Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! Hello 2015

I want to wish every who reads this blog a very happy and prosperous New Year.

We're all striving for the same thing - to be part in the creation of some great music - and hopefully this blog helps you a little along the way.

As always, if you have any suggestions as to how I can improve this blog so it helps you even more, please send them to me at office @ bobbyowsinski dot com (sorry there's not a link as I'm trying to avoid the spammers).

Let's make 2015 be the best year ever!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Gangnam Style" Breaks The YouTube Counter

Psy Gangnam Style image
You'd think that after all this time, Psy's viral hit "Gangnam Style" would be history, yet it lives and and still receives massive views. So many, in fact, that it broke YouTube's view counter.

"Gangnam Style" hit 2,147,483,647 views (yes, more than 2.1 billion), which was the maximum limit of the 32 bit integer that the view register was based on. "We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32 bit integer, but that was before we met Psy," the company stated.

YouTube has since updated its view calculator so its based on a 64 bit integer, which means that the max views is more than 9.22 billion before it hits it busts again.

This seems like an impossible number to hit, but then again, now one knew Psy before this song, so you just never know when the next viral star might break the counter again. "Gangnam Style" now sits at a bit more than 2.91 billion views with the new counter in place!

Monday, December 29, 2014

10 Out On The Limb Music Business Predictions For 2015

Future Crystal Ball image
Here we are again at the end of another year and it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball to see what 2015 might have in store for the music business. I hit on about half of my predictions last year, with most of the others still pending as the story lines developed slower than anticipated. Here are 10 music business predictions for the upcoming year. 

1. Apple launches a new music service. Beats Music doesn’t have a huge number of subscribers so it can be retired without fear of killing a well-liked brand. In its place Apple will launch a new on-demand streaming service that’s cheaper than the competition and features high resolution audio.

2. High resolution audio becomes a standard streaming feature. TIDAL and Deezer set the precedent, and soon all streaming services will offer at least one tier of hi-res audio. Of course, the definition of high resolution will continue to be a moving target, as some services equate the term with CD quality while others offer higher sampling rates and/or 24 bit depth.

3. The digital pie gets larger. As consumers become more comfortable with on-demand streaming, larger numbers of them register for the various platforms. More of them than ever are willing to pay for their service of choice than ever before.

4. Downloads continue to slide. Downloads fall below $1 billion in total revenue as music consumers find that having access to millions of songs is a lot better than owning just a few.

5. Vinyl soars again. Once only a blip on the radar of the industry, vinyl sales continue to grow to the point where they make a very small but significant contribution to the bottom line of many record labels. For the first time in 40 years, new vinyl production gear is produced to meet the demand. Read more on Forbes.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The All Time Most Shazamed Songs

Touch To Shazam image
Shazam has been an amazing success, as it provides the answer to the never-ending question, "What's the name of that song?" The app has 100 million monthly users, and recently has attempted to up its game with a relaunch earlier in the month.

Users can now see how many queries that a song has, and can now vote for the next artist to join it's new Hall of Fame (artists must have collected more than 15 million queries). Users can now also stream their Rdio or Spotify playlists through the app as well.

What are the most Shazamed songs of all time? Here we go:

1. "Wake Me Up" by Avicii - 19 million
2. "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke - 18 million
3. "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye - 18 million
4. "Let Her Go" by Passenger - 15 million
5. "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit - 14 million

I guess that means that we have a new metric to worry about besides all the social metrics that have now become common in the industry. That said, the number of Shazam's don't mean a thing unless you have a hit, but the app can be a really helpful if you're an artist trying to break through.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Year End Review On The Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Bobby Owsinski's Inner Circle Podcast image
On the latest Inner Circle Podcast, I look back at the biggest stories in both the music industry and the world of recording and audio in the last year.

So much happened in 2014 that it almost seems like two different years, with many of the biggest stories happening in the first half. It just goes to show how much things can change during the course of 12 months.

I'll take a look at the 10 biggest stories that happened in the music business, as well as the big stories in the world of audio, then I'll tell you my Top 5 audio products for the year. It's all there in this year-end special.

Remember that you can find the podcast either on iTunes or at BobbyOInnerCircle.com, and now also on Stitcher.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Google Now Provides Automatic Song Lyrics

Google Search song lyrics image
For years dedicated lyric sites have been both the bane and glory of music publishers. If the lyrics were unlicensed, then that was obviously taking money form the the artists that the publisher represented as well as the publisher itself. Of course, if the lyrics were licensed then that was another source of income. As a result, quite a few fully licensed lyric sites like LyricFind and Musixmatch began to dominate the space.

They may be in for a rough time though, now that Google is incorporating lyrics into the results of any search for a song, as you can see from the graphic on the left. The lyrics are now part of Google Play (as you can see here for the Foo Fighters song) and are in a large database that's totally licensed from the publishers. No, you don't need to be a Google Play subscriber to access them.

