Berklee today

JUN 2013

Berklee today is the official alumni publication of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a forum for contemporary music and musicians.

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have large record collections. But these days, people don't have walls of product. Now there is an option to not have to pay for the music we hear. If someone really wants to support indie artists, they can go to their shows, buy an album once a year, or buy a T-shirt. There are lots of ways. We just have to remind people that if they want their favorite artists to keep making music, they have to help. It's not charity. Do you think subscription or streaming services hinder sales of downloads or physical product? I don't think they affect physical sales too much. Some people think the streaming services cut into download sales. I don't see that happening. In my universe of 650 labels, I see streaming services as aggregate income rather than replacement income. For the time being, I believe there are different types of consumers. Some people go to Amazon or iTunes to buy a track; others go to Spotify or Rhapsody and listen rather than download. I think the streaming services just offer another way to engage the consumer. I don't believe they cannibalize download sales. Amazon and iTunes sales as well as the streaming services are growing. What can an indie artist glean from the statements they get about their digital sales? We've had to decide how much or how little information we should put into the statements. If you put in too much, it's overwhelming. I feel it's important to include all track-level information, including the country, type of sale—meaning download, stream, or ringtone—and the store. Our artists can learn that there may be places where they didn't know they were popu- lar and which of their tracks are selling better than others on a given service. Then they can focus their efforts on where they are reaching fans. The most important thing for an artist is to discuss activity they see on their statements with their distributor. That's part of the story that an artist needs to convey that could help their next release. How does an artist get signed to BFM Digital? We are selective about who we represent, we don't have an automatic signup process or a portal to upload your album. People can reach us through our website [see www.bfmdigital.com]. We look at every submission. We represent more than 600 content providers—artists, labels, publishers, and more. We have every style covering jazz, indie rock, world, classical, and reggae music—even yoga music. The music has to be good and marketable. We don't charge an up-front fee, we are partners with our labels in a revenue-sharing situation. So if something doesn't sell, we don't make money. The fscal realities make it hard for us to get involved with a project that is starting from square one. There has to already be a foundation. Do you see ample opportunities for those who want to become content creators? Generally, yes. There are a lot of ways to generate money from music and make a living as a musician. I think it's a challenge when artists limit themselves to just one or two. Now more than before, an artist has to pay attention to the business—even if they have a label or a distributor. Artists have to know how the business works. That's the only way they can increase the chance of making a living doing what they love. Summer2013 29

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