Jesse Cannon, the man behind Cannon Found Soundation Recording Studios (Man Overboard, The Menzingers, Transit, Lifetime) and Musformation, is back with a brand new Industry feature. This week, Jesse dives into Grizzly Bear, Death Grips, Mumford & Sons, and Rdio, among other things. Check it all out below!
In soul crushing news for musicians news, that shouldn’t be soul crushing news for musicians news. The New Yorker came out with a hard hitting article about the indie rock wieners in Grizzly Bear who recently sold out Radio City Music Hall, yet still have to keep day jobs and live like a bunch of poors. The article crushed many musicians dreams but was missing some key points. The groups sells no merch online, so their only royalties come from record sales they have to split with their label, licensing deals and tours. We also have no idea how many percentages they have had to give to booking, management, lawyers, publishers etc. This should not be seen as a tale of musicians not being able to make money from their music but instead how important it is to run a tight ship and maximise profits. If you want to hear more of what I think about this I wrote about it in depth here.
As if that wasn’t enough controversy, the group Death Grips had a huge week this last week. Controversy erupted when their major label overlords at Epic decided to push the release of their record back. They retaliated by leaking their record via a SoundCloud player on their website. The site then went down, and the group claimed it was Epic’s doing, which turned out to be a bit of PR drama and really they just didn’t pay their web hosting bill. Good Job dudes.
Their week got bigger when another inaccurate study on Torrents came out once again. MusicMetric posted a humongous study on Torrent consumption, sadly like most of these studies, it seems to be inaccurate. Take their numbers on the previously mentioned Death Grips, who have received 34,151,432 downloads in the first half of 2012, making them the most downloaded musician in the world of legal Torrents. A shocking figure considering Michael Jackson’s Thriller has sold 29 million records (according to Wikipedia). While this number seems astounding, the numbers don’t add up a sizable fanbase the way the should.
One of the things to remember about Torrent download statistics is that just because someone downloaded a Torrent doesn’t mean they ever listened to it. Even if they did listen to it, they may have not liked the record and become a fan of the group. The nature of music discovery through Torrents is you need to download the music to decide whether you like it. With all of that in mind, with these 34 million downloads they still boast the rather small social media statistics of 45,000 Likes on Facebook, 20,000 followers on Twitter and 8,000 followers on SoundCloud. Either these Torrent download numbers are REALLY off (my personal bet) or these Torrent downloads don’t lead to any social network interactions.
If you needed more proof that the music business is getting better for indie and DIY bands and worse for majors, Mumford & Sons just put the proof out there by having a debut that was bigger than Justin Bieber’s and hitting #1 on their first week on Billboard. Beliebe this Belieber’s the major’s control of who gets popular dies a little more each day and soon some overweight rockers singing Irish drinking anthems will rule the charts and your little tween poster boy will soon fall In fact, 2012 the sixth straight year that an indie album has hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. A new era is upon us, y’all.
Speaking of cool things for indie artists, my favorite place to listen to music, Rdio, is now paying musicians $10 a head if they get their fans to sign up their service. How cool is that? That’s way more money than you will make streaming a song a couple hundred times on their service. I dont know if we should laugh or cry about that one.