Many of the current lyric sites are crowd sourced, so you can never be sure if the lyrics are correct or not. With Google's licenses in place, this is no longer the case, plus the lyrics are now easily accessible via the link in the search results.

Why did Google do this, you might ask? For Google, the search experience itself is paramount. You can see this in its rankings, where a page with a good user experience consistently ranks higher one where info is difficult to find. It seems that Google is using the same criteria on itself as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Top 10 Best Selling Christmas Albums

Everyone thinks that Christmas albums are giant moneymakers, but while massive radio airplay may bring songwriters of Christmas songs some big royalty checks, Holiday albums haven't really sold that well.

Below is an infographic from Statista based on Billboard chart information that shows the 10 best selling Christmas albums since 1991. It's surprising that Kenny G is #1, but it's even more surprising that the total album sales is only 7.3 million units. Also a surprise is that Mannheim Steamroller has such a strong presence on the list, taking up the 5, 6 and 7 positions and totaling just under 11 million.

Of course, selling a million albums today is quite a feat, but remember that most of these top sellers were around during the heyday of the CD business, when selling a million merely got you into the game.

Have a very merry Christmas, and thank you kindly for your continued support of this blog!

Best Selling Christmas Albums graphic

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Music Royalty Ecosystem

If you ever wondered why an artist with a massive number of views or streams (or even sales for that matter) is receiving what seems to be a pittance in royalty payouts, then this overview infographic from Music Reports of the royalty payment infrastructure might explain it.

At the very top of the graphic is all the potential sources of income from digital, while the very bottom shows all the potential revenue sources from analog. Take notice how few lines actually lead to the performer or songwriter. There are a lot of fingers in the payment pie and unfortunately the artist's are the smallest.

This is one of the reasons why it's so attractive for an artist to go DIY, yet the real problem is you still need the infrastructure of a record label and publisher in order to get any traction, especially if you're a new artist. This is a dilemma that will continue to vex artists for a long time, I'm afraid.

That said, the graphic is very instructive and worth a minute or two of study.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just Who Is Buying Vinyl Anyway?

buying vinyl records image
Vinyl record sales are up 38% this year with projected total sales of over 8 million units, up over 200% since 2008. But just who's buying these records anyway? MusicWatch did a survey and this is what they found.
  • 56% of all vinyl purchases are made by men
  • Surprisingly enough, just under half of vinyl buyers are under 25 year old, with 13 to 17 year olds making up 21% of buyers and 18 to 25 making up 26%.
  • The 26 to 35 age group makes up 25% of buyers
  • 36 to 50 represent 14% of buyers
  • Even more surprising is that baby boomers don't buy as much vinyl as previously thought, coming in at only 13%.
So how did the vinyl resurgence start? Most media watchers trace it back to Record Store Day in 2008, which has gone on to becoming a major retail event in not only the US, but Europe, Canada and Mexico as well. Many labels and indie acts prepared special releases for this day, which helped launch the event.

Another factor is that with vinyl being more in demand, record labels are releasing more vinyl as well, which helps prime the pump for more sales. Most labels now are confident that they can sell at least a small number of units (anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000) to justify the expense.

That said, vinyl still is only a blip on bottom line of the industry, although that blip is growing a little every year. As of December 7th, vinyl accounted for only 3.4% of US album sales and 6% of physical album sales.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The 10 Biggest Bombshells In Music In 2014

U2 image
We’re almost to the end of the year and it’s always instructive to take a look back at the biggest stories that occurred in the music business. The ones that happened in the first two quarters seem so far away now, but that doesn’t mean they were any less important to the overall evolution of the business. I’m going to provide an arbitrary ranking of the top 10 stories from most to least important, but the order can easily change depending upon your outlook or station in the industry, or the current news that’s trending today. Here we go:

1. Apple purchases Beats Electronics and Beats Music. As I said at the time, I think this was more about acquiring the talent (meaning Jimmy Iovine and Ian Rogers) than the company, infrastructure or products, but time will tell. Not much has happened since the purchase in May, but look to 2015 to see how both Beats Electronics and Beats Music are implemented into the Apple ecosystem.

2. Streaming is way up and downloads are way down. Although there’s still a pretty healthy business in CDs and downloads in terms of total revenue, it’s dropping off rapidly as streaming has finally breached the threshold of consciousness for most music consumers. Look for this trend to continue to gather steam in 2015, with the next big battle being between streaming platforms rather than the different delivery systems.

3. YouTube’s Music Key service is finally announced. Rumored for more than a year, Google’s Music Key subscription service was announced and launched as a closely held beta in November. With no ads, offline listening, and access to the entire Google Play catalog, the platform has the makings of a formidable competitor to iTunes, Spotify and every other streaming service. 2015 will tell the tale.

4. Taylor Swift pulls her music catalog from Spotify. This story would rank a lot lower except for the public uproar, as it’s really more of a money grab than a philosophical stand. Swift claimed that she was standing up against the low royalty rate that Spotify was paying, yet her music remained on other streaming services, which contradicted the argument. The real reason for the hubbub is that her record company (of which she owns a piece) is angling to get acquired, so selling more CDs would help the bottom line a lot more than additional streams. The controversy and the fact that many fans were driven to buy the CD because they couldn't access the songs on Spotify took care of that.

