A recent study by Spotify has drawn on Musicmetric’s extensive music piracy data to analyse the effect of their streaming service on piracy levels in the Netherlands.
The report “Adventures in the Netherlands” discusses at length the reduced levels of piracy in territories where Spotify is available and also claims holdout strategies by artists (where releases are delayed on Spotify) actually harms sales and, in the case of major releases in 2012, led to higher rates of piracy.
Will Page, Spotify’s Director of Economics and author of the report, examines the falling piracy rates in the Netherlands and discussed ways this success could be replicated in places like Italy where piracy is more mainstream. He asserts that if Italy were to follow the example set by the Netherlands there would be 7m consumers shifting to legal alternatives of music consumption.
Page also considered the increasingly contentious issue of artist holdouts, analysing the effect of delayed album releases on piracy rates.
Looking specifically at a handful of chart topping pop acts, Page concluded that artists like One Direction and Robbie Williams, who released their albums on streaming platforms and for general sale simultaneously saw lower piracy rates compared to the higher rates suffered by Taylor Swift and Rihanna, who both released their album for sale ahead of releasing them on Spotify.
The report also looks at the effects of festival performances on an artist’s piracy levels, concluding that big ticket performances can lead to a bump in illegal downloads with no corresponding bump in sales. For example, when popular Dutch acts Gers Pardoel and Racoon performed at the Stoppelhaene Festival last year they saw a massive rise in piracy with little accompanying streams or sales.
Overall, it seems that, drawing from the Netherlands case, a combination of legal platforms like Spotify, clever marketing to capitalise on artist popularity and effective public policy could help to improve the climate for copyright online.
When Jay Z signed his deal with Samsung to pre-release his album on their mobile handsets, he may have inadvertently fallen into the windowing trap that so many music, film and TV producers have fallen into before.
For several days, the album was not available for purchase or on streaming services and during that time, the level of file-sharing escalated dramatically to a peak of over around 50k downloads a day over the July 4th weekend. As soon as the album became available on Spotify and other streaming services the bit-torrent activity declined. Nevertheless the album did peak at around 36k daily downloads during its first week of release.
The difference is noticeable when compared with previous file sharing activities such as a re-release of the classic 2000 album Dynasty which lifted daily downloads to around 14k from the average previously of below 10k a day. The spike was short lived and did not disrupt the overall daily average of around 10k downloads that he often generates.
Similarly when a re-mastered version of his 2007 album, Black American Gangster came out on January 1st this year in digital form, it had virtually no impact to the level of file-sharing. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Justin Timberlake single Suit & Tie featuring Jay-Z released in January over this year, did produce a stronger uplift in torrent behaviour, raising daily downloads to almost 15k.
But in the great scheme of things this level of file sharing is pretty small. By contrast in the same period from July 2nd – 8th, the video with Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake was viewed over 2.7m times on YouTube.
Now that the dust has well and truly settled on Glastonbury we’ve decided to take a closer look at what our Twitter Tracker revealed about the big headliners and the other acts on the line-up.
Our analysis shows Arctic Monkeys were the runaway winners in the battle between the headliners generating a peak average Twitter response of just under 200 tweets per minute (tpm), compared to 82tpm for The Rolling Stones and 53tpm for Mumford & Sons.
Ironically the top two most tweeted about acts were probably being talked about for all the wrong reasons.
Although not a major headliner, controversial rapper Tyler, the Creator gained the most Twitter mentions throughout the weekend.
His performance was certainly not the cause of this attention; generating a relatively lacklustre rate of only 73tpm compared to the 227tpm generated by his Twitter commentary on the BET Awards.
Most of his buzz is most likely down to controversy over his appearance at the festival, and a campaign to have him barred for his misogynistic lyrics.
Wiley also caused a media frenzy over his now infamous Twitter rant and subsequent pull-out from the Glastonbury line-up.
Nonetheless, most of the acts received significant boosts following their performances with the Arctic Monkeys and Example gaining the biggest performance-related spikes, of 198tpm and 164tpm respectively.
Other acts that also received significant Twitter buzz were Bastille, Professor Green, Jake Bugg and Rita Ora.
Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea both made it into the top ten of our tracker but received relatively little boost from their performances – instead generating constant Twitter buzz over the entire festival period.
We at Musicmetric HQ have been busy beavering away at some exciting new features for the Musicmetric Pro dashboard to help improve the overall experience for our users.
New iTunes, Tunecore and Spotify capabilities allow users to integrate and compare sales and streaming data alongside patterns across BitTorrent and social media.
The Track & Video Plays section will offer a dynamic overview of an artist’s track performance helping users to draw better links between the tracks driving online fans and enabling music marketers to compare their campaigns against rivals or previous releases. Individual track by track analysis indicates an artist’s most popular track and also allows for a more granular understanding of what channels fans are engaging with.
We’ve also added Wikipedia data to the Pageviews section and simplified the process of connecting Facebook Insights and Google Analytics in order to provide a comprehensive overview of all online artist activity. Our enhanced Artist Overview page has also been given a cleaner interface with the added inclusion of the top played and top moving tracks for an artist.
Finally, with the launch of our new Report feature, users can now have a concise summary of all the key metrics in one place for more efficient comparison between the different social networks.
If you would like to test drive some of our great new features please sign up for a demo.
We’ve teamed up with The Guardian to track in real time, the online buzz generated for this year’s Glastonbury line up. The Twitter Tracker collects posts, @mentions and follows of all the artists playing at Glastonbury and compares the number of mentions to see who is gaining the most hype at the sold out festival.
The data is updated in real time to give the most accurate picture of the social media sphere at one of the biggest music events of the year. It will also show which artists generate the most tweets during and after their sets, so we’ll be delivering some analysis after the dust settles looking at who engaged fans the most or had the biggest reactions.
Interestingly, at the current time, The Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons, the big head-liners of the festival, are lower in the rankings than the more social media savvy artists like Rita Ora and Azelia Banks.
If you’re at Glastonbury this year, be sure to tweet @Musicmetric using the #GlastoLineup hashtag to tell us which of your favourite acts should be topping our Twitter Tracker!
Make sure you check out our Virtual Glastonbury Line-up and Top Trending Glastonbury Tracks posts for more interesting analysis about the UK’s favourite festival.
The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) awards ran into controversy when the shortlist was announced. Scottish powerhouses, Emeli Sande and Calvin Harris were both left off the list despite huge levels of success.
However, our data has shown that the less ‘popular’ bands on the list may have more or less the same, sometimes even a greater, level of fan engagement – when judged on a relative basis.
Even taking into account the snubbing of Emeli Sande and Calvin Harris – who netted more than 230 million track plays on social media sites during 2012 – Scottish artists are experiencing really high levels of fan engagement on social media.
The debate around whether it was right to exclude these big name acts has highlighted the importance of being able to judge things in a relative context.
This is one of the key things we allow our users to do, by benchmarking one artist against another or against the Top 10 or Top 100, you can see if they have done better or worse than the ‘norm’.
For example, while a stadium tour for a major artist will clearly help drive a greater volume of fans than a club tour for an indie act, if a club tour drives a 10% increase in fans versus a 5% hike for the stadium act, then it has obviously been more effective.
According to Musicmetric, Calvin Harris, who broke records with the album ’18 Months’, gained 24,056,76 online fans in 2012 while his songs were played an astounding 152,854,671 times online. This is unsurprising given the record itself spawned the most top 10 hits off a single album ever!
Similarly, Aberdeenshire native Emeli Sande saw a huge boost across social networks and online play counts, gaining 13,982,48 new fans and 77,318,125 plays in 2012.
Of the Scottish nominees, the top three artists by pure fan volumes are Django Django, Admiral Fallow and The Twilight Sad, but when ordered by their ratio of fans to plays (showing the effectiveness of converting listeners into fans) this flips, with RM Hubbert, Karine Polwart and Lau as the top three performers.
When judged alongside other data – such as Spotify streaming information, iTunes statistics and sales revenue, all of which Musicmetric analyses side by side, it is possible to use these relationships to determine fan behaviour. For example, Calvin Harris clearly has many more fans than The Twilight Sad, but a greater proportion of The Twilight Sad’s online plays convert to fans.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow later today but as Musicmetric data has shown – in this case, all the nominees are winners in terms of online fan engagement!
