Only 12% Of The Music Industry's Revenue In 2017 Went To Actual Musicians
Artists are getting paid more than ever for their work, but the reality is that it’s still a very paltry sum. According to a new report published by Citigroup, only 12% of the $43 billion generated by the music industry in 2017 was delivered to artists for their work. This is a significant increase from just 7% in 2000, but it’s still not enough.
The report reveals that the bulk of the money is going to the middlemen: tech companies, radio stations, and record labels.
It also reveals that artists have turned to live performances more than streaming as their main source of income, preparing massive, month-long tours that keep them on the road and playing gigs. We’ve seen repeatedly this year that artists have come out to criticize this model of earning as it has the potential to be detrimental to mental health.
Citigroup does offer three possible solutions to the disparity in pay, as summarized by Pitchfork, “through vertical integration of existing businesses (example: concert promoters merging with distribution platforms like Spotify), horizontal integration (distribution platforms merging with each other), and ‘organic’ vertical integration (distribution companies such Spotify entering the record label space).”
The Music Modernization Act could potentially help, as well, but it will ultimately require a massive shift in policy and regulations to fairly distribute revenue throughout the music industry.
Read the whole 88-page report from Citigroup here.
SoundCloud Reveals 5 Tips & Tricks To Getting More Plays
SoundCloud is all about exposing talented artists — if the musicians succeed, then the platform succeeds. Which is exactly why the music streaming service is offering insight on optimizing tracks.
Sometimes just one track is all it takes to make or break an artist. The following are pro tips for hitting the widest possible audience and getting your tracks in front of the right people. Each and every time you upload, consider these rules.
1. Keep your track, album, and playlist titles clean.
This doesn’t necessarily mean swear words, but this tip is all about tightening up track titles. Pretty straightforward.
Bad title: AllxxThexStars051418vfinal
Good title: All The Stars
2. Make the most of images and descriptions
Your music doesn’t need to just sound good, it needs to look good, too. SoundCloud suggests to include something extra, whether it be a track’s backstory, credits, lyrics, gear lists, or guest lists. Giving shoutouts to collaborators is always a good idea. Don’t forget to link to their profile.
The bottom line: choose a writing style whatever way you choose to present your tracks and keep it consistent.
3. SoundCloud genre and mood tags are important
SoundCloud uses an algorithm to recommend tracks to users so it’s important to tag your tracks with accurate genre information, but don’t go overboard.
Tag your tracks with a few relevant sub-genres and any moods that you think describe the track, rather than using as many tags as you can.
4. Build your own SoundCloud discography
Playlists marked as an album, EP, single, or compilation will be displayed in the albums section of your profile.
These collections will be listed in order of release date, which makes it easy for fans to find what they’re looking for. Plus, your profile will look super organized.
5. How to edit multiple tracks at once
You can make changes – update settings, tags, and artwork – to multiple tracks at once and also create a new playlist from a selection of uploads.
To update multiple tracks go to soundcloud.com/you/tracks. Select the tracks you want to change and then click Edit or Add to playlist to make your changes.
Read the full list of tips and descriptions here SoundCloud.
Google Is Now Letting Artists Post Directly To Search Results
It’s even easier to stay updated with your favorite musicians, because they now have the power to post directly to the front page Google’s search results!
This new concept is made possible through Google Posts, a way for artists to streamline the way they update fans with music, tour dates and other information. Text, images, videos, and gifs are all fair game so the possibilities are endless.
As with most social media, a blue checkmark will indicate when updates are coming straight from the verified source. Lucky for us, the initial rollout includes musicians in the pop and electronic dance music genres — and artists like Steve Aoki, Lorde, Si Tukker and Kygo have already been verified.
See below for an example, as Kygo shares a blurb about his new album Kids In Love and his accompanying tour.
Finally, artists have a say in what Google says about them!
Nas Pens Powerful Open Letter For Black History Month
DJ Khaled may have promised that the Nas album was done, but as it stands, we're still waiting for the God's Son to return. Still, it seems likely that Nas will return with his new project in 2018, and the legendary Queens rapper has found another way to pass the time. Today, Nas teamed up with Google to pen a powerful open letter for Black History Month, in which he celebrates the importance black musicians and creatives across history.
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"Music has scored my life since day one," writes Nas, in the opening line his "We Continue To Rise" open letter. It isn't long before he's reminiscing on his father Olu Dara's relationship with music, writing "I was blessed to have love from both my parents, and it just so happens that my father’s love for music took him around the globe his own sonic excursions, both live and recorded. Pops would come back with mad loot (cash money, that is) from around the world. It was a testament to his globetrotting and a cool little nod to me that said, young blood, when you’re ready, the world is yours."
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Near the letter's conclusion, Nas reflects on some his biggest influences, writing:
"I would realize—through the education I received from my parents and my own travels—that Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan and Slick Rick were one in the same. Native storytellers who shined a light on our purpose, preserved our legacy and, without question, rocked the house. The conversation never stops and we all continue to push it steadily along, through our arts n crafts and even within the way we speak. Bumps in the road can’t stop this. Some might argue that this here scribe is talking a whole lotta jazz but anyone fly enough and culturally astute enough to listen will hear what we’re saying."
For the full letter, be sure to check out "We Continue To Rise" right here. It might not be a new album, but it's always nice to hear Nasir Jones dropping knowledge.
Grammy President to Female Artists: "Step Up" Your Game
Last night's Grammy awards saw no female artists take home trophies in any the main categories they were nominated in, save for Alessia Cara nabbing the Best New Artist prize. SZA, who was one the most nominated performers at last night's ceremony, walked home empty-handed, while Lorde was the only Best Album honouree not asked to perform a headlining set during the proceedings. This resulted in a #GrammysSoMale hashtag that went viral during last night's telecast.
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Variety caught up with Grammy president Neil Portnow to explain why most female artists were not honoured with any trophies. Portnow revealed that women who enter the industry need to exude the same creative passion and fearlessness their male counterparts. Read his full response below:
"It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part the industry on the executive level… They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome. I don’t have personal experience those kinds brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation artists."
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Ken Ehrlich, a producer for last night's telecast dodged Variety's request for an explanation, revealing that "it’s not for me to talk about. I produce the TV show."
REPORT: The Grammy Awards Enter New Territory with Counter-Terrorism Briefing
Much like every city, venue, or major event, The 60th Annual Grammy Awards are taking proper precautions to ensure everyone has a safe night.
In light recent attacks in Las Vegas, Manchester, and Paris, the Grammys have added a to the ceremony — a counterterrorism briefing for musicians. A group experts have been instructed to address artists prior to showtime.
An anonymous ficial from the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) has advice will be given to musicians and their teams on “situational awareness, identifying vulnerable points and times increased risk, avoiding time and place predictability and crafting a contingency plan.”
“Behind arms, music and entertainment are the largest Western exports, and musicians and entertainers serve as ambassadors around the world,” ISIS expert Dr. Amir Bagherpour explained to . “Attacks against them generate a lot coverage, and send a powerful message. It makes sense that they would be targeted.”
The biggest takeaway musicians should get from the expected pre-Grammy briefing — “be cautious, but not allow fear to change the way they engage with their music, and their fans.”