Monthly Archives: March 2017
Monthly Archives: March 2017
If you’re a Pandora user, the service that you know and hopefully love may very well be different in the next month. That’s because an investor revolt looks to be forcing the company’s sale, according to an enlightening expose’ by Music Business Worldwide, and that could come within the next two weeks by the way things are shaping up within the company.
Apparently on last Friday March 3rd new directors were scheduled to be nominated, and founder and CEO Tim Westergren’s tenure as a director was coming to an end. Since it was most unlikely that he would be renominated due to investor unhappiness, he managed to postpone the meeting was two weeks in order to gain some breathing room, which doesn’t normally happen in a publicly traded company.
The thought is that that newly appointed directors would force a sale (most likely to suitor Sirius XM) and force Westergren out as CEO. By postponing the meeting, Westergren has a chance to sell the company in that time period and keep his job, or that’s what the speculation would leave you to believe.
Pandora’s share price has taken a beating, dropping 22% since it’s IPO. It dropped 6% just in the last week after the chairman of Sirius XM parent company Liberty Media made a statement about Pandora being overvalued thanks to its operating loss of $343 million last year.
The big investors in Pandora no longer see a way to make the big money they were betting on and just want to get at least some of their money back as soon as possible, so they’re forcing the issue. That’s why you’ll see a change coming to Pandora one way or another very soon. It probably won’t go away as a company, but you can bet that by the end of the year it will be a far different service than it is right now.
Today is the 3rd anniversary of my Inner Circle Podcast and I’d like to thank you for being a loyal listener. I never envisioned getting to 150 episodes, but it’s all been made possible by followers like you!
Episode #151 brings back engineer Dennis Moody. Dennis was my first guest, and he’s celebrated every podcast anniversary with me since. As always, we look at the many trends that are happening in both the studio and live sound business. If you’re not familiar with Dennis, he’s the engineer to drumming gods like Steve Gadd and Dave Weckl, and also mixes live sound in arenas to clubs, so he has quite a history.
In the intro I’ll take a look at Spotify’s current A/B tests of its new Hifi tier, and at some killer vintage recording consoles with big histories that are now for sale.
A big controversy has popped up over a tweet (see below) that outlines the language in the latest SXSW artist contracts which stipulates stipulates “SXSW will notify the appropriate immigration authorities” if an international artist tries to play either an official or unofficial show without the proper work visa. As a result, a number of international acts have cancelled their appearances at this year’s event.
With all the hysteria of the Trump administration travel ban into the US fresh on everyone’s mind, any kind of contract language that outlines immigration policies is bound to upset some people, but the fact of the matter is that this is nothing new in terms of SXSW or any other promoter. All promoters know that they must comply with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) authorities, or things could get pretty miserable for them in short order. There’s been contract language to that effect in virtually all promoter’s contracts for decades when dealing with acts outside of the US. The promoter does not in any way want to be even remotely libel.
The fact of the matter is that SXSW has plenty on its plate already and being an ICE enforcer isn’t one of them. It’s never been known to report an act for a visa violation, and though they frown on unofficial shows, the festival has its hands full jsut making sure that its own shows run as planned.
Tweets have a way of riling people up and that’s happened way before the current president began posting. Celebrities, musicians, sports figures and politicians have been doing this ever since the service began, and this tweet is more of the same – an over-reaction rather than a look at reality.
So to break it down – 1. If you’re from outside the US, save yourself any possibility of a hassle and just get the proper work visa before you come to SXSW, and 2. If you get in trouble with ICE, SXSW will probably not be the cause of it.
You can read more about the controversy here, as well as read the reply from SXSW managing director Roland Swenson here.
Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of March 3rd, 2017. A lot went down this week in a few related areas. Let’s get into it.
Good news – recorded music grew by 7% last year. It’s actually up $1.1 billion over last year, which is a heck of a good year of growth.
Indie labels say their share grew by more than 6%. That’s good news for the DIYers out there.
And indie publishers saw their revenue grow by 60%. The business may never reach it’s previous heights, but it’s definitely coming back.
Facebook is about to go after YouTube big time. And that means paying creators for things like music, if the hire outlined in this article means anything. A lot of people in the industry are very excited about this potential new source of revenue.
