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Now That’s What I Call A Compilation

September 30, 2013 Client Tool, Industry Trends 5 Comments

best country everWho doesn’t love a great mixtape? A collection of handpicked songs that represent the best of the best of whatever genre, activity, theme, emotion, season, holiday, or mood those songs embody. And while many music lovers may say that compilations erode the value of the album, it cannot be refuted that compilations provide tremendous value to music consumers and help record labels revive back catalogue whose sales may be waning. And they are great on road trips… and for dance parties… and for introducing music lovers to rarities and unusual sub-genres. They’re just great, got it?

And the business of compilations is doing very well. In fact, The Official Charts Company in the UK reported an increase in compilations sales in 2012 of 7.2%, bringing sales of the format up to 21% of all recorded sales. They are one of the fastest growing sectors of recorded music.

So, you ask, how do you make a great compilation?

That’s easy. You pick a theme, license (for super cheap) the absolute best songs ever to fit that theme, order those songs in the most inspiring and interesting way possible, then create the most beautiful, eye-catching art that will make it stand out from the millions of others on the digital shelf, and price it at just the right price so that consumers see more value in purchasing the album than just a few tracks off the album.

Or you could just call it “NOW That’s What I Call Music.” Those seem to sell well.

In all seriousness, though, there are 4 basic things you need to consider when creating a digital compilation:

The songs — and the order of those songs — are the most important aspect of the compilation. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is worth emphasizing. You can have the coolest looking “Best of Soul” compilation out there, but if it doesn’t have James Brown on it, it will never sell as much as one called “Worst of Soul” that does have James Brown. Ok, that might be extreme, but I’ve made my point. Do your homework, scour your catalogue for the music that fits, order those tracks in a thoughtful way, and it will pay off.

Unless you already have a strong brand (NOW! or Ministry of Sound), the title of your compilation can have a huge impact on sales. Inserting a few key words that consumers search for will help your album gain some visibility in an already crowded digital marketplace. Do some research. Do people search for “Flamenco Guitar Music” or “Spanish Guitar Music” more? “Swing” or “Doo Wop?” “Christmas Music” or “Holiday Music?” “Songs” or “Music?” “Best” or “Greatest?” Some of this will be trial and error, but running these phrases by Google Trends will prove helpful.

How much the cover art of a compilation matters certainly depends on the genre or theme. But in my experience, while artwork matters, it matters to a lesser extent than traditional albums. It is likely that a consumer LOOKING for a nice compilation of “Latin Jazz Music” or “Surf Rock Songs from the 60′s” is ok buying something that LOOKS like a compilation. This means that it doesn’t have to look like a rare work of art, but should look sharp, professional, and not too Photoshop-y. Simple, easy to read text next to an iconic image that conveys the music on the album works very well.

Once you have created a great compilation, don’t ruin it by pricing it incorrectly. Compilations are typically value purchases for music shoppers, which means they look for something with more tracks than a typical album, and at a very attractive price point. 20 songs for $8, 30 for $10 — something in that range. Obviously, mechanical royalties and whether the master recordings are owned or licensed play into this pricing decision, but at the end of the day most compilation buyers want a good amount of music for a low price.

Happy Compiling!

(written while listening to “The 50 Best Country Songs Ever” by Various Artists)

Why You Should Submit Your Music for the Independent Music Awards

IMA-LogoFestival season is slowly ending, and ready to replace it gladly is awards season. Among these are the Independent Music Awards, which are now gearing up for their 13th annual ceremony. Submissions are being accepted now through October 11th, and as an exclusive partner, we’ve secured 2-for-1 discounts for our clients to submit. Check your inbox for the link, sent in our latest client newsletter.

The Independent Music Awards are an international program that connects artists to new marketing and revenue opportunities. It’s open to independent artists and labels from around the world — independent being the key word. What makes it different to other awards is the judging and the rewards. Submissions are evaluated by peers with a focus on artistry and originality over press clippings and record sales, and you can submit your work in more than 80 Album, Song, Design and Music Video categories such as Social Action Song, Album Re-Issue, EP and more. The panel of judges usually includes a range of music icons, festival programmers, music press, Film & TV music supervisors and buyers from big performance venues throughout North America, Europe and Australia — so you’re getting lots of visibility by influential people just by submitting.

