The royalties paid by music streaming services have been under scrutiny this past month as major artists have called for better compensation. Taylor Swift, Aloe Blacc and Jimmy Buffett have all made public statements claiming that the current rates are unfair for the music creators.
Millennials have a tendency to do things differently, and music consumption is no exception to that. They outspend most other groups and are much more connected on social networks to share what they like. Here are five key take-aways from Nielsen’s report on the 18-35 year olds that are changing the way music is marketed.
Two of the biggest acts in music this month have decided to release their albums in very different ways. U2’s “Songs of Innocence” broke the record for largest album release ever by being offered free on iTunes. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift is banking the promotion of her new album “1989” on viral social media campaigns by throwing small house parties for her fans. Here’s what these two extremes means for album sales.
Last week was historically bad for the music industry. Weekly album sales figures dropped to their lowest point since Nielsen Soundscan began been keeping record in 1991. It was also the first week on record that sales of albums dropped below 4 million units. While multiple factors are blamed for the record lows, streaming is the undeniable catalyst.
After 30 years, Bob Marley’s most iconic album, “Legend,” has finally hit the top 10 on the Billboard 200 weekly list. The +1000% jump in sales was due to the album being made available for only $0.99 on the Google Play music store. The extreme discount of the album is part of a growing trend that seeks to boost album reach and concert sales.
One of the growing trends in music publishing is direct-to-fan sales. Artists of all calibers and levels of popularity look for new ways to create revenue in the face of declining album sales. Some artists like Garth Brooks have opted to skirt iTunes and sell their music through their own channels. While it can be a gamble, it can also mean bigger profits.
HBO released a trailer for its new series ‘Sonic Highways’ last week and it looks like one of the coolest ways yet to experience the living history of American music. The 8-episode series premieres next month and will follow the Foo Fighters to historic studios in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Austin, Washington D.C., Seattle and Nashville as they record their forthcoming record of the same name.
Several key players in the music industry are negotiating a new international standard day for album releases. If adopted, all albums would be released on Friday in every country. The proposal is an effort to reduce piracy caused by albums being released in some countries days before they drop in others.
In a recent Wall Street Journal OP-ED, Taylor Swift shared an overall optimistic view of the future of the music industry. While new challenges certainly do exist for artists, the world’s top-selling musician believes that the key to success in the future is doing a better job of engaging fans and creating memorable experiences for them.
Pandora has pioneered an agreement with indie rights coalition, Merlin, to skirt the standard rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. This will offer independent artists better pay per stream and better exposure on the streaming service. The deal is the first of its kind, enabling independent labels and distributors to negotiate with a major streaming service directly.