@Rockonomic Wayback Machine: Why music service prices are falling and can’t get back up.

Spotify recently announced another solid uptick in subscriber numbers, growing from 12.5 million subscribers back in November of 2014 to 15 million as of January, 2015. In response, folks like Mark Mulligan have continued pondering the impact of price (e.g., $0.99/month promotions, Family plans, etc.) upon demand for music service.

I thought I would startup the Somewhat Wayback Machine and try to add further to this this conversation about music service pricing using some data and analysis from a few years back.

Read on at Rockonomic.com..


Rockonomic: Half of music royalties pay for music we would rather skip over than listen to?

In this post I am going to highlight what may be one of the great ironies of how we pay for music in the service era (*with apologies to the grammar police):

Greater than half of the money paid out in royalties may be used to pay for music we would rather skip over than for that music we would rather listen to.*

How did I come to this ironic, if not seemingly ridiculous conclusion? Here goes…

Is a Spotify Free user really worth $1.50 per month? Or more, or less…

An ongoing controversy in the land of music licensing relates to the role and value of free music within the complicated financial plumbing of the music industry. Importantly, music is almost always worth something, if not at times a great amount. As a result, free music—like free beer—is rarely, truly worthless.

For example, a simple guesstimate—using recently revealed numbers from Spotify—suggests that Spotify Free users may be worth, on average, $1.50 of revenue each month ($18/year).

Read on at Rockonomic.com

Songwriters Under Attack? Is Fairness really that simple? An investigation of 8 cents per 1,000 plays

Recently, ASCAP launched its “Songwriters Under Attack!” campaign, coinciding with a court case that involved ASCAP and Pandora. The rather sophisticated decision in this case—which hinged on issues of the consent decrees, anti-trust, and the nature of performance rights—did not go in favor of publishers or ASCAP, so expect ongoing disagreement.

In this post, I am going to dig into a very specific claim that ASCAP makes within this campaign: “Right now, every 1,000 plays of a song on Pandora is only worth about 8 cents to songwriters and composers.” The implication of such a small number would be that the amount is unfair. Unfortunately for both myself and artists, the Fairness math may not be that simple.

Read on at Rockonomic.com

$0.0001: The value of a Radio performance, given rumored ClearChannel/Warner deal terms

Earlier today, the rumor mill milled out a rumor that Clear Channel and Warner Music inked a deal covering royalties related to the performance of sound recordings (aka, Music) on Clear Channel’s radio stations.

As some might expect, the rumored deal terms sent me directly to a calculator, in and effort to value each performance, per listener, on Clear Channel US terrestrial radio given the rumored deal terms.

The back of the napkin estimate: between $0.00009375 and $0.000107 per performance, per listener. Simplified as: $0.0001 per performance, per listener.

Read more at Rockonomic.com

@Rockonomic: Comparing Apples to Webcasters

Now that some version of Apple’s iRadio contract terms are available online, we can begin to do some comparisons between the effective rates contained in these terms and those  rates paid by Webcasters. In this post, I will (eventually) present some simple tables that adjust Webcaster rates to account for certain affordances in the Apple iRadio contract — specifically those terms through which a stream on iRadio would not trigger a royalty obligation. What we’ll find is that because Webcasters have to pay performance royalties for skipped tracks, while iRadio will not (for the first six tracks skipped), these Webcasters may pay more for music than most people may realize.

Continue reading →