Big buzz about the Stones over the weekend. And, I mean that in a bad way unless you buy in to the old “bad publicity is good publicity” angle.
There is this official promo clip from opening night in LA that once again started “the Stones are over” talk…
It’s a board mix. Board mixes always suck. They don’t reflect what it actually sounded like with speakers pushing air in the arena. People either get that or they don’t. I’m continually surprised by the number of people that don’t.
I’m not saying that the band (and show) is tight. Plenty of clams there. But, it’s the start of a tour and it’s not really the kind of musical performance that should be held up to an American Idol type microscope.
Paul Resnikoff at DMN, speaks to some larger implications…
Rolling Stones Tickets Are Now Sinking Below $70…
This is the latest aftershock in an arguably catastrophic Rolling Stones tour. That is, catastrophic not just for the band, but maybe for the entire concert industry as well.
Paul’s article describes details of the Stones fire sale ticket price reductions. And, that may very well be an omen.
The issues for the concert industry are high ticket prices and consumer apathy.
The apathy is a result of the same well-worn acts being drug out again every season. But, there is not a way to develop newer acts in to ones that can fill arenas with the failure of the record industry and lack of consensus media.
The ticket prices are due to greed on the part of promoters, the acts themselves and the cost of presenting the type of spectacle worthy of justifying the prices.
Quite the conundrum.
It’s easy to pick on the Stones and say they’re too old but, a lot of the other “legacy” acts aren’t many birthdays behind.
It’s like this: How many times in your life do you need to witness a band like the Stones for the cost of a weekend for the family at Disney World?
The Rolling Stones aren’t too old to perform music or put on an interesting show. But, it may be a case where they are too old to put on a spectacular extravaganza.
But, that’s part of the problem right there. The whole industry is more about the extravaganza than a musical experience.
You know, a couple guys with guitars, a nifty rhythm section and a dude prancing around is the kind of thing that was never naturally suited for stadiums in the first place. It’s a lot more entertaining in a small venue.
But hey, you could see stuff like that in your own neighborhood or a whole slew of bands doing it at a festival for what it costs to see a Stones gig.
You know…once you’ve seen the spectacle, you’ve seen it. The audience is becoming desensitized to the spectacle.
So, the Stones probably are over. They don’t have any need to tone it down to just a musical experience in a proper venue.
And, this may be the dying days of the concert industry as it has come to be. At some point, you can’t just market the spectacle in to existence.
Might be a good thing though. How many club shows could you enjoy and how many musicians could you help support for the price of a $600 Stones ticket?
Glass half full?
The Cloud Is The New Radio and, Songwriters Are Getting Screwed By The Cloud…there are some holes in the discussion
There is a lot of talk about the royalties songwriters are receiving from web streaming outfits. Most of the ire is being pointed at Pandora for two reasons.
1. They are the biggest kid on the block.
2. They are leading the campaign to lower royalties.
From my experience, my own royalty statements, Pandora isn’t alone in the meager payment department. On my level, they all seem pretty consistent; fractions of fractions of a penny per play.
Today, DMN has a story “We’ve Written Some of the Biggest Songs In History. And This Is What Pandora Pays Us…”
(all are for the time period of January through March, 2012)
I. “Livin’ On a Prayer”
by Desmond Child
Pandora Plays: 6,021,402
Royalty Payment: $100.42
by Linda Perry
Pandora Plays: 12,710,000
Royalty Payment: $349.16
III. “You’re Gonna Miss This”
by Lee Thomas Miller
Pandora Plays: 5,244,600
Royalty Payment: $66.75
by Kara DioGuardi
Pandora Plays: 4,749,6000
Royalty Payment: $20.14
V. “If I Were a Boy”
by BC Jean
Pandora Plays: 4,283,900
Royalty Payment: $40.92
Man, that does look bad doesn’t it?
One thing you have to look at in fairness is, the compensation a writer gets from traditional radio airplay.
There is a whole big bunch of voodoo science that goes in to it involving formulas based the amounts of estimated impressions a song gets when played on any particular radio station and, which Performing Rights Organization (BMI, ASCAP etc.) the writer is affiliated with and the particular voodoo formulas the PRO uses.
Here’s a for instance; a song you wrote gets played once on a commercial station in Dallas during drive time…it would be normal in that circumstance to get around 500,000 impressions (people listening).
For that half million impressions, you as the writer, would get something like 8 to 18 cents or so.
That’s not from some internet or trade source by the way, it comes from many hours of ciphering through performance royalty statements for some writers who have written some hit songs.
Also, like I imply above, it’s really impossible to put things in to a simple song play = X amount of money equation because there are so many parameters. Which, is not unlike trying to untangle the whole streaming mess either.
