Over the past ten years the music industry has changed drastically. Major labels have lost substantial power in building, promoting, and sustaining artists’ careers. With the advent and popularity of social networking sites, blogs, internet radio stations, and podcasts, artists are now positioned in a way that their success relies solely on them. The music industry has entered the era of the Do-It-Yourself musician. “There are over 70 million independent artists, in addition to the sizeable number of professional musicians, located throughout the United States.”[i] The vast amount of artists has made it more difficult for music consumers to find good, new artists through the clutter and has also made it extremely difficult for artists to reach them. However, an independent (or major) artist utilizing social networking and analytics has a clear advantage over competitors because of their ability to directly connect with and understand their fans on a deeper level. “The industry is fiercely competitive. The artists with access to the best market research will allow them to become leaders in their genres.”[ii]
In order for artists to establish a strategic competitive advantage they must have a website (that displays information about themselves and what they do, samples and streams of their music, a direct click button to purchase merchandise and music on each page, a regularly updated news section or blog, a mailing list sign up widget, tour dates, press kits, photos, videos, and links to each of their respective social networking sites, as well as, information that outlines reasons for visitors to make repeat visits to the site) and pages on social networking and video sites—like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube. All artists must also try to secure a .com domain name. By having a .com domain name the artist’s site will be indexed higher in search engines because of the higher relative importance assigned to it above all other domain names. By establishing a large digital presence, artists are more likely to attract and retain fans (caused by forging direct relationships with them). Analytics from each of these respective sites enables the artist to, “amass a wealth of data on fans’ buying habits, preferences, shared interests, and behavior,”[iii] thus enabling the artist to make more money.
The intention of this paper is to educate and inform artist managers and do-it-yourself musicians about web analytics and how its use can be applied to benefit artists’ careers. Issues that will be addressed are: (1) how utilizing analytics can increase an artist’s fan base and brand image, and (2) how analytics can be used to directly connect with an artist’s fans on a more personal level and (3) how the analysis of analytical data can help maximize the efficiency of marketing, promotional, and touring efforts. Although this paper focuses on how analytics can assist a musician’s career (and what information and statistics one should monitor) it will not address the actual process of analytics implementation.
PLEASE NOTE: Certain terminology utilized in this paper holds different meaning in the online and off line worlds. For the purpose of this paper, the words musician and artist are considered to be synonymous with one another, as are the words visitor and user (unless otherwise specified). A terminology page and contextualized analytics definitions have been provided in the appendix, for review and convenience. All terminology listed in the appendix will be highlighted in bold throughout the body of this paper.
Major companies in the music industry recognize the high value of analytical data, when it comes to assisting artists’ careers, and have implemented their own artist centric analytics and analytics assistance programs to enable artists to utilize the data effectively, assist with promotional, marketing, and touring efforts, as well as, to help the artist to increase and further develop their band-fan relationship. Listed below are some of the major companies that have developed these programs along with the respective services offered to artists.
“The Orchard is an independent music and video distributor specializing in comprehensive digital strategies for content owners.”[iv] On 3/18/10 The Orchard unveiled its, “interactive analytics tool within its client workstation. The tool uses daily and weekly sales activity generated from The Orchard’s top digital retail partners, including iTunes, eMusic, Verizon Wireless, 24-7 Entertainment, Deezer, and YouTube, to display full-scope sales information on specific releases through charts, line graphs, and an interactive heat map.”[v] The analytics tool helps its clients (indie artists, indie labels, and major labels) monitor sales and purchasers’ demographic data on, “album and track downloads, track and video streams, video downloads, and ringtones”[vi] by breaking them down by the, “(1) type of transaction, (2) time period of the transaction, and (3) the location of the purchaser.”[vii] The Orchard’s goal in implementing this tool for its clients is to help them more effectively target their marketing and touring strategies, as well as, is to help increase their clients’ physical sales and assist in developing more effective radio campaign strategies.
Top Spin monitors Google Analytics and social networks (via widgets) on behalf of their clients (artists). The Company provides report outs, analyses, and insights (actionable steps), so that artists may improve their marketing, promotional, and touring efforts, and establish more direct connections with their fans. Top Spin also tracks the effectiveness of the artist’s marketing campaigns in driving sales.
Big Champagne Media Measurement (BC Dash)
Big Champagne’s BC Dash program monitors sales, radio play, page views, and digital streams for major artists. They focus on obtaining data from internet and terrestrial radio stations, social networks, streaming and subscription services, music video websites, and digital download sites.
The Echo Nest
The Echo Nest tracks the amount of online publicity an artist receives. Through their “Fanalytics,” application Echo Nest tracks blog posts, artist news postings, artist and album review postings, social media site activity, as well as, video and mp3 postings about a client artist.
Rock Dex tracks data from all major music and social networking websites. Rock Dex collects blog post information, fan connection statistics, page view data, tweet data, and song play data on behalf of its client artists.
Although these are a few major music companies that see the benefits in utilizing analytics to promote and sustain an artists’ career, there are many other companies that focus on providing artists and industry professionals with analytics data (Next Big Sound, RapLeaf, Trendrr, Band Metrics, and Music Metric to name a few). The remainder of this paper focuses on how do it yourself artists and artist managers can implement, utilize, and understand the benefits of analytics, in relation to achieving the artist’s career goals.
“Analytics are a subset of what has come to be called Business Intelligence— a set of technologies and processes that use data to understand and analyze business performance.”[viii] Analytics is the, “extensive use of data and fact based management to drive management decisions and actions.”[ix] Web analytics, simply defined, is the collection and analysis of website user data to drive business decisions.
Utilizing web analytics is a three-pronged process. It involves: (1) collecting statistical data from an artist’s website (or social networking sites), (2) interpreting that data, and then (3) utilizing that data to formulate decisions (concerning content improvements, marketing and promotions efforts, and how to (ultimately) generate higher returns on investment).
PLEASE NOTE: “Analytics themselves don’t constitute a strategy, but using them to optimize business capabilities is.”[x] In other words, if analytics data is only collected and analyzed and nothing is done to utilize that data, no analytics strategy exists and the collection and analysis efforts for that data served no purpose, were a waste of time, and won’t help anyone.
|What is analytics and what can it do for an artist’s career?|
Analytics provides an artist or artist manager with statistical data about the visitors of the artist’s digital properties (including their website and respective social networking sites). It provides user demographic and geographic data, as well as, displays data about how users accessed the site and provides insight into visitors’ purchasing behavior. Analytics also provides site visitor usage data. It presents information regarding the average time they spent on the site, how long after entering the site they left (bounce rate), and which pages on the site obtain the most traffic. Tracking analytics data also enables one to find site errors (which shows issues that visitors experienced while utilizing the site), determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness adding new or additional content on the site, and displays which products have the highest conversion rates (visits/sales), and allows for an extensive evaluation of whether or not the artist’s digital properties are improving their overall business.
Monitoring analytics data can help to identify cross-promotional and selling opportunities and also helps one determine whether marketing and promotional efforts are or aren’t working as anticipated. This paper will discuss the most important reports that must be monitored when using Google Analytics, however additional Google Analytics reports (that were not mentioned) and brief descriptions of them can be found in the appendix.
PLEASE NOTE: Social networking sites (like Facebook and MySpace) are in the introductory stages of implementing analytics on their sites for their users. The data shown and reports generated are consistently changing, in order to improve and optimize data interpretation.
|The Purpose of Analytics|
The purpose of utilizing analytics is to gain a better understanding of an artist’s digital consumer base. Monitoring the users of each digital property belonging to the artist provides insight into their behavior. Understanding consumer behavior is key in promoting and selling any product or service. It enables one to make wiser decisions about the kinds of marketing, touring, and promotional efforts that should be undertaken, it helps one to better determine the timing of campaign launches, and helps one evaluate their product and service offerings (whether they should stay the same, be expanded upon, or be re-developed).
Gaining a deeper understanding of the consumer also provides insight into their purchasing decision making processes. It helps to define exactly what their needs and desires are, their personalities, lifestyles, socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and how all of these factors affect their purchasing decisions. Having a true understanding of one’s consumers allows for marketing and promotion efforts to become more targeted and effective, sales increases, and consumer base growth. Analytics helps take some of the guesswork out of determining consumer behavior. It tells the story of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of an artist’s following which, in turn, provides insight into their consumers’ purchasing decisions. The interpretation of analytics data shows how these things all factor into their behavior as a consumer and how understanding them can be used to benefit the artist.
|The Benefits of Utilizing Analytics|
The benefit of utilizing analytics, as mentioned above, is gaining a deeper understanding of one’s consumer and their behavior. Analytics provides the following information about an artist’s website and website visitors:
As noted in the “Analytics Defined” section of this paper, analytics provides a wealth of statistical data about an artist’s website. In this section the most important statistical data to track will be defined and explanations as of to why this particular data is important to track will be provided. This section will also address how to find the data in Google Analytics software, as well as, will show how to interpret the data so that beneficial site changes can be implemented. This particular section will only discuss how to use and interpret data from the artist’s personal website. The utilization and interpretation of analytics derived from social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter) will be addressed later in the paper (in the section called “Sites That Analytics Can Be Tracked From).
PLEASE NOTE: Prior to utilizing analytics, to determine the effectiveness of an artist’s website, a clear understanding of the purpose that the website serves for the artist must be determined. Without establishing goals and the purpose of the artist’s site, all of the benefits from utilizing analytics will not be realized. For most artists, the purpose of the website is to inform fans and potential fans about themselves (their background and history, upcoming shows, and other relevant news), as well as, is to sell albums and other assorted merchandise. The information provided below will assist with the understanding of analytics’ relationship to the purpose and goals of the artist’s website.
|Where Site Visitors are From & How They Found the Artist’s Site|
|Identifying Visitors’ Geographical Location|
Analytics allows for the identification of where (geographically) visitors of an artist’s site are coming from. There are many benefits, outlined below, to knowing where those visitors are from. Analytics capture visitors of the website’s IP address, which provides information about where they are located in the world. One of these reports also utilizes a world map, to depict where visitors are coming from, for quick, “at a glance,” data interpretation.
By identifying where visitors are coming from (geographically), insight is gained about where marketing and promotions efforts will be most effective. It will also show potential new regions for the artist to focus on touring in, thus helping to stimulate revenue from areas that were once thought to be unlikely revenue stream sources. Insight will also be gained regarding changes that should be made to the site, as it relates to language interpretation. For example, if it is determined that many site visitors come from Brazil, adding the option of the site being translated into Portuguese might be considered (to make the site more user friendly for Brazilian visitors). Recognizing seemingly small things like this will help create an easier and more pleasant user experience on the site, which will help to further engage those visitors and potentially increase conversion rates.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
|Identifying Where Visitors Came From On The Internet|
Although this sounds exactly like what was previously discussed, this section addresses different analytics tools and benefits. In the preceding section the focus was on where visitors were coming from geographically. This section addresses where they came from online, how they found the artist’s website, and the importance of knowing which online portals drove them to the site.
