Monday, March 30, 2015

People Are Listening To Pandora Less

Pandora Interent Radio image
A recent study has found that people are listening to Pandora less, which is not good news for the beleaguered streaming service. The NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Study found that there are multiple reasons for people listening less. They are:
  • There are more listening choices
  • Pandora become too predictable over time
  • It's boring
  • They can't skip enough songs
  • Too many songs I don't like
  • The commercials are annoying
  • They miss hosts
  • There's no local information available
The last two points are interesting because it's been found that the people who like Pandora the most are the ones that are regular broadcast radio listeners as well.

There are those that like Pandora more than broadcast radio though, mostly because:
  • The music is better than broadcast radio
  • A wider range of music is available
  • There are no hosts or DJs interrupting
  • Fewer commercials than broadcast radio
Probably the biggest thing to hurt Pandora is the fact that there's just a lot more competition than there was before. The service still has the largest user base of any of the streaming services at over 70 million, but it looks like it's growth has leveled off recently. As a result, Pandora has to fight more than ever to keep the listeners it has.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Friday, March 27, 2015

7 Tips For A Great Facebook Video

Facebook video image
Facebook is really pushing video these days, wanting it to be a major part of the platform and maybe even compete with YouTube before too long. Here are 7 quick tips  from Jackie Cohen at AllFacebook on how to optimize your videos just for Facebook. I've adapted them a bit more for artists and bands.

1. Limit the video footage to 5 minutes or less (way less). The shorter the video, the more plays you'll get. A long video can scare off people who might ordinarily check it out.

2. Create a good thumbnail image for your video. A good thumbnail is like a good cover of a book. It helps get an impulse "buy."

3. Create a catchy or unique title. Just like with a book or magazine article, the title can sell the product. Of course, this is just the same on YouTube.

4. Check out the keywords for similar videos. For example, if your song has a drum solo, you might want to check out what keywords other videos other songs with drum solos use as well.

5. Allow people to share your work. This sounds like a no-brainer, but many artists actually limit the sharing of their video. Let them embed your video on their blog and website if they want. That's how you go viral.

6. Encourage people to rate and review your video. Don't directly ask for a Like, since that's against Facebook's terms of service, but you can ask for comments or a rating.

7. Upload to other video sharing sites. Use OneLoad to post your video on all relevant video sites. It's the quickest and easiest way to do it, and you'd be surprised the number of people who might find it that wouldn't otherwise.

Keep the above tips in mind the next time you post a video on Facebook. They don't take much time but can make a big difference in the number of views that your video ultimately receives.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

4 General Social Media Rules

Social Media Rules image
If we were to look at the various social networks available, we'd find that each is unique enough that the technique for using it is different.

That said, there are a 4 general rules that work across virtually all social networks.

Rule #1. Space your posts out during the day. Regardless of the social network, people hate it when one poster dominates their feed, even for a few minutes. The one exception to that might be during a breaking news event, but even then its best to leave a bit of time for others to be able to post as well.

Rule #2. Respond to comments as quickly as you can. This isn't always possible, but commenters expect and appreciate a timely response.

Rule #3. Understand proper hashtag use. Limit your hashtags to 2 at most. More than that not only make your post difficult to read but is has been found to be ineffective as well.

Rule #4. Entertain and inform your audience first. It's important to promote and market to your audience, but doing it too often turns followers off and will just lead to fan attrition. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule where you're never promoting more than 20% of the time (and even that can be too much).

These are very simple rules to follow, but sometimes the simple ones can be the most important. Social media is essential to your marketing strategy so be sure to use it to your best advantage.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Look At The American Listening Audience

The Infinite Dial
Edison Research and Triton Digital recently released their annual Infinite Dial survey on American media consumption.

As usual uncovered some very interesting data about the audience that hopefully listens to your music. Here are 7 takeaways.
1. 71% of all Americans now have a cell phone, up 10 points from last year. More and more, people consume their media on this platform. 
2. Embattled Pandora is still the leader in music streaming with 54% of online radio listeners. The runners-up are pretty distant, with iHeartRadio at 11%, Spotify at 10% and iTunes Radio at 8%. 
3. Facebook is the most used social network at 65% of those who regularly use social media. 
4. Facebook is even big in the age group that's seeing the most attrition - ages 12 to 24. 43% in that group still use Facebook, handily beating Instagram at 18%, Snapchat at 15%, and Twitter at 8%. 
5. 63% of Americans use YouTube to watch music videos and listen to music. 
6. That number increases to a whopping 90% ages 12 to 24 years old. 
7. 44% of all Americans listen to music online in some form every week.
Media consumption has changed drastically in the last 5 years and continues to change right before our very eyes. One of the keys to your online promotion strategy is knowing your audience, and the above data helps to understand just who the audience for your music is and how they like to consume it.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Labels Hate The Free Streaming Tier, But That’s Not The Problem

streaming music image
From various reports, the major record labels would like to eliminate the free tiers of on-demand streaming services like Spotify, a feeling that’s for once united with their artists as well. According to a post on Rolling Stone, the labels want faster revenue growth and feel that unless some adjustments are made to the freemium model, streaming revenue will never offset the death spiral of the CD and download.

