Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

My Streaming Decade

So Spotify has collated all of my data since I joined in 2013 and here it is.

In 2013, my favourite artist was KISS and the song I listened to most was “A Day In My Life” from Five Finger Death Punch.

In 2014, my favourite artist was Black Label Society and the song I listened to most was “Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society.

In 2015, my favourite artist was Trivium and the song I listened to most was “Down From The Sky” from Trivium.

In 2016, my favourite artist was Kingdom Come and the song my 5 year old listened to most was “The Mighty Eagle Song” from The Angry Birds Movie. And this was the reason why I went to a Spotify Family Account.

In 2017, my favourite artist was The Night Flight Orchestra and the song I listened to most was “Gemini”.

In 2018, my favourite artist was Def Leppard, which is no surprise as their catalogue was finally issued on digital services, but the song I listened to most was “A Love Unreal” from Black Label Society.

Finally, in 2019, Free Spirits Rising is listed as my favourite artist and “We Are Here” from Free Spirits Rising is the top song.

Overall, my top five artists for 2019 are, Free Spirits Rising, Everygrey, Whitesnake, Aerosmith and Tool.

But my favourite stat is the time spent listening to music on the service.

  • In 2016, it was 37,977 minutes.
  • In 2017, it was 77,234 minutes.
  • In 2018, it was 52,316 minutes.
  • In 2019, it was 64,753 minutes.

Let’s put some of these numbers into context.

A 38 hour working week equates to 2,280 minutes.

So 64,753 minutes divided by 2,280 minutes equates to 29 working weeks of listening. Over half a working week year of listening to music and somehow working at the same time.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Listening Habits

It’s a tough crazy world.

Artists spend their blood, sweat and tears into their new product and no one seems to be paying attention.

How can they, with all the music coming out.

For 2019, I listened to 5,783 different songs on Spotify. To put that number into context that is roughly 16 different songs, each day, for 365 days. In the old vinyl LP days of 8 songs each, this would be two albums every day of different artists.

Streaming allows this diverse listening experience and for the fan, this is a good thing.

It’s also a good solution compared to peer to peer downloading. But people complain about the payments they receive, however there is no denying that streaming services have put some serious money back into the recording industry.

Prior to Spotify, the recording labels got nothing. And it’s a shame that those same labels don’t funnel those monies back to their artists. Because if wasn’t for the artists, the recording labels would not be in the position of power to negotiate anything. And if it wasn’t for the artists forming connections with people, then the labels would have no business model.

If you take streaming services out of the industry, people will not start buying CD’s again en masse.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Fans

Fans maketh the artist and the fans taketh the artist.

For all artists, the need to create music is enough of a reason to start. Then some artists will have acceptance of their music. And suddenly artists have a thousand plus hard core fans.

Artists are normally happy to sell out the limited run of super deluxe editions of albums.

For the medium to larger acts, this is about 20,000 copies of an album between the prices of $50 to $200 each, and you can see a cool gross income between $1 million and $4 million. If the artists own their rights and are in control of their masters, then the deluxe editions if done right, can be a nice little supplement.

And streaming also gives the artist control of where their fans are, in which cities they live and which songs these fans are listening to. If the artists have the resources, then they can tour these places. Scorpions and Whitesnake are coming to Australia and I am pretty sure it’s on the back of some impressive streaming numbers, because it wouldn’t be on sales.

More so than ever, the fans decide how they want to commit to their relationship with the artist. And a lot of fans of music are also pretty content to listen to music at home, without feeling the need to go out and watch an artist live.

It’s part of the new world.

Standard
Music, My Stories

Metal And Streaming

What does a metal head and a rocker need to do to play the music game, especially when streaming is dominated by hip-hop/pop?

Metal heads are not 100% into streaming. But a few years back Spotify shocked the world when it said that metal is most loved genre.

But metal doesn’t even exist when it comes to the weekly streaming charts Which are dominated by dance and hip hop tracks. But, when you combine the numbers from the different metal acts, metal music rules streaming because of fan loyalty.