By identifying how visitors found the artist’s site, one will be able to determine which users directly entered the site, which ones used a search engine, which sites referred the visitor to the artist’s site, as well as, which marketing and promotional campaigns effectively drove them to the site. There are four ways users can find any website: directly, through referring URLs, through search engines, and through alternative methods (like email, digital newsletters, and direct online and offline marketing campaigns). There are many benefits of knowing how visitors found the artist’s site. Although the benefits will be described in more detail below, some major benefits are: being able to understand how many true fans the artist has, which search engines the website should be optimized for, potential marketing relationship leads, and how effective select promotional efforts are.
|Users Who Enter The Artist’s Site Directly—“Direct Traffic”|
Direct traffic users are (typically) already familiar with the artist and are fans of the artist. They have, most likely, bookmarked the webpage or have memorized the site’s URL. These users may also have been driven to the site by word of mouth through existing fans (who provided individuals with the direct URL) or were driven to the site by some form of offline promotion that had the artist’s web address on it (ex. flyers, postcards, advertisements, etc.).
A user who is categorized as being “direct traffic,” physically typed the artist’s website URL into their web browser. These users did not click on a link or utilize a search engine to find the artist’s site (they, somehow, already knew how to find it). Direct traffic reports tell how many users of the site came to it directly by typing the URL into their web browser. It also provides the percentage of direct traffic that the site generated in comparison with the other methods in which traffic is directed to the site.
The benefits of knowing how much direct traffic the site receives is two fold. It helps create a better understanding of how many fans the artist has (just by counting the number of direct visits to the site) and it also helps one understand how effective the artist’s offline advertising is (through knowing the bounce rate from direct traffic users). A low bounce rate from direct traffic illustrates that visitors came to the site and got what they were looking for.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
|How Many Fans The Artist Really Has|
By understanding the number of direct visits to the artist’s site, one can learn about how large the artist’s fan base is, which helps to establish a benchmark number. Establishing a benchmark number of visitors that came from direct traffic helps one monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
**Remember that results can’t be seen from utilizing analytics or from tracking marketing and promotional efforts, unless a baseline number of visitors who were coming to the site (via direct traffic), prior to their implementation, is known. **
By establishing this initial benchmark, one can notice immediately if the artist’s fan base has increased and if the promotional and marketing efforts are benefitting the artist (this can be done by checking to see if the number of direct visits to the page has increased or stayed the same—this number should not decrease unless something drastic is done on the site to alienate visitors).
|How Effective Offline Marketing & Promotional Efforts Are|
Determining the bounce rates from direct traffic gives key insights into how effective the website is in retaining users who have received or been exposed to the artist’s offline marketing and promotion efforts. If a user is directly typing the URL into their browser (and are not frequent visitors like fans are), they were most likely exposed to some form of offline marketing. If they visit the site and leave it within 10 seconds of accessing it (a.k.a. bounce rate), their perception of what they had expected to see or get was far different from what they actually received from the site’s content. Their quick exit from the site shows the difference between what they thought they would access and what they did access.
If a high bounce rate, from direct users, is noticed promotional and marketing efforts, with regard to how they relate to the artist’s website, must be re-evaluated. Some key questions to ask, when a high bounce rate from direct traffic is realized, are as follows:
These are some of the questions that should be asked when a high direct visitor bounce rate is noticed. Asking and answering these questions will help to identify and remedy any inconsistencies between the artist’s site and offline promotional and marketing efforts and will also help to reduce future bounce rates from direct traffic.
Users who enter the artist’s site through referring URLs are users who were directed to the website via another website they visited. Referring URLs are other URLs (websites) that directed their traffic to the artist’s website. Referring URLs can be obtained through affiliate marketing, link building, and paid search campaigns. Below is a description of each type of referring URL, followed by what reports data is obtained from, as well as, what the referring URL reports illustrate about each type of referring URL (and campaign) and how the data can be utilized to benefit the artist.
|Affiliate Marketing Campaigns|
Affiliate marketing, at its core, is the use of one website to drive traffic to another related website. In affiliate marketing, companies establish relationships with one another to increase the number of visitors on the one company’s (usually a merchant’s) site. In affiliate marketing, the merchant pays the affiliate money to post an ad on their (the affiliate’s) site. The money the merchant pays to the affiliate is commission based, with payment relying solely on the affiliate website’s ability to successfully drive traffic to the merchant’s site and subsequently stimulate the merchant’s sales.
The benefit of participating in an affiliate marketing program is that it enables the merchant to reach a broader audience (which stimulates sales inquiries, thereby increasing sales). One caveat about affiliate marketing is that in order for it to work successfully, affiliates must have the same (or very similar) target markets as the artist’s site (otherwise people will ignore the artist’s ads on the affiliate’s site or the artist’s website bounce rate will severely increase).
|Link Building Campaigns|
Link building is the process of having another website post a link to a site on their webpage and vice versa. Link building is free; it centers around establishing relationships with companies, blogs, and websites that feature content that is similar to the content featured on the artist’s site. By establishing these free relationships, consumers are driven to new sites that feature content that is of interest to them. Because the content on linked sites appeals to similar target markets, link building significantly increases traffic to the artist’s site. The similarity between target markets causes the artist’s site to achiever higher search rankings and also directly correlates with having a decreased bounce rate (because the content on the artist’s site matches what the visitor is interested in).
Another benefit of link building campaigns is that it helps to increase the artist’s site’s visibility in search engines (through the utilization of keywords, keyword phrases, and multiple domain name mentions—the more links to the page, the higher the search engine spiders and bots rank the artist’s site). Search engines look at internal, inbound, and outbound (external) links when indexing the artist’s site and each of its respective pages. Internal links make it easier for the user to find the content they desire on the artist’s site. When dealing with internal links, all links to each page on the artist’s website must be appropriately connected, otherwise the search engine bots won’t accurately index the site.
Inbound links help search engine bots determine the ranking of a website in search engine results pages. The more links there are directing traffic to the artist’s website increases the site’s page ranking in search engines, due to its perceived importance and popularity. Outbound links, on the other hand, are links on the artist’s site that direct traffic to other, similar, websites. These links typically do nothing to increase the artist’s page rank but serve as a form of in kind payment to those sites that are directing traffic to the artist’s site (hence the term link swap).
PLEASE NOTE: Link farms should not be used when establishing inbound link building campaigns. The reason for this is that search engine bots are aware of these link farms and will treat inbound links to pages from them as spam (therefore doing nothing to increase the artist’s page’s rank). Aside from the bots not indexing the page, by ignoring it, the bots will penalize any site that attempts to establish inbound links through link farms (and will prevent non-link farm inbound links from increasing the artist’s page rank as well). Once a website has been penalized, it is almost impossible for the penalty block to be removed.
Be sure to keep track of which websites that link swaps were arranged with. The reason why this must be done is to see how effective each of the sites are at driving the appropriate traffic to the artist’s site. Evaluating bounce rates and the time visitors spent on site driven from each external link will assist in gaining an understanding of which relationships are the most important to maintain and will also help to determine why other link partners aren’t as successful at generating returns for the artist’s site. If it is discovered that certain link partners aren’t as successful as others, the following questions should be asked:
|Referring URL Report Benefits & Data Interpretation|
Reports Used to Find This Data:
This report also helps with understanding which referring URLs came from paid vs. non-paid visits. Having this data helps with the understanding and evaluation of whether paid search and affiliate marketing efforts are actually helping to increase visits to and sales on the artist’s site. If it is noticed that the majority of traffic is coming from non-paid sources, it would be wise to decrease or cease paid campaign efforts. Knowing this will help with the proper appropriation of marketing funds. Paid search campaigns and reports will be discussed in more detail in the next section.
When viewing the Referring URLs report, close attention should be paid to unfamiliar referring URLs. If the URLs are unfamiliar, visit them and determine why they might be directing traffic to the artist’s site. For those unfamiliar URLs, that send a high volume of traffic to the site (coupled with high conversion and low bounce rates), establishing an affiliate marketing or link building relationship with them should be considered. If it is noticed that sites, that have similar target markets as the artist, aren’t referring traffic to the site, it would be wise to consider reaching out to them (regarding embarking on a campaign with them). These sites would be those, which have been determined to be worthy referring URLs because the artist’s content and product offerings are related and establishing a relationship with them would be mutually beneficial. Another thing that close attention should be paid to is the artist’s main competitors’ referring URLs. This information can be found at Compete.com or Quantcast.com—given that the artist’s competitors have implemented analytics on each of their respective sites. By knowing which sites refer traffic to the artist’s competitors, it can be determined how many of those same referrers are also Referring URLs to the artist’s site, as well as, allows for the development of Referring URL leads (sites that might be worth targeting to build relationships with in the future).
When referring URL reports are viewed, be sure to look beyond the top 10 referring URLs. This will help in determining what other top referring URLs are. Doing this will also help determine the quality of the traffic being driven to the artist’s site (based on bounce and conversion rates) from each referring URL and can also help to determine which campaigns (paid searches, affiliate marketing, link building) have worked best, as well as, will help determine which campaign type(s) will be the most important to focus on continuing or establishing in the future.
Paid searches are a type of contextual advertising. Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising on search engine websites, where the keywords attached to the artist’s AdWords campaign (in association with the website) influences the types of ads that appear to viewers on the search page (based on matching keywords). In paid searches, website owners pay to have their website appear at the top sidebar of search engine result pages. The way this works is through a bidding/algorithm system. The artist, manager, or webmaster places a bid on select keywords that they want to be associated with the artist’s site and then pays the amount of money they bid on that keyword to Google or another search engine company. If the artist engages in a pay per click (paid search) campaign from another search engine, the artist must tag/set up those campaigns properly in their Google Analytics account (otherwise the data for those campaigns won’t be tracked) Other individuals are allowed to bid on keywords the artist selects for their site as well (if they feel that it also matches their site content). An algorithm is then applied based on the keyword bids and the keyword bid competition. This determines where the artist’s ad gets listed on the search engine’s results page (whenever an individual searches using that particular keyword). These factors determine the placement of the artist’s ad on the search engine’s page (i.e. the more money paid for the keyword, the more visible the ad’s placement will be).
