Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Country Music Acts Make A Lot Of Money Today

There are various studies that indicate that country music is either the most listened to, or the next to most listened to music in the US right now. This must be true given this Statista chart below, where the top 10 country artists made a total of $378 million in 2014 so far, according Forbes. Keep in mind that this doesn't include the summer touring months, which is the most lucrative time of the year for big touring acts.

This is no consolation to acts that aren't in the 1%, as touring is tougher than ever (check out this Wall Street Journal story) as venues of all sorts close. That said, life is sweet if you can make it to the top.

Infographic: Country Music Acts Earn Staggering Amounts of Money | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista


Monday, July 28, 2014

TuneCore Launches New Artist Services Portal

TuneCore logo image
TuneCore is expanding its services by launching their Artist Services Portal and debuting an analysis tool called Track Smarts. The company's new offerings are part of an effort to compete with other full-service artist portals like Bandcamp and Nimbit.

Artist Services provides tools for promotion, website building, merchandise management and fan engagement through third party services that are available at special pricing to TuneCore users.

Track Smarts is powered by SoundOut, which is a music research tool used by record labels and radio groups to help determine the market potential of new songs. Track Smarts can be used by an artist to help determine what songs on an album are the strongest, plus to help provide insights on the best demographic to target for the greatest success.

While there are many artist portals that already offer merch and fan management, Track Smarts is actually a pretty interesting feature. It's available in 3 tiers, ranging from the Starter at $15 per song, Enhanced at $40 per song, and Premium at $115 per song.

This might be a little too rich for most indie artists to absorb, but it's still less expensive than anywhere else for the same services, even directly from SoundOut. Either way, it's worth checking out.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Top 10 Dead Earning Musicians

Kurt Cobain image
The legacy of many star musicians still continues to bring in the cash as seen by this top 10 dead earning musicians list, according to ConcertTour.org.

Once again, Michael Jackson tops the list, although one has to wonder how much money actually made it to his heirs since his earnings are still being used to pay off the massive debts he piled up during his lifetime.

Kurt Cobain's estate earned a surprising $50 million last year, while Elvis, John Lennon and Bob Marley continue to earn well and round out the top 5. Here's the top 10.

1. Michael Jackson - 160 million last year
2. Kurt Cobain - $50 million
3. Elvis - $42 million
4. John Lennon - $24 million
5. Bob Marley - $18 million
6. George Harrison - $7 million
7. Johnny Cash - $6 million
8. Richard Rodgers - $6 million
9. Ray Charles - $6 million
10. Jenni Rivera - $6 million

The above earnings show why it's so important to protect your legacy. It's a way to keep your family living well long after you're gone.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Major Labels Buying Into Soundcloud Sets It Up For Acquisition

Twitter - Soundcloud deal image
There are multiple well-founded rumors abounding that the three major record labels will soon purchase anywhere from 9 to 14 percent of the Soundcloud streaming music service. On the surface this might seem like a natural progression for both Soundcloud and the labels (who have done this sort of thing before), but there’s more here than meets the eye.

First of all, it’s nothing new for the major labels to invest in a distribution network that they have at their mercy. The majors received a piece of Spotify in the deal that allowed it to open shop in the US, and there are reports that they’re currently pushing for its sale at a price as high as $10 billion (good luck getting that price). Then you have the case of Universal Music, which had a 14 percent stake in Beats Music that resulted in a cool $400 million or so payout when it was acquired by Apple

These kinds of investments are potentially more profitable than the labels core business, at least in the short term. Streaming services need licenses from the labels to operate; the labels oblige in exchange for some cash and a piece of the action, then cash out when the service is sold to a bigger fish down the line. The best part (at least for the labels) is that most of that money heads to the label’s bottom line. The artists who’s music makes this opportunity possible in the first place do see some reward, but it’s pennies on the dollar compared to what their labels pocket.

So here we have Soundcloud, which has gone from a place where indie musicians can store their song mixes for easy fan playback, to a much larger entity currently filled with cover songs and copyrighted loops and samples. The problem is that the company has no license agreements with the majors in place for this content, and have drawn their wrath as a result. Read more on Forbes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Playing Vinyl With Your Smartphone - The Office Turntable

This is one of the best promo ideas ever. German dance label Kontor sent out 900 mailings that contained a vinyl record in a cover that folds out to become a 2D record player.

