The Daily Rind | Archive | Industry Trends

Home » Industry Trends » Recent Articles:

SXSW Panels: Get Your Vote On!

logoHere at The Orchard, we love a good roundtable chit-chat about what’s going on in the industry. So, as you might’ve guessed or already know, we’re really big on conference panels! Next year’s SXSW is no different (yes, we’re already deep in planning…). For the occasion, we have two very important topics to discuss, along with killer speakers who’ll knock your socks off with their knowledge. We just need YOU to get your vote in by September 5th so that we can make these hot-topic discussions come to life.

Vote to see my session at SXSW 2015!Everyone is on YouTube these days, probably even your grandmother. It’s one of the best places out there for new music discovery, and can also be a great tool in an artist’s revenue-making back-pocket. But lots of artists and labels keep getting caught up in the same YouTube conundrum — which is more valuable: making a profit off these videos, or reaching worldwide glory status through exposure? Do we even have to choose? In the panel we’ve pitched, titled “Exposure vs. Revenue on YouTube: Must We Choose?,” our own Sarah Caliendo, VP of Video Services, along with YouTube’s Elliott Walker and Bob Lugowe of Relapse Records will lead you through the ins and outs of creating your own YouTube strategy. Exciting, informative stuff, right?!

Vote to see my session at SXSW 2015!Film distribution is another heavy-hitter in conversation these days — think day-and-date release rise — and we’re all over it with plenty to say. In our suggested panel, which we’ve called “To Window Or Not To Window: Film Release Strategies,” we’ll talk about all the different elements to consider when releasing a new project. From release platforms to distribution strategies, each film needs its own, specific implementation process, and who better to take you through them than our Senior Manager of Film Distribution, Danielle DiGiacomo, along with Adam Klaff of VHX and Harmontown Director Neil Berkeley. Together, they will discuss and give concrete examples of all the windowing opportunities out there and, depending on the film, audience and genre, determine which tactics to use.

Hopefully you’ve already gotten your SXSW badges and are all set for the big shindig. We hope you’ll support our panel picks and will choose to be part of the conversation by voting away (just click on the “vote for my session idea” icons above!). Don’t delay — voting ends September 5!  See y’all in Austin.

The Rise of Streaming, Impact on Artists & Labels, and How to Adapt

cloud-musicUnless you don’t work in the music business or you were on Mars for the past year, you’ve heard about it: streaming is on the rise, but unlike downloads which were more or less a transcription of the physical world into digital, streaming introduces totally different paradigms. Let’s have a look at them and their impacts on artists and labels.

Download & Physical = Ownership Model / Streaming = Access Model

When you buy a physical or digital copy of an album, you buy it at a specific price and only one time. Then depending on how much you like the album you bought, you listen to it 2 times or 1000 times. With streaming, you no longer buy an album, but each of your listens (of more than 30s) generates royalties for artists and labels, and these royalties are paid either by advertising if you are on an ad supported model (YouTube, Spotify Freemium, etc.), or by a monthly subscription if you have subscribed to a service.

So in the physical/download world, the main lever is to get more buyers. In the streaming world, while you also want more people to listen to your music, you’re hoping these people listen to your music more often, too.

We all remember the 90’s, when we discovered a really good song on the radio, bought the album without having listened to it and the only worthwhile song from the 8 or 12 tracks was that radio single. In the streaming era, this shouldn’t happen anymore: because you have access to whatever music you want, unless you are dedicated masochist you will theoretically only listen to the music you love. That’s a big difference: even if a hit single can always help build awareness, each of your songs has too be good enough to be listened to repeatedly.

The second big change is you can release songs in the format you want and when you want. You no longer need to have a full album of minimum 30-40 minutes ready; each time you have a new song, you can — and should — put it “live” and build awareness around it.

This strategy makes even more sense for new and developing bands, as they can start to drive revenue with their first songs. Indeed, unlike download and physical revenues, where you see a big peak around release date (X buyers x $10), in the streaming era, even if you can still observe a peak around release due to curiosity/promotion, you should continue to observe pretty decent and regular streams over time (1+1+1+1).

