I always have a decent laugh when I read music news. It’s always interesting to see how a news item gets copied across from website to website in my Google Alerts with no changes and no critical analysis.
Remember back in the day when all the rage was about how artists are struggling to achieve platinum certifications. All the commentary focused on the moment or within a 12 month period. It was like a platinum certification was the be all and end all.
Now, back in the Eighties, MTV made every act that got rotation into a platinum act. But that was not always the case.
“Ride The Lightning” was released in 1984 and it is my favourite Metallica album. It took five years to achieve a platinum certification. 28 years later, “Ride The Lightning” was certified 6x Platinum. Music simmers away and it just keeps on connecting. It’s not about corporate deals, or mega marketing campaigns. Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” album is proof. It competed with piracy and it still sold.
Anyway, the RIAA recently re-classed a “sale unit” to be a paid download or 100 audio/visual streams. Based on this new re-classification, did you know that Shinedown’s “Second Chance” was just certified triple platinum?
Not bad for a song that is 7 years old.
So what does this say about recorded music?
If a song connects with an audience, expect it to sell and be streamed. The facts are out there. It doesn’t happen overnight or in a year. In happens over decades.
“Second Chance” on YouTube has 9,766,633 views on the official Atlantic Records channel. Another YouTube user called “McDrinkable” has a lyric video up of the song and it has 2,749,110 views, while another unofficial YouTube user called “Dushan Galappaththi” also has their own lyric video and they have 957,103 views.
“Second Chance” on Spotify has 21,845,406 streams.
So what do we know?
We know that music is not about the instant payola. Great music that connects with an audience will be listened too and purchased for a long time.
The beauty of Shinedown is that a song that wasn’t a single has more streams than the hit radio songs. That song is “Call Me”.
But the record labels still push an agenda that piracy is killing their business, while they make millions upon millions in licence fees from the streaming music services.
If you don’t believe me, read this article on “The Verge”. The advances paid to the record labels do not filter back to the artists at all. But hang on a sec, the record labels have this power to negotiate with the techies because of the artists. And the artists get nothing in return. That, my friends is the recording business.
Which leads me to the dumb journalists and artists that rallied behind artists who spoke out against streaming services. Let me say it again, the streaming services are not the enemy here. The record labels still are.
Times are a changing people, but the record labels refuse to change.