I just got an email yesterday from SoundCloud that said artists can now make money on their service! I was very happy when I read this. Now, I think it’s important to note that they’ve used the phrase “SoundCloud Premier Monetization.” Which means artist are not being paid royalties (unfortunately), so I’ll have to assume they must be doing something similar to YouTube with ad partners. This is interesting, because every time I’ve played music on SoundCloud, I haven’t noticed any ads. There’s some good music on SoundCloud! I mean, you sometimes have to do some digging, but it’s worth it when you find a gem you really like!!
Hi guys… I wanted to quickly share a conversation I had with someone, on one of those music web forums recently. Now, I want to reiterate that my opinions are from the standpoint of being a blogger, music fan since birth, a collector, my years of retail experience, and someone who USED TO purchase music (I do acknowledge being an actual artist is a whole different ball game).
I always seem to bump heads with artists from Bandcamp. An artist threw out a question “what are some of the ways he could promote himself better (something to that effect).” I don’t remember what I’ve written verbatim, I really didn’t think it was worth going back searching for it. However, I do remember getting a negative response back to my answer. He got so defensive, and told me how he was in a band, and they promoted his group by distributing CDs, and got their music playing on college radio. Blah, blah blah.. I told him that was amazing, cause I don’t remember how to even use my CD player. In fact, I’m sure if I walked around with my CD player on the train, people would look at me very strange. It totally didn’t occur to him that they accepted the CDs cause he was already in a college, with computers that have built in players. Today, I doubt anyone wants to carry a CD in their pocket! Not happening. Dude…. You need a serious social update!!
So, to make a long story short. I’m beginning to think that Bandcamp is for those old artists who just can’t let go of the very old business model. They still think they’re gonna make it big with selling CDs from the back of their truck. I want my readers to forward this article to any aspiring music artist you know. It’s important for artists to realize that by the time you publish your CD on Bandcamp, it’s already on YouTube. In other words, CDs are no longer a viable source of income. I’M TELLING YOU AS A MUSIC FAN…. NO ONE REALLY PURCHASES MUSIC ANYMORE!! Even the few that still do purchase music, a significant amount of their entertainment still comes from YouTube. Second, do you guys have any idea on just how easy it is to RIP something from YouTube? It literally takes less than a minute to encode an mp3 from YouTube. I know it’s hard to hear, but you MUST encourage your future fans to use music streaming. Put spotify codes on the back of your business card and distribute it. The people that still purchase CDs are a very small minority!
I know I’ve written about this awhile back, but I think it’s worth mentioning again how great soundiiz is. I’m not on a mission to promote them by any means. However, it is an important tool for people who heavily use music streaming. Obviously there are many different flavors of music streaming; and whatever type of personality you have, there is a streaming service that will fit your needs. Be it paid or free! So, what is the benefit of using something like soundiiz? To convert playlists from one platform to another! Well, why on earth would we want to do that? One huge reason is because most of us (even those with the least technical ability) who are streaming savvy use several online streaming service, but have one main preferred music source. For example, you may like to use the FREE version of Spotify, and maybe you like to also use YouTube, and SoundCloud. But your MAIN music source is iTunes. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t save playlists of songs they love, in whatever platform they’re using. At some point you’re gonna want to bring those playlists together, and share them across the other platforms your currently using. OR, you might be trying out different streaming services to see which paid service you like best! Best of all, soundiiz is FREE!! It is not really necessary to purchase a subscription, unless you are one of those people who need detailed reports about everything. Just give it a try. It’s one of the most important tools every digital music consumer (literally) should know about.
I should remind to my readers that, there will always be some songs that the other platform will not have. This is true especially when converting playlists from SoundCloud, those are often either customized edits & remixes, OR, artists who (for whatever reason) chose to only promote themselves through SoundCloud.
Throughout my blog, I’ve written extensively about both my gripes with people beatin’ up on Spotify, claiming low payouts to artists, and YouTube that gets away with not paying any royalties to artists at all. It’s an issue that baffled me for years.The truth of the mater is, I think both technology and entertainment are moving at such a fast rate, that people including the music industry still doesn’t know the right direction to take. Everyday there is something new to think about with regards to technology and the music business; aside from spending loads of money protecting artists’ copyright. Today, I’m still not sure if I still think whether or not YouTube has helped to ruin the music industry even further. But one thing is unfortunately clear; artists are both forced to monetize on YouTube because of piracy, and because YouTube does not pay royalties. Many artists see monetizing as a good thing… But I don’t…. ‘Cause it means that both artists and the industry is doing it because you don’t have much of a choice in reality. I also don’t think this is good for new artist as they struggle to get followers. Most would not make any money until one person out of a 100,000 views decides to buy something. Get it? If YouTube were paying royalties, you could have made $400 or more instead of a single YouTube follower that made you a $20 or lower commission (depending on who your partner is, and your audience) from monetizing. If you’re not going to make YouTube pay royalties, then you should be encouraging your fans to use Spotify and iTunes streaming.
