Balanced Breakfast Denver met at Mutiny Cafe in Denver on Saturday, July 11, 2015 and welcomed Storm Gloor, Associate Professor of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies at UC Denver. In addition to a great many music business credits, Storm organizes CAM Records, a student-run label.
The following is a rough transcription of Storm’s talk, which preceded a round of Q&A from the attendees of about 15 in number.
Balanced Breakfast asked Storm to speak on the monetization of music, and he came prepared with 5 main points.
- The book, Music, Money & Success
by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec, which Storm considers required reading for anyone pursuing a career in music.
- Content Capitalization
Be it a song, video, performance, merch – there are many ways to think about gaining revenue from the content you create. The traditional model of making money from recorded music has changed irrevocably, and artists must find new ways to put their talents to work.
One way to start is by asking “How is this going to generate revenue?” Plenty of traditional ways are still viable, but there are countless ways waiting to be tried.
For example, CAM Records artist Chemistry Club made a comic book of their songs to promote the album at Comic-Con. Cross-promotion starts with knowing your audience(s).
People Google newsworthy things: There’s a local artist who writes songs based on current events to pick up on terms that people will be searching. This propels the song titles into the search results.
- Don’t worry about the money (or lack thereof) in streaming right now. Get in the game.
So many things are up in the air with the music industry right now, but don’t let yourself miss the action sitting idly by. More important right now is creating your music and getting it to listeners, and you will not have missed the opportunity to grow as an artist while the monetization gets sorted out.
- “Playing from the heart” vs. “That’s what people will pay for”
It’s not a simple this-or-that choice, but these are two big competing directions in the creation of any art. The typical YouTube music video loses a large part of its viewers within 8 seconds – that’s how long you have before many of them will click away. This moves us toward versions of songs that will make them more commercial, such as shorter intros. Services like Pandora tend to like longer tracks, because their payment structure benefits from fewer overall songs played per hour. There are countless little considerations in trying to find what clicks.
That said, go ahead and create the “playing from the heart” version in as many styles as you like. We’re just talking about those who are playing the “people will pay for that” game.
- Soundexchange.com is the online equivalent of the PROs.
The various Performing Rights Organizations (PROs: BMI, ASCAP, SESAC – if you are not yet familiar with these, get moving and pick one) get you paid for broadcast and live performances, and Soundexchange gets you paid for online streaming. Services like Spotify and Pandora are separate from this function; Soundexchange covers things like Internet radio. Affiliate yourself there as an artist/copyright owner, and make sure all your tracks have appropriate metadata like ISRC codes, which you commonly get through a distributor like CDBaby or Tunecore.
If you have content out there that’s been getting played online, you might have payments already waiting for you. It might not be much, but it adds up.
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