In the download/physical world, release is the end of the process. For streaming, it’s just the beginning. As an artist or label, this translates into quite a big change in your cash flow, especially if you are used to getting substantial physical pre-orders. With streaming, you will need more time to recoup your initial investments, BUT revenues will last longer, and as such, streaming adds value to catalogs on the whole.

To capitalize on this, it’s a good idea to release new songs immediately, followed by remixes and B-sides so you can continuously build your catalog and as such, your revenue long-term.

Playlists and Socials: Sharing Is the New Promo

When speaking of promo, I always picture this: before the Internet, choices came from the top and as a consumer you could only choose between what labels, radio stations, TV stations and stores had selected for you. Now, with both Internet and the growth of streaming, choices are increasingly coming from the bottom — from the fans, through viral sharing, on socials… Of course, you still need people to love and pick your music to bring it to others, and the bigger/more influentials that “dude” is, the better it is for your music; but you don’t necessarily need to wait for the “Big Dude” of the Music Biz anymore. Everyone and anyone can help you spread your music by posting it on Facebook, Twitter, and adding it to their playlists. And who knows, perhaps at the end of the day, the “Big Dude” will listen to your music and like it, too.

One tip on sharing: be emphatic. Think about what you would like to see on socials from your favorite artists and labels, and don’t hesitate to highlight other artists — known or unknown — you like and “tag” them. Perhaps they will also love what you do and return the favor.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with this: Always be sincere and never abandon the music you like to try to please more people. If it’s honest, you’ll find your fan base and it will be more loyal and dedicated for it. Now, welcome to a world of profusion and to the Sharing Economy!

Convert Promos to Monetized Streams

SpotifyEmbed_QMagazineMonetized streaming is becoming a more and more important source of revenue for our artists and labels. It’s often presented as a new world of doing things (which is true), but this does not mean abandoning all the old principles of a music release, rather modifying and melding the two to work together.

Many recent UK chart single successes were streaming for weeks before they hit their ‘impact date’ and achieved a Top 10 status (streams were recently integrated in the UK Singles Chart). Streams were built up as radio and promo were going on, and 11 of the 14 singles on BBC Radio 1 A List are currently available on paid streaming services. Though we may not all have the resources to achieve a No. 1 or even the desire, the principle remains the same: make sure your retail strategy directly takes advantage of a music release’s traditional tools — in this case, press and radio.

Here are some examples:

When you take a single to radio, make it available to stream, too. While non-monetized streaming services are great, make sure you fans are able to listen to it on a monetized stream as well –this will actually put some cash directly in your pocket.

When premiering a track or video on an editorial site, again, make it available on a streaming service that pays out, and suggest getting the site to embed a link from a monetized streaming service as part of the premiere.

Spotify recently announced 10 million paying subscribers; Deezer is at 5 million — and that’s not including freemium users for either. Arguments against accessibility are becoming weaker and weaker. Don’t be afraid of asking your publicist to push for an embedded playlist from a monetized streaming service, rather than just a free streaming platform. It’s becoming increasingly common for editorial sites to accommodate this, and in the past few months, we’ve seen them on premieres from The Guardian, Q, Drowned in Sound, Clash, and Rock Sound among many others. The BBC has even integrated them into their BBC Playlister.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 10.48.12Take a gander over to Pitchfork, where there are Spotify embeds next to most album reviews. See the giant spike in the graph on the right? This was recorded on a Wednesday, two days after the release of the album, which coincided with it receiving Best New Music from Pitchfork. You guessed it, next to the glowing review was a Spotify embed. This demonstrates the powerful effect that directly joining your press with a retailer promo can have on your final numbers.

In addition to new strategies like embeds from streaming services, platforms like Shazam make the connection between hearing something and connecting it to a retailer quicker and simpler. We’re no longer in a situation where you have to wait a month to find that great track you heard at midnight on John Peel’s radio station and purchase it. Take advantage of these new opportunities and find ways to connect your press and promotions with streaming services and tools that will help you monetize your music faster.

Bonus: If you’ve got a WordPress-based site, you only need to copy and paste the HTTP link to include a Spotify embed. Case in point: find below a New Electronic playlist we recently set up in the UK, featuring music from Hyperdub, Caribou and araabMuzik. Enjoy!

