Industry News Courtesy Of Hypbot                   

Spin, Vibe, Stereogum For Sale As SpinMedia Goes On Auction Block 

image from media.glassdoor.comAn already dwindling number of online music site - or too often, music celebrity click bait engines - may be about to get a good bit smaller with news that perpetually struggling online publisher SpinMedia is for sale.

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SpinMedia music sites include SPIN, Vibe, Death and Taxes, Stereogum, Idolator, PureVolume and Buzznet. Celebrity sites include The Friskly, Go Fug Yourself and Celebuzz.  

Collectively the sites are rumored to $5 million per year on revenue of $18 million. Unique visitors have fallen from a high of 50 million to to 25 million in July, according to comScore.

“They bought too many companies and did not have enough to support the brands, which just got thinner and thinner,” said one industry executive told the New York Post.


Pandora Names Questlove Strategic Advisor, First Artist Ambassador 

image from mms.businesswire.comQuestlove is getting creative with Pandora. Change happens slowly at the music streamer, particularly when its comes to its consumer offering. But teaming with the Roots drummer may hint at a new Pandora as it preps the launch of its own Spotify and Apple Music competitor as early as next month.


image from mms.businesswire.comPandora has announced a multifaceted partnership with Questlove.

The Roots drummer and musical director of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" has been named a Strategic Advisor for Pandora and its first Artist Ambassador. In this role, he will provide strategic advice and support for artist initiatives and music product strategy.

A weekly 3 hour show, Questlove Supreme, will also be curated and produced by the four-time Grammy winner. It's described as a  ride through the global musical landscape featuring adventurous music selections, compelling conversations and revealing interviews with music lovers from the entertainment industry and beyond."  

"create a healthy and vibrant industry for artists and fans"

"I see in Pandora both a deep respect for the craft of music and a commitment to the musicians that make it their living. When Tim introduced me to the Music Genome Project, and explained its origin and how he and his team developed it, I was blown away. Pandora is a company born of a musician's experience, and I'm very excited to join them in their mission to create a healthy and vibrant industry for artists and fans alike," says Questlove.

"Questlove is one of the most talented and influential artists of our time,” said Tim Westergren, founder and CEO of Pandora. “His near encyclopedic knowledge of the theory and history of music and his abiding passion for supporting artists of all kinds is a perfect match for our missio

Questlove Supreme will debut on September 7 at 1 PM est. and replay for 48 hours each week. In the meantime there's a teaser mixtape here


New Twitter Features Could Make Promotion More Difficult 

1As seems to so often be the case, a new host of updates for Twitter will likely make DIY promotion for artists more difficult when it comes to getting their content seen by fans. New features being added to the platform include changes in notification settings and, worst of all, a quality filter.


Guest Post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0

Many artists and bands have found Twitter a great place to promote themselves and their music, but that just got a lot more difficult with the implementation of some new features. New Twitter features include Notifications settings and especially a Quality Filter, which will mean that an artist’s strategy for using Twitter will have to change in order to be successful.

The new Notifications settings will give users the ability to limit notifications to only people they follow on mobile and on The individual Twitter experience will continue unchanged if it’s not selected. Managing notifications is now also easier in that you can now access them directly from your notifications tab.

1 (1)The real change comes with the Quality Filter though. When turned on, the filter looks at a variety of post data, including account origin and behavior, to select the types of posts that you see. Lower-quality content like duplicate tweets or content that appears to be automated from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience will no longer be seen. It does not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with, depending on your preferences. This can turned on or off in your notifications settings. The feature is also designed to learn and improve over time in updates in the future.

What this means is that if you duplicate a morning post in the afternoon to hit a different audience, it might not be seen by the people that you’re targeting. Likewise, if you are set to automatically tweet from a blog or Facebook post, that may also be filtered out. It’s unknown whether a 3rd party scheduled post from a service like Hootsuite is affected.

We’re still not sure what the algorithm of the Quality Filter actually takes into account, so there may be other types of posts that may be affected as well. The best thing to do at this point is to continue to post custom tweets, and keep the automation to a minimum.

As with other social networks, user experience is the prime directive, and that’s what these new Twitter features aim to improve.

