Getting our recorded music out to a wider audience seems to me to be the one of the most serious missing links for artists releasing music into the world.
Let's pull back the veil in this email on the harsh realities and gatekeepers of the music industry... and explore the new opportunities that we see bubbling up.
We all know the frustration:
• Have recorded a song
• Put it up on soundcloud, maybe YouTube and AudioMack...and post links to socials.
• Bounces around inside our networks…. feels great for the first hour, maybe the first day and then the energy drops and it starts to feel like a fart in a haunted house.
Money aside, we all want our music to be heard and felt… by as many people as possible. So that our expression bounces into other humans and has a positive effect in their lives.
The bad old music business used to:
• pay publicists exorbitant fees to get placed in music tv, magazines, etc.
• bribe radio stations (called payola) to play the music.
The bad new music business:
• Pays publicists slightly less than before to music media that almost no longer exists…and to thousands of blogs. And who knows who actually reads them?
• Pays playlist pluggers to spam Spotify playlists in the hope of getting added. (Spotify have been super clear about this. Getting onto playlists doesn't work that way. It's a scam)
And so we're left still feeling like a fart in a haunted house!
So what to do?
I have a friend, his name is Ori Winokur. He’s a great music producer. He gets this mail so I’m not going to embarrass him by detailing his long list of musical achievements. He’s a cool guy.
We recently met up and he opened my eyes in a major way. You see him and I talk about the fart in a haunted house a lot. And how to crack that paradigm with the new albums he’s working on and the new artists I’m mentoring. With a couple of artists, that overlaps and we’re in it with them, together.
Let’s take a step back and remember some simple facts, to set the context.
• One of the best ways to get a song out there to new networks of audiences is to have it on a movie, Netflix series, etc. It's a no brainer. There's good money in it and if the movie and show is popular the exposure to new audiences is amazing.
• And when people hear a new song when watching a show, they Shazam it, drop it into their streaming service playlist and then listen to the song a lot and discover the rest of the artist's body of work.
Now get your head around these numbers Ori shared with me last time we met:
• In a day, people around the world listen to 20 million hours of music on Spotify
• But they listen to 840 million hours of music a day with videos they watch on YouTube. That's not even counting TikTok, facebook and instagram.
Read those numbers again. Yes…. almost knocked me off my chair when Ori told me.
And here’s where it gets really interesting...
Today there are over 10 million indie filmmakers in the world. They create enormous amounts of video content posted every second on YouTube, Instagram Stories, Tik Tok clips, etc. They are very similar to indie musicians that create music and post it on various platforms and streaming services. The modern day video creator could be making any kind of video; from a lifestyle vlog to acinema trailer, from gaming blogs to social media ads. They need new and fresh music all the time... and so they have become one of the new era of taste makers and influencers, that have wide circles of new audiences for your music
So the idea is simple. We need to get our songs as backing tracks on videos that are watched on YouTube, TikTok, instagram, etc.
So how do we do this?
Well, when old mate Ori is not producing great albums, he's the Chief Content Officer at a company called Artlist.io. They offer a really easy way for people who make videos to source music, legally.... and for the owners of the music to be paid. (See below for a list of their competitors.)
He showed me an example where a newly releasing artist that had 200 followers on Spotify skyrocketed after having one successful track on the Artlist platform. They reached over 25,000 followers in less than a month on Spotify and his track is being streamed over 5k times every day since.
And let's be clear about the fact that this is a song that didn't have even $1 spent on publicists, adverts or playlist pluggers.
Let's break it down... Person hears song on video, Shazam’s it, adds it to their streaming service playlist. Now the Artist has new fans and a wider audience, by being exposed to new networks of people that their music wasn’t connected to before. Their streams go up and they make more money from their music. And the Spotify algorithm sees the action on the song and so it gets bumped up organically for play listing.
Now to be fair, here's a list of Artilist's competitors:
• Shutter stock
• Music Bed
• Epidemic Sound
• Audio Jungle
Some old school music industry heads, especially publishers, are going to say that this is giving your song away to a video for too little money. And some Artists live in the idyllic belief that they’re sure to have a big hit that will bring in millions of dollars.
Do you want to wait for that mythical event that might never come? Or do you want to pick up lots of $100s?
And why pay your cold hard-earned cash to publicists, playlist pluggers and others promising you the holy grail (and seemingly never delivering you more value than they cost), money that could be better spent producing more music, promoting shows, buying production gear, etc?
Isn't it better to get paid to grow your audience outside of the networks of your fans?
One more thing.... Be sure to get your head around the royalties and rights. Companies like Artlist might want to also collect your YouTube royalties for you and pay you your cut.... just for the songs you upload to them... which will only be relevant for you if you have signed those rights already on a distribution deal or your label deal. If you control your own masters it's a no brainer. You can just exclude Youtube (and fb, insta, TikTok and others when that becomes a full reality) royalty collecting for that song on your current distribution deal from whoever is collecting it for you.