Spotify Doesn’t Kill Music Sales like Smoking Doesn’t Cause Cancer…

This just in from Digital Music News, we’re not surprised. The death spiral towards the $3b annual record business is accelerating… One word to artists and music executives reading this post… “WINDOWING”…

May 10th, 2013:

“We have data that’s proving and demonstrating the fact that streaming revenue is additional to actual unit download consumption or physical music sales…”

Katie Schlosser, Spotify Account Manager of Label Relations, speaking at NARM.

September 12th, 2014:

“Streaming consumers are buying few albums.  30 percent of consumers are music streamers and a fifth of these consumers pay to stream.  Streaming has driven new market growth in countries such as Sweden but in larger markets such as the US it is denting digital music buying.

READ THE FULL STORY AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/09/12/research-now-shows-streaming-kills-download-sales

RELATED:

Why Spotify is not Netflix (But Maybe It Should Be)

Spotify’s Daniel Ek is Really Bad At Simple Math

Merchants Of Doubt in Silicon Valley : What Every Musician Needs to Know About Ad Funded Piracy

Spotify’s Daniel Ek is Really Bad At Simple Math, “Artists Will Make a Decent Living Off Streaming In Just a Few Years”

The future of music for artist revenue streams seems more uncertain than ever. Digital Music News is reporting a quote from Spotify’s Daniel Ek on CNN Money which appears to show the failure of the companies CEO to perform simple math.

It should be noted that Daniel Ek was also the CEO of uTorrent, “the world’s most popular Bit-Torrent client” which is advertising funded.

Spotify CEO: “Artists Will Make a Decent Living Off Streaming In Just a Few Years” | Digital Music News

CNN: At what point can an artist survive on a Spotify income?

Ek: Well, I mean, the interesting thing here is that we’re just in its infancy when it comes to streaming. And we just last week had an artist announcement where we basically said if there would be 40 million subscribers paying for a service like Spotify, it would be more than anything else in the entire music industry, including iTunes.

We don’t want to say Mr.Ek is lying, but he does appear to be very bad at simple math and to be misinformed about the actual size of the record business and the revenue being generated by Apple’s Itunes.

Is anyone actually capable of doing simple math in a spreadsheet? Here goes. 40m Spotify Subs at $10 a month is only $3.3b in annual revenue to artists and rights holders at paying out 70% of gross. How is $3.3b “more than” the current $15b total annual global revenue or the $7b in domestic revenue in the US?

Here’s the simple math…

40,000,000 * $84 = $3,360,000,000

$84 dollars per subscriber annually is calculated at $10 per month per subscriber paying out 70% to Artists & Rights Holders or, $7 per month. $7 per month, multiplied by 12 months equals $84 per year, per subscriber payable to Artists and Rights Holders.

40m Subscribers x’s $84 per year = $3.3b in annual global revenue to artists and rights holders (assuming they really are paying out 70% of gross).

Simple math.

If you are an artist you might also read these links below:

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

Venture Capitalist Admits Artists Can Not Make A Living On Streaming Royalties…

The Internet Empowered Artist? What 1 Million Streams Means To You!

Streaming Price Index : Now with YouTube pay rates!

It appears to us that music streaming can only truly be profitable to those with participating equity in the streaming company itself. Those with equity are leveraging their catalogs of assets against the potential revenue of an IPO (in which the catalog of assets is being leveraged for that equity). Thus far however, it appears that the artists and songwriters who have created those assets as the basis for that equity leverage do not participate in any profit sharing that the equity shares may earn.

So it’s not that music streaming can not be profitable, it’s just that it can not be profitable (or equitable) to artists.

Please tell us which artists are being compensated from the $3b sale of Beats music to Apple? Let’s see a show of hands… Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…

Remember when we were told that in countries where music streaming was the most successful that transactional sales also increased? We’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you too, and cheap. More food for thought below.

