Apple is working with Shazam to integrate its popular song recognition technology into its Siri iPhone and iPand voice recognition system, according to Bloomberg.
Cupertino's experimentation with Shazam comes as sales of digital downloads have slowed under increased competition from music streaming.
Shazam integration will reportedly be built into iOS 8 music like Twitter,which means users will not have to download a separate app to activate it.Related articles 10% Of All Digital Music Sales Come From One App Shazam Reaches Major Milestone With Five Billion Tags
THU. NEWS BRIEF: Clear Channel Layoffs, New FCC Rules, Siri + Shazam, Is Record Store Day Too Big? & More
Music Business News & Views From Around The Web
Jacobs Media's latest survey of radio listeners, Techsurvey10, finds that "radio is on both sides of the tipping point." That sounds painful but, as it turns out, they're saying that many listeners are still tuning in to broadcast aka terrestrial radio via traditional sources while a growing number are listening to those stations digitally. It's one of the more interesting points of a survey which I feel could use a glossary for those of us who find radio important to the music industry but aren't part of the radio industry.
Jacobs Media's Techsurvey10 surveyed "core radio listeners" to compare differences in listening to "traditional radio broadcasters" (I'm assuming terrestrial radio aka AM/FM) and listening to "digitally delivered" radio (which I'm assuming means Sirius XM and web radio though Siriux XM's status is unclear in this survey as reported).
The report looks across 11 radio formats and 5 generations while surveying over 37,000 listeners of 199 radio stations. Remember that this research focuses on people who listen to radio and what they say they do.
Techsurvey10 Selected Findings
Findings include a number of interesting points that are also summed up in a pdf slide show:
"Radio is on both sides of the digital tipping point"
Traditional radio is still strong in this group with 95% listening daily. But fewer said they were listening to a minimum of an hour a day while 9 in 10 "say they’re listening to the same amount of radio – or more."
With 17% of that listening occurring via digital channels, I assume they're saying that digital-source listening has kept core radio fans at a similar level overall.
That would be nice to clarify but the bigger point here is that broadcast radio listening is still holding up pretty well while more of those listeners are shifting to digital sources for those stations.
"Pandora is experiencing its own tipping point"
Apparently each year listeners, especially Gen Y and Z, are increasingly complaining about Pandora's ads. "Annoying" is a common complaint.
However they don't seem to have asked if such annoyances are driving away listeners.
"Most radio listening now takes place in the car, especially among fans of Alternative & CHR." (slides p. 11)
Between broadcast radio and the "connected [to the internet] car", radio may be able to maintain that spot.
Techsurvey10 Selected Recommendations
They also share a number of key takeaways and recommendations including:
"Stop doing random acts of digital."
"Radio can’t just show up in new digital spaces, but needs to excel there. Broadcasters need mobile engagement, a competitive stream, and to stop treating social media as a hobby."
"Radio doesn’t have a digital problem – it has a measurement problem."
"It is essential that ratings account for all the different ways that consumers are accessing radio content. "
"The music industry ignores radio at its own peril."
"Radio is a powerful force when it comes to new music discovery and artist exposure and promotion. It dominates all other media, and emerges as a trusted source for music consumers."
Note: There are some limits to the study that are included in the Methodology slide at the beginning of their key slides pdf.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.Related articles Pandora Predicted To 'Dominate' Web Radio For Next Few Years iTunes Radio Listeners Are Not Buying Music
Spotify is changing how it delivers music to users from peer to peer networks to streaming via its own dedicated servers. P2P delivery cut costs for the startup and delivered songs almost instantaneously, both impressive features back when Spotify launched.
“We’re gradually phasing out the use of our desktop P2P technology which has helped our users enjoy their music both speedily and seamlessly,” Spotify’s Alison Bonny told TorrentFreak.
At one time Spotify was one of the largest P2P networks on the net. Now having raised closed to $550 million, using their own servers allows the music streamer to control and deliver more consistently,Related articles Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich Exit Spotify In Protest: "New artists get paid fuck all."
Forbes is out with its latest ranking of rich musicians. Diddy again leads a list of 5 Richest Hip Hop artists with his estimated fortune of $700 million, a jump of $120 million over his net worth last year. As with most of the artists on the list, much of the earnings come from ventures outside of cutting new tracks and touring. Here's the full list and what each has banked:
1. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($700 million)
2. Andre "Dr. Dre" Young ($550 million)
3. Shawn "Jay Z" Carter ($520 million)
4. Bryan "Birdman" Williams ($160 million)
5. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson ($140 million)
Fans can hunt for the pressings by doing a little classic record store crate diving to find them.BitTorrent Debuts New Android Apps, Integrates Bundles Into Software, Teases Paygated Bundles Berklee Online Releases BitTorrent Bundle Of Music Lesson Videos And Ebooks De La Soul Offers Free Full Length Mixtape Download On BitTorrent
I love blogging. I would love nothing more than the spend more of my day writing - but sometimes, you just get stuck. I have been on a personal hiatus for exactly one year but have found my way back into writing by finding my inspiration in what's going on around me. What inspires you? What motivates you? What moves you to create the music you create? How do you share those experiences and that music with your audience? Blogging.
Dave Cool demystifies the art of blogging through his presentation of user friendly topics all artists can blog about. You don't have to change the world in each blog post - you simply have to find a way to keep it current, interesting, and engaging. Join the conversation on MusicThinkTank.com.
"If a potential fan visits your site, enjoys your music, and then sees that you have months of regular blogging under your belt, they might click on a few posts to get a better sense of your personality. If they really like what they read, you might have a fan for life."How To Make The Most Of Your Music Merch SEO for the Discerning Musician
MusiXmatch has added lyrics to all sorts of places from Spotify to karaoke mics and now to YouTube music videos. This week the fully licensed lyrics company released an extension for Google's Chrome browser that adds lyrics to any YouTube music video for which they have the lyrics which is a lot of songs. Given the popularity of lyrics videos it should be a welcome addition to those who want to follow or sing along while still seeing a fancy music video.
Though I haven't written before about MusiXmatch I have an ongoing interest in the use of lyrics to create interesting music videos and to add monetization streams. MusiXmatch is now providing lyrics all sorts of places including mobile apps, a Spotify desktop app and tv screens via Apple's AirPlay.
This week they announced the launched of a new Chrome extension for Google's web browser that adds lyrics to YouTube music videos like so:
According to TechCrunch MusiXmatch identifies videos by title which leaves some room for error though they're working on that. Steve O'Hear also has a bit of backstory:
"Apparently the company previously had a partnership with music video distributor VEVO but this fizzled out as VEVO didn’t like having song lyrics displayed, despite the popularity of sing-along captions. After brainstorming during a Friday 'hack' day, MusixMatch decided that building a Chrome extension for YouTube was the best solution, essentially bypassing the need to 'ask for permission.'"
