Music Industry Insight

Distrokid Announces TikTok Integration for Independent Artists.

Independent artists using digital distribution service Distrokid can now get their music on TikTok.

“Artists have been asking us to add TikTok on a daily basis,” said Kaplan in a Medium post announcing the news, in which he noted TikTok has been downloaded over a billion times. 

The new integration — which Distrokid members must opt into — allows any artist who subscribes to the service to submit their music to TikTok free of charge. Artists will receive royalties when their music is used on the app, Kaplan confirmed to Billboard, but did not state at what rate.

On the Distrokid platform, where artists and labels may opt-in their recordings for TikTok, there is no mention of a streaming service the social network’s parent company, ByteDance, is developing. 

TikTok, the video-sharing app that helped launch Lil Nas X’s Billboard Hot 100 record-breaker “Old Town Road” into the stratosphere, has recently expanded its offerings for independent artists. In April the service began workshopping TikTok Spotlight, a special submission channel for emerging musicians, in Japan and Korea (plans for other territories have yet to be announced). The program, which is also the basis of a currently-running talent competition, helps emerging musicians get their songs in front of TikTok’s massive user base by showcasing their music in a featured playlist.

Source: Chris Eggertsen

Pandora Expands Independent Artist Music Submissions Tool.

Pandora is expanding its Independent Artist Submissions tool to make it easier to submit music for consideration. Unlike Spotify, Apple Music and even Pandora’s own Premium streaming service, not all artists are chosen by its internal Music Genome Project for inclusion on the basic free Pandora ad-supported service.
The redesigned and enhanced tool enables more submissions and reducing wait times. Since launching in beta,  the Artist Submissions has accepted over 64,000 releases from more than 44,000 indie artists.
The Independent Artists Submissions tool is part of its AMP artist marketing platform which includes an impressively broad suite of self-serve creator tools including Artist Audio Messages (speak directly to your fans with personal soundbites), Featured Tracks (a boost that helps new music reach more stations and listeners), and Pandora Stories (combining the best worlds of music playlists and podcasts).
Starting today, artists can access the new Independent Artists Submissions tool here, or by clicking on “Submissions” from the dropdown menu on any AMP profile.  For more information indie artists are invited to check out the resources on the AMP Playbook, or reach out directly with questions at
Source. Bruce Houghton

Unsigned Artists Are Generating More Income Than Ever Before.

Study from MIDIA Research and digital distribution service Amuse finds that independent artists generated $643 million in 2018, up 35% from the previous year.

Artists without record labels generated $643.1 million in 2018, up 35% from the prior year, according to a new research survey conducted by the music distribution service and alternative record label Amuse alongside MIDIA Research. That represents a 3.3% share of recorded music revenues, up from 2.8% in 2017.  

The findings, based on a survey conducted of more than 250 artists around the world, suggest that with alternatives to label deals expanding, independent artists are increasingly discovering new ways to generate income. As a result, labels are seen as less vital than ever to sustaining a career in music.  

“There are a lot of these tools in the market that allow people to reach a certain level of monetary success on their own,” Amuse co-founder and CEO Diego Farias told Billboard. “And it sort of leads a lot of people in the creative industries, and especially among young artists, to believe that they can do this entirely on their own. I think that’s what’s being reflected here.”

Indeed, less than a third of independent artists who responded to the survey consider it important to be signed to a record label, while a little more than half of artists already signed to a label feel it’s important. The study’s suggestion of a shifting perception has coincided with a rise in alternatives to the traditional label system, including artist funding solutions such as 23 Capital — which allows artists to borrow against prior income — as well as The Music Fund, Royalty Exchange and Amuse’s newly-launched Fast Forward service, all of which offer artists up-front sums in exchange for a percentage of future royalties.

Still, the income generated by both independent and label artists remains low for the majority. Of independent artists who responded to the survey, nearly three-quarters said they make less than $10,000 a year from music, while 61% of label artists said the same. In addition, over two-thirds of all artists reported having to work other jobs outside of music in order to make ends meet.

While struggling musicians will always exist — particularly with increasing competition in the DIY streaming age — Farias believes it’s possible for more of them to earn a sustainable living, both by increasing access to DIY technologies as well as signing them to less-exploitative deals.

“One of the issues has been that out of the dollars generated in terms of revenues, a lot of people have been biting into that, taking pieces of that,” he said. “At the end of the day, the amount of money that the artists have kept [has] been a fairly low amount.”

“We know that [the traditional labels are] already looking at changing up their models for how they work,” he said. “We see a lot of new types of contracts coming through from the majors every week and every month, so there’s definitely a lot of innovation happening there. But the innovation cycles are slower, of course.”

MIDiA conducted the survey independently through its channels, those artists surveyed were not specifically Amuse artists. 

Source:  Chris Eggertsen

Collect All The Revenue Your Recorded Music Can Earn.

For a long time, many traditional music industry revenue sources were closed off to the independent artists, but these channels are starting to open up, providing some exciting new income sources for the DIY artists out there – as long as you know how to get them.

The classic music roles of songwriter, publisher, artist, producer, and record label — as defined by the traditional music industry — still drive the income streams you can make from your music today. What’s confusing for most artists is that each of these roles and the income coming from them used to be handled by separate people (or organizations). But today, so many active musicians are independent, so while the music world continues to talk about these as separate roles, each one is likely handled by the same person: you.

The good news is each role — songwriter, publisher, artist, producer, and label — has different revenue streams associated with it. So, to the extent that you fill most of the roles, you have more money coming your way. The goal of this two-part series is to make you aware of the revenue streams each role generates so you can get everything you’re entitled to. In part one, covered here, we’re going to dive into the roles (and revenue) that most musicians are familiar with: songwriter and artist.

Here are the first two key roles and the revenue streams you’re entitled to if you tap them:

1. Songwriter revenue streams

As a songwriter, you own the copyright for the composition which entitles you to many rights, fees, and income streams. Whenever you can, you should take advantage of the following:

First use rights

Copyright law gives you the right to decide who will be the first person or organization who’ll license your composition and publish it for the first time. If you do it yourself, this doesn’t generate any fees, but if you work with a label or other organization, you can require that they pay you, the songwriter, a fee to get the exclusive first use right to publish your songs on an album. Plus, you have the right to refuse if you’re not satisfied with their offer. You can charge whatever the market will bear, but of course, the label or organization will try to negotiate as low of a fee as possible or even ask you to give this right away for free, which we don’t advise.

Once you’ve released the song officially to the public, it’s considered “published” and the law gives anyone the ability to cover, broadcast, or stream your composition without your permission as long as they pay you a “compulsory” mechanical and performance license. Although they do generate royalties for you, it’s usually not as much as a first-use fee for your composition. Unlike royalties, this fee is paid directly by labels and music organizations.

Composition mechanical royalties

In the United States, as a songwriter, you can’t stop other artists from covering your published music, but you are entitled to a royalty each time they make a copy of a sound recording with your composition on it. This means that every CD, DVD, vinyl record, digital download, or any other recording of your song generates a royalty set by a US standards board — currently at $0.091 for a song that’s five minutes or less. You can collect this yourself, or have your publisher do it (more on that in the next article), or you can use mechanical royalty agencies like Harry Fox to collect this on your behalf.

Composition performance royalties

You’re owed royalties every time your song is played on the radio, TV, in live performances at music venues, or streamed. These are paid to you by the users and venues of your music, but instead of paying you directly, they pay Performance Rights Organizations (“PRO”) like ASCAPBMI, or SESAC. These PROs then pay you a share of the royalties based on the number of performances of your music. This is determined by surveying these venues, radio stations, and other users to see when and how often your music is played. You can also submit set lists of your own live performances of your music at venues since that counts as a performance as well.

Sheet music, print, and publication royalties

Any time your song is made into sheet music or if any of your lyrics are published in print or online, you’re owed money by whoever is publishing your lyrics. This is usually paid by sheet music publishers, which are increasingly digital in today’s world; however, this can also be paid by your label if they include lyrics in any physical or digital product.

Composition synchronization fees

You can license your music for synchronization fees for audio-visual works such as TV, video, advertisements, movie trailers, or films. This also includes when these works are pressed to DVD, Blu-Ray, or interactive video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Note that these organizations still need to pay for a composition synchronization license even if they have another artist cover the song. There is no upper limit on what you can charge, and if you don’t grant them a license, they have no right to use the music like the law allows for performing cover songs. To boost your chances of getting your sound recording placed, get to know music supervisors and offer your music to them, or work with services like CD Baby Licensing, which make your music available to music supervisors. This synchronization fee is paid by whoever is producing the audiovisual work.

Composition transcription fee

Any time your song is used in a terrestrial radio commercial or advertisement, you are owed money. This is usually paid to you by whoever is producing the commercial.

Other uses

Any time someone wants to use your composition in some way use not listed above, such as for a toy, greeting card, app, singing fish, etc., you are owed money. This is paid to you by the company or manufacturer of the product using your composition.

2. Artist revenue streams

As the artist who performs the songwriter’s composition, you can tap these revenue streams:

Sound recording performance royalties

When a song you performed is streamed on a non-interactive streaming service, such as Pandora or Spotify Radio, you’re owed money. This is paid to you by a special PRO called SoundExchange, but only if you’re registered with them as a “Featured Performer” and you’ve registered the song so they know which songs to look out for and who to pay.

Fees for playing live or recording

Any time you perform live or record in the studio, you can make money. This revenue stream is based on the time and skill you bring to record or play live. When playing live, you can get paid to be a backing musician for a band, and you’d usually be paid on a per-performance basis. If you book your own shows, the venue usually pays you — either a set fee or a percentage based on ticket sales or the take at the door.

For a recording, if a label is involved, you may get paid by the recording artist who may have received an advance from the label to pay studio musicians. When a band, artist, or music organization hires you to record in the studio, you are usually paid a fixed fee and the recording is a work-for-hire (meaning you don’t get any copyright ownership in the composition or recording.) But some artists will ask you to work for free or for very low fees and offer to add you to the songwriting credits for a percentage of the royalties. Head here for free songwriter and sound recording split sheets.

Source: Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan

How Data Is Changing The Way The Music Industry Discovers A Hit.

Over 40,000 songs are uploaded onto Spotify daily and access to promotion is a challenge, so how does an up-and-coming artist get a hit discovered through all of that noise? More so, what is a hit record and how does the definition or lack thereof impact a label’s ability to achieve one?

A hit is the product of concentrated awareness being drawn into one place that can create connection, movement, and change. Take Bob Marley, whose overarching message about unity is so ubiquitous that you can come across his music anywhere in the world, in any situation like in the office of a dentist or a motorcycle repair shop. Hit songs like Pharrell’s viral sensation “Happy” similarly express an emotion that everyone can relate to and connect with regardless of geographical or language barriers.

“Music is a universal language, the more I know about you, the more I can relate to you, the more I can have compassion about what you’re going through,” Jay-Z noted during an episode of “My Guest Needs No Introduction” with David Letterman.

This process of compassion being drawn into one place can create connection, movement, and change. Streaming has allowed this connection to be even more free-flowing. It can occur at any period of time regardless of a label’s priorities, the current release schedule or what was deemed ahead of time to be a hit record. Music in today’s day and age is a free-flowing entity. With free distribution and consumption of music, there are endless opportunities for niche connections centered around that music. This would further suggest that a rock hit looks different than a jazz hit, a country hit looks different than a classical hit, and a Latin banda hit looks different then a Latin hip hop hit.

Elberse, a Harvard professor, in her 2014 book: Blockbusters: The Big Business of Entertainment, suggests that the blockbuster strategy is the most profitable for high-profile, unpredictable marketplaces like music.

According to Anita Elberse, the blockbuster approach involves, “making disproportionately big investments in a few products designed to appeal to mass audiences.” She goes on to say, “Smart executives bet heavily on a few likely winners. That’s where the big payoffs come from.”

However, in the past six years alone, there have been tremendous advancements made in the world of real-time analytics to make sense of the proliferation of streaming and financial data. What exists today is an opportunity to use this information to mitigate a content owner or content producer’s resources in real-time to elongate the runway and increase the chances of breaking a hit through the noise, within the context of artist stage, genre, and market. Arguably, a smart executive makes up the difference lost from missed hits by optimizing the remainder of their roster. By reacting in real time to external marketing events, a spike in streaming and moments of heightened levels of awareness. For example, A hip hop hit for a catalog artist in New York City looks different than a reggae hit for a catalog artist in London. Understanding artist context helps set realistic financial expectations, allocation resources effectively and tailor the strategy.

Source: Kristin Westcott Grant


Getting What You Want In The Music Industry Without Burning Bridges.

In an industry as challenging as the music business, you’re practically guaranteed to find yourself in any number of difficult interpersonal situations when trying to get what you want, and navigating them without torching your network can often be a struggle.

Do you have a client who’s a nightmare but you’re not sure how to stop working with them without losing future work due to a nasty review online?

Have you ever felt taken advantage of by your boss, but you struggle to speak up, afraid to bite the hand that feeds you?

What about being in a band where other members aren’t respecting what you have to say, but speaking up feels like you’ll run the risk of being replaced or further isolated?

Ever wonder what you could say to get your point across without losing your cool or burning bridges?

It all comes down to how you say what you say. It’s the difference between the other party focusing on your message or focusing on your tantrum.

Relationships are rarely at risk because someone spoke up, but rather because someone else was hurt by that person’s delivery.

When wanting to get your points across to another party (whether a boss, collaborator, etc.), there are three main things you want to remember:


There’s the saying “kill them with kindness,” but when arguing your point to someone all you want to focus on is killing them with respect. Don’t beat them down simply to raise yourself and your point of view up. Two parties can come at something from different perspectives and still remain on an even playing field.

This is especially crucial when your communication is via email and not over the phone or in person. Keep in mind that the person on the other end can already feel defensive so make sure there isn’t any room for misinterpretations of what you’re saying.


Knowing the other party will be defensive, beat them to it by quelling their concerns from the get-go. Let them know your intentions come from a good place. Let them know there is value to your point of view.


Use terms and scenarios they will understand. If you’re unhappy with how you are being treated paint a picture for them that illustrate what their reality would look like if the situation was happening to them.

Keeping these three things in mind, you can effectively diffuse any discourse and create an atmosphere where the other party can put down their walls and truly listen to what it is you are saying.

Always remember, relationships are what make a sustainable career in this industry. Even if you are “right,” there’s no telling the role the person on the other end will inevitably play in your career – whether directly or from afar.

One disagreement or injustice is not worth burning bridges and stunting the growth of the path that you’re building. Build a reputation for keeping your cool and communicating your thoughts clearly and respectfully. Let what you’re saying be what people talk about and not the way you’re saying it.

