Music, My Stories, Piracy

We Gravitate To What We Believe Is Popular

Artists like Sebastian Bach and Robb Flynn have asked the question, What does a Facebook like mean these days? In the words of Dark Helmet, “Absolutely Nothing”.

Music is a popularity contest. There is no doubt about that, however popularity doesn’t mean Facebook likes. What we do know is that likes are unreliable indicators of a band’s impact. The music business is all about connecting so many different dots to solve the puzzle. This is where we’ve arrived, the data-centric world and these raw statistics leave a lot of artists out. And they don’t like it.

The number one complaint in the music business is that artists can’t make any money. If you want to make money then make music that people want to listen to. Difficult but not impossible.

Revolutions occur in music all the time. Normally those revolutions happened in musical styles. However when it comes to the reporting side of things, well that was all controlled and monopolised by the recording industry.

The Billboard charts reported what was sold and what was played. All the parties involved lied and bribed each other to play certain records or to promote certain albums. This led to an era that if we believed that a song or album was popular we were more likely to buy it. Hell the same parties even controlled MTV.

Now everyone is looking at charts based on what we are listening.

Seen Ratt’s Spotify stats recently. Even though each album from the Eighties moved over a million units, what the fans really wanted was the great songs. And lucky for Ratt, each album had a great or decent song that would be used to market the album.

I want to go back to 1985. Twisted Sister released “Come Out And Play”. The fans of the band purchased it and played it death (maybe except for “Be Cruel To Your School” and “Leader Of The Pack”). However the album was deemed a commercial failure according to the reporting arms of the recording industry.

While the big albums “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll” and “Stay Hungry” are on Spotify, “Come Out And Play” is not available for streaming officially. But that is typical of the industry because Spotify is controlled by corporations and some of those corporations are the record labels. So as is the norm, those record labels think they know best when it comes to music. However on YouTube the whole album is there.

Why is it on YouTube?

Because the fans of the album put the music up. The fans are sharing their love of the album and people are listening to it because while fans have a history of music at their fingertips and can search for any artist they like the biggest playlist on Spotify is “Today’s Top Hits”. On the rock side, there is a rock playlist called “Rock Classics” that has close to 530,000 followers.

So with everything available under the sun, music fans still prefer to listen to what we think everyone else is hearing. Much like how we purchased albums in the Eighties based on what we thought everyone else was buying.

 

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Spotify – Will Rock and Metal bands reach a 100 million downloads in such a short time frame?

Daft Punk’s track Get Lucky has been streamed 104,233,480 times so far. Spotify generally pays 0.004 a stream to the rights holder. So by doing the math that comes to $416,933.92 in payments from Spotify to the rights holder. How much of this money is distributed is given down to Daft Punk from Columbia Records is unknown. For a song that was released in April, this has proven to be a pretty good earner.

YouTube also shows Get Lucky getting close to 112 million plays. What YouTube will end up paying for that is unknown, as the payout figure is calculated on the type of advertisements shown.

To me, the Spotify and YouTube stats prove that if a song makes a connection with people, people will be going back to the song over and over and over again. As an artist, this is the statistic you want reported to you as you know that people are playing your song or songs.

In relation to sales they come a distant last, however just to make this post complete, Get Lucky has been downloaded over 2.4 million times in the US and over 1 million times in the UK. This means that the song in combined sales (US + UK) has earned roughly $2.4 million (that is based on using the iTunes 0.7 formula).

So if your view of the recording business is that “I WANT TO BE PAID RIGHT NOW” then the sales figure is your brass ring. However, in time the sales figure will die down.

If your view of the recording business is that “I WANT PEOPLE TO PLAY MY SONGS FOREVER and BE PAID FOREVER” then the streaming figure is your brass ring. Streaming has taken the concept of listening to a song a million times at home on your stereo into the digital world.

For all the complaints about streaming payments, an important note to make is that there is NO RELIABLE data from the PRE-NAPSTER era, that suggests that musicians received more money from recorded sales. The good old ADVANCE from the Record Labels always clouded the creative accounting employed by them.

Sound recordings these days are purely for promotion purposes. If you can make money from it, like Daft Punk has, great. In the end, once artists start looking for sales of their recorded music they start to become entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur is an individual who organizes and operates a business, taking on the financial risk to do so. As an entrepreneur you have to offer something which somebody else wants to buy. If you want to make money you need to provide something of value that somebody else wants to pay for.

In relation to radio plays, yes terrestrial radio does pay more, however with the rise of internet connections in all new automobile’s, terrestrial radio is dead. They just don’t know it yet. The world has shifted online and with all things online there is always one winner that comes out on top. Google, Facebook, Amazon, iTunes and Twitter are just some names that come to mind.

So what are the rock/metal numbers like for new music that came out in April 2013.

Bring Me The Horizon is sitting at 3.2 million for the song Shadow Moses.

Paramore is sitting at 7.6 million for the song Still Into You.

Fall Out Boy is sitting at 20.1 million for the song My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark.

Killswitch Engage is sitting at 1.2 million for the song In Due Time.

Volbeat is sitting at 2.63 million for the song Lola Montez.

Device is sitting at 525,000 for the song Vilify.

Rob Zombie is sitting at 347,000 for the song Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown.

If it is a numbers game, metal and rock has a long way to go to get to the 100 million streams of Get Lucky. One thing is clear, online streaming will not slow down. If you are a DIY artist, you need to play in this field. Streaming is just one cog in the complex machine that the music business has become.

If one of the bands above had that crossover songs, then….

 

For some artists it works really well, for others not so well. In relation to sales, Killswitch Engage, Rob Zombie, Volbeat and Device are still selling physical and digital units as they tour around the U.S. All of the bands have moved over 100,000 units each for their albums released in April.

If you are comparing sales numbers to streaming numbers, the streaming numbers are way more spectacular. In the end, all artists want to be heard. So what are are the artists doing, to give the people a reason to listen to them.  

The live business, the merchandise business and the recorded music sales business are other cogs in the complex machine that the musical business has become. 

One last note, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid has earned close to $44,000 from Spotify. Not bad for a song that was released forty odd years ago. Now who gets that money and how it is distributed amongst the band members is a different story entirely.

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