Website owners are willing to pay for this service because it increases their site’s visibility and online presence to individuals seeking items that match with select keywords. By investing in a paid search, the goal is that (due to increased visibility of the website) a larger volume of traffic will be directed to it and increase sales.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
Utilizing Google Analytics’ AdWords Campaign Report helps to calculate the cost per impressions statistic for paid search campaigns. After obtaining and reviewing this statistic, it can be determined whether or not the cost of running the campaign outweighs the benefits. This will help to determine whether or not paid search campaigns should continue to be run in the future. The AdWords Campaign report, in conjunction with Google’s Insights For Search report, can help to optimize referrer effectiveness and increase the amount of referring URLs directing traffic to the artist’s site. These reports also help to identify keywords (that potential visitors of the site would employ, in order to find the artist and their products) that could be used in the campaign. This will help to optimize the effectiveness of AdWords’ keywords and will assist in obtaining a higher amount of searches for the artist’s site and products (thus stimulating page views and potential sales).
|Search Engine Referring URLs|
It is extremely common that the majority of visitors, who came to the artist’s site, were directed to it through a search engine. Search engines are websites that enable a user to type in keywords and phrases to find some type of data on the internet (be it music, information, movies, etc…). Currently, the most popular search engines that individuals utilize are: Google (49%), Yahoo (24%), MSN (10%), and Ask (3%).
There are a variety of benefits one gets from reviewing what the top search engine referring URLs are. Firstly, if it is known which search engines drive the most traffic, there will be a better understanding of which search engines the artist’s site should be optimized for. Reviewing this data also helps to determine the artist’s website’s overall presence online (based on its relative rank in each search engine). Knowing how the artist’s website is ranked in search engines helps provide insight into what SEO strategies need to be pursued and also helps provide insight into what changes need to be made to the site to make it more predominant on the web—it helps with understanding what strategies need to be pursued to optimize its visibility (if the site is not currently ranked at the top of the page across all major search engines).
If it is noticed that the site has a low percentage of traffic driven by search engines, the data is stating that something is wrong with the artist’s website. It could mean that not enough link building or affiliate marketing campaigns are in place (which increase search rankings), it could mean that the keywords and phrases attached to each page of the site need to be expanded upon (in order to increase search result rankings), and it could also mean that the meta tags on the site don’t properly match the content featured on the site (which causes the website to be indexed improperly in search engines).
If a low percentage of traffic is driven to the artist’s site by search engines, the website should be adjusted to include more appropriate keywords and meta tags and serious consideration must be given to increasing the site’s link building and affiliate marketing campaigns. If doing these things still does not increase the percentage of traffic driven to the website by search engines, a full SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy should be pursued. Once a full blown SEO strategy is embarked upon, search engine rankings will drastically increase, thus increasing the percentage of traffic driven to the artist’s website through them. SEO strategies will be addressed in more detail in the following section.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
Aside from showing the percentage of traffic driven to the site by search engines, the Referring Sites report also shows the percentage of traffic (and a brief overview of the quality of that traffic) driven by search engines compared to the traffic driven by other site referrers.
A few key questions that should be focused on when viewing the Search Engine Traffic Source Report are as follows:
|SEO & Search Engine Traffic|
SEO focuses on learning about how search engines work and what individuals look for when running their search engine queries. SEO deals with improving the volume and quality of the traffic that a website receives. In order to obtain the best possible results from search engines, some form of SEO must be pursued. Search engine optimization focuses on the enhancement of a website through editing the website’s content and HTML coding. SEO helps to increase the site’s association with specific keywords (when returning search engine user queries) and will also help to remove any barriers on the website that will prevent spiders or bots (search engine indexing tools) from properly indexing the artist’s site. Although SEO will not be discussed in this paper (because it is outside of its scope), a list of some of the top companies who provide SEO services and some of their respective clients are listed below.
Increase Visibility Inc.
Partial Client List:
Partial Client List:
Partial Client List:
SlingShot SEO Inc
Partial Client List:
Partial Client List:
|Other Referring URLS|
Although the primary methods of how users find the artist’s site have already been discussed, it is important to touch upon some of the other methods in which users can be directed to the site. Three additional methods of attracting users to the site are through email lists, digital newsletters, and direct marketing campaigns.
|Email Lists & Digital Newsletters|
Although emails and digital newsletters are inherently different, analytics tracks them in the same manner, so they will be addressed in this section together. Email lists and digital newsletters are comprised of individuals (that either attended the artist’s shows or other events that the artist participated in, or they registered on the artist’s site to be informed about future endeavors) who have opted in to receiving communications from the artist via email. These visitors entered the site based on the links and calls to action provided in the emails or digital newsletters sent to them (i.e. they clicked on the link to the website in the email and subsequently visited it).
The effectiveness of email and digital newsletter campaigns can be tracked by looking at the Referring Sites Report. Counting the visits and email/newsletter openings (the number of times a subscriber opened the email or newsletter) generated from the campaigns can help to determine the effectiveness of that particular campaign.
If it is noticed that response rates are low (percentage of traffic driven from the email or newsletter), two things about email and digital newsletter campaign strategies can be learned. The first thing that can be learned from a low response rate is that the emails and/or digital newsletters might not have been sent to individuals in the artist’s target demographic. This means that the information isn’t reaching people who care about the artist and is treated and viewed as spam. The second thing that can be learned from this is that a stronger call to action must be positioned in the email or digital newsletter. If the call to action isn’t placed in a predominant place in the email or digital newsletter, the recipient doesn’t know that a link to the artists site even exists in the document that was sent to them.
In order to distinguish email and newsletter traffic from that of other types of referring URLs, URLs with the words email, webmail, or mail in the address must be clearly paid attention to. URLs that have those three particular key words illustrate the traffic driven to the site by email and digital newsletter referring URLs.
PLEASE NOTE: If a user has a desktop email application (like Microsoft Outlook) Google Analytics will not be able to track how many subscribers clicked on the link to the site from the email or digital newsletter and it will also not be possible to track how many times each subscriber opened the emails or digital newsletters.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
|Direct Marketing Campaigns|
With direct marketing, messages are being targeted and sent directly to potential consumers and fans. This usually takes the form of direct mail, email, newsletters, and telemarketing and is an unsolicited method of reaching potential consumers. This is one of the least effective methods of promotion and it should be expected that response rates will be low.
Although emails and newsletters were mentioned before, those were not sent without the recipient opting into it in some manner. Therefore, email and newsletters from direct marketing (in this particular context) relate specifically to unsolicited direct contact with potential consumers. The success of email and newsletter direct marketing campaigns, in analytics is measured in the same manner that was mentioned above. The only difference is that because the emails and newsletters sent to them were unsolicited (meaning the recipients weren’t subscribers) the option of monitoring whether or not they opened what they received is not available.
When dealing with offline direct marketing (like mailings and telemarketing efforts) the only way of monitoring its effectiveness (with analytics) is by noting the number of “Direct Traffic” visits to the site because the visitor (as previously mentioned) had to physically type the website’s URL into their web browser.
|What Visitors Thought Of The Artist’s Site (A.K.A. Site User Feedback)|
Utilizing analytics on the artist’s site can provide useful feedback about what visitors actually thought of their experience on it. Listed below are some of the key pieces of data that help one learn about visitors’ opinions of the site, how to access that data, and how to interpret it (so that the site may be optimized to make the visitors’ experiences easier and more enjoyable). Analytics enables one to learn about visitors’ opinions by providing the following data:
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter a site and leave, within ten seconds, to go to another site (rather than continue on to other pages on the artist’s site). Bounce rate statistics show how sticky the artist’s site and each of its respective pages are.
If the artist’s site has a high bounce rate (over 35%), it signifies that something is wrong with the site. It might mean that visitors expected something different than what they found on the site (or specific pages on the site), it might mean that the content isn’t captivating enough, and it also might mean that the layout and navigation of the site makes it difficult to find the information visitors are searching for.
If it is noticed that certain pages of the site have higher bounce rates than others, content that can be improved upon on those pages must be investigated, in order to keep visitors on those pages. After adjusting the content on those pages (and after noting their initial bounce rates) whether or not the content changes have reduced the page’s bounce rate can be viewed. If it is still found that the site’s overall bounce rate and specific pages’ bounce rates have not decreased, after implementing changes, the keywords and phrases attached to the site and each respective page must be investigated. If the keywords and phrases attached to the site or specific pages of the site are inappropriate, search engines will not properly index the artist’s site. The result of improper indexing is that individuals searching for specific content will end up on pages whose content doesn’t match what they were actually searching for (thereby causing them to initially visit and then immediately leave the site). If it is found that high bounce rates are coming from other sites that paid search, affiliate marketing, and link building campaigns have been arranged with, research must be conducted about why the artist’s website is getting high bounce rates from each of these particular sources. As previously mentioned, it is necessary to look at whether or not their target markets are different than the artist’s and if the keywords attached to the artist’s site appropriately match with those referral sites. Knowing what the artist’s bounce rate statistics are helps identify how engaging and captivating the site is to visitors.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
Aside from viewing the Bounce Rate For All Visitors report, site bounce rate information can be found by looking at most Google Analytics reports. Some examples of the bounce rate data that Google Analytics reports provide are: bounce rate statistics for each page on the site, the bounce rate for the search keywords that drive traffic to the site, as well as, the bounce rates coming from referring URLs.
|Duration Spent On Site|
This statistic helps one understand how long each visitor stayed on the site. Knowing how long a visitor stays on the site helps to determine exactly how engaging content on the site is, as well as, what their likelihood of making a purchase is. This statistic shows how sticky the artist’s site is. The longer a visitor stays on the site, the more they are interacting with its content. This illustrates how captivating and engaging visitors find the site. If it is noticed that visitors aren’t staying on the site long enough to watch a video or listen to the music on it, that particular content might need to be moved on to the home page or be adjusted so that it is more captivating. This statistic is more useful when looking at in conjunction with what the site’s top exit page is. Looking at the top exit page can help the artist determine if that particular page’s content is actually driving visitors away. If all visitors spend a short amount of time on the site, the content of the site must be re-evaluated (so that necessary changes to the content occur in order to make the site more engaging to visitors). The site design (layout) should also be re-evaluated if a short amount of time is spent on the site (in order to see if it is laid out in a confusing or inefficient manner—which consequently causes visitors to leave).
Reports Used to Find This Data:
PLEASE NOTE: Tabbed browsing can inflate and skew this number because many individuals will keep multiple tabs in their web browsers open, which can make the amount of time spent on site to be incorrectly reported.
|Top Content- Most Highly Viewed Pages|
Top content represents the most popular content (pages) on the artist’s site. Most likely, the most popular page will be the artist’s home page. What this means is that the home page must be optimized to drive traffic to the artist’s merchandise store and social networking sites (to increase sales and conversions of new visitors to fans). With the most highly visited page being the home page, it also has to be the most interesting page on the artist’s site (otherwise visitors won’t be intrigued or interested in perusing other pages on the site thus, reducing the amount of time spent on the site and increasing the site’s bounce rate). Another page that should also be ranked highly in top site content is the artist’s merchandise store page. The reason for this is that the artist wants to drive and increase their merchandise sales.
