This week two Hypebot posts put an interesting perspective on who earns money with music streaming services such as Spotify.
Warner Music Group reported that 25% of its digital income comes from streaming services. On the other hand, the recognized DIY artist Zoe Keating put an overview on Google Docs about her digital revenues, which proves that her Spotify income is marginal in comparison with her paid downloads on iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon (less than $300 came from Spotify, while more than $45,000 came from iTunes).
The pie chart made by The Atlantic gives a clear picture (further analysis can be found in the Hypebot post):
Obviously, labels take more advantage from streaming services than DIY artists. I also took a quick look at the Tunecore statistics for my own band Amatorski. For us, the revenue ratio iTunes versus Spotify is about 27 to 1. Not as dramatical as Zoe’s figures, but there is certainly room for improvement.
However, the rather small revenues from Spotify doesn’t discourage Keating to put her music on Spotify. As she writes in the notes of her Google Doc:
The income of a non-mainstream artist like me is a patchwork quilt and streaming is currently one tiny square in that quilt. Streaming is not yet a replacement for digital sales, and to conflate the two is a mistake. I do not see streaming as a threat to my income, just like I’ve never regarded file-sharing as a threat but as a convenient way to hear music. If people really like my music, I still believe they’ll support it somewhere, somehow. Casual listeners won’t, but they never did anyway. I don’t buy ALL the music I listen to either, I never did, so why should I expect every single listener to make a purchase? I think that a subset of my listeners pay for my music, and that is a-ok because…and this is the key…..there are few middlemen between us.
August 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm
There are a lot of things to be said about taking your music career in your own hands and choosing the right people in your team. One of the evolutions since the advent of the internet is the opportunity to bypass middlemen when you try to reach your audience. Less middlemen means more money in your own pocket.
However, Mike Masnick (an industry thinker and blogger at Techdirt) makes an interesting point about two different types of middlemen during a Hypebot interview:
I always try to make a distinction when talking about middlemen. Some people automatically assume that “middlemen” are a bad thing, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s important to understand that there are different kinds of middlemen, and I loosely lump them into two categories: gatekeepers and enablers.
Gatekeepers are the middlemen that people generally have the biggest problem with. Those are the ones who put *themselves* — rather than the creators — at the center of the marketplace, they limit who can even be in the market, and they tend to take a disproportionate percentage of any money made.
Enablers, on the other hand, keep the creator at the center of the market, and just provide them with the tools and services that enable them to do more of what they want to do… and do it better. So those are the companies who enable a content creator to create, to distribute, to promote and to monetize… without having to take control over the whole process.
Be sure to choose the right enablers for your career.
July 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm
When you make a website for your band, you want to offer content for your fans, but you should also offer clear and accessible info for music industry and media people. On the Hypebot blog Dave Cool from Bandzoogle sums up the essential elements of a digital press kit:
- a bio: it can be a good idea to have multiple versions of different lengths
- images: vertical and horizontal options, low and high resolution (if used for print)
- music: make a few tracks downloadable and place clear information on who people can contact to get a copy of your album or EP
- press articles/reviews: pull the best quote from each review and include it underneath the link
- contact info
You can read the whole post here. At the end there are a couple interesting links to a series of ‘musician website quick fixes’.
July 3, 2012 at 7:16 am
This week I want to draw your attention to another Music Think Tank post. Shaun Letang identifies 4 important features for successful independent musicians:
- They realize that marketing is a key factor in the music career: even if you make great music, you have to promote it if you want people to be aware of it
- They have a good online base: have your own website and build relationships wit your fans over there, use Facebook and Twitter to bring people to your website
- They don’t burn bridges out of frustration: music industry contacts are important. Even if things don’t go as planned, don’t get into a hostile relationship because those people who let you down, may possibly help you in a later stage
- They aren’t afraid to invest in the music career: spend your money wisely, but don’t be afraid to spend some at the right moment, for the right purpose.
You can read the whole post here.
June 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm
This week we pick some nice advice from the Music Think Tank blog: an excellent post from Joey Flores from Earbits.
You probably often think that certain people in the music industry could mean a lot to advance your career. This can be the case, however those people are also very busy and don’t have time to read messages about unknown bands. Unsolicited and badly targeted emails are often considered as spam.
Joey sums up his advice in one great phrase: Don’t use a shotgun approach. Be a sniper.
The following 7 steps are a good guidelines to implement this approach:
- Find the right person.
- Send them a personal note.
