February Industry Wrap-Up

The cold weather is slowly on its way out and SXSW is on the horizon – must be the end of February! That’s why we’re here to wind down the month in music industry happenings. Just because it was a short month doesn’t mean there was no action – read on to catch the latest on Facebook’s upcoming video ventures, collaboration among the YouTube and Google Play Music teams, and Spotify’s ‘sunny’ new parter.

 

Facebook to Introduce Longer-Form ‘Premium’ Music Video Content


As online videos become an even more integral part of marketing and promotion for artists – from major label mainstays to indie up-and-comers – competition to serve hungry fans continues to heat up among all the big name platforms. If you’ve been reading around, you know that Facebook is a key contender in its attempts to offer users exciting ways to consume video content, including it’s rolling out of Facebook Live which paid some big name creators to help promote the service in its early stages.

Recently, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose expressed their desire to begin offering ‘premium videos’, with content shifting into the 5-10 minute length. According to reports, Facebook will offer indie artists and labels the opportunity to test and create episodic content while being paid directly by Facebook in the early stages; Rose says the model will shift to a rev-share after that. With almost two billion users, Facebook remains a major platform for promoting and marketing musical content.

Like anything else surrounding the world of copyright and video content, Facebook is facing concerns from members of the music industry surrounding licensing. When you’re hoping to take a slice of YouTube’s market share, at the very least, a platform should have systems in place that protect copyright holders and ensure that they can be paid properly for the use of their works. Like YouTube’s Content ID system that allows TuneCore to help artists collect their sound recording revenue when their music is used in videos across the platform, sources say that Facebook is in the process of building a parallel copyright ID program. This will be crucial in the potential success of Facebook’s upcoming premium video plans, and it goes to show the importance being placed on protecting copyrighted work – good news for artists of all stripes!

 

Google Merges Play Music & YouTube Music Teams


This past month it was revealed to media outlets that the product teams in charge of directing YouTube Music and Google Play Music will be combined into a single unit. Confirmed by Google, a spokesperson said: “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

What does this mean for artists? Well, we already know that independent music makers can make their music available on YouTube and Google Play via TuneCore, but with the platforms technically being under the same umbrella, this appears to be a play towards creating a better overall user experience for music consumers. As streaming services acquire new subscribers every day, access to independent music grows and artists are able to make themselves available to fans who use all different ‘preferred platforms’ for discovering new tunes.

There’s an array of possible reasons for this internal shift at one of the biggest media companies in the world – perhaps as a move to simplify in-app listening, and more interestingly, a way for Google to negotiate deals with artists and labels. Either way, users of both apps will be able to continue using them as normal for now, and it’s highly possible that artists can look forward to a simpler way to reach YouTube- and Google Play-loyal fans in the near future.

 

Spotify’s Latest Partner is … a Weather Company?


We all know that weather impacts our moods. We all also know that music can play a similar role. But how do listeners build playlists that capture any given climate?

Ever the forward-thinking streaming platform, Spotify announced in February that is partnering with weather reporting website AccuWeather to develop and launch a site called Climatune, offering playlists for various cities based on varying weather conditions. This comes after partnerships with modern apps and companies like Uber, Tinder and Headspace, and shows that Spotify has no intention of slowing down its pace of clever collaboration with those looking to bring music into the fold.

So instead of just throwing on Banarama on those sunny days or curling up to some Morrisey during a morning rainstorm, Climatune offers playlists to music fans based on the hours and hours of research in major cities pointing to habits of listeners based on the skies. For example, did you know that residents of Chicago get excited when it rains, causing a huge lift in happier music? Houston Spotify subscribers, on the other hand, boost their acoustic listening by 121% on rainy days.

While it remains to be seen just how many subscribers will utilize this cool new service, we here at TuneCore see it as just another interesting avenue for music discovery via the popularity of playlists.

