The Streaming World & Music Labels
Every now and then, I think about this question a lot. I think that even many die-hard music lovers, who can’t live a day without listening to some form of music like I do, don’t realize the importance that music has in our lives. Now, what I’m writing about today is really more about personal feeling, rather than scientific research and hard numbers. Although I have found some interesting data to point you to. Whether we “listen” to music or not, we are effected by it in a profound way. Even when we watch a movie, without really understanding the scientific reasons for it; when we hear a particular music, it tells us when the actor is approaching danger. Another piece of music will send a subliminal message that something comedic is about to happen. Music isn’t just something we play when we feel like dancing or partying.
Not Based On Scientific Data, Although..
Music is almost like a miracle drug, once we take it, it can almost instantaneously effect our mood. Music just doesn’t heal us or make us feel good, it can also send us subliminal messages from the first musical note. This is one of the reasons I believe that although it appears that most people don’t pay attention to lyrics, it is important that music artist are mindful of the lyrics they use, because they are just as impactful as the music over a long period time. Furthermore, more so than not, I think that young people are still adversely effected by lyrics on a subconscious level, despite the fact that most young kids don’t take the time to reflect on them.
I stumbled upon an interesting report done by ifpi in 2018. It’s called a Music Consumer Insight Report. In essence, the report is not only a study on music behavior around the world, but the acceptance of music streaming. At the start of the report, it states that on average people listen to music over 2 hours everyday. Personally, I think we listen to music more than that. Why? The report doesn’t appear to take in to account people who have jobs in retail stores, who might be listening to music all day; or accurately representing data that may come from YouTube.
Understand how music plays a very important role in our lives, I’m kind of saddened by the new reality for inspiring artists today. Which is, if you’re not Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Drake, or lucky enough to get a once in a lifetime record deal, you’re just not going to get paid well from streaming services. I was watching a college interview on YouTube awhile back, and one of the women on the panel said that the value of music for new artists today (from streaming perspective), is the equivalent of someone making less than minimum wage. While legal streaming is still on the rise, according to that report, 38% of people (globally) still download illegally (despite being able to get it free legally by way of Spotify & YouTube). This reality confirms what I’ve been writing about for some time now, which is the fruits of their labor will not be seen until the old Napster generation dies off. Those old habits for most people cannot be broken.
Today’s Topic: Music Streaming & American Billboard. I stumbled upon an interesting article on the American Billboard’s website, on how the organization uses music streaming data in order to help them rank today’s music. As I’ve explained before, music streaming is here to stay. We are now living in an age where today’s young children never seen a phonograph before (that really makes me feel old 🤣 ). Despite the noted rise in vinyl sales, the vast majority of mom and pop record shops are still closing largely due to the rise in music streaming. Although I embrace streaming, as a classic blogger, I now believe we don’t have a way to truly measure a song’s greatness, worthiness, or popularity; because classic music has been migrated from an era where the business model was completely different.
I’ve Always Disagreed With Adding YouTube In Any Streaming Analysis
The one thing I’ve always had a hard time with, is organizations such as Billboard adding YouTube to their analysis. Now, some may say I’m just hatin’ on YouTube, but I’m actually not. I’m just coming from a point of view that, if someone actually buys a digital download, and or uses a paid streaming service, it has a greater value for the song in my opinion. WTF am I talking about? 🤣 Well, think about it for a minute. Services such as Spotify are more personal than just watching a YouTube video. And if it’s in your playlist, you’re more likely to hear it again, and again if you really love it. Let me put it this way; there’s a difference between a single IP address listening to a song multiple times from a playlist, than an IP address coming from YouTube, who may be listening to your song in a mixed video with other artists (this doesn’t necessarily make a song popular in my opinion); in addition there’s a difference between royalties, and YouTube monetizing. The only way this could make a difference, is if every artist sets up “Content ID,” and if they only include customers on “YouTube Red.” And, to my understanding their services isn’t growing they way they’ve anticipated.
What’s interesting in Billboard’s article, is that it talks about how they have now added some more tier streaming services. In other words, they’ve now added ad supported streaming, such as on Spotify. This I agree with, because although it’s a lower payout for artist, it’s still consistent royalties. Unlike YouTube, where their metric system is entirely f**ked. To help you get a sense of how YouTube/Google handle’s artist pay out, check out this article. I just don’t see how they can include YouTube in order to help determine song rank. I think YouTube should be separate personally.
Didn’t Mean To Get On A YouTube Rant
The article also talked about including trial based subscription service. I’m not sure if that should be included either. Because they must be basing this on the assumption the user will stay a member. And we all know that’s not true (unless they have data predicting an average as to how many keep their service I guess). So, this is interesting how both technical and complex music has gotten (in addition to the business itself). If you’d like to read Billboard’s, here’s where you’ll find it “Billboard Finalizes Changes to How Streams Are Weighted for Billboard Hot 100 & Billboard 200.”
