For over four years now, we’ve been somewhat mystified by the hatred from some musicians and labels towards streaming services like Spotify. The general complaint seems to be that “it doesn’t pay enough,” but “enough” is often at ridiculously high standards. I’ve now seen three separate analyses that show that, on a per listener-per play basis, Spotify pays more than any other source. The problem, it often seems, is one of expectations. Part of it is simply that musicians seem to forget that their labels take a giant chunk of their earnings, and that the payments that eventually trickle down to musicians are often months or years late. Also, those doing the complaining often seem unable to comprehend that these services take time to grow, and as they grow, the payouts get bigger and bigger. But the biggest mistake of all seems to be the idea that not having your music where your fans want it is somehow a good idea. We’ve pointed out repeatedly that making music disappear from where people are looking for it only harms the musicians.
Furthermore, as we’ve seen over and over again, as these services get bigger and start to catch on, artist are realizing all sorts of ways they can profit from them. Two recent examples are quite handy. First up, we have independent musician Ron Pope (music here), who has written a fantastic piece for the Huffington Post about just how wonderful Spotify has been for his career.
An intriguing new music discovery app has popped up on Apple’s App Store. It’s called Rewind Radio, and pitches itself as “the world’s first radio time machine” while promising that “music rediscovery is possible”.
The app, which we’ve been playing with this morning, prompts you to choose a decade, a year, or a season (e.g. Winter 1987) and then play music from that period, saving tracks as ‘moments’ for later access.
The caveat is that the music comes in the form of 30-second samples rather than full tracks, with a shopping-cart button to buy them from Apple’s iTunes Store. However, Rewind Radio also has a ‘Listen to Full Songs’ button, which prompts users to enter their Rdio login to stream full tracks via that service.
It’s thus the latest app to be built on Rdio’s platform, with that company competing with Spotify and Deezer to build an ecosystem of mobile app developers. The app is slick, social features are built in too, and the nostalgia angle isn’t one that’s been over-mined by discovery apps in recent times, so feels quite fresh.
Can it cut through the App Store clutter to find an audience, and then find a successful business model? That’s a challenge, as it is for all music apps, so we’ll watch Rewind Radio’s progress carefully.
Source: Musically (by Stuart Dredge)
One of the themes of this year’s Midem International Music Conference is that the music industry may finally be on a projectory towards future growth. To lay out their case, the Midem team has created the following infographic:
Source: Hypebot (by Bruce Houghton)
Beats Music is not the same old song and dance.
The new music service, which launched today online and for mobile devices, does let you stream and download 20 million-plus songs just as you can on Spotify. And it provides music based on your mood, as does Pandora.
But Beats, which made its industry-changing Beats by Dr. Dre headphones a fashion statement, brings swagger and style to the music marketplace. Some critics chide Beats — founded in 2008 by Dr. Dre and Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine — for emphasizing style over substance.
With Beats Music, the two are suitably intertwined.
The new service has pretty much the same catalog that Spotify has. Both services had the latest from Bruce Springsteen and Jennifer Nettles when their new releases hit. Not available at launch on Beats Music is Led Zeppelin — a get that Spotify ballyhooed last month — or the Beatles and AC/DC, for now found only on iTunes.
That could change, as Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers says it “will be adding more and more artists on an ongoing basis.”
Where Beats Music differs from the competition is that it serves as a music-loving older brother or sister who turns you onto music you may not have heard, or have forgotten.
There’s a popular business acronym that says goals should be S.M.A.R.T., or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Your music career is no different. Unless you have a target that you are reaching for, you’ll just continue down random pathways hoping to get somewhere.
Oftentimes, artists tend to limit their music sales to iTunes only, which is a crucial mistake considering the surge in popularity of streaming music services. It’s extremely important to get your music onto various platforms to accommodate fans that prefer to stream rather than download, as well as the fact that some services are more popular or non-existent in some countries.
EPs are a fan favorite these days! There is more music being released than ever before, and EPs sustain the listeners attention span by offering a taste of what a band is all about. In addition, creating EPs is a much cheaper route to take and allows for you to put out something new and fresh more than once a year.
One of the best ways to acquire email addresses from potential fans is to offer them something for free. Probably the most easiest solution is to offer a free download of one of your tracks. You can accomplish this using widgets and other tools that are available on ONErpm.
It takes quite a bit of time to handle the day-to-day social media aspects of a band. Ideally, you should find 2 or 3 prominent sites and build out your audience on those platforms. This will ensure that you put in the quality work that is needed to be successful on each one.
Furthermore, take advantage of apps and plugins, such as ONErpm’s Facebook store. If your fans are constantly on Facebook, why not give them the opportunity to purchase your music without leaving the site?
If you haven’t got a website yet, spend the majority of your time on getting one. This is basically your online business card, and a tool that will make you look more professional to people considering hiring you for gigs, media coverage, etc. It’s also a great way to engage with your fans, encourage music / merch sales, and keep fans informed.
