Category Archives for "Music Industry Stats"

Where Music Artists Go Wrong On YouTube

YouTube where music artists go wrongYouTube is capable of making people stars, and while that happens to exceptional content creators, most of them are not music artists. One of the reasons that artists don’t fall into the YouTube star category is that their general mindset is still set in the past. Here are the 4 places were artists go wrong on YouTube, which leads to far less success on the platform than they’re capable of.

  • It’s not about the views. YouTube is actually not optimized for total views, contrary to popular belief. It’s all about watch time and channel subscriptions, according to industry analyst Mark Mulligan. Most artists get most concerned about views, which takes their focus away from what really counts.
  • Major YouTube stars constantly drip content. They’re constantly posting on a schedule that their subscribers know and trust. Music artists, on the other hand, post an average of 3 videos every 18 months. The big problem is that even if these videos rack up some big numbers, the advertising revenue is lower because there’s not much inventory on the channel so the income is far lower than possible.
  • Releases are too far apart. Most artists are still on an album cycle, where they work on an album for months or years and only release singles (and therefore videos) when that album is complete. The world that we live in today has moved way past that. In order to keep an audience, constant engagement is essential and that means the release of more content in a more timely fashion, just like the native YouTube stars.
  • The video doesn’t have to be slick. If there’s one thing that we know from watching YouTube stars with huge followings is that production quality isn’t anything to get hung up on. A quick backstage video on an iPhone or impromptu acoustic jam can be far more effective than that big expensive music video. Like anything else, it still has to be entertaining, but with a little thought, a cheap video can still be very effective.

Artists and bands have a love/hate relationship with YouTube but the fact of the matter is that it’s still one of the most effective ways of getting your music out to both fans and non-fans alike, and growing an audience. That said, the techniques that worked in the past are no longer valid. Luckily, there are some very good models to look at for guidance, but few of them are from the music business.

Best U.S. Cities For Music Fans

Top Cities For Music FansIf you’re a music fan or musician on the move, you probably want to know what the music scene is like in the various cities across the U.S. ValuePenguin set out to determine the best cities in the country for music fans by compiling 15 different data points (most of which aren’t specified) into 3 different categories. What the survey determined is fairly surprising. Here are the top 20 music cities in 2016, according to the study.

Top 20 Music Cities

Although the Nashville area at #1 isn’t much of a surprise, Honolulu at #2, Madison at #4, Albany at #6 and Pittsburgh at #9 are. More surprising is the fact that Austin, San Francisco, Portland and Asheville, all with seemingly robust music scenes, didn’t rank higher.

Here are the bottom 20 cities according to the study.

Bottom 20 Music Cities

Most of these are small populace areas, but it’s interesting that there are 4 city areas from California on the list.

Also part of the study was a look at the number of radio stations per population density providing discovery of new music. It should be noted that New York and Los Angeles didn’t appear in the top 5, despite have 428 stations between them.

Best Worst Radio Cities

Again this is very surprising since none of the top 5 cities appear in the top 40 best music cities (Champaign ranks #45).

Once again, the methodology of the study wasn’t detailed, so there may be factors that made the list lean one way or another. That said, it’s interesting to bust some myths on what we consider to be strong music towns, and be pleasantly surprised to find others that are thriving. Either way, there are more music fans in more places than you think, so never assume that a city doesn’t have it’s own scene. It may be much more robust than you would ever think.

Check out the website to find your city’s rank here.

Electronic Dance Music Still Has Room For Growth Despite Predictions

Andy_Moor_DJ_2010Andy_Moor_DJ_2010It wasn’t that long ago when it looked like electronic dance music, or EDM, might be the savior of the music business, thanks to an impressive growth rate of 54% over the course of just three years. With overall CD and download sales slowing down, and streaming paid subscribers not increasing as fast as the industry expected, EDM looked like it was the record label’s shining star when it came to fertile new sales ground. The problem is, in the last year, the upswing has slowed to just 3.5%, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for growth in the genre.

According to the IMS Business Report 2016, total EDM sales went from $4.5 billion in 2012/13 to $6.9 billion in 2014/15. In the past year, that growth slowed by quite a bit, increasing by just $200 million, which has a many in the music industry thinking doom and gloom again.

That outlook may be a bit premature, however, because even though the U.S. market seems to have matured, other high-potential markets are only now in the early stages of development. Cuba, South America, Vietnam, the Philippines, and China have all seen huge electronic dance music festivals and clubs launched this year alone. In fact, nine clubs out of 20 new entries into the DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs are in Asia, with four in China, and three in Jakarta. Even a club from the UAE was listed.

One of the reasons for all the optimism comes from the fact that out of all genres of music (and there are a lot), electronic dance music is one of the most transportable. Since it’s mostly instrumental (even if there’s a vocal, the lyrics often don’t play a big part in song), there’s no language barrier between countries as a result. This means that even when the genre has topped out in the major developed countries, growth can still continue in smaller and upstart markets, sort of like what happened with American jazz music of the 1950s and 60s.

