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The Battle Against Piracy Continues…

October 4, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

A fresh study into piracy by Musicmetric’s Digital Music Index has looked into the extent of illegal file-sharing across the U.K. It doesn’t read too well for those on the front line of battling piracy! While everybody in the industry has their own opinion on how to ‘fix’ this issue, it still rages on. One thing we do know is there isn’t a magic solution that we can implement to make it all disappear.

The study observed the extent of illegal file-sharing across the U.K. and the rest of the world in the first 6 months of the year. The research covers music file-sharing patterns via BitTorrent. The U.K. comes second in the worldwide chart of BitTorrent downloads with 43,263,582 downloads, second to the U.S. which had 96,681,133. The chart below puts these numbers in relation to country population.

Country Name Total Downloads Approx. Songs Country Population
1 United States 96,681,133 775,382,687 313,232,044
2 United Kingdom 43,263,582 346,973,928 62,698,362
3 Italy 33,158,943 265,934,723 61,016,804
4 Canada 23,959,924 192,158,590 34,030,586
5 Brazil 19,724,522 158,190,666 194,037,075
6 Australia 19,232,252 154,242,661 21,766,711
7 Spain 10,303,633 82,635,137 46,754,784
8 India 8,964,360 71,894,167 1,189,172,906
9 France 8,398,550 67,356,371 65,102,719
10 Philippines 8,380,208 67,209,268 101,833,938

Breaking down the U.K. further, here are the top 10 cities for piracy in the same time period arranged per capita:

City Downloads over 6 month period
London 4,565,502
Manchester 1,317,012
Nottingham 598,621
Southampton 480,151
Liverpool 927,535
Sheffield 748,301
Leicester 487,406
Stoke-on-trent 380,872
Glasgow 1,037,934
Cardiff 348,603

It’s clear people still very much like to consume music but their consumption of music is drastically changing, and so is the mindset of a music consumer. I believe our job working on the forefront of the digital music world is to continue be inventive in the way we monetize music. Being static to the changing world around us and complaining about it isn’t going to change the situation. Fighting piracy is of course a must and the people doing such a thing do a vital job. But being creative and driving the industry forward shouldn’t be overlooked. We need to engage the people who pirate music not just fight them.

It’s A Celebration Kind of Year… Happy 30 Years, CD!

October 2, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

Happy 30th Birthday to the CDHappy Birthday to the CD! In the U.K., they’ve been commercially available for 30 years now, with the first titles available on the format coming from ABBA and Billy Joel. CDs are the most successful format in the history of the recorded music industry. The BPI’s quarterly survey of trade shipments first picked up sales of CDs in the third quarter of 1983 when 63,000 units were sold by U.K. record companies. By the end of the year, 300,000 had been sold. The following year, sales more than doubled to 800,000, but in 1985 the format became more ubiquitous when 3.1 million discs were sold.

When we look at the top albums ever sold on CD, we see some interesting things. Adele’s 21 album was only released in January 2011, yet is in second place in the chart with more than 3.5 million CDs sold. The oldest title in the chart is ABBA’s Gold (the best seller) followed by The Verve’s Urban Hymns, released 15 years ago in September 1997. Rather surprisingly, no compilations feature in the top 30 but their sales do tend to be over much shorter time periods and they age quickly.

Only three artists had more than one title in the top 30 — Coldplay and Robbie Williams had three each, with Robbie’s three titles featuring sequentially at positions 25, 26 and 27, and Dido featured twice. U.K. artists are especially well-represented in the chart, taking 21 of the top 30 and no fewer than eight of the top 10. A multitude of Greatest Hits available on several artists probably account for why only four Greatest Hits packages appear on the list.

Check out the full list below:

TOP 30 CD Albums of All Time in the U.K.

