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Piracy Is Not The Problem, Free YouTube and Spotify Are, says Music Industry Trade Group 

With efforts to fight music piracy seen as largely successful, at least one music trade group executive is saying out loud what others in the industry have only dared whisper - the real problem keeping artists and labels from earning more from music isn't stream-ripping, it is the free music offered by Spotify and YouTube. Until recently, Italy was a hotbed of music piracy. New laws and new efforts have changed that, with visits to pirate sites decreasing more than 35% between 2018 and 2019.  Now, however, almost 90% of Italian music consumers use YouTube or Spotify to stream music for free.  “The main issue here is not piracy. It’s how to convert people from free YouTube and Spotify accounts to premium services,” Enzo Mazza, chief at Italian music industry group FIMI told Torrentfreak. ”Italy is a country where the ‘culture of free’ is radicated and it’s not easy to drag people into a subscription model.” “Conversion rates are still below the global average and this is a major challenge for the industry," says Mazza.  Ad-supported music streaming pays rightsholders a small fraction of the per-stream rates that paid from Premium subscriptions. A Problem Likely To Get Worse It's a scenario likely to play out in country after country, as Spotify moves into more countries with struggling economies and lower per capita income. Music fans move from piracy to streaming services,  but few become paid subscribers. And while the price of a Premium music subscription in Italy mirrors the rest of Europe, in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America, premium subscriptions cost 70-75% less than in the US and Europe.    "We are urging in particular Spotify to do more in terms of promotional campaigns in order to engage new premium customers,” says Mazza.

Building A Thriving Music Ecosystem: An Interview with Bandsintown Co-founder Fabrice Sergent 

“Live music is one of the last tribal experiences which connect people in unique manners, to live their passions, express their personalities and ultimately bring more happiness and understanding to the world," said Bandsintown co-founder Fabrice Sergent during a wide-ranging interview on the Music Business podcast hosted by Sam Hysell and Jordan Williams recorded at the new Bandsintown offices in New York City. Based on the axiom that “the purpose is greater than the goal of the company itself" Sergent, his partners and team have built Bandsintown into the world's largest hub for live music discovery with  50 million registered app users, 500,000 registered artists and 130 million unique fan interactions monthly. Listen on your favorite podcast platform here.