This is actually one of the most important tips. If you’re making good songs that can compete with other popular musicians in your genre, then it’s time to really start marketing your music…CONSISTENTLY. Otherwise, not many people will hear or purchase your music, thus making it harder to build traction in terms of getting your name out there.
You may feel the need to up that number to increase your chances of getting your music heard; that is if you’re already been spending a good amount of time on marketing efforts and aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for.
It takes very little time to set up, but once you do you can set all your videos to be monetized. YouTube selects ads to be shown around your videos, and you are paid a portion of the revenue.
Don’t create only official music videos. Make any type of quick video (at least a minute long) talking about anything, recording in the studio, on the road, etc. Sure, some of them may make you very little, yet over time the volume could start collecting into something meaningful.
Make a playlist of your videos and direct people into watching a playlist instead of an individual video. This makes it easier for fans to view more of your videos, which is a plus in that every view counts toward more revenue!
Once you have monetized your channel, you can enable your annotations to have live links to iTunes, Google Play and other retailers. This creates instant traffic to sell your music and merchandise.
Do you already have a large audience to work with? If so, you can join ONErpm’s YouTube network and we’ll leverage your audience for higher ad rates. In addition, we also bring other monetizing opportunities for your videos, as well as cross promote with other network channels to drive up views.
Make sure your music is put into a database that allows YouTube to match your song anytime it is used. What this means is, every time your music is added to a random video with or without your permission, you’ll get a piece of the revenue. If your distributor doesn’t offer this, use a multi-channel network like ONErpm!
Don’t simply include the basic information on your video in the description. Take advantage of the opportunity to sell to prospective fans by adding outbound links to everything that you’d like to sell. Be sure to include merch stores, iTunes, Spotify, etc., to send your fans to for further revenue.
Try at all costs not to use one of the thumbnails YouTube generates from your video. What’s better than a custom, eye-catching image with your band logo to encourage users to click on your video? NOTHING!
Don’t wait for someone to randomly find your song to put behind their video on YouTube. Use companies like Audiosocket and CueSongs. They allow artists to have YouTubers legally license songs for their videos for low rates, which in turn leads to more exposure and revenues for you.
With 2013 now behind us we are beginning to see the first full year sales numbers come in for 2013 and the long anticipated ability to assess the impact of streaming on the market. Until the IFPI annual revenue numbers come out we are mainly constrained to volume data which only paints half of the picture. This is especially true for streaming given the massive difference in revenue per stream for free versus paid, YouTube versus Spotify etc. But even within these constraints we have enough to start establishing a view, one that indicates the headline story may be more about transition than it is growth.
Nielsen’s numbers for the US show that digital track sales were down 5.7% and that digital albums were down 0.1% while albums as a whole were down 8.4%. In the UK the BPI reported that digital track sales were down 4.2% though digital albums were up 6.8%. Nielsen also reported a 103% rise in audio streams. Let’s assume that a significant portion of those increased streams will be coming from free users and that the impact on streaming revenue growth will therefore be around the 65% mark. That would translate into total US music market revenue growth of just under 1%, though if free usage is a bigger part of the picture then growth could be negative.
It is important to understand the appropriate context for the shift to streaming: it is fundamentally a transition of spending. Just as the download was a transition from the CD so streaming subscriptions are a transition from the download. This is because the majority of subscribers were already digital music buyers before becoming subscribers and the majority of those were iTunes customers. 50% of subscribers buy album downloads every month and 26% buy CDs every month (see figure). On the one hand this can be interpreted as the fantastic capacity of streaming to drive discovery and music purchasing. There is some truth in this, but it is an inherently temporary state of affairs. If streaming services do their job well enough there should be little or no reason for a subscriber to additionally buy music. They do so because consumers transition behavior gradually not suddenly. The fact that a third of download buyers still buy CDs illustrates the point.
While Shazam users have been able to tap their Rdio account to listen to tagged songs for a while already, Rdio has just announced its taken this partnership a step further with the launch of a new playlist feature. Check out the full details from Rdio below:
Last year, we teamed up with Shazam to make it easier than ever to listen to music you discover at clubs, shops and restaurants with the Listen Free on Rdio link, available from Shazam’s Tag screen. Now we’re taking our integration one step further with the latest Shazam mobile update, available on Android and iOS. Connect your Rdio account in a few simple steps and all of your Shazamed songs will be added to a new playlist in Rdio called “My Shazam Tracks.” And the playlist will automatically update with every new song you Shazam, making it easy to relive an amazing night out, track for track, through the Rdio app.
The Shazam playlist feature is exclusive to Rdio and instantly ready for you to use. Just update to the latest version of the Shazam app, connect your Rdio account, and your playlist awaits!
This integration is the latest example of one of our developer partners extending the Rdio experience through our powerful, best-in-class API. Over a thousand developers are actively creating a huge variety of apps using the Rdio API, making it easier for Rdio users to discover new music, attend concerts, create playlists, listen collaboratively, learn about their favorite artist, and more. Check out our API Gallery for more innovative examples of the Rdio API at work.