At the same time, YouTube is also serving some benefit. One huge benefit is Shazam’s use of YouTube. So even if you’re not subscribed to a streaming service, you can still scan a song and have a YouTube link available. However the loss is, YouTube is not really a music discovery service. I really believe this is simply a misinterpretation between the younger generation and the old. Just because YouTube has almost every music ever created, that doesn’t make it a “discovery service.” Why? Because often times you have to know what you’re looking for to search it. Services like Spotify & iTunes use powerful and complex proprietary algorithms that learn your taste in music. To people of my age group, that’s “heaven sent,” as these services serve you with songs you haven’t heard in decades, or songs you would never hear again otherwise, cause you don’t remember it. YouTube gives you suggestions primarily on association, and popularity of videos. Plus, as someone who’s gone through a lot of health problems when I was younger, watching too much music videos isn’t good for us. You need to get something like Spotify, to get better music, and also to insure that you stay mobile and active. So, now that the music industry has accepted YouTube for what it is when it comes to music, copyright appears to be less and less an issue (indirectly). Movies are another matter. Then again, with YouTube’s new subscription services, one never knows what’s going to happen in the future.
I’d like to share with you guys my thoughts on the difficulty of finding good music (more so new good music). Let me tell you, I tip my hat to all the new young bloggers out in the cyber-sphere who write new music reviews. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is for some of these bloggers, in terms of finding quality music they deem worthy of writing about. Having said this, services like Spotify are even more important than ever. YouTube, or even google for that matter isn’t enough! I would imagine that for those who didn’t use legal streaming services to do their blogging, they’d have to rely purely on “word of mouth.” By the way, I’m not underestimating the power of word-of-mouth, but I am questioning whether that method still work as efficient as it once did 20-30 years ago? We didn’t have YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook (or they were at their infancy). The sheer amount of music that are being pushed to the public via social media are sometimes not only overwhelming, fewer and fewer of them are worth listening to.
For the past few months, I’ve been trying really hard to find new good music on Facebook groups (both Spotify and non-Spotify groups); and I was just disappointed with the heavy pushing of really, really, REALLY BAD hip hop. Granted, I’ve stated that I don’t care for today’s hip hop; but at the same time, I know a good beat, and a good lyricist when I hear one. These new hip hop artists that are getting on Spotify are just awful. Not only are most of them awful, they all copy each other, sounding like exact replicas. How can one call themselves an “artist,” or a “writer,” when very few are original? I may not know everything about the inner workings of the music business; but as a fan of music; we’re not interested in copycats; we want to hear something different, and music that makes sense. So, if you’re trying to grab our attention, really really focus on that. Copying from other artists, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily learning anything from that artist.
If you don’t want to do the right thing and use legal services like Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, or Internet Radio, that’s your prerogative. But understand without these services, finding music that fits your personal taste could be a lot harder for you. Even playlists I find difficult to tell you the truth. Why? Because often times they’re not hand picked. They’re just thousands of random music dumped in a list. I think a better strategy, is to find a blogger, or user where you match tastes with each other. This is the one thing I kind of miss when I was on Rhapsody/Napster. Napster gave you a numeric percentage of music compatibility between you and another user. Although Spotify’s algorithms are on point, you’d still like to know what other human beings are listening to.
You know, I agree that the music labels were all greedy *ssholes, that took advantage of music fans around the world; and the fact that they were so powerful they actually controlled what we listened to on the radio. However, looking back, censoring what we listened to back then, now doesn’t seem like it was a bad thing anymore. I know a lot of people would disagree, but think about it. No record label back then, would introduce to the public an artists, they didn’t spend a sh*t load of money grooming, preparing, and trained to do their job first! Because that artist or group is representing that label. Today, because labels are pretty much defunct at this point (with the exception of many of the older labels), there is no longer a filtering system. Therefore finding good music can literally be a nightmare.
I consider myself to be very well informed when it comes to music, and streaming especially. Although the statistics are very complex, because I’m not sure what things were being factored in these stats, and what were not, it’s really hard to predict whether or not we’d be even listening to old school anymore in the future. But, here is my general synopsis of where we’re at now. Using rounded numbers here (I know they’re a little off, but it’s to make an easy point), between the ages of 12 thru 25 are using the bulk of music streaming services. I believe it is by these statistics, the music industry is saying they’re finally seeing profit (this includes not just on-demand streaming, but internet radio and the like).