5. U2’s free iTunes album giveaway backfires. Both Apple and U2 proved to be both short-sighted and out of touch when a copy of their latest Songs Of Innocence album showed up in every iTunes account. The problem was that everyone under the age of 30 felt that they were spammed. Hopefully the lesson was learned that music is only valuable when it's wanted. Read more on Forbes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What We Can Learn From The Top 20 Streamed Artists Of 2014

Streaming Music image
One of the ways that streaming music differs from radio is that it's so democratic. You listen to what you want to, so any streaming chart or list better reflects the musical tastes of the listeners.

Soundexchange put together a list of the 20 most streamed artists in 2014 based on royalties it has collected, and it will surprise you. The list shows a variety of new and classic artists, as well as a cross-section of genres. Here it goes:
  1. Drake
  2. Pearl Jam
  3. Rihanna
  4. Katy Perry
  5. Bruce Springsteen
  6. Lil Wayne
  7. Luke Bryan
  8. Imagine Dragons
  9. Eminem
  10. Pink Floyd
  11. Usher
  12. Maroon 5
  13. Jason Aldean
  14. Bruno Mars
  15. One Republic
  16. Lorde
  17. Chris Brown
  18. Tim McGraw
  19. Beyonce
  20. Taylor Swift
And the top 5 streamed tracks of 2014?
  1. "Counting Stars" - One Republic
  2. "Dark Horse" - Katy Perry
  3. "Demons" - Imagine Dragons
  4. "Royals" - Lorde
  5. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams
The Billboard charts have always been skewed towards pop music because they were based on radio airplay, which has a very limited playlist that gets even more so every year. That said, streaming is a much better way to see what people actually listen to, and the analytics are far more accurate than the surveys traditionally used to determine radio airplay.

I think you'll see a much better reflection of music consumers tastes in the coming years, which could very well influence the music available, as record labels follow the analytics.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Highest Paid Musicians Of 2014

When it comes to making money, it sure helps if a musician has another source of revenue besides royalties, touring, merch sales and licensing.

Take the case of Dr. Dre, who made more money than any musician in history last year on the basis of his interest in Beats Electronics, which was purchased by Apple for $3 billion. As a result, Dre comes in at #1 of the highest paid musicians with $620 million, according to the following chart by Statista.

Some familiar faces fill out the rest of the top 10, but relative newcomers Justin Bieber, One Direction, Calvin Harris and Toby Keith all had banner years.

Notice who's not on the chart - Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, among other current stars.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Skinny Puppy Sues The US Government For Torture Songs

Skinny Puppy torture image
Skinny Puppy
When the spooks at the CIA were interrogating their terrorist captives at the prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2002, one of their techniques was to play songs at a very high volume from the industrial band Skinny Puppy for 6 to 12 hours straight.

Tipped off by a prison guard who happened to be a fan, the band is now suing the US Department of Defense for $666,000 (an interesting amount) for the unlicensed use of their songs.

Having your songs used as a torture device isn't exactly a badge of honor for any artist, and the band can't even be faulted for being "un-American" since they're from Canada, but the suit probably has more value for its promotional merits than its legal ones. Since the band's CD was played in a private setting by the owner (presumably the CIA) of the CD, you can't call it a public performance, so the suit most likely has no legal basis. That said, there may be some legal precedent that we're unaware of, so you never know how a judge might rule, or even if the DoD might settle to make the whole thing go away.

You still have to wonder if 12 hours of very loud Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, or Iggy Azalia might have the same effect though. Thankfully, most of us will never know.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Universal Music Group Using Big Data For Big Decisions

big data image
For most of its lifetime, the music business was run on the gut instincts of its executives in everything from artist signings, which songs to release as singles, marketing, promotion, and just about everything else.

The major labels of today and their precursors were built on these decisions, but we live in the age of Music 4.0, where just about any decision can be a lot more precise and pragmatic, thanks to the influx of data on just about every aspect of the business, and that's exactly how Universal Music Group is going about things, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The company is using a new software tool that was built in-house called Artist Portal to help its execs make smarter marketing decisions. The app allows a user to track everything from artists sales, music streams, airplay and social media buzz happening globally and in real time, then overlay sets of data that include television appearances, concert dates, commercials featuring an artist's songs, social media posts and promotional events. This allows the company to be able to better analyze sales and interest spikes, which in turn helps it to better allocate marketing funds as needed.

Something that's a bit more insidious is that upper level label management can also track how much each Universal employee uses the app, which could play into future staffing decisions, which seems to take the gut instinct out of the picture entirely, which at least some is needed when it comes to creating, selling and creating art. That said, the tool is proving a big help in a variety of ways, with one major example being that its data used as a help to show promoters in Finland that there was indeed an audience for the label's hip hop acts in that country.

