Category: Industry, music

Last month, Pigeons & Planes and New Torch Entertainment launched a new series,Inside Track. Our goal is to create a place where music industry insiders give their honest perspective on important issues for artists at any level.

Our first conversation discussed how to convert online buzz to successful touring. This time around, we asked independent labels about streaming.

There’s no denying that the emergence of the streaming model has forever changed the industry. Physical sales are a thing of the past, and 2014 was another indicatorthat digital downloads are on their way out, too. Indie labels Neon Gold, Cascine, and Mom+Pop shared their experiences of how streaming has shifted their business models and strategic marketing plans for their artists.

Providing insight:
Julia Willinger, VP of A&R at Mom+Pop
Derek Davies, Owner of Neon Gold
Jeff Bratton, Owner of Cascine

As a music consumer and fan, do you use any streaming service regularly and pay for it for personal use?

Julia Willinger: I love using Spotify and SoundCloud, although neither one is perfect. I use SoundCloud for music discovery and my job as an A&R. I use Spotify to listen to albums both new and old, and I love making playlists or listening to my friends’ playlists. I don’t necessarily discover bands on Spotify and I don’t use SoundCloud to listen to bands I’m a fan of—unless it’s the only way to do so. I am loving Beats 1 and still figuring out Apple Music.

Derek Davies: We’ve been longtime Spotify devotees since adopting the UK service in the early years of Neon Gold, before it launched stateside. But I’m definitely interested and excited by the possibilities of Apple Music, especially given everything Zane Lowe and Beats 1 are doing over there. It’s an exciting time for the industry!

Jeff Bratton: Spotify is my go-to. I’ve been a paying member of the platform for years. It’s clean and easy to organize. I’m just hoping that more niche electronic labels will start delivering their music to it too. I also use Apple Music and see a lot of value in Beats Radio. And of course I’m on SoundCloud every day.

What are your thoughts on TIDAL? Do you think that high fidelity audio consumption is something that the “casual music fan” cares about? Is there a significant enough audiophile consumer base to justify high fidelity audio streaming?

JW: TIDAL felt confusing and still does. It feels like everything they are preaching is contrived. Like people behind curtains said, “How are we going to compete with Spotify and Apple? Well, let’s make our product hi-fi, exclusive, and more expensive. Oh, and make sure it’s for artists by artists.” None of that feels authentic to me. The hi-fi option is awesome but I don’t think most people who are streaming notice or care.

JB: TIDAL’s a good idea in theory, especially as it relates to exclusive and curated content, but I don’t think it’s aligned just right. I don’t see the average consumer of commercial pop wanting high bitrate audio as much as listeners of various electronic genres, for example. I think TIDAL’s fated to be a niche platform.

I don’t see the average consumer of commercial pop wanting high bitrate audio.

Has the overall accessibility of music—especially thanks to Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube—adjusted the way you plan a release timeline/album campaign?

DD: Absolutely, and even more so now with Apple Music and Beats 1 as such amazing champions of new music. Just the other day we premiered Fetty Wap’s remix of The Knocks’ “Classic” with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, immediately followed by a SoundCloud premiere on FADER, and …Read More