Archive | Digital Media
So now that 2012 is more than half over, the folks at Billboard have crunched some numbers for record sales for the first half of the year. And while last year at this time showed album sales increasing for the first time since 2004, it’s back to business as usual this year. Album sales for the first six months of 2012 are down 3.2% as compared to last year. In fact, there’s only one album that’s sold more than one million copies so far this year – Adele’s 21, of course. For those of you keeping track, this is the first time that there’s only one album that’s sold 1 million copies through the first six months of the year since SoundScan began tracking sales data 21 years ago. While 11 albums have sold at least 500,000 copies, that’s five less than this time last year.
Worse yet, there aren’t even any rock albums in the top ten, although Gotye, Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys and Coldplay finished in the top 20. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that digital track sales are up 6%, with 698.02 million sold in the first half of 2012, as compared to 660.80 million in 2011. And two songs, Gotye’s ubiquitous “Somebody That I Used to Know” and fun.’s equally inescapable “We Are Young,” both sold over 5 million in six months. This is the first time any song has sold over 5 million in the first six months of a calendar year.
Just a few weeks ago, an unnamed independent label stated that they weren’t making much money at all from streaming services like Spotify. However, an article that ran in the New York Times alleges that royalties from Internet radio stations like Pandora as well as SiriusXM are starting to increase. SoundExchange, a non-profit group that process payments for online streams, announced yesterday that they paid more than $100 million in payments to artists and labels in the most recent quarter. In all of last year, they’d only paid out $292 million. This quarter brings them to the $1 billion mark for what they’ve paid artists and record labels since their founding in 2000.
“The way the industry is going, it is about multiple revenue streams, not just one,” SoundExchange president Michael Huppe told the Times. The article looks at indie label Jagjaguwar, Bon Iver’s label, whose founder says that they’ve made $95,000 since 2007 from SoundExchange. That’s not a ton of money for a label, but it’s more than what they’d be making without anyone tracking digital sales. It’s also worth noting that it’s the only way that labels and performers are getting paid for airplay, since terrestrial radio only pays songwriters and publishers in the United States.
Digital radio royalties still have a ways to go before they catch up, however. Songwriting licensers ASCAP and BMI paid out $1.64 billion in 2010, which is a fraction of the $292 million that SoundExchange paid. Yet as the music landscape continues to change, it’s encouraging to see that streaming and Internet radio revenues are possibly starting to fall in line and give artists another stream of revenue.
So it’s pretty widely known by now that when you sell a single on iTunes, the label winds up with about 70% of the 99 cent or $1.29 price, while Apple gets the remainder. Of course by the time the label and producer take their cut, the artist gets about $0.084 cents. It’s also pretty widely known that streaming services are being touted as the wave of the future, as they actually do pay artists, even if they’re listening to the music and not buying it. But while streaming services are better from an artist and label standpoint than pirating music, labels aren’t exactly raking it in, either.
Digital Music News points to a month-old post on a blog called The Trichordist in which an unnamed independent label disclosed their finances from July 2011-December 2011, and it looks pretty bleak. This is from the label’s perspective, so with the iTunes ratio, know that the label is assuming an approximate 70% payout. These figures are from a catalog of 87 albums consisting of 1,280 songs, and is before the distributer’s fee.
$0.028 per song
25:1 Itunes Song Download
$0.016 per song
43:1 Itunes Song Download
$0.013 per song
53:1 Itunes Song Download
$0.005 per song
140:1 Itunes Song Download
A $5862.61 payout for six months of streaming 78 albums? That’s pretty paltry. That being said, there are a few things that are a little biased about this story. First of all, it’s understandable why a label might want to remain anonymous, but “a source” makes this impossible to quantify, even though the math seems to add up. Spotify looks like the bad guy because they’re paying the lowest. However, it’s mostly a free service, unlike some of the others. And the artists are also getting by far the most amount of spins through Spotify, as it’s the most popular service. If any of those almost 800,000 spins led to someone purchasing the music, that’s a win.
And on that subject, comparing streams to someone actively purchasing your music is apples and oranges (pun somewhat intended). But it certainly wouldn’t hurt if labels and artists could negotiate with the streaming services to get a higher royalty rate. And it shows that while some income is better than none, nobody’s getting rich from streaming music yet.
Relapse Records have been one of the few well known metal labels to actively use Bandcamp. Now Relapse has become an even bigger supporter of the “name your price” online platform, having just uploaded their entire catalog on their page.