UMG isn't the only major label to employee a big data app though, as both Warner Music Group and Sony Music are also developing their own versions of Artist Portal. In fact, Sony now has 25 people on its analytics team, showing its deep commitment to the concept.

I equate this to baseball in that it took the sport a long time to begin to use precision metrics to help executives get a better picture before they made their biggest decisions. It took the music business a long time to come to the same party, but big data is now becoming a major part of the way a major label does business.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Top 10 Highest Grossing Concerts Of 2014

The results are in and the highest grossing concerts from this year will astound you. The following chart from Billboard shows that some music acts are making some serious money on the road. Keep in mind that the chart isn't for an entire tour - it's only for 1 show!

The One Direction/5 Seconds Of Summer tour was obviously a blockbuster, capturing 5 slots of the top 10, including the single highest attendance with 236,566 at London's Wembley Stadium, but The Stones were the highest grossers, capturing almost $28 million for a single date at the Tokyo Dome.

All that said, actual total concert attendance was actually down a little over 1% in 2014, but people paid more money than ever, as the concert industry made nearly 20 billion worldwide - a record.

Highest Grossing Concerts 2014 image
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spotify Gaining Ground On YouTube

Spotify vs YouTube image
While YouTube is still the king of the online music stream, it looks like Spotify is gaining ground, a development that might mean more money to songwriters, artists, labels and publishers alike.

According to Billboard, the on-demand streaming marketplace has risen by 50% in 2014. This means that Spotify has delivered about 413 million streams this year so far as compared to 274 million in 2013.

Spotify's market share in the streaming market has gone from 22% to 33% this year while YouTube's has decreased from 66% to 58%. That said, 91% of all on-demand streaming traffic is from these two services.

One of the more interesting aspects of YouTube's market share is that it can fluctuate greatly depending upon the posting of a hot new video. For instance, there was a large spike in activity in August when Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" and Nicki Manaj's "Anaconda" were released. "In fact, Anaconda" now holds the Vevo record for most views in 24 hours at 19.6 global views.

With the introduction of YouTube's new Music Key streaming service next year, you have to wonder whether the market share numbers will increase at Spotify's expense instead of the current trend. Then again, there's always Apple Beats that can change the equation yet another way when it's released in full in 2015.

One things for sure, the music streaming market will continue to be one of the most interesting aspects of the music business next year.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's The Most Important Social Network For An Artist?

Artist social network image
When it comes to social networks, most artist's have the same question - which is the best one? That's a difficult one to answer since our social world is such a moving target as technology and tastes constantly evolve. That said, Jacob Tell of the digital services company Oniracom has some answers in this excerpt from my Music 4.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age guidebook. Here's what Jacob had to say.

How have things changed since we talked for the last version of this book?
Actually the techniques are somewhat the same but the platforms keep changing. There are new ways for artists to get content out to the world, but that content is now two fold. Where before the content was mainly generated by the band or artist directly in regards to a new single or behind the scenes video or something similar, now we’re seeing more user generated content as the other half of the story. 

Some of our most effective marketing is based around user-generated content where we might grab hashtags from Instagram photos, throw them on a map based on geo-location, and then visualize the fanbase across a geographic region that’s posting content around a certain campaign. A good example of that is something we did for Thirty Seconds To Mars called MarsIsComing.com. You can see hundreds of Instagram, Twitter pics and Vine videos from all over the world on a map. This has become an extension of community and it really helps the artists connect directly with their fans on another level.

What’s more important today - Vine or Instagram?
For a minute there we really thought that Vine was going to be the most amazing new platform. There was something needed in the short form video space and Vine did the trick. I think the format is a winner, and being that they’re owned by Twitter, they have a built-in audience right off the bat. That said, because that there are so many Instagram users, as soon as it released its video feature to catch up to Vine, the Vine user numbers started to drag. Now you have this split of really hard-core users between the two, with another small contingent on Viddy. The Instagram people say, “I’m already on it and since it pastes to my Facebook wall I’m just going to stay there.”

We always tell our artists that we don’t want them to do things that feel like homework, so if they’re already on Instagram, we don’t want them to try to learn something else and have yet another social network to track. I don’t think Vine is going away, but I think the convenience factor of having both photo and video on Instagram is a huge benefit for artists and managers who have too much to manage already.

How important is Google+?
You ask most people and they’ll sort of scoff at Google+, but I’m one of the outliers who really believes in it as a centralized platform. There aren’t as many active users or bands or brands on it yet, but those numbers are definitely increasing, and there’s a lot of content available if you’re following the right sector. I get a lot of new information and news that way personally. There are also a lot of influencers in the music and tech space that I follow on G+, and I find that its mobile and tablet interfaces are very compelling. 

The fact that everyone in the business world is now moving to the Google Apps ecosystem and Google+ directly integrates with that is important. And Google Hangouts have been one of the most vital collaborative tools to our business. We started those with managers and artists as much to collaborate with them on as to show them the technology and how easy it is to use, so you can plant that seed of “You can do this with your fans.”

