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Downloads, Watch Out! Streaming Is Where It’s At

August 30, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

streaming, Europe, U.S., Global Recorded Music ForecastAs the digital music landscape continues to grow and change, streaming and downloads are duking it out for a majority stake. Of course, we hope they’ll find a way to live happily side-by-side — like cats and dogs perhaps? — but right now, they’re still feeling each other out.

Watching the arena closely are Strategy Analytics. According to their Global Recorded Music Forecast, global revenues from streaming will skyrocket in 2012 to increase by 40% to $1.1 billion. Now that’s a growth spurt!

Let’s not mourn downloads just yet however. In the report, the U.S. researcher predicts an increase in global digital revenues of 8.5%, grossing a total of $8.6 billion. And according to them, the main income will still come from downloads which will total $3.9 billion.

On the flip side, and as expected, it’s not all sunny skies for physical sales. Strategy Analytics predict a decrease of 12.1%, with 61% of physical sales still taking up the bulk of 2012 global sales of recorded music. That should remain steady until 2015, when the researcher expects that worldwide digital sales will surpass physical.

Another conclusion the study makes is that streaming is better established in Europe than in the U.S. (see chart). What is striking in the statistics is the development between the U.S. market and Europe. In the U.K., researchers expect streaming income to rise to 42%, and even more so in the rest of Europe, to 48%. The predicted increase for the U.S. is only 28%.

While downloads still constitute 80% of digital music revenue, Ed Barton, Director of Digital Media at Strategy Analytics, says it’s saturated. Gazes are turned to streaming services like Pandora or Deezer, who are expected to be the main growth driver in the next 5 years.

The argument remains: access is what it’s all about these days, rather than ownership.

Recipe for Success? Lay It All Out Like Poliça

Most bands really want to make it big. Of course, right? But most bands in today’s world want to be big right away without putting in the time of sitting in a van for countless hours and practicing, let along just flat out working day in day out. Granted, there are many moving parts and formulas to the equation that go into a success story, far beyond just Facebook posts. Hard work is a given, and while knowing someone always helps, it does not guarantee victory. What it always seems to come down to is the quality of music and how that music is portrayed by those playing it. Believe me, fans know…

Take Poliça for example. They have enjoyed a steady flight that continues to go further and further upward. The band is less than a year old on paper and has already been showcased at SXSW, CMJ, Lollapalooza, Jimmy Kimmel Live while also getting nods of approval from Grammy winner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, who told Rolling Stone that “They’re the best band [he's] ever heard.” Combine that with having Jay-Z showcase their debut video on his site Life and Times and you have something that dreams are made of.

Part 1 of the Equation: The Music

Channy Leaneagh (formerly of Roma Di Luna and Gayngs)’s sonic voice, that hints at times of Sinead O’Conner, flows in line with her body movements and pulls you in for something that is unexplainable to common Earthlings. The emotion of the words alone, a result of a break-up that Channy faced, set you adrift into blissful soundscapes combined with bass-lines (Chris Bierden) that float upon dueling drummers (Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson). The studio tracks are what makes you believe, but it’s the live presentation that makes you fall in love with them.

The band’s first album — mixed by Jim Eno of Spoon, produced by Ryan Olson of Gayngs, and featuring guest vocals by Mike Noyce of Bon Iver — was released digitally on December 20, 2011 through their own label Totally Gross National Product. They have now partnered up with Mom & Pop Records for a physical re-release and a remix album. While tasting a great deal of success along with growing sales on an Independent level, they’ve kept it all organic and on their terms. Patience in finding the right people that love their music is something that goes unparalleled in a “right now” generation. By not capitulating and giving into the world of commercial pitfalls, a band shows it is poised for a career.

Part 2 of the Equation: Hard Work

Poliça has been touring non-stop in a van, in the air and by sea since their debut in September of last year. ‘Nuff said.

Part 3 of the Equation: Who You Know

Their manager Nate Vernon (Justin’s brother), has not for one minute relied on his namesake to propel this band to extreme levels. His compassion and understanding of letting it all flow has driven this band to where it is today. Trickling out a few tracks to prime the airways without a press release or a full length album was only the first serving to a growing feast of the blogosphere. That, followed by giving away tracks, playing free shows and approaching untapped markets such as Mexico (they landed Single of the Week at iTunes there!), has scaled Poliça to boundless heights. Embracing social networking while not using it as a crutch has helped define a band of the modern movement. The “give-a-little-bit-to-get-a-lot” has been the backbone for a band that continues to lay their cards out time and time again.

It’s Raining Music! And We Can Help You Collect Your “Dews”

August 9, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

public performance and neighboring rightsMusic is everywhere… and more and more so — sometimes even without you really noticing it — in carparks, lifts, shopping centers, restaurants (where it can be really irritating, just as you are about to expound some deep philosophical thought on the new ways of sharing music experiences with fans, the local group of Bouzouki musicians thinks you need a serenade…), and so on.

