Tag Archives: Spotify

The Spotify Question

I recently serendipitiously ran across a recording by a music artist named Moshimoss. The link I ran across brought me to his MySpace page where I can listen to all of his songs on the music player., And then I searched and found him on iTunes. Then I noticed him on Spotify. And now I encounter what I am calling the “Spotify Question”:

Am I willing to pay $9.99 plus tax to download his album “Hidden Tape No. 66” from iTunes or just listen to his stuff for free on Spotify as much as I want? How I answer this question through my actions makes a small yet big difference to the livelihood of the music artist known as Moshimoss.

If I purchase the album from iTunes, he will net about $6.31. That’s enough for an average sandwich or a pint of beer here in the U.S. I have no idea what that will buy him in Japan where he’s from.

Let’s say I choose not to purchase his album from iTunes and continue to listen on Spotify, which is essentially the path of least resistance. Let’s say I listen to the whole thing 10 times. Assuming his music is not through a label (big or indie) and he is able to get all of the proceeds, he earns $0.00189 per song stream. Doing the math (14 tracks x 10 plays), Mr. Moshimoss earns about 24 cents. Music artists don’t receive proceeds directly, but rather through any number of intermediaries, so he will mostly likely earn a fraction of this amount for my 140 plays.

So, do I decide to shell out $9.99 plus tax? I am not sure. Meanwhile, I can just choose to listen on Spotify or MySpace (where he earns nothing).

I do know that in order for Mr Moshimoss to make the equivalent of minimum wage from iTunes sales, there needs to be at least 1,229 people this month who are willing to pay for a download of his entire album. Otherwise, to make minimum wage, guess how many Spotify streams are required? 4,053,110.


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The Music Business Looks Forward: 5 Social Media Predictions For 2012

Here’s an article about the ongoing changes in social media that I thought was worth sharing. It was a guest post on Hybebot.com by Shore Fire Media, a boutique public relations, online marketing, and digital strategy firm specializing in music and entertainment.

In the last year, the music industry shifted from cautiously experimenting with social media, to recognizing it as a necessary part of every marketing strategy, from the smallest bands to the biggest brands. It’s an exciting time. The tools and strategies we use daily shift at lightening speed. As a PR firm Shore Fire Media is focused on tracking this constant evolution.  In the spirit of this inquiry, we asked music industry insiders and social media experts what they see for the future of social media. From a focus on mobile, to social listening, to the demise social media as we know it, here are predictions that will help guide us through 2012.

1) SOCIAL MEDIA IS DEAD, LONG LIVE SOCIAL MEDIA – As social media becomes an extension of our everyday activity, it will become an inseparable part of media as a whole.

“It’s not even relevant anymore to say social media is “ubiquitous.” People share their lives, dreams, and even deaths via status updates. They meet significant others online and break up with significant others online. Social media is part of everything we do.” – Katie Baker, Reporter for The Daily

“If you spend your day at a Kenny Chesney stadium show walking around backstage instead of hitting the parking lot to learn from and hang with the fans, you’re missing out.  They have a lot to offer.  For me, social media is the equivalent of that parking lot, except it’s on a computer and there’s less rum involved.” – Matt Petty, VP Digital Marketing at Morris Artists Management, LLC

“Relevance in “real time” will determine which messages gain traction in social media channels. It is not just about targeting a demographic anymore, but about relevance to the conversation taking place “right now” on the social graph.” – Paula Batson, PR Executive

2) LISTEN UP – Listening to music will become a social experience as services like Spotify broadcast and post what users listen to on their social graphs.

“The Spotify/Facebook relationship is just heating up and people will increasingly look to social media, i.e. their friends, to discover music.” – Olga Makrias, Vice President of Publicity at Universal Music Group

“If Spotify continues to grow and be successful it’s going to be very powerful as a sharing and community building tool.” – Bruce Warren, Program Director at WXPN

“Listening services are transitioning from radio-type streaming services like Pandora to on demand services like Spotify very quickly, while smaller artists are flocking to services like Bandcamp and Soundcloud.” – Luke Carrell, Social Media Strategist at Attention, Editor at International Tapes

3) WATCH OUT – YouTube, Netflix and Hulu will create exclusive content, threatening traditional cable, while television will incorporate social watching services as an incentive to tune in.