New Music Friday: February 10, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow THE NEW – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below! 

miriam tamar
Firedance
Miriam Tamar

Dance, World

evil triplet
Otherworld
Evil Triplet

Rock

sarah darling
Dream Country
Sarah Darling

Country, Singer/Songwriter

fortunate youth
Fortunate Youth
Fortunate Youth

Reggae, World

mr criminal
Palm Trees & Sunsets
Mr. Criminal

Hip Hop/Rap

heffron dr
The Slow Motion EP
Heffron Drive

Alternative, Pop

hafro
Boy With the Flair (feat. Chris Sabo)
Hafro

Alternative

sir her too
Her Too
SiR

R&B/Soul, Singer/Songwriter

alien uncovered
Handle It
Alien Undercover

R&B/Soul, Pop

opus orange
Moon River (feat. 
Kotomi)
Opus Orange

Singer/Songwriter, Folk

logan mize
Ain’t Always Pretty EP
Logan Mize

Country

lindsey stirl
Hold My Heart (feat. ZZ Ward)
Lindsey Stirling
Dance, Electronic

no surrender
No Surrender No Retreat
Various Artists

Hip Hop/Rap

illenium
Fractures (feat. 
Nevves)
Illenium

Electronic, Dance

keegan allen
Million Miles Away
Keegan Allen

Pop, Alternative

future villains
Wild Flower
Future Villains

Rock, Heavy Metal

marc scib
Summer Clothes
Marc Scibilia

Singer/Songwriter

New Music Friday: February 3, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow THE NEW – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below! 

belltheband copy
Bell The Band
Bell The Band

Folk, Pop

slushii copy
Dear Me
Slushii

Dance, Electronic

sir copy
Ooh Nah Nah (feat. Masego)
SiR

R&B/Soul

triza copy
Be With You (feat. Lewis Rocc)
Triza

Dance, Electronic

don flamingo copy
Slanguage Remix (feat. The Lox & Killa Kyleon)
Don
Flamingo
Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul

sirma copy
Love In The Dark
Sirma

Pop, Electronic

lil pak copy
All My Life
Lil Pak

Hip Hop/Rap

carole king copy
One Small Voice
Carole King

Pop, Vocal

rdgldgrn copy
Opera (feat. Method Man)
RDGLDGRN

Hip Hop/Rap, Alternative

mansesteri copy
Maskin Alta
Mansesteri

Hip Hop/Rap, Rock

cypress spring copy
Denim
Cypress Spring

Country

nobigdyl copy
Canopy
Nobigdyl

Hip Hop/Rap, Christian/Gospel

francois van coke copy
Hierdie Is Die Lewe
Francois Van Coke

Alternative

satchmode copy
Love Hz
Satchmode
Alternative, Pop

carns hill copy
Family First
Carns Hill

Hip Hop/Rap

nervo & mrvlz copy
Anywhere You Go (MRVLZ Remix)[feat. Timmy Trumpet]
NERVO & MRVLZ

Dance, Electronic

tinder hearts copy
Why Did You Swipe Right?
Johnny & the Tinder Hearts

Country, Comedy

New Music Friday: January 27, 2016

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow THE NEW – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below! 

pouya fat nick
Torch
Pouya & Fat Nick

Hip Hop/Rap

wind echo
Winter Cassette
Wind Echo

Alternative, Pop

maejor
Vibrations
Maejor

R&B/Soul

sir
W$BOI
SiR

R&B/Soul, Singer/Songwriter

jacquelyn schreiber
Beautiful Love
Jacquelyn Schreiber

Pop, Jazz

parker
Peaches
Parker

Dance, Electronic

snny
Young Boy

Snny
Alternative, R&B

chandler rachelle
Solo Cup (feat. Bobby Brackins)

Chandler Rachelle
Pop, Hip Hop/Rap

carter reeves
Fresh Fruit
Carter Reeves

Alternative, Pop

400am
After Party (feat. Christina Milian & Marley Waters)
4am

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap

kaiydo
Jumpin
Kaiydo

Hip Hop/Rap

When Will Then Be Now? 3 Music Tech Trends in 2017

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the co-founder of 24West a full-service creative agency focusing on music and tech.]

 

As we’ve all grown accustomed to over the past decade, the music industry we will come to know over the next 300 some odd days will look very different than the year we just bid farewell to. That’s not to say you should abandon that focus on building your Spotify numbers or that Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram stories should be removed from your marketing agenda, but a lot of what will likely become essential to an innovative and successful marketing campaign for independent artists this year probably wasn’t particularly of importance for you when you were putting out music or going on tour in 2016.

As we move into 2017, here are a few things that artists should be aware of and, when budget or personal connections allow, incorporate into their next release.

360 Video | Virtual Reality

Those of you who have released music videos over the past six months have probably noticed that they don’t get quite as much mileage as they used to. Many of the top-tier press outlets are starting to shy away from ‘premiering’ or posting new music videos if it is not also the first listen for a new track. This is due in large part to the fact that in the current “discover-via-streaming” world of music consumption, very few people that you would consider ravenous seekers of new music are sitting down to watch anything other than dog videos as they scroll through their social media feeds. Instead, they want new music that they can listen to while they’re doing other things.