Turns out, that when Spotify analysed the number of streams divided by the number of listeners per artist, the Metal genre is way ahead of hip-hop, country and even rock. It basically means that metal fans listen to their favourite artist over and over and over and over again, until we overdose on their music, while fans of other genre’s hop and pop all over the place.

And metal music still moves vinyl and CD’s, especially deluxe packages or limited edition packages. But the biggest thing that no one picks up is the regeneration of metals fan base. People who are not involved in the metal lifestyle believe it is an aging fan base, but that is so far removed from the truth. It is a fan base that regenerates with each generation and it keeps on growing.

And if you’re in the metal game and you have a small but loyal fan base, then there’s absolutely no reason to sign with a major label. And if you need management, make sure you still own your tracks and pay management a percentage.

And metal acts sell tickets. They may not be big on the radio or streaming, but they’ve got live audiences, and that’s where the money is.

And metal music is going through another re-invention. There is a modern version of the old sound and there are artists who were around when the old sound was the new sound. Regardless, while metal music is not mainstream, it percolates, waiting for the time to rise up.

Like embracing streaming.

As mentioned above, it’s the main genre with the most loyal listeners.

In addition, streaming has removed the costly barriers to acquiring music. Prospective new fans can instantly access the whole history of metal music. And the metal head consumer decides what is popular to them. It’s a beautiful utopian democracy. But metal purists will point out that you don’t own the music you pay Spotify for and how you are basically leasing it. Sound purists will argue the low sound quality of streaming music. But in the end, the 320kbps setting will satisfy 99% of people.

And based on our listening habits, it satisfies us a lot of times.

Streaming Up Your Arse…

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Power Of The Record Labels

It’s 1992.

Hard rock bands are becoming too generic and soulless, especially the newer breed from 1989 and onwards. The fans are looking for something new, but they still have their taste buds all over the hard rock/metal distorted cream.

Meanwhile, the labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre, while they start dropping hard rock bands left, right and centre. Not only could the labels make an artist famous, they could also make an artist destitute. And back then, without the money and power of the label behind an artist, an artist would go unnoticed.

The power the record labels had to kill careers or to destroy styles of music.

So the artist would sign a deal and get a small royalty payment from the label. Today the artists would still sign a deal because they see the label as their ticket to riches, but instead the artists are now complaining of the low royalty payment of streaming services, but it is still the label keeping the lion share.

In other words, you give to get.

You give your rights to the label in order to get a chance at fame and riches. And there’s no use yelling at streaming services. They are not record labels, they are technology companies, using music to influence culture and grow their brand. Once their brand is big enough, they will do away with music.

Because seriously, which company wants to pay billions in licensing and be constantly in the courts?  

HBO paid billions in licensing, until it got to a stage where it was unfeasible and they had to start creating their own content. Netflix at first had only licensed content. And like HBO they saw that it was unfeasible, so they started investing in creating their own, and slowly doing away with the licensing.

Now, more than any time in modern recording history, an artist can do it themselves. They can record cheaply, distribute and get paid. So artists should build their own leverage and then they can decide what is next.

But we have lived in a world where the labels have controlled the narrative for way too long and MTV made everyone think that if they learnt how to play an instrument they will be rich and famous. The majority still hold this view and the minority that don’t, are the ones making it.

People talk up Record Day sales like they matter, when only the label is winning, while digital distribution can offer an artist new audiences in places where brick-and-mortar stores would be impossible or unsustainable, like foreign countries or rural areas. The end result is growth across the board. Nowadays it’s about reaching as many people as possible and eventually the money will flow in if you do it right. That should have been the role of the labels but instead it’s up to the techies.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The More Things Stay The Same

Back in 1999, the record labels argued that they lost billions of dollars due to file sharing via Napster. They came up with this figure by saying that one file shared is the same as one lost sale. 20 years later, they are still exaggerating the same BS. And politicians get lobbied hard and suddenly there is legislation to support the record labels business models.

