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I recently signed up for Content ID for my sound recordings. I have an idea what could be going on. Here's how Content ID works for sound recording copyright holders (or at least for me): - When I signed up, I was prompted to add a list of all my songs and ISRC codes. - Google's system identifies any NEW video that has my music in it (from the video metadata from what I've been able to determine) and "claims" it for me. - I can't actually claim the soundtrack of any video on my own, it is only done by the Google bots automatically when a 3rd party uploads a video. - Content ID gives you 3 choices for what to to when a video is found with your content in it: 1) monetize 2) track 3) block. I have option 2, to track, as my default. So it sounds like what could have happened here is that the Content ID robots found a video for whatever reason and Warner has the default set to block? I actually signed up for Content ID to track all the videos that ALREADY have my music in them. For a very brief window when my account became active (2 days) I was able to use the Content Management interface to search for and claim the audio of videos. I managed to claim the audio for about 20 videos before that feature was disabled on my account. I was told that claiming videos is not a feature that is supposed to be active for sound recording copyright holders and it was a "bug" that I was allowed to do it. We can't know for sure what happened buts it's an idea...
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In reply to Chancius. I'm not seeing a big pattern in any direction. Looks like my iTunes sales for October were roughly the same as preceeding months but November was less. Amazon sales went up, but it was Christmas season. Bandcamp went down in October, and back up in November. I'm recording right now and not in a "new" cycle so things don't spike that much. My agent is booking the same number of shows, although I'm deliberately sitting out a few months because I'm recording...and because I have a 1 year old! In other words, I don't think I'm seeing any affect from Spotify, but 5571 streams in a month probably isn't enough to warrant anything major.
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This conversation is about much larger and more interesting issues than money but as a data point, I thought it would be helpful to post an unsigned artist's Spotify revenue for one month. FYI the only constant in the music biz is change, so this is my strategy today: half my back catalog is available on Spotify and for those who want to stream my newest stuff, they can from my own site.
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I don't buy the argument that just having music on Spotify should be adequate payment for artists not on major labels. One of the revolutionary things about iTunes was that all artists get the same deal: major or indie, Apple keeps 30%. That was a big deal. If you, the artist, sell well, then you show up in the top sellers list and you might get a banner that leads to even more sales. Its called a meritocracy. I am not against streaming but I expected better from a revolutionary company like Spotify. A secretive, tiered system is so last millennium.
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I'd like to hear Spotify respond to the issue that shares of their advertising revenue go only to the majors and not to indies.
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Yet again, a vague, non-answer from Spotify. I'm sure Spotify is generating some money for the big labels. My beef is that they treat indie artists like second class citizens: they pay different rates for different artists, based on the secretive deals that no one is allowed to talk about. Read this Guardian article: The end result is that a major artist makes more per play than an indie artist. They've never responded to that one as far as I'm aware. Anyway, I don't know what my Spotify revenue would be since I'm not up there. Its not for any ideological reason but because I have direct deals with my digital distributors (like iTunes) and Spotify only accepts from aggregators. I've yet to find an aggregator that will allow me to pick and choose which streaming music services I want to be in, and at the same time be ok with not handling my iTunes or Amazon mp3 distribution (which is where the real money is).
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This is such a deep topic! I think the main problem is that touring bands don't control their working or living environment. Here are some perhaps little-known logistical facts about touring bands: Mid-size to major bands live on buses: - They sleep on the bus, and when the bus arrives at the venue in the morning or afternoon, for the most part they are in the venue until after the show. - Buses don't have potable water. - Buses are designed to hold lots of small beverages (um, beer and soda) in tiny little drawers. There is very little space for large gallon jugs. - A tour bus might have up to 12 people living on it (pity them). Bands & crew need water: - They need water to drink at the show, during the day, overnight on the bus & to brush their teeth. - Water comes as part of the band's pay in their hospitality rider, which is in their show contract and provided at each gig by the promoter. This water has to last all day and last until the next gig. - Extra water comes directly from the band, in the form of money that the tour manager gives to the bus driver to keep the bus stocked with creature comforts (like coffee & cereal). - With rare exception, venues only have bottled water, or maybe the dressing room has a faucet in the bathroom. That should give you some sense of the amount of water consumed by a band each day. Its a bit like camping, but without ever going outside and with strangers providing you with food and drink. Venues already stock cases and cases of small bottles of water because they sell them to the public. Those cases are invariably what the band gets as their daily water ration. Eco-minded bands who are in demand might outfit their crew with metal bottles and specify that drinking water must be in multi-gallon jugs. The promoter will send out a runner to buy these along with the rest of the catering. Venues already stock the bottles, so those are practically free and you can get as much as you want. But the giant jugs are bought retail by the runner and there are never enough. Maybe things are different for the Dave Matthews Band, but on all the tours I've been on, but there always seems to be a water shortage. Say you have a metal bottle and you do our best to keep track of it as you move all your stuff in and out of a new venue every day.... you've still got to keep it filled and keep it nearby. The bottle might be in the dressing room, while you are onstage, or your bottle is on the bus and you are trapped backstage, or you've got your bottle, but the water jugs are in someone else's dressing room, or the ones on the bus are get the picture. I can't tell you how awful it is to wake up in the middle of the night on a long drive across some endless stretch of country. You're parched and the only thing to drink on the bus is beer. Everyone starts hoarding plastic bottles in their bunks. No matter how well intentioned the whole operation starts, by the end of the tour everyone is pretty focused on trying to survive: get enough sleep and food, and not lose their shit (both physically and psychologically)....and something like keeping track of a water bottle, and keeping it filled, just doesn't register. Little plastic bottles take over. So the bottom line: bands & crew don't control their working or living environment, and that environment is what needs fixing. I think most people on business trips would never put up with an office or hotel that doesn't have potable water! In a venue its often easier to get a beer than a glass of water. - Venues should have water dispensers backstage - Dressing rooms need to have water taps (often they don't have sinks). - Buses should have potable water Writing this is making me thirsty. I'm going to get a drink of water right now!
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2010 on Stage presents at Wallet Mouth
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Jan 13, 2010