Here’s the problem with eliminating or crippling the free tier though; the genie’s out of the bottle, the horse has left the barn and the ship has already sailed. A whole generation (the very generation that consumes the most music) already feels that music should be free, and they’re going to find a way to get it for free whether the major labels and artists like it or not.

Consider the fact that the computer networks of some of the most powerful corporations  in the world are hacked on a daily basis, and that our own government can’t seem to eliminate the formidable social media presence of ISIS, and you see the problem at hand. Streaming has made music piracy a footnote, but there are lots of clever hackers out there that can bring it back again with a roar if those free tiers are either done away with or severely restricted.


Yes, everyone would like the paid tiers of the various streaming networks to increase subscriptions more rapidly, but that part of the business is growing at a pretty good pace already, having increased 26% in the U.S. last year according to the RIAA.


The fact is, the biggest impediment to streaming revenue growth is because of the price barrier of the paid tier, which hovers around $10 per month or $120 per year for most of the major streaming services. The problem is that the average music consumer is comfortable paying no more than half that, with the average now right around $48. What we have here is a bad price point. Read more on Forbes.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

AM/FM Still The Favorite Car Entertainment

Car Entertainment System image
Despite the inroads made by various streaming services, AM/FM radio still has the hearts of more than 90% of drivers in America, according to research company IPSOS.

In fact, most drivers say that they still like the traditional buttons and controls on a car radio as opposed to the virtual controls on the car's electronic interface.

According to the study, AM/FM radio still dominates as the top listening platform, with 84% of consumers using it, followed by 64% using the CD player, Sirius/XM at 22%, Pandora at 18%, iHeartradio at 8%, HD Radio at 7% and Spotify at 7%.

What's more, drivers used their CD players 3 1/2 times more than digital radio services.

If you think that this looks like digital or internet streaming is not taking hold in the car, it may be a case of the data leading you to a faulty conclusion.

For one thing, the people most comfortable with digital technology and streaming music, those of driving age between 16 and 24, aren't as car-centric as the generations before them. Many don't see the need to have a license, let alone a own a car.

This will eventually change as they marry and start families, at which point we'll see a big boost in auto digital services.

Also, the fact that digital services aren't integrated into the vast majority of cars on the road yet has a bearing on the results as well.

I bet if this survey is revisited in 3 to 5 years the results will be dramatically different.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Jay-Z’s Radical Idea Is Out To Upend The Streaming Music Business

Jay-Z image
Rapper and business mogul Jay-Z has an old idea that he’d like to try out on the new music business.

Prior to the official announcement of his acquisition of the Swedish streaming music service Aspiro, the magnate held a giant pow-wow with some of the movers and shakers of the music business during Grammy week in February.

According to a post on Showbiz 411, guests at the meeting were literally a who’s who of music creators, including Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Nikki Minaj, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Jack White, Beyonce, two unnamed country music stars and about 20 other non-musicians ranging from attorneys to music execs. 

The reported reason behind the meeting was to gather information about how Jay-Z could turn his upcoming streaming network into something along the lines of the old United Artists film studio, where the artists themselves had control of the business and reaped more of the rewards than in the current mostly-corporately owned system.

Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter)‘s company Project Panther Bidco Ltd complete its purchase of Aspire on March 13th. The company owns the WiMP and TIDAL streaming networks, one of the few services to currently provide CD quality streaming. The network is small with only 512,000 paying subscribers with only about 20,000 of those subscribed to the high-def tier. Upon relaunch the network will be renamed TIDALHiFi

The purchase seems like a good one from Jay-Z’s perspective. Paying only about $56 million for a service that already has infrastructure and subscribers seems like a steal compared with the estimated $300 million that Apple paid for the Beats Music service as part of last year’s $3 billion Beats acquisition. Still there’s plenty of challenges, with services like Pandora and Spotify already with a huge head start and deep pocket competitors like Apple (with its new service built around the Beats Music infrastructure) and Google (with its YouTube Music Key) set to relaunch later in the year. Read more on Forbes.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Generation Gap In Music Streaming

Generation Gap image
It's been said that statistics can be presented to reach any conclusion that you want and that's true to some degree. While a chart or graph might show one thing, it may overlook or ignore the real reason the result is happening.

Take for instance this infographic from Statista that shows the generation gap of the users of streaming music. The information comes from Edison Research's annual survey called The Infinite Dial and shows that Baby Boomers are way behind the curve when it comes to streaming adoption, as opposed to 12 to 24 year olds.

What the chart doesn't take into account is that 12 to 24 is the prime age for music consumption. 25 to 54 is when people are starting families and working and therefore have less time for music in general, while people ages 55+ typically consume far less music in general because of other interests.

The point is if you look at any area of music consumption, you'll find the same general breakdown.

