After a night out on the town, we decided to do some research on how music identification systems used at venues might have an impact on the revenue generated in the indie music scene. Results show that music played at venues increase the industry’s long-tail and provide a significant source of income for non-mainstream artists.
Some weeks ago we held our last quarterly session, a deeply rooted tradition here at BMAT where we present our achievements up to date and discuss our future plans. We also make the best of these occasions to catch up in a different kind of way, commonly known as team building. This last time some of us jumped onto the turntables putting us into a musical mood altogether – internally known as bliss building.
With the summer heat hitting the streets of Barcelona, the night was especially welcoming and we ended up at a nightclub. Regardless of how much fun BMATer’s have, our geek gene can never be suppressed in such situations. And so the gene woke up when Delorean’s Big Deeper was played. One of us had been recently talking to the band’s label, Mushroom Pillow, and as we were at one of the clubs we monitor in Spain, we started to discuss how our system’s identification of that particular song would turn into royalties for the band.
We started to discuss how our system’s identification of that particular song would turn into royalties for the band.
Royalties – From Venues to Artists
Some years ago club royalties were distributed by using a sampling method. The method mixes music statistics from radios and from manually-monitored venues thus extrapolating the obtained data to the entire network of clubs and venues of a country. There weren’t many other options in those days – this statistical extrapolation can be a self-indulgent scientific discipline. It’s something like saying you keep fit while you go to the gym only once a month. You still need to figure out what happens the rest of the time, which is most of the time. So earlier this year we ran an experiment to find out how ‘fit’ radio data extrapolation for venues distribution was.
During March 2018, in one of the European countries we monitor, we identified around 1,1 million plays across 210 radio stations monitored 24/7. Just 7% out of these – 76,822 titles – were unique songs, meaning different titles that are played over and over again. And if you’ve ever listened to commercial radio, you’ll easily know that most of the plays equate to a very small number of songs. Variety is conspicuous by its absence.
Venues turned the statistics upside down. In the same period and territory, we monitored 130 venues during their opening hours, which generated 182,233 identifications. Up to 25% of these – 45,458 – were unique songs. In other words, venues registered a lot less music – 10% of the radios – but the rate of unique tracks was much higher.
The long tail of the industry is much higher in venues, making them one of the best places to discover new music and where underground artists can reach broader audiences.
What’s more, the 63% of unique tracks identified within a month were played exclusively in venues – and never played in radios. Statistics show that the long tail of the industry is much higher in venues, making them one of the best places to discover new music and where underground artists can reach broader audiences.
By extrapolating this case to the indie music scene, we can understand how important clubs turn out to be for indie artists like Delorean, whose songs aren’t typically played on the radio. The royalties generated with these late-night plays are key for niche artists.