My new article “Music Artists, Understand Web Presence!” Is a necessary plea to artists, that talks about the vital importance for artists to have a web site (both from a blogger & a fan perspective). I know I’ve written about this before on my old blog, but I wanted to write a new one here as well (officially).
Bluntly Speaking, Facebook Is Just Not Enough
You know, I get it! I’m sure a lot of musicians are saying to themselves, “I don’t have time to setup I website!” Or, maybe you’re just starting out and you don’t have the financial resources to pay someone to build a professional looking site for you. So, to make it easier for yourself, you simply created a Facebook account, ’cause everyone is on Facebook right? Or maybe you’re old school, and still believe in the power of “word of mouth?” I guess that ol’ saying still applies to the new streaming generation. However, bluntly speaking, Facebook is not enough! At the end of the day you still need to have a website built, with your OWN URL.
Music Blogs Are Not Dead!
It appears as tho many new independent artists are programmed to stay on social media, as if music blogs are dead. I don’t know who started that rumor, but, music blogs are not dead! They maybe a little harder to find because of all the changes with search engines (programmatically speaking), however we still exist. You must take in to account that bloggers are a close nit community that are dedicated to specific genres of music. People are more interested in independent artists than ever before because of music streaming.
Niche Blogs Are Still Vital!
Artists, need to broaden their perspective, because niche blogs are still vital! Why do I say this? And how does this relate to you having a web domain? Well, first of all your web domain is part of your brand! Having a website makes your existence official. Second, bloggers who are dedicated to writing about specific genres, have fans that are more likely to be really interested in the music you have to offer. Also let’s not forget the fact that high ranking bloggers often have a large faithful following. If you don’t have a web presence, how do you expect bloggers to write about you? People who discover and like your music, will want to find out more about you. So, it’s critical to have meaningful write ups about who you are, what your music is about, and whatever else you’d like to share. Not to mention the fact that it will make a bloggers job a hell of a lot easier. 🙄
You know, before I begin, I’d just like to say “off the bat,” I don’t mean to start off sounding negative. However, I need to share with my readers that, I’m finding the new face of Motown very troubling. It’s not that I don’t like change, ’cause long-time readers know that I am all for technology and diversity! But…… My goodness…. After Berry Gordy done the unthinkable!! Exactly 20 years ago, Mr. Gordy sold Motown records (the largest Black owned anything) to MCA records, which is now known as Universal Music Group for 60+ million dollars, sh*t went downhill after there. In 2003 Universal Music Group’s label became defunct. However, the company reestablishes several of it’s acquired labels as stand-alone, which included Motown.
Even Bigger Issues!
But…. Here are my even bigger issues I have with Universal Music Group. I’ve named this article “The Changed Face Of Motown Records!” for a reason. Although they saved the Motown label; despite the fact that Motown is supposed to be its own independent label, Universal Music Group has the credits (music streaming at least). Motown’s name doesn’t appear anywhere, with the exception for old album art. Second issue, do we know if Motown is making any money? Is this why the legendary Motown name is omitted from advertisement? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Badu, and I also love me some Ne-Yo, but we can’t compare them to Diana Ross & Smokey Robinson. Universal Music Group has basically turned Motown in to a less than average grade Hip Hop label. This is NOT the history of Black people! Thirdly, and most importantly, in the past twenty years since Motown has been sold, I saw absolutely no attempts to advertise Motown’s history! I mean I haven’t seen ANYTHING! Not even a greatest hits of anything!! Today, unless you are old enough to remember Motown, it doesn’t exist.
Need More Black Writing!
So, although many of you cop an attitude when I say this, but this is a perfect example why Black folk need to start writing, and take a minute from watching “Love And Hip Hop,” and learn how to put a blog together. We need more Black Writing! No other race is going to write about us, with the same sense of urgency the way we should! I just don’t know how to explain it any clearer than that! For the 90 millionth time, we are loosing not only Black music culture, but our classic music culture in general. When this happens, just make a note that it’s going to be no one else’s fault but your own. I’m doing my part by personally building this Blog.
The Magic Is Gone!
When Gordy sold Motown, he put a price on the worth of Black music. Now the magic that Motown had is completely gone! Decimated…… Destroyed….. Sooner or later, you’ll Google Motown, and all you’ll see is some ugly n**** rappin’ about some bitch, who needs his *expletive* in her whoohaa. Is this the kind of legacy you want to leave behind? All you “xtians” need to get out of church and teach your grand kids what music history is. Don’t wait until their twenty-five, cause they’re not interested in what you have to say by then. People are going to start easily believin’ in what “sounds believable,” ’cause we’re not going to have any documentation to go back too. You can get mad at me all you want! You can say how disrespectful I am all you want! But deep inside, all your *sses know I’m talking real. You’ve failed!