There's been a lot of news lately around the music industry. While it's good to keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening in your orbit, it's also incredibly easy to let some of these stories distract you.
We're here to remind you: don't get distracted by the noise. What do we mean exactly? Here are a few examples.
What Streaming Pays
Not too long ago, Spotify founder Daniel Ek made a statement about how a lot of artists can't afford to wait three or four years to release music anymore. Naturally, this comment ruffled a lot of feathers from artists who haven't been able to make the new streaming model work for them.
The conversation ultimately centered around how much you get paid "per stream." Which then of course led to more conversations about where you should try to send potential listeners and so on and so forth.
But here's the thing: what you get paid from streams could be much different from others. How your fans like to listen to music could be much different from others. How you choose to monetize content could be much different from others.
For some people, the single song still holds an almost mythic place of reverence. It is the single most important piece of content an artist can create — to them.
But for other artists, releasing music is just a potential trigger to getting people to consume the real "product" — whether that's a live performance, physical goods, subscription, or even just your personality.
Regardless, you should pretty much NEVER let a widely shared article on whether or not streaming is "fair" change a single thing you're doing when it comes to focusing on music. If you like to put a lot of content out, do it. If you like to take years between projects. Do that. But just know that it means you'll need to find what works for you and your fans in the interim.
Distribution Company Promo Press
This past week, both United Masters and AWAL released statements that would probably make a lot of indie artists think, "Hmm...am I releasing my music through the right company?"
United Masters announced a partnership with TikTok, while AWAL announced that hundreds of its indie artists are earning more than six figures a year from their streaming income. Any time a company releases information like this, there are important takeaways — but they're usually not the primary one that company is trying to push.
For instance, United Masters' deal with TikTok could make you think, "Well clearly I need to switch to United Masters so I have a better chance of blowing up on TikTok." That's probably what United Masters is hoping you'll think.
But when you look at the terms of the deal, it's really not much different from anything else you can already do with another distributor. That's not to say you shouldn't use United Masters, by any means. Just don't try to change your current ecosystem because you think it might help you reach the "next level" until you do some serious research.
Likewise, it's amazing that AWAL is seeing so much growth in its indie sector (the Kobalt-affiliated company's acronym stands for "Artists Without A Label"). But the key takeaway here isn't necessarily, "AWAL gives you a better shot at earning more" — it's that revenue opportunities for independent musicians are growing every day.
AWAL goes on to say that number of artists earning more than $100k a year from their streaming revenue on their platform grew by 40%. Kobalt chairman Willard Ahdritz tells Music Ally these catalogs have a sellable value of $1 million, or 10x what they make every year.
The moral of the story? Own your copyrights, kids.
It's easy to get distracted. We get it. There are a million moving parts in this industry and you'll always be asking yourself, "Am I missing an opportunity somewhere?"
But in spite of everything you can't control (like how much Spotify pays or what videos go viral on TikTok), always ground yourself in what you can control. Are you pushing yourself to make the best music you can? Do you make an effort to engage with new fans online? Are you putting yourself out there?
At the end of the day, the music industry is about you. Don't get distracted by everybody else's noise. Make your own.