Relapse’s Bandcamp page now features music from 122 bands, including Baroness, Dying Fetus, Pig Destroyer, Red Fang, Revocation and many others. Not only are they offering high quality 320k mp3 or FLAC downloads of albums from their artists, but also free streaming and select free downloads. In addition to the catalog from their current roster, Relapse has created another page for alumni (including Mastodon, Neurosis, Nile, High On Fire, The Dillinger Escape Plan and others). Albums from these past bands will also be available for download with select streaming.
Bandcamp has been showing lots of potential for growth, with recent reports suggesting that the platform is helping fight piracy. The service has been helping many unsigned bands expand their reach online, but maybe more labels will eventually follow Relapse Records’ (and others like Candlelight Records) lead.
It used to be that every band had a MySpace page. Now, almost every group has a presence on Facebook. And now it’s become even easier (or harder if you ask music app makers) to listen to music via Facebook thanks to Spotify and other streaming services. But according to new research, social media still plays a minor role in music discovery.
In a new study discovered by Digital Music News, NPD Group researcher Russ Crupnick [correction: the full study was commissioned by NARM and digitalmusic.org, and members of the organizations can have full access] asked “highly-engaged music fans” the question “How did you first hear about (whatever song) you wanted to hear again?” This is what Crupnick supposedly found:
- On traditional AM/FM radio: 38 percent
- Friend played/sent/gave: 13 percent
- TV Show/Award Show: 13 percent
- YouTube/VEVO/Video Site: 12 percent
- Free Online Radio: 6 percent
- Saw/heard on social media site: 2-3 percent
Maybe we’re a little biased here, but how are social media sites so low? Given Facebook’s enormous popularity, we would’ve guessed that its role in music discovery was at least equal (if not a little more) to free online radio. But here’s where it gets slightly confusing: when the same fans were asked “What would make you buy more music?”, many said more Facebook updates about new music.
This response, a full graph of which can be seen online, essentially proves what many critics of these findings are claiming: it’s simply too early to judge and that there significant lag-times at play. Granted, it’s only been roughly eight months since Facebook launched its music integration, and even less since the switchover to Timeline. We don’t expect to see social media top traditional radio or TV anytime soon, but we wouldn’t doubt that its percentage will grow in the near future. Then again, there’s no certainty that Facebook will always be the top dog in social media (just look at MySpace).
[via Digital Music News]
If you’re an All Shall Perish fan that torrented the band’s 2011 album, This is Where it Ends, you may have found yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit – one the band, their management, and presumably their label’s president knew nothing about. On April 20, a lawsuit was filed in a Miami courthouse by a Panamanian company called World Digital Rights that licenses the band’s songs. The suit asks for $150,000 in damages plus court costs for each of the anonymous 80-100 fans, and threatens to name them. TorrentFreak assumes that scared defendants will likely settle out of court with World Digital for several thousand dollars each.
Of course, suing your fans, regardless of whether they downloaded your music illegally or not, doesn’t go over very well – just ask Metallica. But before the backlash against All Shall Perish could coalesce into a full-blown movement, just about everyone involved – except for World Digital Rights – claimed that they had no knowledge that their fans were about to be sued. The California deathcore band’s manager, Ryan Downey, told TorrentFreak that the band wasn’t consulted, and that Nuclear Blast’s German label president and US label manager also claim ignorance. However, according to the lawsuit, Nuclear Blast signed over the rights to This is Where it Ends to World Digital Rights on March 12, 2012, making them the exclusive licensee of the album.
“The band, their lawyer and myself were totally shocked (and appalled) by this,” Downey tells Metal Insider. “When I called our US label manager on Friday, he was with the label president and they were both surprised and had no idea about this company. We’ll see what’s at the bottom of this soon hopefully.”
It’s a little odd that the first action against music fans since the RIAA abandoned their anti-filesharing campaign in 2008 should come against All Shall Perish. While This is Where it Ends sold pretty respectably when it came out last year (about 8,500 its first week), it’s not like the band are selling at Metallica levels. Perhaps the band might be a test case for further potential lawsuits against people that illegally torrent. Regardless, it comes down to accountability. If Nuclear Blast signed over the digital rights to the album, they should at least admit that they did it, whether they knew World Digital Rights would be going after those illegally downloading or not. And why would a label sign over digital rights to a third party less than a year after the album came out? At least the band beat everyone to the punch by getting out in front of the story. But this should be viewed as a cautionary tale that a new era of bands suing their fans could be starting up – even if the bands don’t know anything about it.
Facebook has made “liking” something as easy as clicking a box. Now the social network is applying the same principle to music listening. Facebook has just introduced a new “listen” button, located conveniently next to the “like” button on band’s pages. One click will instantly play music by said artist on Spotify or any other streaming services that are apart of Facebook’s music integration.
