clear that people will actually pay a premium (approximately double the monthly fee) for something they’re not sure they can hear in the first place. Both Tidal and Deezer offer hi-fi premium tiers already, and that feature hasn’t been a major factor in attracting users or generating revenue for either of those services.
While the world doesn’t need another streaming service, there just may be a niche in the hi-fi area. It’s still unknown whether there are enough people interested to make the service viable though. Then there’s the fact that at some point, the other major streaming players can turn on a hi-fi tier as well (especially Apple, who’s been collecting hi-res audio tracks via its Mastered For iTunes program for about 3 years) at any time. Either way, you have to give Neil Young credit for being passionate about audio enough to take on this gargantuan task.
Pono’s hi-res music store went offline in July. There are no predictions when the new service will be launched.
We’d all like to have a mic cabinet filled with the most coveted vintage mics, but few of us can afford even one of those beauties. That may all change thanks to the new generation of modeling microphones, which bring you an excellent rendition of the best of the best in vintage mics in one package at a reasonable price.
Chris Townsend is the creator of the Sphere L22 modeling mic, and he’s on this week’s podcast to tell us all about it, and why we should consider a modeler in the future.
I must tell you that his voice was recorded on one of his mics in the U47 mode, and it sounds fabulous, but you can hear it for yourself when you tune in.
On the intro I’ll look at how virtual reality may be a boon to live music, and the potential cyber-security risk facing us with our studio gear.
It used to be that just one good review in a magazine could sell loads of albums. Even a bad review could be really good for business if it was in a publication like Rolling Stone. That’s all changed since magazine reviews have become pretty irrelevant as the music world has moved online. Now its the music blogs like Pitchfork or Stereogum that can make the difference not so much in sales, but visibility to a new audience. Sometimes those larger blogs are tough to break through, but the smaller bloggers still provide more of a one on one chance to state your case.
But how do you approach bloggers in the first place? There really is a right and wrong way to do it, and I’m writing from experience when I offer these 5 tips to get a blogger interested enough in what you’re doing to actually post about it.
1. Read the blog for a while to become familiar with the theme and feel. You can turn the blogger off completely by sending something cold without knowing the backstory of the blog.
2. Make some post comments without any overt marketing. Just try to move the conversation along on a few posts. The idea is for the blogger to recognize you as someone who contributes regularly and adds to the conversation.
3. Only after the blogger becomes familiar with you is it safe to reach out about what you’re doing. If you’re a regular reader and contributor, the blogger is much more likely to read a press release or take a listen to your music.
4. Sometimes asking a question about your project gets a response. While many bloggers are too busy to answer every email, many go out of their way to accommodate a regular reader and contributor. As a result, it’s perfectly okay to follow up after you’ve sent something to the blogger and there’s a good chance he’ll answer.
5. Never hard sell, just inform. Hard sell is a turnoff in general. Don’t do it. It’s okay to state the relevant information, but keep the superlatives like “Best band ever!” out of the equation.
As a blogger who gets hit on multiple times per day by PR people, record labels, artists and startups, I can tell you that if you follow these 5 tips, you’ll have a much better chance of getting bloggers to pay attention to you and your music.
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 9th, 2016. There’s a lot of news this week, especially on the streaming side of things, so let’s get right into it.
The three major labels experienced growth this year, all thanks to streaming. Many feel that the industry has finally turned the corner on revenue, especially with Amazon Music finally launched.
Apple Music has topped 20 million users. A milestone for sure, but it still trails Spotify by a lot.
Pandora’s new interactive service has finally launched. Pandora Premium is here, but will anyone really care?
This Quartz article thinks that Apple Music and Spotify are too far ahead for Pandora Premium to matter. Maybe so, but this is more for shareholders than users at the moment.
Will users actually want the $4.99 light subscriptions? This survey says yes, at least for the new iHeartRadio Plus service, pegging the potential subscribers at around 4 million.
Speaking of streaming numbers, there’s a new king of Spotify streams. Drake loses his crown to The Weeknd.
YouTube offers some big numbers, but the music industry claims that’s not enough. The royalty split still doesn’t work, but there no immediate relief in sight.
Brits now spend more money on vinyl than on downloads. No surprise here, except for how quickly downloads are slipping from our digital vocabulary.
A US court ruled against Duran Duran in regards to reclaiming the rights to their first 3 albums. It claims they are bound by an English contract, not an American one.