There's a QR code to download an app onto your smartphone, which you then launch and line up on the "turntable." The app then shows a virtual tone arm that allows you to play the record.

Kontor found that 71% opened and used the mailing, which was about 64% higher response than usual. The project won the Gold Lion Award at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. Check it out.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Facebook Drives More Traffic Than Twitter

Using Facebook for promotion may not always be the bonanza that everyone thinks, as outlined by my recent post, but it certainly is better at driving traffic than Twitter. According to a chart prepared by Statista around data collected from Shareaholic, Facebook is actually 23.4% better at driving traffic than Twitter.

The fact is that Twitter has actually lost influence in the last year while Facebook has spiked. This was no small sampling as well, as the data was collected from more than 200,000 websites with more than 250 million unique visitors.

In order for Facebook to work for promotion, you have to make sure that you include links to where your viewers can get more information. If there's a failing in Facebook posting, that's it. You can't drive traffic unless there's someplace to drive them to!

You can discover more tips on both Facebook and Twitter promotion, as well as other social platforms, in my book Social Media Promotion for Musicians. Follow to link to read some excerpts and receive a free chapter.

Infographic: Facebook Drives 20x As Much Traffic As Twitter Does | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista


Monday, July 21, 2014

Yahoo Now Broadcasts Live Concerts Every Night

Dave Mathews Band on Yahoo Screen
Yahoo keeps on trying to reinvent itself, and its latest venture into the unknown involves broadcasting a concert to a computer or mobile device near you. The service kicked off its "365 days of concerts" last week with a show by the Dave Mathews Band streaming live from Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL.

The concert-per-night idea is an effort to establish Yahoo Screen, it's competitor to YouTube. The concerts will be broadcast via it's LiveNation channel, with major stars like KISS, Justin Timberlake, and Usher upcoming, but less popular acts like Chevelle, 311, and Jurassic 5 more the norm.

While this sounds like a great idea and one that both fans and artists have been forever clamoring for, live concerts do present some challenges. First of all, it's difficult to adequately capture the vibe of concert on a small screen (especially on a mobile device). Then it's difficult to get people to watch for an entire concert, especially in these days of persistent multi-tasking.

Another factor is the timing of the concerts, which are broadcast live. A concert beginning at 8PM Eastern is right in the rush hour for the West Coast, which limits the audience. On the other hand, an 8PM West Coast start might be too late for all the Easterners to watch in its entirety.

A potential problem is the fact that the viewer can't scrub the concert timeline, so you're not able to go back to something that you might have missed earlier. Plus, the constant camera cutting can be annoying. It might be better if there was only a static shot.

Of course, live concerts is how radio first started, and concerts have been part of Public Television and HBO from the beginning. We're in a new world here, so it can only improve over time as the concept gains acceptance.

To me, the killer app will be when you're given multiple camera feeds that you can switch yourself. That way you'll have the most pleasing picture at your fingertips. I personally can't wait for the day when there is no more audience shots.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Shakira Passes 100 Million Facebook Likes

When it comes to Twitter and Facebook, music celebrities rule. There's been a running battle between Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Rihanna in the last couple of years as to who was the most popular, but it looks like Shakira has bested them all, at least on Facebook.

Last week it was announced that Shakira broke the 100 million Like barrier, making her the undeniable queen of Facebook. This represents 8% of the Facebook universe of 1.28 active world-wide users.

It appears that her sudden jump in popularity came as a result of her appearance at last month's World Cup. It was only 5 years ago that the singer sported only 318,000 Likes, but now she has the first celebrity Facebook page ever to break the 9 figure barrier.

While people in the States think that the social world revolves around them, the social media metrics company Socialbakers estimates that only 11% of Shakira's followers come from the US, as compared to 17% for Rihanna and 25% for Eminem.

