Don’t Split the Streams — Part 1

A look at music marketing campaigns — including song exclusivity to specific music streaming and retail platforms, and how music metadata fields are handled by such platforms can make streaming counts vary wildly

You made a record, where to which streaming services do you deliver it?

The conventional wisdom is: EVERYWHERE. A digital distributor — for independent artists of a smaller size — this usually means a self service distributor like CDBaby, DistroKid, Tunecore and there are scores of other ones — will deliver their music everywhere, as far as they want to take it, to 100s of music services.

Single Music pricing competitive against Bandcamp
European artist and Balearic music legend Afterlife asks fans to stream his music on Napster because they have the highest payout rate
MIDiA research on global streaming music market in 2019 ; Spotify and Apple Music hold the most market share at 36% and 18%

When artists limit music availability to one streaming platform ; e.g. “streaming exclusives”

If you’re a big BIG artist, maybe let’s say you even own your own streaming service, like rapper / producer Jay-Z, maybe limiting your music to one streaming platform makes sense. He’s a majority owner of TIDAL. Up until very recently, December 4th, 2019, his 50th birthday, Jay-Z kept his music exclusively to his own service. Now mind you could find Jay-Z music videos on YouTube, etc.

Spotify welcomes back Jay-Z to their streaming service

Why Indie Artists still do practice stream / download exclusivity

While big time musicians today make their songs and albums ubiquitous, many independent artists and their record labels and management teams may limit the music to particular streaming and retail download platforms.

Eskimo Recordings practiced a “Streaming Only” exclusive for their artist Satin Jackets and his EP “Mercury Moments”. It was only available on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music before coming to music retailers like Traxsource a week later.
Traxsource had a limited “window” exclusive on FSQ’s “I Zimbra” EP
List of promotional efforts put behind FSQ’s “I Zimbra” by the music retail site Traxsource
Traxsource features mixes by top producer / DJ talents that sell music on their site
Traxsource “Release of the Day” editorial feature on their branded Facebook page features both customized videos promoting releases and text and links back to the music on Traxsource.com
Robotaki’s new single “Dreamcatcher” featured the day of its release, on a Apple Music Electronic playlist that is updated on Fridays each week

Don’t split the sales!

The title of this post is “Don’t Split the Streams” and I have spent the majority of it including this last section talking about music retail platforms that sell digital files and physical product (mainly vinyl). I will get to streaming in a the second part of this two part post, but first a bit more on why artists and labels wind up with exclusives on retail platforms like Beatport, Juno Download and Traxsource.

FSQ has an artist account with Traxsource to manage our bio, logo and other content on Traxsource
FSQ invests time in Traxsource by the way of curating DJ charts for the site
FSQ’s Top 10 Chart for January 2020 is currently featured on the “Soul Funk Disco” genre page on Traxsource
Some genres at Beatport have over 100,000 charts curated by DJs using the platform
As you can see, FSQ needs to create some DJ charts for our artist profile on Beatport. We primarily use Traxsource to curate DJ charts today.
Artist / Label Back End Sign Up for Beatport and Juno Download. Note Beatport warns “ may take several weeks before you see changes on the site” upon sign up
The genres that Juno Download classifies music into get very deep
Gracenote’s Sonic Style solution allows for individual songs to be assigned several genres with weighted percentages
Beatport “Afro House” Top 100 Bestsellers — January 2020
Page from February 2020 print edition of Mixmag features Beatport Top Seller Charts
Traxsource curates the best of dance music events for Miami Music Week — this was 2019’s roundup — which thankfully included FSQ ; therefore you can see why our allegiance remains with Traxsource

How are songs’ chart status displayed on Juno Download, Traxsource, and Beatport?

Each retail site demonstrates a song’s progress, in terms of charting differently. Each of these services have individual URL web links for each song in their library.

Top 5 Best Sellers on Beatport January 26th, 2020
Beatport “Track Page” for Torren Foot’s “More Life (Extended Mix)” currently #2 on Beatport charts
The majority of Beatport chart action for Torren Foot’s “More Life” is on DJ curated charts. Here the tune appears on ”Beatport’s Staff Picks 2019: Tech House Beatport”
Traxsource “track page” for Torren Foot’s “More Life” which is #2 best seller at Beatport
Traxsource allows you to see exactly where a tune charted on a DJ or editorial chart ; here you see where Torren Foot’s “More Life” appears on Traxsource editorial charts
No DJs on Juno Download have charted Torren Foot’s “More Life”

Disparities in top songs charting across platforms … Beatport, Traxsource and Juno Download

While Torren Foot’s “More Life (Extended Mix)” holds #2 top selling position on Beatport (it was #1 in December 2019) it’s not enjoying as much popularity on Traxsource and Juno Download.

“More Life” became #1 on the Beatport overall Best Sellers chart by December 24th, 2019 but it took a few weeks to get there — rising from #23 overall on December 6th
“More Life” is not in the top 500 best sellers at Juno Download. At Traxsource it’s not in the top 100 best sellers. At Beatport — it’s still #2 after hitting #1 in December 2019. Does this have anything to do with Torren Foot’s marketing focus on Beatport or just the love for “Tech House“ ”at Beatport?
Stats taken 1.26.20 by myself from their Beatport, Traxsource, and Juno Download top seller charts
Torren Foot’s release “More Life” puts Beatport as the first place to buy the release
Torren Foot’s DJ Chart feature on Beatport
FSQ’s remix for Dejavilla currently featured on ULTRA Records’ Beatport label page

So now you have some insights into why artists do retail download sales exclusives, both “windowed” and permanent exclusives. The latter method is meant to help artists climb on to best sellers charts, primarily on Beatport.

Footnote: More on DJ Charts, and also what about streaming exclusives?

Beyond the two reasons I cited earlier — making it more difficult to acquire music or downgrading audio quality — there is another reason why exclusivity can be a pain for DJs, who of course are also music consumers. Let me explain the third reason.

Our FSQ Top 10 January 2020 Chart
Several artists we selected for the FSQ Top 10 chart for November did not have their latest tunes available on Traxsource
Several artists we selected for our FSQ Top 10 November 2019 id not make their tunes available on Traxsource
NICOLAAS and Chela’s “XXO” is available as a high quality download on Qobuz

Digital Media Biz Dev+FUNK music making. Personal Page. Present @Gracenotetweets @George_Clinton @fsqofficial. Past @CNET @WSJ @CiscoSystems @officialfm @acquia

Digital Media Biz Dev+FUNK music making. Personal Page. Present @Gracenotetweets @George_Clinton @fsqofficial. Past @CNET @WSJ @CiscoSystems @officialfm @acquia