Archive for May, 2013

Written by Zoe Kingsley on 23 May 2013


It seems the streaming services wave is still being ridden, not just by providers, but surprisingly by record labels themselves.

Following the launch of the Google Play All Access music service last week and Spotify’s grand reveal of streaming numbers charts yesterday, indie music representatives andglobal rights agency Merlin has published a survey on Indie Record labels and their digital revenues, and the results herald more than a few surprise developments and trends for all parties involved.

Having conducted the survey across 20,000 of the agency’s members in 35 different countries, taking into consideration the collective 6.5 billion streams accumulated in the past year, its evident that the streaming market is substantially lining the pockets of indie record labels – with one in four labels now earning more from music streaming than downloads.

According to CMU, between 2011 and 2012, 92% of Indie Record labels have seen streaming and subscription revenues increase year by year, a third experiencing an exponential revenue growth of 100%, according to the new survey.

“Five years on from the establishment of Merlin, it is clear that the streaming business is coming of age.” – Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO


These increases are reflected in a shift of profit ratio between streaming and downloads, the former winning outright – a quarter of the labels proving to gain most of their income from streaming compared to download sales. This trend is most representative in Europe where a third of indie labels are bring in more than 50% of digital income through streaming.

The royalties to be accumulated from streaming services this year are estimated to reach in excess of $65 million. However, as TechCrunch observes, when this pool of profit is distributed between the 20,000 labels the average profit per label levels out to $3,250, which means that groups that Merlin represents – including The National, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver and indie labels like Domino and Beggars Group – are benefiting in small ways from the streaming service boom.

Despite the exponential growth of music-streaming for indie records eclipsing downloads, the latter format is still growing – albeit at a slower rate.

With the numbers varying slightly between CMU and TechCrunch sources, only 64-66% of the surveyed labels saw a la carte download sales increase. According to CMU, just over 20% of labels saw an increase of download sales reach 50%. Compared to the 33% of labels boasting a 100% growth in streaming revenue, only a measly 8.4% of labels could say as much for download sales.

That being said iTunes is still placed as the number one source of global revenue for Independent labels, with Spotify (who are celebrating their first year anniversary in Australia) following close behind in second place. The full breakdown of the services is as below (though Merlin would not divulge financial breakdown).

Top 10 Service Rankings For Merlin Users



iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes


Spotify Spotify Spotify Spotify


Amazon MP3 Amazon MP3 Amazon MP3 Amazon MP3


eMusic eMusic Deezer Deezer


YouTube YouTube eMusic Beatport


Deezer Beatport YouTube eMusic


beatport Deezer Google YouTube


Google Play Rhapsody Rhapsody Juno


rDio Google Play rDio Musicload


Musicload Juno Download Beatport Rdio

With Merlin members boasting a 12-20% higher share in the streaming market compared to the overall digital market in the US and UK, its fair to say, despite immediate prejudices expressed towards the streaming format over how much it benefits artists financially, the average independent record consumer and provider are mutually benefiting from it.

This mutual-beneficial dynamic between provider and consumer is one reinforced by Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, who states in the report that the nature  of the so-called “new generation services” has created both “a new dynamic of consumer freedom, limitless choice and myriad paths to discovery” and doubly has “put a lot of control back into the hands of rights owners.”

Mr Caldas discussed the survey results as part of a keynote speech at the UK’s Great Escape Festival last week, opening his address by saying: ”Five years on from the establishment of Merlin, it is clear that the streaming business is coming of age.”

This sense of autonomy in the digital music landscape is one which Caldas perceives as unique and suggestive of the type of consumer that independent listeners are. More importantly it is a landscape that needs to be protected, as Caldas prophetically forewarns:

“But the ecosystem is fragile: power is more concentrated than ever, and we are seeing an attempted land grab by the largest companies for digital market shares as they try to recreate the old-market advantages they are clearly losing in the digital space.”

With a so-called “consumer freedom” being enjoyed by indie listeners “bringing incremental value to the market,” or more importantly expanding the independent market through “subscription space” rather than “physical or download space,” the potential growth of the independent sector thanks to streaming services means Merlin members could expect royalties topping $65 million by the end of 2013.



