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Where you should release your music
- Jason R. Stevens, CFA
Let's dive into a common scenario b00st.com individual and institutional clients face every day: a new artist has fantastic music ready to go but is not yet set up on streaming platforms.
Which platforms should an artist prioritize? Setting up great profiles can be time consuming and labor-intensive. Afterall, time is money and ain't nobody got infinite amounts of either!
Maximize potential ears: The more the merrier
Generally, across all businesses and industries, one should seek to maximize the sales surface. Musicians and their teams should be maximizing the number of potential listeners and video viewers. We, of course, are bullish about the amazing ways on the free and open web we have to reach and market to these consumers. That said, an artist's profile on a DSP platform like YouTube Music is "the store" from which they might sell a consumer a listen.
And prior to successful sales in the store there must be an unlocked door, an appealing storefront and a potential means to actually engender a sale. Fortunately, artists have amazing tools on each of the different platforms out there to maximize these core business needs.
Always multiple platforms
First of all, artists and their teams should be in constant search of new and exciting ways to get their music and other content out there. The web is dynamic, fluid, and the places where music consumers congregate will change. And change faster today than yesterday and faster tomorrow than today. And though usually given the shaft, artists actually have fantastic tools to upload their music and other content to the various DSPs out there.
What does that all mean? Either distribute broadly or lose out on listens, promotion, and a bigger fan base.
In determining the maximum potential ears for listening we should start with none other than answering: how many humans can listen on each platform?
Fortunately, most of the major digital service providers are public companies; we have audited and reliable stated actuals from management and those companies' financial reports.
In case you're wondering, a great source of information about the future lies in major-tech companies' financial reports, called 10-Q filings, along with their conference call transcripts. Both are freely available by Googling
XYZ company 10-Qor
XYZ company earnings call transcript. All this is available electronically via the SEC's EDGAR database, as well.
Today's numbers for Alphabet (YouTube), Apple, Spotify, and Others
Despite that public companies must report information, unfortunately they are required to report only material information, and frankly, the music industry isn't large enough to be material for Alphabet, Apple, or Amazon, versus their other businesses. However, we do have some information from them and something's always better than nothing.
We'll also rely on some third party research from the excellent media and entertainment research firm MIDiA.
Alphabet's latest - a guesstimate of 60-80 million
YouTube is an incredibly important part of Alphabet's business. As widely known, YouTube Music has been and remains a core area of focus for YouTube as an organization.
Though we've combed through Alphabet's latest 10-Q and conference call transcripts, we can't nail down a specific, total number for YouTube music. See their investor relations site: abc.xyz.
As last reported in September of 2021, YouTube Music had crossed 50 million subscribers. Using growth rates provided for subscribers in YouTube Premium (including Music), we suggest assuming about 60-80 million potential listeners for YouTube Music.
Apple's latest...60 million - from 2019
Apple is notoriously as quiet as possible about their business operations, not evening mentioning the words streaming or music within their latest quarterly financial statements. Apple Music would be part of the line item throughout descriptively titled Services.
The last time they publicly released Apple Music subscriber numbers was in 2019 via the legendary Eddy Cue. See their investor relations site: investors.apple.com.
MIDiA estimates that they have 15% market share of 524 million global subscribers, about 78.5 million potential listeners.
Amazon Music - Greater than 55 million - from 2020
Amazon also avoids disclosing subscriber numbers for its music subscription numbers. They did mention having more than 55 million subscribers as of January 2020 but as of this print the date is June 2022...Snark aside, see their financials: ir.aboutamazon.com.
If we use the same MIDiA numbers as we did with Apple, Amazon should have about 68 million global subscribers for their music platform potential.
Spotify - Last but the lead @ 132 million
Spotify stands far apart from the three major public companies above as a smaller, more nimble and forthright public company with a singular focus on its music products.
In particular, its Q1 financial statements specify exactly 132 million premium subscribers, which you can check for yourself by using
ctrl-f to search for "subscriber".
Thanks to Spotify for being transparent and proud about their business metrics. It's too bad that corporate governance is such an afterthought for the other technology firms listed herein.
Growth and investment dictates tomorrow's numbers
Totalling our numbers here we get . That means about the size of the United State's population has a streaming service.
Our bold assertion: this will expand substantially over the coming decade.
Expect the landscape and dominance of platforms today to change tomorrow. If we, along with most major players in the music industry, are right, then that means more meat on the bone for artists and their teams. To say the least, that's exciting.
A few links to helpful tools and services
Below are a few links to get you started including a release distribution aggregator and some major platforms' artist-specific tools.
- Distrokid - A release aggregator we use ourselves!
- Spotify for artists
- YouTube for artists
- Apple for artists
- Amazon Music for artists
If you need help you can always ask a question in the b00st.com community and our team + other b00st.com clients will do their best to help out!
Once all the right stores are open and music is about to be released, head over to b00st.com and think about what kind of budget you'd like to back your project with. Pro clients of course should consult their b00st.com executive for recommendations, if needed.
Login and press the Real Easy Ads button, add some suga, some spice, and voila - marketing is on autopilot.
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The author of this post is the principal of Recondite Capital, a US-based Registered Investment Advisor in Illinois state. Clients own shares in Apple, Google, and potentially Spotify (though there are no plans for share purchases at current valuations, as of the closing price on 2022-06-07). The words herein are not to be construed as advice or recommendations to purchase, sell, or transact in financial securities of any sort. Furthermore, none of the writing herein should be construed as financial advice of any sort.