Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New Decade, New Reads: 2020 Music Industry Stories | AWAL

Every quarter, the AWAL Reading List rounds up noteworthy articles for rising artists and managers to sink their teeth into. Click here for the previous edition

Who gon’ see the future first? 

If you’re reading this, you’ve time-traveled (re: lived) through enough turbulence to deserve some backpatting. Lots happened — and lots hasn’t — since the last time we completed a loop around the heart of our solar system. A president lobbied for the acquittal of a detained artist on foreign soil, for one. TikTok. The rise and deriding of artificial influencers. “New York is back!” More independent artists making more money than ever. Persistent economic disparity despite that previous sentence. Influential music sites downsizing (or closing altogether.) DSPs and labels and tech conglomerates getting in bed with each other (again). New legislation attempting to update how songwriters are valued. Festivals coming and going. Climate change continuing to jeopardize cultures around the world. Human artists are still gobbling up the vast majority of recordings earnings though :D

Relive / learn from / dig into some of these stories below. We sifted 100s of links before arriving at our shortlist, but consider these just the tip of the iceberg. P.S. Long reads lie ahead. You’ve been warned! 

Coming Soon

Enjoy a 30,000-foot view of the global state of music consumption.IFPI took the industry’s temperature test and discovered plenty: Older folks have taken to streaming — nothing but love for the middle-aged among us. More people are paying to listen. Radio is still the most widely consumed audio source. Smart speakers are big in the west and niche elsewhere. The world’s appetite for pop trumps all. A quarter of survey respondents still pirate songs. Koreans pay up for physical, while rock’s top dog in Mexico.

Journey to the center of the world’s biggest playlists across Apple and Spotify.The data wizards at Chartmetric are at it again, mapping out the different paths tracks take through feeder systems to reach the Hot Countrys (Next From Nashville → Breakout Country) and Rap Lifes (Me and Bae → On Repeat) of DSP ecosystems. 

Calculate rough estimates of your sustainable income (and refine over time).Your friends at AWAL (hi) did some quick maths to identify a worrisome trend — solely relying on monthly listeners to forecast future revenue — and a potential solution: Tracking a handful of variables to gradually improve estimates of an artist’s minimum expected gross in a given month. Come for the equations, stick around for the pretty text colors.

Revel in the historic rise of touring income for non-superstar acts.Rolling Stone crunched the numbers and chopped it up with primary sources to arrive at a thrilling fact: More artists than ever are selling out theater-capacity venues across the U.S.

See the music blogosphere’s next evolution through a teen writer’s eyes.A small army of internet kids leave no link unlistened as they search for music that moves them. We spoke with a few firsthand to hear why discovery and thoughtful context in music media mean more than ever. On the frontlines of it all? 19-year-old writer Seamus Fay.

From the unstoppable power of K-Pop superfans to catapult their faves.

They land press interviews for the artists they love by flooding media outlets’ mentions. They boost play counts by carefully adhering to YouTube’s view-validation algorithms. They raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase ads for bands in New York City. K-Pop supporters move mountains. Take notes and yours might do the same. 

Still Relevant 

Trigger CitieskkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkChartmetric’s multi-part data story traces hits back to unexpected origins across the globe.

Can We Sing Much Higher? (So High)kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkThe Pudding assembled a dynamic data story about the rise of guy falsetto in music.

Silence, Brand: Big Business Needs Artistskkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk Entrepreneur spoke with NUE Agency’s top shot caller about music’s undervalued power.

Odd Future Wolf Gang Teach Us AllkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkThe Face on how Tyler, the Creator and co. wrote today’s marketing playbook with Tumblr.

Leave No Money Tree UnshakenkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkNeed a dollar? Water & Music examined every alternative artist financing model just for you. 


Keep up with industry news and dive deep into artist stories with AWAL Weekly, our weekly newsletter. 

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