Figuring out how to release an album without going completely broke is getting more difficult by the day.
Putting out an album doesn’t guarantee you’ll see a return or even break even on your investment. Music sales in the United States show that while music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music continue to gain in popularity, it’s increasingly difficult to see significant returns on an album release without a rock solid release plan.
For independent artists on a budget, the prospect of releasing an album brings with it several significant financial challenges, with little guarantee that you will see a return on your investment, or even break even. Here we look at how to execute a successful release on a budget.
Performing live is only one ingredient of the recipe for artist or band to make money. Merchandise (other terms include swag or merch) is a significant component in supplementing your income. It’s always been an important portion of the income of an artist, but until recently was considered just an ancillary revenue stream. Today it’s an essential part of most artist’s earnings. Merch sales also help cushion the income of musicians, but the ROI tends to vary heavily. Here we look at the top ten merchandise items with the highest profit margin.
Google has added song recognition to its Google Assistant app across all platforms. Ask Google Assistant “what song is this?” or “what song is playing?,” and it shows the song's name, the artist, lyrics, and links to YouTube, Google Play Music and Spotify. Move over Shazam
Music publishers are companies that manage a songwriter’s rights in a song. This may be typically referred to as an “administration” right in the composition. This provides the publisher with the right to license the music to others as well as to collect payments from any third-party for their uses of the songwriter’s work. The publishing company also handles the “paperwork” associated with the composition, including registering the copyrights in the songs, indexing the track with the appropriate Performing Rights Organization, as well as accounting and distributing the collected funds. A publisher may also “shop” a songwriter’s tracks in order to obtain licensable placements for its signed talent.
This blog is mostly about getting along in the new music world without a record label, but there does come a time when having a label is worth considering if you want to jump to the next level as an artist. Record labels are not intrinsically bad, it’s just that you have to weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages to determine whether or not the time is right for you to be associated with one.
Michael Brandvold is a music marketing professional based in Northern California. Having launched Michael Brandvold Marketing to leverage his years of experience to provide digital strategy to large and small clients in the areas of online & social marketing as well as e-commerce and fan acquisition and retention.
While the common conception of young music consumers may be that they would never so much as a glance at a CD or pay for a download, some recent stats suggest that young music consumers are just as apt to buy music as any other age group.
While you may be gaining success with your live shows and with and gaining local traction, having a place online that fans can turn to where they won't get lost in the ever rising tide of social media is important for sustainable growth as a band or artist. For this reason have a solid website is a must. Here we look at twenty-one dos and don'ts for good website design.
It’s been a well-known fact for a while now that organic reach on Facebook’s News Feed is at an all-time low at 2%. That complicated things for Page owners who were trying to reach fans directly because engagement rates dropped severely as a consequence. On top of that, Facebook just rolled out a new Explore Feed. The feed is supposed to be in favor of the user. The traditional newsfeed will remain only for updates from your friends and posts from Pages you already follow. The Explore feed will offer users content that it thinks they might find interesting from pages they are not currently following.
A new study commissioned by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) looks at the global market share of independent music labels based on copyright, rather than distribution, and reveals a very healthy indie sector on the rise.
Several organizations within the music industry are making an effort to create a blanket mechanical license for digital music services. David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, introduced the latest push at the monthly meeting of the Association of Independent Music Publishers. The proposed law would streamline the process of collecting mechanical royalties as well as revising the rate-setting process. The end result, according to the groups working to draft this possible legislation, would be a simpler approach to paying royalties for companies such as Spotify and Apple and a fair rate paid to songwriters through a conduit similar to SoundExchange.
Any aspiring musician is looking to get the most out of their career. A lot of the times, however, approaching the music industry is daunting to say the least. There is a quote by Hunter S. Thompson – “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” How exactly do we go about achieving success in such a doubtful industry?
Amazon is now the 3rd largest paid music subscription service in the world, according to a new MIDiA analysis. Their just published report looks at Amazon’s streaming music strategy and how this fits within the wider competitive landscape. Some highlights from MIDiA analyst Mark Mulligan:
In today’s landscape of hacks, instant gratification and collective forgetfulness, it might be tempting to question the album’s relevance and place within music and popular culture. For bands, it can be especially tempting to count albums out considering just how expensive and time consuming they are to produce. Why spend loads of cash putting out an album when you can just spread out promotion and release an endless stream of singles? That’s a fair question, but the truth is that albums are more important than ever in 2017, and that your band will lose a significant amount of momentum putting out your music in pieces rather than through an album.
