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Studio Newsletter 2024-06



The Value of Music Creation


Dear Artists and Music Creators,


This month, I felt compelled to address a recent controversy that has sparked widespread outrage in the music community. Music streaming services have long been criticised for dramatically underpaying independent musicians. Then, a few weeks ago, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek added insult to injury by posting on X: “Today, the cost of creating content is close to zero […]”, which was widely perceived as a spit in the face by hard-working musicians and artists everywhere.

But let’s look past this blatant insult for a moment - his statement offers a clear window into Ek’s world-view. If creating music costs close to zero in Ek’s mind, then paying artists close to zero is perfectly logical and totally fair. In Ek’s mind, he's proving the critics wrong: near-zero payouts were the right thing all along, and therefore will be for the years to come!*


The sober truth is that streaming services are never going to change - appeals from artists will remain unheard, petitions from musicians will go nowhere, and lawmakers will not come to the rescue.


We have to stop wasting our energy trying to change streaming services, it’s pointless.


Instead, let’s change how we, the artist community, use streaming services.


Read on, we'll get there.


Beyond Streaming Services: Exploring Other Revenue Streams


Physical products is where the money is! Think music on USB sticks, CDs, T-shirts, merch, vinyl... even cassette tapes sell again these days!

 

Is selling physical music products new to you?

 

Welcome to Sales 101, Exercise 1

 

Let’s set the bar low: Your job is to sell 50 CDs for $10 each.

 

Materials: Buy 50 blank CDs for $1.50 a pop from office works, and allow another $0.50 per unit for printing covers.

Production: Borrow your dad's computer, that old one that has a CD burner. Put your masters into an iTunes playlist and burn away! Be creative and design a cover (fans love a good photo collage!). Is there still space below the production credits? Add a shout-out to your supporters and fellow bands you’ve shared stages with. Print. Grab some scissors, cut out the covers and slide them into the jewel case. What the heck - sign each and every copy by hand, draw something awesome, make it extra personal!

Sales: Sell the CDs in the streets, outside a record store and at gigs. Sell to people you meet and speak to. Tell them, they don't have to own a CD player to support you: "Own a piece of history before we get famous! It’s like a collector’s item, but cooler!"

Turn sales into a game: whoever sells the most CDs gets to sit out loading the gear at your next gig!

 

50 beats 10,000

 

A flashy influencer is bragging on TikkyTokky about reaching 10,000 streams after 3 years on Spotify? Isn’t that cute.

You ask: “How much money did you make there, bro?" Wow, 40 bucks! That's almost enough to buy a second-hand acoustic guitar from the tip shop!

And you say to yourself: "We just sold 50 CDs in 2 weeks, made a couple of hundreds in profit, got to meet lots of new people and told all of them about our next show."

 

Do the maths and calculate your profit margin! And I wouldn’t blame you if you rubbed it in Ek’s face on Twitter, errr Eks... I mean X.

 

Now, start again and set yourself a bigger sales target! Is it 75 music USBs? 100 t-shits? 300 stickers? Be creative, be unique, and be quirky in your offerings! Challenge yourself, you’ll get better with every single sale! Make selling a fun habit!

 

With every project, scale up the quantity and scale up the price.

 

Until you're ready for the big step:


Introducing Our Deluxe Vinyl Production Package


Let me tell you about our Deluxe Vinyl Production Package. This fixed-price package includes everything you need for producing high-quality vinyl records, including:

  • recording,

  • editing

  • mixing

  • mastering

  • cover artwork

  • pressing 500 pieces of 12” vinyl records and

  • distribution support

All you need is yourself, your instruments and your songs. At $19,500**, this package is not cheap, but let's have a look at the earning potential:



Earning Potential with Vinyl Records


Let’s break down the potential earnings from selling vinyl records. Suppose you sell 500 vinyl records at AU$50 each:


Total Sales: 500 records x AU$50 = AU$25,000


Deduct the cost and that’s still a $5500 profit, a whopping 22% gross profit margin - not counting the money you can make from sync licensing, t-shirt sales and Bandcamp downloads.


Compared to these numbers, streaming is completely laughable!

 

But hey, why not use streaming services to promote your record sales? Fade out each song after 1 minute and edit in your friendly voice pointing to the full-length song on Bandcamp or the full vinyl album on your website. Gee… if you have the guts to do that, I’ll record your friendly voice for free! I’m not joking!

 

Usually, sales promotion can get rather costly - but imagine getting paid by Spotify to promote your physical sales - now that’s a way to take a creative new spin on the streaming conundrum!

 

It’s easier to swim with the stream (pun intended!) and do the same as everyone else. But that game is rigged against you.

History has told us that those who swim against the stream are the ones who innovate, disrupt and discover new markets. And it takes guts, no doubt.


Have you got what it takes to sell 300, 500 or even 1000 vinyl records to your fans? Then I’d like to speak with you.

 

If you’re ready to explore the world of vinyl and step up your music career, Mix Artist Studio is here to help. Contact me today to learn more about our Deluxe Vinyl Production Package and how I can assist you in building your musical legacy with your very own vinyl album.

 

Together, let’s challenge the notion that creating music is "close to zero" and celebrate the true value of your art.





 


Warm Regards,

 

 

[House Engineer & Studio Manager]

 

Mix Artist Studio

 




* Ek is one clumsy CEO whose awkward statements have made Spotify a popular target - but all the other streaming services are just as bad. One platform may pay 3 decimal points of a cent instead of 4 - but that makes no difference in the big picture.


** The package can be customised to your needs. Contact me for your unique fixed-price quote.

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1 Comment


Glenn Fricker published an amazing video, which fits right into this discussion. Couldn't agree more, Glenn! Love your work! https://youtu.be/yeQSaguN1ZE?si=sJJ-EBSE0VDP7pZB

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