Frank Ocean Just Proved: Direct To Fan Works, Labels Mean Less Than They Think, Exclusives Suck But Still Matter 

frank ocean blondeFrank Ocean has just shaken up the music industry, probably forever. His dual exclusive releases via Apple on Friday and Saturday ignited a long overdue debate about exclusive streaming releases; and hidden in the details are lessons that should be sending shockwaves through the executive suites at Universal, Sony and WMG.

frank ocean


Yesterday, Universal Music Group chief Lucian Grainge sent a memo to his executive team ending the practice of streaming release exclusives. His decision was caused, at least in part, by Frank Ocean's latest dual Apple Music exclusives, alongside other recent Apple and TIDAL exclusive releases by major artists.

Spotify, which has long shunned exclusives calling them bad for fans, is certainly celebrating; even though Grainge will likely make exceptions when superstar artists make demands or big checks waived.  Still, Ocean and Grainge have ignited a long overdue debate over the power and the potential damage of all exclusive releases.

Ocean Splits With Universal

In addition to a difference of opinion over streaming, Ocean's two back to back full length releases also appear to mark a major split with Def Jam and Universal Music.

Metadata attached to the release on Apple Music  show that the second release. "Blonde," is out on the artist's own indie label Boys Don’t Cry, which is not affiliated with Def Jam or parent Universal Music Group (UMG). A source familiar with the situation confirmed the split to Forbes

So even without a major label, "Blonde" is headed for #1 in both the US and UK, according to Billboard, with 225-250,000 album equivalent streams exclusively from Apple.

Just in case anyone at UMG, Sony and WMG missed the irony: 

Frank Ocean's ability to connect directly with fans and press driven by social media has all but guaranteed a #1 debut on at least two continents.

Yes, UMG invested millions in his marketing, but now he does need them anymore.  All that Frank Ocean needed to hit #1 was Apple and social media.


Agenda For Next UMG Board Meeting

1) Direct to fan marketing and sales work.

2) When artists get big they don't need us anymore. Our value is now almost entirely on the front end of their careers.  

3) Artists need Apple, Tidal and Spotify more than then need labels ...or radio.

PS: Streaming income has a long tale. Reversion clauses that return ownership to artists after 5 -7 years further guarantee our demise.

YouTube Optimization For Musicians 

Youtube_logoYou spent the time, energy, and money creating a music video. Now what?  The team at CyberPR has come answers. Posting your video to YouTube won't accrue the views you want unless you have a bit of strategy. Here are 8 ways to maximize your video's potential on YouTube. 


First, Titles Are Everything

YouTube OptiThe single biggest contributing factor to your success on a video click through will be related to how you title your video. Make sure that the title of each of your videos is short — Approx. 65 – 70 characters is a good target range as many people will be viewing from hand-held devices and YouTube will cut you off at 100.  Also, use the word “video” in the title as people may be searching for videos when they are searching outside of the YouTube platform (like on Google). Be captivating: create a title that will make the viewer want to watch.  However, remember that it must relate back to the actual video.

Having a short and sweet title is key. If you are titling a video of a cover you did, try this format (as applicable):

[Song Title] [Short Description] [Original Artist Name] [Your Band Name]

For example, if you have done a cover song of “We Are Never Getting Back Together”, a great title would be:

We Are Never Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift Cover by Sasha

Think of what people might ask when searching for something. Questions begin with Who, What, When, Where and Why – so when applicable, answer these questions right in the title!

On August 28th, when I YouTubed "We Are Never Getting Back Together"
in the search bar this is what I saw:

First you see Taylor Swift’s official video, followed by two other videos before her official lyric video!

TIP: There are times when official artist videos are not licensed to view in other countries. Where the official video is not available for viewing, yours may be the first (or only) option for a fan in that area to listen to the song!

Continue reading the full post at

Should We Believe All The Negative Hype Surrounding New DOJ Rules on PROs? 

1In this article Dave Brooks of Amplify offers an alternative perspective on the recent Department of Justice ruling, suggesting that the rules may in fact help rather than harm venues and event producers.


Guest post by Dave Brooks of Amplify

Here’s something no one in the music industry will tell you — the DOJ’s new rules on 100% PRO licensing are good for venues and event producers.

If you read Billboard or any of the trade magazines, it’s Armageddon at ASCAP, BMI and the other Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) that handle the publishing licenses for the vast majority of North America’s songwriters. For the last eight decades, these organizations have offered venues and restaurants a blanket license on their catalogs, meaning a license holder could play large repertoires of music without having to negotiate licensing deals with individual songwriters.

