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Digital Music Industry Update End 2018

Here’s your monthly dose of what we at Bombay Hott Radio are finding interesting this month. Hope these articles help you improve your music industry life and your life in the world as a whole.

Allow the awesomeness to wash over you and grow like the Grinch’s heart… too soon for a holiday reference?

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2017 Streaming Price Bible! Spotify per Stream Rates Drop 9%, Apple Music Gains Market-share of Both Plays and Overall Revenue This data set is isolated to the calendar year 2017 and represents a mid-sized indie label with an approximately 200+ album catalogue now generating over 200m+ streams annually. That’s a pretty good sample size. All rates are gross before distribution fees. Spotify was paying .00521 back in 2014, two years later the aggregate net average per play rate dropped to .00437 in 2016, a reduction of 16%. If the music business could set a per stream rate that allowed revenue growth, proportionate to consumption growth that would be a much better model.

Spotify to Musicians: Let Us Be Your Label “Via” Mia Coleman was singing on American Idol at age 17, backing up rapper Anderson .Paak a few years later, and, at 28, still looking for her big break. When she released her first single, Lie, under the name Viaa in the summer of 2017—the extra “a” meant to help her stand out—Coleman had a tough time cutting through the noise. Liehas garnered about 60,000 listens on Spotify, earning her enough to, say, buy a couple of meals and a toy for her black pug, Rex. Luckily for her, she says, one of those listeners was Spotify Technology SA executive Angie Romero, who liked what she heard. h

One Reason Why Spotify’s Deals With The Major Labels Are Balanced On A Knife-Edge Do you know how much equity the major labels still own in Spotify today? According to MBW’s estimates, it’s approximately 6.35% – divided between Universal (3.5%) and Sony Music Entertainment (2.85%). Before we discuss the significance of that figure, let’s quickly remind ourselves how we got here. Thanks to early licensing negotiations which took place in 2008, the three major labels, plus Merlin received an 18% cumulative stake in Spotify.
Oldies But Goodies: Streaming Makes Catalogue Records New Again Since 2014, digital music streaming put on its big boy pants and buoyed the recorded music business into its third year of rising global revenue. As if that weren’t good enough news already, fans found out that their old music- or what industry executives call “catalogue”- mattered again. In the recorded music business, “frontline” has traditionally been considered any track less than 18 months old. “Catalogue” was any music older than that 18 month period. This distinction- while mostly arbitrary to everyday fans- meant a lot to how money was allocated to a recording artist’s career.

Who’s Telling the Truth: YouTube or the Music Industry? On July 4th this year, Sir Paul McCartney took the fight to YouTube. The Beatle issued an open letter that backed European legal proposals designed to force Alphabet/Google’s video service to pay artists and record labels more money. In a clear broadside aimed at YouTube, McCartney wrote, “Today, some user-upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit it for their own profit.” Two months later, during the promotional frenzy that propelled his latest solo album, Egypt Station, to Number One in the U.S. — his first solo Billboard chart-topper in more than 36 years — McCartney announced a one-off stream of a live show in New York. It attracted more than 4 million views . . . exclusively on, and in partnership with, YouTube. YouTube says that Article 13, a controversial clause in a new European law, will destroy its platform. The music industry says this is a smokescreen. Who’s right?

How Millennials Are Changing The Music Industry Millennials love music. We listen to 75 percent more music than Baby Boomers. What does the constant stream of music into millennial brains tell us about this generation’s relationship with the music industry When it comes down to it, millennials are completely altering the industry as we know it because of the quantity of music we consume and the technology we use to consume it. Millennials are consciously changing the industry as insiders, and we’re intentionally and unintentionally changing it as consumers.

5 Music Copyright Cases Every Songwriter Should Know About  After the watershed “Blurred Lines” case in 2016, there has been an influx of music copyright infringement cases bringing songwriters, performers, and publishers to court. More than ever, it is crucial for any modern musician to have a basic knowledge of music copyright law, and at least a grasp of the legal avenues that exist when using another artist’s material. whether by covering or sampling. But “Blurred Lines” was hardly the first copyright case to rattle Lady Justice’s scale. Here are five important music copyright infringement cases that every songwriter should know about.

Are Pop Lyrics Getting More Repetitive? In 1977, the great computer scientist Donald Knuth published a paper called The Complexity of Songs, which is basically one long joke about the repetitive lyrics of newfangled music (example quote: “the advent of modern drugs has led to demands for still less memory, and the ultimate improvement of Theorem 1 has consequently just been announced”). I’m going to try to test this hypothesis with data. I’ll be analyzing the repetitiveness of a dataset of 15,000 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1958 and 2017.

Label Group IFPI Says It Can’t Account for Half of YouTube’s Claimed $1.8 Billion In Royalty Payments  Google recently published an anti-piracy report claiming that YouTube has paid more than $1.8 billion in ad revenue to the music industry in 2017. However, the IFPI is challenging Google’s claim, saying that it can’t verify the information provided in that report. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry represents the interests of record labels across the world.  And CEO Frances Moore is flatly stating that Google’s claims are dodgy. “The figures in Google’s anti-piracy paper don’t match our own.” Instead of booming billions, Moore notes that the IFPI’s own data suggests a much starker picture.  Revenue returning to the recording industry through video streaming services (including but not limited to YouTube) with 1.3 billion users amounted to $856 million in 2017. That’s less than half of Google’s claim and less than $1 per user per year.

Radio in the Streaming Era: Chartmetric’s RadioWave Top 300 Data If you’ve been in the music business for decades, you’ve seen it firsthand: household radio DJ voices giving way to nameless playlist curators. The leisurely FM frequency scan turning into direct, on-demand track selection. Radio promotion teams being turned into playlist pitching ones that more negotiate with mysterious computer algorithms than actual human beings. News continues to herald the inevitable: iHeartMedia (800+ stations, owner of Mediabase) filed for bankruptcy in March 2018, only months after US radio’s #2 owner/operator Cumulus Media (400+ stations) filed the same in November 2017; US radio continues to draw ire from the global radio community for its practice of paying zero recorded music royalties (also known as “neighboring rights”) to copyright owners, despite making billions in advertising revenue over decades ($15.9B in 2017 alone for traditional US radio ads). The only other non-Rome Convention countries to act similarly: Rwanda, North Korea, Iran, China. Most recently in September 2018, Sirius XM agreed to purchase Pandora Media to the tune of $3.5B USD, saying something about radio’s reluctant agreement that digital streaming is indeed the future.

4 Ways Savvy Music Marketers Keep Over 90% of Teens Glued to Their Ads on Snapchat It’s not just about going to where your audience is.  It’s about deeply understanding that platform, and what its users want to see. The following comes from Fanbytes, who partnered with DMN to deliver this marketing intelligence on Generation Z and Snapchat. The cost of advertising on Facebook and other popular music marketing platforms is rising.  Those labels, agencies, and independent artists who are afraid of trialing lesser-known sources of attention risk losing out on some of the most cost-effective music marketing on the web.

Chart of the Week: Will Millennials Save SoundCloud? SoundCloud has had a rough year: last summer, it staved off bankruptcy via an eleventh-hour $170 million investment led by Raine and Temasek and the injection of a new CEO, Kerry Trainor. Last week, Trainor (formerly of Vimeo) revealed the music streaming platform’s latest strategy for generating revenue: attracting advertiser dollars based on SoundCloud’s lucrative, young user base. But compared to other leading music streaming services, does SoundCloud have a distinct advantage when it comes to touting (and monetizing) its audience?

 

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