1. Gold – Greatest Hits – ABBA – Polydor (1992) – 4,038,351
2. 21 – Adele – XL Recordings (2011) – 3,553,624
3. What’s The Story Morning Glory – Oasis – Big Brother (1995) – 3,425,546
4. Back To Black – Amy Winehouse – Universal Island (2006) – 3,225,624
5. Back To Bedlam – James Blunt – Atlantic Records UK (2004) – 3,209,086
6. No Angel – Dido – RCA Label Group (2000) – 3,031,643
7. Come On Over – Shania Twain – Mercury (1997) – 3,026,994
8. Spirit – Leona Lewis – RCA Label Group (2007) – 2,951,178
9. Urban Hymns – The Verve – Virgin (1997) – 2,904,857
10. White Ladder – David Gray – Atlantic Records UK (2000) – 2,883,400
11. Life For Rent – Dido – RCA Label Group (2003) – 2,857,276
12. 1 – The Beatles – Parlophone/Virgin (2000) – 2,854,626
13. A Rush Of Blood To The Head – Coldplay – Parlophone (2002) – 2,755,800
14. Beautiful World – Take That – Polydor (2006) – 2,735,312
15. Hopes And Fears – Keane – Universal Island (2007) – 2,732,968
16. Crazy Love – Michael Buble – Warner Bros (2009) – 2,724,906
17. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters – Polydor (2004) – 2,719,002
18. Talk On Corners – The Corrs – Atlantic Records UK (1997) – 2,651,526
19. X&Y – Coldplay – Parlophone (2005) – 2,608,448
20. The Man Who – Travis – Independiente (1999) – 2,553,626
21. Parachutes – Coldplay – Parlophone (2000) – 2,480,059
22. The Fame – Lady Gaga – Polydor (2009) – 2,476,984
23. Come Away With Me – Norah Jones – Parlophone (2002) – 2,471,070
24. Only By The Night – Kings Of Leon – Columbia Label Group (2008) – 2,399,373
25. I’ve Been Expecting You – Robbie Williams – EMI Records (1998) – 2,377,991
26. Greatest Hits – Robbie Williams – EMI Records (2004) – 2,269,981
27. Swing When You’re Winning – Robbie Williams – EMI Records (2001) – 2,232,232
28. The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem – Polydor (2000) – 2,231,288
29. Eyes Open – Snow Patrol – Polydor (2006) – 2,219,570
30. Ladies & Gentlemen – The Best Of – George Michael – RCA Label Group (1998) – 2,203,334

[Source: Official Charts Company]

Whereas 229 different albums have sold a million CD copies, only six single titles have reached this threshold since OCC began to track sales at the beginning of 1994. Of those, three were charity-related releases: Elton John’s re-recording of Candle In The Wind (The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund), Band Aid 20’s re-recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas, which sold 1.1 million and Perfect Day, (Children In Need). The impact of reality TV shows such as Popstars, Pop Idol and X Factor is also evident in the chart with Will Young, Gareth Gates, Shayne Ward and Hear’Say, all featuring in the Top 30.

TOP 10 CD Singles of All Time in the U.K.

1. “Something About The Way You Look/Candle” – Elton John – Mercury (1997) – 3,005,377
2. “Anything Is Possible/Evergreen” – Will Young – RCA Label Group (2002) – 1,517,513
3. “Unchained Melody” – Gareth Gates – RCA Label Group 2002 – 1,135,902
4. “Believe” – Cher – Warner Bros 1998 – 1,107,749
5. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” – Band Aid 20 – Mercury (2004) – 1,104,176
6. “Perfect Day” – Various Artists – EMI Records (1997) – 1,067,496
7. “Baby One More Time” – Britney Spears – RCA Label Group (1999) – 944,031
8. “That’s My Goal” – Shayne Ward – RCA Label Group (2005) – 923,676
9. “Barbie Girl” – Aqua – Universal Island (1997) – 886,547
10. “My Heart Will Go On” – Celine Dion – Columbia Label Group (1998) – 877,239

[Source: The Official Charts Company — Chart reflects sales from W5 1994 to W37 2012]

Obviously digital singles now account for over 95% of all single sales, with the ever present X Factor-winning single regularly being the only CD single that sells in any great number. With even CD albums starting to lose their footing as the dominant format, I wonder what these charts will look like in another 30 years…

Get On The Orchard Psych Bus

The Black Angels' "Phosphene Dream"

Don’t stare or it will blow your mind…

While we pride ourselves on the diversity of musical content we distribute here at The Orchard (as we do indeed do it all), there are some genres that continue to rear their heads and shoulders above the pack and span the demographics of our customer base. The one I’d like to cover today is Psych-Rock.