While it might seem like most of the revenue growth is coming from live events, that’s not entirely true. Song streams and downloads play a significant part of the genre’s revenue makeup.

For instance, streams increased 33% in the U.S. last year to 15 billion, although that figure is somewhat tempered by the fact that album and digital track sales and genre market share fell. In the UK, however, streaming growth grew at a faster rate than any other genre in 2015, and EDM remained in the top three formats in terms of sales there. In France, a third of the radio stations dedicated more than 10% of their output to Dance tracks in Q1 2015, showing the format is alive and well there too. In fact, Europe in general loves the genre, since figures indicate that at least 1 in 7 people have recently attended an EDM event. [Read more on Forbes]

(Photo: Andymoore1980 via WikiPedia)

Which Music Genre Do We Like Best?

Rock's Not DeadRock's Not DeadIf you were to listen to a week of nothing but radio, you’d think that all we listen to in the U.S. is pop and country music. If you were to read a week’s worth of the music news, you might think that dance/electronic/EDM was close to the top of the heap in what we enjoy. The problem with those assumptions is that they’re wrong, at least according to the 2015 Nielsen Year End Music Report that, among other things, looked at each music genre and discovered which we liked the best last year.

When taking into account the total amount of music consumption, which includes physical and downloaded albums, downloaded tracks, and streams, here’s the order of music genre preference that the study determined:

Rock – 24.5%

R&B/Hip-Hop – 18.2%

Pop – 15.7%

Country – 8.5%

Latin – 4.5%

Dance/EDM – 3.4%

Christian – 2.8%

Holiday/Seasonal – 1.7%

Classical – 1.3%

Childrens – 1.1%

When it came to number of albums consumed, Rock was far ahead at 32.6%, followed byR&B/Hip-Hop at 15.1% and Pop at 22.6%.

For streams, R&B/Hip-Hop came out on top at 21.1%. Rock at 17.5%. and Pop at 14.5%.

Rock might not be the hippest music genre and it’s frequently portrayed in the press as spiraling downward in popularity and relevancy, but it still continues to out-perform other music genres, for better or worse.

Old Music Outsells New In 2015

Old Music outsells new musicNielsen’s latest music report is out and, as always, it’s very revealing about what we listen to in the U.S. Perhaps it’s biggest revelation is that, for the first time, old music (known as catalog sales) outsold new music in 2015.

Catalog is defined as a music release that’s more than 18 months old. Of course, we’re also talking about music sales and not streams, which is an entirely different matter.

That said, sales of older music came despite the huge sales numbers for Adele’s giant 25 album, which was only available for sale and not as a stream. The album went on to sell 7.2 million copies in the last 6 weeks of 2015 in the U.S. alone.

But lest you think that CDs are completely dead, 2015 saw 125 million of them sold for about $1.52 billion in revenue, which is still a huge amount of money.

And that’s only the CDs that were tallied by Soundscan. CDs sold privately on events and online aren’t counted.

Beyond that, there were 103 million digital albums downloaded, and 11.9 million vinyl albums sold.

As you can see on the chart on the left, catalog music leads over new music in all facets of sales. I guess the “Long Tail Theory” must be working.

Apple Music Up To 13 Million Subscribers

Apple Music SubscribersIt looks like all the naysayers were wrong. Apple reported on its recent earnings call that its Apple Music streaming service was now up to 13 million paid subscribers and still growing.

Much of that growth has come recently in fact, as it was reported that 2 million subscribers signed up since February alone.

The present growth looks to be at around 1 million a month, which means that the tech giant should be battling Spotify for the top space in the streaming industry by the end of year.

Spotify claims to have 20 million current subscribers, but many are on a “student discount” tier at half the $9.99 monthly price.

One advantage that Apple Music has over Spotify is that it’s available in 58 more countries than Spotify, including Russia, China and Japan. All in all, the service is available in a total of 113 countries, leaving Spotify to play catch-up.

One reason for AM’s growth spurt has been albums from Drake, Coldplay, The 1975 and Gwen Stefani, where were releases to AM for a period before Spotify. Having an advert with Taylor Swift was also a big help.

Despite the recent hype around Tidal, it’s Apple Music that seems to be making the most headway.

What Do People Listen To On Their Smartphones?

Smartphone listeningSmartphone listeningEdison Research recently completed a study on smartphone usage and discovered that the listening habits of users isn’t quite what we believed it to be. in fact, the results were pretty surprising.

  • 54% listened to a radio channel
  • 16% listened to music they own
  • 15% listened to Pandora or other radio-like streaming services
  • 7% listen to Sirius XM
  • 5% to TV music channels
  • 2% listen to podcasting

Heavy listeners (those defined by listening to 2 hours or more per day) have a slightly different consumption pattern.

  • 43% listen to music they’ve downloaded and own
  • 37% listen to streaming audio
  • 9% listen to AM/FM radio
  • 7% listen to podcasts

Finally, 87% of adults from 18 to 34 never let their smartphones leave their sides.

All that said, we’re under the impression that the listening world belongs to exclusively to streaming, but that’s far from the case, according to the study. While radio listening and downloads may be dropping, they’re still a vital portion of our listening day.