Streaming Isn’t Saving the Music Industry After All, Data Shows… | Digital Music News

Album Sales Hit A New Low | Billboard

No Surprise Here: Spotify Streams Soar While Track Sales Fall | Billboard

 

Van Dyke Parks on How Songwriters Are Getting Screwed in the Digital Age | The Daily Beast

Forty years ago, co-writing a song with Ringo Starr would have provided me a house and a pool. Now, estimating 100,000 plays on Spotify, we guessed we’d split about $80. When I got home, on closer study, I found out we were way too optimistic. Spotify (on par with other streamers) pays only .00065 cents per play.

There’s less support for all the arts today, and the blade gets duller with every cut in arts funding. It degrades dance, opera, even academia and, significantly, the art of journalism. As a result, in the U.S., public opinion suffers from what we call “infotainment.” That’s a genre of media news that is not informing, entertaining, or remedial. And it’s a direct result of a vacuum of patronage (and by patronage, I don’t mean just Medici-style sponsorship but the willingness of all arts consumers to pay for what they listen to, read, and watch, and for the industry to fairly recompense creators).

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE DAILY BEAST:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/04/van-dyke-parks-on-how-songwriters-are-getting-screwed-in-the-digital-age.html

David Pakman is Wrong on The Price Of Music (and streaming subscriptions)

Is there anyone left in the record business with common sense and a calculator?

David Pakman wrote an interesting piece asserting the problem with streaming services getting up to scale is a matter of pricing. He puts forth that $10 a month, or $120 per year is too much. He claims that the ability of these services to scale should be more in line with a monthly fee of $3-$4, or $36 – $48 a year to appeal to a broader base of the “average” music consumer. We think there are some serious flaws with this line of thinking not the least of which is that we can’t get the math to scale at $10 a month per user!

The first and most important error is that an “average” music consumer does not exist. Sure, you can average the total spending by the estimated number of consumers to find an average per consumer but no “average” consumer actually exists. Some spend many times the average, some spend far below it.

Pakman makes the assumption that music subscription services are over priced citing that the “average” consumer is only willing to spend $64 a year on music.  This completely ignores that the majority of highly active music consumers that have historically purchased much more than the average.

Those working in music distribution have always know that the most active consumers, contribute the greatest percentage of revenue to the total. In traditional terms this would be an expression of the classic 80/20 model where the top 20% of consumers represent 80% of the revenue. Conversely 80% of consumers only account for 20% of the revenue overall. This is of course an over simplification but it illustrates the point being made.

Here’s some simple math. Apple’s iTunes boasted 200 million users in 2011. Using Pakman’s own estimates at $64 per “average” consumer, the store should have generated a cool $12.8 billion in revenue. As we all know that’s not true, it quickly illustrates the problem with Parkman’s methodology of the “average music consumer.” Of course Itunes is not the only music retail outlet, and surely not all of those Itunes users were strictly music consumers. Again this is the problem with attempting to define an “average” music consumer to broader market economics.

Pakman also doesn’t fully account for the fact that while music prices dropped nearly in half from $19.98 compact discs to $9.99 downloads the volume of sales continued to decline. This is a decline that began with the introduction of Napster and has spread through the expansion of ubiquitous illegal file sharing networks such as the now defunct Kazaa, Grokster and Limewire.

The single greatest factor effecting both the price of music and the volume of sales, was and remains the illegally free supply of the exact same product available to consumers without risk, investment or consequence by those distributing it for profit without paying for the cost of goods.

But Pakman may have stumbled upon some other points of interest in his observation. First, is that the music business needs to learn how to window releases and build a transactional streaming model as the film business employs. We detailed this in our post “Spotify is not Netflix, but maybe it should be.” Second, there should tiered access on streaming services. A basic $4 a month subscription gets you the hits, say the top 200 current singles and the top 200 catalog albums. For $9 a month you get the hits plus all music more than a year old. For $20 a month you get everything available.

The narrow band thinking of music industry business people is stunning when we don’t need to look any farther than the film and tv industry to see a robust variety of different streaming products for different consumers needs and demands. The film and tv industry successfully window releases and have different pricing tiers based on access and there’s really no reason why these models would not, and can not translate to the record industry.