Secrets For Digitally Advertising Around Your Next Tour 

We have reached a point where artists can run digital advertising simultaneously across Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube with relative ease, but with your budget likely already tight, making every dollar spent on digital advertising go as far as possible is paramount. Here we look at some secrets for getting the most bang for your buck. _______________________________ Guest post by Rich Nardo for the TuneCore Blog Depending on your personality type, digital advertising can seem like the simplest thing in the world or completely overwhelming. These days, the powers that be have made it incredibly easy to run ads across several areas of Facebook and Instagram simultaneously, and YouTube advertising is only a degree or two more complicated to set up. That being said, when you are allocating some of your already tight tour budget to advertising, do you just want to set something up and hope for the best? Or would you prefer to optimize the results you get for your dollars spent. If you chose the latter, this article will attempt to provide you with some basic knowledge that should put you on the right track. To get started, let’s answer some questions that are probably going through your head as you start to contemplate your approach.  Where Are My Dollars Best Spent? In terms of general advertising, I prefer to put more money into YouTube. However, when talking specifically about tour marketing, Facebook and Instagram ads are going to be your best bet. YouTube ads are great for generating content views, but you can set up Facebook and Instagram ads to direct traffic to a “click through” link, such as your ticket presale link or a Facebook Event. Conveniently, you can set up both Instagram and Facebook ads in one campaign via the “Ad Manager” section under “Explore” on the left side of your homepage when you log into Facebook.  How Far In Advance Should I Start Advertising? The answer to this question is dependent on your budget and how many tour dates you are promoting. If you’re only working with a little bit of money, I would suggest beginning to run the adverts three days to a week prior to the tour and running through the duration of the dates. If the tour is only a few shows, say a three day weekend run, you can get started running them a bit further out or do two separate pushes – one around announcement and one when you’re about to actually hit the road. Keep in mind that for smaller shows, most people are buying tickets day of, so putting your advertisement in their social media feed when they’re trying to figure out what to do that night will probably get you the best results. How Should I Set My Audience? There are several key things to consider when putting together your target audience. First let’s look at age. There are two questions to focus on here: What age group are most of your fans and is your show all ages or 21+? From there we can get more specific in terms of targeting. There are three general approaches I would recommend.  Targeting fans of your band and similar bands, or the venue you’re playing at. Creating a “Custom Audience” of your fans (though it may be too small if you’re presence isn’t big enough on social media).  Use a “Lookalike Audience”. These create a potential ad pool of people with similar characteristics to your current following. These are super helpful if the audience is big enough to draw from. No matter which approach you take, make sure you’re geo-targeting to the general area you’re playing in to increase efficiency. What Are Some Ways to Measure The Success of My Ads? All of the analytics for measuring Facebook and Instagram success can be found in the aforementioned “Ads Manager” dashboard on your homepage. Some important targets to shoot for: A “Cost per Result” of under $1.00 (ideally between $.30 and $0.70, but the lower the better).  The higher the number of Results, the better. Are you getting people to actually click through to your ticket link?  A Frequency Close to “1” means that your ads are appearing in front of individuals roughly once. The higher that frequency rate goes up, the higher your “Cost per Result” will likely be and the lower your “click through rate”.  Now that we’ve covered some frequently asked questions, let’s move on to a few hints that I’ve always found helpful when running advertisements.  Utilize Boosted Posts – I know that this might seem counter intuitive, but boosting an existing post is often more effective than doing a stand-alone ad. I can’t give you a 100% confirmation on why this is the case and this bit of advice is, to an extent, anecdotal but as someone who runs a lot of ad campaigns, boosting a post often gets incredible results. I routinely will find “cost per result” on these ads to be between $0.02 and $0.15 whereas I usually can get between $0.20 and $0.70 on stand alone ads. Offer An Incentive in Your Ad – Do you have guest lists or access to a discounted ticket link? Use them! Advertisements with a call to action usually get better results. See if you can partner with the venue to do a “Swipe Up” ad with a chance for a ticket giveaway or offer a free drink at the bar with advanced ticket purchase. Anything to help incentive someone seeing the post to click through. Will the Venue/Promoter Contribute? – It might be a tough sell if you’re a smaller band, but a lot of venues run their own advertising around shows. They’ll actually pay to run ads through your artist page if they feel the potential results will be worth it. If you’re not quite sure that your band is big enough to entice a venue to do so, ask them to match any ad dollars you put into an event. Some will be excited to see how proactive you are, others might just flatly say no. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Can You Promote A Tour On YouTube? – Yes! But you’re better off going into this scenario with the goal of promoting content and adjusting a few things with your video to push people to your ticket link. For instance, run advertising around your official video or a tour teaser and put your ticket buy link prominently in the caption of the video. You can also post a comment on the video along the lines of, “On tour this summer in the Northeast!” and include the buy link and tour dates. If you do that, make sure to pin the comment to the top of the section so everyone coming in off of your video ads are sure to see it Now you have the basics for starting an advertising campaign around your next tour. It may require a little extra money and research, but I’ve found digital advertising to be the best method of reaching fans directly. If you don’t have the money for it, though, don’t worry. Some elbow grease in terms of going after social media marketing and local press coverage can still help you get a nice boost in promoting your tour for a minimal cost!  Rich Nardo is a freelance writer and editor, and is the VP of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.

Etsy Acquires Musical Instrument Marketplace Reverb For $275 Million 

Reverb has a sign a deal to be acquired by Etsy for $275 million. The cash deal for the new and used musical instrument marketplace is expected to be finalized in the third or early fourth quarter of the year. "Reverb will remain a standalone business," says Reverb founder and CEO David Kalt, "but with the added support of Etsy—the global online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, with millions of buyers and sellers from nearly every country in the world." Reverb was founded in Chicago in 2013, and its sellers include individuals, brick-and-mortar retailers, dealers and musicians. Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade and vintage items.  Etsy stock has inched up 1.09% in early trading and is up over 50% in the last year.

Apple Music Launches ‘Rap Life’ Playlist, Beats 1 Show  

Apple Music has launched Rap Life, a new global playlist and Beats One radio show spotlighting the best new hip-hop.  The move comes in direct response to Spotify top-rated Rap Cavier playlist which has 11.7 million followers. The Apple Music playlist - formerly known as The A-List: Hip-Hop - is now updated daily and "is home to the stars and the songs that speak to the moment and define the culture today," says Apple. “Apple Music has worked to uplift Hip-Hop and has earned the respect of the artists and the fans worldwide, so now we going to keep pushing the culture forward with Rap Life,” says Apple Music Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B Ebro Darden. “The playlist was A-List HipHop, but we flipped it to dig deeper into the lifestyle…. pay attention!” The signature playlist art for Rap Life will feature a different artist each week, timed to new releases from marquee artists. Rap Life launches today with inaugural cover star J. Cole and will feature a different rapper from the Dreamville family throughout the week. Additionally, Apple Music’s 24/7 global live stream Beats 1 will soon launch a Rap Life show centered around the playlist featuring music and important discussions around hip-hop. You can listen to Rap Life on Apple Music HERE. - CelebrityAccess

