February Industry Wrap-Up

February 28, 2019

By Kevin Cornell

Another month is coming to a close, and TuneCore is here to fill all you independent artists in on some of the headlines you may have missed.

Whether it’s music streaming, publishing, product updates, studies and reports, or op-eds, we’re rounding up some music industry must-reads for all of you looking to stay in touch with the business and advance a career!

YouTube ‘Premiers’ Is Hitting With Musician
YouTube announced it’s ‘premiers’ feature in 2018 as a way for channel owners to pre-schedule video launches. What artists are finding is that fans are really reacting to the build-up of excitement around music videos and other announcements they can launch from their channel, as it’s easy to promote and allows fans to chat live together. While the YouTube Blog uses superstar Ariana Grande as an example, there’s always reason to be thinking about optimizing any channel for promotion. Read more here.

Independent U.S. Creators Earned $6.8 Billion Online in 2018
Our friends at MusicAlly have followed up on their 2017 study that calculate s the value of the “independent creator economy” in the U.S. (via Re:Create Coalition). This year they’re back and happy to report even more positive numbers surrounding the U.S.-based group of creators – many of which we’re thrilled to have call TuneCore their distributor! While the number in our headline is certainly pleasing to the eyes, there’s more stats to check out. Read more here.

US Recording Academy Announces “Producer and Engineering Inclusion Initiative”
In an effort to address previous criticisms of the overall lack of female representation within the recording industry at-large, the U.S. Recording Academy (think: GRAMMYs) began pushing their “Producer and Engineering Inclusion” initiative in February. The initiative asks “that at least two women are identified and therefore considered as part of the selection process” whenever a producer or engineer is hired for a project. We’re thrilled to see such a prestigious music institution stepping it up for gender equality in the industry! Read more here.

Brits Are Still Turning The Dials
88% of them, as it turns out! Rajar (Radio Joint Audience Research) released data from the past seven years that suggests a whopping number of British adults are still very much tuning into the radio. Averaging 20.7 hours of live radio per week, 63% of these adults are relying on digital radio for their tunes at some point during their day. Puts to rest that stale notion of “Why bother with radio?”, doesn’t it? This should be especially helpful for indie artists looking for new digital avenues to promote their music! Read more here.

Spotify Closes out 2018 Strong
Revenue is up 30%! Paying subscriber base is up to 96 million! Can’t slow our friends at Spotify down. This is always good news for independent artists who distribute to Spotify via TuneCore because they’re receiving 100% of their streaming revenue, but there are some even cooler statistics and figures on the business end of things for the platform. For example, this was the first time in company history they’ve been ‘in the black’ across the board for operating income, net income and free cash flow. Read more here.

NMPA President Says To Streaming Platforms: Don’t Appeal
With a recent ruling that will enforce a 44% increase in royalty rates paid out by US on-demand subscription services, some folks in the music industry have expressed fears of an upcoming battle or appeal. It’s true that a 44% raise over five years is significant enough to rattle streamers, and certainly beneficial to the songwriters and artists receiving these rates. National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) president and CEO David Israelite decided in February to issue a warning to these platforms to avoid declaring “war against songwriters”. Read more here.

YouTube Simplifies Its Strike System For Creators
YouTube announced in mid-February that it would officially be making it easy for the 2% of its community that attempts to upload content that “crosses the line”. While most artists and creators don’t violate their terms, YouTube felt that a one-time warning gives people a chance to educate themselves further before the first strike counts toward them in a penalizing manner. The warning won’t reset after 90 days and their three-strike policy will remain in place (with freezes and possible termination). Read more here.

Japan’s Streaming Revenue Surpasses Download Sales
That’s right! With all these 2018 revenue reports coming in from all angles, the RIAJ has reported that for the first time, streaming revenues in Japan have overtaken download sales. Streaming generated around $315 million, while downloads drove around $231million. MusicAlly points out between the importance of YouTube and the popularity of physical consumption in the Japanese music market, we still have a lot more to learn. Read more here.