Promoting Yourself On Facebook, MySpace or Elsewhere

An Article from Music News Nashville’s Dan Harr

Music News Nashville…MusicNewsNashville


Okay… every day we receive event notifications and emails for bands’ and songwriters’ gigs.  We LOVE to promote you on Music News Nashville, but MANY of you need to learn how to better promote yourself.  We suggest you use the following guidelines to better help MNN and others get your information out there so more people will attend your gigs:

1.  Send your information AT LEAST ONE WEEK in advance.  Don’t send it last minute, or the day before.  We simply won’t put it up on our SHOWCASES AND EVENTS pages unless we have at least three or four days to promote you, and preferably longer.  Otherwise, it’s not worth the time for either of us.  No one will see it in a timely manner and YOU lose out by not getting the word out there.  Ideally, you will send out the information a month in advance, and then again one week in advance.  BUT – DO NOT overdo it and send it out every day or every week… you’ll turn people off and they won’t want to come.

2.  ALWAYS include the FULL ADDRESS and information about the venue where you are playing.  I cannot tell you the number of times I get something saying “I’m playing at Shorty’s Bar.”  Okay… WHERE is Shorty’s bar?  What city?  What street?  Get real… you want people to come hear you, they NEED to know where.

3.  Create POSTERS and images that you can send along with your announcement.  They catch people’s eye better than just text… Which of the following would YOU look at first?



Steve Helms and Charla Corn-acoustic show
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
7:30pm – 10:30pm
Railhead BBQ
Willowpark, TX





Paparazzi: A Wednesday Night Dance Party
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
305 Broadway (3rd ave entrance)
Nashville, TN


Paparazzi: A Wednesday Night Dance Party attracts a stylish, sophisticated crowd that make up the elite of Nashville’s social scene. This is one party that you definitely want to be seen at. EMGpromo and Nashville’s Elite will be taking care of your cover and supplying you with beer to sip on all night. Get your picture snapped by the Paparazzi or take a minute and hop into our Video Confessional Booth and let Nashville know what’s on your mind. Both will be featured on the website. This is your chance to be a local celebrity!! So bring all your friends and we will see you Wednesday night!


This is the way these two gigs were sent to me.  In the FIRST one, where is the “Railhead BBQ” located?  We know it’s in Willowpark TX, but WHERE???  I’m not going to drive all over the city trying to find it, and I don’t want to spend the time looking it up.  TELL ME where it is!  Plus, the ad is BORING and doesn’t contain any information about the event.  (Sorry Steve and Charla for using you as an example, but you definitely need to better promote yourself.)

In the SECOND announcement, they included an eye-catching poster AND information about the event which let’s me know what’s going on, makes it sound interesting and catches my attention.

4.  If you’re going to make your announcement a TEXT-only one, then you NEED to make it interesting enough to catch my eye and tell me WHY I want to come to it.

5.  Why should you promote yourself outside your area?  Because you never know who might be in your town on vacation or passing through.  Perhaps the chairman or VP of a major label is in town visiting relatives and looking for something to do that night… The more you promote yourself, the more people will see YOU!!!

Music News Nashville will promote your gig ANYWHERE in North America and Canada, but you need to help us better promote YOU by investing the time to do it right.

You can send us your events through FB or directly to Dan: CLICK HERE

Good luck in better promoting yourself.

Tips on Playing Live Music as a Band


By Blake Guthrie for

play as a bandThe absolute, number-one, most important thing to remember when playing live music in front of an audience is this:




It doesn’t matter if you are a serious folk act, or a surf-rock band, if the audience senses you are uncomfortable on stage they will become uncomfortable themselves and only applaud because they are being polite. They might have paid a lot of money to see your act in a club, or they might have paid nothing at all, because it’s an open mic night at a local coffeehouse, but a live performance is a fluid situation and no one likes to see an act uncomfortable on stage. Which leads us to our next bit of advice:




Bring your favorite throw rug from home to stand on, make friends with the sound guy, draw an imaginary circle three feet around you and declare that it is “your space” and then proceed to make it yours by behaving like a mad person (as long as it includes our first tip above). Basically, just do your thing and pretend like the white hot spotlight isn’t there. Every audience is dying to be turned on and it’s up to you to do it. So, how do you turn them on:




