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 for free.

If you're not hip to, 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 social media courses to check out.

Remember, you can also use the 10 free days to check out all the other courses too. Enjoy!

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.

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.

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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