The latest Shazam update is available in both Free and Encore versions for iOS and Android. To connect your account, follow the instructions in your Shazam newsfeed or go to your Shazam settings and select Connect to Rdio.
ARTISTS / LABELS: Get your music onto Rdio and Shazam with ONErpm! Get started HERE!
The growth of streaming music services and shared playlists, and the continued strength of YouTube, unleashed new forces on the music business last year — catapulting independent artists onto the charts with growing regularity, music industry statistics show.
As the grip of the major music labels continued to loosen in the era of Pandora, Rdio and Spotify, one of the biggest indie stars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, saw its hit song “Thrift Shop” hit No. 1 in 2013, the first time since 1994 that a song without the backing of a major label reached the top of the charts.
The song, released in August 2012, was also the No. 2 streamed video in the first half of 2013, with 187 million streams.
The rise of streaming music services, where the major labels’ control is weaker, and the decline of FM radio, where the labels’ control is powerful, has had a clear effect on the power of indie.
In 2007, indies controlled 25.8 percent of the music business, No. 2 behind Universal Music Group’s 28.8 percent share. By June 30, 2013, indie — a universe that includes Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons — leapfrogged Universal by growing its market share to 34.5 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Universal was at 28.3 percent.
Rich Bengloff, who runs the American Association of Independent Music, believes the availability and popularity of music streaming — which grew by 24 percent in the first half of 2013, while digital sales slipped 4.6 percent in the period, its first-ever decline — is exactly why artists are opting for indie status and why their power is growing.
Not surprisingly, Pandora founder Tim Westergren has been wooing the independents. Songs from outside the major labels make up 50 percent of the content streamed on the 14-year-old service. On broadcast radio, it’s 13 percent.
“There are artists who were invisible in the music business who now get exposed to an audience that is big enough to support them,” Westergren told The Post this week. “There’s an opportunity for a really well-run band to take control of their careers.”
Pandora (which in a regulatory filing said it had 70.9 million active users as of Oct. 31, up 8 percent this year) has been working with indie artists to develop tools like letting them know where their richest concentration of fans are so they can better plan tour locations, Westergren, speaking while on vacation in Australia, said.
“Independents are supportive of Pandora because it’s a level playing field, not a walled garden,” says Westergren.
While indie artists and their labels are enjoying and cashing in during the early stages of the Pandora era, no one believes the big guys are going away.
Indies are still tied to the big labels for distribution. Macklemore & Lewis is aided by Warner Music’s Alternate Distribution Alliance.
And the majors, seeing the rise of indie labels, have been gobbling up some of the more successful ones.
Source: NY Post (by Claire Atkinson)
Streaming music provider Rdio has just launched its services in 20 new countries, making for a total reach of 51 different international markets. That’s more than rival Spotify, for those counting, which used to rival Rdio by exactly one after launching in four new countries back in September, for a total reach of 32 global spots. Rdio has seen its monthly active user growth from countries outside the U.S. grow from 30 percent at the start of 2013, to 57 percent by the end of the year.
The new countries in that group of 20 include much of Latin America, as well as parts of Europe and Africa, and members who sign up as new users in those markets will get free access to Rdio on the web for six months, and two weeks free trial on mobile. The service provides access instantly to Rdio’s library of over 20 million tracks, which features new releases every week. Rdio also recently launched greatly improved Rdio radio stations, which can be created from an artist, genre track or based on your collection.
Rdio has been facing challenges with its business lately, and laid off staff recently, including closing its regional Canada office entirely. Then in early December it named Amazon vet Anthony Bay as its new CEO. Bay took over for Drew Larner, who announced his intention to step down from the chief executive role earlier this year.
It’s been a long while since Rdio has announced anything in terms of subscriber numbers or MAUs, and the percentage increase reported today manages to tout some success without actually saying much, except for the fact that international growth appears to be what it considers a key element to its future success. Rival Spotify had about 24 million MAUs as of last count, and that Rdio rival is announcing something at a special event kicking off at 10 AM ET today, which we’ll be covering. That speaks volumes about the timing of this expansion announcement, which is likely designed to take some wind out of those Spotify sails.
Here’s a full list of the new countries where Rdio is launching today:
Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
ARTISTS / LABELS: Distribute your music directly to Rdio for FREE with ONErpm!
Source: TechCrunch (by Darrell Etherington)
The Echo Nest - which seems to have partnered to provide some kind of underlying tech for just about very player in the digital music space - today added Rhapsody to it’s client list. Rhapsody subscribers in the U.S. and Napster subscribers in Europe and Latin America can now create and curate artist and song-based stations powered by The Echo Nest.
The new Rhapsody Radio will give users as much or as little influence on the station as they want. By leveraging Listeners can access editorial, genre and mood-based stations curated by the Rhapsody team or create and save their own personalized stations for later.
The service is available now on Android and iOS apps as well as on the web. Other Rhapsody Radio features include:
An upgraded Rhapsody app for iOS 7 users was also launched today that includes a “swipe to reveal” menu that provides a simple, quick way to navigate through the app.
Source: Hypebot (by Bruce Houghton)