Friday, April 3, 2015

The Lowly CD Still A Big Part Of The Music Business

Colored CDs image
All of the music industry news for the last year or so has been directed at oncoming music streaming steamroller and the downfall of the music download, but what's interesting is that our good old physical CD still remains a huge part of the music business. The latest report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the music industry's trade group, shows the 2014 sales of the bright and shiny disc at $1.85 billion, or about 27% of the total U.S. recorded music revenue.

There's no denying that CDs are on the way out, with unit sales falling another 16% in 2014 from the previous year. It's true that it's just a matter of time before the format goes the way of the vinyl record (although there's been a recent resurgence), the 8 track tape and the cassette. What's interesting is that the 144.1 million CDs officially reported as sold by the RIAA in 2014 doesn't represent the real total by a long shot.

The CD sales listed in the annual revenue statistics revolve around sales reported via Nielsen Soundscan, the retail system that registers the sale at the point of purchase by scanning the barcode.

While that's most likely the majority of CD sales sold at retailers and online giants like Amazon, it isn't all of them though. CDs sold by artists and bands at their gigs or on their websites aren't counted. Neither are CDs sold at worship events. And of course, bootleg CDs aren't in those totals either. In fact, there's a huge underground economy still based on the CD that just doesn't register on the RIAA's radar.

That said, the CD business is falling and when it finally hits the ground, it won't be able to get back up. In 2014, streaming revenue from services like Spotify and Pandora overtook CD sales for the first time, ringing up $1.87 billion in revenue. 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, April 2, 2015

Big Data Picks This Year's YouTube Music Awards Honorees

YouTube Music Awards image
We seem to be awash in awards shows these days, and most of them feel like they're packaged especially for TV viewing rather than to honor the nominees (as evidenced by the recent iHeartRadio awards). In fact, many times the winners and performers are picked by anonymous "voters" who just happen to select the acts that are the most popular at the moment and also have the largest potential viewer attraction.

The YouTube Music Awards may be another me-too award, but at least it's selecting its winners in a more modern way - by letting the data do the talking.

The awards event will recognize the site's 50 biggest artists based on the views, subscribers and engagement over the last 6 months on Youtube, which is a pretty good general indicator of popularity.

Among the 50 honorees include artists that you'd probably expect like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Hozier, Ed Sheeran, and Brad Paisley, but there's also some off-the-radar choices as well like Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling, artists that are a product almost exclusively of YouTube.

That said, the 50 award honorees represent the cream of the music crop on the service, collectively garnering over 47 billion views (yes, that's with a "b") so far.

One thing that's going to be a lot different about this year's awards is that it won't consist of what we've come to know as a "show." Even though last year's awards show was anything but traditional in that it was largely one big improvisation (although it was eventually viewed more than 54 million times), this year the network has decided to forgo any vestige of the standard fare we've come to expect from such an event.

Instead, on March 23rd YouTube will receive a one day music makeover, complete with a number of exclusive videos produced by Vice Media. In the meantime, YouTube also has launched a channel just for the awards.

As with the previous YouTube Music Awards, the event is sponsored by Kia.

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, April 1, 2015

Jay-Z's Relaunched Tidal To Benefit The Artists That Need It Least

Tidal relaunch image
Okay, let me get this straight. Jay-Z’s newly relaunched Tidal streaming music service is supposed to be special because it’s owned by the artists, right? If that’s the only benefit, then it won’t last very long, since the artists with the most to gain are the just the ones that don’t need any more help to begin with. 

During the big rollout last night, there were numerous mentions of the ownership that the first group of artists have in Tidal (reported to be 3% of the company), but let’s look at what that means in terms of benefits to most recording artists and the people who seem to be forgotten in all of this - the potential users of the service.

First of all, the early “investors” in Tidal is a who’s who of A-list music stars like Madonna, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Coldplay, Calvin Harris, Nikki Manaj, Rihanna and Jason Aldean, among others. There’s also supposed to be a second round of ownership available soon to other artists as well.

Here’s the $56 million (the amount payed by Jay-Z to acquire Aspiro, which ownsTidal) question. How does that benefit the potential end users of the service in any way? Do these artists really believe that most people will pay $20 a month for high-resolution audio content that they won’t already pay $10 for? Why would they even buy into the new standard-def $10 per month tier if they can get the songs they want on a free streaming tier of another service or on Youtube? 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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4 Excellent Rules To Stay Out Of Trouble With Your Fans On Facebook

If you're an artist or band and you're on Facebook, you want to make that audience grow and keep them engaged. The problem is that there are right and wrong ways to do this. Choose the wrong way and you either look like a schmuck or even worse, anger your fanbase.

Here are 4 excellent rules to follow on Facebook that will keep you out of trouble with those fans. They're simple and easy, all you have to do is follow them.

1. Don't Like your own post. This just looks bad and doesn't serve any real purpose. It won't help your Like count and it just feels like you're patting yourself on the back for how smart you are. You're not like that, so don't do it.

2. Don't post or tag photos of fans, crew or venue employees without their permission. You might think that the people will be flattered, and that may be true for most, but there's always someone that's there discretely and wants to keep it that way. Just ask permission first. Want to be even safer? Get written permission with a short release form.

3. Don't tag people or pages that aren't relevant to you. This one personally steams me the most. I just hate it when someone tags me in a photo that I wasn't involved with in an effort to get me to check it out. It's just bad form, doesn't accomplish the task, and angers your followers, so don't do it.

4. Don't ask for Likes, Comments, or Share. This one is sort of borderline in that there's an acceptable way and an unacceptable way to do it.
First of all, it's against Facebook's terms to ask for a Like, although people do it all the time. A better way to do this, and also keeps it within FB's terms of use, is through through a Facebook promotions company like Woobox. This allows you to set up contests or giveaways that hopefully will result in more Likes or Shares.
You pay for it, but it's a much more elegant and legal way to accomplish the same thing. As for Comments, the best way to get more is to ask more questions. Works every time.

Follow these rules and you'll not only stay out of trouble with your fans and followers, but look a whole lot more professional in doing so as well.

You can find more social media tips and tricks from my Social Media Promotion for Musicians book.

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 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.


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