By viewing the top content report and noticing what the most popular pages are, the artist gains feedback on whether their website is servicing its fans properly and is effectively promoting their products. If the top site content is not the home page or merchandise page, further investigation must be done to see why the majority of traffic is going to other pages. This also provides feedback on types of changes the site must undergo in order for the artist to meet their goals.
Reports Used to Find This Data:
Site issues are problems that deal with the functionality of the artist’s website. These issues are typically characterized by having broken links, pages not being found on the site and the site not functioning properly. What’s learned through identifying site issues is what problems users are experiencing on the artist’s website. If users encounter too many problems on the site, the artist won’t effectively be able to achieve their goals because they won’t be able to retain visitors or have visitors re-visit the site. Site issues will increase the site’s overall bounce rate, negatively impact the amount of time visitors spend on the site, and will produce negative consumer behavior (where they won’t re-visit the site or will generate negative word of mouth about the site and possibly the artist). By learning about site errors, artists become aware of problems and subsequently can fix them, in order to optimize and improve the visitor’s experience on the site. The top exit, bounce rate, length of visit, content drilldown, and visitor loyalty reports will help with the identification of site issues because they each illustrate visitors’ reactions to site content. The content drilldown report, through clicking on each link, will help with the understanding of which links on the site are broken.
A conversion rate is the rate at which visitors to a website take desired marketing actions. These visitors are said to convert from strictly consuming website content to performing some type of desired marketing action (like signing up for an email or newsletter list or making a purchase). In order to monitor the conversion rate of visitors on the artist’s website, Google Analytics requires one to set up “goals.” In order to set up “goals” on the site, the name of the goal must be entered and a quantifiable and measurable goal must be defined (ex. $500 in monthly purchases). The reason why this statistic should be monitored is because the artist must know how effective their website is at turning their visitors into purchasers of their merchandise and how effective it is at getting visitors to sign up for their email/digital newsletter lists. If it is noticed that goal conversion rates are low, investigation into why this is occurring must be done, as well as, actions should be taken to understand how to increase the site’s conversion rates (like increasing site usability, making site navigation better, and improving content that relates to conversion goals).
TIP: All artists should have links on each page of their website that direct traffic to their merch store and to their email/digital newsletter sign up lists.
Reports Used To Find This Data:
|The Number of Days & Visits Prior To A Visitor Making a Purchase|
This section addresses how many visits and days a visitor of the artist’s website must make prior to them making a purchase. Knowing how many visits must occur prior to a visitor making a purchase helps the artist understand whether or not the content on the site (and the calls to action displayed on it) is effective at getting consumers to make purchases. By understanding the amount of time it takes for a visitor to make a purchasing decision, an artist can see whether or not the visitors to their site make their purchases impulsively (and seek instant gratification) or if they delay making purchases (to think the purchase over). It can be deduced that marketing and promotional efforts on and off the site are extremely effective if most visitors who purchase the artist’s products buy on their initial site visit. If it takes more visits for a visitor to make a purchase a few things must be evaluated. Questions that must be asked are:
Reports Used To Find This Data:
|Top Selling Products & Average Order Value|
These reports address which of the artist’s products in their merch store generate the most revenue. They also show what the average amount of money spent per purchase is and what the most popular products in the artist’s merch store are. Knowing this information helps the artist determine replenishment timing (when they should re-order their merch), whether or not marketing efforts are effectively driving sales, and also helps to determine what products visitors to the site are and aren’t interested in purchasing.
Reports Used To Find This Data:
|The Number of Unique & Returning Visitors|
A unique (new) visitor is defined as being an individual who accesses an artist’s site for the first time. However, after the report out time frame (as defined in the Google Analytics application) has ended, the initial unique visitor will be treated as a unique visitor again. Individuals who utilize cookies, use more than one web browser on the same computer to access the site, or spoof their IP addresses using proxy servers will consistently be considered unique visitors. The reason for this is because Google Analytics utilizes cookies to keep track of who accesses the artist’s website, in conjunction with the visitor’s IP address. If an individual disables cookies, they will be considered to be a unique visitor each time they visit the site (because no previous record of their accessing the site exists in the Google Analytics records). Individuals who use more than one web browser to access the site (from one computer that has one IP address) will also be counted as unique visitors because Google Analytics does not strictly differentiate unique visitors based on IP addresses. If an individual is spoofing their IP address using proxy servers, their IP address becomes dynamic (meaning that it constantly changes), thereby causing Google Analytics to track their visit(s) to the site as unique—even if they are actually repeat visitors.
The number of repeat visitors is a statistic describing the number of visitors who made multiple visits (after being counted once as a unique visitor) to the artist’s website. Tracking the number of unique and returning visitors enables the artist to view the maximum reach (audience size) of their site (it shows how much traffic they’re getting and how many impressions were generated through their site content). By tracking the number of returning visitors, the artist can see how loyal site visitors are to the artist (this also helps to show if the content on the site is engaging). Knowing how many times people re-visit the artist’s site within a particular time period also helps determine when site content should be updated (so that those visitors stay engaged and continue to come back to the site).
Reports Used To Find This Data:
|Site Click Density/ Site Overlay|
By monitoring the site’s click density, multiple insights can be gained. It shows the navigation paths visitors take while on the site, where they go after visiting the site’s home page, what the most important content (to site visitors) is, which links are and are not clicked on, and how effective links on each page are at achieving conversions. If it is noticed that certain links, that have been deemed important, are not generating as many clicks as they should, investigation must be done as of to why this has occurred and will help optimize the website and make it more visitor friendly. The link’s description (copy) on the site might need to be changed, so that it makes more sense to site visitors. If the link isn’t deemed to be that important, it might be wise to move it somewhere else on the site and replace it with a link that is perceived to be more important. If the link really provides no value to the artist, it might be wise to just remove the link from the site all together.
Reports Used To Find This Data:
|What Sites Analytics Can Be Used On|
Analytics can be used on a variety of sites. Including WordPress, hard coded websites, and social networking sites, to name a few. Below is a detailed description of sites that Analytics can be tracked on.
|Sites That Analytics Can Be Tracked From|
Analytics information can be tracked from the artist’s personal website, as well as, on each of the artist’s respective social networking sites. The primary focus of this paper, so far, was about how to utilize Google Analytics on and interpret the data from the artist’s personal website. Instructions on how to analyze and interpret the artist’s website analytics data can be found in the Google Analytics report out template, which is located in the appendix. The following section provides information about utilizing analytics on the most pertinent social networking sites that the artist should have pages on.
|Social Networking Sites|
Facebook is the number one social networking site in the world (with 93,300,000 monthly visitors), followed by MySpace (which has 61,300,000 monthly visitors) and Twitter (which has 28,000,000 monthly visitors).[xiii] More recently, Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited site on the internet in the United States.
Facebook is a social network that, “connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.”[xiv] Its pages are for Facebook users to showcase their personality, and display their likes, and dislikes to their friends. Most artists have (and if they don’t—they should have) a Facebook fan page. The fan page does four things for an artist: (1) it helps artists gain more exposure (through fan pages being posted on each Facebook user’s profile), (2) it helps build an artist’s fan community—it enables all fans of that artist to connect with each other, so that they may discuss the artist with like minded individuals (it, for the most part, acts as a virtual fan club), (3) it enhances the artist—fan relationship (it helps the artist disseminate information about themselves, it helps them keep fans updated about upcoming events, and acts as a streaming music distribution outlet to everyone who cares to be their fan—this isn’t a one way interaction though—artists aren’t just pushing content out to fans, like they would with an email or newsletter, they can also receive content and feedback from fans as well—that’s the heart of what Facebook fan pages do to enhance the artist-fan relationship) and (4) it helps the artist gain insights into who their fan base is comprised of (through their “Insights” page).
MySpace, on the other hand, is a social networking site that acts as a, “venue for aspiring musicians and bands to share music and concert dates.”[xv] Although individuals can have personal MySpace pages (which feature content similar to that of personal Facebook pages), MySpace’s music pages play a major part in artists’ careers. When MySpace music pages were first developed, it was considered to be a good opportunity for artists to get exposure and catch the eye of industry A&R professionals. Throughout the years though, the number of MySpace’s music pages have grown too large (currently there are 8 million+ music pages on MySpace) and too many under-developed artists have registered, which has caused intense clutter and has reduced its efficiency for catching industry professionals and potential fans’ attention. This clutter has essentially caused MySpace to currently provide three primary services to artists: (1) it enables artists to connect with current fans (and based on other promotional efforts, gain new ones), (2) it serves as a virtual press kit, and (3) it helps the artist gain insights into who their page visitors and fans are (through the “Artist Dashboard” page). Although opportunities for discovery on MySpace have been severely reduced in the past few years, it is still a major social networking site that shouldn’t be ignored. If an artist does not have a MySpace page, they lose out on the opportunity to potentially gain additional promotion for their work and they also give an impression of not actually being a professional musician (because all artists, who are serious about their careers, have pages on all major social networking sites because they recognize the importance based on the benefits offered), furthermore, musicians also lose out on another opportunity to further understand who their music appeals to.
Twitter, the third most popular social networking utility, “is a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets users share and discover what’s happening, when its happening.”[xvi] Twitter, like with Facebook and MySpace pages, enables the artist-fan relationship to grow by facilitating two-way communication. Artists post updates about what they’re doing and fans choose to follow them, so that they can stay informed about the artist’s activities. Twitter also facilitates communication between fans and artists, by allowing fans to directly contact artists by sending them messages. The three main benefits of utilizing the Twitter service are: (1) it enables the artist-fan relationship to grow (via tweet status updates and direct messages), (2) it assists the artist with self-promotion (via tweets and re-tweets by followers), and (3) it provides pertinent information about their followers (a.k.a. fans). Although Facebook and MySpace have dedicated analytics applications for artists, Twitter does not. However, there are many twitalytics programs and websites out there for artists to access information about their followers. The three best twitalytics website programs are: Twitter Analyzer, Tweet Effect, and Tweet Stats. Each of these website programs provide a variety of different information, that benefit the artist. Below, is a detailed discussion about the data insights one can gain from utilizing the Facebook “Insights” page, MySpace’s “Artist Dashboard,” and the three twitalytics web programs mentioned above.