SOURCE: Suzanne Paulinksi


Spotify playlists are the new musical starmakers.

Video may have killed the radio star, but playlists could perhaps have saved the music industry. Where record labels once clamored to have their artists heard on radio, and reviewed by music magazines, the push now is to get songs into curated mixes hosted by streaming services such as Spotify and Apple, on video games, in gyms, and in high street stores.

And revenues are booming: last year the money made by record labels from streaming surpassed income from the sale of traditional formats.

“Getting on one of Spotify’s biggest playlists – New Music Friday or RapCaviar – is vital when you’re breaking a new act,” says Stuart Bell, co-founder of Dawbell, a public relations company that has dozens of household names on its roster including Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Pharrell Williams and Elton John. “It’s the equivalent, 20 years ago, to a good single review in Melody Maker, or, 10 years ago, making the Radio 1 playlist.”

With a reported 10,000 tracks being uploaded to streaming services every day, the power of the coveted playlist spot is undeniable.

On Monday, Spotify is expected to post record-breaking growth, and confirm that it now reaches 99 million paid subscribers. According to a study by the EU’s Joint Research Centre last year, placement on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist can generate $117,000 (£90,500) in revenue; being added to Today’s Top Hits, a list with 23 million followers, raises streams by 20 million and is worth between $116,000 and $163,000. These charts have become one of the key tools used by labels and managers to measure success.

“It feels like the artist is dead and the playlist is king,” says one music manager, who prefers not to be named. “Spotify can absolutely break artists – if you get 32 million streams from the back of a playlist spot, you can easily sell out Shepherd’s Bush Empire. But it does become frustrating. I have bands that have a record all over radio at the moment; they’re getting four-star reviews and selling really well on their tours, but because they’re not play listed, it’s considered a failure by the label.”

Spotify and their all-powerful algorithm, which sift, sort and promote the most-played songs on its service, has also had an effect on songwriting: shorter tracks with leaner intros where hooks come more quickly to avoid being skipped are a new norm. In 2015, less than 1% of songs ran under two and a half minutes; now more than 6% do.

“Play listing also rewards ‘vanilla’ music – that’s a huge downside,” says one senior music industry executive. “If an abrasive band like, say, the Pixies were coming out now, they would be penalized by algorithms because the skip rates would be too high – people let playlists run on in the background when they serve inoffensive, bland music they can’t be bothered to turn off. If you look at the music Spotify has broken, it’s all chill-out stuff. That isn’t art, its wallpaper.”

One music PR recalls the “awful” experience of pitching her bands to a Spotify playlist editor. “You’re given a 15-minute slot and then you’re out. They’re so obsessed with tracking data and their shit-hot algorithms, I’m not even sure the gatekeepers [who edit the playlists] love music as much as we do.”

Another indie label boss half-jokes that the “most desired sweet spot [for my bands] is to be on the H&M playlist. That’s how you’re reaching young kids now.”

Still, while the rewards can be significant, and an argument can be made for streaming services democratizing the playing field between bedroom producers and major label acts, building long-term fans can be tricky.

Jodie Banaszkiewicz, founder of Stay Golden PR, who represents Mac deMarco, Anna Calvi and Sophie among others, believes play listing is “just one piece of the puzzle”. Having her artists on prominent playlists guarantees a high streaming count and visibility, but she says “there is still no guarantee that the casual playlist listener will automatically stream an artist’s repertoire after one of their tracks has dropped off a playlist – so [it] doesn’t always help long-term artist brand-building.”

“Spotify have always maintained they’re a tech company rather than a music one,” says the senior industry executive, “So their peers will be keeping a close eye because, overall, there’s no question it saved the music business. People are making money again for the first time in 20 years. This is a golden age that hasn’t been seen since the 90s.”

Source: Nosheen Iqbal

10 Trends Reshaping The Music Business.

Streaming may get all the headlines, but it is far from the only factor that’s driving strong and and sustained growth in the recorded music industry; and the ripple effects of these trends will reshape the music industry for years to come. MIDiA analyst Mark Mulligan offers 10 trends reshaping the music Industry.

The IFPI has reported that global recorded music revenues have hit $19.1billion, which means that MIDiA’s own estimates published in March were within 1.6% of the actual results. This revenue growth story is strong and sustained but the market itself is undergoing dramatic change. Here are 10 trends that will reshape the recorded music business over the coming years:Streaming is eating radio: Younger audiences are abandoning radio for streaming. Just 39% of 16-19-year olds listen to music radio, while 56% use YouTube instead for music. Gen Z is unlikely to ever ‘grow into radio’; if you are trying to break an artist with a young audience, it is no longer your best friend. To make matters worse, podcasts are looking like a Netflix moment for radio and may start stealing older audiences. This is essentially a demographic pincer movement.

Streaming is eating radio: Younger audiences are abandoning radio for streaming. Just 39% of 16-19-year olds listen to music radio, while 56% use YouTube instead for music. Gen Z is unlikely to ever ‘grow into radio’; if you are trying to break an artist with a young audience, it is no longer your best friend. To make matters worse, podcasts are looking like a Netflix moment for radio and may start stealing older audiences. This is essentially a demographic pincer movement.

Streaming deflation: Streaming music has allowed itself to be outpaced by inflation. A $9.99 subscription from 2009 is actually $13.36 when inflation is factored in. Contrast this with Netflix, for which the inflation-adjusted price is $10.34 but the actual 2019 price is $12.99. Netflix has stayed ahead of inflation; Spotify and co. have fallen behind. It is easier for Netflix to increase prices as it has exclusive content, but rights holders and streaming services need to figure out a way to bring prices closer to inflation. A market-wide increase to $10.99 would be a sound start, and the fact that so many Spotify subscribers are willing to pay $13 a month via iTunes shows there is pricing tolerance in the market.

Catalog pressure: Deep catalogue has been the investment fund of labels for years. But with most catalogue streams coming from music made in this century, catalogue values are being turned upside down (in the streaming era, the Spice Girls are worth more than the Beatles!). Labels can still extract high revenue from legacy artists with super premium editions like UMG did with the Beatles in 2018, but a new long-term approach is required for valuing catalogue. Matters are complicated further by the fact that labels are now doing so many label services deals, and therefore not building future catalogue value.

Labels as a service (LAAS): Artists can now create their own virtual label from a vast selection of services such as 23 Capital, Amuse, Splice, Instrumental, and CDBaby. A logical next step is for a 3rdparty to aggregate a selection of these services into a single platform (an opening for Spotify?). Labels need to get ahead of this trend by better communicating the soft skills and assets they bring to the equation, e.g. dedicated personnel, mentoring, and artist and repertoire (A+R) support.

Value chain disruption: LAAS is just part of a wider trend of value chain disruption with multiple stakeholders trying to expand their roles, from streaming services signing artists to labels launching streaming services. Things are only going to get messier, with virtually everyone becoming a frenemy of the other.

Tech major bundling: Amazon set the ball rolling with its Prime bundle, and Apple will likely follow suit with its own take on the tech major bundle. Music is going to become just one part of content offerings from tech majors and it will need to fight for supremacy, especially in the ultra-competitive world of the attention economy.

Global culture: Streaming – YouTube especially – propelled Latin music onto the global stage and soon we may see Spotify and T-Series combining to propel Indian music into a similar position. The standard response by Western labels has been to slap their artists onto collaborations with Latin artists. The bigger issue to understand, however, is that something that looks like a global trend may not be a global trend at all but is simply reflecting the size of a regional fanbase. The old music business saw English-speaking artists as the global superstars. The future will see global fandom fragmented with much more regional diversity. The rise of indigenous rap scenes in Germany, France and the Netherlands illustrates that streaming enables local cultural movements to steal local mainstream success away from global artist brands.

Post-album creativity: Half a decade ago most new artists still wanted to make albums. Now, new streaming-era artists increasingly do not want to be constrained by the album format, but instead want to release steady streams of tracks in order to keep their fan bases engaged. The album is still important for established artists but will diminish in importance for the next generation of musicians.

Post-album economics: Labels will have to accelerate their shift to post-album economics, figuring out how to drive margin with more fragmented revenue despite having to invest similar amounts of money into marketing and building artist profiles.

The search for another format: In 1999 the recorded music business was booming, relying on a long established, successful format that did not have a successor. 20 years on, we are in a similar place with streaming. The days of true format shifts are gone due to the fact we don’t have dedicated format-specific music hardware anymore. However, the case for new commercial models and user experiences is clear. Outside of China, depressingly little has changed in terms of digital music experiences over the last decade. Even playlist innovation has stalled. One potential direction is social music. Streaming has monetized consumption; now we need to monetize fandom. 

Source: Mark Mulligan

Tidal Launches $1 Million ‘Unplugged’ Endowment to Support Developing Artist.

Tidal along with venture capitalists and philanthropists Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen, announced the launch of a new $1 million artist grant called Tidal Unplugged committed to building emerging artists’ careers.

The initiative is funded by a donation from Lampert and Nelsen and plans to kick off in Detroit, where Lampert’s grandfather started his musical career. There, local artists will have the opportunity to submit their music through Tidal to receive part of the grant. The selected artists will work with the Tidal Unplugged team to create a personalized program intended to cover resources needed to further their careers, including living expenses, equipment, studio time and more, along with access to expert recording and creative resources.

Tidal Unplugged is a realization of Lampert and Nelsen’s desire to provide artists with the means to pursue their dreams, according to a press release.

“The TIDAL Rising program is incredibly special to everyone at TIDAL – from the interns to the artist-owners — we recognize the power of streaming and the importance of supporting and encouraging emerging musicians,” said Jason Kpana, Tidal senior vice president of artist relations, in a statement. “Being able to expand the program to support musicians in an authentic and substantial way is truly an honor.”

Beginning March 1, Detroit residents can apply on Artists from all genres are encouraged to submit, but music must be performed acapella or acoustically and must not rely heavily on digital elements. Finalists will be announced in May.

Those selected acts will work to develop and finish four songs for distribution, premiering them exclusively on Tidal upon their completion with promotion through Tidal’s Rising program. Artists will maintain total ownership of their recording masters. The program will culminate with a Tidal Unplugged showcase concert in November.

Following a pilot run in Detroit, Tidal intends to expand the Unplugged program into other markets.


How to become successful in the music industry.

The music industry consists of companies and individuals that earn money by creating new songs, production, and a lot more that involves music.

Any individual who wants to push their way through the music business must ask themselves. What level of passion do they have for the music industry, and how far are they willing to push for success?

Sometimes you see some talented musicians get frustrated and discouraged because they struggle to have the music career they’ve been dreaming about their whole lives. Many of them get to the point of giving up, believing there is no path of success for them in this career.

This article outlines things you need to do to become successful in the music industry. As you journey through this business remember that success and greatness doesn’t come with ease but demands effort on your path.

The general music industry hardly look for great music to sell, but managers, promoters, and record labels look for great people who can also create good music. This means you need to prove your standard and quality in order to put yourself at the top of the list.

Note, you need to show your fans and companies in the music industry that any relationship between you and them will be a great investment.

Remember that opportunity is hardly given to people but opportunity is created by those who have the right mindset.

The special ones attracts attention on their path which opens more doors, as this happens steps to the top gets closer.

Don’t ever lose the mindset you are bringing into the industry, the harder it gets the closer you are to the top.

Note, you must be willing to go broke to succeed or risk everything to become successful.

Don’t blame people around you, blame yourself for not doing more, because their is always more to do.

At no point should you see competition around you because those that focus on competition usually gets pushed out of the way. Focus on your value and content that others do not have and never relent, there is always more to achieve.

Lastly, get your name out there, stay around the right people, make connections, look for someone to give you the platform, keep trying harder and risk everything for success.


Apple buys Platoon, a start-up that helps indie musicians get discovered.


“The Apple deal gives Platoon the backing and resources to accomplish its vision and continue its goal to develop original music and visual content – while leaving artists free to sign with who they want and distribute their music where they want,” a ‘source close to Platoon’ told MBW on Friday.

An interview with co-founder Denzyl Feigelson (no stranger to Apple through his long-time iTunes advisory role) earlier in the year makes for good re-reading now. “I really do think a global artist will break through Platoon and it will change perceptions,” he said, in response to a question about whether it’s frustrating seeing artists move on to labels at a certain point in their development.

“You’ve got years of the deep-rooted pattern: ‘In order to be a global superstar you need investment and global infrastructure, you need boots on the ground, you need big money spent on international.’ This is all true, of course, and can certainly work for a select group of artists. But we live a different world now.”

That last sentence may be the key to understanding what Apple is up to with its acquisition of Platoon, especially when you consider the potential combination of the company with Asaii, the analytics startup whose team is now operating within Apple’s music team. Asaii’s tools included what it described as an “automated A&R web platform” that could “identify up and coming artists 10 weeks before they hit the charts” with a claimed 70% success rate.

What better use for such a tool than as a funnel towards another team (Platoon) with the skills to work with early-stage artists on everything from recording and video content to social-media marketing and other artist services? All within a platform (Apple Music) with the programming nous to get those emerging artists in front of big audiences?

It’s not news that Apple Music and Spotify are gearing up for a belting A&R race to spot (and then promote) new talent first – not just before one another, but before labels. It’s not news, either, that artist-marketing services are an important part of this, be it Platoon for Apple Music or Spotify’s educational resources and its investment in distributor DistroKid. And it’s not news that both companies have open wallets (and in Spotify’s case, albeit in beta, upload pipes) for direct relationships with artists.

Apple’s acquisition of Platoon is significant news on its own, then, but it’s the way that it interlocks with other parts of the company’s strategy – Asaii and direct licensing, for example, and perhaps also its next moves for radio station Beats 1 – that’s the real story, just as each Spotify move can’t be viewed in isolation.

Source: Stuart Dredge


UnitedMasters Inks Deal to Soundtrack NBA’s Digital Channels.


That includes highlights across, the NBA App, NBA TV, and the league’s social media channels. The NBA is getting a new soundtrack, provided by distributor UnitedMasters in a new global partnership.

Under the deal, which was announced earlier this month, the league will license music exclusively from UnitedMasters-distributed artists who opt-in to terms — to have their music featured across the NBA’s suite of digital properties. That includes, NBA TV and NBA App, as well as a social media community of 1.5 billion followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and Snapchat.

The licenses will be granted on gratis terms in exchange for promotion with the NBA tagging or mentioning the artists and songs in select highlight videos along with a link back to the song directly.

The partnership is the first of its kind between an independent distributor and a major sports league. UnitedMasters says it is representative of the ecosystem the company is building for its artists, driving for smarter opportunities with and companies to enhance their careers.