Artists are banding together to try to influence the US Copyright Office to force YouTube to pay more. Good for them for trying, but I don’t think it will mean much.
There’s over a billion hours of YouTube watched every single day. That means it’s 10 times as popular as Netflix or Facebook video and almost approaches broadcast TV’s numbers.
And YouTube has millions of dollars for artists in an escrow account. If you’re Canadian, you probably haven’t been paid some royalties owed to you, but you only have 3 months to make a claim.
The Austin live music scene is really struggling. Just like in other cities around the world, venues are closing at what seems to be a record rate. The festival scene is still strong, but SXSW now has a problem with not enough venues for it typical showcases.
Radio is not the place to listen to music, according to Jay-Z. OK, he’s biased but what he’s saying is totally true and it’s been something that I’ve been repeating for years on this blog and in my Music 4.1 book – Madison Avenue really runs radio, meaning that it’s all about the advertiser, not the listener.
That said, the number of radio listeners hasn’t changed much. People talk about the technology as being old and obsolete (it is), yet we all continue to use it more than we think.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!
Instagram can be one of the best social media marketing tools available to an artist or band, providing that your audience is there. Here are a 7 best practices to follow in order to build an Instagram community.
1. First of all, your profile picture and description are important. Make sure to include a profile picture that reflects your band or brand (a logo would be nice), and include a link to your website.
2. Shorten the Links With A URL Shortener. Instagram’s bio description has a limit of 150 characters, so it’s important to save as many characters as you can.
3. Leave Relevant Comments. Comments are much appreciated by the poster because they’re few and far between. For instance, every second on Instagram produces 575 “Likes” but only 81 comments. It’s a lot easier to just click the like button, but comments get you followed back.
4. Use the filters. Believe it or not, filters actually make a difference in engagement. For instance, a study of 6 million posts across 10,000 brands found that posts using Hefe, Lo-Fi, Nashville, Brannan, and Kelvin filters generated 4.5% to 5.6% more engagement than the average Instagram post!
5. Post at the correct times. Mondays and Thursdays tend to drive the most engagement, while between 3 and4 p.m. typically drives lower engagement during a workday.
6. Like with other social networks, the number of times you post per day on Instagram is important. It’s been found that the ideal number is only one to two times per day. You can get away with more on special occasions like an event, but be sure to space out the posts so you don’t overflow your followers feeds.
7. Use hashtags. Hashtags are an essential part of Instagram marketing and promotion, so it’s important that you’re familiar with how they work on the platform. Contrary to all other networks, on Instagram the more hashtags you use, the better. That’s because hashtags are the primary way you build a community on the platform. Believe it or not, between 7 and 11 hashtags get the most engagement, according to most studies.
Creating and maintaining a flourishing Instagram community takes some time and effort, but it can be much easier than you think by following these best practices.
Most pundits in the recorded music business have been advocating for a low-priced streaming music tier for years, predicting that real growth in that end of the business won’t begin until the entry level price falls from $10 to around $5. While Amazon introduced its low-priced tier at the end of last year, you needed to own either an Echo or Dot to take advantage. Now SoundCloud has launched it’s new $4.99 tier to try to compete with some of the deeper pockets in the industry.
The service is called SoundCloud Go and it offers 120 million songs, no ads, and the ability to listen offline. The company’s original tier, SoundCloud Go Plus, is still $9.99 but offers 150 million songs in its catalog.
Considering that all other streaming services have far fewer songs available (Apple Music has 40 million and Spotify 30 million), that might seem like a strong selling point except for the fact that most of these songs are by unknown artists. Even with the other music services, most streaming is dominated by hitmakers, so high catalog numbers don’t really mean anything in the end.
What does count is registered users and paying subscribers though. SoundCloud says it has 175 million users, but won’t say how many of these actually currently pay for the service.
Many think that the company is in serious financial trouble and that SoundCloud Go is a last-ditch effort to increase its paid subscriber base. There have been numerous rumors over the last few years of a larger company buying the company but that has yet to happen, and the official company line today is that it’s not for sale.
SoundCloud definitely has a place in the music ecosystem as it’s the main repository of indie music, and is key to any indie artist music strategy. That doesn’t mean it can make money from that however, as has been the case so far.