Where I find still a problem for the music industry are ages 25 thru about 40, who were heavily active during the old Kazaa & Napster era. With the 25/40 group, although many indeed purchased music, they usually don’t as much as they say the do. In fact, many then and still do feel entitled even though they know it’s wrong (citing fair use bullsh**). Then the final problem are the 40+ age group, who grew up during the CD, vinyl, and cassette era. The 40+ group with an infinite wishlist of all the albums they say they still want; but can’t find it cause physical media is being phased out, and most still can’t accept it in their minds; and or the music that does still physically exist, you’re being charged a fortune ’cause it’s either an import, “a limited time offer,” or a collector’s item. The 40+ group (for the most part) still believes this is the way you support the artists, not having a full understanding, or realizing just how music has changed in the last several decades. There are less then a few labels that are reproducing limited vinyl copies of anything, such as Sony. Although, I still acknowledge the fandom aspect of it, that need for memorabilia. I get it…..
It may be a cruel thing to say, but the reality is, once people are locked in to a behavior, very few people can come out of it. I don’t think the music industry and independent artist will see any real rewards until the next 4-5 generations that will be born in to music streaming (not YouTube, unless the industry decides to make them pay royalties). If music streaming were the standard culture, artist would make more money than on iTunes. Do you realize iTunes only pays artists 25 to 30 cents on the dollar, per download? The artist does all the work creating, and they iTunes takes 70%. It may actually be less, depending whether you’re signed to a label or not. If everyone used Spotify (or any legal streaming you’d like), an artist can make 20x more for that same singular downloaded sale. I want you guys to understand that I’m not just someone who recently discovered Spotify, and want to proselytize everyone. I’m also a music lover and collector, I see the value and convenience of music streaming.
Because the majority of paid streaming users are young people, we’ve lost a significant amount of music culture. Yes, many of our great classic music can be found, but if people aren’t playing it, it’s not there. It is evedent by the fact that people are always looking for playlists. I’ve read a lot of people asking others to make playlist for them. If that is not an indication that we are starving for good music culture, I don’t know what is? If more old season folk were using music streaming, finding good music wouldn’t be that much of a problem. What even baffles me more, many old folk have Facebook accounts already! You don’t even need a credit card for free Spotify, just use your Facebook to log in, and you still use YouTube. But you look down on young people for not supporting Black music? You kidding me right? Anyway…. This is why I’m working so hard on my site, not just because classic music and blogging are my hobbies, but because it’s needed. And hopefully when seasoned folk start to recognize not just how much music they’re missing, but all the titles they’re unable to discover from full albums they’re not getting on YouTube! Maybe then, they can stop being so stubborn and at least want to know more about how easy music streaming AND internet radio is…… Especially when most are free now. By the way, I know some of you smart asses are saying, “there are a lot of full albums on YouTube too!” No, there aren’t that many. Now, ask me, how do “I,” your knowledgeable classic blogger knows this? Because YouTube only allows unverified YouTuber’s 15 minutes per upload; and most understand they’re uploading music illegally, and they’re not going to offer up their personal telephone number and or other personal information. So, no…… Only a handful….. (relatively speaking)
Hi guys, I’d like to draw your attention to an issue that no one appears to be talking about; the growing problem of what I call “Playlist Monopoly,” especially in regards to social media. What is “Playlist Monopoly” you ask? Well, as far as I see it, there are two entirely different issues that creates one problem. Let’s talk about the social media aspect of it, such as sites similar to Facebook (primarily I think). Groups that are dedicated to music streaming on social media, appear to be made up of mostly desperate artists looking to get followers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the “hustle” to make money for your work, however, I think this is the wrong way to go about it. First issue, lets talk about the content many of these artists are pushing. A lot of the content I see are predominantly badly written hip hop music, while also promoting porn on their album covers. Ninety nine percent of new hip hop circulating on social media would never be in my playlist. So, because we now have an open platform, meaning you no longer need a record label to produce and distribute your content, the quality of music has really gone down hill. Many of these people have had no training, or strong background in making music. In turn, it makes it harder for music lovers like us to find music we like, because new music now are so poorly produced. Quite honestly, I’ve heard hip hop from the Creative Commons platform that sounds better. Now, having said this, there is no emoji for “it sounds ok.” You either give it a thumbs up, or none at all. If I’m nice enough to give you a thumbs up, that’s not a queue for you to bombard me with “follow me and then I’ll follow you” messages. No one is going to make me feel obligated to follow your music, especially if I’m not feeling it. I’m the type of person that ALWAYS skim through profiles before I follow it. You must have something of value before I follow you.