Research released by the Country Music Association finds that streaming services are “under-delivering” when it comes to music discovery for country music fans. The study, which also surveyed fans of other music genres, tracked participants’ streaming behaviors on mobile devices, PCs and laptops and included research on attitudes and perceptions of streaming experiences and providers.
We will now examine the music publisher and its exclusive publishing agreement with a songwriter. In addition to the standard exclusive publishing agreement explored below, there are other types of related agreements a songwriter could potentially sign with a music publisher, including a co-publishing, sub-publishing or administration arrangement; however, these will not be explored in this article.
With all the recent talk of songwriters and their descendents reclaiming their copyrights and cutting new, more beneficial deals, many are curious who make these reclamations, and how.
When cultivating a career in music, cash can be hard to come, and when it does finally begin to roll in, it's critical that you take the time to reinvest at least a portion of the funds back into your career. Here we look at some smart and effective ways to invest in your music career.
It can be a hugely frustrating experience to reach out to a venue in hopes of booking a show only to hear nothing back. When you’ve spent months or even years creating music, it can be annoying or even downright disheartening when a venue won’t communicate with you and give you a chance to play. But like with everything, there’s two sides to every story, and there might be some perfectly good reasons why music venues aren’t giving you the time of day. Here’s a list of five possible reasons that venues aren’t replying to your emails:
While musical ability is an important part of being successful artist, there are some skills essential to the industry that aren't directly related to performance but are nonetheless essential, and a lack of which can be ruinous to the artist.
Spotify needs to become much more than just a music streamer if its going to be ever be profitable, writes analyst Mark Mulligan of MIDiA. And while many of the actions it is likely to take will antagonize its label partners, Spotify will be left with little choice once it becomes a public company answering to stockholders.
Back in the days of physical sales, the actual number of albums sold was as big deal as they are today with streams and views. The problem was that you could never get an exact count of how many were really sold, so there were always a lot of numbers thrown around that sounded good on paper, but most likely had no basis in the real world (Michael Jackson’s 120 million sales of Thriller comes to mind here). In the United States, the RIAA is the most reliable source since it certifies Gold, Platinum and Diamond awards based on scans of the product barcode during checkout at retail. Here’s a list of the 20 best selling artists of all time in the U.S. according to the RIAA.
After months of development and beta testing, Songistry ([http://www.songistry.com) has unveiled the latest version (3.0) of its collaborative music platform under the new brand MDIIO, giving songwriters the power to more easily showcase, market, license and monetize their music worldwide. MDIIO is expected to open up new commercial markets for thousands of unheralded songwriters. Roughly 86 percent of Performance Rights Organization members are unpublished songwriters earning less than $150 a year from their music.
It’s no secret that in order to appear professional, your own website with your own .com address is essential. So what ingredients make for a great musician website exactly? You’ve got the music of course, some images, videos, and show dates. Pulling together content is an easy first step. The part where many musicians get stalled is with the website’s design. This makes sense. After all, as a creative bunch, it’s tempting to want something off the wall and different! The good news is, it’s easy to create a website that’s both simple and appealing; one that works on mobile devices (which is huge nowadays) and also has your own unique stamp.
US record labels and others in the music industry are considering launching their own charts as an alternative to the iconic Billboard lists, according to multiple sources. The discussions come at a time when Billboard has come under fire for rumored changes in chart calculations that could include YouTube plays.
Having a Facebook fan page for your music has so many benefits besides displaying your “like” count to the world. Some advantages of fan pages over personal pages are rather obvious — such as separating your personal and professional life, having no fan limit (versus the 5,000 friend cap on personal pages), using Insights to get key metrics about your fans, and getting taken more seriously as an artist overall.
As Spotify continues to gain popularity among music consumers, it has become an important platform from which artists market and share their music. Here we look at eight creative ways artists can promote their music on the streaming service.
For any band that's serious about their careers, touring is a necessity. Particularly early on, however, it's unlikely that touring will produce much of profit a, making remote work a nice way to ensure you can afford your next meal.