“We’re offering the artists unparalleled access to a worldwide audience and the unique ability to amplify their music at scale,” says UnitedMasters CEO and co-founder Steve Stoute. “We believe and I’ve always believed that there’s a natural synergy between basketball and music — I’ve seen it throughout my whole career. Look at this as the soundtrack to these highlights. So you can go from watching the game, to soundtracking its highlights.

He continues, “We’re basically removing the barrier of getting your music heard, so it’s another opportunity for these artists…. It’s only independent artists and we’re given them the unique opportunity to get their music heard. And this is a global opportunity.”

Stoute says the ultimate goal with this partnership is that UnitedMasters artists may build deeper relationships with the league and its teams, envisioning that these songs could wind up getting played in the arenas and artists could perform during half-time shows.

“This is basically the first step into a much bigger opportunity,” he adds. “But the first step is giving these artists the promotional vehicle to be heard and to get as much exposure and amplification as possible.”

The deal also allows the NBA to more easily license new independent music and better position itself as a tastemaker in the music space, where it already has been driving culture for decades.

“The breakthrough in this structure is that it’s a unique example of a brand or league providing a global distribution platform for artists — something UnitedMasters and the NBA are singularly positioned to do,” says Jeff Marsilio, NBA senior vice president, new media distribution, in a statement. “The artists will have the opportunity to have their music heard on a global digital stage, while our fans will now have a new way to discover music while they enjoy NBA highlights on our social and digital media. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Source: Colin Stutz


7 Tips On Networking In The Music Industry


While amassing fans is certainly a key part of music industry success, cultivating and sustaining relationships with your industry peers is also essential to getting ahead in a tough field. Here we look at seven ultimate tips on how to network in the music industry.

Whilst looking for that big break in the music industry, you have to focus on more than fans. Even though listeners are the supreme judge of quality and popularity, it is networking that makes an unknown artist known and a good one great.

Sustaining relationships with other bands and artists will not only make you better known, but it will also expand your horizons.

With this newly-acquired knowledge, your music will change and evolve. Since evolution is the predecessor of all success and advancement in the music industry, networking will help you immensely.

To facilitate this process for you, we’ve decided to compile the ultimate list of tips for networking in the industry.

1. Be the first to approach

Many young musicians end up feeling isolated just because they always wait for others to send them messages and propose collaborations. A laid-back outlook in the industry has doomed many young artists.

Networking as an activity is more successful if multiple people want to be catalysts. By having everyone feeling eager about meeting and connecting, the overall atmosphere will be much better and more productive.

Don’t be afraid to send emails, messages, direct letters, and comment on the work of other artists. Don’t take it too seriously and approach it like a collaboration.

Say you like their work and that you would like to meet up for a coffee. By not having expectations, you will end up reinvigorated by your new association and be full of ideas. Your appreciation sometimes can become the talk of the town.

2. Be informed and don’t stay confined

Musicians, regardless of the genre in which they operate in, are all faced with the same problem. Marketing budgets, producers, mastering – all these facets worry musicians around the world.

By networking, a multitude of young independent artists may find it easier to overcome these obstacles. Therefore, you should read current news, be informed about technology and useful strategies.

If you know enough about the history of hip hop, rock or any other genre, you will have a free pass into every conversation.

Natasha Rodriguez from EssayOnTime emphasized the importance of being informed and exploring outside of your genre. “Different types of music have much more in common than most people think,” he says. “By exploring outside of conventional borders, you will gain valuable knowledge that will facilitate your networking around the industry.”

3. Maintain your connections

The chances are that you will encounter people that might prove to be useful to your goals, but you’re not that close. Every musician knows how important connections are, but many of these valuable industry connects get lost due to a lack of maintenance. As a musician looking to network in the industry, it is your duty to maintain the connections you’ve established previously. But how?

Anything goes basically! Whether it’s likes, comments or messages, you can utilize any method that reminds the other person of your existence.

Send them samples of your work, discuss ideas and propose meetings. By doing this, you will come off as a charismatic and social person and your interest would be reciprocated.

4. Embracing the hashtags

What are your goals? What is the genre in which you operate in? After answering these questions, it’s time to do a little bit of research.

To utilize the power and possibilities of the internet, you should monitor hashtags and what people like and what do they respond to. Keeping an eye on hashtags is a great way of staying up to date and knowing what’s trending in your facet of the music industry.

Not only this, but you can also find other like minded people and connect with them. Whilst using hashtags, don’t overdo them and never allow them to overshadow the actual post they’re a part of. With moderation, you can take networking to the next level.

5. Reward your supporters

Contrary to popular belief, interaction with fans and listeners is still considered networking. Even though they fund your career and endeavors, they are music aficionados that can aid you in more ways than one.

To motivate your supporters and make them a part of your core group, reward them. Send out snippets of songs and demo versions to ask them what they think

Additionally, you should always deliver on your promises. Never delay a project nor make a promise that’s impossible to keep. By being punctual, honest and mixing in surprises, you will be able to network with everyone.

6. Never be afraid of a direct approach

Good things don’t come to those who wait, but to those who are willing to get up and earn them. While this saying is true, it contradicts the entitled nature that many musicians possess.

Don’t be afraid to approach someone directly. Social media exists for this particular reason, and you shouldn’t hesitate to utilize it.

If you like how a record company rolls out their artists’ albums, send them a message. If you’ve seen the success a manager has brought to an artist, contact them. By acting this way, people will value for your determination and directness. Such traits are the key to successful networking.

7. Be professional

Even though art is synonymous with freedom of expression, there is still professionalism in the music industry. To leave a better impression and have more efficient networking, be punctual.

Above all else, have a plan and clear goals with timelines and potential changes. When interacting with anyone, have a brand. Whether it’s A&Rs, record executives, managers or other musicians, you want to be remembered.

Having a brand is the pinnacle of professionalism. A logo, a distinct style, and clear goals will allow people to realize your uniqueness and want to collaborate with you. A little planning goes a long way.

Concluding thoughts

If you wish to make it big in the music industry, you have to pay attention to networking. Before acting, you should have a precise plan of action. With direct approaches, staying vigilant and positive towards other people, you will have the networking done for you. Connections that you’ve made will be everlasting and useful when the time comes.

Source: Serena Dorf


How musicians really make their money — and it has nothing to do with how many times people listen to their songs.


The majority of an artist’s revenue comes from touring, selling merchandise, licensing their music for things like television, movies, or video games, and partnerships or side businesses.

Streaming is often thought of as the future of music and can provide artists with a nice source of income. But it isn’t nearly as lucrative for artists as other revenue streams.

The future of the industry is unclear, but analysts are optimistic about the ability of artists to thrive in the emerging landscape.

There’s a common misconception about how major musicians earn their money: In short, it’s all about having a hit song that breaks the top 40 music chart. In reality, it’s more complicated than that, and an artist’s financial success often comes from revenue streams outside of streaming or downloads.

“Where number of listens comes in handy is in the algorithms and in social proof,” Zach Bellas, a professional musician and founder of SMB records, told Business Insider. “If an artist’s song gets some attention in its beginning, the algorithms will suggest it to others, and as the view and play counts rise, it will gain more authority and social proof in people’s minds, creating a cycle that pushes the song further into the top searches and suggested tracks.”

But, as Bellas noted, “artists have always made the bulk of their money from live performances and touring.” And for big names in the industry, the numbers back this assertion up.

“In the last several years, streaming revenue has increased, but it is still not enough on its own to financially support a career with longevity,” said Erin M. Jacobson, a music-industry lawyer based in Beverly Hills, whose work involves negotiating record contracts on behalf of artists ranging from up-and-coming artists to Grammy-winning musicians.

Other common sources of revenue, according to Bellas, include sync licensing (for example, when an artist sells the right to play their song on a T.V. show, or in a movie or video game), and side-businesses, like fashion lines, as well as partnerships with brands. Think, for example, of Rihanna’s makeup and lingerie lines, or the soundtrack to your favorite movie, or any ad campaign starring your favorite famous musician.

According to a recent Citigroup report, the music industry generated a record $43 billion in 2017, but recording artists saw just 12% of that revenue, or $5.1 billion, and the “bulk” of their revenues came from touring. Music businesses, including labels and publishers, took home almost $10 billion, according to the report, which showed that artists are still grabbing a meager percentage of the increasing revenues in streaming, where music labels and streaming services act as intermediaries.

Artists also have to deal with the issue of copyright, where revenues for their music are further split among publishing companies, music labels, and songwriters. So, despite common belief, getting signed to a label isn’t necessarily more lucrative for artists nowadays.

“Many artists think that they will make more money when signed to a label, and I have to educate them that this is not necessarily the case and explain to them that they have to pay back all the costs the label expends on their behalf,” says lawyer Jacobson. “Artists still think fame and fortune is easy to come by, and that they will get high advances, which most companies are not giving now.”

With the constant changes in the ways people listen to music, the future of the industry, and what artists stand to gain, is unclear.

Yet, a recent surge in music revenue paints an optimistic picture of where the industry is headed. According to the RIAA, music industry revenue has increased for two consecutive years. That’s the first time it’s happened since 1999.

Source: Devon Delfino


Spotify’s New Tool Allows Independent Artists To Directly Upload Original Music.


As the popularity of streaming grows the music industry has struggled to catch up, but with a new tool from Spotify is trying to give smaller artists the upper hand. On Thursday Spotify revealed a feature, called Spotify for Artists, that allows independent musicians to upload music directly to its streaming service with any record labels or contracts.

“You’ve told us time and time again that sharing your work with the world should be easier,” Spotify announced in a press release, “In the past few months, we’ve been testing an upload tool within Spotify for Artists, because we believe getting new music to your fans should be simple.”

As of now, the service is only reaching out to a couple hundred of independent artists to test out the beta version of the tool. One of the first artists invited to join is Chicago rapper, Noname, who released her album Room 25 on September 14 to critical acclaim.

One of the advantages of the direct service is the ability for artists to be paid for streams without any service charges or commissions and will deposit the income directly into their bank accounts. Artists will also retain ownership of their music’s metadata, and be able to study it to see how each song is received by their audience.

While the announcement seems to be popular, it comes at a troubling time for the Swedish streaming service. In February, Spotify decided to go public on the New York Stock Exchange and was priced at $15 Billion, but the company has not found a way to become profitable.

In July, the company hit 180 million subscribers, but still reported a net loss of $460 million and an operating loss of $105 million.

This is in spite of the fact that a recent mid-year report from the Recording Industry Association of America announced that streaming now makes up 75 percent of the industry’s revenue. However, even with this massive growth, the company has not posted a profit since it launched the service in 2008.

It’s still too soon to say if Spotify for Artists will be able to help the streaming service in the long run, but for now, its potential should leave independent artists optimistic about the future.



Soundexchange Paid Out 399 Million To Artists And Labels In The First Half Of 2018, Up 17.4% Year-On-Year.


SoundExchange has significantly grown the amount of money it’s paying out to artists and labels compared to last year.

The US company, which collects these digital performance royalties on behalf of recorded music rights-holders, distributed $208.7m to its members in Q2 2018 (the three months to end of June).

That was 17.5% up on the $177.6m distributed in the same period of 2017.

In terms of the first half of 2018 (ie. the six months to end of June), SoundExchange – run by CEO & President Michael Huppe (pictured) – paid out $398.6m to recorded music rights-holders. That was up 17.4% on the $339.5m distributed in the same period of last year.

That $398.6m was bigger than SoundExchange’s H1 payouts in both 2015 and 2014. Although it was slightly smaller than the $403.4m it paid out in H1 2016, that was for good reason: in the second half of 2016 the major labels inked direct licensing deals with Pandora – a royalty stream which was previously handled by SoundExchange on their behalf.

These days, SoundExchange continues to pay royalties to artists for Pandora’s ad-supported tier, as well as collecting for artists and labels from major webcasting platforms such as SiriusXM. According to SoundExchange’s Q2 Digital Radio Report, 28,065 recorded music rights-holders received checks from the company in the period, up 9.3% year-on-year.

SoundExchange announced earlier this year that its lifetime payouts to artists and labels surpassed $5bn at the end of 2017. At its current payout rate, you would expect the organization to surpass the $6bn milestone in Q1 2019. SoundExchange no longer only services recorded music rights-holders, however. Last year, the company fully acquired mechanical rights collection agency the CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd.).

CMRRA’s nearest equivalent in the US market is the Harry Fox Agency – which grants most mechanical licenses in the States. Harry Fox was acquired by private collection/licensing group SESAC in 2015 from its previous owner, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA). There is increasing speculation that, depending on the fate of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), either SoundExchange or SESAC could be given the government-granted mandate to administrate mechanical royalty payouts in the US market.

Source: Tim Ingham


Spotify Launches New Playlist Submission Tool For Artists, Managers And Labels.


Streaming giant Spotify announced the beta launch of a new tool that allows artists, managers and labels to submit unreleased music to the company’s editorial team for coveted placements on its popular curated playlists. More than 75,000 artists are featured on its editorial playlists every week, such as Rap Caviar and Hot Country, plus another 150,000 on its Discover Weekly playlist.

“Everyone, whether you’re an artist, label, manager or part of an artist’s team, can try out this feature,” according to Spotify’s announcement. “Simply log into your Spotify for Artists account or, if you work at a label, head over to Spotify Analytics. There, you’ll have the option of selecting one unreleased song for playlist consideration and submitting it to our team.”

“It’s important to give us as much information about the track as possible – genre, mood, and other data points all help us make decisions about where it may fit.” The announcement continues, “We want to make something crystal clear: no one can pay to be added to one of Spotify’s editorial playlists.”

Creating an unbiased, easy-to-use pipeline for playlist consideration marks another step towards what seems to be a revved effort to empower independent artists. Just last month, Billboard reported that Spotify will directly support indies via non-exclusive licensing agreements. Artists and managers will be able to strike a deal with Spotify, receiving several hundred thousand dollars as an advance in exchange for agreeing to license a certain number of songs to the platform.

According to Billboard, “these individual deals allow Spotify to pay a slightly lower share of revenue to the artist than they would to a major record label, while the artist receives much more per stream than he or she would if signed to a major. The deals also don’t require the acts to give Spotify exclusive content or ownership.”

Source: Ogden Payne


Spotify Offering Advances To Indie Artists And Managers For Direct Licensing Deals.


Spotify is reportedly offering advances and other enticements to independent artists and their managers in an effort to have them directly license music with the streaming music service, effectively cutting out the label middleman.

According to Billboard, who first reported the story, some of Spotify’s officers have promised said artists and their teams “several hundred thousand dollars as an advance fee for agreeing to license a certain number of tracks by their independent acts directly to Spotify.”