IFPI Releases New Global Music Industry Sales Figures

Global Music SalesThe IFPI (the organization that tracks global music sales) finally released its annual report on the sales for 2015. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, none of the figures surprise you.

Here are the numbers right out of the report.

  • Digital revenues now account for 45 per cent of total revenues, compared to 39 per cent for physical sales.
  • There was a 10.2 per cent rise in digital revenues to US$ 6.7 billion, with a 45.2 per cent increase in streaming revenue more than offsetting the decline in downloads and physical formats.
  • Total industry revenues grew 3.2 per cent to US$ 15.0 billion, leading to the industry’s first significant year-on-year growth in nearly two decades. Digital revenues now account for more than half the recorded music market in 19 markets.
  • Streaming remains the industry’s fastest-growing revenue source. Revenues increased 45.2 per cent to US$ 2.9 billion and, over the five year period up to 2015, have grown more than four-fold.
  • Streaming now accounts for 43 per cent of digital revenues and is close to overtaking downloads (45 per cent) to become the industry’s primary digital revenue stream.
  • Premium subscription services have seen a dramatic expansion in recent years with an estimated 68 million people now paying a music subscription. This figure is up from 41 million in 2014 and just eight million when data was first compiled in 2010.
  • Downloads remain a significant offering, but now account for just 20 per cent of industry revenues. Income was down 10.5 per cent to US$ 3.0 billion – a higher rate of decline than in 2014 (- 8.2 per cent). Full album downloads are still a major part of the music fans’ experience and were worth US$1.4 billion. This is higher than the level of sales in 2010 (US $983 million) and 2011 (US $1.3 billion).
  • Performance rights revenue grew. Revenue generated through the use of recorded music by broadcasters and public venues increased 4.4 per cent to US$2.1 billion and remains one of the most consistent growing revenue sources. This revenue stream now accounts for 14 per cent of the industry’s overall global revenue, up from 10 per cent in 2011.
  • Revenues from physical formats declined, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years, falling by 4.5 per cent compared to 8.5 per cent in 2014 and 10.6 per cent in 2013. The sector still accounts for 39 per cent of overall global income and remains the format of choice for consumers in a number of major markets worldwide including Japan (75 per cent), Germany (60 per cent), and France (42 per cent).

That’s a lot of data to take in, but the big takeaways are that the total industry revenue remains flat at $15 billion, despite streaming’s growth, and paid subscriptions are taking off, at 68 million worldwide as compared to 41 million the year before.

 There’s more than meets the eye here though, which I’ll address in an upcoming post.

The Beatles A Bigger Hit On Spotify Than Current Artists

spotify-the-beatlesspotify-the-beatlesspotify-the-beatlesAfter all these years, it’s surprising how popular The Beatles music still is, and the band’s presence on Spotify proves it. The Fab 4 have been on the streaming service for a mere 100 days, yet the it’s been one of the most popular, even more so than current artists like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and 5 Second of Summer.

The band has averaged 6.5 million listeners a month, with 67% of them being under the age of 35. All told it’s been estimated that the several hundred million plays add up to more than 24 million hours of listening.

Surprisingly enough, Beatlemania is strongest in Mexico City, followed by London, Santiago, Chile and Los Angeles, and Thursday at 5PM is the peak time for listening. The top 4 countries that listen are the USA, UK, Mexico and Sweden.

The 4 most popular songs globally are “Here Comes The Sun,” followed by “Come Together,” “Let It Be,” and “Yesterday,” while the most popular albums are 1, Abbey Road, The White Album and Let It Be. The band’s songs also now appear on 4.2 million playlists.

It’s pretty amazing that the music from any single artist could be so enduring and popular.

How Gen Z Is Using Social Media

Gen Z is coming of age and they have a whole different take on communication than the generations before. Gen Z is generally defined with birth years ranging from the mid or late 1990s through the early 2010s or starting from the early 2000s.

Gen Z and social media imageA study by the college marketing insights agency Fluent examined the online active of Gen Zers and found a number of interesting points.

  • Facebook is still the top network for many users. 51% use the platform for keeping in touch with high school friends and family, while 39% used it for keeping in touch with college friends. Gen Zers like the fact that the platform keeps on top of new technical trends like messaging and video.
  • Snapchat and Instagram were used to keep in touch with closer friends, particularly at college. 34 and 35% used Snapchat and Instagram several times a day.
  • They spend their time online looking for content rather than social interaction.
  • 24% sample new apps every month.
  • YouTube is a major destination with 80% of respondents.
  • That said, Facebook has become a major video destination as well for 79% of respondents.
  • 32% watched at least 1 hour of video a day, 30% watched 2 hours a day, and 21% watched 3 hours a day.
  • They cannot live without the following brands in order of popularity: Apple, Samsung, Google, Netflix, YouTube.

Notice that Twitter isn’t a part of the social mix. This goes to show that pictures and video are a big part of the Gen Z lifestyle, so if you’re fan base is in this demographic, this is something to strongly consider in future marketing campaigns.