As internet speeds got faster, file sharing then started on movies and TV shows. Suddenly, politicians had even more money thrown at them to pass legislation from the movie studios. In democratic lands, ISP’s are forced to censor the internet, courtesy of the movie studios and music labels, which is no different to what dictatorship governments carry out on a daily basis. And when ISP’s don’t censor the internet, the movie studios and music labels take them to court for facilitating piracy. And while this is happening at the hands of the entertainment industry, the government themselves are stifling free speech by raiding the homes of reporters or by keeping eyes on the public through surveillance. ISP’s are also meant to store text messages, phone calls, web searches and tower pings on its customers.

So much for trusting the good guys.

Meanwhile, the music labels today are raking in billions courtesy of streaming (which started off as a legal alternative to peer to peer file sharing, which brought in $0). This shows, that if people are offered a legal alternative at a price which is right, they will take the legal option.

And those streaming billions were not there in the past. It took a tech company to create this revenue stream, while the record labels (the ones who should have been doing this) decided that the only way they could make money again is to get laws passed to protect old business sales model instead of innovating.

And an artist wants to have a label deal.

Why?

The labels don’t care about you and all they want is to lock up your copyright forever, because without the rights of songs, the labels have no power and if they have no power they cannot negotiate these huge licensing deals with streaming platforms.

Even the movie studios like Disney lobbied hard for laws to get passed to protect their old business models. Then Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon came out with streaming services and brought in billions of dollars that were not there before. And now Disney is entering the streaming market. Enforcement doesn’t work but better legal alternatives do.

And the record labels still complain at the price of streaming. They reckon Spotify should charge more and also do away with the free tier, but are too gutless to bring out their own streaming platform and charge the money that they believe customers should pay. So they bash on Spotify or YouTube or Pandora.

And when politicians leave office, they get a nice cushy job for the very firms that lobbied them hard to introduce legislation in their favour. And this happens in democracy, which brings to mind the “One” video clip from Metallica and the scenes from the movie, “Johnny Got His Gun”.

Little Kid – When it comes my turn, will you want me to go?

Father – For democracy, any man would give his only begotten son.

We might want to re-think what the hell we are fighting for.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Charts

I’m sure you have read or heard or skimmed the reporting of how Tool beat Taylor Swift for the Number 1 spot. High fives all round for the perfect execution of the album release.

Tool is in Week 1 and Taylor is in Week 2 of their respective release cycles.

My thoughts on the charts, is an industry holding on to the past. Combining physical sales with a certain number of streams which count like a sale. Come on, that by no means indicates what is hot or not.

Still selling CD’s and mp3’s, even though CD players don’t even come in computers or cars anymore. And mp3 players are obsolete. The iPod is dead. And the way my kids don’t even know what a Blackberry is, there will be kids in 10 years time who won’t even know what an iPod is.

Seen the article about how vinyl will outsell CDs for the first time since the 80s.

Does the majority care?

Of course not. The amount of people streaming is greater than the amount of people buying.

Streams are facts, harder to scam, but people still try. Streams give an indication of what people are listening to as there is no way for an artist to know how many times a CD or vinyl sale has been listened to.

And streaming pays forever, whereas a sale pays you once. You might feel rich now but you will be complaining in the future.

And the record labels have manipulated the charts from the start, because they know the media reports on it, like it means something. Maybe it showed how many records got sold once Soundscan came into force in the early 90’s, but before that it was based on how many albums got ordered by record stores.

And the last 15 years have shown us how the first week of sales are high and the stories are reported everywhere, but by the fourth week, it’s down to a trickle and by week eight, its underwater. And people move on. Music in general is more important than any particular album. It’s a sign of the times, the era we live in.

Sure, bands in the metal and rock genre create albums which sustain and reach some status, but it’s all because of a mathematical formula combining streams with physical.

Standard