Using these sites creates a two-way interaction between the artist and fan. Above all else this is the most important reason for an artist to participate in social networking because it helps to create and maintain an emotional connection between the artist and their fans. As with the artist’s website, each of the artist’s social networking sites’ content must be equally engaging in order for it to provide substantial career benefits to them. Instructions on how to analyze and interpret social networking analytics data can be found in the Facebook, MySpace, and Twitalytics report out templates, which are located in the appendix.
|Facebook Fan Page|
Facebook’s fan pages have a section dedicated to analytics called “Insights.” The Insights page is only visible to administrators of the page and is located below the information section on the page’s left side. To access the Insights page one must click the “See All” hyperlink. The data shown on the Insights page is listed in bullet point form (for easy reading) below.
|MySpace Band Page|
MySpace’s band pages have a section dedicated to analytics called “Artist Dashboard.” The Artist Dashboard page is only visible to bands who have properly registered their MySpace profile site as a band page (instead of a personal profile page) and to administrators of the page. Once the artist or account administrator has logged in to the MySpace account, on the right side of the landing page will be a section that says “Artist Dashboard.” To access the Artist Dashboard page the “View All Stats” hyperlink must be clicked. The data shown on the Artist Dashboard page is listed in bullet point form (for easy reading) below.
Twitter, unlike Facebook and MySpace do not have a section dedicated to monitoring the artist’s Twitter page’s analytics. However, there are many twitalytics programs and websites out there for artists to access information about their followers. The three best twitalytics website programs are: Twitter Analyzer, Tweet Effect, and Tweet Stats. These programs are easy to use, no account registration is required (so anyone can access this information about the artist’s Twitter page and information about competing artists’ follower data can also be viewed), and they each show a plethora of different analytical data that is all equally valuable to the artist. In order to access the data one must go to each of the websites and type in the artist’s Twitter user name. The data shown via each respective program is listed in bullet point form (for easy reading) below.
|Twitter Analyzer (TwitterAnalyzer.com)|
|Tweet Effect (TweetEffect.com)|
Tweet Effect is a very simplistic program. It strictly shows which of the artist’s last 200 Twitter updates made people follow or stop following them. This program is good to check to see if the artist’s post quality is gaining or losing followers and momentum. Another reason why this particular statistic should be monitored is that it shows the actual tweet content and dates of when individuals started following or stopped following the artist. Knowing these things will help the artist or artist manager know what subjects should be tweeted about less (or never) or more (because they either negatively or positively effected the amount of the artist’s followers). One thing that this statistic also shows is if the artist started losing followers on days that they tweeted extensively. If this is noticed, then the artist should stop tweeting as frequently as he did on that particular date (when he lost the most followers) and also should look at the tweet content for that date as well, in order to determine whether it was the tweet content and not the tweet frequency that alienated followers (after analyzing those two things in conjunction with one another, an educated decision about tweet frequency changes can be made).
|Tweet Stats (TweetStats.com)|
Tweet Stats is another simplistic, yet data heavy, analytics information source. Data provided by this program shows:
Analytics helps an artist determine who interacts with their digital properties. It helps an artist or artist manager gain a better understanding of who their consumers are and how they behave. Analytics data interpretation helps an artist determine if their website is engaging or has problems and also assists with maximizing the effectiveness of marketing, promotional, and touring strategies. The immense benefits analytics insights provide can substantially impact an artist’s career, as well as, can provide them with a strategic competitive advantage over other artists.
In order for an analytics strategy to be effective and have a positive impact on an artist’s career, campaign achievement goals must be set and analytics data should be interpreted on a bi-weekly basis. Campaign achievement goals must be set so that the effectiveness of analytics on an artist’s career (and their subsequent objectives) can be monitored. Analytics data should be interpreted on a bi-weekly basis so that an artist can track trends and have current information about their consumers’ behaviors and desires. Bi-weekly interpretation also helps an artist know if there are problems with their site and helps them to identify changes that need to be made, in order for it to be effective at promoting the artist and their career. If content changes driven by analytics interpretation occur, bi-weekly report outs help determine the effectiveness and impact of those changes on the artist and the artist’s site.
Analytics is not a buzzword. It is a serious marketing strategy that can give an artist an immense competitive edge over their peers. Analytics (non-digital) drive all decisions made in the business world. It is because of this that all serious musicians should invest in an analytics campaign. This paper outlined the primary reasons why an artist should utilize analytics, as well as, provided information about how analytics can be interpreted (without hiring an individual or company to do it on the artist’s behalf). The appendices address additional reports that were not included in the paper, as well as, have analytics report out templates to assist with DIY interpretation.
[i]Baskerville, David. Music Business Handbook & Career Guide. London: Sage Publications Ltd, 2006.
[ii] Baskerville, David. Music Business Handbook & Career Guide. London: Sage Publications Ltd, 2006.
[iii] Modern Music Marketing Basics. 23 March 2010. Hypebot.com. 23 March 2010. <http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2010/03/-modern-music-marketing-basics.html>.
[viii] Davenport, Thomas. Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2007.
[ix] Davenport, Thomas. Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2007.
[x] Davenport, Thomas. Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2007.
[xi] Ledford, Jerri & Mary Tyler. Google Analytics 2.0. New York: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2007.
[xii] Site Overlay Is Not Working. Why Not? 8 Aug. 2009. Google Analytics Experts From Epik One. 3 May 2010. <http://www.analyticsexperts.com/google-analytics/knowledge-base-faq/site-overlay-is-not-working-why-not-posted-882008/>.
[xiii] Top 20 Most Popular Social Networking Websites: April 2010. 1 April 2010. eBizMBA.com. 4 April 2010. <http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites>.
Remember… people buy your image first and then buy what you’re selling. Completing this worksheet will enable you to identify how you want people to perceive you professionally. If you don’t have answers to the questions or don’t like your answers to the questions, this worksheet enables you to identify areas where you can improve, as well as, provides you tips on how to improve. Once you know how you want to be seen you will be able to better evaluate personal and professional actions and decisions. In order for this assessment to work, you need to devote at least 20 minutes of undivided attention to it. Your answers also must be subjective and accurate.
Ok, now that you have finished your self assessment you might be thinking that you need to do more to establish and enhance your personal brand image. If you want to learn about what you can do, read the “Image Building Tips” post. If not, congratulations, you’re at the top!
As adapted from Jeffrey Gitomer’s book (titled The Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness) the following steps will enable you to build your personal brand image up. These steps, however are not a guarantee or a cure-all way to become the most recognized, greatest professional at what you do, they are just steps you can take to start building your brand image up.
If you want some more steps to branding success go to this website: www.gitomer.com Register if you are a first time user and enter BRAND ME in the RedBit Box.
This is a template artists can utilize in order to create their own bios. Please let us know if you have any questions or need assistance with this form.
The following are questionnaire type guidelines for writing a bio. Each of these questions needs to be addressed in some way. Please take as long as needed to write a one page biography about yourself. You can choose to elaborate on the bolded headers (or a combination of them), and use those to guide your biography. This needs to be a creative expression of yourself, your image, and what you would like to represent with your music (and career). Remember, this will be seen by your fans and industry professionals, among others.
Basic Information about the Artist/Band Members
If you are not from America, please answer the following questions
If you are from America, please answer the following questions
Basic Information about What Motivates You
Basic Information about Influences
Basic Information about Your Experience in the Music Industry
Definition of Your Target Market
Basic Information about What You Do
Basic Information about What You Have Done
Awards and Accomplishments
Activities and Service
Goals in the Music Industry
Current Industry View
What are some Notable Quotes popular musicians and business professionals, in the music industry, have said about you, your musical talents, and abilities?
Copyright law only protects the expression of ideas—not—the ideas themselves. The 1st amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides all Americans with the right to free speech (with some exceptions). When creative individuals feel the need to express themselves by utilizing parts of another creative individuals’ work, they either need to obtain that individual’s permission or can use that work legally, without obtaining clearance (based on its purpose and nature), under the fair use doctrine. The fair use doctrine enables individuals to utilize others’ work to convey their own opinions about specific subjects (encouraging free speech), while still providing the copyright holders protection of their work.
In order for this particular (free speech driven) derivative work to be considered fair use, the new work must provide additional value to the public. The work provided to the public must take the form of “commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, or scholarship.”[i] The fair use doctrine, however, can create a slippery slope when determining whether the use is actually fair or if it is simply a strict derivative from the original copyright holder’s work. This slippery slope has caused many individuals’ “fair use” claims to rebuffed and, subsequently, turned into scenarios where litigation was pursued. Since many individuals have brought claims against the fair use of their works into court, the courts developed a four-pronged balancing test (to determine whether or not the use was, in fact, fair). The test focuses on: (1) the purpose and character of the use (whether or not the new work was transformative), (2) the nature of the new work (whether or not the new work was created for commercial gain), (3) the amount of the original work that was taken to create the new work, and (4) the effect that the new work has on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (i.e. whether or not the new work will hinder the original from making money). Below are some of the major cases that were based on whether or not the new work created actually was considered fair use, and the courts’ respective decisions and reasoning for determining whether or not the use was fair.
Video-Cinema Fims, Inc. v. Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Found (2005)
This case centered on whether or not a portion (an 85 second clip from an opera performance) of the TV program called “Classic Arts Showcase,” used by a non-profit organization, was fair use. In this case, the plaintiff won even though the courts considered the use to be educational, non-commercial, and the portion taken was diminimus. The reason for the courts deciding in favor of the plaintiff was because the use could’ve potentially harmed the copyright holder (by reducing income from licensing).
Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music (1994)
This case focused on the rap group 2 Live Crew’s parody of the song “Pretty Woman” and the use of select portions (samples) of the song being fair use or not. The courts decided in favor of the defendant (Campbell) because the work only borrowed a small portion of the original work, was transformative in nature, and was, in fact, a parody of the original work and didn’t adversely effect the copyright owner’s ability to make money off of the original song.
Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publishing (2008)
In this case, a karaoke company paid BMG music publishing to incorporate their songs into the karaoke company’s machines. BMG, however, wanted to be compensated for the on screen utilization of the lyrics. The karaoke company refused to pay BMG based on their belief that they had the right to reproduce the lyrics based on the fair use doctrine. The courts found in favor of BMG Music Publishing because the karaoke company did not transform the work, nor did they utilize a small portion of it (they used the entire lyrical content), and it was for their own commercial gain. The courts decided that Leadsinger impinged upon BMG Music Publishing’s copyrights and ordered Leadsinger to pay for the utilization of the on screen lyrics.
Grand Upright Music, Ltc. V. Warner Bros. Records Inc. (1991)
This is one of the more prominent and one of the first (in rap) sampling cases that was brought into court. This case set the precedent for the necessity of sample clearance, prior to their use on records. Biz Markie sampled a portion of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s song “Alone Again (Naturally),” for use in his song “Alone Again,” without obtaining the proper clearance. The court’s decision, in this case, centered around the fact that Warner and Biz Markie willfully and knowingly stole parts of the original work for commercial gain (they infringed upon O’Sullivan and Grand Upright Music’s copyright of “Alone Again (Naturally)”). The courts deemed the use of the sample to not be fair use and not only granted an injunction on the album being sold but the ruling also caused Warner to pull the track off the album (so that they could continue selling it without having to pay royalties to O’Sullivan and Grand Upright Music).