Per the Billboard report, Spotify is, in some cases, offering some artists as much as a 50 percent cut of per-stream royalty rates. While that’s less than the share labels receive from the streaming service, it amounts to a bigger percentage for artists who directly license to Spotify.

So far, Spotify seems to be limiting these pitches to independent artists to avoid complicating the company’s vital relationships with labels and the unnamed sources quoted by Billboard said that Spotify is cautioning artists to avoid saying they have been ‘signed’ by Spotify.

Despite their caution, the offers to indie artists may be thin ice for Spotify in regards to their label partners. The streamer’s deals with major labels bar them from competing directly with the record labels’ main business, or from directly buying catalogue or musical recordings. But, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek appears to be willing to test that boundary.

“I still think that there’s huge inefficiencies when you think about how hard it is for artists to break through,” Ek said during a recent keynote Recode’s Code Conference last month. “The number one thing artists are asking for is ‘help me find an audience.’”

Ek added that Spotify plans to create more tools for artists and managers to foster artist discovery and extend their marketing budgets, further developing their direct relationship with content creators.

Under Spotify’s licensing terms, the company isn’t going to own the music it’ll purchase. It’s also not demanding exclusive distribution rights — any music it acquires can still be sold through Apple and Google or any competing service. Plus, it’s only going after lesser-known acts, not giant stars who already have major label deals. Any struggling musician will no doubt find all these terms extremely attractive and reasonable.

Indeed, the music industry has been on the precipice of a radical change, and Spotify might just be the company that finally pushes it over. The problem is, Spotify still needs music labels, which explains why it’s being really careful on how it talks about its new licensing schtick for artists.

SOURCE: Carl Velasco

As artist careers grow, they need the right commercial partners to help elevate their businesses and make them more efficient.

According to Midia Research, self-releasing acts represented a 2.7% worldwide market share in 2017, with combined revenues of almost $500m. These ‘self-releasing’ artists distribute through a raft of services that offer low cost access to the world’s music digital music stores such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc. However, there is potentially a false economy here driven by an inherent mistrust of the music industry – mostly caused by the major labels. It is a fact that independent artists and labels can take advantage of the best rates in the market by joining collective independent structures.

According to the most recent Wintel report, this growing community of mutually reinforcing entrepreneurs now makes up the biggest single slice of the global market with a 38.4% share by content ownership. Artists self-releasing outside of this framework are potentially missing out on key cost savings and expertise that could be helping them do so much better than they are at the moment.

This is true for any start-up driven by a creative business owner. Many self-releasing artists are all having to reinvent the wheel, spending more than they need to on essential services, wasting money in the wrong areas and not maximising the returns they get for their hard work. This is, of course, very understandable – record labels historically have a terrible reputation for forcing artists into punitive deals. Thankfully, things have evolved and two key things have changed.

Firstly, the old world verticals in the commercial landscape have largely broken down and the old-fashioned idea of a label is on the way out. There is now a much more contemporary landscape of artist-centric commercial partners who have elements of labels, publisher, management and live, with real expertise in each area and the ability to tailor each deal to suit the needs and aspirations of the individual artist.

Independents have driven this change, shoulder to shoulder with artists, where the larger corporations have lagged behind. The second key development is a keener understanding within the independent sector of where its real value lies. Independent labels may not have the cash the majors do, but the numbers show time and time again that they use the cash they do have far more effectively. It’s also worth noting that alongside this basic efficiency, the artists tend to keep much more creative control and find a sympathetic partner who works with the artist, not above them.

The value-added services of these expert businesses remain essential to long term career growth in areas such as A&R, promotion, marketing and an established global business network allow artists to have their cake and eat it. By working independently they retain creative control and expect and receive a well-balanced deal accompanied by high levels of accountability and transparency.

Ground-breaking commitments to transparent and equitable relationships such as The Fair Digital Deals Declaration (FD3) coupled with the independent sector’s continued levels of investment in nurturing talent over the long term, demonstrate that time and time again, no matter how well artists can do on their own, they should consider how much better they might do with the right commercial partnership.

Source: MBW


7 Music Business Predictions For 2018.


1. Spotify finally goes public, and the going gets tougher. The time comes for Spotify to finally make the transition that’s been promised to investors for so long. The company gets listed in 2018, but that just opens it up to new challenges. Questions about expensive office space, scrutiny of its metrics, and pressure from the major labels to drop its free tier increase. Growing competition make growth more difficult than in previous years, which affect its stock price by the end of the year.

2. Amazon grows the music streaming pie. Amazon gives its stand-alone Amazon Music Unlimited service a marketing boost, and because of exclusive deals thanks to #5 below, becomes a major player in streaming distribution. The company uses its platform prowess to increase sales of physical product and merch, and becomes an increasingly lucrative sponsor/partner for superstar artists.

3. Google gets its music streaming act together. Google consolidates its confusing music offerings (Google Play Music and YouTube Red) into a single service. While less challenging to market and easier for the consumer to navigate, the new service still struggles to gain traction against the market leaders at first, but manages to show growth by the end of the year thanks to #5. The launch of the new service stifles major label protests about the low royalty payout from YouTube throughout the year.

4. Streaming networks up their game. In an effort to further differentiate itself from the competition, Apple Music finally becomes an all high-resolution audio service with no increase in monthly price. Thanks to collecting hi-res masters for the last 5 years, its miles ahead of the other platforms, which have to scramble to keep up. Some users can’t hear the difference, but many can and feel its worth jumping through the hoops imposed to by #5 to maintain a subscription with the service.

5. The lack of net neutrality changes our online media consumption. It happens gradually at first, but by mid-year telecoms and ISPs begin to exert the new power bestowed on them by the recent changes to the Net Neutrality ruling. First usage caps are put in place so that users must now pay an extra fee for higher consumption. Then they each do exclusive deals with a streaming network, making it more difficult and more expensive for the user to choose their streaming network of choice. This puts great pressure on stand-alone platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Pandora, but is just a passing cost to deep pocketed Google, Apple and Amazon. As a result, the streaming music industry consolidates even further.

6. Major labels lose the middle class artist. Lower income from catalog and physical product results in fewer and lower advances to artists. Artists and their managers realize that it’s better business not to sign with a major unless they’re on the cusp of superstardom, and opt to maintain a DIY approach with indie label support instead. The majors finally become aware that their marketing infrastructure is based on television, radio and print, media all in decline and ignored by their target demographic, and begin to place more resources online than ever before.

7. Vinyl record sales plateau. Vinyl remains a viable niche business but its growth slows to single digits. Many young vinyl buyers get frustrated with the relatively slow process of actually playing a record, and many use marginal playback systems that don’t provide a sufficient audible difference over streaming, especially since many services are transitioning to hi-res audio. Most return to online platforms for quick and easy consumption.

Source: Bobby Owsinski


8 Things Every Artist Should Know Before Signing a Deal.


It’s easier than ever before for unsigned, independent artists to share their music, whether that’s directly on to platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube or via digital distribution services like Tunecore or Stem. A label deal, however, is still the dream for many artists, and they still have much to offer, from money and promotion to infrastructure and experience. But is signing a deal always the right move?

Build a great team around you first.

“I think it’s important, especially in hip-hop and R&B, that artists have that team around them before turning to a label because everything in hip-hop has to be nurtured and curated a certain way and big labels really don’t know how to do that on a lower level. It’s really important for people like us [LVRN] and other companies that are coming up to nurture and develop artists, because I think it helps out in the long run.”—Tunde Balogun

“I would say what’s most important is having a solid team around you before going into a major label situation. That’s something that artists should be focused on from the outset of their careers. Before you even think about doing any sort of a deal, surround yourself with people who understand your vision and can help you tell your story and believe in the project as much as you do. That’s anything from management to the right lawyer, attorney, legal team, to an agent and just having allies in the industry that you trust. Have a set goal and a plan and a vision that you’re bringing to a bigger platform. You want to set the tone for your story. You don’t want the label to do that for you. ”—Tunji Balogun

Timing is key.

“The first thing an artist should think about before signing a record deal is whether they need and are ready for one. When approached by a label or distributor, whether major or indie, it is important for an artist to ask themselves, ‘What can they do for me that I can’t currently do for myself?’ and ‘Do they need me more than I need them?’ A record deal should help take an artist’s career to the next level. There is no point in giving up control of your intellectual property rights if you’re just going to be in the same position you were in before you signed the deal. Depending on where an artist is in their career, it may not be the best time; it may be best to seek a deal after they’ve seen some success releasing music independently and can negotiate with greater leverage.”—Carron Mitchell

“Whether to sign is relative to your situation. I still think the labels do a good job of taking stuff globally. They are good because they infuse you with some cash up front but I think it’s only best to do it if you feel like it’s going to propel your career. I don’t think you should be doing a deal just to do a deal.”—Tunde Balogun​

Understand your deal.

“Once an artist and their team decide it’s the right time for a deal, make sure the record deal meets the artist’s wants and needs. Putting out music has become very easy and streaming is now very profitable for master owners. Given the success of many indie artists and, of course, Jay-Z dropping his gems on 4:44, a lot of artists now want to own their masters. However, a lot of artists don’t know the difference between distribution, licensing, and a traditional recording deal. Before asking for certain deal terms or a large advance, an artist should talk to their attorney and manager and get an understanding of how different deal structures can affect them now and in their future.

“Even though we’re starting to see a shift with major labels doing more artist friendly deals, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still coming after a piece of almost everything. It’s important to have an understanding of 360 rights and what that means when it is part of a record deal. If I’m an artist and I make the majority of my money in touring and merch, how can I limit the label’s right to ever see any of those profits? And make sure you have a release commitment. There’s no point in being able to say you’re signed to the record label, if your music is just sitting on your A&Rs laptop, never to be released!”—Carron Mitchell

“All the money that you receive and take is an advance to get your royalties. A lot of people want to spend, spend, spend but you have to make that money back. Always keep in mind that the money has to come from somewhere. In actuality, you’re pretty much spending your own money.”—Tunde Balogun

Work harder than anybody else.

“Once you sign a deal everyone pays attention to you and your mannerisms. Are you on time? Do you do this? Do you do that? Label people, management, they take direction or follow the artist’s lead when it comes to how hard to work. If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do, people tend to fall back and you’ll slowly see people not working on your behalf. Nobody is going to work harder than you.”—Tunde Balogun

Get to know the people you will actually work with.

“One mistake people make when they start talking to labels is that they always try to meet the head guy, but you’re not going to be working with that head guy. You’re going see that head guy maybe once a month, every quarter, on a phone call. You need to meet the day-to-day people who are going to be handling your project because they are pretty much your coach, your quarterback. So, if you don’t meet them until after you sign your deal then you may be paired with people that you actually don’t even fuck with and you’re stuck with them for years. Whenever that situation doesn’t mesh well, you see that projects don’t turn out well because their internal team doesn’t really mesh with the artist.”—Tunde Balogun

Hire a music attorney.

“The most important thing an artist should know before signing a record deal or any type of deal involving their intellectual property rights, is to hire an attorney, and not just any attorney! The same way you wouldn’t go to your dentist for knee surgery, an artist wouldn’t necessarily want a criminal defense or real estate attorney negotiating a music recording contract. An artist should hire a great entertainment attorney, who is not only well versed and connected in the music industry, but who also believes in their music and will add value to help grow their career.”—Carron Mitchell

Work with people you like.

“Obviously, it’s important to look at all the numbers but ultimately the success or failure of projects often comes down to the personal relationships that the artists have with the teams that they sign to. I would say it’s important for artists to always work with people that they actually connect with and vibe with on a personal level. Look beyond just the terms of the deal and the numbers and the check and have an actual bond and rapport with the people that you’re making this business relationship with.

“Look beyond the numbers to the fact that you’re going to have to literally deal with and work with these people every day for the next, at least, couple years of your life, and if you’re successful, more years. When it’s time to do the deal, work with the people that you like best. I would tell an artist to take a smaller deal to work with the right people just because of the energy and the tone that that sets. You know, it really is a career. It’s not just about the check, it’s about the relationships, it’s about the growth, it’s about telling the story in the right way.”—Tunji Balogun

Be patient.

“LoveRenaissance already existed with Justice, Junior, and Carlos before Sean and myself came together with them and started to put the company together, and that was around 2011. Then we started to develop Raury. Then we put out Raury maybe three years later. Patience is key. Don’t rush, find the right team and execute.”—Tunde Balogun

SOURCE: Pigeons & Planes


How Can Rappers and Producers Make Sure They Get Paid and Avoid Being Scammed?


In recent months, artists across the industry at every level have been embroiled in controversy surrounding payment and compensation.

In an effort to turn these unfortunate events into a teachable moment, lawyers Kamal A. Moo and Erin M. Jacobson, Esq give their expert opinions on how artists can avoid being taken advantage of. We do have to clarify that these comments are not legal advice, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader.

Starting with the basics, Moo explains that “to have a valid contract, you just need an offer, acceptance, and consideration,” which Jacobson helps to define as “something in exchange, like payment.” Moo also confirms that any agreements made over Twitter DM or through an email exchange have the potential to be as legally binding as a contract. The problem, they both note, is how much of these agreements can be left up to interpretation.

Moo specifically states, “For example: when must the producer turn over the tracks? Does the producer need to deliver a ‘tracked out’ version of the beat or just a two-track version? How will the music publishing rights be apportioned? Who will own the copyright to the sound recording? These are all important questions that should be addressed.”

With all these fine details missing from a casual Twitter back and forth, both Moo and Jacobson “always suggest having a formal contract drafted, that accurately reflects the agreed upon terms.” Now, if you’re a young artist and the concept of a contract seems daunting—don’t worry. Jacobson suggests that “if an artist is not able to hire an attorney, they can alternatively seek a template from a site like Indie Artist Resource to have some contractual protection.”

Though both Moo and Jacobson highly recommend hiring a lawyer, Moo points out that “it isn’t necessary to hire a lawyer to draft an agreement.” Jacobson goes further to clarify that “notarization usually is not required, but signatures are necessary.” Even taking the time to write a more substantial agreement over email (which addresses the questions Moo outlined above) will put you in a better place than simply asking how much for a beat or for a feature verse.

For mid-tier artists with more expendable funds, Moo notes that if you are financially ready to hire “producers, engineers, studios, etc., it’s also worth it to spend some money to hire an attorney to properly protect [your] interests. Otherwise, the money they put toward production could be wasted.”

