Monthly Archives: March 2017
Monthly Archives: March 2017
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week ending on March 31st, 2017. There is less news about streaming than in past weeks, but there’s still lot of very interesting items nonetheless. Let’s get into it.
New music is cool, but it’s old music that sells. The weekly Top 50 is only worth less than 4% of the total music revenue pie, and gets most of the audio and video streams.
Warner Records just launched a vinyl-only label. The difference is that all the releases are selected by fans.
Whatever happened to Generation X? They joined the ranks of the Baby Boomers, that’s what. Interesting story of the transition here.
5 ways Spotify is gaining leverage over the major labels. It needs all the leverage it can get because it still also needs those new label licensing deals.
Can Snapchat change the music business? I have my doubts, but this article thinks it’s possible.
Every hear of a record store crawl? There’s one coming to New York City in April and 11 more cities during the summer.
A battle is shaping up at the US Copyright Office. And it could have a big affect on the music business.
iHeartRadio now has more than 100 million users. Doesn’t matter, the company still has big financial problems.
Sad to say, but music education appears now to be only for the white and wealthy. With all the money spent on other things that are frivolous in the grand scheme of things, you’d think that there’d be a little money for something so essential.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!
Videos on any platform can be used as an effective marketing tool, but you must observe some essential SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, techniques for that to happen. Before you go live on a video, here are 5 tips that will improve its search results:
1. Name your video something descriptive. “Untitled_bandvideo12.mov” is not descriptive at all, so your video will never get added by the search engines, and your fans won’t find it. “The Unsigned Band At the Cavern Club” is much better.
2. Make sure that your description contains the same phrase as your title. For example, “This video features The Unsigned Band at the Cavern Club on January 9, 2017.” A title like “Here’s our band at the Cavern Club” wouldn’t be as effective, because it omits the keyword “The Unsigned Band.” Make sure that you also use this phrase in the description as well.
3. Make sure that you fill out the description. The more detail contained in the video description, the more search engines will love it. That means you should include a brief summary of what the video is about, who’s in the video (including band members and actors), and the names of the director, producers (video and recording), songwriters and everyone else involved. If someone does a search for any of these people, having them listed in the description will make your video show up in the search results. It’s tough to do sometimes, but make sure the description contains anywhere from 75 to 200 or even more.
4. Always include a link. Make sure to include a link to your website and or social media in the description. Make sure that it includes the full “http://” at the front so the link will be active. And don’t forget the contact info so someone can get in touch with you if they need to.
5. Use the proper tags. Not only should the artist name be included, but also any similar artists, the type of music, and even the mood of the song will help the video to be found during a search.
6. Include the name of the original artist when doing a cover song. Cover songs are a good way to get an artist noticed on YouTube, but the song selection, performance, the title and proper tagging play a big part in its popularity.
Remember, the more text the body of your description has, the more likely it will be found by a search engine and the better your search results will be. A hundred words works well, but so could 500, so don’t feel that you have to limit yourself.
You can read more tips like this from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book, as well as my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
As mentioned here before, Spotify’s licensing deals with the major labels is currently out of contract. This is a big deal since the company wants to go public this year, and that could be put in jeopardy if it doesn’t have its licensing house in order. But the labels are driving a hard bargain, not only financially but how their new music will be served up to users, and that could make Spotify tiers look different soon.
One of the things that’s already happening is that some of the hottest new releases will only be available on the paid tier (why did it take them so long to think of this?). Of course that’s an incentive for more people to upgrade from the free tier, but there may be something else coming soon that amplifies that strategy.
It’s been reported that the labels are pushing for the free tier to be for singles only that are past their release “window” (the amount of time after it’s been exclusive on the paid tier), and the rest of the album will only be available on the paid tier. Again, this makes total sense in that it’s another incentive to get users to pay.
Of course, should Spotify adopt that strategy, then you can be sure that the other streaming networks wouldn’t be too far behind.
It’s also been reported that the majors are pushing to up their stakes in Spotify in exchange for the new licensing agreements (yes, the majors all own a piece of Spotify), which could make them quite a bit of money when the company IPOs.
All this means that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes at Spotify and negotiations will get more intense in the coming days and weeks. The sooner this is all worked out, the sooner the company can IPO, something that the investors are pushing heavily for. This might not be the best thing for music consumers, but reconfigured Spotify tiers will be better for artists, labels and publishers in the long run.
Unless you live in a big media center like NY, LA or Nashville (or any big city for that matter), most artists and songwriters probably don’t have access to the caliber of musicians needed to really make their tracks as good as they can be.
A company called Custom Tracks is trying to change that though, allowing you to submit your song so a crack team of studio professionals can craft it while you watch and listen online in real time. On the latest episode of my Inner Circle Podcast, founder Dane Myers gave me the rundown of how Custom Tracks came about, and how it all works.
In the intro I’ll take a look at some very interesting Internet statistics that might blow your mind, and how a new study found that the physicality of playing music live means so much to musical performances, as well as the new trend of Jymmin (what, you haven’t heard of it?).
You’d think that owning music is a thing of the past, yet the iTunes music store still does over a $1 billion a year selling downloads. Streaming may be putting a big hit on downloads, but a new online store called Voltra is coming at it with a new approach that might benefit both music consumers and artists alike.
Voltra allows users to listen to an entire song once for free, and then pay a small fee for each consecutive listen. After the 10th play, the track is fully paid for and officially owned by the user. Best of all, the dreaded 30 second preview is gone from the service and there are no ads. You listen for free, then if you like the song, you then begin to pay for it.
Voltra users also has a premium membership tier for the typical $10 a month. The stream-to-own deal is still the same, but the user’s files are automatically backed up to Amazon’s Glacier storage. The advantage here is that if a user cancels the account, there’s little danger of losing your music like with some other services.