While this will likely continue, the next phase in having a visual component to your music is poised to hit the internet hard in the form of more ‘experiential’ videos. At the base level, we are already beginning to see 360 video creep more into use. Over the next few months, we will likely see those artists with a bit more of a budget start delving into the world of virtual reality to add another level for fan’s to enjoy their projects.

I imagine that at some point in the relatively near future we will get our first multimedia release where an artist creates an entire album where listeners are able to take a virtual reality journey set to each song, creating a ‘concept album’ of sorts.

More Applications Built on the Spotify Platform

One of the biggest trends of 2016 was the importance of growing your presence on Spotify. According a report by Nielsen music, streaming has become the number one way in which people consume music, accounting for about 38% of the market in the United States. That number increased by about 76% from 2015, passing digital downloads for the first time ever. With Apple apparently undertaking an aggressive plan to terminate music downloads in the iTunes store over the next two years, that seems to be a trend we should get used to. While Apple Music is growing quickly in this arena, Spotify still rules the roost with over 40% of the streaming market.

Most people in the music industry have already accepted that fact and shifted focus to upping streams as opposed to downloads in their marketing efforts. In 2016, this was accomplished by official Spotify playlsting, as well as, by getting your music on playlists by unofficial tastemakers such as brands, blogs and individuals with large followings.

These will remain essential to growing streaming numbers, but in 2017 we will see more applications built directly on the Spotify platform that will become essential to increasing plays. Right now Cymbal.fm is the best of these services, at least in my experience. But I personally know of several competitors in that world with plans to enter the market over the next few months, each of which have several points of separation that will appeal to different sects of music fans. I tend to view Spotify playlistings much in the capacity of the “new blogosphere” for music discovery.

My feeling is that these new services are set to become a crowd sourced variation on the way we traditionally view radio.

RFID & Beacon Technology

This is another technology that has, with larger artists, already started making headway. A lot of festivals and arena tours are already using RFID (radio frequency identification) and Beacon technology to incentivize fan purchases and form other initiatives with sponsors. I’m hearing a lot of buzz that this technology will start to trickle down to smaller venues in 2017, creating new revenue sources for the promoter/venue and bands alike.

Another aspect of this technology is adding an interactive or gaming component to the live music experience. Particularly in the electronic music world, I’m very intrigued to see how artists do so this year.

(It’s Not Digital but…) Cassettes Will Replace Vinyl As The Most Popular Physical Product

I know this article is supposed to be digital based, but I feel as though this is a point worth mentioning for up-and-coming artists. Yes, vinyl is beautiful and it sounds great, but it’s expensive. Often way too costly to be worthwhile for an independent artist doing a small run for a tour. In 2017, I believe we’ll see cassettes overtake vinyl as the most popular physical product at merch tables for artists on tour. It’s way cheaper and faster to create and it still holds a particular sense of nostalgia for fans, harkening back to the ‘good old days’ of music.

Truth is, a large portion of those people that are buying vinyl aren’t listening to it anyway. They just want a keepsake from one of their favorite bands to display in their home, and to offer support to the artists they love. Cassettes are a cheaper, more convenient way to satisfy those desires for both the artist and the fan.

Get In The Spirit With TuneCore’s Holiday Playlist!

We’ve explored the benefits and fun associated with releasing holiday albums and singles as an independent music maker in the past, and this year showed no slowdown in TuneCore Artists’ ability to spread holiday cheer and provide a seasonal soundtrack for their fans.

This week we’re psyched to show-off some of these talented artists’ efforts in our 2016 Holiday Celebration Spotify Playlist!

It’s jam-packed with 99you read that correctly – holiday-themed tracks spanning the genres. Intended to brighten up your holidays no matter how you celebrate, this playlist is the perfect way to support independent music, get in the spirit, and get away from all those Santa-themed mall pop hits from seasons past (no offense, Mariah).

If you’re not already following TuneCore on Spotify, now’s the perfect time. Finish up wrapping those gifts, break out the menorah, or simply cozy up with friends and family to a slew of awesome new talent for the TuneCore community of artists this weekend.

While you’re digging the music, start considering how you can get ahead of upcoming holidays in 2017 and what kind of holiday-themed music you can share with your fans! Valentine’s Day songs for lovers? A single for the music industry’s favorite holiday in Austin each year? Or maybe a dedication to mom’s everywhere for Mother’s Day – the possibilities are endless.

Happy jamming, and of course, happy holidays!