Musonomics, a consulting and analytics firm for the music industry, has released a report about the operational changes undergone by music labels in the streaming era. It is authored by Musonomics founder Larry Miller and commissioned by the RIAA. The report shares some familiar statistics about the prevalence of streaming, including the milestone of more than 400 billion on-demand audio and video streams consumed in the first half of 2018 by American listeners. Miller interviewed many label executives for their take on the latest changes.
With the shift to streaming, the report outlines some of the ways labels are changing their services and infrastructure. The overall trend highlights labels becoming more nimble and adept at marketing, ongoing artist services, and distribution. Data is identified as an important factor in those services. For instance, marketing and promotion used to involve extensive advanced planning centered on driving radio airplay. Now, the approach targets a continual stream of ongoing new content to engage fans following an album’s release. Those strategies can be cultivated based on data from streaming services, Shazam, social media, and other local insights.
As a label-sponsored report, it’s no surprise that its outcomes are label-supportive. The paper is titled: Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent
in the Modern Music Marketplace. “Our conversations with record label executives have made one thing abundantly clear: labels remain the key enabler for artists to maximize their creative vision and achieve their dreams for global visibility,” the report asserts in its summary. The “new beat” is about the operational changes of an industry which hs become flooded with data and near-realtime performance indicators of product success. The “same heart” is what the report describes as a core mission finding artists, providing resources, connecting with audiences, and building artist brands.
Many streaming platforms — whether they be viewed as collaborators or competitors with labels — have been working to expand their own suites of services akin to those offered by labels. Artist services such as detailed analytics, listener messaging, and even direct uploads are appearing at some streaming sites.
Below is the reports graphic takeaway summary which seeks to convey how labels have transformed their operations to continue serving artists who might be exploring the possibility of remaining (or becoming) independent and unsigned.