In 2014, the PROs asked the DOJ to update the rules governing performances licenses and to solidify into law the practice of “fractional” licensing of a song, meaning co-writers of a composition were only able to license the portion of a song they had written. The change would mean the full licensing of a song from beginning to end would require a license from all co-authors and the PROs they work with.

Fractional licenses are not useful for many types of businesses. Most venues, nightclubs and restaurants that play recorded music never purchase partial licenses. Whether it’s through a jukebox, Karaoke machine or a warm up song for a concert, most venues and clubs tend to play a song from beginning to end, requiring a blanket license to play in its entirety. Fractional license would force venue owners to obtain multiple licenses for a single song. The result would be that most business would be forced to buy licenses from all three PROs, leaving them little leverage over prices. Anyone’s who’s purchased a license from a group like ASCAP or SESAC knows the rates tend to wildly fluctuate, with little explanation or warning. A switch to fractional license would give the PROs even broader power to jack up licensing costs.

The DOJ’s recent ruling does away with partial licensing in favor of 100% licensing, meaning any author of a song can issue a license for the entire song. The PROs say the new system will “cause chaos” in the publishing world and lead to a precipitous drop in income for songwriters and composers.

Wrong. Here’s some real talk — 100% licensing will infuse some badly needed price competition in the music publishing world and make the PROs more responsive to the hundreds of thousands of restaurants, venues and club that pay a collective $15 billion a year for licensing.

2Restaurant, club and venue owners often have little control over what music is played in their establishments. Music is generally selected by a DJ or a performer, meaning “these music users cannot switch to a different song if they lack the rights to publicly perform a song. Their only recourse under a fractional licensing regime,” the DOJ report reads, “might be to simply turn off the music.”

Compounding the problem is a lack of clarity over each PRO’s catalog — there is no central database letting the public know which songs are covered by which PROs. Under a fractional licensing system, it’s very difficult for a venue manager to know if their license covers an entire song. If you buy a license from BMI or SESAC, you should be able to see a list of songs that are covered under the license. A switch to 100% licensing will give venue managers clarity on which songs they can play without liability.

“Finally, allowing fractional licensing might also impede the licensed performance of many songs by incentivizing owners of fractional interests in songs to withhold their partial interests from the PROs,” the DOJs report reads. “A user with a license from ASCAP or BMI would then be unable to play that song unless it acceded to the hold-out owner’s demands, providing the hold-out owner substantial bargaining leverage to extract significant returns.”

Bottom line — venues and other businesses that play music are an important income stream for songwriters and composers. These businesses often spend thousands of dollars a year on music licenses and it’s their right to know what they are paying for. A fractional licensing system leaves law-abiding license holders vulnerable to claims of infringement, especially since there is no central database on songwriter licenses. 100% licensing allows business owners to continue to compensate songwriters while protecting their own business from infringement claims.

Know You Suppliers, Research Your Team 

2Have you been curious about how to get a supplier to work with you who will be reliable and produce what you actually want and need? Here an industry offers some experiential advice choosing the right supplier.


In this latest selection from MusicThinkTank, Leena Sowambur sheds some light, as well as personal experience on how to find a helpful and reliable supplier.

"Always check the background of the suppliers approaching you or the ones you approach. Check over their credentials, qualifications and certifications. Check over case studies and work portfolios and read over testimonials. A solid supplier should have a body of work, for example, a digital marketing and PR freelancer should have a portfolio of campaigns to demonstrate the kinds of results you can expect from commissioning them."

[Continue Reading]

In Japan, Music Business Changes Very Slowly 

1A recent look at some overseas music industry numbers in Japan has revealed streaming's continued growth, and that physical sales, while still dropping, are slower to decline there. Additionally, and unlike the US, ringtones continue to take up an appreciable share of the market there as well.


Guest post by Glenn Peoples of Pandora

The CD lives on in Japan. Take a look at RIAJ statistics for physical sales through June for the world’s second-largest recorded music market. CD revenue was down just 6 percent (compared to a 12-percent decline in unit sales in the U.S.) while all audio revenue was down 6 percent. Total physical revenue dropped just 1 percent due to a five-percent increase in video sales.

1 (1)Digital numbers are available only through March but reveal the transition is continuing—to a point. Music subscription revenue gained 85 percent. Download revenue went the other way as single track revenue fell 11 percent and album revenue dropped 2 percent. Sounds familiar, right? In Germany, another CD-heavy market, first-half streaming revenue rose 84 percent while download revenue dropped slightly and CD revenue fell 3 percent.

