The Streaming Price Bible – Spotify, YouTube and What 1 Million Plays Means to You!

Wonderful blog by Trichordist here. Great effort on successfully providing transparency into the streaming model.

There is so much to be said about this… Yes streaming services are not a sustainable income for artists, but who ever said they had to be? If it’s not, it simply isn’t. Streaming revenues are only part of the pie for artist income. Market demand determines costs and revenues. That’s economics for you.

The problem is we’re looking at streaming the wrong way. Pointing fingers gets us no where. Find other sources to add to the pie. Streaming is not bad, it’s extra for your hard work, but don’t ever expect it to be your main source of income. It is only one of many sources. With all this focus on streaming revenue, I think we may have forgotten that. How conversations have been going, you’d think streaming is all that’s left!

The Trichordist

Several of our posts on streaming pay rates aggregated into one single source. Enjoy…

[UN to Airlift Calculators, Behavioral Economics Textbooks to Digital Music Industry]

musicstreamingindex020114[EDITORS NOTE: All of the data above is aggregated. In all cases the total amount of revenue is divided by the total number of the streams per service  (ex: $5,210 / 1,000,000 = .00521 per stream). In cases where there are multiple tiers and pricing structures (like Spotify), these are all summed together and divided to create an averaged, single rate per play.]

If the services at the top of the list like Nokia, Google Play and Xbox Music can pay more per play, why can’t the services at the bottom of the list like Spotify and YouTube?

We’ll give you a hint, the less streams/plays there are the more each play pays. The more plays there are the less each stream/play pays. Tell us…

View original post 1,393 more words

Influence vs Theft

With the flood gates down and the increased flow of music from artists all over the world, many thanks to the internet, you can’t help but wonder if originality will ever cease to exist. How long can we go on without finding ourselves unintentionally borrowing another artist’s ideas? Is it possible to be completely original anymore? More importantly, must copyright adjust and how? How can we define (in legal terms) the difference between influence and theft? Allusion vs. infringement?

Despite the difference between a musical style’s influence on your music (which can’t be helped) and straight up theft (which can), the two cannot be clearly distinguished. As in the case of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” the similarity is undeniable. Was it intentional? Did Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams try to steel from Marvin Gaye? One can argue the likelihood of such a scenario, but it comes down to this. Give credit where credit is due. Support your fellow artists, especially if they are part of what inspired you to follow your dreams and live them. It’s the least you can do.

Will The $7.3 Million Robin Thick “Blurred Lines” Verdict Kill Songwriting As We Know It?

The article above states that the lawsuit over “Blurred Lines” only ever occurred because it was a major hit, hence major profits. A song makes money and everyone wants in! Alright, I’m not going to play dumb and say we’re all super altruistic and forget the money, but there is another side to this.

The author makes a point that you don’t hear blues songs being fought over when just about every song has the same rhythmic and chordal progression.  You can’t copyright structure and characteristics of a genre or chord progressions! Also, these songs are not as well distributed among the ears of us sentient beings as a song like “Blurred Lines” is. No one person can be aware of every song in existence. If “Blurred Lines” was as obscure as most songs are, the Marvin Gaye estate might not have ever heard of it and known it existed. None of us would have. Pure and simple…

the right to be paid

From copyright to digital rights, from sheet music to online streaming… Not to mention the endless lawsuits against artists, cons, and listeners alike, you can’t help but wonder if we’ll ever figure this thing out.

Copyright law is under the microscope and I would like to share some of what’s been going on.

In one corner we have:

The Songwriter Equity Act, proposed and denied last year, is back in the halls of congress. With this act, fair market value and digital recordings will be taken into account when setting royalty rates for songwriters. This means songwriters will get what they’ve earned according to the current market they’re selling to, which will include streaming and down loads. This will lead to a much needed rehab of outdated copyright laws. Blow off some dust if you will.

In the other corner:

The LRFA (Local Radio Freedom Act) was introduced this past February. Terrestrial radio stations, or stations that are broadcast from physical locations on the FM and AM radio waves, do not pay performance royalties. In other words, artists are not paid for their work that is played on the radio. The most radio has ever done is  give artists a chance to be heard. The LRFA wants to keep it this way. Not surprisingly so, most artists and supportive organizations like the musicFirst coalition want to end terrestrial radio’s “free ride.”

We know the system is wrong as it stands. We just can’t seem to agree on how to fix it. At the moment, it is hard to visualize the path that will satisfy all sides. Is that even possible? The music industry and its law has become very complex and highly integrated. One wrong move and the whole thing collapses like it did back in the Napster days. That moment in the early 2000’s was the music industry’s wake up call. Nothing is forever, and if you don’t learn to adapt, you simply wont survive.