Customizing Salesforce For The Music Industry 

When it comes to dealing with fans/customers, many artists and organizations within the industry rely on archaic and ineffective systems for keeping their teams in synch, which can lead to all kinds of inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Here we look at a more effective way in which groups in the music industry interact with potential customers. ________________________ Guest post by Guy Barash, Founder & CEO of Dotted Eighth Many music companies today rely on outdated task management systems to keep their teams in synch. Whether they use emails and phone calls, Excel, Google Drive, Filemaker, or other internal systems to keep track of their data and who’s doing what, there are bound to be problems and inefficiencies. Two different people might end up completing the same task, wasting both of their time. And if someone calls out sick, other team members won’t be able to pick up the slack if they weren’t included on every relevant email thread or shared on every Google doc. The result is missed opportunities, from a lack of both coordination and organization of data.  In my experience, one way to fix those problems is by adopting Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Salesforce gathers data from every interaction with a client in one place so that everyone on your team gets a full picture of every relationship. It also provides advanced insights and analytics, and is highly customizable. The platform is a standard in a variety of industries — including Automotive, Education, Government, Insurance, Retail, and more — but has not yet reached critical mass in the music industry. That needs to change. Over the past two years, I’ve been working with a number of music companies such as Music Sales Corporation, G. Schirmer Inc., and Exactuals to get them up and running on custom Salesforce solutions. Whether it’s a synch department, a classical publisher, or a music-tech startup, the results have been exceptional, with each client capitalizing on significant trends that had previously been invisible to them. True, it can be difficult to migrate all your historical data to a new platform, or train your staff on how to use it properly and regularly, but once you’re set up, it is also an opportunity: you can simultaneously develop best practices for data entry and visualize your data in entirely new ways. Here are just a few examples of how Salesforce can help the music industry. 1.) Maximize Synch Opportunities The main advantage of getting all your historical data in one place is that you start to see trends and patterns that you never noticed before. The first area where this can be a major help is also one of the fastest-growing sectors of the music industry: synchronization in TV, film, advertising, and more. Using Salesforce, songwriters, publishers, and other rights holders can see whether certain songs in their catalog are licensed more in particular seasons, what kinds of shows tend to license their music the most, and how much they have been receiving for placements, aiding in negotiations. In addition, they can see exactly what scenes various songs were pitched for and which ones were actually licensed, as well as which music supervisors or studios license their tracks the most. Put it all together, and you have a powerful tool you can use to ensure your songs get the most exposure possible and earn you the maximum amount of revenue. 2.) Keep Artist Assets Organized As managers, labels, and publishers know, there is a huge amount of artist assets that need to be available at a moment’s notice for all kinds of requests, from press photos to music files, bios, lyric sheets, album credits, and more. Now imagine that those assets all live on only one person’s computer, and that person is out on vacation for a week. Nothing is going to get done! Even in today’s cloud-based world, this scenario plays out more often than you think. But with Salesforce, everyone in your organization has access to all of these assets and can send them out easily if requested, even if the artist’s primary contact is unavailable. This way, teams become truly collaborative, and can keep cranking out synchs, pursuing radio play, and pitching album reviews, premieres, and artist features. In other words, keep things moving forward no matter what. 3.) Maximize Live Opportunities Artists, as well as managers and booking agents looking to get their roster on the road, can use Salesforce to plot their tours so they get the most bang for their buck. For example, data from previous tours can tell them where they sell the most tickets, move the most merch, or get the most email list sign-ups. This is invaluable info for artists looking to plot a route that is likely to earn them a profit rather than costing a fortune. And for managers and booking agents with access to data from multiple bands, this data can highlight broader trends that can guide their decisions on a macro level: cities that are more receptive to particular genres, off-the-beaten-path towns with a passionate music community, and much more. It’s also great for classical composers, such as myself. Using Salesforce, they can see which ensembles and orchestras play their compositions most often and who has paid them the most to commission new works in the past. It also allows them to keep all information regarding relationships they have fostered organized in one place, simplifying outreach around performances of compositions new and old. These are only a few reasons why I encourage music companies of every stripe to consider adding Salesforce to their toolkit. From keeping your entire team organized to surfacing trends that can help artists make more money, it is an invaluable service that will keep your business pumping. And if you need assistance getting set up with Salesforce, reach out via the Dotted Eighth website to schedule a free consultation call.