And yet Japan hasn’t changed as much as many other markets (it’s unique in terms of consumption trends and characteristics of the record business). Total download revenue was 1.6x subscription revenue and accounted for 54 percent of total digital revenue. Moreover, ringtones and ringback tones, all but dead in the U.S. and elsewhere, amounted to 7 percent of digital revenue.

5 Marketing Truths Most Musicians Have Ignored For Too Long 

2Most artist would rather focus on their creative output than getting bogged down with the business side of things. That said, marketing is an inherent part of being a successful artist, so we're offering five marketing truths musicians can apply when "selling" their act.


Guest Post by Dave Ruch on the Sonicbids Blog

Struggling to book your act? Wish you could be generating more good-paying gigs? It turns out that the larger world of business and marketing has much to offer musicians in terms of proven knowledge to help us avoid wasting time on things that don’t work and focus instead on the tactics that will build our careers.

The problem, of course, is that most of us aren’t networking in corporate boardrooms, and we don’t want to dig through reams of advertising and sales research. We want to play music! That’s where this short and sweet list comes in – no need to reinvent the wheel. Here are five simple and universal marketing truths you can apply to selling your own act starting today.


1. Multiple impressions sell

After spending crazy amounts of time (and perhaps some real money) getting your promotional materials and website together, you crafted the perfect email and reached out for gig bookings to multiple venues that seem absolutely perfect for what you do. Then, you heard nothing. Crickets.

Where so many musicians get frustrated and give up is exactly where you need to remind yourself that it can take three, five, or nine “impressions” before the booking person is a) aware of who you are and what you do, and b) potentially interested in booking you.

In business circles, it’s often said this way: two percent of sales happen after the first contact, and 80 percent happen after the fifth contact. Think about that.

2. Features tell, benefits sell

Stop talking about yourself! “Features” are all about you – what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, how many albums you have, where you’ve played, what your music sounds like. These things are all important, and we love talking about them, but they’re not what sells you.

“Benefits” describe what the person hiring you gets out of the deal – a happy, engaged audience perhaps? Butts in seats? Someone who shows up on time and is easy to work with? Put the benefits front and center in all your communications. People care way more about themselves than they do about you.

3. Social proof sells

When people are buying something, they like to be reassured that others have made the same decision and been delighted with the results. That reassurance is called social proof.

Sprinkle quotes from happy venues and audience members, and screenshots from social media posts, around your website where people will see them (i.e., not on a “testimonials” or “what they’re saying” page). If you have any big numbers to brag about (social followers, number of gigs you’ve played, etc), make sure everyone sees those, too.

[4 Social Media Mistakes Your Band Can't Afford to Make]

4. Email sells

For about a decade now, social media has been the shiny new object for marketers, with all kinds of possibilities for connecting with vast audiences and even, just maybe, “going viral.” And while the social platform du jour continues to change, one thing has remained constant: email is still way more effective for reaching your buyers and booking contacts (and fans).

Cultivate your social media channels as time allows, but focus your marketing efforts on boring old email. Build your list of booking contacts every single day, because your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. Period.

[10 Tricks to Build and Maintain an Engaged Email List for Your Band]

5. Teaching sells

Can you educate your audience a bit as you perform? Can you package your music around a topic or create a new thematic show that includes some interesting information between songs? Audiences love to learn something while they’re being entertained, and you’re infinitely more marketable when you have a “show” or “product” or “program” to offer.

Here’s the best part: in addition to all the usual music clubs and festivals you can sell this to, there are good-paying venues like arts centers, schools, universities, libraries, and museums that are always looking for something interesting for their (often built-in) audiences. In fact, some musicians (myself included) have built entire careers around this kind of work.

I’ve seen each one of these five concepts add to my “bottom line” over and over again as a self-employed musician, and I’m absolutely convinced they can do the same for you. I’d love to hear how it goes, and what else you’d add to the list.

Dave Ruch is a full-time musician and performer whose work has been featured on American Public Media, in Emmy Award-winning documentaries, and on stages across North America and the UK. A Buffalo NY-based teaching artist and Public Scholar for the New York Council for the Humanities, Ruch helps audiences of all ages connect with history and culture through music. Dave’s marketing blog for performing artists is entitled “Educate and Entertain: A Great Living in the Arts,” and he also contributes to The Huffington Post. Read his blog or visit his website.