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When Film Becomes Fashion and Music An Antique…

old film, record player, music, moviesLast week, the LA Times reported that Millennials “seem to have little use for old movies” while Hypebot reported that for the first time since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking album sales in 1991, “old records have outsold new ones.” Digital consumers see music and film as two different experiences, even though they are consumed through many of the same devices and online stores.

The LA Times author argues that Generation Y finds older movies “hopelessly passé — technically primitive, politically incorrect, narratively dull, slowly paced. In short, old-fashioned.” Film viewers become accustomed to picture quality, special effects, but also a style of acting and storytelling that evolves with pop culture. In that sense, film consumption is becoming more like fashion.

Audio recording technology and the instruments used for popular music, on the other hand, have not changed enough in the last 20 years to render older recordings outdated. The difference likely does not matter to the average consumer. But also, we’re accustomed to listening to songs over and over, our favorite songs possibly for the rest of our life. Could a song from our childhood mean more to us today? In that sense, music may act more like a fine antique.

You could argue this has always been the case, but the phenomenon has amplified in the new online market as the quantity of media options and rate of change have accelerated. When presented with an overwhelming number of options, consumers will increasingly pick the newest, most culturally relevant film, particularly because there are not huge price differences between renting old and new. But among music libraries growing faster than ever, with unlimited access through services like Spotify, we may increasingly choose a song we already know.

As a content creator seeking fans, viewers or simply profit, producing a new version of something recognizable can overcome this phenomenon, whether it’s an updated remake of a popular film, a new sequel, a cover song or a re-record.

Images courtesy of Flickr users ‘overseastom’ (left) and ‘Jason Pier in DC’ (right)

Dear Pitchfork, Thanks.

Pitchfork Festival 2012Chicago! You’re beautiful. You’ve got great architecture, the perennial underdog baseball team that you just can’t hate on, and you’re home to arguably the most influential music website of say, the last decade or so.

Whether you drink their kool-aid religiously or absolutely hate them, Pitchfork have definitely made their mark over the years in the music community. Their annual 3-day festival which took place last weekend in Chicago’s Union Park, came complete with three stages, a lineup consisting of some of today’s most up-and-coming artists, and a host of vendors selling a variety of food, music, jewelry, and other odds and ends. The price was right too with 3-day passes going for about $120. Not bad.

Anyway, several great bands played and there are probably plenty of reviews all over the place. There’s just not enough space for that here. One small thing that felt really optimistic, especially for a person who works in music distribution, was the great record fair setup they had going where you could check out vinyl and CDs from all the record labels who had set up shop. At the same time, right across the way was a tent hosted by eMusic. Yes, that’s right folks, physical and digital partners co-existing in one space. Sweet!

Nowadays, there are more choices than ever to listen to and own music. This was a small reminder that at the center of it all bringing everyone together is, and always will be, the music. Kudos to companies out there like Pitchfork that have found ways to connect with music fans and provide fertile ground for the music community to continue to thrive on.

Yahoo!, Yoigo and Spotify! Oh My!

Spotify, Yahoo, YoigoYou know what I like to write about? Streaming services. You know why? Cause they’re awesome. What about them makes ‘em awesome? Their constant ability to mold and transition with the ever changing market and music consumer. Does this post already sound incredibly nerdy? Don’t answer that… (I type as I push my glasses up my nose and take a puff from my inhaler.) And I digress.

A few days ago, I put my big plastic glasses on and read some new developments about Spotify. Quite a few things to mention, most notably:

  • Yahoo! Partnership:  Yahoo! is teaming up with Spotify as their exclusive streaming partner and will integrate the service across all their media properties starting with Yahoo! Music. In turn, Yahoo! will create an app for Spotify featuring their content. Starting in the U.S., they’ll eventually expand to the rest of the globe — the new Yahoo! Global partnership adds a 700 million user reach.
  • Free Mobile Radio: Don’t have a premium Spotify account? Well in the past, you couldn’t use Spotify on your intelligent telephone. It was basically only good for doing calculations with your calculator function. But now, you can access free Spotify radio on the go in the U.S. on your iPhone or iPad. Launching with over 16 million tracks, it’s the largest catalog of music available at mobile radio (much much more than Pandora) and royalties will be paid via SoundExchange. Android users: hold tight — yours is coming soon.
  • Yoigo Partnership: Yoigo is said to be one of the fastest growing mobile operators in Spain. It’s Spotify’s hope that this will help their premium user conversion and growth as a digital revenue source in the Spanish music industry. Current Yoigo customers with an intelligent telephone and data plan can enjoy 3 free months of Spotify and a permanent reduction on the monthly premium fee.

To say the least, Spotify has been busy! So head on over to Yahoo!, download their app on Spotify and move to Spain to see what it’s all about.

Back That Stat Up

Pie ChartSocial Media is a beast. Am I right? And don’t even get me started on Social Media Analytics. One day the world is reeling about one service, one hot new tool, and just when you think you’ve got it… you wake up to something harder, better, faster, stronger. I’ve found it to be essential that when you’re managing social aspects of your band/label or company you learn to love the hunt for new services and go with the flow.