Although there is potential for being sued, if an individual’s work borrows sections from an existed copyrighted work, the fair use doctrine assists with establishing guidelines for what can and can not be done with copyrighted works. The fair use doctrine helps foster creativity because it protects both the creators of the original works, as well as, can protect derivative works (that benefit society). Even though lawsuits may occur because of the work potentially being an infringement on the original copyright, the fair use doctrine assists those who want to make a statement (derived from the original copyrighted work) by providing them with legal protection. The legal protection granted by copyright law and fair use exceptions help enable free speech and foster creativity.
Andrew Zolli starts the article out by talking about how information wants to be free and that companies that released their content for free (in the early days of the internet) pretty much cannibalized their own sales and trained people to not pay for their content. According to Digital Media Wire Daily, Zolli’s statement is accurate; only 19% of online news consumers are willing to pay for online news content. What Zolli’s solution to the free content problem for these companies is for them to wait for new digital content distribution platforms to be developed, so that a new paid content model is developed for them to monetize. Zolli actually states that these content distribution companies have to “hold on” and try not to go bankrupt while they’re waiting for someone to figure out how to monetize their content in the future. Zolli’s main point in this article is that since this particular content can’t be monetized right now, these companies need to put their fate into the hands of unknowns in hopes that those individuals or companies can figure out a way that will benefit the content distributors and allow them to remain in business.
The music industry, although they did not facilitate the free distribution of music, has been severely impacted by the use of the internet, just like the news content distributors Zolli mentioned in his article have been. The music industry should not listen to Zolli’s opinion, stated in the article, about waiting for someone else to come along and fix their problems. If record labels and distributors sit around and wait for someone to fix the free distribution issue, they are sure to go out of business sooner rather than later. Many major companies, like EMI for example, are barely hanging on by a thread and can’t afford to rest their fate in someone else’s hands.
What the music industry can learn from Zoller’s insights about new digital content distribution platforms is that they should capitalize on all of the ones that are currently out and those that will be coming out in the future (be it subscription models, streaming models, internet radio stations, et al.). The fact is that since digital music distribution developed, the music industry has tried to fight it in almost every way possible. It wasn’t until the iTunes store arrived in 2003, that major record labels strategically pursued digital content distribution strategies. Since then, major record labels have partnered up with other digital distribution outlets but have also remained skeptical and wary of newer ones. The most recent example of the music industry’s skepticism, about what I personally feel to be the best potential solution to the “free” problem, is with the streaming service Spotify.
Spotify enables users to access a plethora of musical content and, more importantly, allows users to create collaborative playlists and share their musical tastes with friends. The collaborative playlists enable users to promote their favorite music to others, who might not have been aware of it, thus assisting artists and labels by facilitating word of mouth promotion. Although Spotify offers a great service to music fans, and for the most part eliminates any need for them to illegally download music (because the music is already available at their fingertips whenever they want it), it is only available in select parts of Europe.
The music industry, rather than embracing this company, for the immense benefits it has to offer to both fans and the industry, has been focusing on the potential negatives, which has made it quite difficult for Spotify to launch in the U.S. The initial U.S. release date for Spotify was set for March 2009 and after many release date changes is expected to actually launch in Q3 of 2010. The reason why Spotify’s U.S. launch has kept getting delayed is due to the music industry not wanting to license their entire catalogs to the company because of sales cannibalization fears. First of all, even though users can employ the service to listen to all of the music they want for free, there is an option for users to purchase the tracks from a third party vendor via the Spotify platform. Secondly, Scott Cohen (the founder/VP of The Orchard) has noticed that rather than cannibalizing sales, Spotify has actually boosted his company’s income. In Cohen’s interview with Billboard Magazine, he stated that, “Spotify is already boosting income for labels—the more tracks that are streamed on Spotify the more downloads occur on other services—we are not seeing any cannibalization.”[i] Many of the major record labels don’t share his opinion, particularly because of a recent study by the NPD Group (which stated that, “consumers using free streaming music sites that let them choose any song at any time make 13% fewer purchases of digital music”).[ii] The fact is, whether it’s Spotify or some other digital distribution service, the music industry needs to stop fighting and embrace them, in order to see how music consumers really want to obtain their music, as well as, to see how much they’re willing to pay for it, while still trying to devise methods of their own about how to cure the “free” problem.
The recorded music industry is currently in the decline phase of its life cycle. Sales in 2008 were approximately $9 million, down 7.7% from the previous year. Sales of recorded music are expected to decrease by 5% in 2009. In recent years, the music industry has faced many challenges from a variety of independent sources. Artists have become self sufficient, promotion has become increasingly difficult due to the diversity of consumers, illegal downloading has been said to reduce sales, the world economy has fallen into a recession, and consumers have increasingly become segmented and diversified. In order for the music industry to return to growth, new revenue streams must be defined and implemented. The recent recession has caused many other companies to face hardships, like the music industry has been facing, and has enabled other companies to thrive. Strategies, trends, and precedents in non-music industries have parallels to the music industry that can be used and adapted for the music industry’s benefit.
Business Software Intelligence Industry Overview
The Business Software Intelligence (BI) industry is part of the software publishing industry. This BI industry generated $8.5 billion in 2008 and is predicted to continue growing throughout the next few years. According to Forrester Research, the BI market is expected to generate more than $12 billion in revenue by 2014. Although many industries (like the software industry as a whole) are facing hardships, caused by the current recession, the BI industry is expected to grow (due to its ability to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies for a variety of companies). “Expectations for increasing demand helped fuel a wave of consolidation in the BI market. Software vendors including IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft all made large BI acquisitions in recent years.”[i]
Business intelligence software is sold to large companies who want to increase their efficiency. The various kinds of software provide analytical data about company operations and processes, as well as, provide data about external factors that influence sales. The types of information services one would acquire, from implementing BI software, are: data mining, data warehousing, forecasting, querying, reporting, and data analysis. The purpose of this kind of software is to assist managers in the decision making process; by providing them with statistical information that will enable them to “develop, execute, and maintain effective business strategies.”[iv]
Some recent trends in the industry are consolidation, increased development of event driven analytical programs, development of BI software models for smaller companies, and an increased focus on improving enterprise information integration. Consolidation in the BI industry has been caused by larger software companies seeking to offer, “a more extensive and complimentary range of products in order to gain a larger consumer base.”[v] Increased development of event driven analytical programs arose out of BI firms recognizing that many consumers required custom-built applications to meet their needs. The trend of developing BI software models for smaller companies grew out of recognizing that smaller companies have limited funds available for BI software. It also grew out of the recognition that smaller companies have demonstrated an increased need for implementing it. These small company BI models are centered on enabling the companies to access BI software online (through a pay as you go subscription service) rather than through directly purchasing the software itself. Developers have also recently started to focus on improving enterprise information integration due to the recognition that all of a company’s data was not easily accessible to users. Improved enterprise information integration is focused on enabling users to access all pertinent company information in one centralized location.
Car & Automobile Manufacturing Industry Overview
The Car and Automobile Manufacturing (CAM) industry generated $96 million in 2008 and is predicted to decline by 10% in 2009. “Companies in this industry manufacture cars and automobile chassis.”[vi] This overview will not include information pertaining to the manufacture of trucks, pick-ups, SUVs, or motorcycles.
The CAM industry is currently in the decline phase of its life cycle. The decline phase of an industry’s life cycle is characterized by declining sales, market saturation, technologically obsolete products, and changes in consumer preferences. The CAM industry emerged over 120 years ago and became prevalent in 1908 through the mass production of the Ford Model T. The CAM consists of 5 dominant players: General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Cerberus Capital Management (Chrysler), and Honda. These companies primarily engage in assembling automobiles and manufacturing automobile chassis for mid-size, small, luxury, and sports cars. The primary consumers of this industry’s products are: car dealers (who sell to individual consumers), wholesalers, exporters, leasing companies, and the government. The industry’s integrated supply chain relies heavily on the sale of products to dealers and wholesalers. The credit crisis and recession have hit this industry hard and have caused sales to plunge.
Recent trends in the CAM industry are reduced consumer demand, increased development of and demand for hybrid vehicles, heightened development of smaller fuel-efficient cars, diverse model choices available to consumers, and corporate talks of share swapping to reduce component costs. The current recession combined with the credit crisis has decreased consumers’ demand for cars. The recession and credit crisis have made it harder for potential consumers to obtain loans and has also led to reduced disposable income, which has caused many to cut back on purchasing new cars. The trend towards developing hybrid cars arose out of consumers’ desire to purchase environmentally friendly vehicles, as well as, their desire to spend less on gasoline (due to recent increases). The increased development of smaller, fuel-efficient, cars also arose from consumer desires to spend less money on gasoline. The increased diversity of model choices, for consumers, arose from major automotive companies seeking to appeal to niche marketplace segments. The share-swapping trend started with discussions between BMW and Daimler. They are currently in talks about share swapping so they could reduce procurement costs of components (by buying parts and supplies in bulk together).
Parallels & Application to the Music Industry
1.) The BI industry is starting to offer lower priced software to smaller companies. Due to the recession many consumers lack discretionary income for entertainment, like many small businesses lack the income for fully purchasing and implementing BI software. The music industry could start offering lower (radio) quality digital downloads (for free) to consumers who have little discretionary income.
If the music industry started offering radio quality digital downloads to consumers, for free, demand for other music goods (concert tickets, merchandise, etc.) would be stimulated (based on Benkler’s “Scholarly Lawyer” content distribution strategy) and less money would need to be spent on promotion. The “Scholarly Lawyer” content distribution strategy focuses on making money from the production of information but not from exercising the exclusive rights of that information. By offering low quality music for free to individuals who no longer have discretionary income (or have substantially less discretionary income) fans would be able to share new music with one another. By fans being able to spread the artist’s music to other potential fans, the money an artist (and label) would make from touring, live performances, merchandising, and synch licensing would drastically increase. If the artist’s musical information were able to travel freely (without cost restrictions) they would potentially be able to attract a wider fan base and achieve greater brand awareness for themselves and their product.
This strategy of tiered quality could help to promote musicians virally, thus stimulating long-term sales and reducing the costs of promoting an album. Marketing is said to be one of the largest expenses in releasing an album (second to album creation). If lower quality downloads were made available to consumers for free, the risk of trying new music would decrease and more individuals would have a greater chance of being exposed to the music. People who might not think to listen to a certain artist could be turned on to an artist through a friend’s sharing of the low quality download, which may help to stimulate the purchase of a higher quality download or album. Rather than record companies spending exorbitant amounts of money to promote their products to potential customers, this strategy would enable consumers to do promote the products on the record company’s and artist’s behalf.