I'm not sure who they were asking exactly, I guess he means VEVO, but now the option is in the hands of viewers who can choose it or not.
- MusiXmatch Combines Lyrics App With Karaoke Mic
- Google Glass Song Lyrics App Under Development By MusiXmatch
- Lyrics Videos Offer An Effective Yet Low Cost Music Video Entry Point
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.Related articles musiXmatch Redesigns Spotify Lyrics App MusiXmatch Combines Lyrics App With Karaoke Mic
By Mike Masnick of Techdirt.
Yet another story of hypocrisy by the recording industry? Why yes, indeed. For years now, we've been covering the issue of pre-1972 sound recordings. When Congress wrote the 1909 Copyright Act, it did not cover sound recordings, because Congress didn't think that sound recordings qualified for copyright. In a statement released by Congress with the Act, it said it deliberately chose not to cover sound recordings, believing that they weren't covered by the Constitutional limitation on "writings" for copyright protection:Indeed, the report released with the Copyright Act expressly stated that Congress did not intend to protect sound recordings: "It is not the intention of the committee to extend the right of copyright to the mechanical reproductions themselves, but only to give the composer or copyright proprietor the control, in accordance with the provisions of the bill, of the manufacture and use of such devices." According to one commentator, Congress had two principal concerns about sound recordings, leading it to decline to protect them. First, Congress wondered about the constitutional validity of such protection. The Constitution allows Congress to protect "writings," and Congress was uncertain as to whether a sound recording could constitute a writing. Second, Congress worried that allowing producers to exclusively control both the musical notation and the sound recording could lead to the creation of a music monopoly.
That latter concern certainly was prescient. When Congress did a massive overhaul of copyright law in 1976, the recording industry was a much more powerful lobby, and so sound recordings were included. However, in the years between 1909 and 1976, many states had created their own (often bizarre) "state" copyrights to protect recordings. Rather than deal with this in an intelligent way, Congress basically said the new federal copyright rules would only apply to songs recorded in 1972 or after, and pre-1972 recordings would remain in a bizarre limbo. This has created a whole host of legal issues, and the Copyright Office has been trying to figure out what to do about this for years.
However, it appears that the recording industry would like it both ways. When it's to their advantage, they claim that pre-1972 recordings should be treated just like modern song recordings. And when it's not to their advantage, they insist that pre-1972 recordings should be treated wholly differently. In various hearings about the issue, the RIAA has been one of the most vocal in arguing against treating pre-1972 recordings as if they're covered by federal copyright law. And, at the same time, they've argued in court repeatedly that the DMCA safe harbors don't apply to pre-1972 recordings, making various music storage lockers liable for any such recordings they host. Some courts have rejected this theory, while others have accepted it. Either way, the recording industry has been pretty adamant that pre-1972 recordings should be treated differently, so they can sue whomever they want.
And yet... when various streaming music companies recognize this fact, and note that pre-1972 recordings aren't covered under statutory licensing regimes... the recording industry freaks out. Michael Huppe, the President of SoundExchange -- an organization created by the RIAA -- is writing in Billboard magazine about how unfair it is that streaming services like Sirius XM and Pandora don't pay statutory rates for pre-1972 recordings. Huppe complains that "this is not fair" and notes:
Okay. If that's true, then why aren't SoundExchange and the RIAA out there in support of federalizing the copyright in pre-1972 recordings? Why aren't SoundExchange and the RIAA agreeing to the fact that the DMCA's safe harbors apply equally to pre-1972 recordings? I'm all for "equal treatment for all sound recordings" as well, but someone ought to point out to SoundExchange and the RIAA: you first.
Related articles SoundExchange Digital Royalties Now Total $1 Billion N.Y. Court Rules Against Grooveshark In Universal Music Battle Copyright Office Exploring Issue Over Pre-1972 Sound Recordings & Copyright
By C. Vincent Plummer, co-founder and social strategist for Bedloo.com
I'm here today with Chris Robley. He's a producer, songwriter, father, and a published poet. By day, he works as the marketing coordinator for CD Baby and BookBaby, where he manages the DIY Musician Blog which sees over 100k unique visits per month...
So let's take a look.
Introduction and Getting Connected to CD Baby
Vincent: First up, I want the quick and dirty. Who are you, and how did you get connected to CD Baby?
Chris: I am a musician, a song writer, a poet and a person. I guess my CD Baby story is kind of sideways progress tale. I currently do a lot of writing for them: copywriting, blogging and writing informational guides and all that sort of stuff.
I’ve ended up using my English degree sort of by accident, because when I graduated I went to school in Richmond, Virginia. I was in a band and graduated and we all wanted to move away from the East Coast because everyone in the band was from various places along the East Coast.
So we saved up a bunch of money and took a trip around the country for about two months. We were going to pick either Portland, Oregon or Austin, Texas. It was eighty-five and beautiful out in Oregon when we were there. It was one-fourteen in Austin and I had a really bad case of poison ivy or poison oak.
The car we were in had no air conditioning. So, anyway I made up my mind about that. We went to Oregon. I was in totally new coast, new town, new music scene for us.
We showed up in late September and the rain started and it fell for about six months. So we were in our basement a lot recording and practicing and trying to figure out how to gig. In the meantime I needed a job but I didn’t want to be tied down. I was selling Christmas trees and I was working as a bank teller and I took all these crappy jobs.
Meanwhile we put out a record and I looked online where I wanted to sell it and I saw CD Baby. I was like, “I never heard of it, that’s cool. Oh my God, they’re twenty blocks down the street from me.”
So, I went in there and it was like this kind of crazy paradise. It was this weird giant warehouse full of music. People were riding scooters around and there was like punk rock anarchists and cute little indie singer-songwriters and all kinds of types of people.
Chris: Yeah, so anyway, I met the vice president and lo and beyond he’s a customer of the bank I worked at. So, I begged him for three years for a job. Finally one day he said, “Sure, there’s something open in customer service.”
Vincent: Is this during the time when Derek Sivers was there?
Chris: Yeah. I started there in 2005. So, I guess when I first found out about CD Baby would have been around 2002 maybe. But yeah, I started working in customer service then after a year I was managing customer service.
After another year I moved to a position they call editor which is basically just writing about some of our favorite music on the site. I ended up in marketing and I’ve been doing a lot of the blog management for them for the different Baby brands. There’s also BookBaby and HostBaby.
CD Baby Employees
Vincent: I know the main office is up in Portland, Oregon. But your whole team doesn’t reside there, correct? How does CD Baby feel about having employees work all over the country?