If you’re determined to execute your business transactions over email, there is still some crucial legal language to include, which will put you on better footing. As explained by Moo, “One important component of a formal agreement is called the ‘integration clause,’ which says that this written document is the full and final agreement between the parties and it cancels all prior negotiations.” He goes on to detail the benefits afforded to both parties when adding such a clause:

“One of the problems with an agreement that is negotiated back and forth over email is that, even though you may have a valid contract, the terms are spread out over a chain of several emails,” Moo continues. “Things can get even more complicated if the parties also speak on the phone or via text. On the other hand, if you have a formal agreement with an integration clause, then the parties are agreeing that all the negotiations via email, phone, text, Twitter, etc. don’t matter anymore, and what’s contained in this written agreement is the final contract between the parties.”

Language and clarity are key. As Jacobson explains, these contracts have “complex legal language involving copyrights and industry specific parameters that an experienced attorney will be familiar with and an artist might not.” Still, with or without a contract, you want your negotiations to be as clear and specific as possible.

An important detail to include in your emails involves ownership. As Moo explains, “if an artist is purchasing a beat from a producer, the artist would want to own 100% of the rights in the recording. If there isn’t clear language in the agreement transferring ownership, then the producer could end up retaining some rights.”

But let’s imagine you’re caught in one of these unfortunate situations where you sell a beat and don’t get due credit or pay for a verse or a beat that never comes. What are your options?

Moo explains that it would “certainly be more difficult” to seek restitution without a contract, but it can be done. The real question is the value proposition: “If an artist has spent a lot of money, then they could try to hire an attorney to represent them. However, if they only spent a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, it may not be cost-effective to hire counsel since most attorneys charge on an hourly basis.”

In the event that you’re doing business with another artist or producer across state or even country lines, Moo attests that “taking an artist or producer to small claims court might not be a viable option.” It’s better to take precautions early and not let matters reach the point of a legal battle.

With all of that being said, the moral of the story is twofold. First, if you’re an aspiring artist, we highly advise that you do your research, reach out to an attorney or utilize a template, and at the very least write up an agreement over email that offers more details than a simple DM. Most importantly, if a great artist is in your inbox, don’t take advantage of them because they’re eager and trusting.

Source: Donna-Claire Chesman


Music Investment Act aims to expand Georgia’s music industry.


Georgia is hoping to create a name for itself in the music industry.

House Bill 155, known as the Georgia Music Investment Act, was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal in May. It’ll go into effect next year. The law aims to build the state’s music industry by offering refundable tax incentives to music production companies.

Live music productions or projects recorded or scored in the state will get a 15 percent tax credit.

Companies that produce work in more rural parts of Georgia are eligible to receive an additional 5 percent credit.

Mario Meadows owns Platinum Sound Recording Studio in Albany.

“I could see it boosting revenue for independents and major labels,” Meadows said. “And I could also see the major labels that are based in New York, that will be an incentive for them to come to Atlanta, probably, you know.”

The Music Investment Act will go into effect in January of 2018.

Source: Desirae Duncan


Arena Music streaming service helps independent artists make a living.


Independent music artists may no longer need to compete with major label artists to make a livable wage thanks to Arena Music, a new music streaming service based here in Arizona.

The innovative platform, which was originally a distribution company, was developed three years ago when founder and CEO Damon Evans realized the direction the music industry was shifting because of the ability to stream music rather than purchase it.

“The only way a music distribution company would survive is to evolve,” said Evans, a likely strategy for artists as well.

In the past, distribution companies and artists could profit from album and vinyl sales, in addition to other marketing areas such as merchandise. After the rise of streaming services, which give consumers the ability to pick and play a song at any time for a monthly fee, the avenues by which artists could make a profit diminished, said Evans.

The most popular streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music “pay artists three to six thousandths of a penny per stream,” he said. For most independent artists that rate “will net about $30 to $60 for every million streams on average.”

In order to make a livable wage, artists would need to attain millions of streams — a difficult endeavor for less well-known artists.

“We were seeing (independent) artists leave because it wasn’t a viable career,” said Evans.

Arena’s model is unique in that independent artists who are contracted with the company receive a full penny per stream. In addition, Arena markets and sells the artist’s merchandise, resulting in a more profitable option for the 700 independent artists already contracted with Arena.

The unique alternative stemmed from the realization that while people may have no interest in purchasing music they still want to buy merchandise, Evans said. Artists receive 50 percent of the revenue from merchandise sales sold through Arena.

Arena prints and manufactures a large number of artist merchandise to reduce costs. Using the revenue from printing and funds from the original distribution company, Arena has been internally financed.

“The goal is to finance Arena with as many outside revenues as possible so that our artists can take more shares of the music royalties that come in,” Evans said.

Arena offers music to consumers at no cost and without advertisements, using non interactive streaming, similar to Pandora’s radio service. “All consumers want is to press play and have an unobtrusive listening experience that aligns with their music tastes,” Evans said.

Consumers listen to a playlist designed to align with the listener’s tastes, made from Arena’s library of over 2 million tracks. The playlist combines songs from independent and major label artists, a deliberate method to help promote the independent artists while keeping in mind more mainstream interests.

The non-interactive streaming is supplemented by the Listen to Own program, in which consumers can earn one credit by listening to any song five times. Over time the credits can then be used to own music from independent artists or purchase merchandise from any artist.

Since Arena is not associated with any major labels consumers do not have the ability to own music from major label artists.

“You can hear a song five times from say Young the Giant but instead of generating a credit for a download it can only be used to purchase merchandise,” said Evans.

Consumers will soon be able to listen to music, purchase merchandise and utilize the Listen to Own program on Android and iOS devices when a new version of the Arena app drops later this week.

Source: Sayo Akao


Music Industry Breaks Out Of $7 Billion Rut As Streaming Takes Over.


The RIAA released its annual U.S. recorded music sales figures for 2016 on March 30. Industry revenue had been flat at around $7 billion since 2010, but the good news is that it’s finally broken out of that rut. Total revenues are now $7.65 billion, up 11% from 2015 and beating estimates from last September. (Of course, that’s still far below the industry’s peak of almost $15 billion in 1999.) The No. 1 source of growth by far: on-demand streaming from services like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and TIDAL.

2016 represented yet another in a series of milestones in the music industry’s transition to digital. Digital revenues overtook revenues from physical products (mainly CDs) in 2011, but streaming accounted for only 18% of digital revenue. Download sales exceeded CD sales in 2012. By 2015, streaming had drawn even with downloads and together accounted for more than two-thirds of total industry revenue.

Last year, streaming by itself became the biggest source of recorded music revenue, accounting for just over half (51%) of total industry revenues. Most of that growth came from on-demand streaming, whose revenues almost doubled from 2015, while digital radio-type services (such as Pandora, Sirius XM satellite radio and iHeartRadio) kept pace with overall industry growth.

Meanwhile, digital downloads went into freefall, declining 22% from 2015. On the physical product side, CDs also accelerated their decline and now account for only 15% of industry revenues. The resurgence of vinyl slowed, with only 3% growth in that area. Vinyl (mostly LPs) seems to be topping out at 6% of total industry revenues.

On-demand streaming services have done a remarkable job in building paid subscribership. Spotify, in particular, has gotten its “conversion funnel” down to a science, with paying subscribers now numbering 50 million and accounting for an astounding 40% of overall registered users worldwide. That’s more than triple the percentage just after Spotify launched in the U.S. in 2011, and it surpassed some of the optimistic predictions of that time. Apple Music’s all-paid subscribership has exceeded 20 million.

The RIAA has added two categories to its revenue tallies. One is “Limited Tier Paid Subscription,” which covers paid-subscription services with features and/or music catalogs that are more limited than the full on-demand services. These include “radio plus” services that offer personalized Internet radio with no ads, unlimited skips and limited downloads such as Pandora Plus, Slacker Plus and Napster UnRadio. They also include paid on-demand services with limited catalogs such as Amazon Prime Music, the service that Amazon offered to Prime members before launching the full on-demand Amazon Music Unlimited service last October.

Source: Bill Rosenblatt


Unsigned Artists Need To Operate Differently in 2017.


Things have changed in the music industry, especially over the past decade, and going after a record deal is not the only goal an unsigned artist should have anymore. The goals should be (in my opinion), to create awesome music, gain exposure, and create/grow a fanbase. Once these things occur, the process of getting a record deal changes. Because now it is no longer the artist whom seeks the label, but rather it is the label whom seeks the artist. Furthermore, during this glorious time period of writing your own ticket, an artist can make themselves rich and famous, without ever signing a recording contract. But let’s be realistic, how often does this happen? After you see one or two artists do it and start collaborating with superstars, you would think it’s happening all over, Does Chance The Rapper ring a bell?

Well the answer is, it still does not happen very often, but that does not mean that it can’t happen more often. Artists like Chance The Rapper, Young Savage and The Migos (before the deals) were lucky enough to make music that just popped off on its own, becoming a viral sensation and a tool of free publicity/exposure for the given artists. But in fact, it didn’t just go viral on its own, it was the fans, who learned of the music and shared it, all the way to the top. This catapulted those artists to the heights of the stars (if even only online in the beginning), and they were able to charge the celebrity rates for bookings, enriching themselves. They sold music downloads and made millions. All smart moves. Publicity is so important, it can make or break an artist. And publicity online is the same as publicity in the streets. One can turn into the other simultaneously.

Because once people know who you are, they know who you are. And so the discussion of YOU begins. So why not use the same techniques that major corporations use when they want to introduce a product to the public, do Press Releases. Not just one, but make PR a part of your whole strategy. Use PR to generate a buzz, gain exposure and grow your fan base. If the music is good, this is your best shot at landing it on thousands of websites and headlines. I have personally generated over 200,000 headline impressions by writing one news story for an artist. Imagine if you did that every month. How far could it go? Who knows. It could go national or it could simply go local. But it will certainly go way further than it would have if you didn’t do a press release at all. Also, don’t just do one and be done, you have to do one initial release and at least 2 follow up releases if you want to see good results.

Finally, don’t do a crappy press release. Don’t write it yourself or have someone whom has never written a release, working on your PR. Because that my friend could cause some serious damage if not worded and written correctly. Put out something that is interesting, witty and engaging!

And that along with the music, will be the first steps in your writing your own ticket…Don’t buy views when you can win viewers, with your story.

SOURCE: Steven Michael Jennings


Why Indie Artists Can’t Afford to Skip Streaming.


It was the year its artists’ lifetime gross earnings crossed the half-a billion-dollar mark (yep, $500,000,000). But the most important trend was that revenue from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music overtook downloads as the number one source of artists’ sales.

We’re pleased to see that independent artists are now making more money from their music thanks to the growth in streaming. Of all digital revenue, streaming represented only 32 percent of gross earnings in 2015. In 2016, that ratcheted up to almost half. And including ad-supported YouTube monetization, streaming and YouTube combined represented 52 percent of artists’ revenue.

But other sources of revenue are still important as well — both to the artist and the consumers whose preference favors other formats. We saw vinyl sales grow again last year, but more slowly in 2016. We saw CD sales decline by about 12 percent; the third consecutive year of contraction. And downloads, while also declining by 12 percent in 2016, still makeup more than a third of artist revenues. Our common-sense guidance to self-distributed artists and small labels is to monetize their music everywhere they can, which brings us to an important point.

What’s really behind a shift in earnings is not ‘big tech’ that doesn’t care about the artists; it’s the fans who are choosing to consume music via streaming. It’s a shift in consumer behavior. There are tens of millions more people consuming music via streaming every year. But there are also still consumers for physical and download formats. Shifts in format preferences take time. They never happen all at once but are inevitable once started. That’s why we think artists should get their music everywhere the fans are willing to consume it.

Understand that some artists are concerned about the viability of streaming services. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that in 2016 there are now profitable streaming services. Rhapsody attained profitability last year. Streaming at Apple, Amazon and Google are likely profitable as the large firms already have the scale and scope to sustain a service. As long as artists are growing their earnings with these services, they should consider focusing on how their fans are choosing to experience music. If any of the large digital service providers fail in the next several years, there will be another in its place to pick up their clients. Consumer behavior is the only thing that matters.

It’s no secret — some songs earn more than other similar songs because they are being promoted. Art isn’t entitled to an equal share of income from any source just because the art is good. To succeed in any format requires artists to actively harness the tools of promotion, especially those tools available on these new platforms that are reaching the incremental millions using subscription services. These tools, from analytics to playlists, are powerful and more available to independent artists than ever before, leveling the playing field for independent artists.

There are a vast number of platforms and tools accessible to artists who want to drive their sales themselves. We greatly admire the work that Bandcamp does for indies — according to a recent letter to the industry, CD sales on its site were up by 14 percent and downloads by 20 percent in 2016. This bucks the trend in the rest of the industry and shows a growing share of a declining market.

On the promotional side, the free tools the DSPs offer, such as Apple Connect, Pandora AMP and Spotify, are a great way to claim a profile, connect with fans and command the data. Tools like can help artists manage a promotional campaign and HearNow is a simple, low cost tool to promote releases. These are just a few tools a click away from artists willing to invest the time.

SOURCE: Tracy Maddux




While many musicians have understandably had mixed feelings towards Spotify, due to the amount of money that the streaming giant pays to record labels and artists in royalties, there is no denying that the platform is now one of the main ways in which millions of people discover music.

Though several established artists like Prince or Taylor Swift have publicly decried the platform and refused to have their music available on it, the potential for independent musicians provided by the company is quite large. As with most technological tools, it’s all about making the product work for you.


For independent artists there are a few ways that you can get your music onto Spotify, but the easiest is to use a digital aggregator. There are several of these available, the most widely known being Soundcore and CD Baby, though several smaller agencies have appeared in recent years, such as the Melbourne based Ditto Music, who are able to offer a more tailored and hands-on approach than the larger companies.

Once you have submitted all of your artwork, information and audio files to your chosen aggregator you will be able to select which companies you would like your music to be distributed to, including iTunes, TIDAL, Spotify and many others. It is important to get all of the information right, as it would be extremely difficult to change song titles or sound files once they have been submitted to all of these companies.


Now that your music is on Spotify, it’s time to take control of your artist page so that you can get the most amount of use from it as possible. When set up correctly, a Spotify artist page can be just as useful as a website, with links to sell music, merchandise and tickets, as well as automatically updated listings of upcoming shows.


It is therefore important to present your artist page as you would present your website or Facebook band page; you want it to look good and represent the image of your act correctly. Though the cover artwork for the releases is supplied by your digital aggregator or record label, Spotify sources the artist images it uses at the top of the page, in other words the banner, from Allmusic. Anyone can submit their information, including images, to, which is also a useful database to be listed on for when people are searching for information on your act or releases in general.


So now you have supplied Allmusic with the correct images and your Spotify page is looking good, and hopefully starting to attract traffic. Since we know that there is not much money to be made from streaming royalties, it’s time to monetise that page by adding purchasable items.

