Mobile Phone Broadcasting

If you’re in a band that’s just starting out, you know all about sending last minute text reminders to your friends, relling them to turn up to your gig. If you’ve had some success then you know the power of information and marketing, and if you’ve read our self-promotion guide you’ve hopefully got a list of your fan’s contact details that you’re building as time goes by; names, emails, mobile numbers… Good for you!

broadtexterlogoNow here’s a little tool to help you make use of that laboriously collected contact list: if you live in the States, that is. www.broadtexter.com allows you to send text messages to whole lists of contacts at once, so no more scrolling through adding everyone in your phone to the send list, and it also allows them to send messages and pictures back to your broadtexter page for other fans to look at. You can schedule text alerts in advance, and select only people in a certain region or group to recieve them. What’s more, it ties in with your social network profiles (facebook, myspace, bebo, xanga etc.). A pretty powerful tool for getting in touch with your fanbase and promoting your music, gigs and merchandise. Of course, we’d love it to work for you, so we can make you more money by distributing your music and making loads of sales!

Berklee College – Free Lessons

We’re going to start blogging a little more about stuff off our own site that will be useful to you guys, the contributing artists. First up is this series of online lessons from the Berklee College of Music. There are a load of tutorials on different aspects of production, using different software like ProTools, Ableton, Reason, pointers on recording specific instruments and so forth. It’s all a little basic, as they want you to sign up to study at their nice expensive college, but it’s a good place to pick up some tips if you’re starting out with a new bit of kit.

http://www.music-production-school.com/

Lady Gaga Tops UK Singles Chart for 2nd Week Running, But Does She Really Have Talent?

lady-gaga-lady-gaga-pictureLady Gaga’s “Poker Face” (Interscope/Universal) started a second week at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart yesterday.

I recently saw an indepth interview with Lady Gaga, who has previously written songs for Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls before actually getting signed for her talents. Lady Gaga has always been very outspoken even stating that: “I will be at the top of music for the next 10 years”.

Digital Rights NZ/UK

Some news that might not seem immediately edifying, but might have far reaching implications. The Intellectual Property Office in the UK has issued a ‘Scoping Document‘ attempting to assess the potential role of a Digital Rights Agency. Given what’s currently happening between the PRS and Google, the rights of artists to benefit from the exploitation of their music online is quite a hot topic at the moment.

More rumblings in the same region of the law are sounding in New Zealand, where Google has deposited it’s two cents in a discussion being held by the Telecommunication Carrier’s Forum – a think-tank organised by the TeleComms and ISP comapnies in that region to decide how to monitor and deal with digital copyright violations. Google has come in on the side of the consumer, saying that the idea of banning users who are caught infringing three times from using the ISP’s services – in effect cutting them off access to the internet as a whole – was too heavy a penalty. They also chime in with approval of measures designed to protect ISP’s from the consequences of copyright infringement perpetrated by their customers. Google is in a pretty unique position to provide a balanced opinion, given that they are operating a service across every nation in the world, but their ultimate position is always going to be pro-internet and pro-traffic of information, including music, because that is essentially pro-Google. More pageviews, more ad revenue.

How then, to deal with copyright violation on the net? The RIAA is abandoning it’s programme of coming down heavy on individuals in the hope that it will act as a deterrent to other pirates, as sending threatening letters and scaring little old ladies seems to be generating more negative publicity for them than deterrent effect on the pirates. Perhaps prosecuting people like middle-aged Mavis from New Hampshire in their fearful absence is not quite the shining moralistic proof that pinching a devious little ferret of a computer scientist with a server-filled basement of porn and Michael Jackson albums might be, but then he’d have used proxies and covered his tracks, and would be much harder to catch.

Ultimately this blogger just hopes all the legislation and discussion and arguing and imprisoning of housewives helps us home in on the inevitable. It is inevitable that consumers on the net will find a way of quickly and conveniently getting hold of the music they want, through filesharing, paid downloads, ad supported models or whatever other method they can. It is inevitable that artists must profit from the consumption of their music, directly or indirectly, because otherwise they won’t be able to afford to make music, and we’ll all have to listen to U2 and the Beatles for evermore, and no-one wants that… So we must, eventually, inevitably arrive at a solution that bridges that gap; that provides a way for music consumers to get what they want cheaply, quickly and conveniently, and for artists to profit from it. Some sort of commercial, digital radio… I’m going to go and listen to Spotify while I think about what that perfect solution might be.

Digital Noise (CNet Music Site) Promotes our Services

digital-noise-cnet-music-blog

Here at RouteNote we were lucky enough to get some great press over the weekend from Digital Noise. Digital Noise is a digital music news site from CNet (owners of Download.com, TV.com and more).

CD Baby and Tunecore already offer digital distribution through iTunes and other stores, but both of them charge you money whether you make a sale or not. In contrast, U.K.-based RouteNote charges you nothing until you make a sale, at which point they take a 10 percent cut of whatever the store pays out.

Specifics: CDBaby charges you a one-time set-up fee of $35 (which covers setting up a store for physical CDs as well), then takes 9 percent of digital download revenues. TuneCore, which does digital distribution only (no CDs) charges you $20 a year for each album they stock, but takes no cut. So on a straight numbers basis, RouteNote’s a better deal than CD Baby for digital-only distribution, and a better deal than TuneCore if you expect to sell low volumes of downloads. Of course, there are a lot of other factors to consider, like customer service and speed of submission to iTunes and the other stores, but RouteNote looks like it’s worth checking out.