Being well-rehearsed is of paramount importance. It’s like preparing for the big test in school. You’re ready to go if you’re well rehearsed, but once you get on stage things won’t go like they did in rehearsal. Be prepared for this as well. Going from the rehearsal space to the stage is like entering a new frontier. It is at this point you must heed the advice that Yoda gave Luke Skywalker and “unlearn what you have learned.” Which leads us to our final tip:




The true designation of a professional isn’t the money they make, it’s the ability to cover up a mistake on stage. Most times the audience will not even recognize that it happened…if you just keep going like it didn’t happen. There are many ways to do this.


If a singer forgets the verse, revert to the chorus, regain your bearings and come back to the verse.


If a player misses a note, just play the wrong note again, so it feels like a pattern.


If none of these tricks work, just smile and laugh and keep going, as if to say “yeah, I just messed up, but it doesn’t matter, because I’m having the time of my life up here.” The audience will smile and laugh too, which means they are still with you.


Which, of course, brings us full circle back to a slight variation of tip number one:




You shouldn’t want to play music on stage just to be rich and famous. You should do it because it is in your blood and you truly enjoy doing it. If being rich is what you want, open a fast-food chain with your rich Uncle or get into investment banking. If being famous for fifteen minutes is what you want date Paris Hilton or be a YouTube troll until something hits, but for God’s sake don’t start a band. If you’re a singer or a musician, know that all you can do is get better at your craft, no matter how talented you are. And have fun doing it.


Happy playing, all.


Playing Live 101

By , GuideMay 10, 2013


Got a big show coming up this weekend? That means your fan base could seriously swell in the next 72 hours or so – at least as long as you make the most of your gig. What can you do to ensure your shows go well? Turn up ready to play, for one thing, but everything from having a mailing list ready to playing nice with the promoter and venue counts. If you’re new to the live circuit, check out these concert tips in Playing Live 101 to make sure your event goes off without a hitch.

Related Articles:

From Heather McDonald, your Guide to Music Careers

Music Contracts and Publishing

Music contracts and publishing might not be the most exciting part of the music industry, but they are definitely among the most important part for your bottom line. Find out how to protect yourself in the music industry with information on fair contracts and your publishing rights.

How to Copyright Your Music

What Happens on Gig Night?

By , Guide


Question: What Happens on Gig Night?
Answer:What happens when you play your first show? If you are worried about how things will work when you turn up to play your first gig, here’s a rundown of what you need to know:

  1. Load-in

    Before the night of the show, you should get information about the timing of everything that will happen for the evening. The first time on the list will be the load-in time. This is the time at which you can arrive at the venue and start carrying your stuff in. 

    The musicians that will be soundchecking first can start setting their stuff up on the stage right away. Everyone else should put their gear someplace out of the way and wait until they get to soundcheck.

  2. Soundcheck

    Soundcheck is a chance for everyone to perfect their sound for the space. Musicians get to work with the sound engineer to figure out the mix the audience will hear and the mix the band hears on stage. 

    Soundcheck usually starts an hour or so after load-in, but sometimes, load-in and soundcheck times are the same. Soundchecks go in reverse order that the musicians will perform at the show. The headliners go first, and the first support act goes last. This means that sometimes the first support act may find they don’t get much of a soundcheck at all. It’s not ideal, and it can be frustrating, but it happens often, so be ready to roll with it.

  3. Doors

    “Doors” refers to the time that the venue starts letting audience members into the space. By the time that doors open, it is best to have all of the “behind the scenes” kind of work done – the merch table should be set up, the soundchecks should be finished and so on. Again, though, that’s in a perfect world. In real life, sometimes you’ll find that you’re scrambling to get stuff done while people are filing into the room. That’s OK. 


Beyond these things, there are only a few other times you need to know:

  • When your set starts
  • When your set ends
  • What time the show has to be over

You should make a point of being ready to go when your set is scheduled to start. You may find that things are running behind and that you can’t actually start at that time, but make sure you’re not the reason the show is running late. 

