by Hisham Dahud
Music industry analytics company Musicmetric recently released their Digital Music Index, a report detailing the latest trends in digital music and provides an in-depth look at the current digital music landscape.
Musicmetric hopes that through an analysis of current industry trends that artists will begin to better understand their fans – vital to seeing increased sales, new revenue streams, and more effective marketing campaigns. Their study details industry growth, social media interactions, music discovery, and BitTorrent activity. The trends observed in the study may provide the music industry with valuable insights into the future landscape of the business.
The Digital Music Index (DMI) reviewed overall growth in digital music by analyzing growth in digital sales and overall growth in streaming service availability in all countries.
According to the study, in 2011 digital music revenues of record companies grew by 8% globally to an estimated $5.2 billion dollars. Digital music sales continue to grow at a steady rate since they were first recorded in 2004. Furthermore, according to the report, streaming services are available in more countries than ever before. In just one year, streaming services like Spotify and Deezer went from being available in only 23 countries to being available in 58 countries, more than doubling their presence.
The report found that Facebook and Twitter are still the most popular social networks when it comes to direct fan engagement. The DMI report also found that the most popular artists drive more social media activity with new single releases than new album releases, indicating that the industry is continuing to move towards a singles dominated market.
The report revealed that SoundCloud and YouTube are the most popular services when it comes to music discovery. Artists gain new fans and more “plays” on SoundCloud before they gain fans or listens on any other platform. Independent artists that have many fans across multiple social networks were found to have the highest number of fans on SoundCloud.
It is likely that more music fans discover new music on SoundCloud because its HTML5 waveform player makes it easy to listen to and share content across the web. Success on SoundCloud may also translate to success on other social media networks and music discovery platforms. YouTube is still the most popular music discovery site worldwide across most genres. The report also found that music video service Vevo gets more views than YouTube in the Country, Dance, and Pop genres.
The Digital Music Index also tracked BitTorrent downloads, both legal and illegal, throughout the first half of 2012. In that time span, over 405 million releases were downloaded. About 78% of these downloads were albums, while 22% were singles. This distribution is the opposite of the digital music sales market, where singles sold outnumber albums sold. The U.S., U.K., and Italy top the international downloads list, with over 173 million downloads combined.
BitTorrent’s technology makes file sharing easy around the world and artists can leverage the technology to spread their music to wider audiences. Fame House achieved this with Billy Van’s The Cardigan EP (the album was the number one downloaded torrent in four of the top twenty countries). The Cardigan EP was downloaded over 7 million times, making it the second most downloaded album of 2012 so far, right behind Rhianna’s Talk That Talk album.
The BitTorrent campaign we coordinated for Billy Van lead to some considerable gains for the artist. Billy went from 2,000 Facebook fans to over 100,000 fans, and increased his email list from a few hundred to over 60,000. The results BitTorrent campaigns like this yield may lead some to feel that the BitTorrent technology may have large-scale global impacts on music consumption and discovery as a whole.
-Valeria Bornstein, Marketing
Posted on September 26, 2012