What’s the most important social network to an artist right now?
Personally I think visual content wins, so I’d say Instagram and YouTube. YouTube is ubiquitous across every device, the content is instantly searchable and available, and within seconds it can tell the story of a brand or an artist.

When it comes to the other networks though, personally I’m a big Twitter guy. I’m not so much into the Facebook and Google+ world on a day to day basis because of the obligation to connect. For an artist with a busy life, Twitter’s great because it’s more of a broadcast technology yet you can still engage with people and stay authentic and true to your brand. There’s a little bit more of a wall there so that offers some protection if that’s needed.

What’s the first thing you do with a new client?
We have a whole process that we call DNA that stands for discover, engage and advance. The first step is discovery, which means that we listen, since it’s all about hearing the client’s story. Marketing is all about story telling so I get the client to tell me theirs. They may not even think they have a story but they always do, even if we might have to coax some of that information out sometimes. 

Once we understand the story, then we dive into goals. How to achieve those goals is really based on audience demographic. Without a fanbase you’re not going to monetize and sustain a business, so you have to proactively listen back to your audience. It’s a game of give and take. We’ve had a lot of success in listening to audiences because we ourselves are indeed fans of art, music and culture, so that really makes it easy because we’re so passionate about the subjects. That means we can explain why it might be necessary to do something that maybe the artist isn’t so comfortable with in the social space.

Do you do the social day by day with them? How much do you ask them to engage?
It’s a case by case basis, but if we’re talking about an artist on tour, we absolutely want either the artist themselves or someone with day to day access to them like a tour manager, publicist or assistant to be posting content. Anything that’s more from management like an announcement of a tour cycle, album cycle or product release, we become more hands-on, crafting the copy to make sure that it matches the brand and voice and goals. 

Even with the day to day content, we’ll work with them to craft their content strategy document. We have a website called New Media Rules of Engagement or NMROE.com that outlines the best practices on every single social network. We take all those practices and filter them down based on their audience and goals. From there we come up with a content strategy document that says how frequently you should be posting content, how you should be posting that content, how you should be generating that content, how you should be repurposing content from your fanbase, and how you should be responding to your audience. That’s the blueprint for the artist, the management and the publicist to stay within the framework. 

With wireless bandwidth and speeds enabling us to engage with audio and video content from anywhere we are, it should be easer than ever for an artist to be able to engage with their fanbase. 

You can find out more about Jacob and Oniracom at oniracom.com."

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Cost Of Breaking A Major Label Act

IFPI logo image
The latest IFPI (International Federation of the Phonograph Industry - boy, is that name outdated) recently came out with a report about the state of the music industry and a few of the elements that were analyzed included how much the major labels spent on developing new acts.

Here are some interesting figures.
  • The cost of breaking an act is between $500k and $1 million.
  • The typical advance averages between $50k and $350k
  • Typical album recording costs are between $150k and $500k.
  • The typical video production goes from between $50k to $300k.
  • Tour support is between $50k and $150k.
  • Typical marketing and promotional costs are between $200k to $700k.
Major labels spent $4.6 billion dollars this year on A&R and marketing their acts, and 27% of the major label's revenue went to A&R. According to the IFPI, this is greater than what the computer, pharmacology and biology industries spend on R&D.

Finally, there are 7,500 artists signed to major labels around the world. One in 5 is a new signing.

Most artists today really like the DIY aspect of building their career, but there's nothing like the monetary clout of a large label.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

High Prices For Vintage T Shirts

Led Zeppelin Back Stage Pass T Shirt image
It's worth $10,000!
Merch has always been a major revenue source for an artist, but it turns out that once an item becomes "vintage" it can also be considered art too. Take for example the case of old artist t-shirts. Believe it or not, there's a huge market for vintage t's, with some costing as much as $10,000.

VH1.com has a great gallery of the most expensive shirts that go from an original Iron Maiden 1982 Number of the Beast tour shirt for $812 to a Who tour staff shirt at $3,000 to a Run DMC My Addidas shirt at $13,000 to Kurt Cobain's Sonic Youth shirt at more than $14k.

Now is probably a good time to look in your closet to see what you haven't worn in ages. It might buy you a very nice vacation.

Check out the gallery here. Thanks to my buddy Jesse Siemanis for the heads up.
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

YouTube's Latest Impressive Stats

YouTube image
If you're an artist, much of your life revolves around YouTube these days. It's not only the #1 way that consumers discover new music online, but it's also the place where most people consume their music as well. Recently the service posted some very impressive new numbers.

Viewership
  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth
MORE:
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
  • Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3x since last year, and the number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4x since last year
Mobile and Devices
  • Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube's global watch time
  • YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices
Content ID
  • Content ID scans over 400 years of video every day
  • More than 5,000 partners use Content ID, including major US network broadcasters, movie studios and record labels
  • We have more than 25 million reference files in our Content ID database; it's among the most comprehensive in the world
  • Content ID has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for partners
Now with the introduction of Music Key, it looks like these numbers can only grow. It will be interesting to see what they look like next year at this time.
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

How To Pin Or Highlight A Post On FaceBook

At some point it's worthwhile to transition from a personal Facebook page to a fan page. Here's an excerpt from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that outlines a couple of the cool things that you can do with your posts on a fan page - pinning and highlighting.

