Myths of Digital Music

In recent years there has been a lot of myths and half truths about the current state of the industry. Many have misunderstandings about how digital music has changed the market. Let me set a few of these misconceptions.

Subscription and Streaming Services Don’t Pay Artists Enough

As an artist this is a very important subject in this digital age of music. Streaming services tend to pay .3 to .4 cents per stream, which is decent when you think of the volume that music is streamed in as oppose to purchase. I will say that it seems company’s like Spotify could pay out more to their artists. Yet this is also an industry in its early stages (keep in mind Spotify only came out of Sweden 4 years back), so we can hope that as less is required in marketing and development a larger portion will go to artists.  In a recent Billboard article they describe digital music as being in a “financially precarious, low margin business” and went on to say, “There are three ways for artists to make more money from this service [streaming music]: a) the service can pay out a greater share of revenue; b) the service can acquire more subscribers; or c) the artist can renegotiate his or her contract with their label. Only b) is likely to happen in the short term, while a) would ruin the company and c) touches upon a larger issue…“ Also, streaming has also been shown to work as a synergistic marketing tool for other revenue sources such as digital and physical album sales and live performances.

No one buys music, especially teens who just illegally download

Actually, more teens (72%) bought some kind of music last year which is greater than the general population (68%). Also, 36% of teens bought an album in the last year and 51% bought some kind of download.

Physical Sales Don’t Exceed the Revenues from these New Digital Revenues

According to the International Federation of Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) “Music Industry in Numbers 2012” report, the digital recorded music market was larger than physical, 2.2 biliion to 1.8 billion. Even major labels are making more in the digital market than physical. Warner Music Group for instance made 215 million in digital revenue and 188 million in physical revenue last quarter. Digital was the majority of revenue even when including licensing, syncs, and performance rights revenues.

I am sure there a lot more misconceptions out there and please feel free to add them in your comments. But generally I think doing the research and looking at the numbers is the right way to form opinions about the music industry or about anything. I know, it’s a novel idea.

 

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How Do You Measure the Impact of Your Social Media?

Everyone knows that social media is crucial to spread your music to the masses. Many use Facebook, Twitter, WordPress obviously, Youtube, Pinterest, Tumblr and other micro-social media sites such as Posterous or Quora to connect their audience and promote their music. Yet, to constantly expand the reach of your social media you need to effectively measure what type of posts result in the greatest response. Once you’ve determined what is most effective in engaging your network you can post only highly interactive content in your media. So how do you measure the impact of your social media?

With each of your social networks you can try different posting strategies from week to week and month to moth to see which results in the greatest interaction. For each type of social media there are ways to do this for each network.

Twitter: Look at your number of followers, number of times your hash tag is used, and the number who retweeted your posts. Also www.TweetReach.com and www.mytoptweet.com are great tools to measure Twitter exposure.

Facebook: Look at your Reach and People Talking About You in Facebook Analytics to see how many impressions your ads and posts are getting. Also look at the number of likes and comments on individual posts to get a more detailed picture of the engagement of each post. Facebook Insights is great because it provides you not only your reach but also the composition of your audience. This helps you tailor posts to your audiences age and other demographics.

Youtube: Track views, thumbs up, shares, number of ratings, number of comments, and number of subscribers to determine social reach.

Blog: Measure number of visitors, the number of people following you, and number of posts to other blogs you made and the resulting referral traffic.

Website: Google Analytics is the king for website analysis. Also, hosting servers such as 1and1.com will usually have some basic tracking on visits to the websites they host. Yet, unlike more simple site tracking, Google Analytics actually gives the number of unique visitors which is the true size of your audience as oppose to just counting visits where one person can count as multiple visits.

Email: Look at how many people opened the email relative to the number who received it and then how many clicked through the link in the email. Mailchimp.com has great tracking and mail campaigns you can send to your contact list for free.

Finally you need to determine the number of conversions. This can be liking a page, subscribing for a newsletter, or purchasing a product. The conversion rate is the percent of people who actually do the intended final action relative to the total number of visitors.

Sites like Klout.com give a rating on overall social exposure and wildfireapp.com’s Monitor feature enables you to compare your Facebook and Twitter’s to other accounts. Also you can measure your influence on sites like www.socialmention.com, www.radian6.com, and www.lithium.com. Really neat tools!

When considering your influence not only is the number of posts, comments, and shares considered, but also the social reach of those people having that interaction.  So, interacting with those users with the largest following, whether its Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook, results in more people liking and interacting with you. The users with larger more dedicated fan base mean more influence your media has on the social network. Make sure you continually analyze your efforts to improve results in social media. Happy twittering!