Chris: I’m actually one of those people that don’t live in Oregon anymore. So you’d have to ask them, but I moved a couple of years. I was in Oregon for about ten years and then a couple of years ago I moved to Portland, Maine.
I guess I am speaking for them but I think it’s worked pretty well. Everyone that’s around the country we check in often we have at least daily instant message chats, Skype meetings and frequent conference calls and all that kind of stuff.
Then about every three months I’ll go back there for just team cohesion stuff, hang out, eat some burritos. Usually when I go out there too I play my shows of my own because a lot of my own fans and my band, the people I make music with are all out there.
Vincent: Cool. About what percentage of the workforce do you think works remotely?
Chris: Not many. I think there’s more than a hundred employees now. I forget what the exact number is, but I’d say 95% of them are in Oregon in Portland.
CD Baby’s Independent Music Distribution
Vincent: So CD Baby is the world’s largest distributor of independent music. Tell us how that works and more importantly, why it works.
Chris: Yeah, I guess maybe they’ll say quick why, we provide artists with a number of ways to make money from their music and it’s all from a single account.
You just log in once, create an account and we’ll take care of monetizing music in a number of ways which include making music available on all the major download and streaming platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon and all those places. Also warehouse CDs and vinyl and we’ll handle oral fulfillment for sales that are generated directly from artist websites and Facebook pages.
Also have a number of millions of customers that come to cdbaby.com which is our retail site. So, all those sales we process, we also make people’s music available for purchase in about fifteen thousand record stores around the world through our partnership with Alliance, which is a big one stop distributor.
More recently we’ve gotten into Sync Licensing, so we get your music into a catalogue of pre-cleared tracks that are available to music supervisors and content creators.
We will help you monetize your music on YouTube. Not just in your own official channel, on your own official videos but anywhere that your songs are used on YouTube, we’ll help collect the ad revenue for you.
Then our most recent product that we launched is called CD Baby Pro. That includes all the stuff I already mentioned as well as worldwide publishing royalty collection.
We’ll register you as a songwriter with either ASCAP or BMI and register all your songs as well with collection agencies around the world so that they make sure you’re getting paid everything you are owed.
I’m going down the laundry list of the things we do but I think basically we’re doing all that from a very simple account, very simple approach, friendly, we’re all musicians. So, it’s a situation where you can call us on the phone and, yeah of course we want to talk to you about your CD Baby account and stuff like that, but we’re happy to talk about your latest gig or whatever.
We want to hear how you’re doing and we get it. So us trying to solve these problems and remove barriers that exist for any musician, it’s coming from a place where we’re basically doing it for ourselves as well.
Vincent: Talk to me about competitive advantage. What’s the badge that CD Baby wears proudly on its chest and says, “We are the best option to do blank in the industry and this is why.”
Chris: I’m probably evading, not evading your question, but simplifying it. I was just thinking we’re basically the best place to come and make money from your music because we’re able to do it in so many different ways.
But in terms of just a direct competitive advantage if we’re talking about other digital distributors, the obvious thing is we have no annual fees.
So, basically there’s a one-time setup fee. We take nine percent of your sales and we’re only making money when you do. So, you don’t have to worry about every single year for the rest of your life having to cough up fifty bucks or whatever it may be in ten years like when your album might not be selling as well it does when it first comes out.
So basically there’s just that assurance that it’s always going to be up for sale as long as there’s such a thing as an internet. It actually is important.
Vincent: Right, I actually wrote a piece on this and why I actually switched to CD Baby from TuneCore. It had to do exactly with that. I had six records out, three of them from the band that I was in. It kind of started to slip into the long tail.
I started to notice I was just like, “Man, I’m paying this annual upgrade fee every year.” So that time six albums was roughly three hundred bucks.
Chris: Yeah, it adds up too. The more music you release, exactly it…
Chris: It’s kind of a bummer when you to cough it up upfront just to keep your music up for sale.
Trends in Digital Distribution
Vincent: So what are the most interesting trends that you guys have noticed as far as digital distribution?
Chris: As far as trends and when I started it was just after Derek, the founder of the company, had basically partnered with iTunes to deliver music to them. I believe when I started there they were just starting to send their first batch of music deliveries.
By like maybe 2006, it had exploded to the point where there were a hundred different download stores and we were partnered with them all and they were competing. Over the years that’s definitely been concentrated and contracted to a handful of really important players. I suppose that’s no secret either.
But it was interesting to watch as players fell off. But along with that contraction has been obviously a shift in how people prefer to even consume music. We’re noticing a bit of a download sales are leveling off.
But as that happens, it’s been offset by like a huge growth in streaming revenue from Spotify and Rdio and all those kinds of places. So much so that it surprises me how big a part of our monthly payout to artists Spotify has become.
Vincent: Really? With such a small percentage, I mean because I remember I think it was one one hundredth of a cent per stream or something like that. It still holds up the value with that many streams?
Chris: Well, see I feel like I’m doing a lot of Spotify, not apology, but I’m doing a lot of convincing. Whenever I write about this people write and they’re doubtful. I get it too because as an artist I look at my own royalty statements from them and I’m like, “Oh great I have enough to buy an ice-cream cone after a thousand or whatever it is people listen to my music.”
But particularly for artists that are getting a lot of hype and buzz it’s doing really good stuff for them and so much so that it is surprising revenue for us.
I’m hoping also like as adoption of Spotify goes up that those payouts will increase as well in terms of the per play payouts.
But I guess another thing that is really surprising to me too is, or at least it’s surprising from the point where we started in 2004 with iTunes, is that YouTube is a huge player in this niche now too.
People for a long time just looked at them as a video site but now they’re a number 1 music discovery tool for lots of folks. They are the number one preferred music listening platforms for younger listeners.
So, there’s been this like fragmentation from digital distribution being purely concerned with download sales to download and streaming. Now it’s download streaming and YouTube revenue are all equally important.
Just to talk about CD Baby for a second, we’ve paid out one point two million dollars in sync revenue to artists. Most of that is actually from YouTube ad revenue. Some of our artists are making tens of thousands of dollars from YouTube.
A lot of that is not even the videos that those fans are creating themselves. Its user generated content that makes use of the artist song. But it could be something like a family video that uses their song. Or it could be a fan that’s making a video for you. They type out your lyrics or whatever.
But it’s surprising that a lot of these artists that are doing super well have tons of fans that are helping them in a way. So, it’s not even really about your own official videos. It’s like music distribution in a way it’s getting socialized.
It’s more about what your fans can do with your music as opposed to how you can convince people to pay you directly for your music, if that makes any sense.
