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“It’s not TV. It’s Netflix.”

Rotisserie Chicken: An Original From NetflixWill 2014 be a turning point in the “battle for screen time?” 

Amazon Studios announced its new slate of series orders from their unique, popular vote-driven pilot process last week — and while Netflix and Hulu took a more casual approach to unveiling their latest batch of original content, the user reviews for April Fools release “Rotisserie Chicken” so far are decidedly mixed: “[Two stars] A sophomoric effort. Poor use of thyme. Poorly conceived denouement, with a narrative arc which goes nowhere. Could use more garlic.” But in what’s become tech-giant tradition, this blend of creative marketing and disruptive instinct belies the level of investment in the multi-billion dollar war being waged over one of the 21st century’s most competitive commodities: consumer attention in a fragmented media landscape.

Just three years ago, all the major streaming competitors in what Hulu’s head of content Andy Forssell calls “the battle for screen time” were on the ropes (or in the case of Amazon, hadn’t even entered the ring yet). Netflix’s shift to streaming seemed terminally botched by its “Qwikster” debacle, Hulu was up for sale (and struggling to fetch anywhere near its asking price), and while YouTube was seeing impressive traffic for its original content, monetizing those views was proving difficult as marketers became disillusioned with the value of Pre-Roll ads.

Flash forward to 2014 — Netflix is nominated for 14 Emmys (winning 3) and tops 31 million subscribers (HBO, by comparison, has 29 million), Hulu‘s parent companies (Fox and Disney) have taken down the “For Sale” sign and doubled-down with a $750M investment in the streaming service’s future, and Amazon Prime has been growing so rapidly that new sign-ups had to be capped during peak periods of December 2013 to avoid exceeding their operational capacity. Perhaps more tellingly, YouTube and other online outlets are crashing the Upfronts – a week of presentations by broadcast TV executives to all the major advertising clients — using the industry’s own Nielsen data against it with an aggressive pitch that more 18-34 year olds (49% of the total demo) can be reached through advertising on their online platforms than on the most popular FX (45%), TBS (44%), Comedy Central (41%) or AMC (40%) broadcast packages.

Numbers like these engender a great deal of confidence in the future of streaming, and the larger trends in consumer behavior are unmistakable: streaming is here to stay, and content is still king regardless of platform. For decades, studios and broadcast networks have spent billions on preserving artificial restrictions on consumers — from appointment television to 90-day holdbacks from theatrical release on VOD/DVD/Digital sales — so seeing billions invested on tearing down these barriers and maximizing consumer choices is thrilling, regardless of the outcome.

Adjust Your Strategy According to the Latest Global Trends

ifpi_digitalmusicAs music continues to shape and color my daily life, what I’m most impressed with is the music industry’s ability to take on the changes and challenges that come its way head on. It makes me proud to work in music, and seeing the innovation and determination that have spawned from the incessant industry developments (and the knowledge at the same time that new developments and twists inevitably lie ahead) inspires me in ways beyond just my professional life.

In that vein, it’s important to look back and review the events of the past year, so there’s always a great buzz in the air when the IFPI Digital Music Report makes its appearance towards the end of Q1 each year. This year’s report is, as always, chock-full of great information, including stats and figures paired with special reports to contextualize the numbers. After combing through it with my orange highlighter, here are the key takeaways of the state of digital music in 2013.

GIVE ME THE NUMBERS

Overall recorded music revenues grew in Europe and Latin America, stabilized in the United States and experienced a sharp 16.7% decline in Japan, bringing global revenues down 3.9% to an estimated US$15 billion.

Not including Japan, global music revenues were only down 0.1%.

Digital revenues worldwide grew by 4.3% in 2013 to US$5.9 billion.

Digital now accounts for 39% of total industry global revenues.

Revenues from music subscription services grew by 51.3%, exceeding US$1 billion:

  • Subscription and ad-supported streaming services now account for 27% of global digital revenues
  • The number of paying subscribers to subscription services increased by 40% to 28 million
  • Revenues from ad-supported streaming services increased by 17.6%, with a large focus on music videos

Digital downloads experienced a slight decline of 2.1%:

  • Still a key revenue stream, downloads account for 67% of global digital revenues
  • The album format is still coveted, and digital album sales remain on an upward curve

Performance rights income more than doubled in 2013, reaching US$1.1 billion globally, an estimated 19% rise. Our Collections services can help you tap into some of that. If you’re interested in signing up, reach out to your client rep!