"Perhaps the two biggest reasons why a personal page is no substitute for a fan page is the fact that a personal page can have a maximum of 5000 friends, plus you can’t access any of the analytics (called Facebook Insights) available. 

Your Facebook Fan Page

The fan page differs from a personal page in that you can have an unlimited number of Likes and access to Facebook analytics, but it also has a number of additional advantages beyond that. These are the things other than the privacy aspect that make a fan page attractive.
  • Pinning posts on the Timeline. If there’s a particular post that you’d like to appear at the top of your timeline, the administrator (hopefully you) can pin it there (see Figure 6.1). This will keep the post at the top of the page for seven days, after which it will return to the date when it was posted. This ensures that everyone will see that particular post for a week, at which time it’s probably old news anyway. To pin a post, click on the edit button on the top right of a post.
Figure 6.1: Pinning a post to the Timeline
  • Highlighting a post. This is a variation on pinning, the difference being that instead of appearing at the top of the page, highlighting makes it stretch out the width of the page so it’s more noticeable (see Figure 6.2). It still stays in the same place, but it visually sticks out of the page. To highlight a post, click on the edit icon at the top right of the post and select highlight next to the star.
Figure 6.2: Highlighting a post
  • A unique experience. The beauty of a fan page is that each fan gets a different experience. If someone visits your fan page, they also see what their friends are posting about you, even though it’s not posted directly on your fan page."
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Biggest Spotify Artists Of 2014

#1 on Spotify
Spotify just released it's 2014 most-streamed figures and a lot of familiar faces show up once again. That said, one surprise is the rise in popularity of Ed Sheeran, who comes out on top as the most streamed artist in general, the most streamed male artist, and had the most streamed album. Here's the top 5 for a number of Spotify categories.

Top 5 Most Streamed Artists
1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Coldplay
4. Calvin Harris
5. Katy Perry

Top 5 Most Streamed Males
1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Calvin Harris
4. Avicii
5. David Guetta

Top 5 Most Streamed Females
1. Katy Perry
2. Ariana Grande
3. Lana Del Rey
4. Beyonce
5. Lorde

Top 5 Most Streamed Groups
1. Coldplay
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Maroon 5
4. OneRepublic
5. One Direction

Top 5 Most Streamed Tracks
1. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams
2. "Rather Be" - Clean Bandit
3. "Summer" - Calvin Harris
4. "Dark Horse" -  Katy Perry
5. "All Of Me" - John Legend

Top 5 Most Streamed Albums
1. X - Ed Sheeran
2. In The Lonely Hour - Sam Smith
3. The New Classic - Iggy Azalea
4. GIRL - Pharrell Williams
5. My Everything - Ariana Grande

Spotify is an on-demand service so anyone getting into the Top 5 of any category has a measure of popularity that can't be denied. That Ed Sheeran's brand of acoustic music could be so popular shows that just about any type of artist or genre of music can make it in Music 4.0.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's Easy To Lose Money On Tour

Pomplamoose image
Pomplamoose
Every heard of the band Pomplamoose? This duo gained some measure of fame a few years ago by doing ingenious videos of cover songs that made them YouTube stars. The pair eventually landed a number of high profile television commercials as a result, but the band's regular income still comes from videos, where a makes around $6,000 for each one produced.

Pomplamoose recently decided to embark on a 23 city tour to capitalize on its online fame, and leader Jack Conte wrote about it on his blog, covering all of the band's expenses and income. Here's what he wrote:

Expenses
$26,450 for production expenses including gear rental, lights, van and trailer rental, road cases and backline.

$17,589 for hotel and food expenses for the 28 days on tour plus a week of rehearsals.

$11,816 for gas, airfare, parking and tolls

$5,445 for insurance

$48,094 for salaries and per diems

$21,945 for manufacturing merchandise, publicity (radio, venue and Facebook ads)

$16,463 agent commission
TOTAL $147,802

Income
$97,519 in ticket sales
$29,714 in merch sales
$8,750 sponsorship by Lenovo
TOTAL $135,983

That means that the band lost $11,819 on the tour.

If you look at the expenses, it seems like the band thinks it's better known that it is (I bet you can't name one Pomplamoose song) and spent like they were a couple of levels up from where they actually are. For instance, considering that the band was playing mostly 400 to 600 seat venues, bring their own lights was unneeded, and buying new backline and road cases for the tour probably should have been filed under personal musician expenses.

Then the fact that the band stayed in hotels when most bands at this level are still couch surfing, the fact that they seemed to have paid their sidemen and crew above market level, and the fact that the band paid for radio and venue ads (isn't that what a promoter's supposed to do?), and you have a net loss when the tour could have made money.

