How The Music Industry Is Changing In 2017 And Why You Need To Know
With 2017 just about underway and the blizzards that have been battering the United Kingdom over with … according to the press a dusting of light snow for 8 hours constitutes a blizzard! Where real storms are finally clearing though is in the world of music, the music industry is seeing some significant shifts in both streaming and the way music will be distributed.
If you’ve not already noticed Ed Sheeran quietly released two singles the Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill. This is interesting for a couple of reasons, one it’s a break from the traditional format of releasing one single, promoting it and then trying to reach the top of the charts, and two releasing two at the same time to a streaming platform before any major promotion or release has created a huge buzz and wetted the appetite of fans for the album. This under the radar (sort of!) release streamed over 52 million plays for Shape Of You in the first week alone breaking Adele’s previous record of 46,9 million but what’s really interesting is both tracks combined streamed 88m plays!
Streaming the big time player.
This means that streaming services are not only now well established they are now the platform of choice not just to get your music out there but to seriously promote and market yourself from the beginning. Of course Ed Sheeran is a big star and has a huge fan base and of course that helps but if he’s doing business their along with Drake, Adele et al then there must be good reason.
The other important consideration to take note of is that music streaming services now have more paying customers than Netflix. This is great news, for the past five years consumers were happy to pay for TV and movie services but not audio music. The notion that music should be free to consume and not be paid for finally seems to be shifting away, which is great news for undiscovered artists, bedroom producers, and acts that have a following but not of the size that brings in 88m plays in a week! Free music is a bind and a blessing for aspiring artists, the biggest acts will always make great sales because they have a big corporate machine behind them and of course the are popular too. It’s the aspiring artists that suffer the most from the ‘music should be free’ attitude.
However, a recent report published by Midia found that there were 100.4m paying subscribers spread across Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Napster and Tidal compared to 87.8m on Netflix. Ultimately who has the biggest number of subscribers isn’t important to us what is is the fact that music lovers are now realising the importance of paying for music, which in turn filters back to the artist putting a few dollars back in the pockets of the music makers enabling new artists to grow and survive what seemed like an industry that was dying as quickly as vinyl and we all know what happened there … a part of the industry that is set to break a billion $ worth of sales. Like vinyl the music industry is alive!
So What’s Changing And Why Should You Care?
With the growth of streaming now so dominant it raises the question of music quality. We all know mp3s are not the best at preserving your perfect mastering in logic masters pristinely crafted at 96k/24bit but that is all going to change in 2017 and you need to know about it in order to ensure your music sounds amazing because if it doesn’t your fans are gonna know about it!
At the beginning of January 17 all three major labels (Universal, Sony, Warner), Pandora and the Recording Industry Of America along with Pandora and Napster announced HD Tracks. HD Tracks aims to offer high audio quality formats with high resolution downloads so consumers can listen to an artists music at the same quality as when it was mixed and mastered in the studio. The mp3 format isn’t dead it will continue but consumers will be given a choice to listen to music as the artist, band, producer, label intended and this isn’t just great news it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious news!
The above companies aren’t the only ones getting in on the high audio quality game either, Jay Z’s Tidal have introduced Master Audio a new high fidelity option that will allow fans to consume music with optimised audio quality. Not all music on their platform will be Master Audio compatible but it’s a start and will of course grow if fans show the desire and need to listen to their favourite artists in the best possible quality.
This is all positive news for both music makers and consumers.
What Does This Mean For You?
For you as the artist or producer it’s all great news in my view; streaming services give you the power to promote your music on platforms that in the UK alone has over a billion plays a week. People are flocking to Spotify and other services, if you can get on a popular playlist that billion plays a week could be a tidy return or a great way to promote your music even if you only get even 0.1% of that billion weeks plays that’s a gonna be a good reach.
So what it means is for you as the artist or producer it’s even more important your music sounds not just great but SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS GREAT!
If streaming services are moving over to offer high-res audio files online along with the new audio standards of LUFS across platforms it’s even more important to ensure you music is sounding the best that it can be. You need to be able to master your music correctly in Logic Pro X so that when it’s delivered online your fans will consume your music as you want them to hear it.
I think the future is bright and the music industry is moving in a sensible direction as it gets a handle on the new world order of distributing music. It’s not perfect I admit but it’s getting there. The question is will you be there with it? Will your music stand up against the other songs professionally mastered getting a billion plays a week?
I sure hope so 🙂
Happy mixing and mastering!
And just in case you’re slightly concerned that I didn’t make it through the snow blizzards and storm surges of January 2017 don’t worry I’M ALIVE!!!!