Music Streaming Services: The War Begins
Two weeks ago, Citigroup released a full 88-page report on the Music Business and Music Industry.
This incredible document, relayed later on by Business Insider, highlighted a few points about the business that are making the entire ecosystem shake.
The manufacturing of albums is at an all-time low, downloads are dramatically falling, and artists are getting less than 12% of the total revenues generated by the Music Industry in 2017.
However, on a positive note, these same artists are getting most of their revenues, around $3 billion, from touring and subscriptions to streaming services like Spotify are on the rise.
It appears that the market is simply turning into this model: I pay a monthly fee, and I have access to everything, in an unlimited way.
What do we have?
Currently, we have a lot of services available: iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Rhapsody, Deezer, iHeart Radio, Sirius XM, Spotify, Soundcloud, CDBaby, and more recently, YouTube Music.
All these services are not necessarily streaming ones, but they still involve a way of consuming music that is unlimited and digital.
The thing is that some of these services, like iTunes and Google Play Music, will have a hard time sustaining their relevance on the internet because of the evolution of consumers’ behaviors.
Indeed, we just saw in this Citigroup report that downloads were simply falling because people do not want to pay for a single or an album that they listen to freely with subscription-based services like Spotify.
In this way, buying an album for around $12 is the price of a monthly subscription to Apple Music or Spotify, where you can listen to millions of albums for the same price.
A new challenger?
I like to use these words, like “battlefield” or “war” or “opponent,” because it is exactly what is happening in the Music Business: everyone is starting to arm themselves to get the market in their pocket.
Google (Alphabet) definitely understood this as they are still a leader in music streaming services with YouTube: most of the people just head straight to this platform to discover artists or to listen to music for “free.”
They understood it in a sense that they recently hired Lyor Cohen, a former Def Jam executive, as their head of their Music department for the strategy of their new service: YouTube Music.
YouTube Music is definitely an insane competitor for Spotify or Apple Music because they have a huge traction and strikeforce with YouTube and their video service.
On their app, they will not hesitate to sign exclusive deals like Apple did previously with Drake or Frank Ocean when it comes to music releases, and since YouTube is the main platform to watch music videos, this could be dramatic for other platforms.
What future for independent artists?
This is actually thrilling for independent artists because it means that the attention will soon be solely on digital platforms. Music is still a $140 Billion business and will not fade away anytime soon.
Meaning that artists will be in the same arena as the big fishes signed by record labels. In other words, the space is getting smaller and smaller to distribute Music, and therefore, an incredible chance to grab and hack the attention.
We will, in a very near future, observe that Social Media will be THE place to promote and Streaming Platforms THE place to distribute. All this, once again, at absolutely no cost for the artist.
While it used to cost thousands of dollars, not even 10 years ago, artists can definitely release as many tracks as they want, with the schedule that they want, on the main platforms of distribution, just like Majors would do for a fraction of the price they used to pay in the past to even be considered on the Market.
Understand that the “Gatekeepers” are now completely removed from this Business and that hacking the attention will be the main focus for artists.
the “Holy Grail is the right person, the right time, and the right message,” and the Internet is the only platform where we can get this statement in action
Hacking attention with Social Media
A few days ago, I released my own Music Release Marketing Strategy book, “To The Top!”, which helps you, for 21 days, to raise awareness towards your music when you release a single, an EP, or an album.
This book explains how Social Media are where the attention is at. In other words, artists are now acting and thinking like brands, and if their social presence is low, then, they simply don’t exist for the Market.
Hacking the attention is a simple principle: posting and documenting content about your life as an artist to maintain the discussion around your brand at any moment of the day and night. The goal is to find a way to have your followers always aware of your releases and what you are doing.
We used to say, in Marketing, that the “Holy Grail is the right person, the right time, and the right message,” and the Internet is the only platform where we can get this statement in action.
In conclusion, this has never been a better time to release music and to be successful at it. All the options that used to be disabled because of a lack of money or simply because people would stop you in this Business are now obsolete.
You can crush it on your own if you can be patient, self-aware, and persistent enough with Social Media.