Don't fret for Pomplamoose though, as this can be seen as more of a promotional tool for them than anything. Jack Conte is the founder of the successful Patreon crowdfunding site, so it seems that ultimately the band can absorb the loss without the bill collector pounding on the door.

It does goes to show that it's just as easy to lose money on the road as it is to make it, so watch those expenses.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Music Tastes Of Americans

Music Taste image
Nielsen's Music 360 report is always a good read, and the 2014 version has some great info on the music listening habits, preferences and tastes of Americans. It's a great way to spot the latest trends and get some meaningful insight in how we consume music. Here are some of things we learned.
  • Americans really do like music, as 93% listens to it, spending more than 25 hours a week doing so.
  • 75% of Americans would rather listen to music than watch television.
Where do we listen to music most?
   - In the car - 23%
   - While working - 16%
   - While doing chores at home - 15%
   - While doing other activities - 13%
   - While exercising - 12%
  • Radio is the top music delivery system, with 59% consuming their music that way.
  • 48% consume most of their music from their own libraries
  • 41% from on-demand streaming services like Spotify and YouTube
  • 36% from radio-like streaming like Pandora or iTunes Radio
  • A surprising and important stat is that 18% have purchased a song while streaming it.
The phone is really important when it comes to music delivery, although it only comes in their behind radios and computers when it comes to listening devices. That said, 39% of smartphone owners purchased music on their devices, which was up from 34% a year ago.

Americans appetite for music is not diminishing as many fear, but although streaming and smartphones are coming on strong, it's still good old fashioned radio that we still love the most.
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bobby O Cyber Monday Specials

It's time for some Cyber Monday Specials that can help the career of any musician, songwriter, artist or band.

Using social media is not the same thing as using it as a promotional too and Social Media Promotion for Musicians shows you how and why. This is a great manual for optimizing your personal or band's brand, your website, email list, and YouTube channels and videos, as well as all other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit.
Special 30% Off The Retail Price (you must register on the Createspace ebook store). Use code 4T9VLP26


The latest edition of Music 4.0 Internet Music Guidebook takes us into the world of streaming, as it lays out just how artists and songwriters get paid in this new evolution of the music business, as well as covering the new movers and shakers in the business, as well as the latest in the battle between DIY and traditional record labels.
Amazon Special Deal - Print Edition Deal or Kindle Edition Deal




Bobby Owsinski Courses on Lynda.com. The Black Friday deal continues with a free 10 days of unlimited access to check out all the video courses (there's over 3,000 of them) on the platform.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday Special


It's Black Friday but I'm not selling anything. Instead I want to give you a Holiday gift by giving you 10 days to enjoy my video courses on lynda.com for free.

If you're not hip to Lynda.com, then you really should be. It has over 3,000 video courses that cover essential training for software like Final Cut, Photoshop, Pro Tools and more, as well as how-to courses in audio (like the ones I authored), marketing and business.

Here are my lynda.com social media courses to check out.

Remember, you can also use the 10 free days to check out all the other lynda.com courses too. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sony's Direct Deal With SiriusXM Could Be Bad For Musicians

Music Money image
Right now a lot of publishers are leaning towards doing direct deals with digital distributors rather than letting ASCAP or BMI (the performance rights organizations or PROs) take care of it as they traditionally have. The idea is that the data is easier than ever to collect since it's all digital, and the PROs can take a long time to pay and then take a piece of the revenue as well.

This might take a while to play out on the publishing side, but on the label side, Sony-owned distributor The Orchard is making a play to cut the middle man out of the picture by making a direct deal with SiriusXM. In what could be the first of many deals, this removes the collection agency Soundexchange from the revenue picture.

Remember that when it comes to digital airplay, there are actually 3 parties that get paid - the songwriter, the label, and the artist (the latter two don't get payed for traditional terrestrial broadcasts). Soundexchange is the designated PRO for collecting this revenue, but The Orchard will now bypass them.

On the surface this sounds great for artists in the it appears there will be 4.5% more money in their pockets (that's the fee that Soundexchange charges), but don't forget that this is a company owned by a record label and labels are especially good at finding ways to not pay the artist all the royalties they've earned. Also, this is just another way of recouping advances so the artists won't see any money at all in end.

Soundexchange has done a great job in collecting and distributing royalties in the past, and based on its track record to this point, seems to be much preferred to a label when it comes to paying artists. Only time will tell how this will work out. If you're not signed up with Soundexchange, you should do so now if your songs are being played online.


If you're going to partake in any Thanksgiving or Black Friday Amazon sales, please consider entering Amazon through this link to help support his blog at no cost to you. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why Is Pop Music So Repetitive?

Repetitive Music image
Many people are besides themselves about the current state of music today, claiming that it's far too stale and repetitive. While the pop charts have always had their share of the bland and formulaic, many think that today's music goes far beyond what used to be the norm.