[Social watching services] allow people to find each other based on the content of their experience. Television will increasingly incorporate web experience, and feedback of content will become more and more looped and integrated, driving more people to participate on the web.” – Melea Seward, Owner, Board Of Us

“The trend toward end-user as publisher/media outlet will continue. Facebook’s recent redesign was done with this in mind and I know Youtube is also keen on the concept-obviously.” – David Henson, Concord Music Group

4) FACEBOOK FIRST – Facebook will continue to dominate the market, with Twitter gaining steam, especially for news and media. The jury is still out on Google+.

“I am on the fence on Google+ but we’re starting to experiment. I am cautiously optimistic.” – Bruce Warren, Program Director at WXPN

“Twitter will continue to be the single most important REAL TIME news source in the world.  There is no better place to get information on what is happening right now than twitter” – David Henson, Concord Music Group

“With time and additional marketing, G+ will be a formidable challenge to Facebook. It took years for Gmail though they are now one of the largest email providers.” –  Matt Philbin, fmr Director of Financial Planning, Amazon

“The novelty has worn off of Facebook, and it has emerged as one of our strongest outlets for interacting with fans.  I don’t expect that to change, especially considering how hard Facebook works to constantly improve the user experience – a key element MySpace ignored.  I’m interested to see what Twitter has in store once the novelty wears off with regards to a more robust media experience.”

– Matt Petty, VP Digital Marketing at Morris Artists Management, LLC

5) ON THE GO – Mobile and tablet devices will grow to become the dominant form by which we consume social media.

“If you didn’t know this already, or if you had any doubts to commit: mobile, mobile, mobile is the new location, location, location.” – Bruce, Warren, Program Director at WXPN

“People on mobile devices can consume their social graph’s shared content from a single place and respond to it, while being simultaneously signed into Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook.” – Melea Seward, Owner, Board Of Us

“Students will be using iPads instead of chalkboards by 2015:  Schools are changing the way they teach by keeping up with modern technologies such as the iPad to continue education and keep learning as dynamic and fun as possible.” – Chip Schutzman, Miles High Productions

via The Music Business Looks Forward: 5 Social Media Predictions For 2012 – hypebot.

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The Perceived Value of Music

I just read a blog post this morning about a statement made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about Spotify’s entrance in the U.S. market. I repeat it here:

Instead of being forced to buy full-length CDs at $15.99, fans can now make their own decision about how much they value music and how much of it they want.

You can read the full blog post from the Copyhype blog here, which addresses the errors of the above statement, including the fact that no one forces someone to buy CD’s and that digital single-song sales have been available for years.

What I wish to comment on is the phrase, “how much they value music”. I was in a three-way conversation recently about how (in my opinion) a whole generation of people believe it’s okay to consume music without having to pay for it. One of those people is 23; the other is in his 70s.

One of the things I like to say when I get in a conversation about this subject is that no one balks about going to a place like Red Robin and shelling out $16 for a cheeseburger and a drink (factoring in taxes and tip), consuming something that is literally here today, gone tomorrow.  But people balk at paying $16 for a CD, or in some cases, even $10 for an album download.

The response of my 23-year old friend did not surprise me. After all, he grew up during the arrival of peer-to-peer file sharing services like Limewire and the original Napster. But it was the reaction of the older person that really surprised me. I thought he would side with me, but then he started going off about needing to stick it to the big record labels. That argument, which I hear often, is SO 20th-century. The fact is, the vast majority of releases today are by indie artists who, like myself, don’t have deep pockets (if they have any pockets at all). We are just trying to, at the very least, break even on the costs of making a record, and hopefully make more than that so we can pay the light bill.

People who don’t value music enough to pay for it aren’t sticking it to the big record companies as much as they are sticking it to the little guy. What do you think about this? Am I old fashioned? I would love to read your comments.


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