You can check out the full article here.

Digital Music Stores Compared

A lot of people get in touch with us to ask how many digital stores we distribute music to, and what proportion of the digital music market they represent. We also hear comments on the relatively small number of people we deal with in comparison to the huge lists of partners at some of our competitors, e.g. CDbaby, Emubands, IODA…(without mentioning the duplication in the last two).

The simple truth is that while a long list of digital music stores might look good, beyond the top 3 or 4 retailers it makes very little difference to overall sales how many your music’s in. It’s fairly common knowledge that iTunes is the biggest player in the market, but the scale of their dominance is pretty staggering. Neilsen (the ratings and market reporting firm) reports total US music sales of 1,513 million units in 2008, with 1070 million of those sales being digital downloads. That’s a billion digital music downloads across the entire US.

In 2008, across all territories, iTunes sold more than Two Billion tracks.

Apple iTunes Store Music Sales
Date Tracks Sold (Millions)
01/08/2004 100
16/12/2004 200
02/03/2005 300
10/05/2005 400
18/07/2005 500
10/01/2006 850
23/02/2006 1,000
12/09/2006 1,500
10/01/2007 2,000
09/04/2007 2,500
31/07/2007 3,000
15/01/2008 4,000
19/06/2008 5,000
06/01/2009 6,000

Excuse the horrid old excel graph, I’m still running Office ’03…

itunes-sales-graph1

It’s difficult to get a believable estimate for the size of the global digital music market, but given that the USA is the biggest single economy by a long way (the whole of the EU only just beats it in the CIA factbook at $14.98 trillion to $14.58 trillion), you begin to get a picture of how much of a monopoly iTunes has. Their competitors are of a different order: Amazon weighed in at 27 million digital tracks sold in the first six months of 2008, and the CEO of eMusic (David Pakman) estimated that Amazon have got about 4%-5% of the US music market, which going from Neilsen’s estimates puts them at about 48,150,000 tracks annually. Pakman also claims an approx. 10%-15% market share for eMusic, with 7 million downloads sold monthly (7*12 = 84).

By browsing eMusic’s sales milestone press releases, you can plot a rough course for their sales:

eMusic Digital Music Sales
Date Tracks Sold (Millions)
01/09/2004 0
01/12/2004 3
01/12/2006 100
25/09/2007 160
14/04/2008 200
20/11/2008 250

I’ll spare you another ugly graph. eMusic has sold 250 million tracks since it’s relaunch in 2004, and Amazon’s only been going for about a year now, 300 million tracks let’s say, which pales beside iTunes’ 6 billion total sales.

One can argue with the estimates, but the main thrust of my argument is hopefully becoming clear. A conservative 15% market share between Amazon and eMusic, along with iTunes’ >80% doesn’t leave more than 5% for any other players in the USA: with just those three selling your music for you online, you’ve got 95% of the market covered. It’s not that the remaining 5% isn’t worth catering to, but the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and customers in the last few percentiles get harder and harder to chase down, especially given the plethora of blossoming and failing little music shops that appear and dissappear. We concentrate our efforts on the vendors that matter.

P.S.

The controversial bulk of music discovery and consumption in the electronic wilderness, outside the paid-for enclosure, is happening on torrent sites like the embattled Pirate Bay, and the more respectable Limewire and Mininova, and promoting RouteNote artists on these channels is something we’re looking into. Ubiquitous innovator Trent Reznor or NIN positively encourages people to download his music from P2P networks, in order to drive sales of his ‘premium’ paid for content.

Download The Peoples String Foundation – Red Dress Woman in Black via Bittorrent

RouteNote has been lucky enough to partner with Mininova to offer some of our video content to the 100 million people who use the site every month. Mininova is the worlds largest bittorrent client in which receives over 800 million pageviews every month.

One of the first videos we have added to Mininova is The Peoples String Foundation – Red Dress Woman in Black. The video can be currently viewed on our YouTube channel, but if you want to download the video to place on your computer or ipod here is the link to the torrent on Mininova.

Enjoy!

In the future RouteNote will be adding more videos and other content to Mininova and other bittorrent sites to help drive promotion of our artists. Stay tuned for more freebies coming soon.

January 2009: Sales Statistics Finalised

It’s been another record breaking month for sales as RouteNote.com grows from strength to strength. 

Sales statistics for January 2009 have now been finalised, so be sure to check in on how your music is doing!

A big thank you to all account holders for your continued support and patience whilst we continue to close deals and develop the website. 

Signed, 

The RouteNote Team

A promising beginning for Steph, as ‘Chasing Butterflies’ gathers online interest!

Chasing Butterflies

A hot new addition to RouteNote.com this month has been the “eagerly awaited” release of Steph’s ‘Chasing Butterflies’. The catchy, up-beat (strangely familiar) track is mainly recognised from its  radio and TV time for a CSL commercial, which aired in 2008. A release of the song had been insisted on by adoring fans. 

“At last! This song has been stuck in so many people’s heads since it appeared on a certain TV advertisement last summer, and its kind of strange to finally hear the whole song. But worth waiting for. I really hope her other song ‘Beautiful’ appears on iTunes soon.”

“This artist is going to be another huge product of lancashire. I can’t wait for her second song to be released.”

If you like well produced, melodic, modern pop ‘Chasing Butterflies’ comes with high recommendations. 

Check it out on Steph - Chasing Buterflies - Single