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Some statistics on selling music online

Nick 29 Dec 08 - 08:01 AM
melodeonboy 29 Dec 08 - 08:09 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 29 Dec 08 - 08:23 AM
Jack Campin 29 Dec 08 - 08:30 AM
Nick 29 Dec 08 - 08:33 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 29 Dec 08 - 08:42 AM
Marc Bernier 29 Dec 08 - 08:46 AM
Marc Bernier 29 Dec 08 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Dec 08 - 11:41 AM
Anne Lister 29 Dec 08 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,Dave_ 30 Dec 08 - 08:11 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 30 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM
Spleen Cringe 30 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM
katlaughing 30 Dec 08 - 10:52 AM
Spleen Cringe 30 Dec 08 - 11:17 AM
Santa 30 Dec 08 - 11:20 AM
Spleen Cringe 30 Dec 08 - 11:20 AM
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Subject: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Nick
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:01 AM

I came across a thread in another forum that I use which came up with some interesting information on selling music online (and other related matters such as illegal copying etc etc) which you may find interesting if you didn't come across it. Interview with Will Page has links to some background on it but here is a summary which was posted by Colin Lazzerini which I can't improve on so quote -

"In a famous 2004 Wired magazine article, Chris Anderson borrowed the old post-war statistical concept of a frequency distribution with a long tail and re-made it in the form of a notion to illuminate internet media business successes. Low operation and inventory costs, according to Anderson, allow significant profit to be realized from the sale of small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers, rather than large volumes of a narrow range of popular 'hit' items.

And the existence of the Long Tail, as a sustaining demographic purchasing a large number of "non-hit" items, thus became an article of faith in the new 'indie' ideology

This received wisdom, however, that diverse specialised items – though individually less popular - will together outsell mainstream 'hits', has now been profoundly compromised by actual analysis of one year's music revenue in a study led by Will Page, Chief Economist for the UK's royalty collections agency the MCPS-PRS Alliance.

Here is the sad grounded truth about the digital universe:

* Of the 1.23 million albums available on-line, only 173,000 were ever bought and paid for – the remaining 85% failed to sell one single copy.

* Of the 13 million individual tracks available by internet sale, only 20% were 'active', in that they managed to sell at least one copy.

* More than 10 million tracks failed to find one single buyer.

* Approximately 80% of sales revenue came from around 3% of these active tracks – numbering about 52,000 – the 'hits' which powered the industry.

* Only 40 tracks sold more than 100,000 copies, and accounted for 8% of the business.
(In the physical world, 40 tracks could make up just 4 albums).

The Two Main Lessons:

* The general rule for all inventory on the digital shelf is 80/0.38 – that is, 80% of revenue is generated by sales on only 0.38% of all available tracks.

* 80% of individual tracks sell nothing at all.

In their brief report on this research, The Guardian cheekily quoted Sturgeon's Revelation (they called it 'Sturgeon's Law') that "90% of everything is crap" – which I found pithy, appealing, and potentially perfectly apposite."


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: melodeonboy
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:09 AM

Blimey!!


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:23 AM

Do these statistics mean that a high percentage is crap, or just that people manage to get it without paying for it?


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:30 AM

How much of the "long tail" is actually produced by MCPS/PRS members?

With an annual cost of about 200 pounds to join, their system cuts off almost all of the garage band movement.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Nick
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:33 AM

I'm not sure what it all means - it was just an interesting view from a PRS-MCPS perspective. Personally I have a subscription to Napster and get stuff from there though there is not a lot of folk music. Still plenty there for me to enjoy though.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:42 AM

The questions aren't meant to challenge you for answers, Nick! This is an interesting thread, and I'd be curious to see what some of the more biz-savvy Catters make of it - my query was meant as a sort of prompt for further discussion. I don't know whether MCPS/PRS is only monitoring its own members or looking at the market as a whole.

One thing I do know - no amount of grim figures will ever stop people playing and singing and writing - and listening to - music.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:46 AM

I must be part of that 80% majority. My recording has been available a couple places on line and I'v yet to sell a single track. I realized quite some time ago that I sell recordings at gigs, and only at gigs where noone knows me. Everyone who knows already bought one.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:47 AM

This may be the first time I feel like part of a majority.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 11:41 AM

"With an annual cost of about 200 pounds to join, their system cuts off almost all of the garage band movement."

So, the PRS-MCPS does have some uses then!


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Anne Lister
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:50 PM

I must be one of the lucky ones, then, because I've sold quite a lot digitally.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: GUEST,Dave_
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 08:11 AM

Intersesting reading as we try and get our first cd together and up on the net..mmm


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM

Don't be discouraged by what you read - go for it.

Tabster (Anne Lister)'s latest album A Twist In The Story is brilliant, by the way. I'm not surprised that her work sells! One of the lucky ones, maybe. One of the talented ones, definitely.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM

It would be interesting to know where they went for their info. Was it to the big online retailers such as itunes and so on or did they also consider specialist/niche retailers? I get a lot of my downloads from outfits like eMusic who have very few big name acts and labels and seem to specialise in the more esoteric. I also used to regularly buy from the late lamented folk music download site, Woven Wheat Whispers before it shut up shop (happy new year, Mark, by the way, if you're reading this!). I also wonder if they included CD Baby?

It probably stands to reason that most download sales are by the heavily promoted beneficiaries of media saturation rather than by independent artists on small labels doing relatively unpopular music on a low budget... in fact it would be weird if it was any different.

I suppose the fact that two thirds of a million different songs were sold at least once as a download from the sources included in the survey means it wasn't wall-to-wall Britney and Coldplay, though. Which is worth something...


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:52 AM

I would think whatever forms of promotion one uses would need to be factored in, too, in addition whatever advertising the main site they are on does. Major publishing houses produce "trailers" for new books they want to advertise and put them up on youtube. And, didn't myspace just add on the ability for people to sell their stuff on there? I would think having one's music on youtube could also lead to some sales. I'd also be curious as to whether they included CDBaby.

Also, what the heck if the "Long Tail?!"


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:17 AM

Here you go, Kat... The Long Tail


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Santa
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:20 AM

"The Long Tail" is the low right hand side of the sales distribution. Items that sell well (not just music) are to the left, and the overall shape is very high to the left. Internet selling was anticipated to raise the right hand side of the curve - less popular items would gain in the proportion of sales (fatten the tail?). It hasn't. The massively popular items have continued to hold their share, the tail has remained long and thin.


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Subject: RE: Some statistics on selling music online
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:20 AM

On the other hand... The Long Tail


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