Business Matters: Looking for a New Kind of Record Label? Here's DigSin ...
Business Matters: Looking for a New Kind of Record Label? Here's DigSin ...

Looking for a New Kind of Label? Here's DigSin ...
-- DigSin -- a free, singles-only label founded in 2011 by Jay Frank, author and most recently SVP Music Strategy at Country Music Television -- has released its first song, "DRNK TXTNG" by Atlanta artist NNXT.

People have been saying for years that the standard record business model is broken. The thinking goes something like this: Consumers increasingly want single songs, not albums; they want to access music, not own it; and they increasingly do not want to pay for it. Analysts have called for the emergence of new business models that reflect the realities of today's marketplace. But here we are in 2012 and traditional record labels are being started every week.

In starting DigSin, Frank has effectively put his money where his mouth has been. The Nashville-based label gives free downloads to people who have signed up for its mailing list. It plans to leverage social media, analytics and traditional promotional outlets to create awareness and boost distribution. Frank has studied and written about the anatomy of hit songs in "FutureHit.DNA" and his new book, "Hack Your Hit" (out Tuesday, January 31). That research spurred the creation of this new label. "DigSin is the result of years of examining the new ways music fans find and listen to music," Frank said in a statement when DigSin was first announced back in October.

So how does DigSin generate revenue? Frank hasn't yet walked me through his model, but the October press release described the revenue model as a mix of "revenue in both traditional and non-traditional ways" and partnerships with "advertisers and other outlets." A digital-only record label can monetize sound recordings many ways other than download sales: synchronization licenses (from commercials and placement in television, film and web broadcasts), advertising revenue, performance royalties and even partnerships with corporate brands. It may sound a bit unusual, but that's the point. DigSin was created not to be the usual record label.

In the meantime, this excerpt from a May 2011 post at his FutureHit.DNA blog helps explain the rationale behind DigSin: "The singles market has yet to hit a ceiling. The opportunities to make a hit single succeed when following the new rules of the digital landscape is still large. Don't sit around waiting for that album to be done. Accept the marketplace where over a billion transaction (US track sales) take place and still grows."

Netherlands to Crack Down on ISPs That Allow File-Sharing
-- SOPA turned into a political liability for US lawmakers, but website blocking is not out of vogue everywhere in the world. Lawmakers in Holland plan to submit a proposal before the summer to require ISPs to block access to file-sharing sites such as the Pirate Bay, according to Reuters. Penalties would be paid to Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, the same organization that brought to court a case that ended up with two Dutch ISPs - Ziggo and XS4ALL - being told they must block access to the Pirate Bay by February 1 or risk a fine. ( Reuters)

Topspin Announces Sharealytics
-- Topspin Media has introduced a simple analytics tool that shows artists the effectiveness of sharing their music on social media platforms. Called Sharealytics, the new feature tracks sharing from artists' widgets on Facebook and Twitter.

Here's how it works: Sharealytics shows the amount of clicks, clicks per share and email signups. In "the coming weeks" artists will also be able to track direct sales from emails, Facebook posts and Twitter shares. A widget is typically embedded at an artist's website. Because a widget can be embedded they can be placed at third-party websites such as music blogs, too.

Sharealytics is a logical product in this day and age. There is an abundance of data but also the very real possibility you can be buried under a mountain of data. An equally bad outcome is that tools to help interpret data are so unhelpful they go unused. This is why people started caring about companies like BigChampagne and Next Big Sound. The real value of that data comes from one's ability to interpret it.

A good example of data interpretation is a simple metric like dollars-per-share communicates. It's not mind-blowing but it does say a great deal about the effectiveness of social media. Back in September, Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard told Billboard that each social media share is worth $5.35 in incremental revenue. Online ticketing platform Eventbrite has pegged its dollars-per-share at $1.78 across all social media platforms and $2.53 for Facebook. It's a great metric because everybody understands it. ( Topspin blog)

The Orchard Boosts Its European Team
-- The Orchard has expanded and bolstered its European team. Tricia Arnold joins the company as its International Sales and Distribution Director. Liz Eve has been promoted to International Client Relations Director. Chris Tams has been promoted to International Marketing Director. ( Press release)