In terms of reapings, don’t expect cash or special prizes. Instead, winners and nominees enjoy additional support in marketing campaigns; radio, print, online and broadcasting promotions; and new performance and revenue opportunities. These range from a 12-week radio promotion campaign to special retailer promotions and international distribution opportunities. You can find out more about these on the IMA submission page (though remember to submit your music through the 2-for-1 exclusive link if you’re an Orchard client!).

It’s really a no-brainer. So stop whatever you’re doing now and join past IMA artists which include Lacuna Coil, Joan As Police Woman, Flying Lotus, Melissa Auf der Maur, Girl In A Coma, Pokey La Farge & The South City Three and many more by submitting your work. Chop, chop! The deadline for entering is October 11. If you can’t find your 2-for-1 submission link, feel free to contact your client rep.

Nominees are announced in March, and winners are awarded in May.

Don’t Miss A Thing with Spotify Connect

September 16, 2013 Industry Trends No Comments

spotifyconnectSpotify has done it again and moved the needle to awesome on the Neat Stuff Scale. With the launch of Spotify Connect, premium subscribers can listen to their music anywhere.

Spotify Connect provides a wireless music solution which allows users to send and receive audio across Spotify-enabled devices including your iPhone, iPad and select home audio systems (for example, Philips, Pioneer, Yamaha — Android and desktop updates coming soon). With wireless speakers, folks can continue to play whatever they’re listening to on their iPhone when they walk through the door of their home. They merely press play on the living room speaker system, and their favorite Aerosmith song fires up their living room speakers without missing a note. Pretty.rad.stuff. if you don’t want to miss a thing.

Learn more about it in this nice looking video

Spotify Is Not a Streaming Service

August 19, 2013 Industry Trends 1 Comment

Spotify New Official LogoSpotify is a subscription service. And subscriptions are where the money is. Here are some reasons why we think you should put your music on them.

In 2012, the average yearly spend on recorded music per person in the U.S. was only $43.33 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A Spotify or similar subscription is $9.99 per month or almost $120 per year! And about 70% is paid out to rights holders.

This is not about per stream rates, downloads vs. streams, albums vs. tracks, CDs vs. digital. This is about exploiting the attention economy.

Think about it this way: Subscription revenue is divided on a pro rata share. If you have a great album and a lot of people spend time listening to it on a subscription service you will earn a big share of the pot. If you have only one big track you will earn a bit less. If you have music that most people don’t listen to as much as other music you will earn even less.

What your takeaway should be here is to stop trying to calculate per-use rate and rather focus on how much time people spend with your music — the rest will follow. Wait until there are 10 million paying subscribers on Spotify. And then 20 million. And then 30 million.

We are never going back to the old way. We suggest you go with the flow. Or stream.

ProSiebenSat.1 Gives Streaming Services a Run For Their Money

ampya logoThe media group ProSiebenSat.1 is expanding its music business on the Internet and wants to secure a big slice of the growing market with music subscriptions. On Monday, the company launched its new service, Ampya. This should provide a full-service solution for music: Ampya offers more than 20 million songs, 57,000 music videos and 100,000 radio stations according to ProSiebenSat.1. This places it as a main competitor to established rivals Spotify and Simfy. Even Napster announced a week ago that it planned to massively build up its presence in Europe.

To differentiate itself from other services, Ampya will focus on editorial reports. The goal is for users to come to Ampya to get music news from around the world and to listen to or view it all. Users can create their own lists and receive personalized recommendations based on listening history. Moreover, Ampya is the only streaming service to also offer music videos. “We want to become a main competitor for  Spotify,” said Manuel Uhlitzsch, CEO of Magic Internet. The software comes from Mondia Media, who worked with 60 software developers and about 20 editors for more than two years on the development of the platform.

The new service will first be offered as an ad-supported trial version to sign up new users. Later, Ampya will offer a 5 Euro version for PC version and a 10 Euro version for mobile without commercials. This corresponds almost exactly to the model Spotify follows.

With a history in music and talent shows, the ProSiebenSat TV group has already established itself in the music business. It also owns an entertainment and music label in conjunction with Star Watch Entertainment Group. In addition, the company operates MyVideo, a VOD platform which offers more than 50,000 music videos, one which we at The Orchard also distribute our content. MyVideo.de has 7.3 million users according to the company. Clearly, the video, gaming, online music business is an important and powerful driver for growth for ProSiebenSat.1.

All we can say is, the European streaming industry is bursting with options, and all services are upping the ante on each other to compete for the number one spot. Will Ampya be it?

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