Anyway, if you take that simplistic math and applied it to the figures of the writers above and put their numbers in to an impression = X amount of money equation…streaming actually looks pretty good…for example, the numbers for “You’re Gonna Miss This” would work out to 6 bucks or so for a half million impressions.
But, the problem with all of that is, it’s not apples to apples. Streaming is not the new radio, it’s more! In a lot of ways streaming is the new record store as well.
Back in the day, if your song got radio play a certain amount of those impressions would go out and buy the record. And, for that, you would get another royalty; a physical royalty.
All of the streaming services are somewhat on demand meaning, a listener can pick the song they want to hear (again simplifying, bear with me). So, let’s say a listener picks the same song 5, 10, 20, 100 times then, you see it’s just like having the record without buying it.
Now, if a half million people did go out and buy the record, you as writer would get roughly 9 cents for each. Obviously 40 Grand beats the hell out of 6 bucks.
Not every streaming listener is listening on demand but, the fact that hit records are mostly what is getting listened to sort of nulls that. If they aren’t picking those songs, the streaming service is using those songs to drive traffic.
Some of the on demand function with the streamers is tied to various subscription options which, the streamer has to pay royalties out of on a percentage basis which, doesn’t make up the difference on the physical sales or the trade-off in publicity that traditional radio offers…and, it never will.
In conclusion, something is very wrong with the whole 18 cents < 6 bucks < 40 Grand situation.
I don’t have a solution…any suggestions?
Hey Musicians, FaceBook Hates Your App (which is a direct reflection on how they feel about you btw) and Some Free Advice From Your Old Buddy Jack
Let’s see here; several weeks ago, in one of my numerous rants about how social networks in general and FaceBook in particular are not helpful in promoting independent music I said…
And, it brings up thoughts of how these social networks make it difficult to promote music effectively. I know that your FaceBook news feed is probably chock full of people pushing the same tracks over and over but, it’s not effective…
…The bottom line with big social networks is; they already have the traffic and you feel that’s why you need to be there. They control the revenue and would just as soon not have people leaving the site to buy your product…unless you are part of the corporate empire that drives the ad revenue.
If you are trying to promote your music on FaceBook you have no doubt seen some negative results from the roll out of the new and mandatory Timeline format which, disabled default landing pages on artist apps on March, 30th.
DMN provides some startling traffic numbers for the app providers BandPage, ReverbNation, and FanRx.
BandPage (formerly RootMusic)
DAU (Daily Average User) Totals:
March 25th: 640,000
April 10th: 210,000
Drop = 87.6%
ReverbNation (Band Profile)
DAU (Daily Average User) Totals:
March 25th: 389,000
April 10th: 220,000
Drop = 69.6%
FanRx (formerly BandRx)
DAU (Daily Average User) Totals:
March 25th: 270,000
April 10th: 40,000
Drop = 93.1%
So FaceBook, is not your friend. From those numbers one could surmise that they’d just as soon see you go out of business.
I’m going to break down some stuff for you and give you some free advice fellow musicians.
I use Reverb Nation primarily because the widget embeds easily and I’ve been using it for a while now.
Reverb has a bunch of different “charts” for musicians that reflect a bunch of parameters like “fan interaction” and the like. These charts may make you feel warm and fuzzy, especially if you have coerced a bunch of other musicians to “Like” your FaceBook page but, these charts are basically useless.
The one statistic that does matter is how many plays you get. After all, the real objective here is to have people listening to your music. As a musician, that should be way more important to you than a number of people that “Like” you and don’t listen.
So, what you really need to do is increase the number of people that listen, yes? I’m going to tell you how to do that.
As of this morning here are my own relevant Reverb Nation numbers…
Total Plays: 194,703
Widget Hits: 1,009,066
RN doesn’t register an official play unless the listener listens to 70% of a song. So, the number of “widget hits” is relevant because it reflects the number of people who hear a smaller portion of a song before clicking on down the road.
One thing I would like to make clear about my own numbers here; they aren’t big numbers in the grand scheme of things. Meaning, a couple hundred thousand internet streams is not going to bring you anything resembling prosperity. However, a couple of hundred thousand plays is a big number compared to the vast majority of musicians who are using Reverb Nation and other such promotional tools.
But, a lot of folks are concentrating on getting “Likes” rather than getting listeners.
By the way, in the last 90 days, I have 7,373 plays…2 were via FaceBook.
If you want to get plays here’s what you got to do;
1. Establish a real dedicated website.
2. Embed a widget that you can set to auto-play.
3. Use a blog format and update it regularly.
If you write about something every day, your site will start showing up in search engines. If you write about a consistent subject like say…music, instead of like what I do which is pretty much anything I feel like spouting about at any given time, you will draw a more specific demographic.
Not everyone that clicks on your site will “Like” you or your music but, they will be listening at least for a little while.