Synchronization income declined by 3.4%, now accounting for 2.1% of total industry revenue. Our dedicated Sync Licensing team is constantly on the lookout for great opportunities, and we’d love to include more of your music in our pitches to supervisors. Interested? Let your client rep know.

While still on the decline, physical music sales continue to keep a majority share in many major markets, accounting for 51.4% of all global revenues (down from 56.1% in 2012).

Vinyl sales, though still niche, have increased substantially in the US (up 32% in 2013) and in the UK (up 101%!). Record Store Day‘s around the corner, people!

While the industry did experience some decline, it’s encouraging to see digital revenues growing overall, with streaming continuing to establish itself as a viable source of income. The report dives deeper into the impressive growth of the Scandinavian markets, all a few years ahead of the rest of the world in terms of streaming. It’s worth a read, particularly the special report on Sweden, a country which grew from US$144.8 million to US$194.2 million in just three years, with an increased share of digital going from 8% to a whopping 70%, of which subscription services account for 94%. Whew!

… Continue Reading

Celebrating Springtime and Record Store Day at The Orchard

The Glitch Mob RSDFor some folks, it’s the return of baseball season. For others, it’s Easter. But for us here at The Orchard, nothing heralds the return of warmer weather quite like Record Store Day! This internationally celebrated event has been getting bigger and better every year since its inception in 2008, and this year looks to be no different. So let’s dive right in and let you know what exclusive vinyl releases we’ll be bringing to the party this year.

First up is Orchard favorites The Black Angels with Clear Lake Forest. Hot on the heels of their acclaimed album Indigo Meadow, this EP features seven new tracks on 10” clear vinyl. Next is Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek. This classic live collaboration will be available as a triple LP set on red, clear, and blue vinyl. Then there’s Sam Roberts Band with We’re All In This Together/Shapeshifters 12” single on clear vinyl. Or how about a four song EP from Creepoid called Wet that features a B-side etching. And last, but certainly not least, is The Glitch Mob’s Drink The Sea/We Can Make The World Stop.Words cannot do this release justice, so just check out the accompanying packshot to see it in all of its glory.

Over in Europe, Transgressive Records are releasing Africa Express Presents: Maison des Jeunes, featuring the likes of Damon Albarn and Brian Eno, available as a double LP set in blue vinyl. Additionally, metal-heads across the pond will be excited to pick-up their copies of Death of a Dead Day by SikTh and Circles‘ incredible debut, Inifinitas on LP for the first ever time courtesy of Basick Records.

And don’t forget, Record Store Day isn’t just about records. There are also the in-store performances! Be sure to check out Cincinnati natives Tweens, who will be appearing at their hometown shop Shake It Records.

See you all on Saturday, April 19th!

Engage with Streaming Services to Better Engage Your Fans

Engage with streaming services: playlistingAs more and more of our clients here at The Orchard see streaming services generating a major share of their revenue, a blog post about marketing your releases on streaming services seems pertinent.

À-la-carte download stores do not always have the discovery dimension that full-length streaming functionality offers, and the structure of the store is very much built around a lead homepage and a few editorial pages. Marketing your releases on such a service is therefore highly dependent on the relationship you’ve built with the editor and the quality of your pitch.

With streaming services who boast about 20 million tracks open to for users to browse and listen to, the game has somewhat changed. Other than Beats who position themselves slightly differently, a lot of these services make heavy use of algorithms to populate their recommendations or browse sections, limiting editorial placement so far.

To help increase your visibility despite these restrictions, here are a few guidelines on what you can do to market your content on streaming services:

Less is more (isn’t it always?)
It’s more effective to make fewer playlists containing a limited number of tracks (10-15) and keep them updated regularly. Every time you update your playlist, your followers receive a notification.

Keep an eye on what’s trending
Consider including tracks that are popular at the time into your playlist in order to increase your chances of gaining more followers. Your playlists don’t necessarily have to include releases from your catalogue only.

Weave your own web
Good ideas for artist playlists are themes such as what they listen to before going on stage or what they listened to while writing their album. These playlists also offer a great opportunity for artists from a same label to include each other.

As a label,  you can take advantage of a large catalogue by creating playlists around  one of your strongest genres.

