Posts Tagged ‘Revenue’

Playlist Additions: The New and Fundamental Way to Build an Independent Artist’s Career

Real Streams

In the age of digital streaming, playlists have become a crucial component of how artists have grown their fanbase and spread their music. Whether it be Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, TIDAL, or any other digital streaming platform, playlists bring new music to the ears of listeners that would not have come across it otherwise. In fact, Bloomberg argues that placement on some of the premier playlists that these platforms curate themselves, such as “Daily Mix” and “Today’s Top Hits” (Spotify), guarantees that a song will become a hit. Spotify’s biggest playlist, Today’s Top Hits, has been streamed over 20 billion times, has 25 million followers, and has had over 70 artists on it receive more than 100 million streams. Even some of the much smaller playlists have the potential to truly put an artist in the spotlight as multiple placements across various playlists could have just as much, if not, even a bigger impact promotionally. To begin to understand this new wave of music promotion, we first must understand what the types of playlists are.

Types of Playlists and Submissions

Today, there are more than 100 million listeners across the world who pay for streaming subscriptions to listen to music. The key to getting your song noticed as an independent artist is by getting it placed on these platforms’ playlists. The type that you may be most familiar with is user-created playlists, whether it be because of some playlists you have created for yourself or the ones your friends have made. Besides this, there are also algorithmic playlists that suggest you songs based on your listening data and history; some popular examples of these are “Your Daily Mix” and “Discover Weekly” on Spotify. In addition to algorithmic playlists, there are also human-curated playlists that are created by around 100 editors at Spotify and other streaming platforms. They use their expertise, marketing, and listening data across the entire app to make their selections for hundreds of playlists. Lastly, there are the hybrid playlists that incorporate both human and algorithmic elements of selection. Regardless of which type of playlist your music is on, the goal is consistent: bringing each listener the best music that they would want to listen to.

Only in July 2018, Spotify introduced a new way for artists to submit their music onto the platform’s playlists. On the Spotify for Artists service, artists can pitch their songs to the company’s editors via an online form that asks the artist for information such as mood, culture, and genre to better understand which playlist would be best suited for their success. After the submission, editors on the Spotify team review the songs on a weekly basis and use data and expertise to add the songs to their desired playlists.

However, this is no guarantee that your music will make it onto the playlists given the fact that thousands, if not more, artists are all submitting their music: to say the competition is intense would be an understatement. A myriad of artists are still skeptical about this submission process because of the lack of transparency that Spotify has provided on its specifics. For instance, Spotify will not specify how many submissions it gets on a weekly basis from artists nor how many of these submissions end up on their playlists. This has led to a lack of trust in their submission process and leads artists to look elsewhere for trusted services to use in order to gain playlist additions and organic streams of their music.

How Have Playlists Changed the Industry for Artists?

The most interesting impact of playlists is how they have shifted the manner in which artists make music. Nowadays, whenever an artist submits a song for playlist consideration to Spotify, it will automatically be added to some of the algorithmically created “New Music Friday” playlists for listeners. On top of that, artists have also realized that it would make more sense financially to release one or two songs at a time in a shorter time spans than it would to release an entire album worth of songs per year. This way, they can boost the streams and playlist additions of each one of their songs and in turn, make more from streaming royalties.

Additionally, many artists such as Drake have also began to create longer albums with shorter songs. This strategic approach to music production increase the amount of streams each song gets by a substantial amount because it reduces the odds of the listener skipping the song. Consequently, it also ensures a more successful album while also improving the odds of an artists’ music getting onto playlists with large followings. Furthermore, this trend of playlist necessity has also led artists to understand that their music needs to grab their listener’s attention within the first 30 seconds. Since Spotify does not pay artists for songs that get skipped by the listener before the 30 second mark, it is up to the artist to make sure they captivate the listener with their flow right away and that they do not waste time in the introductory seconds.

The ever growing demand by artists for playlists has led to an incredibly high supply: more than 2 billion playlists exist on Spotify alone! It would only be fair to assume that Apple Music has around the same aggregate and this still does not include the total playlists on all the other various streaming platforms as well. In a way, playlist hits have become this generation’s equivalent of radio hits. Trending near the top of various playlists could have an even greater impact that any other form of promotion because of how easily listeners who enjoy the music can download the song, add it to their personal playlists, and even share the word about the song.

Maximizing Your Playlist Additions

There is no question that playlist additions are crucial to an independent artist’s ability to promote their music. But how can you maximize your playlist placements? The answer is PlaylistStreams.com. Through our service, you can ensure that your music will be on multiple playlists that our team sees best fit to maximize the distribution of your music. From these placements, you will then receive organic streams and your fanbase and platform will grow tremendously. With our relationships with hundreds of curators who have thousands of playlists, you can count on us to deliver and push your music to the ears of fans across the world.

The time to take advantage of this revolutionary mode of music promotion is now and with PlaylistStreams.com, you can join the wave of independent artists boosting their platform and solidifying their marks in the music industry.

How Will COVID-19 Change the Music Business?