This is easily achieved by using BandPage, a platform that is also easily integrable with Facebook. Once you have signed up to Bandpage and created an artist page there you can use it to ‘create offers’, that will appear on your Spotify page once the two accounts are linked. These ‘offers’ can take the form of anything you would like to sell, most usefully merchandise, such as vinyl, CDs or apparel.

As this is linked to the Bandpage, unlike with music sales you can set the price and receive the full amount yourself. You can use this tool to not only sell physical copies of your latest release, but to promote specials such as box sets or bundled packages, such as a record and t-shirt deal.


By utilizing the popular concert listing database Songkick you can have all of your upcoming shows listed on your Spotify page. This is a really useful way of turning those who have discovered you online into real life fans, as anyone can see when and where you are performing next, with dates located close to the listener appearing first.

All you have to do is create an account on Songkick, enter the details of your shows and link the two accounts. Then bingo – you have once again turned music streams into actual money through ticket sales.


Another useful tool that is included in Spotify is its included analytics, which are available through their Fan Insights. Anyone with music on Spotify can access this, which can be done by following this link, allowing you to see the demographic information of the people who are spinning your tunes. Some of the other information available through Fan Insights include a visual breakdown of how many times your tracks have been played and playlisted, as well as what other artists the people who played them listened to. You are also able to compare your statistics to any other artist on Spotify, so you can keep a close eye on the competition. The potential this offers for learning who and where your fans are is extremely useful for building future publicity campaigns, tours and releases.


It is no exaggeration that Spotify playlists are now just as important as radio for helping audiences discover new artists. The triple j unearthed playlist is very popular not just in Australia but also overseas, and so the potential offered to unsigned acts is extremely valuable.

Many people now treat the many regularly updated playlists that is offered both by trusted organisations such as Pitchfork, and by Spotify themselves, as radio stations. Several aggregators now offer playlist placement as part of their digital distribution services, which is something to consider when planning your music release.

Another simple and effective way to build followers is to create your own playlists and share them through your social media channels. This is not only an engaging way to keep your listeners interested, but can also be a great way of creating cross promotion with other bands that are feature on your playlists, and helping to lead their fans to your Spotify page.

Source: Alex Watts

Paid streaming services provide a big boost to the music industry.

Streaming continues to play a bigger role in music industry revenue and now it’s starting to provide some real help offsetting declining album sales in the US. In its mid-year report, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reports that the industry saw its biggest growth in the first half of 2016 since the 1990s, up 8.1 percent year-over-year to $3.4 billion. In terms of music streaming as a whole, revenue from those services was up 57 percent during the first half of the year and it now makes up 47 percent of the music industry’s total revenue. That’s up from 32 percent of the total revenue this time last year.

Streaming was already the biggest money maker for the music industry in the US and now it’s starting to make a real difference in offsetting the decline of album sales. First half revenue from streaming subscriptions hit $1 billion for the first time, showing 112 percent growth. Both physical and digital downloads continue to slide (down 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively), so the streaming boon will need to continue to add customers to make up the difference.

RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman took to Medium to explain that while the music industry saw some growth for the first time in more than a decade, the compensation rates from streaming services are still lower than they should be. “Despite the massive consumer demand for music, the damning reality remains that music is fundamentally undervalued,” Sherman said. “Many services rake in billions of dollars for themselves on the backs of music’s popularity but pay only relative pennies for artists and labels.”

Sherman also called on Google to do a better job taking down unauthorized material that’s posted to YouTube. The RIAA CEO said that with all or the things that have been achieved in Mountain View, surely the company can do a better job of policing unlicensed songs. Sherman noted that Congressional reform won’t be the only answer to make up the revenue gap. He explained that cooperation between the industry and the companies running streaming services could go a long way to ensure everyone is fairly compensated. The music industry needs to make the most it can out of streaming as album sales continue their decline, so fair compensation will be a hot topic for the foreseeable future.

Source: Billy Steele


Apple Music plans to significantly increase songwriter royalty rates.


In a recent proposal to the US Copyright Royalty Board, Apple suggests that the royalty rate for publishers should be set at 9.1 cents per 100 streams of a song. Though an Apple Music official confirmed these reports, the filing is private and no other details have been shared. If the proposal is accepted, the new royalty rates will be set in stone as of 2018.

What does this mean for Apple Music?

At last count, Apple Music had surpassed 15 million paying subscribers, which is half the amount of major rival, Spotify. Having only entered the streaming music market last year, Apple has achieved massive success, and hit milestones that took Spotify significantly longer to reach.

By implementing these royalty rates, Apple hopes that it will not only win over artists, but also result in more exclusives. In its short existence, this isn’t the first time Apple Music has tried to rattle Spotify. Indeed, this is a constant battle: Apple Music has been securing back-to-back artist exclusives with the likes of Drake, Chance The Rapper, Snoop Dogg and several others, in a direct bid to compete with Spotify. By exclusively releasing content by big name artists, Apple has sparked a surge in signups, with many continuing well past the three-month free trial expiration.

With the strategy translating into huge success for the platform, Spotify has apparently decided to do the same. The first move in that direction was hiring Troy Carter, who insiders say is tasked with securing exclusive content. Carter’s cred comes from heavy-duty industry and tech experience, including a high-profile managerial relationship with Lady Gaga.

But let’s see what happens next: Spotify previously indicated that artist exclusives are ‘bad for artists, bad for fans.’ And we haven’t seen any major exclusives from Spotify as of yet.

But back to the current battlefield: publisher royalties. And the first strike by Apple is a strategic no-brainer. Increasing songwriter royalties will get the attention that Apple wants from content creators, and paint a stark contrast to the confusing, frustrating royalty picture at Spotify. Indeed, Spotify has been spending the last months battling mega-lawsuits from songwriters while desperately negotiating with publishers over unpaid mechanicals.

Apple, striding into that messy scene on a pristine white horse, is now offering a comfy, guaranteed payment that simplifies it all — with a simpler, fatter check for everyone.

What does this mean for Spotify?

Well, we know Apple can afford to pay out more, hence the proposal. But will Spotify be able to keep up with the payments, and is this going to be detrimental to the future growth of the service? Indeed, Apple is eyeing a hearts-and-minds victory while starving its over-leveraged enemy.

Bear in mind, Apple has the ability and scale to inject large amounts of cash into funding artist videos, revamping the platform, and adding more features without the need for debt financing. Spotify, on the other hand, is tending a dangerous cash bonfire, with a recent $1 billion convertible debt tranche required to maintain its ambitious expansion. Apple knows quite well that increasing royalty rates may result in Spotify struggling to keep up. More cynically, some are now speculating that despite trying to promote themselves to rights holders, this was just a simple tactic to drain Spotify’s cash supply.

All of which brings us back to Spotify’s battle against massive litigation over non-payment of mechanical licenses, which is part of the publishing payout. When it comes to Spotify, songwriters and publishers have been complaining over a lack of transparency in payouts. They simply can’t make sense of what they’re getting paid. By advocating a set royalty payout, the service is giving songwriters and publishers the transparency that they’ve longed for. And the villagers rejoice.

Yet another layer of complexity comes from ‘freemium,’ a controversial free tier that Spotify believes is a critical pipeline to premium. Perhaps, but Spotify is under heavy pressure to make artists believe and support their business model, one that includes both a free ad-supported and a premium paid tier. Unlike Spotify, Apple Music doesn’t have a free tier, and this is what sets the two services apart. It’s also what artists find appealing about Apple Music — their art remains valued and served to paying customers. That alone has helped Apple Music secure its reputation as a more artist friendly platform.

With this, and an increased royalty rate, Apple Music may well have the ability to expand quickly and overtake Spotify.


How Unsigned Artists Are Changing MP3s To Cash.


In 1999, when file sharing sites like Napster started to change into standard, the music trade was a thriving market with over $14.5 billion in annual U.S. gross sales alone. Quick forward to right this moment and music sales have declined by almost 50%-a catastrophic loss by any standards. The ease and comfort with which music fans can get free music has completely modified the principles of music advertising and promotion. Whereas this bad news for main report labels, it has created large opportunity for unsigned artists.

Because the music trade fights for its life, many internet-savvy artists are beginning music blogs and advertising their music directly to fans. Ironically, the key to their success is just not in promoting new music blog, but making their songs available as free downloads on their very own blogs. Taking a web page from entrepreneurs like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (who amassed a fortune of over $ 4 billion gifting away “free” internet pages), these artists have discovered the best way to become profitable in music by giving it away. This is the way it works:

The first step is beginning a music blog. Utilizing free WordPress software–a powerful, but extraordinarily ease to make use of running a blog platform–artists can easily create a blog on their very own domain names with out having to be taught a single line of code. For the reason that software and domain names are free, their solely overhead is the month-to-month fee charged by their web hosting company (typically less than $10 per 30 days). The whole course of might be done by a whole novice in lower than 10 minutes. After another 1/2 hour or so spent selecting a free theme and putting in free plugins, they’ve a fully-functional, skilled-trying blog.

Next, they arrange a number of internet pages. An artist bio, a contact page and web page the place followers can listen to and obtain MP3s are fairly standard. Photos and videos are optionally available, but positively recommended. Depending on the amount of content material you need to add initially, this could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Finally, they set up a number of income streams on their blogs by signing up for various promoting networks and online marketing programs. This enables them to earn cash from the actions of followers who visit their web site to obtain the artists’ songs.

With this fundamental framework in place, all that’s left to do is start publishing and selling more music-related content. If properly executed, the artists can start generating net site visitors (and money) in a matter of few days.

It’s a near-excellent enterprise mannequin for unsigned artists. Music is used as a form of social foreign money–“MP3 money”, so to talk–which artists can use to “buy” fans. The more fans they will attract by giving freely free MP3s, the more passive revenue they’ll earn by followers clicking on advertisements posted by varied firms in their advertising network or shopping for products from the affiliates.

With a strong understanding of internet/music marketing and promotion, even mediocre artists are managing to earn a dwelling from music while fully bypassing commercial radio, mainstream media and main report labels.

Clearly not every unsigned artist might be successful with this approach. Most do not have a clue how one can go about it. However for the ones that take the time to study, they stand to make so much more money on-line than many standard artists earn from file sales these days.


Bandcamp Has Paid Artists $150M Since It Launched


Bandcamp has become a beloved ally of artists. But how much is this platform actually paying?

Bandcamp launched in 2008 as an artist-friendly platform, a move that quickly changed the space while edging out then-contenders like Topspin. The privately-owned company has grown from a modest two people in a local library, to a team of 28 who pride themselves on compensating artists fairly.

Now, the company boasts approximately 1 million registered fans, and since 2012, Bandcamp has been operating profitably and remains entirely self-funded. In total, Bandcamp now says they’ve paid artists a hefty $150 million over the past 8 years, and $4.3 million in the last 30 days.

That works out to more than $50 million a year, and represents a slow, steady growth.

Bandcamp sells everything from artists merchandise such as clothing, vinyl, posters and tickets. The company offers independent artists more control and flexibility as they choose their own price points, and even the conditions around free streaming and download giveaways. Of the products it sells, for artists Bandcamp generally takes a 10 percent cut of physical sales and 15 percent cut of digital, which is in line with companies like CD Baby.

Bandcamp started in a digital download era, an environment that has been quickly turned upside down. The rise of streaming subscription services, which skyrocketed in 2015, has now transformed the way fans consume and pay for music. That is eroding interest in downloads, though dedicated fans always want more. In that context, Bandcamp is growing and has managed to stay afloat despite the enormous wave of streaming services entering and dominating the market.

Part of Bandcamp’s durability may be due to the fact that independent artists are treated more fairly and have the capability to be compensated for their music on the platform. That is far more difficult to achieve on streaming services where per-stream plays are low.


Time and money are biggest worries for artists


A survey of over 300 independent artists has revealed key concerns but also offer a sense of possibility and prosperity for the future.

Inspirations, worries, habits and goals are shared in the latest report from Auspicious Art Incubator whose latest survey received over 300 submissions from independent artists.

Research found that independent artists are among the lowest paid, with a mean annual income of $18,000 and a median income of just $7,000 from their creative practice.

Compiling responses from artists working across painting, ceramics, digital, graphic design, printmaking, theatre, dance, circus, comedy, poetry, literature and more, the Auspicious Arts Incubator report represents a ‘voice of the independent sector.’

Seventeen per cent ​of respondents reported ‘trying to do this all alone’ as a major worry. Lack of income, support, and the devaluing or limited understanding of creative work outside the arts sector perpetuates the feeling of isolation for independent artists.

‘Not surprisingly money, time and business skills stand out as things that are worrying all of us,’ said John Paul Fischbach, CEO, Auspicious Arts Incubator. ‘The interesting thing is that money is only slight in front of “trying to do this all alone”. We are really “inter-dependent” artists as well as “independent” artists.’

Time was also a major concern, and learning how to value our time as creatives can present a challenge when the boundaries between passion, work and life are blurred.

As previously reported by ArtsHub, creating a ‘bank account’ for your time, learning to say no, and recognising time is a precious resource are some strategies to improve time management.

Common challenges and shared destructive habits also included procrastination, working for free, and making time for art-making.

‘Working outside of the art business means I don’t always make time for the art business,’ reported one respondent.

Forty per cent of artists reported having a part-time day job outside their practice, with 21% working a full-time job and 39% solely working on their practice.

Knowing how much to charge and fielding what feels like an onslaught of requests to work for free is a perpetual challenge for creatives. One respondent described wanting to commit to the habit of ‘charging for my time and not doing anything for “exposure”.’

Respondents also came back with possible solutions to making changes to their work habits such as ‘Devote specific time to my art making and don’t let other work get in the way,’ and ‘Say yes to work and artists/employers who are respectful of my work and time.’

Finding a mentor was also mentioned as one method of overcoming challenges and navigating a career as an independent artist.

Looking ahead to what is most needed to grow their business and practice in 2016, artists reported common areas ​requiring development as help with the bigger picture, running the business, marketing and resources.

Proactive solutions are reflective of the innate optimism, sense of possibility and courageousness found in the independent sector.

‘The vibe I picked up from this year’s responses is one of possibility. In 2015 we set and achieved goals. We felt creative, inspired and alive, while at the same time feeling doubt, dependency and recognising that we were a bit undisciplined,’ said Fischbach.

What may appear to be a precarious time for the independent artist is also one of opportunity, Fischbach believes.

‘This is our time. All of the structures have been disrupted. Independent musicians and writers have taken back the power from the labels, visual artists can reach their customers without galleries and performing artists are building audiences outside of the mainstream venues,’ he said.