Second issue is, the number of followers on a playlist. If a playlist has thousands and thousands of followers, some artists will even try to contact the playlist creator, and attempt to pay that person to have their music place in said playlists. Yes…. They do that. In fact, I’ve heard people offering to purchase the actual playlist. This is why I am always skeptical of playlist with 20,000+ followers, and over 2,000+ songs. That is a huge red flag people need to watch out for. This is not a playlist created out of love for music, it’s often times a playlist filled with garbage for the expressed purpose to promote. I really don’t understand this approach; what would make you logically think that an indivdual would listen to a singular playlist with several thousand songs? Who has time for that? Are you f**king nuts? It’s entirely possible that maybe some of you feel you just want to “help struggling artists out/give them support.” The problem with that is, the way many algorithms work on streaming services. If you thumbs up, like, save as an album/playlist/follow, or play enough of garbage, it’s going to effect the kinds of music your streaming service will try and help you find in the future (ie, playing radio, featured music, & suggestions, etc). Music discovery is one of the most important features of a true music service; it’s not just about how large their library is (one of the many things YouTube is not good at/designed for). Something that I strongly suggest that you consider. Don’t follow anybody’s playlist you don’t want to follow. It is better to cherry pic the songs you do like, and throw away the rest. Also, don’t listen to a significant amount of music from one particular genre if you don’t like it! If you do, it’s going to take a long time before your service’s algorithms recalculate/realign/readjust (whatever you want to call it) to the kinds of music you really do like. Remember (if you do save/follow) the smaller the playlist, the better. Not only that, you’re not spending hours sifting through a bunch of dead/expired songs, because the playlist is nothing but a dumping place, without any kind of maintenance.
In my opinion, rather than finding music on social media (playlists), I think it would be best to go someplace like Topsify or something like that. Or even personal blogs such as mine. Shit, even former president Obama has a playlist! LOL. There are actually plenty of playlists sites you can go to. Playlists sites consist of music fans (apposed to music promoters) who spend a lot of time and love putting together playlist they feel people would love. Therefor; you’re listening to the best of their taste in music, as well as adding culture to your musical heart. You’ll quickly notice a huge difference between the playlists on social media, and the playlists on private blogs and playlist sites made by fans, for fans. Doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to occasionally find garbage on playlist sites, but, your chances are far greater of finding quality music there.
If you see a playlist name that says “Best songs on the planet,” or “1,000 of the Internet’s biggest hits,” or something to that effect, don’t even bother. Trying to find even 80s playlists can be difficult, because if you’re cultural like I am, you’ll realize most if not all songs I already have. Don’t forget Shazam is a great resource to discovering music too.
Like many old school fans, I still have quite a few old cassettes from back in the day, when I used to tape off the radio. Now that we have such amazing technology today, I’m glad I didn’t actually throw away all my old cassettes YET. I’ve been shazaming a LOT of my old “radio” tapes over the years, which allowed me to get rid of a significant amount of cassettes. Now, I’m not the type of person that would tell a stranger to throw anything away that has sentimental value to them (especially if it’s a vinyl album or something like that). However, I do recommend using Shazam to help you retire those old radio tapes to make more room for other things. Manly for three important reasons. First, finding a good cassette player has become hard to find. I’ve purchased a number of cassette players and they all sound like crap. In fact, a couple of them ruined a few of my tapes. And I’m not willing to spend upwards of $300 for a “good cassette deck,” when I know I’m only going to use it for the purpose of Shazam’n’. Second good reason to Shazam your cassettes, you don’t have to hear the dj bable anymore.. LOL. I used to hate when they’d talk through the song I liked. But I knew they did it so that we’d buy the album. Thirdly, Once you Shazam something, and or save it to your Spotify, it stays there forever! Even if the license on a song expires, it’s still listed! The nice thing about that is, if you can’t find it in any other album, you can just purchase it from Amazon or Google (DRM free). At this point, Spotify will ALWAYS have free accounts, so I really really doubt you have to worry about anything. Oh yeah! One more thing, you don’t have to run around asking friends if they know the name of a song!! 😳
Some of the songs I’ve Shazam’d lately are, “Touch Me (All Night Long) by Cathy Dennis,” “Sweet Love by Anita Baker,” “Midnight Blue by Melissa Manchester,” “Don’t Turn Around by Owen Gray,” “Let It Whip by The Dazz Band,” “Jungle Love by The Time,” “What Is Love by Haddaway,” “Broken Wings by Mr. Mister,” “Suavecito by Malo,” and “I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman.” Those were just a few of several thousand Shazams, and tons of tapes 😫 😐; but it was all worth it. If I were to throw them all away, that would have been music I wouldn’t ever hear again. Mainstream radio doesn’t play music from my generation anymore period. One thing you’ll learn, even when it comes to streaming services, hand picked music is not the same as a computer generated playlist based on habits and algorithms. But, it’s good for the young kids who don’t yet have a musical perspective.