After one get’s past the debate about whether webcasting and streaming pay artists fairly, you find there is a more complicated question. How much of webcasting and streaming is “discovery” and how much is just plain old consumption. Listening to familiar tracks we already know. This is not an academic question. This fact can be taken into consideration by Copyright Royalty Board judges when they set the rates for webcasting. (Yes believe it or not in the year 2013 the prices to webcast songs and music are set by the US government!!).
Clearly all forms of broadcasting and webcasting are a little of both consumption and discovery (or promotion). But the Webcasters have been arguing that they are better suited for “discovery” and thus are giving unknown artists and listeners something of value. That argue they are better for music “discovery” than traditional broadcasters. Is that really true?
Yesterday I took my top 5 bonafide radio hits from the 80’s and 90s and subtracted their spins from each service then I looked at the percentage of spins “left” on each service. The idea being the more a service plays the non hits the more likely listeners are discovering music. I found something surprising. Sirius XM and “Piped in” Airline Radio played more deep tracks or non-hits than any other format. Thus listeners were more likely to discover songs they didn’t know on these two services. At least from my catalogue.
Following up with yesterdays post. I’m digging deeper into my catalogue and subtracting spins for the minor hits, regional hits and tracks that otherwise garnered significant popularity from other sources.
Yesterday I subtracted spins for just the Top 5 tracks.
Low, Teen Angst, Get Off This, Take The Skinheads Bowling, Eurotrash Girl.
We will now subtract the spins for an additional 10 tracks.
All these tracks garnered significant radio promotion and sales through the years.
Eye of Fatima pt 1* (Minor National Rock/Modern Rock success)
Happy Birthday to Me* (Minor national alternative paly, Minor recurrent play).
Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me. (#13 AAA radio. Minor format. Featured in Californication.)
Sweet Thistle Pie* (Mid-Atlantic, Chicago, South Florida, Texas regional)
Good Guys And Bad Guys* (MTV Specialty and College Radio)
Big Dipper ( Coastal Carolinas regional).
Cracker Soul (Virginia, Carolinas and Chicago regional).
Turquoise Jewelry* (KROQ Los Angeles only)
I See The Light ( Indie 103.1 Los Angeles Only. Daily airplay for nearly 3 years because DJ Steve Jones of Sex Pistols just decided to play the shit out of it on his popular afternoon show!)
Yalla Yalla (Armed Forces Radio, mildly viral YouTube remix.)
* Promotional CD or Vinyl serviced to radio.
This is not subjective. These tracks were selected after looking at various royalty statements and airplay reports. These are the top 15 tracks that still generate significant spins and individual sales. There are certain tracks that were worked as singles like “I Hate My Generation” that generated a brief period of airplay but have never sustained spins. Nor have they sustained individual sales over the long term. These tracks are not included. As further evidence please note that the aggregator of web simulcasts Live 365 pretty much agrees that these are the top 15 tracks. See last screenshot.
Now the question is “Who plays the largest percentage of my catalogue outside the Top 15 tracks”
|Rhapsody Radio (not on demand)||10.19%||webcast|
So for music discovery your best bet is a little air travel! Followed by Sirius and then College Radio. To be fair Pandora moves up a notch and it’s relative percentage of songs in the “tail” of my catalogue hardly changes. This seems to argue that at least 17% of the time Pandora seems to be true music discovery. It’s not just playing what the crowd says is already popular. Again that 17% is nothing to sneeze at. This suggests that at least some significant portion of the time Pandora is playing you some artists or songs you would have likely never encountered. That is encouraging.
Tomorrow let’s look at the On-Demand streaming stats.
Live 365 shows 13 of the 15 tracks in it’s top 25.