Independent artists embrace new platforms as music drives media consumption


A US 2020 MRC Data Year-end report published this month in collaboration with Billboard highlighted the impact of Covid-19 on the entertainment landscape. Data shows that despite an initial decline, people are spending more and more time with music compared to all other types of media.

At the end of 2020, the report shows that on-demand audio consumption increased 17% to a record 872.6 billion streams. In the global recorded music market, on-demand audio streaming has grown with a 22.6% jump in total audio streaming at the end of 2020.

Lior Tibon, COO of Tidal, the Norwegian subscription music, podcast and video streaming service, says in the report: In-depth details on one track, music lovers have come to Tidal for an enriched experience. With the HiFi subscription we have seen significant growth – Master Tracks streaming has increased by 40%.

As more people turn to music, independent artists and labels are turning to innovative platforms that support increased collaboration, connection and profits around the world. The study features music company BandCamp, which at the start of the pandemic launched a new series that waived royalties and reportedly redirected $ 40 million in music and derivative revenue to independent artists in the world. during the nine days of the promotion.

Bandcamp is also credited with raising singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers to the Billboard chart, according to the report. Last year, the artists’ cover of “Iris” from the Goo Goo Dolls was released on November 13 as a one-day charity exclusive on the platform and reached # 57 on November 28 Hot 100 on 38,000 downloads sold during the week. ending November 19. All profits from the song would have gone to the national voting rights organization Fair Fight.

According to MRC Data, digital song sales for BandCamp’s one-day “Iris” campaign totaled 38,000 and exceeded individual artist sales for their entire catalog for the entire year (Bridgers at 18,000 and Rogers at 35,000). The campaign also populated the artists’ streaming numbers in their catalogs. In the week of “Iris” release, on-demand audio streams were up 3% from the previous week for Rogers and 18.2% for Bridgers. Video-on-demand streams increased 4.1% for Rogers and 6.1% for Bridgers from the previous week.

The report highlights another leader in the independent artist space, Merlin, a global digital rights agency for independent labels. According to Jeremy Sirota, CEO of Merlin, the awareness and growth of user-generated content and social media increased last year.

“Merlin members have always seized new opportunities, even in difficult times,” Sirota says in the report. “Merlin forged early adoption relationships in this space to support our members – we were the first partner to sign a sound recording deal with Snap, we took a look at Instagram Reels, we partnered with Triller and deepened our YouTube relationship. “

Ilich Rausa, founder of independent Milan label Rude Records, said live Instagram is always trending among artists looking for live fan interactions. He also mentions Twitch, which once popular among gamers has now proven to be useful for independent music artists looking for fan donations. Rude files’ american rock band A Will Away uses the Discord platform to host server chats and game nights with subscribers, and Patreon to engage fans in financially lucrative virtual music experiences.

Rausa says artists and labels who initially started using new platforms out of necessity during lockdowns now see them as essential to keeping fans informed and connected around the world. He even sees potential for the launch of a new live streaming platform, perhaps a “Spotify for Live Shows”, which could evolve and become a competitive alternative to live performances.

“I have a feeling that even after the artists have been able to meet fans, replay concerts and tour again, all of these tools will still be in use, because they will be the only way to reach fans all over the world simultaneously,” Rausa said. “The performers will surely have to keep the fans happy, or these people could move on to follow someone else who keeps them more engaged.”

Los Angeles-based vocal coach Kathleen Riggs (clients Dua Lipa and Ozzy Ozbourne), whose father Seth Riggs founded a popular vocal technique practiced by hundreds of Grammy winners including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Cher, moved on to virtual education on Skype, FaceTime and Zoom. She says she records all of her lessons using GarageBand, then text or email the recordings to practicing students.

The popularity and reach of platforms like TikTok and Triller are attracting independent artists, according to Matt Yazge, vice president of research at MRC Data. He says it’s much easier to drive immediate action in a digital ecosystem, and on-demand feeds are the fastest signal to inform data. The low barrier of on-demand streaming to consumer action leads to quick and dramatic bumps for mainstream streaming genres like hip-hop and EDM, he says, which generally lean towards younger audiences, more ethnically and culturally diverse compared to genres like classical rock.

In addition to the BandCamp campaigns, Yazge says artists have started hosting digital dance challenges and making music available on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other digital platforms that focus on user-generated content.

“The biggest money generator for artists is touring, and that’s not happening now, so you see a lot of experimentation and a lot of new promotional vehicles to help find other sources of income for artists who are still under their control, ”Yazge said. “There will be artists, labels, and promoters who will continue some of these promotional vehicles, especially those who are successful in doing so.”

Given the popularity of video and the important role it plays in music, Yazge says artists face limitless opportunities if they are proactive in licensing and making their music available. on TikTok and other emerging platforms.


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