And that actually appears to be true, according to a 2012 study by the Spanish Research Council. The study found that pop music is louder and less varied since any time since 1950.

Once upon a time you could blame this on the labels and their tastes, but now these same labels rely more on numbers to determine what they'll sign and release. That is, they look at Shazam searches, music streams and listening tendencies online, then use this behavioral data to predict who will be the next big thing.

In other words, fans shape the hits by essentially demanding the same songs over and over.

The study found that the reason why we like to listen to the "same" song over and over again is that the brain finds it easier to process. The less effort it takes to think about a song, the more we tend to like it.

What's more, broadcasters now play fewer songs and keep a hit in rotation longer than ever before. Now that program directors have more accurate electronic data to rely on, they've found that listeners are less interested in novelty or variety than they say they are. When something new comes on the radio, they're more than likely to turn it off.

So if you want to blame someone of the state of music today, blame the listeners and not the labels or artists. They're just giving you what you want.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

6 Reasons Why Music Entrepreneurs Fail

Recently Digital Music News posted a great list of 14 reasons why music entrepreneurs fail. You should read that article, but here's my take on some of the article's points. Music entrepreneurs fail because:

1. They think people will pay for something they can get for free. When it comes to music, people pay for convenience in relation to what they listen to. Vinyl was more convenient than shellac because it didn't break as easily. Cassettes were better than vinyl because they were portable. CD's were better than cassettes because they were random access. MP3s were better than CDs because they were even more portable and you didn't have to pay for songs you didn't want. Streaming is more convenient than MP3s because you don't fill up your hard drive and don't have to pay for it. In other words, it's pretty easy to listen to whatever song you want for free now, why should you pay anything if there's not a compelling reason? Saying that, "An artist should get paid for their work," falls on the deaf ears of the public.

2. They overestimate people's love for artists. People that love music don't necessarily love the artists that make it, unless you're talking about teenage girls. Most people don't care if the artist can pay rent or not.

3. They still think piracy's a problem. When was the last time you read anything about piracy in the news? Streaming killed it dead. There's no need to steal something that you can get for free.

4. They underestimate the importance of music licensing. Getting music licenses is a difficult and costly process and it's not getting any easier as record labels become more digital savvy.

5. They think musicians, artists or music consumers want to do something that they really don't care about. The latest fad is online collaboration. Ask any musician which he'd rather do - play in the same room with real live musicians, or play with them over the Internet. One is considerably more fun than the other.

6. They think their social platform will revolutionize music. Social media is important for today's artist, and Facebook and Twitter are making it increasingly difficult to use those platforms as promotional tools, but a new startup with shallow pockets and few users provides little when it comes to helping artists reach their audience or build a new one. Besides there's so much more that an artist needs to be successful beyond social (branding for one, the good old fashioned basics of your website and mailing list for another). Providing just some of the tools isn't enough.

For more on that last point, go to Social Media Promotion for Musicians, a guidebook for using all your online resources to increase your audience.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Billboard 200 Album Chart To Incorporate Streams

Billboard 200 chart image
You have to hand it to Billboard - the company recognizes that it has to change with the times and does so on a regular basis. The latest update will come on Dec. 3 when the Billboard 200 album chart will incorporate on-demand streaming and digital track sales as well as the Nielsen Soundscan point-of-sale data that the chart has been based around since 1991.

The Billboard 200 chart will now consider all major streaming services, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play and Xbox Music.

In determining the chart, the company will equate 10 downloads to equal 1 album sale, and 1,500 song streams to also equal 1 album sale.

Billboard will continue to publish a traditional equivalent to the former Top 200 chart called Top Album Sales that will rely on traditional Nielsen data to determine rankings.

It's been estimated that there have been more than 100 billion (yes with a "B") streams that have been listened to this year so far. It's great that those streams can now be figured into actual chart rankings.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Beats/iPhone Bundle Tries To Counter Music Key

Apple Beats image
The Financial Times is reporting that Apple plans to bundle its newly acquired Beats Music service into an upcoming version of iOS, making it instantly available to hundreds of millions of users. This news should come as no great surprise, since the company originally bought Beats with the intention of doing exactly that. What is interesting is the timing of the leak, however.

As I wrote in my last post, a beta version of YouTube’s new Music Key service has just been introduced, and that provides a far greater threat to Apple’s position in the music business than other services like Spotify and Pandora ever will. Considering that YouTube is the number one online source of music consumption, and that Music Key provides audio and video (with no adverts either) as well as the full Google Play library, Apple’s iTunes service faces a clear and present danger of being majorly usurped as far as market share goes.

For Apple, the real threat is that Music Key will hit the market in full stride before it can roll out the next Beats-baked iOS. Guess what? If too many people get a taste of Google’s offering, they’re not coming back to iTunes any time soon.

Apple suddenly finds itself in a dilly of a pickle in that even though it has those reported 800 million credit cards on file and a built in audience in iPhone and iPad users, the music side of the iTunes is shedding sales faster than even CDs. Read more on Forbes.
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