Vincent: Yeah. Unpack that a little bit as far as the YouTube thing. So basically, I mean because I’ve noticed this before when I’ve done covers, like I enter in Elliott Smith, Between the Bars.
Then YouTube recognizes that that is a song that is owned by whatever label. Then they can put some sort of ad revenue in front of that and then that goes to the sync. Is that what you’re getting at here?
Chris: Yeah, so the example you used where it’s a cover song would be a little bit different from what we’re doing. But it’s kind of the same concept. But essentially what you’ll be doing if you covered an Elliot Smith’s song, I’m assuming that YouTube is flagging it based on that metadata you either put his name or the song title or whatever.
So the label and the publishers of his music can have YouTube serve open ad and ad revenue that’s generated from that video gets paid to them.
The way CD Baby does it; actually artists can’t monetize cover songs through our program. So, it’s just for original content that you own, the copyright to the song recording as well.
YouTube will sonically fingerprint that music and then they’re scanning their whole YouTube universe database for similar audio files. If it’s a match then yeah, then the ad will get served up and in that family wedding video and the person who owns the song will get paid through CD Baby.
You’re not going to get paid a boat load money for one ad that’s clicked. But the more videos you have or more accurately the more videos that are out there that use your music, the more revenue you’re going to be making. Over in the long haul, years and years of YouTube, that stuff really adds up.
Vincent: So, it’s also with pre-roll as well, right? If I use a Macklemore song for like my skateboarding video that I make at the park and it gets a million views. Is it also attaching pre-rolls to that?
Chris: You mean pre-roll like a video ad or something like that?
Vincent: Yeah, like a video ad in front of it or something like that that it’s not based on clicks but it’s based on the pre-roll which you’re definitely going to see some sort of an ad?
Chris: Yeah, with our program it could be any of those. It could be just a banner ad that pops up on the video itself or a pre-roll.
In that case the artist will get paid, I believe it’s if you watch the entire thing or if the little ad happens to be more than fifteen seconds. Then if you watch up to fifteen seconds you get paid for it.
Vincent: Now it’s no secret that streaming services are becoming the dominant force of how people are listening to music. Recommendations on these platforms for discovery are super important. What I mean by that is like if you like this artist, then you’ll like this artist.
One of the things that I’ve struggled with and why I don’t understand why middlemen like CD Baby, TuneCore etcetera don’t offer solution to tag yourself with names of certain artists.
Do you ever see that becoming part of the product roadmap? If not is it because the secret to that is that labels hold the keys for that part of the kingdom?
Chris: Well, I don’t know who the ultimate key holder is on that issue. But I can say we actually do collect that information at the starting point. So when you sign up an account with CD Baby, you show what’s your song type, what’s your artist name, all that kind of stuff. Also we ask you for a three similar artist names that you sound like.
So, we’re collecting that data but it’s an issue of when we deliver music and the metadata to our partner retailers and streaming platforms, you have to do basically separately formatted delivery for each company.
They’re asking for very specific set of metadata and we obviously have to meet their request to send the music. A couple of them do take that sounds like information but most of them don’t.
I honestly don’t know why that is except that they just maybe don’t have a place to display in their stores easily so they just would rather not have it. But I know it’s an issue and I wish it’s something that the whole industry would look at and value a little bit more.
Because it seems like if you could find music based on searches about the players in the band, or who engineered the album, or like if I wanted to search every album on iTunes that Brian Eno produced or something. It would be great to have all those credits listed in the metadata somewhere.
So, it’s important to me. I don’t know why it’s not important to more people except maybe just to say that they’re probably making enough money that the pressure is not there.
Vincent: Right. It’s the kind of thing that I’ve thought about for years. For example, I might make a song that’s an Elliot Smith song or I might put out a record that’s somewhat in the right zip code of Elliott Smith, right?
I thought well, it’s way more important for me to be able to say, this particular record similar to Elliott Smith, or Postal Service, or something like that than it is to try to do that on Twitter.
But it’s the same kind of thing because people aren’t following that Elliott Smith hashtag, or they’re not following the Postal Service hashtag as much as they would in the actual store when they’re looking to consume or try to setup a channel that sounds like an Elliott Smith channel. Do you know what I mean?
Chris: Right, yeah exactly. I totally understand the logic because we do that at CD Baby again, like I said, we take that information upfront. But then it also informs our own search on cdbaby.com.
So you could type in Elliott Smith and artists that have said they sound like Elliott Smith are likely to come up in that search result. Yeah, I’m with you on that one. I wish more retailers took it.
Teaming up with PledgeMusic and Disc Makers
Vincent: You guys recently just teamed up with PledgeMusic and Disc Makers. Tell me what that’s going to mean for indie artists working at CD Baby.
Chris: Yeah, actually this deal that’s been announced between PledgeMusic, Disc Makers and CD Baby. To be honest we’re still working out some of what that will mean. But what I can say is that PledgeMusic at this point is going to be running the manufacturing at least in the U.S. through Disc Makers.
Then as part of that package it will include access to CD Baby’s digital distribution services as well. That's about all the details I can share at this point.
Vincent: Got it. Okay, cool.
Chris: Yeah, I’m excited because I think PledgeMusic is amazing.
Vincent: Yeah. I was fortunate to be able to interview Benji. I think that whole concept of what he’s doing is the future after all these digital trends shake out. I feel like it’s going to have to go back towards this curated direct to fan situation because it’s just going to be so noisy.
I definitely think that there’s going to always be a place for passive listening once music kind of reaches kind of a certain level of scale but for the independent artist, I don’t see any other way around it now, it being that noisy.
Chris: Yeah but we give up three hundred new albums a day.
Chris: It’s a lot of noise and a lot of music.
Marketing music as an artist
Vincent: Now I know you’re a marketing guy but you’re also an artist. Did you find that these two things came hand in hand for you or was learning to sell your music something that you had to figure out?
Chris: Definitely figure out they were, yeah, the furthest thing from hand in hand. I think I probably suffered from the same thing that lots of artists do where you think you’re creating music in this pure world that’s untouched by whatever, marketplace concerns or whatever.
I was vehemently against thinking about anything like that until once we were in Oregon there were three of us in the band and we had this kind of de facto band manager who had a lot of experience in marketing and PR.
She was really like dragging me kicking and screaming to the place where I finally saw the light. One night we were sitting down and she and her husband got out these charts and Venn Diagrams and all stuff, I’m like “Oh my God.”
But then something about that night I was like, “Oh you know I really do want people to hear my music. I’m not totally just doing this for me. I want to have an audience so if there are not even concessions if there’s just considerations I can make about how to draw people into that.”
Something about it was very revelatory for me but it’s totally common sense and simple if you’re already predisposed to thinking like that. But anyway it was definitely a slow joining of the two for me.