To say we are living in unprecedented times would be an understatement. COVID-19 has truly not only changed the way billions of people around the world live their lives on a personal level, but it has also altered the manner in which all businesses, including the music industry, function in some material form. Before the coronavirus hit the USA the strongest in March 2020, the industry was seeing high revenues; in fact, in the first half of 2019 total revenues grew 18% to an aggregate of $5.4 billion. Additionally, streaming covered about 80% of the music business’s revenues in 2019. But once the virus’s effects began to be felt strongly as March progressed, former leading forms of revenue such as streaming and concerts were now nonexistent due to social distancing and limitations on large gatherings for the sake of public health. A six-month shutdown was estimated to cost the industry more than $10 billion in sponsorships. Though this is devastating, make no mistake, the music business is fighting back and learning how to function in the midst of this global health pandemic. No one can be sure about what the future has in store, but the one thing we can ensure is that the measures that are taken now will be pivotal in understanding how we can expect to see the industry transform in the years to come.

The Live Sector – A New Way to Engage with Fans

With bans on mass gatherings, artists can no longer perform and promote their music via the medium of a live concert performance with thousands of fans in attendance. The effects of this reality are larger than one may think as it extends to everyone that would be involved in making live performances a possibility: artists, fans, technicians, bartenders, agents, security, setup /cleanup services, and so many more.

One of the first alternatives that arose was that venues provided a live stream of artists’ performances at that venue which fans can watch online. However, the sites that offered these services quickly shut down and now artists have turned to platforms like Twitch and Instagram TV/Live to broadcast their music directly from their own homes. This medium has actually increased the audiences of a myriad of artists and recognizing the larger audience, record labels have begun to support these methods by providing artists with live stream equipment. This relatively new form of performing has also led to new forms of monetization for artists aside from the traditional viewer rates: some allow fans to purchase memberships which give them early access to exclusive content, while others even allow for unique commenting abilities. This new form of performing has actually led to musicians seeing substantial growth in their incomes.

With the reality that fans may not be able to attend large scale concerts until Fall 2021, this may be a strategy that is here to stay. Other businesses have taken note of this tool Verizon is working on bringing its services to Live Nation Entertainment in order to help organize larger virtual gatherings through which artists can showcase their music. Vivendi is also establishing a service through which artists can perform their music with their fans while also sharing exclusive musical content with them. With all the players in the field of virtual performances and online gatherings, it seems like the Internet and live streaming will be one of the alternatives we will most heavily see in the age of the coronavirus.

Advertising and Distribution

Advertising has also taken quite a substantial hit in the music industry because of the coronavirus. Nearly a fourth of all media brands have temporarily halted their advertising for the first half of 2020, and almost half of them have reduced their expenses on it altogether. This will severely impact music channels that are dependent on ad revenues and further impact the income specific artists receive. A prime example of this was seen with Spotify, who announced that it missed its advertising revenue targets due to the changes it experienced in advertisement budgeting. This effect is not just limited to Spotify, but also its artists who use the platform like this can lessen their individual income. Will advertisements see a resurgence in the future? The answer is likely yes, but in what form and exactly when that would be is still up in the air.

When it comes to distribution, coronavirus has caused a number of artists to delay their releases into later in the year. This is partially due to the inability of artists to now go on tours to promote their music as a plethora of music festivals and events have been momentarily postponed or canceled. The absence of live performances can be understood as nearly a cut of half of the industry’s total revenue; pushing artists and agents to explore other mediums for gaining back that lost capital. Although live stream performances are a start, that is nowhere near enough and record label groups have understood this.

Groups such as Universal Music Group and Live Nation Entertainment, as well as streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, have provided funding efforts to aid artists whose incomes have been diminished due to the coronavirus. They have also established practices in distribution that is more helpful to artists such as interest-free advances on royalty payments. It is truly a rallying of the music community to help sustain the one thing all entities in the field love: music. Consumers have begun to use more streaming with the loss of live performances and also stream the music on home appliances much more such as televisions. The coronavirus has undoubtedly shifted the advertising and distribution sectors as well.

The Future

The Internet will be the prevalent home for artists and fans for the time being. With less physical interactions between musicians and their audiences, virtual performances will be the new normal for at least a year into the future. With the success many artists have been having with this format, who knows? There is a possibility that even after the pandemic comes to a close, online performances will become just as customary as live ones. Additionally, the coronavirus has shifted distribution and advertising practices. The good thing for the fans is that this means there are more possibilities for them to get exclusive content from their favorite artists now. However, what is most interesting is the change in the sound of music.

Spotify has reported that in addition to adding subscribers to its streaming platform in the first quarter of 2020, it has also noted a boost in listeners of their relaxing and peaceful musical genres. Whether or not this is due to the isolation and introspection that comes with quarantine, artists should and will pay attention to this and reflect the relaxing elements into their music as well. To achieve success in this day and age, success in streaming is still a constant. With PlaylistStreams.com, artists can do just that by achieving their desired organic streams at a competitive price; thus with our service, even in these confusing times, artists can deliver their music to their fans. With the coronavirus, there is no telling when things will get back to the future. However, we will all get through this and so will the music industry.