2.) The BI industry has recently started focusing on improving enterprise information integration with their software. The enhanced focus on the integration of enterprise information derived from the recognition that BI software does not centralize all of a company’s important information. Most major record companies do not centralize any of their information (excluding distribution centers). Major record companies in the music industry could focus on centralizing all of their internal information. This would cause increased efficiency and would enable any employee (with appropriate clearance) to access all information, about an artist, that they might need to do their job (instead of searching and obtaining it from a variety of places for one time use).
Time and money are wasted in the process of trying to locate items that are necessary to complete projects (like an artist’s press kit, albums, photographs, market research, Sound Scan information, etc.) because the information comes from a variety of sources (some of which are hard to find or unknown). Once the project has been completed, the information (even though now compiled and combined) is typically not shared with others (outside of those involved in the project). If all of the company’s information about their artists and releases were stored in a centralized database, efficiency would be increased because information searching processes would be streamlined. Integration of enterprise information would allow for data that one might need, about an artist or their projects, to be easily accessible.
3.) The CAM industry has started to increase their focus on niche market segments (with the release of hybrid vehicles and fuel-efficient small cars). This increased focus on niche segments has been successful in the CAM industry and could prove successful in the music industry.
Major record companies can benefit from the idea of re-focusing strictly on niche segments. Many major record labels are trying to diversify their offerings and focus on signing artists outside of their functional specialties. An example of this is that Decca Label Group, primarily an adult contemporary label, has started to focus on signing artists who are outside of their area of expertise (contemporary pop, soft rock, and folk artists). The reason this has occurred is because the label has re-adjusted its strategy to focus on appealing to mass markets.
Labels, like Decca, are decreasing their operational effectiveness and are dis-servicing their artists by over extending their brand offerings. This over extension of their brand, into new genre segments, limits them from fully understanding and servicing both their new and old consumer bases and decreases their ability to effectively market any of their artists. Focusing solely on servicing the adult contemporary community would help to carve out a niche and would increase the Company’s sustainability.
As music continues to increasingly diversify among consumer segments, labels should start focusing on appealing to niche markets (that suit their core competencies) and move away from appealing to general mass-markets. The mass-market strategy leaves room for serious errors and mis-calculations (albums that completely bomb after substantial initial investments), due to a lack of understanding the genres outside of the company’s core competencies and due to the mass-market disintegration (because of increasing consumer preference fragmentation). Appealing to niche market segments will enable labels to reduce costs (by increasing economies of scale and by focusing on the markets they know best) and will help them to grow or maintain profits in a declining industry.
4.) Select players in the CAM industry have started to talk about share swapping, in order to reduce procurement costs of components (by buying in bulk together). Share swapping (or some variation of it) could help the music industry to reduce large initial investment costs in signing artists. Major record labels could potentially enter into share swapping deals (per project) with artists.
In lieu of a recording contract with an artist directly, a record company would create a share swapping deal with an artist’s company (that would most likely be in the form of an S Corporation). The artist’s company would be an entity functioning (run by the artist’s management) on the artist’s behalf. In this situation, the record label wishing to sign the artist would swap shares of their company with shares of the artist’s company. The benefit of this arrangement is that the artist would still receive money from the label (in the form of shares that could be cashed in after a certain period of time) and the label would own shares of stock in the artist’s (and reap the benefits from their musical endeavors and success). This arrangement would reduce (if not eliminate) the need for advances and would capitalize on the industry trend of the self-sustainable artist. The artist would be responsible for the creation and delivery of commercially satisfactory recordings, as well as, responsible for grass roots promotions and the label would be responsible for the distribution and marketing of the album. This arrangement would cause each label to have a more vested interest in artist’s creating long term careers and would cause artists to be more business savvy (because they would have a vested interest in the company releasing their album). By eliminating or severely reducing the costs associated with creating an album and signing an artist, labels will be able to take more chances on new artists, new artists would be stakeholders in the company’s success (therefore driving them to promote themselves and others), and fans would have the ability to gain more access to new and different kinds of music (due to the label’s ability to take greater risks with signing new artists).
There are many lessons that can be learned from studying non-entertainment industries. Through exploring and studying these industries, one can recognize pitfalls and competencies that may be applied to one’s own industry. The analysis of pitfalls enables one to recognize what warning signs to look out for are (prior to making the same mistakes) and the analysis of competencies enables one to look at how they might be replicated in their own industry. Drawing parallels between non-entertainment industries and the music industry can bring a fresh outlook to the music industry, which could immensely benefit it.
[i]King, Rachael. “Business Intelligence Software’s Time Is Now.” Business Week 02 Mar 2009 21 Mar 2009. <http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2009/tc2009032_101762.htm>.
[ii] Kelly, Jeff. Business intelligence software market looks to hold its own during recession. 19 Feb 2009 Tech Target. 7 Apr 2009. <http://searchdatamanagement.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid91_gci1348537,00.html>.
[iii] Kelly, Jeff. Business intelligence software market looks to hold its own during recession. 19 Feb 2009 Tech Target. 7 Apr 2009. <http://searchdatamanagement.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid91_gci1348537,00.html>.
[iv] Business Intelligence software. 2009. IBS Solutions. 9 Apr 2009. <http://www.ibs.net/uk/solutions/business-intelligence-software/>.
[v] Software Publishing in the US: 51121. 13 Feb 2009. IBIS World. 7 Apr 2009 <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:24809/industry/default.aspx?indid=1239>.
[vi] Car & Automobile Manufacturing in the US: 33611a. 17 Dec 2008. IBIS World. 7 Apr 2009 <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:24809/industry/default.aspx?indid=816>.
In an industrial information economy select groups of people control the distribution of information. All information in an industrial information economy is distributed through media outlets and costs companies and individuals exorbitant amounts of money (to obtain coverage). At the end of the 1990’s and beginning of the 2000’s, the widespread use of the internet jump started a transformation from a strictly industrial information economy into a networked information economy. In a networked information economy, many people are able to (as opposed to select groups) distribute information to many other people. The networked information economy allows for more individuals’ voices to be heard because capital constraints are reduced. The networked information economy democratizes the distribution of information. A networked information economy improves individuals’ abilities to “(1) do more for and by themselves, (2) do more with loose affiliations with others, and (3) do more in formal organizations that operate outside the market space.”[i] The networked information economy differs from the industrial information economy by enabling culture to be more transparent and flexible. The networked information economy facilitates this because larger, more diverse groups of individuals (than in an industrial one) are distributing information.
A strictly industrial information economy allowed major record labels to have great power in making or breaking an artist. Major labels (particularly in the 1990’s) controlled the distribution of information about particular releases and had the money to get mass media coverage. Their control of information distribution, through their ability to garner mass media support, allowed them to attract widespread public support (reflected in high sales) for their artists’ releases. After the shift (from the industrial information economy to the networked information economy) started to occur, major labels and mass media outlets began to lose their ability and influence in attracting mass public support for their releases. The reason why this happened is because potential consumers’ attention became more fragmented and many people stopped paying strict attention to mass media. The networked information economy allows for unsigned artists to attract the attention of potential fans directly (through sites like MySpace and YouTube). In a networked information economy, music fans and other non mainstream media personnel are also given the opportunity to discuss, promote, critique, and market these smaller, less known artists to other like minded individuals (through using blogs, newsgroups, and social networks). The networked information economy helped to create a opening for musicians, that didn’t rely solely on major labels and mass media, to become successful.
Information Production Strategies
The industrial information economy, as it pertains to the music industry, primarily relies on rights based exclusion information production strategies. The networked information economy is more open in lending itself to non-exclusion market information production strategies. Artists have historically been “romantic maximizers,” (authors and composers who sell to publishers) seeking to obtain monetary gains from the direct creation of content. In the new, networked information economy, (although being a romantic maximizer is still an option for artists) it is more likely for an artist to reap greater benefits from being “scholarly lawyers” (individuals who make money from the production of information but not from the exercising of their exclusive rights). In a networked information economy an artist (and labels) lack the strong distribution control that once allowed the romantic maximizer, Mickey, and RCA models to dominate the industry. In a networked information economy, if an artist solely relies on being a romantic maximizer, they will spend most of their time trying to protect their work from being distributed illegally and will not be able to achieve the maximum benefits offered by the networked information economy. However, if an artist shifts from being a romantic maximizer to being a scholarly lawyer, they will be able to focus less on direct sales of their music and more on the promotion of themselves and their music (thereby enlarging their fan base). Fans would be able to spread the artist’s music to other potential fans and thus increase the money he or she would make from touring, live performances and merchandising. If the artist’s musical information were able to travel freely (without cost restrictions) they would potentially be able to attract a wider fan base and achieve greater brand awareness.
Competing for the Future
According to Hamel and Prahalad, in order to compete for the future one must, “(1) change the fundamental rules of engagement in the industry, (2) redraw the boundaries between industries, and/or (3) create entirely new industries.”[ii] Hamel and Prahalad state that one must understand is that “the short term and the long term are tightly intertwined,” and that the “future is now.” If artists are focused solely on their present endeavors and not thinking about their future (business wise), they will ultimately fail. Another thing Hamel and Prahalad state is that one must learn to forget the past. Artists must recognize that the days of the superstar, quadruple platinum selling artists are over. Until an artist can recognize that the environment no longer allows for that, they will fail to meet their goals.
The transition from a strictly industrial information economy to a networked information economy has made it easier for new and independent artists to reach potential fans. Websites like sellaband.com, MySpace, YouTube, twitter, and facebook have enabled them to network with their current and potential fan base and achieve popularity. In order for an artist to earn a living five years from now he or she must be able to reach their fan base directly, change their content distribution strategies, follow trends and foresee future ones.
In recent years, it has become easier for artists to create, distribute and promote their music without large initial investments. The use of home audio recording equipment, digital distribution and social networking sites has made this possible. No longer does an artist need to be signed to a record label to be successful. An artist needs to have an understanding of their target market and know how to reach them effectively, through their web presence. Knowing how to properly navigate the myriad of internet music sites will help an artist to reach and grow their fan base. An artist must constantly find creative ways of interacting with fans on the various web platforms they utilize, keep up with growing platforms, and understand how consumers actually use them. If an artist can do these things, they will be successful in continually gaining recognition from potential consumers.
In order for an artist to earn a living 5 years from now, he or she must change their content distribution strategy. Historically artists have pursued the “romantic maximizer” strategy for producing and exploiting their content. This strategy has become increasingly less effective in recent years. Music consumers are no longer interested in strictly obtaining musical content (as demonstrated by the continual decrease in sales of recorded music).