Vincent: What are three of the most essential things that successful artists do to grow with the public? Do you think these things translate into making money?
Chris: I think it helps if you’re the kind of person who is excited to engage with your fan base obviously.
But one example of that that really sticks out of my mind is Macklemore for the past couple of years has had huge success but at CD Baby he’s been working with us for years and years.
I think it was probably at least five, maybe six years ago, a friend of mine who works at CD Baby who’d been actually playing some shows with Macklemore because he’s also a kind of northwest hip-hop guy said, “You need to watch out for this dude.” I’m like, “Oh well, why?”
He said, “Well, he’s great first of all, but he is totally just one hundred percent dedicated to what he’s doing. Every single show afterwards he’s out there signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.” He was even doing this up kind of too that mid-level place where he was playing two thousand seat places.
He’d be talking to hundreds of people a night. It didn’t seem to wear on him. He didn’t have any rock star airs. He just likes to meet the people that were excited about his music. I think that’s one big thing. Obviously in his case it turned into money.
Another thing I was thinking was, if you can be really strategic about the things you put your energy into in a way where they have sort of double the impact I guess you could say.
One example of that would be a friend of mine he’s in the band called Weinland. They put out this thing called Weinmark, which was Makers Mark Infused Coffee. It didn’t really have anything to do with their music but they love Makers Mark and they love coffee so they did this co-branded product.
All of a sudden they had an extra merch. item at their booth, something to talk about on stage and even when they’re at the booth, so they can all strike up a conversation about Makers Mark and coffee.
But most importantly is they get all of that kind of double or triple press coverage from all three of those entities, blogging and sharing on social media and all that stuff.
I think there are lesser ways you can get out to. Like go back to Macklemore, I know at Bumbershoot a couple of years ago he was handing out fliers for a show that was happening later that week. While all these people are waiting in line, he’s going and he’s meeting people and he’s handing them a flier.
But in five of those fliers were golden tickets. He was doing this Willy Wonka thing, giving out tickets to his show which also drew in press from Bumbershoot and just people that wanted to blog about kind of strange things. So, he was getting all this extra coverage for one effort.
I can always steal in the go to piece of advice which would be, be persistent. I think it’s actually incredibly important and not just necessarily like over the long haul of your career but even within particular campaigns to keep at it long enough so you can let it grow.
I know that a lot of those bands kind of habitually put out cover songs on YouTube like Common and there are a few others. The ones that have been successful have all said like persistence was key.
Because after the first maybe few weeks or months they weren’t seeing very encouraging traffic stats. The views were not what they were hoping and they all kind of came close to saying well this is a waste of our time. But they stuck with it and then at some point, there’s this critical mass and it becomes, wildly successful.
I think that’s probably the case for a lot of things whether its streaming concerts from your basement, or you’re doing video blogs, or just maybe writing a new song every week. You stick with it and you condition your audience to a point where it becomes a habit, I think people; I don’t know how to say this. It’s like something has to become habitual before they even know they want it. So, I think persistence helps with that too.
Vincent: Do you have any secret tips? I mean being a marketing guy, being a music guy; do you have anything that you’ve noticed that works the best for you?
Chris: I don’t know if it’s much of a secret and I also should say that having moved and in some ways regionally I’m sort of starting from ground zero in terms of building a fan base in Maine where I’m at now.
I had a baby a couple of years ago too, so I haven’t been doing nearly as much music making and marketing as I was when I was in Oregon. But I’ll do the usual stuff, the Facebook, Twitter and all that, and then have sort of average results I guess.
Then whenever I send out an email, suddenly I get all these responses from folks. A lot of them are in Oregon and they don’t hear from me as much. But it’s the email that gets them engaged and we are suddenly were in communication.
If I whatever had some new poem published or maybe whatever it is, they respond and they’re super excited. I think don’t neglect your email list would be the simple nutshell piece of advice from that.
Vincent: Yeah, emails for life.
Vincent: I mean I still know people that are using AOL, Hotmail accounts.
Chris: Oh yeah.
Chris: This is no secret either but Facebook is making it more and more difficult for people to engage with their audiences without paying at least.
Chris: Who knows, I don’t see Twitter doing anything like that but they could. Any of these platforms could. So email is crucial to focus all your efforts.
Vincent: It’s crucial.
Chris: Yeah, lots of your efforts.
Making a Positive Impression
Vincent: In recent blog post you said that artists needed to, “make a positive impression or an emotional appeal” to their fans. Can you tell me three ways that an artist or a band can do this right or three ways it could go terribly wrong?
Chris: Sure. I guess to make an impression or an appeal you’d have to have some bit of self-knowledge. I think the starting point there is to know your own story and to craft a way to tell it well.
Hopefully in a way that it enhances the audience’s reception of your music instead of maybe having a story that’s SO above and beyond the music that it includes in the music. The story I always think of is Mary Gauthier, do you know her? She’s a songwriter.
She’s an incredible songwriter but she also has this really, I’d say great, but it’s great for marketing, not so great to live, but orphan, kind of punk rock misfit living in the conservative south, struggling with sexual identity, substance abuse issues and all that stuff.
Then at thirty-five she learns guitar and writes her first song and then has crazy people covering her music and really high profile artists. She’s winning a bunch of awards. But, for her it’s more than just like this hard struggle kind of rock and roll story because it’s so infused into what she does.
Her honesty with her audience and how it informs the songs and how the songs inform the story, it’s just this total honest package of this is me, this is my life. She does it I don’t know how, just sort of unmentionable or mysterious quality about it. But she does that really well.
In terms of what not to do, maybe without mentioning particular names, there are so many bands that fall into just clichés. One example would be like when you’re putting together your crowd funding campaign and you say in your video like, “This is where you come in.”
Everyone does it. It becomes meaningless. So just find a way to appeal to your audience.
I saw this other band, they were making video blogs. They were not using actual human lingo. They started speaking in marketing speak to their fans. I was like, “Oh God.” So like just saying, “This show we really want to add value and blah blah blah and add value and blah blah blah.” Just stop it.
You’re losing everyone. No one gives a shit about this marketing talk. It’s great that you’re considering it.
I think, have enough respect for your audience, to talk to them like their friends, or if not friends at least just people you respect or appreciate.
Then the other thing that happens in all sorts of ways whether it’s just constant Twitter posts or emailing your fan base too often about a particular thing, you come across as desperate especially I noticed probably the most in crowd funding campaigns.
But there’s really a difference between asking for floatation device and some help other than like I think of the metaphor of going with a lifeboat and shipping it over in an attempt to get some help.
But like just have some common sense about the amount of time and the intensity with which you’re engaging your audience to because eventually they’ll just tune you out.
