Friday, October 9, 2015

Pandora's Ticketfly Purchase Good For Artists And Shareholders

Ticketfly logo image
Streaming music service Pandora reeled off a blockbuster purchase yesterday, coming to an agreement to acquire the online concert ticketing service Ticketfly,

The company announced that it purchased the ticket company with a combination of cash and stock amounting to around $450 million. Ticketfly’s gross revenue was around $500 million last year which resulted in net commissions of around $35 million. The company, which specializes in selling tickets for small to medium size venues, has shown some significant growth in the first half of 2015 with a net of around $55 million. 

The purchase could be classified as a coup for Pandora, as it moves the company into an area ripe for disruption that also puts it in a position to finally turn a profit.

Concert revenue has become the major source of income for many top tier artists, more than making up for the losses incurred when the industry switched to digital music. The problem is that the areas of music discovery (mostly radio) and consumption via streaming music services haven’t integrated very well with the concert industry, which means lost revenue opportunities. Artists below the superstar level have yet to benefit to the same degree from the increased concert revenue as well.

Only about 20% of the US population attended a live music event last year, according to the giant concert promoter LiveNation. The reason that the figure is so low isn’t because fans have an aversion to crowds, but mostly because they’re not aware that their favorite artists are performing near where they live.

Having Ticketfly as an integral piece of Pandora may be an answer to this dilemma. 

While Pandora has yet to turn a profit from its music service, one thing it does boast is close to 80 million active users. Read more on Forbes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

New YouTube iOS App Offers Better On-The-Go Features

New YouTube iOS app imageWith behind the scenes and road videos so important to artists everywhere these days, any help in making those videos easier and better is always welcome. That's why YouTube's new iOS app might be just the thing to take video creation to the next level.

The new app offers a redesigned interface and new editing tools, as well as some new tools for browsing content.

There are three main tabs - Home, Subscriptions and Account, which are just like desktop browser version but now easier to find. The big difference here is that the Account tab offers access to the user's own videos, video playlists, notifications, and viewing history.

What's exciting is the new editing tools, which allow the user to trim videos, add filters and add music. New filters include sepia, 8mm, and a "sketch" option that makes the video look like a pencil sketch.

The app is available for free at the App Store.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Which Gets The Most Google Searches: Apple Music Or Spotify?

One way to measure the popularity of just about anything these days is the number of Google searches the topic has.

Music Business Worldwide looked at the number of searches for Spotify and Apple Music and found that Spotify beats Apple Music handily.

Except for a sharp spike around the time it was launched, Spotify (the blue line on the chart) has far more searches on a continuing basis than Apple Music (the red line).

That said, iTunes (the yellow line) beats them both, showing that the service still has plenty of life left.

Streaming Google Search Comparison image

Keep in mind that Apple Music is only 4 months old, and rumor has it that Apple is gearing up for a massive holiday ad blitz, which should raise the service's visibility significantly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Will Indie Streams Earn Less Than Major Label Streams?

Copyright Royalty Board image
In case you've ever wondered how the streaming rates for services like Pandora and iHeart Radio are determined, it's by a trio of judges selected by the US Library of Congress called the Copyright Royalty Board or CRB.

Ever 5 years the CRB sets a new rate, which usually increases slightly each year of the five.

Non-interactive services like Pandora currently at mandated to pay $0.00014 per stream, but that's due to change in 2016, and the CRB is meeting now to determine by how much, if any, the streaming rate will increase.

There's some evidence that the CRB is looking into variable royalty rates this time around. This means that there could be one rate for the major labels, and another cheaper rate for indies.

This would be a disaster for any artist not signed directly to a major, and as you'd probably expect, the outcry from indie labels has been great.

To be clear, the CRB has NOT determined this is the way to go yet, but there's evidence that the direction has been explored. Obviously not a good thing if it happens, as all those thousand's of a cent rack up over time into some real money.

The CRB does not set the rate for on-demand streaming like Spotify, which does direct deals with the labels.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Insky Exec Matt Taff On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Inksy logo image
If you ever wanted to make a few branded merch items to sell at gigs, you know that it can be expensive, even if you use one of the popular on-demand companies.

Insky is a new company that specializes in high-quality on-demand product at a reasonable price, and business development exec Matt Taff is going to tell us how it all came about on this week's podcast.

In the intro we'll take a look at why niche services may be the future of streaming music, and why some of the classic recording studios are disappearing from major cities.

Remember that you can find the podcast at, or either on iTunes or Stitcher.

10 Best Facebook Practices For Artists And Bands

Facebook Best Practices image
Facebook is one of the best social networks for artists and bands, but execution is everything in order to take full advantage of it. Mashable ran a great article about the 10 best practices for bands, and you can read the article here, but what follows is an abridged version with mostly my comments.

1. Reach out to other artists. Ask a band whom you’re tight with to post your new music video/track/album art to their wall with a link back to your Facebook Page, and remember to return the favor. This is one of the best ways to use the network to expand your audience.

2. Take your fans backstage. Everyone loves to see behind the scenes, but fans are especially interested. It might seem insignificant to you, but any kind of backstage access is a big deal to them.

3. Go beyond the music. As I've said many times before, music is your marketing, but don't forget to make available any merch or touring info. That said, don't try to sell to your fans, just make it easily available if they want it.

4. Ask for input from fans. Communication is a two-way street and fans love to be asked their opinion on just about anything. Besides, they're your fans so they know what they want.

5. Be visual. Music is an aural medium for sure, but either still or moving pictures add so much to entire package that you can't ignore them any more. Besides, it's so easy to take pictures these days or make movies, you can't use gear or expertise as excuses anymore.

6. Make everything an event. This is one of the secrets of multiple singles releases rather than full albums. Every release becomes an event. You can expand upon that idea in just about any direction, from gigs or giveaways on your birthday to your best fan's birthdays, to making every gig a special occasion. Use your imagination.7.

7. Don't just ask for things. Once again, communication is a two way street. You give some and you take some and vice versa. If you ask for information, give something away for free. This goes a long way in keeping your tribe happy.

8. Don't forget the basics. Bios, press kits, pictures, logos are still important so be sure to have links to where people can get them if needed.

9. Offer exclusive content. The way to a fans heart is through exclusive content. If a fan can get exclusive mixes or movies that no one else can, that legitimizes his or her fandom and makes them want even more. Alternative mixes, outtakes, interviews - these are all inexpensive and easy to make content that any fan would love to have.

10. Use some tools. Make sure you take advantage of everything that Facebook has to offer, but also check out apps like Bandpage or Reverbnation for their event, sales and music plugins as well.


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