Finally, a law against ticket bots. New York signed into law legislation against unfair ticket purchasing and reselling practices, which could soon mean better seats and better prices for everyone if the law spreads to other states.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.
One of the downsides of live music is that only so many people can experience it at any one time. Whether it’s a club, concert or festival, attendance is limited to only the people that are able to make it to the venue, even though many more may desire to do so. Live video feeds and broadcasts changed this somewhat, but haven’t caught on to the level that was expected, mostly because the experience is fairly limited from a viewership point of view. It’s not all that realistic, after all. This could all change thanks to virtual reality though, as was recently pointed out in an NBC post.
VR, even if it’s cheaply created and delivered, is a much more enjoyable experience as it gives you the feeling that you’re actually in the venue. Turn you head to either side and you see the people in the crowd. Turn to the rear and you see the bar. Turn forward left to right and you either see the individual band members on stage, or the expanse of the DJ booth. Look up and you see the ceiling, lighting and sound system. Look down and you may see a lighted dance floor. For all intense and purposes, you are there and you have the best seat in the house.
The picture portion of VR is way ahead of the audio however, which is the missing link in the experience. There’s not enough attention being paid to the this aspect and it’s the final piece of the puzzle for a truly live experience. The tools are available, but the integration with those high quality tools isn’t seamless at the moment, and it adds a level of expense that many club owners don’t want to absorb, although the bigger the venue, the less this becomes an issue.
Make no mistake about it, virtual reality may become a significant revenue source for both artists and venues in the future as soon as the kinks are worked out. That said, there’s a fear among venue owners that the experience can potentially be so good that it’s actually better than being present live in the venue. We’re not close to that yet, as VR is still in it’s infancy, but look for it to make its mark on live music in a big way in the near future.
A recent look at a day in the life of YouTube by Pexeso is extremely illuminating. First of all, it’s not as music-centric as it was previously, with only 5% of its videos now dedicated to music. Those amounted to 11% of total views, which comes in 4th behind gaming, entertainment, and people and blogs. Another eye-opening stat is that more than 93% of the videos are in English, and that the 3 major labels rank 2, 3 and 4 among the number of take-down notices issued.
Here’s an overview of the data. You can find a very nice infographic here.
Brief overview of statistics of 1 YouTube day:
What happens to videos after they’re uploaded?
Any perceptions of YouTube as a platform that’s dominated by music are shattered by this study. Indeed, video does account for 74% of all Internet traffic, but music is just a small piece of it.
There are stars, then there are superstars, then there’s Justin Bieber, who seems to shine brighter than the rest. On this week’s podcast, Justin’s studio partner Josh Gudwin will discuss what it’s like recording, mixing and even producing one of the biggest names in the entertainment universe.
On the intro we’ll take a look at how Instagram might be the best social platform to find music fans, if you have what they want. I’ll also discuss the latest in the DAW world, as so many of us look for an option to Pro Tools.
As I’ve said many times here and in my book Social Media Promotion For Musicians, just being on a social network doesn’t mean that you’re using it effectively for promotion. There’s a mindset that’s need before you can use any network as a promotional tool. Here are 12 questions to ask yourself (thanks to this Time article) before you post to any social network that will help you focus your content for greatest impact.
1. Is the message educational, informational, or entertaining? Stop if it doesn’t fit into either of these categories.
2. Is the voice correct? Remember to stay within your brand and not get too personal.
3. Is it too long? Shorter posts get more engagement.
4. Is the URL correct? You did remember to include a link, right? Make sure you check that it’s working
5. Should I target a speciﬁc audience with this message? Sometimes it’s better to just address a specific portion of your audience or fanbase.
6. Did I use the right keywords and hashtags to maximize exposure? Keywords and hashtags are still important.
7. How many times have I already posted something today? Too many posts in the day may mean that this one could be ignored.
8. Did I spell check? Poor spelling is something that people notice immediately and it detracts from the message of the post.
9. Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this? Stop and rewrite if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable about something in the post. Follow your gut on this one.
10. Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out? If you’re angry, take an hour to calm down before you post. A quick reactive post is how flame wars start.
11. Did I make the most of visual content—images, video, slides? Visuals increase engagement on almost all platforms.
12. Did I make the most of my update text—headline formulas, polls, quizzes? You only have so many chances for attention so make the most of them.
The best way to use social media as an effective promotion tool is to post great content. Follow these 12 questions and you’ll always be sure that you’re in the ballpark.
You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.