Vincent: Yeah, interesting. It makes me think about that quote I think I’ve seen somewhere. I don’t know where I’ve seen it, probably some Pinterest, something on Pinterest. It seems like one of those pop cliché things.
But it just really kind of resonated with me with what you were talking about which is like, Own your own story before somebody else owns it for you.” I’m thinking about that girl that you were talking about that was thirty-five.
Chris: Yeah, it’s like whenever I talk about that particular kind of putting together your story, I use her as an example because it is such a memorable, dramatic story. I know that that puts a lot of artists in that place where like, I just grew up and had a fine life.
I didn’t have anything like that. I’m one of those people too like I don’t have any great hurdles to overcome besides just having been born.
But I think even for those people there’s a way of crafting the little bits of drama you have or just maybe using humor, or self-deprecation, or even your previous achievements that will be of interest. It doesn’t always have to be some high drama.
Vincent: Yeah. So, make friends with writers, people. Make friends with writers because I know it’s one of these things that artists really struggle with. They struggle with talking about themselves.
For me, like my way of doing that is with lyrics and crafting my clever little hidden messages and secret messages to the world that you’d have to decode three or four different ways. But the reality of it is people are too busy to decode all that stuff. You know what I mean?
Chris: That alone is interesting enough to be part of your story is that you communicate with your fan base through these little enigmas that are buried in your song.
That intrigues me if that can be part of the story.
Vincent: Do you have any final advice you have to offer either artists or aspiring industry folks? Like what’s your number one soapbox issue?
Chris: I guess my big soapbox issue would be, it drives me nuts when bands are emulating other bands that are currently successful. Like right now we’re in the age of Mumford & Sons where a few years ago they had a bunch of hits. Now every single band that has a hit has like four on the floor kicked on and gang vocals and stuff.
The industry will either find other bands that are out there that sound like them already which God bless them, I wish them success. But then also like, it puts pressure on other bands to mold their sound.
I have a good friend who is working with kind of an A&R thing and they were wanting her to really Mumford & Sons up her sound. It bums me out so much. So basically, don’t be a slave to fashion because fashions get stale.
Then on a more positive note maybe I’d say just in terms of generally guarding your attitude about your music like to put everything into the projects you’re involved in, you put all your heart, creativity into it. But also have a realization that a lot of those efforts are going to fail if you’re judging them by other people’s standards and that's okay.
Like my first band album I put out when I moved to Portland was kind of an embarrassing flop. It was pretty much panned by critics. It sold pretty much nothing. Of course I was wounded by it but I also learned from it.
I read some of the bad reviews and I was like, “You know what, they’re kind of right.” So my next five records, I can’t brag about sales at all but they were all pretty much critically successful. I did well in that way. They helped me build my band and they helped me get better.
So, basically yeah if your band breaks up, that’s sad, but you can join another band. Maybe you didn’t end up on the cover of your city’s like local arts paper, but the band that did might be broken up in five years and by then you could be on Lettermen.
There’s just like no way to predict what’s going to lead to success. So if you just keep at it. I guard against saying stay positive because I think that’s impossible to stay positive all the time and probably stupid.
But if you at least stay somewhat kind of philosophical about it, I think having a love for your music making over many years is a wise way to approach your career as opposed to just being so focused on what’s going to happen in the next three to six months. Future plans
Vincent: What are your plans for the future? Do you have anything that you’d like to plug right now?
Chris: Yeah, sure. Since I moved I’ve been concentrating a lot on writing poetry. I’ve had a number of poems accepted in publications that I really respect. The big one that I just had recently is Poetry Magazine which is the big, it’s an establishment. So that was exciting.
I’m going to be working on a manuscript of poems and try and get a book published hopefully in the next couple of years.
On the music side of things, I’ve got an album and an EP that are both recorded and mixed. I’m trying to figure out what to do with them at this point, sharing them with a couple of labels and seeing if we can partner on anything there.
But chances are I’ll put it out myself and hopefully work with a publicist and get back into my music making mode. I’m really excited about the albums of course as everyone is.
Vincent: Awesome, man.
Chris: Yeah, so it’s cool to have poetry and music as a flip back and forth rather than getting burned out on any one, I can just shift gears.
Vincent: Right. Having just had a baby, I’m sure you’re writing about different kinds of things now, huh?
Chris: Yeah, very different. I’m more, particularly in music I’d say it’s becoming more informed by autobiographical events I guess you could say. Like I used to write very character driven kind of fiction sort of lyrics and I still do some of that.
But the music is becoming far more personal and raw and vulnerable which I think is exciting for me. From the few people who’ve heard the unreleased stuff, they’re picking up on that and are excited about it.
Vincent: Awesome. Well, hey man, this is great. I really appreciate your time.
Chris: Oh cool. Thanks so much. This was a lot of fun.
Thank you guys so much for tuning in. We'd love to hear your feedback. I'm @cvpmusic on twitter or hit us up @bedloo.
You can find Chris on Twitter at @chrisrobley. Don't forget to use #fangagement.Related articles How To Promote Your Music On Facebook With Songza Playlists 2 Powerful Facebook Music Marketing Tips: Take It Offline & Focus On Photo Galleries #Fangagement: Artists Crowdsourcing Opinion - Emily White Is Spotify Paying You Everything You're Owed?
I've been posting about creative music videos for the last couple of years at Hypebot. Generally I feature videos using new tech, particularly consumer web apps, to create music videos. Today's batch features a Cut Copy video that utilized 3D printing, a fanshot video by Kodaline using FanFootage and two music videos that use edited GIFs, one from Rob Cantor and one from Ilan Benjamin who created an unofficial video for Tropkillaz.
3D Printing a Music Video?
Cut Copy - We Are Explorers
Cut Copy released a BitTorrent Bundle featuring the above music video for "We Are Explorers" from Free Your Mind." The bundle includes still frames and downloaders are encouraged to create new videos.
It's being described as a 3D printed music video but of course it's not. The story is interesting but basically what they did was 3D print figures that are animated in a real setting.
Still it's nice to see paper mache alive in another form. And it should be interesting to see what people do with the still frames they download.
Let The Fans Shoot The Video!
Kodaline - All I Want
Back in 2011 I wrote about 45Sound which was an early entrant among startups trying to turn fan footage into edited shows. They've since rebranded as FanFootage and have now outlasted some contenders though others seem to be stepping up.
Kodaline asked their fans to video the last song in their hometown Dublin show and upload them to FanFootage. The above video is the final result.
2 Contrasting Music Videos Using GIFs
Rob Cantor - All I Need Is You
By contrast, Ilan Benjamin's unofficial video for "Morena" by Tropkillza is even more abstract and may or may not be related to any lyrics in the song. But it fits really well.