Obviously, this new feature benefits Facebook and the streaming services (ok, who are we kidding? Spotify) a great deal. Plus, it makes it a lot easier for users to listen to music. As Lambgoat points out, though, this is bad news for artists apps. Music apps like BandPage, ReverbNation, and BandRX were already losing traffic following the implementation of Timeline. Now, with a new button that allows users to go straight to Spotify, artist apps are even more screwed. Although, considering that there are still many bands not on streaming services (both signed and unsigned), these apps still hold a purpose. Regardless, it’s clear to see that this new button has positive ramifications for some and negative consequences for others.
There’s no denying the power that Sirius XM and Pandora have on their own nowadays. Sirius XM now has more than 22 million subscribers, while Pandora reportedly has a 68% market share among internet radio. And according to new calculations found by Digital Music News, the two combined account for roughly 90% of SoundExchange’s total annual revenues.
For those unaware, SoundExchange is the non-profit performance rights organization that collects statutory royalties from satellite radio, internet radio, cable TV music channels and other streaming services. According to calculations done by Live365 attorney Angus MacDonald, Sirius XM paid around $200 million in statutory royalties, while Pandora paid $136,346,980 in 2011. With SoundExchange’s total revenue of 2011 coming to $371,922,621, Sirius XM and Pandora account for specifically 90.4% of that revenue.
As Digital Music News points out, this means that both Sirirus XM and Pandora have major voting and veto power. It also proves that while Spotify has been gaining lots of buzz since launching in the U.S. last Summer, Sirius XM and Pandora are still doing pretty well for themselves (though Pandora appears to be having some issues with advertising).
The battle over digital royalties has been well documented as of late. And while its mainly been between artists and labels, music industry groups have come to an agreement over a new royalty deal regarding digital and cellular services.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and Digital Media Association (DiMA) have reportedly come to a new agreement that establishes a royalty rate for new business models. The deal, which covers 2013 to 2017, will keep rates at 9.1 cents for downloads and physical formats and 24 cents for ringtones.
While Hypebot has posted the official file online, the new agreement establishes the following new models and rates (as explained by All Access):
-Paid locker services [ex. iTunes]: music publishers will get a mechanical rate of 12% of revenue or 20.65% of total content cost or 17 cents per subscriber, whichever is greater.
-Digital lockers providing free cloud storage with a download purchase: music publishers will get 12% of revenue or 22% of the total cost of content.
-Music services in cell phone services subscription rate: music publishers get 11.35% of revenue or 21% of total content cost.
-Subscription services offering limited music or playlists: music publishers will get 10.5% of revenue or 21% of total cost or 18 cents per subscriber.
-Music bundles offering a download with the sale of a CD album: music publishers will get 11.35% of revenue or 21% of total content cost.
Statements from members of each participating music industry group can be read over at All Access, but here is what DiMA executive director Lee Knife had to say about the deal:
“From the advent of Internet radio services, to online music stores, on-demand streaming and more recently, cloud-based music services, digital media providers thrive on creating new ways for fans to enjoy more music whenever and wherever they want. Today’s agreement paves the way for our members to continue developing exciting new business models that satisfy consumers, create greater revenue opportunities for music creators and effectively fight piracy, the music industry’s greatest threat.”
While this certainly is resolves royalty issues with digital publishers, the debate about what artists are due from digital sales continues. With that said, this development does come about month after Sony came to a settlement with many artists.
By now you’ve already noticed that many of your friends and favorite bands have already switched over to the new Timeline format on Facebook. And on March 30, the switch will become mandatory for every page. But will Timeline really have a great impact on how fans interact with music on Facebook? Well as it turns out, it already has had an effect on artists apps…and it doesn’t look pretty.
AppData, an independent application traffic tracking service, has found that the leading Facebook artist page apps (BandPage, ReverbNation, and BandRX) have experienced a staggering decline in monthly active users since February of this year. On top of that, BandPage is currently ranked as the “Top Loser” of the day, while the three apps ranked in the top ten of AppData’s “Top Losers This Week” list. And it’s no coincidence that these decreases occurred right around the time pages started to switch over to Timeline. As Digital Music News points out, the new layout prevents users to make the artist page/app as the default landing spot. Thus, bands can only position these apps as tabs or links within Timeline.
This creates an enormous opportunity for anyone who can find a way to adapt to the new Timeline. However, if the new layout is already having such a downward effect on artists apps, then imagine what could happen when the switch becomes mandatory on Friday. A screenshot of AppData’s findings on Bandpage can be seen above, while ReverbNation (listed as Band Profile) and BandRX findings can be seen after the jump (courtesy of Digital Music News).