As the “Soundtrack to our Lives” diversifies itself into a myriad of listening experiences — from live concerts via radio programs to self-programmed streaming playlists and old-time homemade “Pirate” cassettes (yes, I know home-taping was killing music… so sorry [wink]) — so have the ways and means of monetizing these listening experiences grown ever more complicated and sophisticated.

The collection of “Neighbouring Rights” for example — another term for “Public Performance and Broadcasting Royalties” — used to be restricted essentially to mass-media usages in main territories of musical consumption, i.e. Western Europe and the USA. This is now changing however, and one of the ways in which we help our labels exercise all their rights is to engage on their behalf — if so mandated — to recover these monies that are being collected in their name but need to be claimed according to certain rules and regulations.

It goes without saying that these rules differ from one country to another — and even more within certain countries where there is more than one authorized collecting society. In some places, there is a levy on revenue generated by sales of material permitting the copy of sound recordings, in others radio or television airplay is still considered the main form of public performance while millions of streams are not taken into consideration… yet.

As part of The Orchard’s additional services that labels can opt into — either when they sign or as an addendum that can be implemented at any moment — we have adapted ourselves to be able to actively collect from over 30 different territories from Australia to Slovenia, South Africa to Mexico and the USA (of course) to France, where the SCPP is the latest addition to the roster of sources of revenues for Master Collections and one in which I have been actively involved.

As an example of the need to be painstakingly thorough in ensuring that only eligible titles are claimed for — without going into all the details we need to provide for each track on the 54-column Excel file  (and then again for its use in each and every other album, compilation, etc.) — we need to verify that the original rights-holder originates from a country having adhered to the Rome Convention and that the date of each recording is specifically exact. For instance, if an album was recorded over a week, we need the date of each track’s actual recording, and that if there are two different lengths of recordings (i.e. a radio-edit) then we must have two separate lines for each. …You can get a feel for the job in hand.

That said, all this is worthwhile! The financial results are already very positive. Without making anyone a millionaire overnight, it is a newly opened revenue flow that is consistent and that will continue to bring additional rewards to the work our labels do with our help in making their music as widely audible as possible.

So the next time a romantic moment is spoilt by a would-be DJ at least it’s good to know that somehow, someone who has taken the risk of producing music is getting some benefit from it.

Get Your NYCROPHONE On and Treat Your Soul to Some Sweet Sweet Music

August 8, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

NycrophoneNYCROPHONE is not an ordinary music blog.

The name is an amalgamation of “microphone,” an essential tool in music, and “New York,” a major epicenter for the industry. Created in 2011 by Hauke Gahrmann, a constant fixture in New York’s underground music scene, NYCROPHONE not only provides a platform for artists whose songs and videos are not normally heard on mainstream radio, but is also a celebration of the uniqueness of such talents. Not bound to one genre, it mixes different styles that have one thing in common: soulfulness.

So how does Gahrmann, a real estate broker from Germany, navigate the music scene? Soul music is borderless, and Gahrmann’s background contributes to his showcasing both domestic and international artists. Selections are dictated by his experience, love and enthusiasm towards independent musicians and their work. NYCROPHONE is a “personal collection,” delivering content that is both inspiring and inspired by fans of the site, many who suggest artists to be featured.

What you will not find on the site is PR and marketing fluff. Gahrmann prefers to let the music stand on its own, which is evident in the monthly video playlist. Gahrmann provides this as a service to his followers, to allow them to sit back and enjoy 10-15 videos without having to dig through all the pages of the blog. While an artist backstory can make for interesting commentary, what the audience will remember is the music.

NYCROPHONE is a free service, attempting to filter and support quality music in this saturated world of heartless pop. How can you help support it? All Gahrmann asks for is an email subscription and a “Like” on Facebook.

What are you waiting for?

Myxin’ It Up with Social Radio

myxer social radioThe last time we checked in with Myxer, they had recently launched a new streaming radio platform called Myxer Social Radio. At the time, we took a look at the service within the context of a larger growing trend of ‘making music more social.’ Would this new entrant rise to become a real player in the field?

Well, since their launch in late 2011, Myxer Social Radio appears to be making a habit or racking up achievements and milestones left and right. 150,000 users within 7 weeks of launch? Check. Named one of ‘The Best Apps of 2011‘ by Rolling Stone? Check. Recent recipient of the MTV O Music Award for ‘Most Addictive Social Music Service?’ Check!

Today, Myxer Social Radio is quickly coming up on the 1.5 million mark for app installs, and in recent months, Myxer Social Radio has rolled out 2 new interactive programming features. Both “Inside the Artist Studio” and “Indie Spotlight” give artists the ability to showcase and promote their latest songs while chatting with their fans in real-time — a first for any streaming radio service.

Of course, it should be of little surprise to anyone that this service has had such a trajectory. Myxer itself has been a well-established destination for mobile content for years and it’s only natural that their foray into the streaming radio market would be met with this kind of enthusiasm and success. As a distributor, The Orchard is proud to be partners with such an innovative service; as fans of independent music, we are all extremely excited for the future of Myxer Social Radio.

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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