Be active on the service, even when you don’t have a recent release
No matter what stage you’re in in producing a new record, it is important that you not wait until said release is coming out to start engaging with streaming platforms. On a service like Spotify, you want to build a base of followers before the release comes out, so that when it finally does, all your followers get a notification about it.

In a nutshell, you want to keep your profile exciting. If you need ideas or additional best practices, keep an eye for service-specific resources, like Spotify for Artists, and follow our updates on The Daily Rind.

How, Why, and When to Advertise Your Stuff

via Reddit's Ad Pitch DeckDeciding to spend money to increase awareness of your project is a big decision. You’ve probably already spent a ton of money creating your art and the idea of spending again may be anathema to you. You may have already gathered the funds for a large-scale media purchase and are ready to go. I don’t know this and have no supernatural powers. I’m just writing a blog post for The Daily Rind and trying to help.

Managing our clients’ and our internal advertising budgets, I’ve seen the gamut of situations in which advertising could be useful and have executed campaigns. I’ve found that a step-by-step thought-process prevents one from completely blowing it. Completely blowing it can mean wasted money or a project no one knows about. This is my process and the one I recommend to others.

  1. Define your goals – What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to grow awareness, or drive those that are already aware to a place to purchase?
  2. Define your message – What is the message you want to deliver? Go through the process of creating a simple sentence “Promote the new video duh!” is not good. Your message is something like “Watch this video and learn more about this artist.”
  3. Research your fans and potential fans – Who should receive this message? You may not know who your fans are as much as you think you do. Even if you’re the label, you can lack perspective. You have no objectivity and that’s normal. Rely on data and numbers to combat your definite bias. Use tools such as Facebook Insights. Pay special attention to the “People” tab. Those are the ones who engage with your page. Some people are lazy and just Like pages they do not plan to engage with. The “People” tab shows you who the engaged fans are; the people who will buy your stuff. You may also find tools like Google AnalyticsBeluga (free), Next Big Sound, Musicmetric, and others handy. Create useful names for the different segments: “18 – 24 year old bros in Arizona who love action sports” or “Hipsters that pirate your stuff in Silverlake.” All of this is valuable if you create segments that mean something to you.
  4. Identify your targets – Who do you want to receive the message based on your research? Maybe you’ve found that your audience is “75 – 85 year old vagrants with an iPod touch and Starbucks WiFi.” This is not an audience that is worth your hard-earned, borrowed, or stolen ad dollars. If your goal is to create awareness for a video, even though most of your audience are these vagrants, you should target the small part of your audience that is of a demographic using the platform on which your video is published. If your budget is limited, you should focus first on the fans most likely to purchase and only go outside of that fan-base after you’ve given the core fan-base every opportunity to give you money. They can be best targeted through tracking pixels from third parties such as Google, Facebook, or The Trade Desk.
  5. Devise your strategies – In what voice do you want to deliver your message? What’s your angle? Are you enticing people with a free track?
  6. Decide which tactics you will use – What tactics will you employ to execute the strategy? Video? Search Ad? Retargeting Landing Page visitors with banners? Asking a question in a promoted post? Leveraging memes such as Doge (such link. so lol)?
  7. Identify the platforms / technology you will use – Where will you deploy your tactics? Facebook? Google Search? Bing Search? LinkedIn? Banner inventory on the coolest sites? Video inventory?
  8. Execute your campaign – Double-check everything. A misspelling or typo can be absolutely devastating to your cause. You don’t want that. We don’t want that. Deploy your campaign at hours of peak traffic for your audience, strategy, tactic, and platform. This may mean that you deploy each part at a different time.
  9. Optimize your campaign – Don’t just let it sit there spending your money. Constantly optimize. What’s working? What’s not? Don’t be alarmed by lower click-through-rates (CTR) on banner ads than you see on Search ads. Banners are about impressions and you are billed per impression. Search is about clicks and you are billed per click.
  10. Recap your campaign – Even if you are doing your own digital advertising, you should do this step. Create a document that is an overview of the campaign. You will find nuggets of information in this document that you will not find by just looking at numbers on the platforms.
  11. Learn from your campaign – After you have created this document ask yourself if it was a success. Go back to your goals. Did your video get more views than they would have without it? Did your Facebook page see a higher rate of engagement? What would you do differently next time?

Spending money to promote your work is a big deal and it’s worth your time to go through this process to make sure you don’t completely blow it. I’d love to answer any questions (no centaur questions) or address any feedback so do not hesitate to comment.

About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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