‘We are living at an interesting time when we can choose to play “inside the system” and get recognition and validation from the established order and be entrepreneurial and set up our art as a business operating on our own terms with our own measures of success,’ concluded Fischbach.



‘Sync’ Revenues Quietly Earning Millions for Indie Artists…


Great news for indie artists: Tunecore has revealed a 47% increase in publishing revenue last year, fueled by a handsome 57% jump in sync revenues.

Conventional methods for earning revenue from music dried up ages ago, and the industry’s magic time machine is showing little promise of revitalizing CDs and iTunes downloads. That means trusty mechanical publishing licensing is also down the toilet, despite the ongoing legal wars involving Spotify and other streaming services.

But other publishing licenses are showing modest growth. That includes video-related publishing earnings, with the licensing fees from TV, commercials and movies one small growth story.

Synchronization, or ‘sync’ licensing, has been a niche-but-growing revenue stream for independent artists for years, and lucky bands can earn handsome payouts on the right deal. It’s ‘all or none’ in many situations, unless it’s stock audio or background music. But thankfully, top-level cash is increasing in this sector: according to Tunecore, one of the largest digital distribution services for indie artists, sync revenue improved a sizable 57% in 2015, thanks to increased inclusion of lesser-known works in a number of video categories.

This has been going on for some time, with up-and-coming artists appearing in iPod ads and Super Bowl commercials since the early 2000s. Indeed, it’s not just the mainstream artists that can gain healthy payouts from sync deals, though there’s certainly cash for established acts as well.

Outside of Hollywood films, commercials, and TV shows, there are plenty of other avenues to explore for indie, established, and legacy artists alike. iGaming is another industry where musicians can and are earning royalties, with plenty of different players licensing music or generating original scores. Net Entertainment is one active player in this space, with the company just announcing the release of its mobile-based Jimi Hendrix Slot, just one of a growing selection of legacy artists that also includes Motörhead.

And if you’re connecting strongly with a coveted demo like 18-24 males? Watch out: brands and advertising agencies will be very receptive to your pitches, or even contact you themselves.

What is The #1 Problem in the Music Industry?

What is the #1 problem in the music industry? Is it a lack of music talent? No. Is it a lack of creativity or innovation? No. Is it a lack of artist development? No. Is it a lack of smart and competent people to promote and market the music? No. The number one problem in the music industry is: Lack of transparency.

In July of 2015, the prestigious Berklee College of Music released a report entitled “Transparency and Money Flows.” The 28-page report gave details about what it called a “lack of transparency” in the music business.

The report made a shocking discovery: “That anywhere from 20% – 50% of music payments don’t make it to their rightful owners.” In other words, up to HALF of the money owed to Artists is not getting to them.

Why is this happening? The reason is because the music industry is “not transparent” when it comes to business and money. What is transparent? Transparent is when you are able to see through a thing. Transparent is when something is easy to notice or understand. Transparent is being honest and open.

Transparent is not being secretive. Transparent is being free of deception. Transparent means information is visible or accessible concerning business practices. From the Latin words “Trans” + “Parere” = To show oneself.

So if the Music Industry is not transparent, then what is it? The Music Industry is the opposite of transparent. When something is not transparent it is described as: cloudy, hazy, imprecise, murky, nebulous, sketchy, vague, illegible, undecipherable, unreadable, ambiguous, cryptic, enigmatic, mysterious, not obvious, obscure, unapparent, unclarified, unclear, incomprehensible, unintelligible. And as the rapper Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest would say: “Music Industry Rule number 4,080: Record company people are SHADYYY”

Is this lack of transparency intentional? Are music industry people trying to keep things unclear, on purpose? Why is it rare to find “errors” that go in favor of the artist? Why do “mistakes” with money usually benefit the record labels, managers, lawyers, everyone but not the artists? Regardless if it’s done on purpose or not, the end result is the same. By keeping business matters unclear, it makes it easier for an artist to be taken advantage of and not get their money.

Robert Greene, the author of 48 Laws of Power and The 50th Power, is famous for writing books about power, politics, and getting ahead in cut-throat environments, by any means. His books are extremely well researched, spanning hundreds of years of history, different cultures, and countries. Mr. Greene was once asked what he thought about the music industry. His response was:

“There is not a single more Machiavellian environment than the music industry, on this planet. It makes Hollywood look like kindergarten. It is ruthless. It is the Game of Thrones times five… it’s a shark infested environment.”

He’s right. It is hard to survive financially in the music industry. It’s like a horror movie. Monsters and vampires. Vampires out for your neck! The vampires I am referring to are manipulative people who drain others of their money and fulfill no apparent purpose. Vampires nourish themselves at another’s expense: One person gains, and the other person loses. The vampire metaphor describes a person who takes another’s energy to sustain their own life. Vampires must prey on others.

You must be able to identify an enemy in order to win the war. This enemy is no different. You must know who is attacking you, so you can be able to mount an effective defense. Many of these vampires will give you material things (recording advances, cars, jewelry, drugs) to keep you in debt and make you feel you owe them something. These are traps. These material “gifts” are very attractive, but you will ultimately find yourself paying way more than it’s worth. What they take from you does not compare to what they give you in return. Just like the rapper Drake says, these are enemies, a lot of enemies, a lot of people trying to drain you of our energy. Vampires are thirsty for blood. And the life blood of any business is cash. In the music industry, artists are getting their blood (cash) drained out of them by these vampires. So what do you need to do to Protect Ya Neck?

What Is The Solution To This Problem?

If shadiness, lack of transparency, and darkness is the problem, then what is the solution? Vampires need the darkness, the shadiness, the murkiness, to do their attacking. Vampires can’t attack you in the sunlight. The one thing vampires fear the most is sunlight. Sunlight is the solution.

Across many cultures sunlight is a symbol of knowledge. And in this case, knowledge is the only thing that will protect an Artist. The vampires in the music industry can’t attack you, and drain your blood (cash) if:

You have Knowledge of how the game is structured
You have Knowledge of how the game works
You have Knowledge of what duties and roles people play in your career
You have Knowledge of the most common ways vampires attack
You have Knowledge about how to implement your goals

The Light of Knowledge is your defense. Artists without knowledge about the Music Industry get exploited and drained of their money. It’s that simple. The vampires draining an artist are not, all of a sudden, going become transparent on their own. Why would they do that? They have no incentive to change or be transparent. The only way to get results is if you know what you are looking for, if you know what to ask for, if you know what you are entitled to get, and if you know what steps to take to get what you want.

Do you think someone would be successful if they opened a car dealership, with no knowledge or understanding of that business? It takes more than being able to drive a car to run a successful car dealership.

To be successful in the car dealership business, a person has to have Knowledge of how a car dealership works.

Same thing with the Music Industry. You may love music. You may be really good at playing an instrument, singing, or rapping. You may be able to produce an amazing beat that gets everyone in the club dancing. Does that mean you are now also equipped to be successful, as a business, in music? The answer is clearly no.

Having talent in music does not translate to talent in business. Just like talent in business does not translate to talent in music. It’s tough to be successful in any business, when you are not informed about that specific business. It’s tougher when the people around you, whom you have hired to be help you run your business, are also not informed. It’s even tougher when the people you hire to advise you, are not giving you advice that benefits you. It’s most tough when your business partners are not being transparent, and not giving you the money that is rightfully owed to you.

Record labels, music publishers, managers, talent agents, and other players in the music industry have some of the best business and legal minds working for them on their contract negotiations. These guys have very smart, sharp, aggressive lawyers and business executives on their team. And there’s usually more than one of them. This is who an artist is going up against. You may think the music industry is not a competition. But I guarantee you that someone else does view this as a competition, and they will use whatever tools they have to win.

The vampires come in all forms. And they are usually closer to you than you expect. It has become normal to read in the news about artists suing their record labels, suing their managers, suing their business managers, suing their own family, because of abusive business practices. The proof is in the headlines:

“Rihanna sues her Accountant for $35 Million for mismanaging her money”
“Beyonce fires her Manager for stealing money from her tour”
“Lil Wayne files $51 Million lawsuit against his Record Label for unpaid royalties”
“Eminem is suing his Record Label for miscalculating digital sales of his music”
“Ronald Isley sues his Booking Agent for taking $300,000 in concert deposits”

Are you prepared? Is your team prepared? If you are not in this to win, then why are you playing? Inevitably, an artist without knowledge of the business will get abused. They will have their money drained. They will cry to the world “I got screwed over by the music industry!” Playing the victim role is lame. It’s never good to be a loser in a game. It’s cool to be the winner. The music industry is no different.

In the information age, the side that is more informed, wins. The winner gets the prize, which is financial freedom. There are a lot of people making money from the work of an artist. As mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, 20% to 50% of money due to an artist goes to someone else. If you are an artist and worked so hard to create your art, don’t you want the money that is rightfully yours? To be one of the best in any business, you must be informed and you must have a strong team on your side.

The most successful artists are the most knowledgeable about the business side. Smart Artists know how to keep the best advisors around them. Smart artists know how to select business partners, they know what those partners are supposed to be doing, and they know how to keep everyone accountable.

SOURCE: Chris Farrad


6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Music Industry (That Actually Apply to You)


1. You cannot copyright a song title

“Copyright law does not protect names, titles, short phrases, or expressions. -US Copyright Office”

2. You have the right to record any song that has previously been released

This falls under Compulsory Mechanical Licensing Law. Of course, you DO need to obtain the proper licenses to release and sell covers.

3. There is money in the music industry

The internet gave us access to hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of people with a click of a mouse. This was never available to previous generations, and if you can figure out a way to monetize this, it can be highly profitable.

4. You are protected by copyright law as soon as a tangible copy of your song has been made

If you want to be really, really safe, email yourself with your song, therefore there’s a traceable record of your copyright.

5. You are not going to be discovered

We are responsible for creating and nurturing our own audiences.

6. The best musicians are not always the busiest musicians

One of the weird things about music is that it’s really hard to get satisfied with your playing. There’s no real achievement or moment when you’re ready to head out into the world.


17 Myths Of The Music Industry


1) Getting A Record Deal Means You Will Be Successful

Did you know that 98% of all acts that sign to major labels fail? Meaning 98 out of 100 artists who actually get the deal don’t recoup enough money to pay for their advance and get dropped before their second (or even first) album is released. Getting a record deal is much riskier than going at your career on your own. Success doesn’t need to mean getting on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, selling out arenas and getting hounded by the paparazzi. It can mean making a comfortable living as a musician. And you don’t need a record deal for that.

2) Windowing Is An Effective Strategy

Windowing means holding off putting your album on streaming services for a window of time to maximize sales. It may have an been effective strategy in 2012. Or not. Taylor Swift windowed. Ed Sheeran did not. Adele did. Mumford and Sons did not. They’ve all done just fine. And broke sales/streams records. But it’s almost 2016. You can’t put your album on iTunes and not Apple Music. Not, you shouldn’t. You literally can’t. Apple won’t allow it. YouTube Red is launching and will kill windowing dead in the water.
If people can’t listen to your album they will move on. All the release day hype and marketing money will be for naught if when people go to check out the album, they can’t. They will forget about you. They aren’t going to spend $10 just to see if they like it. Unless you’re Taylor Swift or Adele, it’s not going to work. If you want a successful touring career, break down the access barriers. And remember, fans aren’t going to pay for music anymore. And that’s Ok!

3) Streaming Is Bad For Music

A CD or download sale is treated equally no matter how great the album is. It’s a one time payment never to be earned on again. Contrast that with streaming. If a song is great it will get played over and over again for years and years. Earning MORE than just a single sale ever could. Streaming pays less initially, but much much more in the long run – if the music is good of course.

4) Getting Your Song On A TV Show Will Shoot You To Stardom

Yeah, it’s cool to get your song on TV. But do you know how many shows there are? And how much music is placed? This isn’t 2007 Grey’s Anatomy. Very few TV shows actually break artists anymore. Commercials on the other hand can help (as made clear by American Authors and Imagine Dragons). And they also pay loads more than TV placements. Like $100,000 more. Yes, licensing can help pay your bills. And give you a bit of exposure. Definitely. But don’t bet the house on TV placements. It’s just one part of the equation.

5) Playing Well Known Venues Will Enable You To Play Other Well Known Venues

Putting on your website that you played The Whiskey means nothing. Everyone knows that if you have $400 you can pay to play any venue on the Sunset Strip. It’s much more impressive if you brought 100 people to a basement house concert than just playing a well known venue. No one cares what venues you’ve played. Except your uncle Joe. And he still thinks you should go on The Voice.

6) You Will Have A Music Career If You Go On A Singing TV Contest Show

Name 10 American Idol finalists. Not even winners. Finalists. There have been 14 seasons. That’s 140 top 10 finalists. And you can’t name 10. Well neither can anyone else. And how many The Voice contestants can you name? These are TV shows. Not career builders. Yes, if you’re smart, you may be able to use it as a launching pad. But most likely you will be locked into horrendous label deals with zero negotiating power and even if you do succeed will probably try to sue them like Phillip Phillips did.

7) Major Record Labels Develop Artists

Hilarious. Labels only want to sign artists who are already successful. Already proven. And even if you pay some lawyer loads of money to ‘shop’ you at labels and convince some hot A&R dude to sign you, you’ll be lucky if you get an EP out. Most labels put out a single or two and if that doesn’t do well (and don’t think they’re going to put Rihanna money behind it), you’re dropped. And even if your album comes out, if it flops, you’re done. This ain’t 1973 where Columbia Records will allow two complete flops because they believe you have Born To Run in you. Labels demand instant success. If you don’t bring it, bye bye.

8) Major Record Labels Are Leading The Music Industry

Sure, they have loads of money still. But leaders, they are not. Their album creation and marketing strategies are paint by numbers. Songwriting camps. Release plans that haven’t changed in 5 years. Today’s album marketing plan should not be the same as last year’s. But at most labels, it’s identical. Labels are the last to come around on everything from downloads to streaming. Labels fight tech in court instead of innovating creative ways to work with the technological developments.

9) If You Book A Show, People Will Show Up.

If you don’t promote your show, heavily, no one will come. Plain and simple. One Facebook event ain’t gonna cut it.

10) Record Sales Matter

Sales are done. Streaming is now more profitable than physical or download sales at Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. And they were done for indie music lovers awhile ago. Indie artists should be working the subscription angle via BandCamp or Patreon along with pre-order, crowdfunding campaigns via PledgeMusic, Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Sell experiences, merch and other offers on streaming services with BandPage. And of course, diversify the revenue stream. There are so many more ways to make money with music these days above just album sales. Get creative. Take your head out of the f’in sand!

