Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How Many Streams Equal The Sale Of One Album? Who The Hell Cares, Write Music That Everyone Wants To Hear, But They Don't Know It Yet

How Many Streams Equal The Sale Of One Album?
Music is everywhere around us. Whether it be the rhythm of bull frogs chirping in unison on a warm summer night or a perfectly balanced and tuned engine, a syncopated noise is happening everywhere we go. What was once considered a high art form, has now just become a commodity as cheap as a bowl of Ramen noodles. 

This is not a sad state of affairs, but a natural evolution that creates a leveling of the playing field and one ripe for opportunity. Bands can now afford to record on their own and do it for a minimal budget. Be thankful for the opportunity as now you have the potential to create your own future and do it on your own terms. Where as only a few decades back, the struggle was to be heard on a national level and to be signed to a huge recording act. Now in a matter of hours a song could be crafted and uploaded to the masses.

This is where the current struggle is for most musicians. Many of the folks I see and hear are still looking at the past and thinking about what used to be the way the music industry conducted business and think they should be making good money and to be rewarded for their efforts and hard work. Maybe some will, but many won't as the tech industry reinvented modern music and gave the people what they ultimately wanted and that is access to everything at all times. So if you complain about not making any money, get a day job and then still play music on your free time and craft the best damn song known to man, while not worrying about the cell phone bill. The game changed and you need to figure out what exactly the constantly changing rules of play are in order to even compete.

Now the biggest struggle to conquer is to not get lost in the mix. Bob Lefsetz aims to decipher this rationale and postulates on the fact that to become a brand is the only way to stand above the pack. I believe he is undoubtedly right. Music fans identify with brands now to help guide their path as a taste maker or in essence, those brands become curators of a distinct sound or movement. 

Maybe you want to get paid for you music, so go forth and create something that is truly unique and build your own highway, for others to follow you. Youtube is already cluttered with bands that cover other bands and sound like the cover bands being covered. 

Go back to when the whole goal was to create great music and not to expect to be paid for everything as if its a union gig. The current streaming numbers require quite a few more plays to equal what was once, just one album sold. Lightning can be trapped in a bottle, just ask someone such as Sturgill Simpson how he crafted his future. More than likely his answer will be, that he just wrote the songs he wanted to hear. 

Read more great articles such as the one below on Music 3.0

"You might wonder how the music industry determines how much a stream from a major service like Spotify or Pandora is determined. Unfortunately, that's a wildly moving target so no one can exactly say, and here's why.
  • The different tiers pay differently. A free tier has a different royalty rate from a paid tier.

  • Interactive vs non-interactive streams. Spotify is an interactive service because the user can select the song she wants to hear so it pays more than Pandora, which is a radio-like service and is therefore non-interactive.

  • Different countries pay different rates. The US pays a different rate than the UK, which pays a different rate from Sweden, which pays a different rate from Korea, etc.
Because there's no way to determine the exact amount that a stream pays out, the industry has come up with something called a "stream equivalent album (SEA for short)." The way this works is that 1,500 streams at an average of $0.005 (a half-cent) each equals $7.50, which is the wholesale price for a CD. Therefore, 1,500 streams = one album.

Billboard began using this figure last year to help determine chart position, and the music industry has adopted it as a general sales metric.

That said, that 1,500 figure is subject to change. It was 2,000 streams in 2013, so it may be different next year as well."