Broader distribution channels good for up-and-coming, as well as established artists

Given the recent surge in cloud-based music services, audio enthusiasts have ushered in a revolution in the way music is being discovered, recommended, purchased and consumed. Forget Napster. Think Spotify. And above all, trust that this revolution is a good thing.  Broader distribution acts as a powerful market incentive, positively impacting both established and up-and-coming artists, alike. 

For ‘Wippit’ founder Paul Myers, digital media is a huge step forward in the distribution of music. He says, “From our point of view, it shows faith in us as a business more than anything else. We're not the standard peer-to-peer service, we are legal and we pride ourselves in the fact that we're doing it the right way." 

An example of the extraordinary success that can be achieved through the use of digital distribution is found in South Korean pop artist PSY.  His flash, candy-colored video "Gangnam Style" (complete with party-ready dance moves) went viral seemingly overnight and has been seen by billions around the planet. And lest you think it's just one lonely soul watching the video on endless loop, PSY has 2.8 million YouTube subscribers signed up and hanging on his every upload.  

So how do you measure success in this brave new digital environment?  

With PSY’s 1.2 billion views on YouTube and Lady Gaga’s 3.3 million Twitter followers, it’s difficult to determine who digitally attracts a larger following. One the one hand, YouTube provides a richer content experience, especially for visuals and audio, which might suggest greater impact, but then again, Twitter offers a real-time immediacy and unedited intimacy that's difficult to replicate.  And since both allow users the opportunity to connect and share socially, it's a toss-up as to which fans are more "loyal" or "active."  So regardless of who wins bragging rights (PSY or Gaga, YouTube or Twitter), it's clear that digital distribution has been a powerful force for change in the music industry.

So when the channel shift start to occur?  

One of the key elements behind the widespread growth in digital distribution can be traced back to the success of Apple’s iTunes Music Store.  iTunes revitalized music sales -- more musicians than ever before are now actively selling their music digitally and generating substantial incomes from doing so. In fact the 25 billionth iTunes download has just been reported and attributed to one very lucky Phillip Lupke of Germany, who received 10,000 Euros as a "Thank You" and contribution towards enlarging his digital library.  

During a recent Elexu TweetUp event, Jason Grant, music producer at Flexemix, specifically recommended that artists look beyond just immediate sales to audience growth through digital media. He says, “The key is to leverage digital channels. There are chances of failure but that’s how success and popularity is gained.”

For a time, major record labels steered clear of online sales or jumped into the fray with blinders on, initially promoting cumbersome, heavily copy-protected schemes which offered a limited choice of material at relatively high prices.  These strategies met with a certain predictable lack of success. However once the shift to digital consumption was underway, growth in the industry was nearly exponential.  Iconic Canadian music chain and high-street retailer, "Sam the Record Man" went bankrupt in 2001, citing competition from larger global chains like HMV, but also quite likely due to the burgeoning growth in digital distribution. 

So how have things progressed since then?  

Through ITProPortal, Sami Valkonen, head of Google's music licensing division readily acknowledges that internet distribution channels are crucial in fostering the rapid growth of digital music service providers. That said, Google are one of the few players who have achieved the right scale and leverage to really move the digital distribution needle.  To that end, they recently inked a deal with Armonia to bring 5.5 million more songs to their Play store in Europe.  However, given the scope of the global proposition, it's clear that the field for such initiatives is still quite green indeed.


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Elexu™ (pronounced: elects you!) is a media company headquartered in London which is launching a new worldwide Social Interactive TV platform. Our bespoke technology merges existing formats of online social networking with television to create the first truly interactive social TV experience. 

Elexu gives aspiring young creatives, entrepreneurs and activists the opportunity to showcase their talents, grow their fan base, raise funds for projects they care about, as well as monetise their online content, viewership and community-building activities.  Moreover, Elexu members can vie for valuable endowments in high-profile, brand-sponsored competitions.  The best of these competitions are serialised for broader IPTV distribution as interactive reality programming.  

In addition, Elexu offers brand, charity and agency partners the unique opportunity to produce and distribute high-quality, entertaining, interactive content at a fraction of the cost, time and resources normally associated with broadcast.  This critical step change, coupled with Elexu's ability to deliver unparalleled insight into customer preference, sentiment and behaviour, makes Elexu the ideal partner for brands seeking innovation in their social media, customer engagement, experiential marketing, e-commerce and R&D activities. 

Visit elexu.com/invite for a VIP invitation to our Beta community.

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