Also, if your set gets pushed back, be prepared to shorten it. The headlining act is entitled to get their full time on stage, and so if they want it, as frustrating as it may be, you should back off and let them have it. Likewise, even if the show is running on time, don’t let your set run over.

If you are getting paid for the show, you will usually get your money at the end of the night, after all of the music is finished.

If you need some more information about gigs, these articles will help:


Opening Band Etiquette

By , Guide


Being chosen as the opening band for a more established act can mean great things in your music career. You will get to play for larger audience than you might draw at your own show – an audience who might then get excited about turning out for your next headlining set. An added bonus is that peppered in amongst those potential new fans might be members of the press and industry who may become contacts for future opportunities.

All of those good things could evaporate pretty quickly if you violate some of the unwritten rules of being the opening act, though. Some of these rules might a touch frustrating, but take the long term view – making a good impression now is money in the bank for your future music career.

1. Co-Promote

There may not be a formal arrangment for you to roll up your sleeves and help promote the show, but get on board and do what you can. Announce the show on your website, social networking sites and via your mailing list. Be sure to include info about the headliners in the promotion you do to your existing fans.

Contacting the local press and radio may also be helpful, but consider checking with the show promoter before you do that. They may have plans for reaching out to the local media, and you don’t want to step on their toes and confuse the message. Generally speaking, the larger the show, the larger promotion machine behind it, so do check before making the media calls.

2. Watch The Clock

When the headlining musicians, their management, agent or the show promoter asks you to be somewhere at a certain time, be there. Yes, even if you know if absolutely everyone else involved in the show is going to be late and you’re going to be spending a lot of time standing around waiting. If something happens that is going to delay you – getting lost on the way to venue, flat tire, forgotten instrument, etc, etc, etc – call someone and let them know. Even if they treat you like you’re giving them T.M.I., better to err on the side of being thorough and showing that you respect the schedule set for you than to bank on the fact that everyone will be cool with you rolling in when you can.

3. Accept The Soundcheck

In most cases, soundcheck starts with the headliners and finishes with the first opening act. The reason for that is partially a practical one – the first opener will take the stage first, of course, so when they soundcheck last, the stage is set up with their gear so the show is ready to start.

However, the reason is also partially hierarchy. Allowing the headliners to get the first crack at soundcheck means they can kind of take their time and soundcheck until they feel good about their set. Sometimes, this means the headliners end up taking up ALL the soundcheck time – or most of it – and that of course means the opening act gets little or no time to check their own sound and get comfortable with the stage/acoustics.

For an opener, that can cause some serious stress, but your best bet is to grin and bear it rather than kicking up a fuss. Sure, it would be great if the headliners made sure everyone got a pop at a soundcheck, but it IS their show and their perogative to take the time.

4. Discuss Merch

Before you assume that you’ll be setting up a merch table the night of the show, discuss it with whoever booked you for the gig. Sometimes, headliners (or their reps) frown on support bands selling their merch because any money thrown your way is money not spent on the headliners’ merch. That may rub the wrong way – especially if the headliners are making big bucks for the show while you’re getting a pittance – but you’re kind of bound to the rules set by the people who invited you to play the show. Have a discussion about this before the night of the show.

5. Respect The Set Length

Even if it feels like the audience is eating it up and you’re having a great time on stage, wrap up your set when you’re supposed to. When you run over, you take time away from the headliners. It’s important that they get their full set – or if they don’t, that it is not your fault. Remember, the headliners are who the audience is REALLY there to see, so just be glad you made some new fans and promise them a longer set in the future.

6. Stay for The Show

Unless there is a valid reason why you have to play and dash – you’ve got a plane to catch, a 14 hour drive home, an illness or something along those lines – don’t skip out before the headliners play their set. Yes, even if they are not your favorite band, stick around and watch them play.

7. Say Thank You

Say a quick “thank you” to everyone who helped you land this opportunity and everyone who helped the show run smoothly. From the headliners and their reps to the venue manager and sound engineer, a quick thank you goes a long way.

8. Learn More

Learn more about shows, from booking to promotion to making the most of your audience inPlaying Live 101.