Semetric and Musicmetric Chairman Jeremy Silver spoke at two high profile conferences this week about the latest trends in Big Data and the issue of music ownership.
His first talk was at The Economist’s Digital Horizons Conference in Stockholm, Sweden where he spoke about the pros and cons of Big Data as part of a wider discussion on how technology changes the way companies and consumers behave and the challenges and threats in our digital future.
His second was at the prestigious TED Houses of Parliament, where he spoke about the origins of indie rock anthem “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and discussed key themes about music, creativity and transparency in the industry.
Jeremy was in good company at the sold out conference with speakers including leading actor Colin Salmon and Baroness Patricia Scotland all in attendance at the highly anticipated event.
Our very own Mark Tindle spoke at the New Music Seminar in New York this week about how digital music trends can affect record sales.
He was presenting as part of the Music Trends Report segment of the conference and examined the importance of monitoring social networks and using them as online indicators of future sales.
He spoke about music piracy trends and the growth of piracy in Latin America, in particular Brazil and Argentina but he did note that download figures were falling in the US.
He also discussed streaming data and its impact on BitTorrent noting that in territories where streaming services such as Spotify were available downloaders tended to switch to those services.
Overall he concluded that streaming and BitTorrent data were strong indicators of both current and future purchasing behaviours. Streaming data and localised data in particular were useful in indicating sales compared to fan numbers.
If you want a copy of our digital music trends presentation please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will contact you shortly.
Robin Thicke will be celebrating this week as the relatively unknown singer’s latest single “Blurred Lines” became a UK No1 and quickly emerged as the fastest selling track of 2013.
The R&B crooner has seen correspondingly massive spikes in his new daily fans across key social networks and track plays as well as an increase in the number of users illegally sharing the track.
The popularity of “Blurred Lines” has been widely credited to the viral success of the X-rated music video which spread like wildfire across the Web as users continue to re-upload and share it.
Fueled by YouTube’s decision to ban the video, the controversy seems to have given Robin’s track a crucial media boost, contributing to its meteoric rise over the past two weeks. Interestingly the infamous X-rated version of the video had less than a million views compared to the clean version which gained nearly 35 million views in little under three months.
In the weeks leading up to the “Blurred Lines” release on March 19th, Thicke was averaging around 75,000 new daily track and video plays; by May 19th he had just over 2 million.
The track has also sparked a boost in his overall BitTorrent figures; there were over 100,000 new file sharers in the last four weeks compared to around 46,000 in the previous four weeks.
Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of the video on YouTube, Robin Thicke has made a rare appearance near the top of the file sharing charts coming second only to current chart toppers Daft Punk.
With the masses of streaming data available at their fingertips, Spotify has recently launched a global chart ranking the most streamed artists in its app.
The Spotify 50 chart ranks the top 50 most listened to songs each week and users can select charts from any of the 28 countries where Spotify is available. The chart is accessible on the Spotify desktop client and the Web and provides users a snapshot into what was trending back from October 2008.
“What’s so powerful about the streaming charts is they let you hear what people are really listening to, right now and not just what they’re buying,” said Spotify Head of Content Steve Savoca.
“Now artists can get immediate feedback from their fans on how their music is performing on Spotify.”
As expected Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” has reigned on the top of the UK Spotify chart for four consecutive weeks with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis proving to be almost as popular by coming in at the number two spot.
Comparing the (May 23rd) US Spotify Streaming chart with the US iTunes Sales chart shows Daft Punk coming in at No 8 on the sales against No 2 on the Spotify Streaming chart – most likely reflecting the heavy promotion of the recent release on Spotify. Interestingly, relative newcomer Naughty Boy has topped the UK iTunes chart but didn’t manage to chart on the UK Spotify 50.
In addition to their Spotify 50 chart, the streaming service has also launched the Social 50 chart, which measures the most viral tracks in the app.
If you want to access Spotify streaming data for your artists sign up (link to demo) to Musicmetric now for a free demo.