11) If People Stop Paying For Music, Musicians Will Stop Creating It

That was the argument 15 years ago when Napster hit. There is more music now than ever. Musicians create music because we have to. It’s in our soul. You want to pay me $20 for a concert ticket, $20 for a T-shirt, $35 a year for a BandCamp subscription, $250 for a PledgeMusic pre-order package, and $50 for a BandPage offer, but don’t want to pay $10 for a plastic disc or digital files of data? Fine by me!

12) You’re Either A Struggling Artist Or A Superstar

Middle class musicians are the fastest growing group of musicians out there. Just because Uncle Joe hasn’t heard of your band means nothing. Have you heard of his plumbing company? Does that mean he’s not successful? For some reason music is the only profession where people define success by fame. There are thousands of musicians making a living doing what they love who aren’t famous, but are incredibly successful. Success is defined by happiness. Not income. Period.

13) Social Media Is More Important Than Email

Social networks come and go. Email has been the only constant. If you aren’t building your email list, you’re doing it wrong. Kevin Hart attributed selling out Madison Square Garden to his email list. Not Facebook or Twitter. Yes, it’s important to have a presence and engage with your fans on a daily basis on the social networks you feel most comfortable on and where your fans lives, but don’t prioritize it over your email list.

14) If Fans Want To Buy Merch, They’ll Find A Way

Bands b*tch all the time that their fans don’t buy merch. Bull. Maybe yours fans don’t buy merch because you aren’t selling it to them in the right way. Or maybe you have crappy merch. You can’t throw a couple CDs in the corner of the venue and expect people to buy them. If you don’t have a bright display, someone selling your merch (from when doors open to when they close), quality items, and a credit card swiper, you’re missing out on your number 1 tour income generator.

15) ‘The Music’ Is The Only Thing That Matters

Yes, the music, first and foremost, needs to be great. In the streaming age, you can’t throw loads of marketing cash at a pile of shit and expect people to gobble it up. But, unfortunately, great music without promotion means nothing. Indie artists without a team around you have to work extra hard to get your music out there. Just posting it on Facebook and sending it to your email list will not turn your album into a chart topping success. You need an interesting story. You need a cohesive image. You need a marketing budget. You need to tour and/or work YouTube.

16) It Matters What Studio You Record In

The only thing that matters is what your album sounds like, not where it was recorded. Recording vocals through a U47 in Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios is going to sound nearly identical as recording vocals through a U47 in your bedroom. Pay for the talent, not the room.

17) You Need A Publicist To Get Press

Bloggers prefer being hit up by artists and managers over publicists. Traditional press outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio and TV shows may respond better to publicists with whom they have a relationship, but a manager or artist can be just as effective. Save yourself money, do your own press outreach.


Fame Is Purchased – Why You Need To Pay Professionals In The Music Industry


No I can’t make you famous. No one can. That’s not how this works. So why do people like me need to explain this to musicians all the time? Fame is a very intangible thing – and in this day and age it’s largely purchased. By hiring a producer, manager or promoter you’re probably not going to get famous right away. In fact, even having rad music and an entire team behind you does not guarantee that you will make it. It’s only one step forward. Here’s the thing – we live in a world where fame is bought – and anyone who tells you otherwise, or that it was ‘better back in their day’ is woefully misguided.

Here’s the thing – even bands you love for their underground roots only made it because they dumped tons of money into their art before ever getting big. Black Sabbath never would have made it if they hadn’t all given up their jobs to rehearse full time and lived with their parents. Meanwhile Nirvana couldn’t have released Nevermind if they hadn’t all saved their money by living in shitty apartments and touring all the time to promote their debut record Bleach. Maybe you don’t want that kind of fame – but even self sustaining bands require ridiculous personal investment – personal investment that no one can really give you – you have to do it yourself. Music is hard because you need to put in a ton of money to even reach stability – and more bands need to realize this.

In fact, and I can not emphasize this enough, if you’re just in a band you’re probably never going to make any money at this. Even if you tour Europe and Asia – you will probably only end up self sustaining – or maybe making a couple hundred bucks a year. A guy like Chuck Billy, the singer of Testament, a man who has sold hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of records and headlined tons of festivals realizes this and runs his own management company to compensate. That’s just the nature of the beast – and the sooner you accept that the easier your life will become. Can you build your band with the goal of it being a career? Of course – in fact I would even recommend that. It will help you to establish something special. But don’t think that it will ever come true.

Now a lot of this stuff you can do yourself for free – but you have to realize that it requires a diverse range of skills and will require a ton of your own time. So much so, that it probably isn’t humanly possible after a certain point. Just the level of networking required is so high that in most cases it could drive you insane. Again – such is the nature of the beast. Even with the right sort of friends you’ll probably find yourself forced to take buy-ons and end up on incredibly long tours that are simply punishing both physically and mentally – but that’s a huge part of what makes the triumph at the end of the tunnel so great.

I’m sure you’ve had that old lecture a million times. That the music industry requires hard work and rarely pays off. But here’s the thing – even your friends who are professionals in the music industry are probably barely scraping by and can’t bring you up ‘just because’. They are going to need some money too. They can introduce you to people and help get your name out there – but even your manager is not going to be able to invest a grand into you with the hope that one day it will somehow pay off. Getting professional people around you is just the start of your music career. It’s the baseline that everyone else who does this full time has. It doesn’t mean that you’re superior to anyone, outside of perhaps the local bands you originally found yourself competing with.

These things cost money – this industry is a struggle for a reason. And to be honest – people who are willing to do stuff for free probably shouldn’t be trusted. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally step up and take one for the team, just to get some connections or life experiences – but as a general rule – if it sounds too good to be true (Or too cheap to be true) then it isn’t. The reason that not everyone is an artist is because it’s a lot of fucking work and the people who have the passion, love, and incredible sense of dedication that you need to have are extremely rare. As Tomàs Doncker likes to say “Everyone is full of shit. Until they’re not.” As I’ve written in previous articles the music industry is capitalism in its purest form – and if you’re not ready to embrace that, then you might as well turn around and go home.

So what does this mean for you exactly? Well, really it just means that you need to take the time to really think about the consequences of your actions and remember that the people doing this professionally need to be paid accordingly. The music industry is no place for coward and it requires a very real sense of ballsiness to make this entire thing work .So be ready to embrace a darker future and one that requires a lot of work to really get going. Be grateful to everyone – they are almost certainly doing the best they can. They are more than just a service though – they are a person too, and they need to be respected, even if they are giving their all for the art. If you conduct yourself with a spirit of maturity, respect and friendliness in this industry then things can only go well – I guarantee it.



How To Start Your Music Career?

Every year, thousands of people attempt to start their music career. With new technology and online services, this is now a journey that anyone can navigate. Making yourself knowledgeable about the evolving music industry is your key to starting a sustainable and successful music career.

How serious are you about your music career? This question might seem silly, but knowing the answer is essential to defining your personal success. Do you want this to be your side job or your career? Figure this out for yourself and you can approach your career with purpose, and this will be evident in your work.

Create your own music. As an unsigned artist, you can differentiate yourself from other emerging or established musicians by showcasing your original work. Have a repertoire of original songs readily available to showcase and perform. Record your music well; either invest in recording equipment, software or time at a local recording studio. However, the quality of your production is not the deciding factor for a label or manager. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that you provide labels and managers with the best representation of your sound.

Copyright and protect your music. If you distribute your music online via aggregators or record labels, then you must protect yourself from intellectual property theft and copyright infringement. Copyright can be conducted without a lawyer, maximizing efficiency and reducing expenses. This is a necessity, regardless of the status of your career.

Consider a membership to performing rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. They will work to ensure that royalties are distributed to you appropriately. While it might not seem important in the beginning, the foundation of legal protection is necessary for your music to flourish commercially in the future.

Analyze your current situation in terms of your career status, expectations, and goals. Should you be looking for a manager, aggregator, or label? Managers book shows, put you in contact with labels, and cover public relations, usually at the price of a retainment cost, however certain agreements result in a percentage of your revenue. Aggregators distribute your music efficiently to all the digital retailers and streaming services for a fee. Record labels assume responsibility for distribution, legalities, and marketing for a percentage of your revenue. When finalizing a contract with a label, there are two avenues to consider: Assignment and Licensing. Assignment results in the signing away of all rights to the label in return for extreme support as well as commitment from the label. Assignment ensures trust on both ends as the artist believes the label is fully capable of handling not only their music but their career. On the other hand, the other conclusion is through licensing your music to the label. The artist will be able to maintain their rights to the music, however, the relationship with the label will be weaker as less trust is evident. What you decide will depend on the size of the label that signs you, your desired relationship with your label, and your vision for your music career.

You need to be heard, seen, and constantly thought of. Create a simple webpage that describes who you are, gives upcoming show dates, and links visitors to music and social networking feeds. Your social media presence must be strong if you want to be a relevant force in an extremely competitive industry.



How to Create 5-Year Business Plan For Your Brand

The competitive nature of the music industry is why many musicians either fail to garner the attention they deserve, eventually disappearing from the scene while others give it their all for several years, but to no avail. For the few who do make it, the fame and glory is often short-lived because they failed to define their SMART goals and missed the opportunity to capitalize on their proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

What is SMART?

According to Mind Tools, the mnemonic stands for:

Specific (or significant)
Measurable (or meaningful)
Attainable (or action-oriented)
Relevant (or rewarding)
Time-bound (or Trackable)

Whether you’re a solo artist or a four-man band, here are some ways SMART goal-setting can be used in the development of your five-year business plan:


Start by asking yourself the five Ws that we all know and love:

Who will be involved in the process?
What will you achieve?
When will you achieve it?
Where will you achieve it?
Why are you doing it?
Reasoning: When goals are too vague, it’s impossible to hit the target. Simply resolving to make it big in the music industry won’t cut it. You need a specific set of goals and a detailed plan of execution.

Example of a detailed plan: “Our band (who) will secure a record deal with a major label (who) and produce an 18-track album (what) by May 2018 (when). We anticipate international dissemination (where) to increase exposure and help us generate a revenue stream of $10,000 per month through record sales, appearances and live concerts. We also hope to sell at least 100,000 copies of our album during the first month of its release (why).”


To measure your progress, it’s crucial that you track metrics.

A few examples:

How many tracks per week need to be recorded in order to compile a demo for pitching to record labels?

How many inquiries should be made each week to boost the chances of securing a meeting with a major record label?

What are the monthly proceeds from the revenue generating activities and how can these figures be improved?

How many live events are being booked each month?

What are the average monthly record sales?

Unfortunately, many individuals are tricked into believing that money is the only way to get ahead in your career and life. As a result, “we measure success most often in money and personal fulfillment,” Songhack states. But clearly, there’s more to success than a dollar bill. If your musical career generates a handsome chunk of money, that’s great for you; but if you cut corners during the planning phases, your success won’t last.

While money shouldn’t be your primary concern, it’s still part of the equation; after all, money is literally how you’ll survive, so be mindful of your finances and don’t start spending like you’re a rock star before you’re earning like a rock star.


Are your music goals realistic and attainable over the next five years or too far-fetched? It’s OK to dream big, but you should start on a smaller scale and expand your goals as time progresses.


What’s the purpose of participating in meaningless activities that don’t benefit your career in the music industry? Completing task for the sake of bragging rights is irrelevant, unless of course it adds value to your brand and helps you get one step closer to achieving your goals.


In this case, your time frame is a maximum of five years, so you want to tailor your plan of action to reflect this window. Furthermore, doing so places the pressure on you to get to take action and holds you accountable until you reach the finish line.



5 Truths About Today’s Music Industry That Indie Artists Need To Understand

In the information age in which we live, falsehoods, myths, and misnomers about today’s music business are prevalent. But if you want to get ahead and achieve your goals, you better focus on the realities of the business. Here are five universal truths that all musicians should understand.

1. If you don’t DIY, you die

Music industry professionals (managers, agents, labels, publishers, and more) are attracted to musicians who take initiative and accomplish a great deal on their own first. Given the numerous tools available today for artists to promote their music, there’s simply no excuse for bands, solo artists, and songwriters not to build a story about their careers and generate a small buzz.Remember that no one is going to come save you and whisk you from your garage to superstardom, no matter how special you may think you are. If you want to get to that next level of your career, you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Attract the attention of those who can help you by first helping yourself.

2. There’s a quicker path to wealth than a career in music

Don’t be blinded by the media hype or glamour you see and hear in music videos, magazines, and news shows. The expensive houses, yachts, carefree attitudes, and overnight success stories are often spun to make it look like the music business is an easy path to the good times. The truth is that these “riches” that artists flaunt are often leased, loaned, advanced, or purchased via other businesses and investments just to look the part. Make no mistake: if you’re in it for only the money, you’ll likely have a quicker path to success by being a money manager or a stock broker. As a musician, it could a very long time before you start making a comfortable living in the music business. Thus, be sure that you’re focused on the right things, like making quality music that you’re both proud of and can help you cover your bills. The rest, as they say, is gravy.

3. What you learn is as important as what you earn

It blows me away how so many musicians are interested in what they’re going to get paid before they even have any experience. They grumble about pre-selling tickets to their own shows, recording a song without getting paid, or playing another student’s recital for free. But as I see it, experience is a form of payment. Remember, the more stripes you have on your belt, the more respect you’ll get from more seasoned musicians and industry pros, and the greater chance you’ll have to get paid fairly. So at least in the beginning of your career, it’s not about what you earn, it’s about what you learn.

4. Music is never free

You spend several years writing your songs, thousands of dollars recording your music, and several hundred dollars packaging your album for the marketplace. When all is said and done, you’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours of your precious time. So stop devaluing your music by giving it away for free! Rather, from now on, give your music away “at no cost to the customer” and build value for it. Tell people about the high-quality producers and musicians with whom you worked, the high-tech studio in which you recorded, and the time and love you put into making your record. This way, that CD or USB flash drive you hand out in front of your local club might actually get heard. Pursuing a career in music requires blood, sweat, and money. Nothing’s for free, and you should make sure that people know it.

5. Contracts are meant to be negotiated

After years of hard work, the day will eventually come when contractual offers are presented to you. Congratulations! But don’t be so quick to jump at every deal like it’s a “take it or leave it” situation. First, you should never sign anything that you don’t understand or that you feel rushed or pressured to sign. Second, remember that most contracts are form agreements that are always drafted to favor the other party and are used as starting points for negotiations. That’s right! Most companies (labels, production companies, etc.) expect that you’re going to read, analyze, and ask for contract revisions. In fact, based on their desire to do business with you, and based on your strengths and accomplishments, many companies are prepared to make reasonable concessions. So slow down and remember this: In business (and that includes the music business), you never get what you deserve – you get what you negotiate for.

SOURCE: Bobby Borg

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