What is a Master Recording?

Prince oned said, “If you don’t own your masters, the master owns you.” In the music industry, the term master recording refers to the official recording of a musical performance, song, or sound that can be played back or reproduced. As the term “masters” entails, this is the version from which all copies are made. Why is the master recording so important? It is the key through which you profit off of your work, retain ownership of your music, and push your message as an artist out to the world. The manner in which master recordings are dealt with varies greatly, especially between major record labels and independent labels. A tremendous part of how successful an artist will be in this business is through their relationship with the masters recording; thus, it’s significance should not be underestimated.

Multi-purposeful Usage

An artist can profit off their master recordings through a variety of means. For one, with the ownership the masters provides them of their work, artists can reproduce and sell copies of their music directly to their fans. This includes, but is not limited to, making CDs that can be sold to an artist’s audience at their concerts. An artist can also make money from their masters by using a digital music distribution service like Ditto that can distribute the copies of the master recordings to streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. Lastly, one can profit off the master recordings by signing with a record label who will aid you in the production of copies of your work and also take care of the aspect of distribution to your audience.

Clearly, owning your own master recording opens a gateway of possibilities on how to profit off your work as the legal rights to your work would be yours in this scenario. The majority of the revenue from your work will be yours to keep. Additionally, this type of unilateral ownership of your work would allow you to license other institutions to use your music for advertisements, TV shows, and much more. The issue is that more often than not, this sole ownership of music does not exist in the industry.

Who Owns the Master Recording?

Is it the artist, the producer, the record label, the recording studio, the sound engineer, or someone else? The answer is a complicated one and before we uncover this information, it is important to understand why the simple misconception of an artist maintaining all their recording’s rights is rarely the case. The individuals who work on an artist’s work such as a producer and sound engineer may also have some ownership of the master recordings and this split ultimately comes down to the contract between these parties and the artist. Besides sharing ownership, artists may also have to give up their rights to their master recordings altogether depending on the record label they have signed with to complete and distribute their music. As seen in these two cases, unilateral ownership is difficult to sustain in this day and age where additional parties are involved to enhance the quality and distribution of an artist’s work.

Instances where artists completely relinquish the rights to their master recording are most prevalent for new artists who need the financial assistance, service promotions, and distribution bandwidth of a record label company. At the beginning of the careers of artists with such needs, deals are made with the condition that the artist will sign over their masters to the record label until a certain amount of revenue is achieved or a specific amount of years have passed. During the time until either of these two conditionalities is met, there is a mutual understanding that the record label can use the newly obtained master recording for whatever purpose they deem fit and the label does not need to obtain permission from the artist for said usage. Thus, these master recordings can now be licensed out for TV shows, movies, commercials, sports events, and much more. The money that the record label makes from the usage of the master recording then is shared between the label and artist in the manner that was agreed upon in their original contractual agreement.

The way this revenue is shared depends upon if an artist is signed with a major record label company versus an independent record label. In the case of larger record label companies, artists typically lose all rights to their master recordings for a set period of time because of the sheer amount of financial and distribution-related resources the label provides in return. In contrast, independent record label companies typically allow artists to sustain their master recording rights and take other forms of payment as compensation such as a portion of the revenue from streaming. Though this may seem better, one should also keep in mind that these indie record labels may not have the ability to deliver your music to the audience to the extent that a major record label would be capable of doing.

Retaining Your Master Rights

There is no doubt that there is a myriad of benefits from owning your master recording rights. But what are the ways in which an artist can do so in the current climate of the music industry? For one, they can pay recording studios to record their music as opposed to labels and even try to record at a home studio. Nowadays, recording a premier quality album can reach expenses as high as six figures. Due to these growing expenses, artists sometimes see no alternative but to give up their rights to a record label with expansive resources. However, turning to studios with lower rates and home studios may result in just as great of a final musical product at a much lower aggregate cost. In addition to the lower cost, you are also able to sustain ownership.

Yet another way artists can maintain the rights to their master recordings is through sharing the revenue of the music rather than the rights of the master recordings. In this scenario, the artist still signs with the record label company but he or she signs a master license deal which provides a certain percentage of all licensing earnings over to the music record label. This is a small price to pay for all that the label provides the artist with and also allows them to worry less about who has control over their master recordings.

Regardless of which route you take, all artists should always have written agreements from the onset which make it clear who owns how much of the master recordings. This will help artists prove that they retained ownership of their work no matter which parties come into the picture, even if they are newer ones that bought out the rights of the original party. Master recordings are a crucial part of an artist’s journey and alternatives such as sharing revenue from streaming could be the difference between you maintaining your masters and a record label holding onto them. At Playlist Streams, we use organic methods to boost your streams and ultimately your revenue from your music on platforms like Spotify, YouTube, and many more. This additional streaming revenue that we can provide you can help you negotiate with other parties about sharing this income rather than master recording rights. It may seem hard to believe, but the master recordings can very well dictate the course of even the most popular recording artists.

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