A couple of things about this chart that are interesting though:

1. All age groups use Pandora much more than than the on-demand Spotify service.

2. More people use iTunes Radio than generally believed.



You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Facebook's 5 New Community Policies That Could Affect An Artist's Post

Facebook Community Standards image
Facebook just outlined 5 new community posting policies that could have at least some affect on what artists and bands post. In a new very detailed Community Standards document, the network fully explains what it means when it says things like "no nudity" and "no hate speech."

So what are the 5 new policies? Take a look:
  • Nudity: Facebook will now remove posts that show fully exposed buttocks and photos of female breasts if the nipple is included, among other things. With music videos and promotional campaigns being ever more sexually suggestive, this could put a damper on posts that worked before.
  • Violence or Graphic Content: Images that celebrate or glorify violence will now be removed. This could affect several genres of music with images that revolve around violence.
  • Hate Speech: Posts that attack someone's race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, or disability or disease will be removed. No more using any of this for shock value on FB.
  • Bullying and harassment: What's interesting here is that FB makes a distinction between those that have gained news attention or public interest and those that haven't. If you're a public figure, it's not bullying. If you're a private individual it is.
  • Self-harm: This includes anything that depicts suicide or self-injury.
Some of this is about old-fashioned good taste, but that never stopped an artist or band from trying to use the shock value of an image for promotional value. The only problem is that on Facebook, it will no longer work.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Oscar Effect On Music

The Oscars image
Television appearances for music artists don't have an affect on music sales like they once did with one exception - the Oscar telecast.

Nielsen Research has found that the "Oscar effect" is real when it comes to music nominated or featured on the broadcast, and can still provide significant impact on sales, streaming and social media immediately following the telecast. That momentum can even sustain for as much as a full week afterwards.

Here's what the company found a full week after the most recent broadcast (in % of increased activity):

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” - Glen Campbell
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +50.36%
On-demand Streaming - +71.36%
Facebook Likes - +8.70%
Wiki page views - +420.21%

“Lost Stars” - Adam Levine
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +3.08%
Streaming - +48.09%
FB Likes - +4.98%
Wiki page views - +74.97%

“Grateful” - Rita Ora
Streaming - +85.76%
Wiki page views - +92.86%

“Glory” - Common/John Legend
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +141.77%
Streaming - +209.09%

“Everything Is Awesome!”- Tegan & Sara
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +34.72%
Streaming - +21.79%

Lady Gaga (Overall) 
Digital Track Sales - +31.4%
Wiki page views - +167.7%
Facebook Likes - 3300%!!
Twitter Followers - 28%

What's more, there was a huge uptick in consumption of nominees for Best Original Song:

   *  I’m Not Gonna Miss You/Glen Campbell - +2177.8%
   *  Grateful/Rita Ora - +909.99%
   *  Glory/John Legend & Common - +564.14%
   *  Everything Is Awesome/Tegan & Sara - +135.15%
   *  Lost Stars/Maroon 5 - +90.22%

So it looks like the new way to increase your sales is to be tied to a hit movie. Wait, that's something that's never really changed, it's just more important now than ever.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Samsung Milk Music Streaming Service Now On The Web

Samsung Milk Music image
Samsung's Milk Music service has been a distant also-ran in the streaming market, so the company took a step to alter that perception recently by letting users access it via the web. Until now, it was only available via Samsung smart phones, tablets and TVs.

It's now available to anyone who creates an account at samsung.com.

Milk Music features 200 curated stations, and lets you customize them by favoriting artists and fine tuning the songs you want to hear by their popularity or timeliness.

You can also create your own station, as an interactive radio function allows you to select and customize what you want to hear.

Samsung didn't create Milk Music from the ground up, as it wisely partnered with Slacker for its content. As a result, the catalog is pretty wide at 13 million songs, and includes music from artists including The Beatles, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.

Still, it's doubtful that just making the service available online will boost its attractiveness much, although it is free. A premium version at $3.99 allows you to listen to music ad-free, skip as many songs as you want, and play music on your mobile device without being online.

Somehow I don't think that Spotify or Pandora are shaking in their boots over this though. Let's see how long the service keeps going before they shut it down.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pandora Tries To Add Value For Artists

Pandora app on phone image
Stung with ongoing complaints of low royalties from artists across the success spectrum, Pandora has instituted a new feature to presumably add value to their being on the service. 

The feature is called “Artist Audio Messaging” and it will allow artists to submit short recordings regarding tour schedules or new music, then have them added to playlists based on their music.

Pandora has signed 10 artists for the pilot program utilizing the feature that will soon include Lenny Kravitz and Fall Out Boy.

While artists, labels and managers may like the feature, fans don’t seem all that thrilled with the prospect, as the comments so far are more in the camp of "wanting to listen to music with the least amount of interruptions possible," even if it is from a favorite artist.

Pandora knows its fighting a battle that it will eventually lose to on-demand services like Spotify, so its strategy is to get artists on its side. By giving them some added value besides having their music on the service, it could keep the it viable long enough to be bought by a larger entity, or so the idea goes. Unfortunately, this first effort hasn't gotten off the start it anticipated.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

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