Your grandparents probably listened to the original bands and their hits (The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense And Peppermints” and The Electric Prunes “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”) and our friend Lenny Kaye (later to be Patti Smith’s guitarist) compiled the first Nuggets compilation records of this genre in the early ‘70’s (the third track on Nuggets Vol. 1 is “Night Time” by The Strangeloves (featuring The Orchard’s own Richard Gottehrer).

Since the late 70’s, Psych-Rock has come back again and again, and The Orchard really joined the fun when Richard and Seymour Stein revived their Blue Horizon imprint in 2010 and chose The Black Angels Phosphene Dream as its first release. This perfectly written, performed and produced album of Psych-Rock-Pop crossed over in a big way (#50 debut on the Billboard Top 200) and helped pave the way for other labels like Sonic Unyon and Tee Pee Records to flex their Psych-muscles. SU’s Ringo Deathstarr, for example, have released 4 titles in 2 years (including their latest, Mauve on special……….wait for it……….mauve vinyl); sales are brisk and steady and their vinyl always sells through quickly.

In December, look for releases from our newest Psych-leaning label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society, including the DVD/download of Austin Psych Fest 2012, the 5th annual event of it’s kind. While the content is not confirmed at press time, the performers at this year’s Fest included The Black Angels, The Black Lips, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dead Meadow (who are really more Stoner Rock, but that’s another story for another day…).

Smartphones Turned Strobe Lights… Who’s In?

September 20, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

Dan Deacon AppWith the number concerts and festivals rapidly increasing each year, artists need to look for exciting ways to make audiences feel more engaged in the experience. Well, fans of the musician Dan Deacon are in for a treat. The Official Dan Deacon app allows concert-goers to create a syncopated lightshow while enjoying the concert. Coldplay recently implemented a similar technology using LED wristbands (check out the video here — it’s incredible). Deacon’s app however requires nothing more than use of your smartphone.

The free app developed by Wham City Apps, does not require Wi-Fi or a data connection. Instead, phones sync with audio from the performance, making it possible for Deacon to communicate and control phones from the stage. When in use, the app turns phone screens into a light show, speakers into an instrument and L.E.D.s into a strobe. This is another great example of mobile mobility, and from what we can predict, we’re only seeing the beginning in a new wave of audience participation.

Check out the trailer for the app below:

How to Make the Most of YouTube: Think Inside The Box

September 13, 2012 Industry Trends, YouTube No Comments

YouTubeThere have been a lot of conversations about how to use YouTube to earn money but I want to discuss how to use YouTube as a part of a social media strategy; specifically, how to best take advantage of the description box below videos. Let’s start with this: YouTube is the place people go to discover music. It is often the first stop on the customer journey. It is the #2 search engine after Google and the #1 search engine for music. So what should you do with this information?

Let’s look at a basic customer journey that starts with interest, leads to becoming a fan and ends with a paying customer. People discover music on YouTube. They hear about an artist and search for them on YouTube. It doesn’t matter if it is a new artist or a new video. It is new to the person searching. So what do you want to say to them? They just discovered you.

This is where the box comes into play. You know there is a text box under every video. How you fill that box with information is critical. This is your first direct contact with a potential fan. Do you leave the box empty? Do you fill it with the name of the video director? The copyright information? Label name? Sadly this is the common use.

Instead this could be a welcome message. A little info about the artist, links to social networks, websites or other videos. Or what about lyrics? Or links to tour dates? If an artist is active, shouldn’t they update every video regardless of how old it is with current tour dates? Shouldn’t all the older videos also mention newer videos or new albums? In fact, updating that box should be at a minimum a weekly function. If you are not updating the box you are essentially ignoring all the potential fans. If you were a retail store it would be like ignoring every person that walked into the shop — and not even displaying any of the new merchandise.

The key is to message appropriately. A new potential fan should get information that assumes they don’t know anything about the artist. That is how you should use the box. A person that has been converted to a fan that follows an artist on Facebook or Twitter gets different information. And the most engaged fan that has given an email address and might purchase directly gets yet another level of information.

So don’t just think outside the box. Work inside it.

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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