So now that you’ve got me started… I wanted to take this post to tout a few of my fave social media analytics sites that have a FREE or small membership fee version that is useful for tracking The Orchard’s social media activity. I know you can piecemeal a bunch of different tools together but I try to keep as much under one (or two) umbrella(s) as I can, though I do manage  our Twitter activity and Facebook activity separately. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how you analyze your social media profiles and activity, so if you have any suggestions, hit me up in the comments!

Hootsuite (Twitter)

I don’t use Twitter direct anymore. I only use Hootsuite, main reasons being timed tweets and analytics. We usually have a large amount of news that we want to blast out to the world, so instead of hitting you all at once, I can space them out throughout the day. Alternatively, if I have a busy day, I can schedule as many as I like to post throughout the day and then let ‘em fly! Their analytics tool is robust and since we fork over the minimal monthly fee for their Pro Package ($5.99), I can customize what reports we generate so only the Orchard-applicable info is included. I do gather Facebook analytics with Hootsuite in addition to Twitter because it pulls directly from Facebook Insights (it’s nice to have it all in one analytics report). That said, I don’t publish actual Facebook activity using Hootsuite because you cannot tag your posts, which is mega important for us.

Crowdbooster (Twitter)

Great potential here. You can access daily follower increases, top tweets and top influential followers. You can schedule tweets here, too. They’re still hammering out custom date range counts, which is very valuable to me and this is one of the main reasons I haven’t fully committed to Crowdbooster, yet. It’s also difficult to dig deep into each stat they report and break it down further. I’ve emailed with the CEO and he’s assured me they are working on fixing the date range issue (I appreciated the quick feedback). I like these guys, not just for their platform that seems to keep getting better, but especially for their customer service!

TweetStats (Twitter)

Light-hearted company voice (their tag line is: In ur Tweets, Graphin’ Your Stats!) and accuracy take lead over fancy interface, but this service delivers stats impressively and that may be enough. If you’re looking to identify when you’re tweeting most (density), who you interact with most, and which interface you’re using most, TweetStats is great. If you catch them on a busy time of day, it could take up to 5 minutes or so to load, but it’s worth the wait. I have to admit, I prefer the more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing dashboards of other services but still appreciate these guys for cutting through all the b.s. and delivering solid stats.

Question for Readers: I’m still looking for the most accurate RT count per month (not total retweets)! I know I can manually count RTs but have you heard of anything less labor intensive?

Facebook/Facebook Insights

Well, to be honest, I really don’t dig Facebook Insights. Luckily, I’m only tracking very basic analytics such as likes/post reach/people talking about this etc., which I can get through Hootsuite and track together with my Twitter analytics there. There are also quite a few hoops you have to go through to get data from a certain date range (for some stats you want within a defined time period, you have to download the spreadsheet then sift through that, instead of just getting it straight from the Insights dashboard). That said, I’m pretty much 100% Facebook when it comes to actually posting, capturing data and interacting socially.

I’m waiting for the day that my wildest social media dreams are met with a full, comprehensive dashboard that handles all my social media profiles. Yes, yes… there are websites that can put all of your social profiles in one place to view (Cyfe for instance), however, I have not found that any are more functional, efficient or accurate than using separate services or tools to analyze each.

Thanks to these products for helping me along… I’m looking forward to seeing who beats out who amongst the multitude of services — new and not-as-new — that offer social media analytics. I’ve checked out the following and for different reasons, they haven’t met all of my needs but I will keep them on my list to “keep an eye on:” PeopleBrowsr, Twenty Feet, SocialBro.

Happy trackin’!

The Most Valuable Thing You Don’t Know About YouTube’s Business Model

YouTube What if I said that the better you understand the mechanism behind YouTube’s business model, the higher your streaming rate will be on YouTube? Yes, that means reading this article could improve your YouTube rates — maybe even double or triple them. Get ready for a major change in the way your content is valued.

If your business currently revolves around retail models, whether iTunes or brick-and-mortar stores or subscription services like Spotify or Netflix, you may not be aware of the primary driver of YouTube’s unique business model, which is projected by Citi to generate $3.6 billion in gross revenue this year. What’s incredible about their model is that even as YouTube integrates more and more pre-roll ads, which should reduce viewership, traffic grows 20% a quarter according to comScore.

The fundamental difference between the industry built around YouTube (arguably “the future”) and the industry music and film rights owners are accustomed to (a little too early to call it “the past”) is the difference between an auction and a retail store. Music and film rights owners have built their businesses around a retail model, where rates are set and their ability to drive revenue is tied to their ability to sell units or get streams. YouTube’s model works more like a TV network, where the value of the product is only as big as advertisers are willing to pay to advertise against it, so the networks are always looking for the highest bidder, like an auction. For a TV show that auction typically happens by the season, but on YouTube that auction runs by the split second.

So YouTube is an auction, which makes your new customers (the buyers) the brands and advertisers. While fans control your traffic, which is equally important, the brands control the value of your content (the price) in this new ecosystem.

… Continue Reading

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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