With the transition to a networked information economy, information and ideas have become more free flowing than ever before in history. This shift has also made it increasingly difficult for artists to track the exchange of their music from person to person. If an artist seeks to have a long-term career in the music industry, they must adapt their content distribution strategy. Their strategy can no longer rely on charging potential consumers for the distribution of their work and attempting to stop potentially infringing activities. Their strategy must switch to a “scholarly lawyer” strategy. If an artist allows their recorded music to change hands at no cost, they are more likely to stimulate the demand for their other music goods (because more people have the ability to access it). The increased exposure that this encouraged sharing would generate would directly link to an increase in purchases of other music goods that the artist has to offer. Adapting this strategy would increase attendance at their live performances and would increase the demand for their music to be featured in television shows and in movies.
An artist must be able to follow trends and foresee (or create) new ones, in order to be successful in the future. If an artist acts solely as a follower, they will be at the mercy of innovators and will eventually lose sales and fans to them. If an artist is a trendsetter, then they won’t run the risk of losing consumers because they will continually be changing and adapting to consumer needs and desires. An artist must understand their current and future consumer base in order to successfully adapt for the future. If an artist starting out now wants to be successful 5 years from now, they must take steps away from what most other artists in the industry are doing (like focusing on the direct sales of music) and focus on what most other artists aren’t doing. They must recognize the shift away from recorded music and capitalize on the goodwill and promotion that they could get by giving their music away for free.
[i]The Wealth of Networks. 1 Feb. 2009. Yochai Benkler. 1 Feb. 2009. <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/wealth_of_networks/Main_Page >.
[ii] Hamel, Gary & C.K. Prahalad. Competing for the Future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996.
The Recorded Music Industry
1.) Description of the Industry
The recorded music industry creates, manufactures, and distributes music. The products that this industry primarily creates and distributes are CDs, digital music (MP3s), and Vinyl LPs.
Throughout the past 10 years, the recorded music industry has changed drastically. Illegal downloading has run rampant, physical sales have declined, legal digital distribution outlets were created, music became more portable, cellular phones became media outlets, and alternative revenue streams for artists and labels have been developed.
Increased usage of mobile phones in the U.S. and consumers’ desires to get their favorite music on their phones has caused ringtones and ringback tones to become an extremely profitable part of the music business in recent years. Decreases in the sale of music have caused artist and labels to look for alternative sources of income to generate revenue. Artists have started to focus on making the majority of their money on merchandise, endorsements, and touring. After record labels recognized that these revenue streams could generate profit for them as well, they started requiring artists to sign 360 deals (or risk not having a deal at all).
The industry has also recently seen a shift in power from the labels (controlling the creation, duplication, and distribution of albums) to do it yourself/independent musicians. The accessibility of ProTools and other home recording programs and equipment has enabled artists to create their music at home recording studios. Companies like Disk Makers, have enabled artists to replicate and duplicate physical versions of their product and digital distribution services (like iTunes) have enabled those artists to get their products out to music consumers.
The advent of the iPod has also transformed this industry by altering consumer listening habits (in the past 10 years). The iPod removed restrictions on where consumers could listen to music. No longer is a consumer confined to listening to music in places that have a radio or a CD player. The iPod created music portability which, in turn, enabled consumers to create portable soundtracks to their lives.
In early 2009, CD sales continued to decline and digital sales started to plateau. This industry is currently considered to be in the mature stage of its life cycle and is on its way into the decline phase of its life cycle. The total revenue the recorded music industry has declined from $18B in 2000 to $8.4B in 2009.[i]
2.) Market Structure
The market structure of this industry is an oligopoly. “This market is dominated by a small number of firms (major record labels), which own more than 40% of the industry’s market share.”[ii] These firms will be noted below. Since the market is an oligopoly, the major record labels set prices, cause the barriers to enter the industry to be high, and the products that they sell (even though they appeal to different target markets and are different—based on the type of music released) are essentially the same (recorded music). Due to recent troubles (with the sale of recorded music declining) each of the 4 major companies have been struggling. They have been downsizing, reducing the amount of releases they put out each year, have started to tap into new and alternate revenue streams, and have started cutting costs all around.
3.) Major Players in the Industry
There are 4 major players in the recorded music industry: EMI, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group (Vivendi), and Sony. These companies account for over 70% of the industry’s market share. Below is a brief description of each market player.
Vivendi (Universal Music Group)
This company currently captures 31% of the industry’s market share and is the largest music company in the world. The company owns approximately 14 major record labels and in 2008 generated $7.51B in revenues.[iii]
Warner Music Group
This company currently captures 27% of the industry’s market share and is the second largest music company in the United States.
Sony Music Entertainment
This company currently captures 14% of the industry’s market share. Sony Music Entertainment, in 2004, entered into a joint venture with Bertelsmann and merged to form Sony/BMG Entertainment. In 2008, due to the turmoil in the music industry, BMG decided to end the joint venture by offering Sony the opportunity to buy back their 50% stake in the company. Sony capitalized on that opportunity and now operates as a subsidiary of The Sony Corporation of America.
This company, based out of the UK, currently has the smallest market share out of the major four record labels (5%).
Although four major record labels dominate the industry, there are a few large, independent, companies that also account for the majority of music sales and should be mentioned. These companies are Koch (now E1 entertainment), EDC (Entertainment Distribution Company), Bad Boy Entertainment, Edel Music, and Zomba.
4.) Is the Market Growing or Shrinking?
The recorded music industry is shrinking and has been for the past 10 years. Although the recorded music industry is shrinking, based solely on sales, music consumption is higher than ever before (due to new business models and technological advances). Each major record label has consistently reported losses throughout the past 10 years and it is not likely that (unless something radical is done) this trend will stop. CD sales have declined approximately to half of what they once were (in 2000) and sales of digital music have not yet been able to make up for that decline. “In 2009, revenue is expected to fall by 6.2%, as expanding adoption of digital sales, falling CD sales, and piracy are exacerbated by poor economic conditions and consumer sentiment.”[iv]
5.) How Technological Change is Affecting the Market
Technology has been severely affecting the market since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. With the advent of MP3s and illegal file sharing services, technology has negatively affected revenue and is widely regarded as the cause of the industry’s decline. Although technology is regarded as starting the industry’s decline, it is also now being embraced, in order to hasten the decline of the market.
New services, previously unavailable to consumers (due to technological limitations), have developed into viable (but not dominant) revenue streams. The new services and products created for music consumers are as follows: digital downloads, subscription services, streaming services, and mobile services. Each service and its effect on the industry is briefly described below.
Throughout the 1st nine months of 2009, digital downloads accounted for approximately 48% of total sales and represent over 60% of the total digital business.[v] iTunes is currently the dominant player in the digital download market, accounting for approximately 70% of the worldwide digital distribution sales.[vi]
Subscription services offer consumers an “all you can eat” option for purchasing music. Consumers pay a fee to the service provider in exchange for being able to listen to and download as many tracks as they want. The issue with this model, though, is that even though consumers pay for the music, once their subscription expires they don’t own any of the content they had previously paid for (because this is a DRM product). A couple of the major players in this market are Napster/Real Networks and Rhapsody.
There are currently four different types of streaming services (all relying on an ad based business model): internet radio, streaming on demand services, video streaming, and on demand services. Internet radio has become widely popular amongst music consumers and has started to become a substitute for terrestrial radio in recent years. Major service providers in this market segment are Pandora Radio and Last.FM. Streaming on demand services, enable music consumers to listen to whatever track they choose to listen to, whenever they want to listen to it. Major service providers in this market segment are: MySpace, Imeem, and Spotify. Video streaming services provide consumers with access to music videos. Major service providers in this market segment are Vevo, YouTube, MySpace, AOL, and Yahoo. On demand services are those services offered to consumers who want to access a specific kind of music when they have the desire to. The major provider that services this market segment is Music Choice.
Mobile services come in four different forms: ringtones, ringback tones, video tones, and single track and video purchases. Of these four forms of mobile services, ringtones generate the most revenue. Ringtones consist of thirty second clips of popular tracks, that a music consumer can put on their mobile device. Once the track is on their mobile device they can hear the track (instead of a typical phone ring sound) when receiving a call. Ringback tones, on the other hand, are purchased by individuals who want the people who call them to hear a song (rather than hear a typical phone ringing sound). Video tones are videos downloaded to a consumers phone, so that when they receive a call they see the video play. Single track and video purchases (on mobile phones) account for roughly 8% of the mobile services market. These purchases occur when a mobile phone user downloads a track or video to their phone (through their wireless provider).
Although technology seems to have initially hurt the industry, it is currently developing in a way that will potentially poise the industry for future success. The issue with technology in this industry, however, is that the major companies who are in charge of creating, manufacturing, and distributing music are behind the times when it comes to technological trends. These companies are music companies and are not technology companies therefore, they don’t know how to control it (or its open source nature), they misunderstand how it can be used to benefit them, and they originally spent a long time trying to fight the changes that new technologies produced. These companies don’t truly grasp how to utilize new technology in the most efficient manner (which, if they understood it, would help hasten the decline of the industry and will generate substantial returns for them). They are currently in the process of taking stabs in the dark when it comes down to trying to figure out what will and won’t work in the digital space.
6.) Are the Major Firms in the Market Merging/Consolidating?
The major firms in the market are currently not merging or consolidating. The majority of consolidation between firms took place during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The decline of the industry and each major label’s struggle to stay solvent has caused many of their partners (like BMG) to exit the music market and has prevented consolidation and mergers.
7.) How the Market Interacts with Other Markets (within & outside of the Entertainment & Media Market)
The recorded music market interacts with a variety of other markets within and outside of the entertainment industry. There are many industries that have a direct effect on and rely on the recorded music industry’s products. The recordable media manufacturing industry relies on the recorded music industry to provide them with master copies of albums, to mass manufacture CDs and other physical products (like Vinyl) that the recorded music industry produces. Record, big box retail, online retail stores, and department stores rely on the recorded music industry to produce and supply finished and packaged products for sale (in their respective stores) to consumers. Audio production studios rely on the recorded music industry to generate revenues. The recorded music industry, after finding artists and prior to having a finished product that is ready for mass manufacturing, relies on audio production studios to record, mix, and master artists’ tracks for inclusion on albums. These industries have a significant impact on the recorded music industry and without their inter-linkage, the recorded music industry would not be able to operate effectively.
[i]Ellner, David. “Class Lecture.” The Business of Music & Film. New York University, New York, NY. 5 Oct. 2009.
[iii] Major Label Music Production In the U.S. 19 Nov. 2009. IBIS World. 12 Dec. 2009. <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:24809/industry/default.aspx?indid=1252>.
[iv] Major Label Music Production In the U.S. 19 Nov. 2009. IBIS World. 12 Dec. 2009. <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:24809/industry/default.aspx?indid=1252>.
[v] Ellner, David. “Class Lecture.” The Business of Music & Film. New York University, New York, NY. 30 Nov. 2009.