ROCCR Is A Non-Profit, Transparent PledgeMusic 

As the effects of the collapse of crowdfunder PledgeMusic rippled through the music community, Iain Baker of UK rock group Jesus Jones was one of its most outspoken critics.  Now, Baker has decided to do something about it with the formation of ROCCR. Alongside partners with expertise in tech and business, Baker is building a music and arts crowdfunding platform designed to be "transparent, fair and direct."  Their goal is to launch ROCCR before the end of the summer. "We're laying out a case for someone to carry on the good work that Pledge did," Baker tells Hypebot, "and just to try and do it while not ripping everyone off, and taking their money." Most notably, he says, "ROCCR doesn't have access to the donations" and is taking a little less in fees. "Pledge was trying to embark on a huge expansion," Baker contends, "and all of that felt like it was happening off the hard work that artists were putting into their campaigns. We're trying to give a bit back to the artistic community. ROCCR is a not-for-profit, so the naked pursuit of profit isn't our main goal." Others have explored launching a music crowdfunding platform and decided against it because revenue compared to providing the level of customer service sometimes required to help an artist launch and maintain a campaign could mean razor-thin margins. Recently, Kickstarter and partner XOYO shut down their DRIP music funding initiative before it launched. Bandzoogle, on the other hand, just added a direct crowdfunding option to its existing music website and marketing platform, and the artist and label community is hoping that it, ROCCR and others succeed. "Pledgemusic became more than a crowdfunding service," said music marketer Jay Coyle of Label Logic. "It became an exciting music community where fans could go explore the virtual end-caps and find treasures from their favorite artists while discovering new ones. I still believe in the model." ROCCR is asking musicians, artists and other creatives who might be interested in using the platform to sign up for updates here. MORE: Bandzoogle Adds Commission-Free Crowdfunding With Direct Payments To Artists

Stream Rippers Easily Circumvent YouTube Blocking 

Last week, YouTube successfully blocked several major stream-ripping sites, according to multiple reports. Now, most of them have found a way to circumvent the blockhead. Stream ripping is currently the number one source of ​music ​piracy ​globally.   ​Here's the update from TorrentFreak: "Mp3-youtube.download almost instantly announced that it was working on a fix and today the site is working just fine. The same is true for Dlnowsoft.com, which was also blocked last week, as well as the massively popular Onlinevideoconverter.com, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet." “To fix the problem, we simply used other servers that are not in the range of IP-addresses blocked by YouTube,” said one operator of a stream-ripping site. “I think the YouTube update is stupid because we will always find a solution,” said another.

Live Nation Helped Sell 88,000 Metallica Tickets On The Secondary Market 

Live Nation directly facilitated the sale of 88,000 Metallica tickets at inflated prices on the secondary ticketing market.  This strong piece of investigative journalism by Billboard's Dave Brooks has finally brought the long-standing practice out into the open. Tickets for Metallica and several other artists were sold directly via the resale market, facilitated by Live Nation.  According to a report in Billboard, Live Nation’s participation in the direct secondary market listings was discussed in a secretly recorded 2017 phone conversation between the company’s president of U.S. concerts Bob Roux and an unnamed promoter. Roux said Ticketmaster will not handle the listings directly and instead suggested that in order to conceal the transfer a Live Nation employee or a venue box office could move the tickets to a singular account so they could be listed on secondary market services. “When this happens, 4,600 tickets into a single account,” Roux said on the call, per Billboard. “there may be some eyebrows that get raised.” A rep for Metallica told Billboard that the members were not aware of the direct secondary sale and instead delegated to Tony DiCioccio, who was working as a ‘ticket consultant.’ According to Billboard, a call transcript also detailed Roux discussing the ticket sales with Vaughn Millette, who is now chairman/CEO of Outback Presents. Roux told Millette that they planned to sell 4,400 tickets per show for 20 concerts, with slightly more than half tickets for premium seats with the remainder drawn from “troubled” tickets which include passes for nosebleed seats and seats with bad sightlines. Live Nation confirmed to Billboard that “about a dozen artists out of the thousands we work with asked us to do this” between 2016 and 2017. Live Nation also told Billboard that artists rarely ask Live Nation for assistance selling tickets via the secondary market, noting that its enhanced tools allow artists to retain some of of the profits that had been flowing to brokers. This isn’t the first time Live Nation has admitted to secondary market sales. In 2016, managing director of Live Nation Italy Roberto de Luca revealed during a television interview that “a very limited number” of tickets had been directly listed on secondary market services on behalf of international artists. - CelebrityAccess