How is this better for artists? Artists who sign directly with Voltra will receive 100 percent of their earnings, since the company doesn’t deduct a commission from their song profits. And it’s free to upload your music as well. Reportedly an artist can earn 99 cents after only 10 streams on Voltra, compared to 226 streams on Spotify, 134 on Apple Music, and 146 on Google Play, so it’s a pretty good deal. Artists and labels can also opt out of this stream-to-own option, but so far it looks like most in the service’s catalog are going along with it.
The problem is that Voltra is just launching and the service’s desktop and mobile players are in beta (they’re free to download). According to the company there’s about 5,000 users in the beta program and a song catalog of around 3 million so far.
This is a pretty cool idea. Let’s see if this gets some traction. Find out more at Voltra.co.
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of March 24th, 2017. Spotify gets a lot of attention because it’s getting serious about its upcoming public offering, but lots of other news as well. Let’s get into it.
Spotify is nearing a new licensing deal with the major labels. It’s been out of contract for the last 2 years, but needs to reup before its IPO this year.
The Street takes a grownup look at Spotify’s current financial situation. There are a lot of forces currently at work here that are pushing Spotify to make deals that it might not want.
Speaking of Spotify, it’s collecting a huge amount of data from you. It doesn’t care much if you stream for free because it’s learning so much about you that it’s turning into cash.
Voltra has a different approach to monetizing music, both for the consumer and artist. The question is, will it survive against the deep pocketed services that have a big head start?
Just after you thought no one can top Ed Sheeran, here comes Drake again. He breaks both Apple Music and Spotify records with 90 million streams in 24 hours for his latest release.
Vinyl versus streaming – the future. Experts predict what may happen to both, but they’re actually pretty vague, and I think off the mark.
Discogs is bringing record collecting into the 21st century. Although there are many who go along kicking and screaming.
Google Hangouts gets a makeover. It’s not only going after Slack, but WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well.
LiveNation has acquired 13 companies in 13 months. The latest is the UK’s Isle of Wight festival. Talk about a rollup.
Radio is listened to at the same rate in all age groups. Surprising numbers from Nielsen, but these numbers have been holding steady for years.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!
A new strategy in music releases is beginning to take place, even within the major labels. In almost a return to the early days of records, the single song is king rather than the album, and that requires an entirely new look at the timing of when your material becomes available.
The basic premise of this new philosophy is to release fewer songs but have them come out more frequently. In other words, it’s better to release a song or two every six, eight, or twelve weeks than to wait a year for one album release of ten songs as was once done. This benefits the artist in the following ways:
Make no mistake, the album format is not dead in Music 4.0, even though sales continue to decrease, but the emphasis has shifted to the individual song. Not only that, the tastes and attention span of audiences today are shorter and shorter, which makes multiple releases an ideal fit with the lifestyle.
No one is saying that you can’t release an album; just that multiple singles at regular intervals before the album release works better in today’s marketplace. Choose your music releases wisely in order to take advantage of the current streaming and social media world.
You can read more from The Music 4.1 Internet Music Guidebook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
We like to think that everything about music is built around the tastes of the people that are both creating and listening to it, but that outlook seems to be increasingly out of step with reality. Artificial intelligence is being used more and more for all sorts of things that control our lives, so why shouldn’t what we listen to not be one of them? In this video from the BBC series The Secret Science of Pop, you’ll see that there’s already an algorithm that’s predicting the next chart hit. The scary part is that no human actually listened to the songs involved. The world has certainly changed from the old days when a hit could be picked by a local DJ who played a song until the rest of the world caught on.
If you were going to show someone how to make it in the music business, you’d point to engineer and mixer Drew Drucker as the perfect example.
Drew graduated from recording school, then worked his way up in the business by starting as a runner and moving up the ladder thanks to hard work, paying his dues and some good timing. His client list now includes some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest stars including Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Travis Barker, Bruno Mars and B-Real, among many others.
We really got down in the weeds when it comes to Drew’s mixing and recording techniques in this interview, so expect a lot of details.
In the intro I’ll take a look at the surprising top selling vinyl records from 2016. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over this one. I’ll also look at a pre-session checklist that every producer and studio owner should follow to make that first session run smoothly.
Music is a big part of the nightlife of any city, but venues everywhere have been seriously threatened by rising real estate costs, noise control laws, and city taxes. Luckily, many cities are finally waking up to the fact that a city without music is a far less attractive destination or place to live, and the effort is being make to save local music venues.
London has a master plan in place to save its existing music venues, and is even creating a new position of Night Czar. Even so, local tax increases still threaten to close down many pubs and music venues.
Philadelphia has introduced a new Music Industry Task Force to try to reestablish the city as the music center that it once was, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has created a new initiative to bring more music to the city as well. Denver has a particularly thriving music scene these days that’s often overlooked by everyone but touring musicians in the know.
Yet venues everywhere struggle against against gentrification, which not only raises real estate prices beyond what a venue can reasonably pay, to local condo owners complaining about the loud music and patrons as well.
Clubs have a definite lifespan, and one that makes it beyond 5 years might be considered living on borrowed time, but the challenges facing club owners today are greater than ever. Increased liability for drunken customers, DUI laws that limit consumable beverages putting an artificial limit on revenue, and a limited number of acts that can actually draw a crowd put extreme pressure on anyone running a club.
But clubs and small music venues are the farm team of the music business. It’s where young artists and bands develop their musical and performance chops, build their followings, and hone their shows. They’re vital to survival of the industry as a whole, so everyone should shed a tear for any venue that closes. That said, at least there’s a newfound awareness regarding the fragile nature of the music culture by many cities that just wasn’t there before, and that could only be a good thing.