Going all in on a PR campaign for your newest release can be one of the smartest investments you make. In fact, I’d put it up there as a non-negotiable cost with every major new release, right alongside professional recordings, promo photos, and a killer release show. Yet, many artists view this as an optional cost. They’ll spend thousands on a strong recording, only to plead brokenness when it comes time to hiring a professional to promote it—then wonder why it didn’t see any kind of buzz.
Sound Royalties, the company launched by investor Alex Heiche in 2014 with the aim of providing songwriters and creators with advances on future royalties without having to sell copyrights, has billed itself as a business that has the best interests of artists at its core. In February, the company announced a plan to invest $100 million over the following 24 months in such advances, stressing an artist-friendly and flexible approach to its practices that can give musicians options that a bank would not.
The Country Music Association released new research findings after evaluating how streaming is changing consumers’ relationship to music, including country and other genres. Country music listeners were part of research that included tracking their music streaming behaviors on mobile devices, PCs and laptops, as well as extensive quantitative research describing their attitudes and perceptions about streaming experiences and providers.
Vinyl is an unlikely but cheery story for musicians and the industry. A high-margin format which has been around since the dawn of the recording industry, vinyl just won’t go away. Indeed, 2016 marked the eleventh consecutive year that vinyl LP sales have grown, according to Nielsen Music and, predictably, retailers and manufacturers across the market are reporting surges in sales of turntables. What the numbers don’t tell us is just how many vinyls actual end up plastered on bedroom walls. Vinyl isn’t the only bright note. Streaming contributes to gather steam, as total on-demand streams for audio and video in the United States hit 442.44 billion during the period, up 40.5 percent from the corresponding result in 206, according to data collated by Nielsen Music and published by Billboard.
Facebook announced last spring at its F8 developer conference that it would be bringing Apple Music integration to its Messenger app. Now, the feature is beginning to roll out to users. This same feature was first rolled out with Apple Music competitor Spotify and today, Engadget reports it is seeing the Apple Music chat extension showing up in the Messenger app. We haven’t seen it ourselves over here at 9to5Mac, but it’s an easy feature to use.
Microsoft’s Groove Music Pass subscription streaming service hasn’t made a big impact since its launch in 2012 as Xbox Music, including its rebrand to Groove Music in 2015. Now Groove Music Pass is shutting down, although its Groove Music app lives on as a way for people to play their owned tracks. The shutdown of a minor streaming service wouldn’t usually be our lead story, but what’s interesting is Microsoft’s new plans: a partnership with Spotify.
As many artists know, social media is key to connect with your followers on a pseudo-personal level, and a powerful avenue for sharing your art, ideas, and appreciation to those who care: the fans who follow you. This is especially true in the music industry, a field with acutely involved, passionate, and engaged fan bases due to the product it’s promoting — music. Tapping into these massive and passionate fan base platforms is how many artists and musicians go from run-of-the-mill to skyrocketing fame, sometimes quite literally overnight.
Over the past few posts, I’ve covered how to decide if you’re ready to record an album, tips for writing songs, and how to handle the pre-production of your recording. Today I want to talk about one of the most popular ways to fund production for your album - crowdfunding.
The 1976 Copyright Act provides for the termination of copyright transfers – but authors need to act within a limited timeframe. Creators are entitled to reclaim their copyrights regardless of any contract stating otherwise after certain time periods. Therefore, even if an author, artist, musician, photographer or songwriter signed a contract which purports to transfer all rights in a work for perpetuity, the Copyright Act provides that the author of the work can terminate that grant and demand that the rights revert. Authors and creators are now entitled to terminate their contractual transfers and demand back control of their copyrights; authors can terminate their book publishing contracts, songwriters can demand return of their musical compositions from music publishers and recording artists and record producers can demand return of their sound recordings from the record companies.
While most artists tend to focus their social media marketing efforts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, could it be that the typically more 'business' focused LinkedIn has promotional potential for musicians?
To the average listener today’s national test of the Emergency Alert System probably won’t sound all that different from the monthly tests they’ve grown accustomed to hearing. But it will be different in both small and large ways as the federal government takes its latest assessment of how ready broadcasters are to distribute a presidential message.
The radio and music industry traded announcements today, each touting the addition of cosponsors that back their position on whether or not broadcasters should pay a performance royalty for AM/FM airplay. The National Association of Broadcasters highlighted the fact that five more House members, as well as one more Senator have all added their names to congressional resolutions opposing a radio royalty. The total number of opponents-211 in the House, or seven short of the 218 required to effectively block any legislation from passing. There are also 24 Senators who’ve sided with the radio industry.
