A vibrant conversation is going on at Digital Music News
. Under the headline of "Study:
A Majority of Musicians Are Making $0 from Streaming Platforms..." there are comments ranging from it's no surprise, to outrage, to a bashing of the study's authors with claims such as "...if it is not a scientific sample, then your poll is worth crap."
This is the way we use the internet to enlighten, or reinforce beliefs. As for the last comment (above), the one thing the internet is not short of are people who feel that acrimonious response creates credibility.
"It's time stations work with artists, and we all move away from having major labels control distribution."
If I side with any of the above comments, it is with the one supporting "it's no surprise" streaming generates little money for musicians.
We have created a sea of options for consumers, an organization (SoundExchange) that was formed by labels - and which sends more money to the labels than any individual musician. There are also crippling reporting procedures for participating streaming entities, and a long list of artists who have gone unpaid.
That SoundExchange gets to keep unpaid funds doesn't present an incentive for locating artists, which at one point numbered over 6,000 and was listed at http://plays.soundexchange.com/jsp/unpaidArtistList.jsp. (The URL is no longer available.)
Today there are thousands of artist names that can't be found listed here
, categorized alphabetically in a way that's difficult to grasp how many remain in the "unable to contact" list. To drive this point home, here's what SoundExchange says on this page:
"Artists who have released product since 2001 will not appear on this list." So, we're not even looking at artists who SX claims to not be able to locate over the past decade.
But this is not about indie artists and whether they're getting paid, it's about getting indie artists played.
An artist can choose to chase airtime on broadcast radio, or individually on a growing list of internet stations. The former offers less chance with each consolidated radio group;
the latter has such a diverse offering of stations that contacting each is a near-impossible task.
Which brings the question:
How does an indie artist efficiently contact radio stations for airplay? My simple answer is that you go where stations go to pick artists for airplay. Just choose wisely on which service you use.
Those services charging $30 and more to send your song to a list of programmers will only be effective if the receiving programmers are interested in your genre of music. Take response rates into consideration;
the number of emails needing to be sent (to get your song on even one station) numbers into the thousands.
Here's a concept from Audio Graphics which has programmers picking their songs of choice, or subscribing to programs that feature new artists (in the programmer's genre of choice). Call this self-promotion if you care (which I don't deny, it is). But from my exposure over the past decade to how indie artists' music is distributed, I believe this system to be most effective and the least expensive.
Let's start with the cost of $9.95. It's a one-time fee for an artist to submit up to three songs. From songs submitted we'll select one to be listed at RRadioMusic.com
, a web site designed for radio programmers. To date, 821 songs have been requested for adding to 138 radio stations' playlists.
For no additional money, if your music is judged to be high enough quality, your song will be added to our "Intro to Indie Artists" program series
. This is a subscription service which has 167 stations subscribing, playing 410 versions of this program. (Programs are created in Country, Dance, Hip Hop & Rap, Jazz, Pop, and Rock formats - in 5, 3, and 2-song lengths.) We give choice to the stations, resulting in a high degree of exposure for artists.
"Intro to Indie Artists" songs are guaranteed airplay across multiple radio stations.
The chance for an indie artist to receive radio airplay has grown slim, especially in the broadcast sector of the radio industry. What RRadioMusic.com and "Intro to Indie Artists" offer is a simplistic system for independent acts to get exposure, without spending large amounts of time contacting large numbers of stations. And at $9.95, it's affordable to all. (Artists, start the submission process here.
The internet radio industry is full of thousands of stations that are a jukebox on steroids. That both RRadio Music and "Intro to Indie Artists" are free for stations to air makes becoming an entertainment center much easier.
The Digital Music News survey shows we have the power for music exposure at our fingertips.
It's time stations work with artists, and we all move away from having major labels control distribution.
This is the age of the internet. If an artist or radio station fails to use its power, we miss the opportunity to control our destiny.
Subscribe to "Intro to Indie Artists" programs here.
Download individual indie artists songs.
Submit songs to RRadioMusic
Read about "Intro to Indie Artists"
Sample "Intro to Indie Artists Programs Here