It's already been estimated that somewhere between 5 and 15% of those Likes are fakes or spam, as high-traffic celebrity sites are prime territory for spammers and scammers to do their work. That said, that's still an enormous number of endorsements for anything and anybody, and shows the power of social media when the situation is right.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"We Don't Need More Copyright" Says Tom Bell

One of the things that the vast majority of songwriters are looking for is more copyright protection, or at the very least, a revision of what's already on the books. Chapman University law professor Tom Bell has quite a different viewpoint in that he believes that dialing back copyright law will actually spur greater creativity.

Bell has a new book out called Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law and the Common Good, and in it he states that the existing copyright law contradicts our constitutional right of free expression. His solution is to use common law instead, which means that we'd use the established laws that cover ordinary property that already exist and work well in courts instead. That would encourage artists to create works that are considered a legal gray area now, like mashups, tributes and parodies.

Have a listen to what he has to say, as he makes a very persuasive argument.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

10 Audio Metadata Editors

Audio metadata editor image
The other day I wrote a post on why creating the proper metadata for a song or album is so important. A number of readers wrote in asking for suggestions for some metadata editors, since many DAWs don't provide extensive access to many of the metatags that are needed. Here's a list of 10.

iTunes - There's a nice metadata editor right within the app.

Metadatics - This is Mac only and costs $9, but it also covers a wide range of file formats.

Tag - A fairly simple Mac only metadata editor that's free.

Tuneup - This is a Windows and Mac editor that has both a free and premium version.

ID3 Editor - A simple Mac editor that provides most of the metatag needed. Free.

Musictag Editor for Mac - free to try up to 10 times, then $5.99.

Musicbrains Picard - This is a pretty geeky editor that cross platform, but it's very extensive if you get down inside it. And it's free.

UDTE-ID3 - Another PC only editor that supports a wide range of file formats.

MediaMonkey - An iOS tag editor that supports multiple file formats.

WaveAgent - A very cool Wave file editor for both PC and Mac.

If none of these 10 seems to fit your needs, there are plenty of other audio metadata editors available. Just do a Google search and find the one that suits you best.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Reality Of DIY Sales

Labels at Work Report image
The RIAA just released its Labels At Work: The Music Business In The Digital Age report that has some interesting stats that indirectly point a spotlight on DIY sales. Of course, this is from an industry trade group composed of the 3 major labels, so it's going to be slanted, so take this for what it's worth. That said, the stats are telling nonetheless.

First of all, the report states that the major labels spend 16% of their revenue on A&R, which in turn means they call themselves the "Venture Capitalists of Music." I'm not crazy about the term and what it implies, but when it comes to finding new music, it's certainly true in that it's their major investment.

Other interesting stats:
  • 80% of albums released sell less than 100 copies.
  • 94% of albums released sell less than 1,000 copies.
  • Only 0.5% sold more than 10,000 (which is now considered a hit in some circles).
  • Most record companies recovered their investments on only 1 out of every 5 or 6 new albums.
The reality is that most musicians are pretty good at making music, and terrible at marketing it. Remember that we're in the music "business" and you can't have one without the other.

If you're interested in learning what it takes to sell you music and get ahead in the music industry, consider enrolling in my Music Prosperity Breakthrough coaching course. It's a small investment for what you could receive in return.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Basic Metadata Every Song Should Have

Metadata image
We're increasingly living in a world built around metadata, which is the descriptive information about the primary data like a song file. Metadata is often overlooked by songwriters, artists and bands because it takes time and some additional research that many just don't want to put it. Meta data is becoming more and more important though, as we move into the age of streaming music.

Why is it important? The metadata of a song contains all the info about who should get paid, including songwriters, publishing company, record label, and performing rights organization. That alone should be enough reason to fill in the blanks. But another big reason is that because song placement on film and television is so important to an artist's income these days, metadata has become vital to the very people who decide what makes the cut - music supervisors.

In order to cover all your metadata needs, here's what to include with every song, especially if you're trying for a sync placement:

1. Name of artist
2. Name of songwriter
3. Song title
5. Album title
6. Label
7. Publisher
8. Year the song was released
9. The track number of the song on the album
10. The musical genre that the song falls into
11. Producer
12. Contact (either yours or management)
13. Performing rights organization you're affiliated with (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC)
14. Mood of the song
15. BPM of the song

It seems like a lot of info, but if you want a placement, it's all vital in rising above the competition.


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