- Keep it super short and to the point.
- Tell them who you are BRIEFLY, and why you chose to contact them.
- Tell them what you want.
- Provide links to only the most relevant information they need to fulfill your request.
- Then make it painless to do what you need.
You can read the whole post here.
June 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm
Maybe you heard about Amanda Palmer raising more than $ 1 million with a crowdfunding campaign? Do you think about setting up your own campaign?
Now there is a free e-book available with lots of advice and tips about setting up a crowdfunding campaign. Click to download.
June 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm
It has been a while since I posted some tips about music marketing, but a very interesting series has been published on Ariel Publicity, that you should bookmark on your eternal music marketing pinboard. I’ll put up a summary here, but I advise you to take the time to read the whole series.
part 1: prepare your album release well in advance!
- Figure out your digital distribution: choose one distributor: Tunecore, or CD Baby, or…
- Make sure your online presence is complete: your official website, Facebook and YouTube
- Set up a newsletter
- Try to book a tour supporting your release campaign
- Prepare your merchandise (it takes longer than you think)
part 2: the album launch
- Set up a presale campaign for your biggest fans
- Prepare a press campaign: you need band photos and a good bio. Target the right people (or hire a PR firm)
- Launch timeline: plan some milestones, there is an excellent example in the post
part 3: keep the story going with new content
There are three content streams to feed you fan base, which will strengthen your relationship with your fans after the album release: music, live shows and social media.
- music: you can provide alternate versions and remixes of your album tracks, you can cover songs, and release singles or EPs between album cycles
- live shows: if touring is too expensive you can think about streaming gigs witch services such as Ustream
- social media: keep doing it, even if there is not really big news about an album. Write about things in your life or that you find interesting. Show your personality
May 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm
This week I want to encourage you to read this excerpt from a post by Bob Lefsetz, one of the most kick-ass writers about changes in the music industry:
Are you taking a risk?
Mainstream music is so long in the tooth, it’s a wonder it hasn’t gone to the government for a handout. Wait, IT HAS! The content industries are lobbying all over the world for three strike rules, other ways to constrict the public. Once upon a time didn’t music LEAD the public?
That’s why I’m so excited by the electronic scene. They’re making it up as they go. And all the old players are looking through twentieth century lenses, employing metrics that don’t apply.
If you have a hot product, people want it.
But it’s got to be different, it’s got to challenge conventional wisdom, it’s got to appeal to people’s hearts more than their pocket books.
Otherwise how to explain Apple’s huge success in China? It’s not like the iPhone is cheap over there. We’ve been hearing about that market forever, but only Apple and a few car companies have cracked it. Apple’s success was due to excellence. Think about it, what musical act do we want to export to China, which one will wow them? None of the usual suspects, that’s for sure.
And nobody wants to go over there, to try and set a fire. Nobody wants to learn about the new ways, nobody wants to explore, they just want to do it the same old way to dwindling returns.
Music is a second-class citizen because it stopped innovating. It’s no different from GM. Similar to Kodak. If you keep on doing the same thing you end up in the dustbin, the public ignores you and moves on.
Music is first and foremost about innovation. Taking risks, creating something new that strikes people’s hearts. And now it’s easier than ever, with all the tools at the fingertips of the proletariat.
Read the whole post here.
April 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm
Free music is an important marketing tool, but, as with all marketing tools, you should be aware of what you want to reach with it. An interesting post on Music Think Tank
about using free music concludes with the following take-aways:
- Be specific about your goals.
- Give yourself a timeline to measure your success.
- Always make sure you are getting something in return.
- Communicate a story to your fans to inspire an emotional connection.
- Create memorable branding that will attract the attention of new fans.
- Be strategic about harnessing the power of your superfan.
You can read the whole article here.
April 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm
Your artist website is still one of the most important elements of your online presence as an artist. I encountered this wonderful checklist about what you really should have on your home page:
- A great header photo
- A streamable song and/or video
- A short bio
- A call-to-action (to sign-up to your mailing list, download your latest song, shop at your online store, etc.)
- Latest news: a few of your latest news items or blog posts
- Links to your social media profiles
I am not sure about the bio (on my band’s website the bio is on a separate menu tab), but it is probably a good idea if you are still working on establishing your name. In that case, it is good to have a one sentence tagline about your band, including genre specifications and musical influences.
The list comes from a longer interview between CyberPR artist Pheroze and Dave Cool of Bandzoogle, which appeared on the Ariel Publicity blog.
March 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm