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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Value Of A Fast Page Load

stopwatch graphic from Music 3.0 blog
We live in a very impatient world and that impatience could cost you fans, users or sales. A study created by the OnlineGraduateProgram.com found a number of startling facts about our desire for online speed:
  • 1 in 4 people abandon a web page if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
  • 50% of mobile users abandon a page if it doesn't load in 10 seconds.
  • 40% of mobile shoppers will abandon an e-commerce site that doesn't load in 3 seconds.
  • Google found that slowing search results by just 4/10ths of a second would reduce the number of searches by 8 million a day.
  • Amazon estimates that it could lose up to $1.6 billion a year because of as little as a 1 second web page delay.
This means that you can't count on our ever expanding bandwidth for your site to load fast, you still must optimize it for speed, because tenths of a second count more than ever. This is one of the reasons to get a pro to build you website in order to be sure to get efficient, streamlined code. Page loading has become so much more than slimmed down graphics files these days.

A couple of other quick facts; the majority of Americans will not wait in line longer than 15 minutes, and half of them would not return to an establishment that kept them waiting. But we didn't need a study to tell us that.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Billboard Finally Updates Its Charts

Billboard logo graphic from Music 3.0 blog
It took some time and is probably about 5 years too late in coming, but Billboard has finally updated its charts to include on-demand streams from services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve, MOG, Slacker and Rdio to determine chart position. It announced it will also introduce a new chart for top on-demand streaming tunes immediately.

What's interesting is that the new charts are a product not only of Billboard, but also of Nielsen Broadcast Data System and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers. That said, the charts will mostly rely on data from Nielsen.

It's little known that Nielsen has been tracking music data streams since 2005, but has largely kept the data to itself. What they did finally release was pretty interesting, like in the first 70 days of the year it had tracked more than 4.5 billion audio streams, 625 million in the last week alone.

Another nugget is that streaming activity rose 17% in the week after Christmas while digital download sales jumped 20%, and that digital single song sales are up 7% this year so far.


A possible flaw in the system is that Nielsen doesn't track Pandora and what their more than 20 million users are listening to, but at least what they've done is a vast improvement of the past way of doing it, which was strictly by sales.

Billboard has been losing it's relevance for quite some time now and desperately needed to step into the future in order to survive. With fewer and fewer music stores and labels around, it's customers and influence is dwindling, and the company has laid off some of it's best people recently as a result.

Will this be too little, too late?
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Square Register Make Merch Sales Easy

One of the major developments in the last year or so in the world of merch sales is Square. If you've been following this blog or have read my Music 3.0 book, you know that Square is a way to do credit card transactions on an iPhone or iPad very cheaply and easily. It caught on in a big way because it's way better than using a bank in terms of their transaction costs and the cost of a traditional credit card reader.

Now Square has done it again with a new iPad application called Square Register that's designed to let merchants ring up and track sales and just like a traditional cash register.

Register works with Square's existing card reader that plugs into the iPad's headphone jack, and also with Card Case, which is a mobile app for both iPhone and Android that lets you pay retailers without even removing the phone from your wallet. And if shoppers want to, they can even pay with cash (what a concept)!

The Square card reader is free, and you pay 2.75% of each transaction to Square, which is cheaper than just about any bank for a credit card transaction. Square Register lets the seller display all of the products offered for sale, so the person selling just has to tap to make the sale. The sale is tied to a dashboard app that lets you track inventory, taxes and other relavent sales info. Plus, you don't have to worry about the person on the merch table making a mistake or pocketing any of the profits.

Here's a way that makes merch sales so very easy that's it's no wonder it's taken the touring business by storm, yet it's cheap enough that any band can get in on it. Check out this short movie, then check Square Register out.



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music's Top 10 Moneymakers

Billboard Magazine recently came out with it's top 40 moneymakers of 2011. Here are the top 10, which probably won't be much of a surprise. Keep in mind that these are not gross numbers, just estimates of the final rounded off net that went into the artist's pocket.

10. Adele - $13,000,000

9. Jason Aldean - $13,400,000

8. Celine Dion - $14,200,000

7. Bon Jovi - $15,800,000

6. Sade - $16,400,000

5. Lil Wayne - $23,200,000

4. Lady Gaga - 25,300,000

3. Kenny Chesney - $29,800,000

2. U2 - $32,100,000

1. Taylor Swift - $35,700,00

Interestingly, Journey came in at 12, the Cast of Glee at #11, and Foo Fighters at #31. Also, The Beatles came in at #24 just on the basis of CD and download sales alone.

Read the full list for yourself here.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sony Caves To Artists In Class Action Suit

Youngbloods album cover graphic from Music 3.0 blog
If you've read this blog much, you know that I've been keeping you up to date on the Eminem v. Universal lawsuit all the way along. The suit, which was eventually won by Eminem's production company FBT, was significant because it changed the way the music industry values a digital download.

The record labels considered a download sale to be just like a CD sale and therefore subject to the same royalty rate, which could be anywhere from 12 to 20 percent. FBT contended that a download was in fact, NOT a sale, and really was a license, which was subject to a much higher royalty rate of 50%. When HBC/Eminem won, it was predicted that there'd be a flood of classic artists suing their record labels. Sure enough, that's what happened, with a number of acts including The Allman Brothers, Cheap Trick and The Youngbloods filing a class-action suit right away.

Now it's been reported that Sony Music has filed a motion to settle with these acts, paying around $8 million and raising the royalty rate 3% in most cases, and 4.7% in the case of The Youngbloods. If this is approved, artists who have had at least 28,500 downloads on iTunes will be eligible. Ironically, many acts are choosing not to settle or be part of this action, preferring to file their own suit to get an even better deal.

This might seem like a win for the artists, but consider this. 8 million bucks is a drop in the bucket to a major label, and raising the royalty rate isn't that great either. The digital download cat has been out of the bag for sometime, which means that there won't be that many download sales forthcoming, and the next music distribution frontier is subscription, which pays even worse.

Yes, this seems like a victory, but at the end of the day the artists only received what will amount to a little bump. This isn't the only suit that's ongoing however, and it will be interesting to see if any of the others have endings along these same lines.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

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