Start Your Own Music Label

Comments on Pay to Play and the State of the Music Business by Mitch Santell

more vinyl green
Start your music label:

There has never been a better time to start your own music label. I have watched and read as dozens of Reggae Artists have truly taken their career’s back.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, the days of “Pay To Play” are finally coming to an end. Want a more profound indication of this? Look at what is happening at Billboard!

This is what Music Business Worldwide had to say:

When The Harlem Shake hit No.1 in the US, just 309,000 of its 103 million first-week streams came from audio services like Spotify.

The song was also helped by 262,000 downloads – driven by YouTube viewing, no doubt – but it got little help from a radio audience of just two million.

To exclude video streams from the Hot 100 would have ignored the public’s newfound ability to turn a song into a pop culture phenomenon almost overnight.

Five years later, Billboard has decided that a YouTube stream is no longer worth the same as a Spotify stream.

Starting in July, Billboard’s new weighting system for the Hot 100 will create a hierarchy that discriminates paid services from ad-supported services – and audio from video.

The Harlem Shake might not have reached No.1 if released in 2018.

This new scheme will work on a points basis:

  • Streams from on-demand audio services – Spotify, Apple Music, et al – are given one point;
  • On-demand video streams from YouTube, Vevo and others receive 0.67 points apiece;
  • Finally, programmed streams by Internet radio services – non-interactive and limited functionality, meaning you can’t choose a song or listen to an entire album from start to finish – like Pandora and Slacker Radio are given 0.5 points each.

How will these changes play out?

I took 2017 US year-end numbers from BuzzAngle, estimated the total number of streams for each category above, and then calculated each category’s share of total annual streams.

Then I applied Billboard’s new point system to these 2017 numbers.

This is what the total market looks like before and after the new weighting scheme:

Old Vs New Playboy

Read more here:

It is interesting to note that Billboard purchased Radio & Records on July 7, 2006 shutting down R&R one year later laying off hundreds of employees so I have no love for Billboard Magazine for what they did to the radio business in 2006.

Billboard mag buys rival Radio and Records

Friday 07 July, 2006

As expected, Billboard magazine has reached an agreement to acquire Radio and Records, its 33-year-old Los Angeles-based competitor.

R&R has always maintained a strong focus on radio.

Billboard has its own radio-driven publication, Billboard Radio Monitor.

Billboard and R&R both publish their own airplay charts, which are created using data from competing airplay monitoring firms, Nielsen SoundScan’s BDS (owned by VNU, parent company of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter) and Mediabase.

Billboard owner, Dutch media giant VNU, says it will keep the R&R brand and will integrate R&R’s L.A.-based operations into the Billboard Music Group. R&R publisher Erica Farber will remain and the takeover date is July 31. VNU didn’t announce a price for the deal that’s long been speculated about.

Radio & Records was founded in 1973 by Bob Wilson, has witnessed several ownership changes. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, the publication was owned by radio chain Westwood One. The magazine was purchased by Perry Capital in 1994.

Read more at:

To those of us who remember, this is what Radio and Records looked like in 1997.


Radio and Records Yes 1997
R&R in 1997 before Billboard bought them in 2006 and killed the company.


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