Benjamin used gifs from Reddit and turned "166 trippy GIFs into one trippy song." It came out late last year but the Cantor video inspired me to see what else was out there.
- Fan Videos Make Labels More Money Than Official Music Videos, Says Universal Exec
- Music Marketing Success With Videos: Garcia Goodbye, SoundTube, Vine Madness
- Can Short Video Apps Like Strum, Viddy, VJAM, Snapchat & Vine Be Used For Music Marketing?
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.
Rod Kennedy, founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival, died on Monday in hospice care. He was 84 at the time of his passing. Kennedy launched the festival in 1972 as an offshoot of the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair and the event has since become one of the longest running festivals in the U.S., presenting more than 1,500 artists on its stages over the years. Past performers at the festival include Peter Paul & Mary, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Michelle Shocked, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams, and Nancy Griffith among numerous others.
Kennedy also helped to bring Jazz to Texas, co-producing the Longhorn Jazz Festival with George Wein in the late 1960s. The festival brought artists such as Cannonball Adderly, Art Blakey, Roy Ayers, Milt Buckner, Dave Brubeck, Arnett Cobb, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins to the Lone Star State.
Kennedy also produced country music, gospel, traditional music, blue grass and classical music festivals and toured his festival concerts with many stars from these events to 19 states and Mexico where he produced the Isla Mujeres International Music Festival for a decade.
In addition to festivals, Kennedy was responsible for several music venues, including the Chequered Flag folk music club in Austin and the Jazz Club of Boston. - via CelebrityAccess(Photo: J. Dirden)
.Related articles A Place For Jazz: Moving Beyond Audience Development Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock Honored At Kennedy Center (VIDEO)
OpenAura is an interesting new project from IODA founder Kevin Arnold that, most noticeably, aggregates images from musicians' official web presence. Artists can claim those pages or "Auras," add additional content and monetize them. Today OpenAura added The Associated Press, Pitchfork Media and others to the mix. Content owners can add additional pics and info to artists' Auras and join in the hoped for monetization.fest.
Up till now OpenAura has been benefiting from the wide range of imagery available through social media to create visual portraits from official media. It's a great idea though I have to wonder about some of the copyright issues especially since OpenAura says they'll be licensing the images to other sites via their API.
For example, I wonder how rightsholders will feel about this Beatles Aura which has yet to be claimed but includes Facebook photos that I don't think are designed to be embedded offsite.
That said, OpenAura is potentially a strong platform that will benefit musicians and rightsholders over time. Management companies have already come on board and today OpenAura announced the addition of an impressive group of content owners.
Content Owners Join OpenAura
The first ones up include The Associated Press, Beggars Group (4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade and XL Recordings), Exclaim!, FILTER Magazine, Getty Images, !K7, The Orchard, PictureGroup, Pitchfork Media, and Sony Music Entertainment.
CEO Kevin Arnold stated in an official announcement:
"With the addition of Content Partners to our platform we're moving towards our goal of aggregating and syndicating the richest, most authentic set of artist-identity content available. This is the first marketplace that connects content owners to the artists that inspire their work for exposure and distribution directly to fans through the many places where they experience entertainment."
"We look forward to working with these leading content owners and professional creators everywhere to enable a new revenue stream and distribution channel for their content and to power the next-generation of artist-fan experiences online."
As I noted, the status of some of this content is not quite clear. Let's hope they're on top of such things cause this could be another revenue stream worth developing for musicians.
You can find more information here for both artists and content partners.
- Kevin Arnold On How OpenAura Helps Musicians Control Their Image Online
- OpenAura Opens Free Artist Info API, 8tracks First To Sign On
- OpenAura Launches, Musicians: Claim & Monetize Your Digital Presence
You're a smart musician who's got an official website so that you're not just building up somebody else's social network. You check out site states probably emphasizing how many visitors you're getting, where they came from and, as much as you can, why you got sudden surges or drops. Though that puts you ahead of many, there are deeper level to the site stats aka analytics game worth considering. I recently came across a treasure trove of information from Chartbeat that makes a clear case for what to do next.
Chartbeat provides website analytics. You sign up for an account, put their code on your site and they start tracking what's up. That's how most such sites work and many people use Google Analytics to do the job because it's a solid product and it's free.
Chartbeat's pricing starts at $9.95 a month and goes up from there. I've been interested in what they do but haven't felt compelled to use the product until I started reading their posts and research on traffic sources and user behavior. Like good content marketers, they include some insights into how their product works and it sounds pretty awesome.
Connecting Traffic Sources and Site Visitor Behavior
You're probably already clued into the fact that you get more traffic when you post on one source over another. But have you considered how user behavior differs based on traffic sources?
In the concluding post of a 5 post series, Chartbeat's Josh Schwartz shares an infographic flowchart that shows what Chartbeat has discovered in aggregate concerning site visitors from key sources like one's homepage, Twitter, Google News, Google Search and Facebook.
Remember that aggregate info should be used as a starting point not a final destination. It may suggest things to try out but you need to figure out what's happening on your site, not the average of behavior from everybody else's sites.
In the process of sharing the aggregated data chart, Schwartz reveals a basic series of steps to figure out which traffic is most important to you.
After identifying where traffic comes from and how many people visit, it's time to figure out what they do after they show up.
What Do Your Visitors Do & How Often Do They Return?
Chartbeat apparently makes it a lot easier to figure out the following and connect it back to where the traffic originated:
How engaged are visitors while on you're site and what do they do while they're there?
How often do they return to your site?
Given such information, you can answers key questions like:
On what traffic sources should we focus our efforts?
Chartbeat's Publishing tier helps with specific data points such as "return rate" and "return direct rate." More generally they've seen that:
"visitors from social sources have the highest likelihood of returning, while sources like Google News, Reddit, and Outbrain are likely to increase your site's reach by sending new visitors, but are unlikely to meaningfully help you grow your audience in a self-sustaining way."
Again, that's in the aggregate and may help explain what you're seeing happening on your own site. But it's your site's stats that matter and, if you diverge from the norm as so many do, you may see different patterns which can even open up unexpected opportunities.
But whatever you're seeing, once you've identified sources that send you traffic that is engaged while on your site and returns later, those are the sources on which you want to concentrate in order to build on your strengths.
Can You Figure This Stuff Out Without Chartbeat?
This is a potentially complicated process so I'm drawn to Chartbeat's focus on providing such information in an easy to grasp form. But it's quite possible that your analytics service of choice can do similar things.
For example, since I'm more interested in engagement than site hits, I've used Google Analytics to quickly identify blog posts which get a lot of traffic and then see how long people stay on that page. In the process I've been able to identify clear differences between the posts that inspire engagement and those that only get hits.
