Music Subscriptions Passed 100 Million In December. Has The World Changed?

Happy New Year, guys!

Music Industry Blog

In streaming’s earlier years, when doubts prevailed across the artist, songwriter and label communities, one of the arguments put forward by enthusiasts was that when streaming reached scale everything would make sense. When asked what ‘scale’ meant, the common reply was ‘100 million subscribers’. In December, the streaming market finally hit and passed that milestone, notching up 100.4 million subscribers by the stroke of midnight on the 31st December. It was an impressive end to an impressive year for streaming, but does it mark a change in the music industry, a fundamental change in the way in which streaming works for the music industry’s numerous stakeholders?

Streaming Has Piqued Investors’ Interest

The streaming market was always going to hit the 100 million subscriber mark sometime around now, but by closing out the year with the milestone it was ahead of schedule. This was not however entirely surprising as the…

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The value of soundtracks

I’ve been meaning to write about soundtracks for a long time but there’s just so much to consider, I never thought I could do the subject justice, but Synchtank recently shared this Mental Floss article on Facebook on how important soundtracks are for movies that it inspired me to share a few other thoughts about it.

Last month I went to a special preview of Richard Linklater‘s latest movie “Everybody Wants Some” followed by a Q&A with the man himself at Brixton’s Ritzy and somebody asked IMG_1777him about soundtracks and how he goes about putting them together.

He talked about how the one for this movie in particular was made of mainly the songs he used to listen to when in college in the 80s – where and when the movie takes place – and that they usually start with about 200 tracks, but since licensing is both expensive and sometimes not approved, that helps the team narrow it down.

The funny thing was when he talked about the need to change a song because the one originally picked is too above the budget

“You can’t get Michael Jackson, so you get Jermaine Jackson!”

Picking a song for a scene, whether it’s a movie, TV show or even an ad, is as important as casting the right actor. A song is paramount to conveying a certain message or emotion to the audience and it is often more memorable than anything else in the video.

Another gem from Synchtank was this episode of their SynchStories podcast I listened to a few months ago where they interviewed music supervisor Thomas Golubič (Breaking Bad).

“Many people who tried to get into music supervision but don’t quite make it is because they are ultimately champions of music but not of storytelling”

He reveals the process of understanding a character/story and finding and picking the right tracks to match them:

“if you can really think in terms of the story and the characters and get a sense of what is really truthful to those characters…as you get to know them [characters], you hope that you can kind of navigate the truth of who they are with music”

There’s a lot more to it and I highly recommend you actually listen to the whole interview if you’re interested in the subject.

From an audience point of view, not only it helps us connect with a scene, a character, a storyline, but it often introduces us to new music we might otherwise never hear about. How many artists have you discovered through soundtracks? I don’t know about you, but my list is pretty endless.

Dawson’s Creek, The Craft, Romeo + Juliet, Cruel Intentiotheocns (can you listen to Bittersweet Symphony and NOT picture Reese Witherspoon driving away?), The OC and its gazillion Mixes, Gossip Girl. These are just a few of the most popular soundtracks that had some of its songs be as important as the actors playing the scene they soundtracked.

Recently a dear teenage human in my life made me watch Pretty Little Liars (I tell ya, getting hooked on a show that is already going to season 7 is a big mistake if you had any kind of life plan, even if it’s just showering and going for a Sunday brunch!). As the episodes went on, I realised my constant Shazam‘ing was getting in the way of helping the girls find out who pll-introA was (sorry, you’ve got to watch it to get this one), so I went on good ol’ Spotify and quickly found a playlist with pretty much all of the songs featured in the show. That’s  two of my favourite things in the world – soundtracks AND playlists – coming together and beautifully making life sweeter. But I’ll leave the playlist subject for another day as it deserves a whole other long post of its own.

For the moment I’ll leave you with ABC‘s PLL soundtrack, which also inspired this post but I’ll try to put an “OST” playlist together at some point as there are many other shows and movies also deserving of the spotlight.

More on soundtracks:

Aaaaand…more playlists!

Slowly I’ve been updating this website with more music news, soundtracks and the latest pop culture tips (I’ve been meaning to talk about the Another Round podcast for 2 months now!) but I’ve got a Master thesis to write so it’ll take some time.

However, this whole weekly playlist thing I’ve been doing for work has got me really pumped and reminded me of this project I did for Far Out Recordings a few years ago when the BBC broadcasted the travel show “Brazil with Michael Palin”.

It was a 4-episode series where Michael travelled around Brazil and talked about a particular region each episode and, the morning after every show, I wrote about the music scene of said region and made a playlist with the songs that featured on the previous night’s episode and added others by artists from the same area.

You can now read all full texts and check out the playlists right here!

It was one of my favourite things to do during my time at Far Out, we got amazing feedback at the time and even The Telegraph’s Rob Fitzpatrick retweet one of our texts saying something along the lines of “loving it!” – it made my day!

Tips for the DIY musician: music submission

In the few years I’ve been in the music industry I’ve had my foot in different areas: marketing & PR, licensing, artist management and, the latest, publishing.

As an artist manager I’ve dealt a lot with independent musicians with all kinds of experience and, now in publishing, I very often go through several submissions from bands, producers, songwriters and all kinds of artists seeking a deal. Or at least that’s what you’d think from seeing them contact a music publisher.