Spotify has waged a war with the music industry. The streaming company has a history of not paying mechanical royalties to songwriters and music publishers, and has already settled two separate class action lawsuits for failure to pay mechanical royalties – the first brought on behalf of music publishers by the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA) and the second, known as the Lowery/Ferrick case, brought by independent songwriters. Here we take a look at the legal details negating Spotify's claim that it doesn't need to pay these royalties.
Despite the increasing popularity of online music streaming, Westwood One is serving up some stark factoids in a new post on its “Everybody’s Listening” blog titled “The Shocking Truth About Pandora’s Weekly Reach.” And that truth: Pandora’s audience is declining.
If you've never utilized (or even heard of ) the paid subscription feature on YouTube, you're not alone, which is why YouTube is axing the feature in favor of "sponsorships", which provide users with custom, sponsorship exclusive content.
Royalty Flow, Inc. ("Royalty Flow"), a subsidiary of Royalty Exchange, the premier online marketplace for music and media royalties, today filed to offer its shares to the public under Title IV of the 2012 JumpStart Our Business Start-up (JOBS) Act, known as "Regulation A+", paving the way for individuals to invest in iconic music royalties.
Royalty Flow intends to acquire and hold royalties from music catalogs of the world's biggest music artists.
In recent years, major artists have clashed with streaming services Spotify Ltd. and Apple Music over royalties paid, or not paid, for the use of their music. The same goes for Pandora Media Inc. as well as Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube, which accounts for 40% of music listening but just 4% of music revenue. For Facebook, the public relations stakes may be even higher. Alone among social media platforms, Facebook's brand is particularly tied to notions of community and fair play. For that reason, Zuckerberg has taken a variety of steps to police the site for fake news and hate speech, often with mixed results.
If we could get through just one week this month without someone publishing research into modern music consumption, that would be great. Having had studies looking at the listening habits of both UK and US music fans, record industry trade group IFPI is now here with a global view.
President Trump has forced the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico; and included in that negotiation are important copyright and intellectual property provisions.
Stream Ripping Piracy Goes From Bad to Worse, Music Industry Reports
New data not only reveals that stream ripping remains the music industry's main piracy threat, but it's growing too. IFPI's latest music consumer insight report shows that more than a third of all Internet subscribers use stream rippers to access unlicensed music. Free music is easy to find nowadays. Just head over to YouTube and you can find millions of tracks including many of the most recent releases.
The IFPI has released a new report focused on the consumer music industry, and the analysis finds continued traction for streaming as a listening format worldwide. The results showed that 45% of listeners are engaged in licensed audio streaming, up from 37% last year. Free streaming is a music source for 39% of the respondents, compared with 27% for paid sources.
Of the two major front-runners in the steaming war, Spotify and Apple Music, the former appears to be beating out its competition on several fronts. Here we look at some of main reasons for Spotify's growing success over Apple, including its 'bundling' with Hulu.
A noted bastion of the music industry, Nashville has become infamous for its 'Nashville no,' a way of allegedly letting down artists more gently when their services are, for whatever reason, not desired.
Time management is an important and difficult skill for musicians to master, and becomes even more important and challenging when they have another full time job. Here we look at how artists can successfully juggle finding time for music with finding working full time either in or outside the house.
Cultivating and growing a fanbase is by no means an easy task, and doing requires an ample amount of blood, sweat, and tears. Here we look at how to successfully book your first gig, and better yet get invited back to play again.
Spotify has added integration with the iOS version of popular Google owned navigation and crowdsourced traffic app Waze. Waze users can begin navigation from inside the Spotify app. The integration also allows access to Spotify playlists from the Waze app. Users can skip tracks, play, pause and more. Spotify launched integration with Waze's Android app in March.
In an important ruling that would have changed payments to songwriters and music publishers, a judge has denied a motion from Spotify that claimed that it didn't need to license tracks from publishers because they are more like online radio streams than downloads.
As streaming music provider Spotify explores a U.S. public stock offering, the Swedish company is embroiled in a legal battle with music publishers and songwriters who claim Spotify has not properly paid mechanical licenses for song compositions. It is facing several class action suits regarding mechanical licenses, which provide the rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted musical compositions.