But I've never tried to figure out who's most likely to return and what happens when they do. I may be able to do some of that with Google Analytics now that I'm recognizing the importance but I know I could do that with Chartbeat if I'm willing to make the investment.
Here are the key resources I've found from Chartbeat on this topic:
5 Part Series: Understanding Your Traffic Sources
Getting Specific: Audience Building on Vulture.com: A Case Study
Don't forget: You're not average and so the aggregate may not fit your individual situation.
- Sell Your Act With Music "Metrics That Really Matter"
- It Takes More Than Metrics To Understand A Musician's Audience
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When the folks at RAIN got a tip that some in the U.S. were able to access EU based streaming music service Deezer on their computer, they reached out for confirmation. Conor Maples, International PR manager for Deezer answered, “The service is not available in the US but we’re offering test accounts to our potential partners and others we may work with. The accounts are activated by us and offered to potential partners by our team.”
"Partners" could range from mobile carriers to sponsors; and record labels to media. Whoever the testers are, Deezer appears to be getting very close to its promised 2014 U.S. launchRelated articles Deezer Beats Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio To Windows 8 Deezer Launches Free Music Globally, Reveals Deezer4Artists Promo Platform Samsung signs bundle deal with Deezer CONFIRMED: Deezer To Launch In U.S. Deezer App Studio goes mobile, brings apps to Android and iOS listeners
Are you using YouTube to it's maximum potential? Odds are, if you're a musician who is not actively using a YouTube channel as an avenue to reach your audience, grow your fanbase, and forge new partnerships, then the answer is no... but you could be.
YouTube is a golden gateway to endless opportunity. People are always looking for soundtracks to their videos, music to their artwork, statement pieces, etc. - ways to differentiate themselves from everyone else. Aren't you looking for the same things? What sets you apart? What new opportunities could you find amongst today's greatest YouTubers? Join the conversation on MusicThinkTank.com as Chelsea Ira discusses self publishing on YouTube.
"There is a huge community of amateur and professional video makers on YouTube with topics ranging from beauty and fashion to gaming to health and fitness. There is also a big surge of professionalism among these YouTubers and many of the more popular channels act as full-time jobs for their creators."
Collecting music in the digital age is often perceived as an individual problem, which it is because collecting is personal, but it's also a problem for musicians as a whole who benefit from the human compulsion to build collections. Losing a connection to collecting doesn't devalue music as art but it does undermine a force that can help support the business of music. As Gilles Poupardin of Whyd points out companies like his are attempting to create digital spaces for collecting music. While Qleek, a project currently in the design stage, offers an unlikely physical solution that one can use to inspire new responses to such issues.
The Psychology of Collecting
The psychology of collecting is something folks in music should be taking more deeply into account. When you recognize a collective behavior that relates to both your art and business then you've discovered a powerful force that can be turned to your advantage while others flail around in the belief that they can be fed off the merits of their work.
In an age when music is being delivered in a form that's difficult to collect, many musicians have found other ways to tap in, for example, with bundles that include merch items like tshirts (people like to collect stuff related to the things they dig) and with new or newly revived physical forms of music delivery (from USB sticks to vinyl).
Digital Music Collections Just Aren't Very Satisfying
Obviously part of why he's writing such an essay is because Whyd is attempting to be exactly that, a place where people can have a satisfying (or better) experience collecting and sharing music. But it's not an especially self-serving post and he does a nice job looking at how things have changed and how people are responding to today's environment.
Though Whyd may offer one solution that seems to fit the digital age, I was reminded of Qleek, a project I initially had mixed feelings about. Poupardin's reflection on music collecting in the digital age makes me wonder if symbolic objects could help bring back the physical aspects of collecting.
Qleek - Your Digital Life, in the Real World
The vinyl revival seems partly to be a response to the limitations of digital music collections but it's also a continuation of collecting cool things.
However as one of Qleek's creators told Fast Company:
"Qleek emerged from the observation that although digital media has enhanced the way we consume cultural goods, it still lacks important features that bring value to media lovers without falling into some kind of nostalgia."
To be honest, I think nostalgia is one of the emotions that collecting taps into and gives it part of its power. In fact, based on the above video, I'd say Qleek will likely benefit from nostalgia and all sorts of other emotions and psychological states if people actually use it even if they don't initially perceive Qleek itself as a source of nostalgia.
The pics in the Fast Company article made me think Qleek was a clear loser (and the headline initially misled me into thinking it had something to do with mixtapes).
The video above, as well as the current pic on the Qleek homepage from which I've taken a detail for the above thumbnail, clued me into what Qleek is trying to do.
So What The Heck Is Qleek?
What is it though? According to Fast Company Qleek is a "sleek stereo base station" that "uses attractive wooden discs [called Tapps] as almost physical bookmarks for digital content."
The discs have NFC chips inside and Qleek's software allows you to assign music to each disc. The music isn't provide by Qleek but through "whatever digital library or service it can, such as YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, and more."
You can check out the press page for more on the folks at Qleek and what they're up to.
You can also sign up to be notified about their progress. Qleek is not yet available and will probably be Kickstarted.
But this isn't about Qleek as much as it is about finding new ways to satisfy collectors and, in the process, deepen people's conscious relation to and support for music and maybe even musicians. Qleek shows us that there are routes forward in which physical collecting and digital music can coexist.
- Social Music Streamer Whyd Raises $700,000, Exits Private Beta
- Wax Packs Brings The Fun Of Baseball Card Collecting To 7" Vinyl Releases
- A Record Collection Of Links
Delivering $34.1 Million in Distribution Earnings to Artists and Increasing Publishing Royalties 190% for Rights Holders in Q1 2014
New stores, expanded geographic reach, and proprietary sync licensing database grow opportunities for new generation of Musician-Entrepreneurs
New York, NY – April 16, 2014
Showcasing its ability to drive revenue for musicians and composers, TuneCore today announced that artists who distribute their recordings through the platform have earned over $34.1 million in the first quarter of 2014 alone. The revenue was generated from nearly 1.3 billion downloads and streams, a 75% increase over the same period in 2013...
TuneCore today announced that quarterly payments to artists reached $34.1 million in the first quarter of 2014. The revenue was generated from 1.3 billion downloads and streams, a 75% increase over the same period in 2013.
So far this year, TuneCore added four new stores to its flat fee digital music distribution network: Bloom.fm, Guvera, Akazoo and Anghami.
TuneCore artists have earned $405.6 million on 6.1 billion streams and downloads since inception.
The company also announced 190% growth in royalties collected by TuneCore Music Publishing Administration in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013.