Long Live Cassettes: Cassette Store Day 2014

CassetteStoreDayLOGOLow and behold analog enthusiasts… The second annual Cassette Store Day is quickly approaching! On Saturday, September 27th, fans will once again gather at participating shops to celebrate the cassette as a music format. This year, the event will be coordinated from both sides of the Atlantic with Fullerton, California-based Burger Records overseeing efforts in the US, while Kissability and Suplex Cassettes will once again be organizing things in the UK/EU.

In a blog post on NME.com, one of the original founders of Cassette Store Day, BBC Radio 1 DJ / Kissability’s Jen Long, had this to say towards the viability of the format, “Music today moves faster than ever before. We are swamped hourly with new acts, new tracks, and endless free downloads. It becomes addictive, with more and more bands wanting to release their music, and most importantly, more fans than ever wanting to become a part of this world and start a label. However, you can’t sell mp3s from the merch table (and it isn’t the most romantic way of introducing someone to a great band). Plus cassettes are cheap to make and you don’t have to commit to large quantities, unlike vinyl.”

Originally conceived as a way to celebrate the lost format, the first Cassette Store Day, held last September, was met with open arms with stores participating in over eighty cities worldwide and releases from the likes of The Flaming Lips, Haim, At the Drive-In, Deerhunter, and more!

This year’s event looks to expand on 2013’s success while staying focused, “When planning this year we really tried to keep cassette labels and fans at the heart of the event. Last year grew far bigger than we had expected, so we are thrilled to have Burger involved to help us cover the US side,” said Long.

However, according to Billboard, “While CSD 2013 warmed the hearts and ears of listeners both nostalgic for music journalist Rob Sheffield’s ‘Love Is A Mixtape’ era and hopeful for analog’s growing sweet spot in the music industry, it did not inspire strong sales: in the week ending Sept. 8, 2013, cassette albums sold just 1,000 — up 1% compared to the previous week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. To boot, those numbers represent a miniscule 0.02% of the total 289 million music units moved sold in 2013.”

Despite these harrowing numbers, Burger Records is very much looking forward to this year’s festivities and had this to say, “Burger Records loves tapes! We’ve built our foundation on the forgotten format and have been preaching the merits of warm analog cassette culture for years. We’re honored to be ambassadors of Cassette Store Day 2014 in the good ol’ USA! We plan to bring some of our favorite labels to the table and invite everyone to the party and partake in the fun phenomena of releasing top shelf music on cassette tapes in pop culture today!”

Matt Flag of Suplex Cassettes offered this final consideration in the same NME blog post mentioned above:“Today [tapes are] the most affordable showcase for a band that is not ready to spend £1000 to drop 500 7″s into the world, so I can run a label that takes chances and puts out as many releases as I want to due to the cheapness and convenience of the format. Plus they look rad!”

While many in the industry will snicker and others may write off the cassette resurgence to, “F#@&ing Hipsters,”[1]  there is something to be said for the DIY spirit and practicality of it all that makes it deserving of support.

Cassette Store Day 2014 takes place on Saturday September 27th. Labels wishing to release a cassette on the day can sign up for a small admin fee of $10/£10 from June 30th – August 15th at cassettestoreday.com.  Stores wishing to participate can sign up for free on the site. A full guide to assist labels and stores is also available for download.

Looking forward to pulling out my old Walkman!

[1] ^Long, Jen (12 July 2013). “Why We’ve Created Cassette Store Day (And Why It’s Not Just Hipster Nonsense)”. NME.

Witchcraft, Paganism, Black Magic and Illuminati Imagery

katyperry_darkhorseThe above are words taken from the complaint in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed recently in the Eastern District of Missouri. While accusations of witchcraft, paganism, black magic and Illuminati imagery may seem mundane given the state of the nation, this one is notable given the parties: the plaintiffs include Christian rappers Flame and Lecrae, and the defendants are Katy Perry, Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Capitol Records, among others.

Plaintiffs claim that Katy Perry’s recording of the song “Dark Horse” infringed upon defendants’ copyright in the composition “Joyful Noise” which appeared on the Flame LP titled OUR WORLD REDEEMED, released by Cross Movement Records and distributed digitally by your friends here at The Orchard.

Take a listen side-by-side and let us know what you think.

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.

Follow Us!

Archives