The radio and recording industries have been at odds for decades over AM/FM’s exemption from paying a performance royalty. The prickly issue has been in “A” rotation since none other than Frank Sinatra made his case on Capitol Hill. Now, talks on a potential compromise are “more constructive” than they’ve been since Gordon Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters in 2009.
In 2017, having a professional looking website and an active presence on social media has become a key component of any band's success. That said, there are a variety of 'right' ways to go about about building an online presence. Here we look at seven tips for doing so successfully.
Further evidence that the return of vinyl is as strong as ever, the city of Austin will soon see a new vinyl pressing plant known as Gold Rush Vinyl - this is good news for indie acts who often have lengthy waits when ordering their music on vinyl.
Don Williams, the Country Music Hall of Fame member whose imposing height and warm, reassuring voice earned him the nickname "Gentle Giant," died Friday, September 8th, after a short illness. An internationally popular country star, Williams recorded dozens of hit songs, including "Tulsa Time," "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good" and "It Must Be Love." He was 78.
Having a robust social media presence has become essential for any independent DIY artist, but trying to be on all of them can be a taxing drain on already precious time and energy. Here we look at how to to use social media strategically in order to see the maximum return on investment.
Last week, when an RIAA lawsuit forced YouTube-MP3 offline, we asked why Google has not worked to shut it down sooner. With other stream ripping sites still live, others in the music industry are now asking Google and YouTube the same question.
While BMI remains locked in a fight with the radio industry about how much stations should pay to songwriters for songs in its repertoire, the performance rights organization is reporting record revenue. BMI revenue jumped 7% to $1.13 billion for its fiscal year ended June 30 including more money collected from AM/FM radio
Facebook Inc. is offering major record labels and music publishers hundreds of millions of dollars so the users of its social network can legally include songs in videos they upload, according to people familiar with the matter. Music owners have been negotiating with Facebook for months in search of a solution, and Facebook has promised to build a system to identify and tag music that infringes copyrights.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a songwriter, musician or producer with a home studio. But let me guess, you don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done and, as a result, your songwriting has suffered. Right? Being aware of our bad habits can bring about change and get us back on track.
As a result of the popular social media platform's fiery competition with YouTube for video supremacy, Facebook is pushing its native video content more than normal posts, presenting a useful marketing opportunity for artists. Here we look at how to most effectively capitalize on said opportunity.
If you manage a band and you’re looking to take it to new heights, it’s important you market correctly. Your band may well have the talent to be the next Linkin Park or Foo Fighters, but if you don’t get your band name out there, music fanatics from around the world aren’t going to know you exist.
Despite growing up as digital natives, today’s 18-24 year-olds are spending more time with radio than they did as teenagers, according to new data released by Nielsen. In other words, as teens grow up and enter the workforce, their time spent with the medium rises.
The music industry is stepping up efforts to recruit more artists in the battle over intellectual property rights, including the fight to secure a performance right for broadcast radio airplay. The MusicFirst Coalition is launching a national digital ad campaign targeting music creators with the goal of recruiting them to the advocacy effort.
While Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, the Gulf Coast of Texas is still grappling with the aftermath of heavy flooding that has affected the region. CelebrityAccess has compiled a list of venues and events that have affected by this historic storm.
An analyst forecasted that streaming will account for $34 billion of the total revenues. The Goldman Sachs analyst further predicts that streaming will account for $34 billion of that, of which $28 billion will come from paid subscription while $6 billion will come from ad-supported streaming services. She predicts that another $4 billon will come from performance rights, synchronization will be $500 million, physical and downloads $700 million and other come in at $1.2 billion.
Apple is set to announce a new lineup of iPhones, plus other tech updates, including a new watch and further details on its forthcoming HomePod speaker, at a special event scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12, according to reports.
Here we dive back in to look further at 'neighboring rights', a form of rights holding which entitles allows monies to be distributed to artists and sound recording holders when one of their works is either broadcast publicly or streamed.
Trends, even antiquated ones, seem to have a way of coming back around, and marketing to fans appears to be no exception based on a recent re-emergence of snail mail, with an increasing number of artists falling back on the postal service to contact fans via physical mailings.
In 2016, streaming accounted for over half of U.S. music sales. By the end of 2017, with download sales continuing to fall, it could be close to two-thirds. But what this biz’s future looks like -- and whether it will be shaped by music-centric companies like Pandora and iHeartRadio or digital giants like Apple and Amazon -- depends on what happens in the next few months.