However, many of these emails come with little or no information like the basic: who are you and what do you want?

I meant to have written this a while ago after meeting one too many bands who needed guidance. A LOT of guidance! But there are so many of these articles around in more popular websites, that I thought I’d focus on other areas…looks like people haven’t been doing their homework though so I thought I’d offer a word of advice.

Based on a large number of artists I’ve come across in the past few years, here are some tips that are way overdue. Some seem pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised with what people think is an acceptable submission! (Ps: this is a HELPING guide! No offence intended.)
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The Three Things You Need To Know About The UK Music Sales Figures

Music Industry Blog

As most people expected, the UK recorded music industry returned to growth in 2015. The UK now follows an increasingly familiar European narrative of strong streaming growth helping bring total markets back to growth. Sales revenue increased 3.5% to reach £1.1 billion while total streams increased by 85% to reach 53.7 billion, with audio stream representing 49.9% of that total. There is no doubt that these are welcome figures for the UK music industry but as is always the case, a little digging beneath the surface of the numbers reveals a more complex and nuanced story. Here are the three things you need to know about UK music sales in 2015.

1 – Streaming Growth Accompanied A Download Collapse

Long term readers will know that I’ve long argued the ‘Replacement Theory’, that streaming growth directly reduces download sales. It is a simple and inevitable artefact of the transition process. Indeed…

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Pandora Buys Rdio To Become A Global Streaming Powerhouse

This should be interesting…

Music Industry Blog

 

pandora rdioPandora today announced that it was acquiring the assets of now failed subscription service Rdio.  While the whispers about Rdio’s future had been building for some time, the deal is more interesting for what it says about Pandora’s plans than what it says about the state of the subscription business.

 

Rdio Battled Bravely And Set Innovation Standards But Fell Short

For what Rdio lacked in subscriber numbers it made up for in innovation.  It continually set product and feature precedents that Spotify and others subsequently aped, and its $75 million dollar ad inventory deal with US radio giant Cumulus sets a business model blueprint that other streaming services will follow. But for all its efforts and extensive marketing efforts Rdio was simply not able to get to the same sort of level as Spotify’s 2nd tier competitors, let alone to seriously challenge Spotify itself.  The music subscription business…

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Legendary Troubadour for sale. *RANT*

So the Troubadour in Earls Court is up for sale following neighbours’ “noise” complaints…

Unbelievable. People really are assholes. Way to go, guys, you did it again! At this rate, very soon we’ll be living in a sad, boring, robotic world with a 7pm curfew where live music will be found in an outlaw, underground alternate universe. Unless, that is, you have sold your sold to the devil like Katy Perry & co. and are brainwashing little kids into paying millions of dollars to a handful of music industry sharks. Then it’s ok.

I’m not usually a pessimist and only last night I was annoyed with a friend commenting on how music is dead illustrating it with Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe”‘s lyrics and I thought he was overreacting as there’s plenty of good stuff out there but, at this rate, all said “good stuff” soon won’t have a place in the sun. Maybe it’s time to start rethinking pirate radio…

 

*UPDATE*

Alright, people, calm the f*ck down. It’s only a change of ownership, nothing is closing down…

‘Cause it’s a Wednesday night, baby, and I’m alive

Or not. Should’ve probably saved the title for a more appropriate Wednesday…This week has been nothing but work and sleep. It’s been good though.

But this isn’t “Dear Diary”, is it?! So, to the point before I fall asleep and drool all over this keyboard.

One of my all-time favourite types of people are those who add to life: whether it’s a cultural (or not-so) recommendation, good habits, stomach-hurting laughter or just general life-enhancing things. People who inspire me to be the best me and to whom I don’t need to make an effort to chat. Conversations about anything just flow and neither of us have to pretend to know everything.

Recently I met someone who was one of those: I got to listen to loads of different music that I normally wouldn’t, learn about things that I didn’t know existed or didn’t know I cared about and got to learn that the so much needed “quiet time” doesn’t necessarily have to be “alone time”.

One of the things, or rather, internet people, I was introduced to was rant-man Adam Buckley. Adam rants mostly about all the music that makes me sad and he can get my feelings off my chest much better than I’d ever be able to.

I haven’t had time to go through all his videos yet but there’s one in particular that’s been in my mind this week. Mostly because I have actually been feeling very Rebecca Black these days…looking forward to the weekend. If only all I had to make my mind up about was which seat to take!

Ladies and gents, I’ll leave you with: A Dose of Buckley.

Milestone: Panic Island on Q Mag’s Top 5

Although I started this blog to talk about all things music industry-related and I have a gazillion posts all over my notebooks, post-its, Mac Notes, Word docs and some still in my head, I haven’t had the discipline time to share them with the one or two readers of this thing.

Worse of all, I don’t even write about my own artists! But today things will change. Ok, they won’t. But I WILL say one thing:

Panic Island, the first band I ever took on to manage, who is about to release their debut EP, had their first ever single feature on Q’s website as one of the FIVE songs to hear this week. And even though it’s been hours since we found that out, we’re all still pretty much:

realitybites_mysharona

Photo evidence:

Qmag_slider

And the sweet, sweet words of James Skey…

Qmag_blurb

More on : http://www.qthemusic.com/9270/five-songs-to-hear-this-week-zohara-axel-flovent-panic-island-rob-bravery-my-baby/ 

And, more importantly, here’s “Temples”: