Sunday, June 19, 2016

Music Business/Law Tips - Streaming Only Landmark

Last week the album "Coloring Book" by the indie artist Chance the Rapper become the first album ever to chart on Billboard entirely from streams. The album was not made for sale on iTunes for download or in CD format for retail stores (with apparently no plans to do so). It was posted online as a "streaming exclusive" on Apple Music's streaming service and compiled enough streams in 1 week to equate to 39,000 equivalent album unit sales (1500 steams = 1 album sale according to Billboard). This was good enough to debut in the Top 10 of the Billboard Album Top 200 Album Chart. After a 2 week exclusive streaming window via Apple, it will also be available on other streaming services like Spotify. Note Kanye West's latest album from a few months back "Life of Pablo" charted at #1 on Billboard almost entirely from streams - but it was also available for sale on West's website (not at iTunes or other stores) - so due to its limited availability it was publicized as a streaming only release even though technically it was not. This seems like it will be a continuing trend - especially for indie releases. The question is - how does an artist make money off streams? Right now, streaming seems more like a promotional device to build a fan base who will pay for show tickets, merchandise, and lead to synch licenses, etc. - all which do pay. Ben McLane Esq benmclane.com

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