After several years of growth, the music business no longer feels like its in freefall, and some hopeful industry insiders are hinting that the best is yet to come in the 2020’s. As streaming goes global, and the overall adoption rate goes up across the board, continued revenue growth will be the norm in 2020 and beyond, which is to say nothing of the new ways that music is being monetized in video games, short form video, and more. Join us as we hear 2020 projections from Vickie Nauman of Cross Border Works, Josh Berman of Concord Music Group, and Russ Crupnick of Music Watch.
Today’s streaming market is a crowded arena that’s chock full of big brands, all of whom are vying for the same monthly subscribers, but none of them have truly distinguished themselves from the other. Yes, they all have different visual interfaces and apps, and some are even offering higher bitrates, but as listeners switch over to voice activated listening via smart speakers, how will users know the difference between Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. when the interaction becomes purely audio? Enter Super Hi Fi, a new service that is helping DSP’s and radio stations create unique audio branding and listener experiences.
In the past, digital start-ups frequently approached the music industry with tech solutions to problems that didn’t exist for most artists and labels. That paradigm has seemingly shifted in the past few years, and now the solutions being brought forth by tech companies are helping to alleviate certain stresses and strains on the music industry. On this episode, we’re highlighting new tech companies like Ursa Music, Corite, and Pitch who are creating new revenue streams for artists and labels, rather than cannibalizing the old ones and taking a cut.
Under the current distribution model, labels and rights holders typically only get paid once a month by their distributor, and those payouts are often for streams and downloads that occurred well before the pay period. In an era where artists and labels are able to see nearly real-time usage data for their catalog, these delays in payment have made rapid growth difficult in some cases, and now there are companies stepping in with solutions. On this episode, we speak with Bruno Guez of Revelator and Daniel Dewar of Paperchain about their efforts to increase the liquidity of assets for rights holders by advancing payments to them based upon their catalog’s performance on DSP’s.
For the last eleven years, Merlin has been championing the independent music community in a variety of ways. During that time the organization has put over two billion dollars into the pockets of indie labels and distributors, through its negotiated deals with DSP’s like Spotify, et. al., and the organization is only continuing to grow its reach internationally. On this episode, we talk to Charles Caldas, the man at the helm of Merlin for the past eleven years, along with Jorge Brea of Symphonic Distribution and Katie Alberts of Reach Records, who both use Merlin’s services for their businesses to great advantage.
At this point, we all know that streaming royalties have become a larger and larger share of revenue within the music industry, but how those royalties are calculated by DSP’s is still somewhat of a mystery to artists, labels, and consumers. For example, why doesn’t your $9.99/mo. only go to the artists you’ve streamed that month? And, why do the per-stream rates fluctuate so much, based on time of day, the specific plan you’re on, etc.? On this episode, we talk to Vickie Nauman and Louis Posen about the “pool method” of royalty calculation (currently in use by most DSP’s), and alternatives to this method that are being proposed by some, and piloted by others.