 

Amazon’s Streaming Contract Is “Entirely Unacceptable” | Digital Music News

Amazon is trying to bypass US Copyright law and define its own royalty rates

Section 115 of the US Copyright Act is the rate, set by the government, that defines the mechanical royalty rates. Most people know that the statutory mechanical royalty rate is currently 9.1 cents per download or physical “phonorecord” under 5 minutes (and then 1.75 cents per minute thereafter), but few know what the rate is per stream. That’s because the streaming rate is based upon the streaming service’s number of subscribers and users. More subscribers to the service equals higher mechanical royalty rates.

For the record, Spotify, Beats and the other streaming services all follow Section 115 of the US Copyright Act and follow the defined mechanical royalty rates.

READ THE FULL POST AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/04/10/amazons-streaming-contract-entirely-unacceptable

@bettemidler : @Spotify and @Pandora have made it impossible for songwriters to earn a living: three months streaming on Pandora, 4,175,149 plays=$114.11.

The truth is self evident.

.
https://twitter.com/BetteMidler/status/452200886970769408

One Band Have Worked Out a Way to Cheat Spotify out of Money| Noisey.Vice

We just can’t get enough of this story. There’s a great interview with the band at the link below.

Spotify is a great way for most musicians to make money. By most musicians, I mean a superstar economy of 1% who account for 77% of all artist revenue from streaming. And by “money” I mean the $0.007 per stream that most artists receive.

READ THE FULL STORY AT VICE:
http://noisey.vice.com/blog/one-band-have-worked-out-a-way-to-cheat-spotify-out-of-money

London Police Attempt to cut off illegal websites’ advertising revenue | BBC

What we find so interesting about this is that the digital music services that report to be friends of musicians are not taking a strong public position against Ad funded Piracy and supporting these measures.

Spotify, Pandora and the like are affected by the downward economic pressure created by Ad Funded Piracy that diminishes both the amount consumers are willing to spend on subscription fees and the amount that can be charged for legitimate advertising on legitimate services.

Why aren’t Spotify and Pandora more publicly engaged in the fight against Ad Funded Piracy as it certainly is a large contributing factor as to why these businesses remain unprofitable.

Websites offering illegal copyrighted material could see their advertising revenue cut under a new initiative.

Police have created an online database of websites “verified” as being illegal.

It is hoped that firms that handle advertising will use the resource to make sure they do not serve advertising on those sites, cutting off revenue.

Top piracy sites generate millions of pounds thanks to advertising.

One estimate, from the Digital Citizens Alliance – a group backed by rights holders – suggested that piracy websites worldwide generated $227m (£137m) from advertising revenue each year.

Even smaller sites commanded revenues into the hundreds of thousands, the group said.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE BBC:
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26788800

Nobody should be surprised that Spotify is already planning its IPO| Musically

Watch stories about Spotify planning a stock market flotation this Autumn spread across the web in the coming hours, triggered by a report on tech/business site Quartz.

“The popular music-streaming company has participated in informal chats with some of the investment banks likely to fight for a role in a potential IPO, sources familiar with the process said,” claims the article.

“The six-year-old service may start holding formal meetings as early as next month in anticipation of an offering in autumn. (Though the timeline for a possible IPO could change for a number of reasons, including unfavorable market conditions.)”

READ THE FULL POST AT MUSICALLY:
http://musically.com/2014/03/27/spotify-ipo-planning/

RELATED:

Music Streaming Math, Can It All Add Up?

#SXSW REWIND : Venture Capitalist Admits Artists Can Not Make A Living On Streaming Royalties

Why Spotify is NOT the Enemy of Artists, and Who Is…

The Black Keys: Still Boycotting Spotify After All These Years…| DMN

The Black Keys are a huge band.

Huge bands lose a lot of money on Spotify.

Which is why, once again, the Black Keys are withholding their latest album release from Spotify.

READ THE COMPLETE POST AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/03/24/blackkeysspotify