Research into changing media habits.

For this film if I am going to be making my character discover that the music world has changed from what he would expect, I need to personally understand how it all works myself and how the character of Nate is always doomed to fail in his attempts to achieve his dream. Some of my research has stemmed across form My Project Mixtape idea I had during the last term and this got me to consider how old mediums and ways of creating content had all but died and how their could be a gap in the market for things from the past.

This lead me on to consider the future of the music industry and to the outsider eye, it certinanly seems that Streaming services such as Spotify are the way the industry is headed with it’s ease of use and the users ability to access Millions of albums and compilations from an on-line database instantly as well as instant access to their own music collection, but this got me thinking about how much said artists make from services such as spotify, Record label contracts are noutriously complex and difficult to understand but according to Infomationisbeautiful.Net an artist on a high-end record deal can expect to see 10% of a sale of any album, this would be £1 for every album retailing at £10 (which is getting increasingly more unlikely) this may seem bad but when we move into online territories things appear even worse. Albums sold from iTunes will likely see a 9% cut going to the artists involved (all of these statistics are assuming the artists write their own music the percentages is lower when songwriters need royalties)  but in this modern age people are more than likely to just buy a single online rather than a whole album  for that artists would receive also a receive a 9% cut but remember that the average song on iTunes costs 79p so this would equate to just 7.9p per song download to the original artist. With this in mind an artist would need to sell 12,399 singles via iTunes to reach the US minimum wage of $1,160 (£758.27) but this is going on the legal downloading route which of course is very popular but streaming services are also taking away alot of this market and also a lot of people away from radio. Looking into how much money an artist would make from a service like this must be quite depressing as a musician, It emerged in 2009 that Lady gaga had only been paid $167 for plays of her hit ‘Poker Face’ this song had reached 1 million plays on the relatively new service. (link) because the music on spotify is marketed like a radio rather than owning the song it is marketed and financed very differently to a service like iTunes, however i’d imagine that many would be shocked that in 2010 the value to the artist of a song per play was valued at £0.0012p

The data in this research may be slightly outdated, at the point of this data coming out Last.FM allowed radio and streaming to all users now it is a subscriber only option (£3pm) and spotify claims that the amount the give to rights holders has changed since the release of this data. although it still doesn’t seem to be enough for some as artists such as Mercury award nominated Jon Hopkins receive what they consider less than satisfactory rates. (He received £8 for 90,000 plays made via the service and claims he receives £50 for each play he gets on radio 1) this has again raised the debate of spotify and it’s value to independent musicians especially as an alternative to piracy. [Guardian Article]

All of this data has been very interesting in setting up the ‘world’ my character will be trying to get into, further research will be taken during the pre-production stage of the 361MC module. I’d be looking into researching how much money spotify makes as a business and how viable the model is in the long-term and if it is a good alternative to piracy.

The full data table can be found here and although services such as spotify have updated their artist shares it makes for some very interesting reading in how much a song is actually worth online there is also a handy graphic version covering the main points below


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