The following are links to articles I have read and referenced to:

Songwriter Equity Act Makes It’s Way Back To Congress
Music Publishing News Roundup 3.9.15: ASCAP, Songwriter’s Equity Act, Pandora & More
Songwriter Equity Act Re-Introduced to Congress
Debate Begins Over New Radio Royalty Bill Introduced in Congress

Live Albums

You walk out, sweating, euphoric, your head all a buzz with music from the live concert you just saw, and you think to yourself, “Damn, I wish I could have recorded that…”

Well, I just read an article about a new website, still in “public BETA phase” called livetunesstore.com

Founders Rich Allen and Pete Webber came up with the wonderful idea for a platform that allows artists to sell “professional recordings” of their live performances to their avid fans. This way fans “…will enjoy the show rather than trying to juggle their phone..” to record the concert.


Aside from the little discovery I made today, I would also like to share with you the second half of my comment on the article about livetunesstore.com. One of the statements the author made in the first paragraph didn’t sit right with me (directly quoted the line from the author, not my grammar errors FYI). Here it is:

One more thing… I have some thoughts I wanted to share with you about one of your statements…

“This is a understandable trend that is likely to continue as consumer demand new ways in which to consume the music they love.”

I don’t think consumers are demanding new ways to consume music. In fact, I’d say it’s the industry’s attempt to monetize the listening experience in every way possible; the industry demands it.
Labels and artists alike need to make a profit (in some cases just a mere living would be enough) With the ever increasing losses from traditional music sales (CDs, digital downloads) they’re getting as creative as possible to fill the void. Since the options are out there, consumers are just trying them out to see which provides them with the best experience.

That’s all for now, and remember… keep it sounding right!

The Streaming Future

Some webinars are worthless. Others are worth while. Here’s one that was worth while. The Music Business Association, is a wonderful organization to be a part of. In fact, if you plan on being in the music business, I’d say it’s mandatory. They had a good webinar that I was able to attend yesterday.

It was titled “The Streaming Business Model,” was presented by MusicWatch’s Russ Crupnick, and discussed the inevitable future (in reality present) of the Music Industry; the Streaming Business Model. This model seems to be the future for most of the entertainment industry. Streaming is the, “fastest growing segment of music distribution…” as put by Andrew Schwartz, Coordinator and Adjunct Faculty, Music Business Program at New Jersey City University. The question now is, how do we monetize it?

As presented in the webinar, the music market is actually segmented into four groups, and each segment requires its own approach. What I believe is, consumers are like water. Even though you try to force it into certain places, the natural path that it will take will depend on the gravity or force that is driving it down. The music industry can put up all the dams it wants, but consumers will still find their way to the ocean.

You need to figure out how to cater to that and follow that path as opposed to fighting and reconstructing it.

I will be writing more on this subject in future postings, stay tuned… and keep it sounding right.

What is Sounding Right…

I am the author of the music business blog titled, Sounding Right.

As soon as friends (mostly musicians) caught wind of my area of focus, the questions came flooding in:

Is it OK to cover a song on YouTube? What happens if the cover gets a lot of hits? What is interpolation? What is fair use and can I use it? How do I copyright my song and what are my rights? Are there any limitations? Is it ever a good idea to sale your rights? What is a PRO and what does it stand for? What’s a synch, mechanical, or compulsory license? Is there a difference between an agent and an artist manager? What should I look for in a contract? What’s the difference between a “work for hire” and a “transfer of rights”? Is one better than the other? Do we have to pay to sing the Happy Birthday song? etc. etc. etc….

The list goes on…

My blog will cover questions like these and those related to music publishing, licensing, rights, and royalties. I write this blog for my own sake, as well as those of colleagues, friends, and yours alike. My hope with Sounding Right is not only to aid, but to arm those of us in the business with knowledge enough to make well-informed decisions in our musical/entrepreneurial endeavors.

This is our place to feel safe, ask our “stupid” questions, and be all the better for it.

I will be open to questions and suggestions for research. The more questions the better. I will supply the best information to the best of my ability. Please, feel free to have discussions in the comment threads, and contribute to the conversation. Our field constantly changes and remakes itself. The more we question, the more we learn.

As we venture forth in our musical careers,

may this blog be ever helpful to your cause,

Naima Garcia

P.S. Yes, I am named after John Coltrane’s ballad... <<this is a link, just in case you didn’t notice… Go ahead, click it and enjoy! =]