Revising the Average TuneCore User's Revenue Up a Few Bucks
-- What an average artist makes from digital sales depends on many factors, including the assumptions and math behind one's calculations. On Tuesday, Digital Music News posted the results of some number crunching that put the average TuneCore artist's gross revenue from download sales at $179 per year for the past 28 months (per an April 14 press release).
But a better estimate is probably a bit higher -- but not much higher. The difference stems from Digital Music News' use of two incompatible numbers in its calculations. It took revenue earned over a period of time and divided it by the number of TuneCore users at specific a point in time. The point in time used was an end-point, not a mid-point. So instead of doing the calculation using the average number of TuneCore users during a period of time, Digital Music News included users who had been with TuneCore anywhere from a few months to a few days. Their brief stint with the service needs to be taken into consideration.
A better estimate would take revenue earned over a period of time divided by the average number of TuneCore clients during that period of time. TuneCore press releases did not start mentioning the number of users until October 2010, when the number stood at 500,000. By April, a TuneCore press release (the source in Digital Music News' calculations) put the figure at 600,000. So in six months, TuneCore added 100,000 users -- assuming press releases provide accurate tracking of user counts, which is unlikely.
But it's safe to say that TuneCore has been gaining users at a pretty good clip over the last year or two. If we want to be conservative, we can say there was an average of 500,000 users during the 28-month span during which TuneCore artists made $250 million. If 500,000 artists made $250 million over 28 months, that comes out to $214 per year per artist ($500 per artist over that time frame). If 400,000 artists made $250 million over 28 months, that comes out to $238 per year per artist ($556 per artist over that time frame).
Even with a small adjustment, the average revenue per customer number does not tell us many things. For example, we don't know the revenue earned by the median user, or that artist who represents the 50th percentile. And we don't know how many songs or albums it took for an artist to generate that revenue. Some TuneCore users might have put out more releases. Others might have released just a track or two.
But no matter how you tweak these equations, it's clear the average TuneCore account does not generate huge sums. Then again, TuneCore, or other DIY distributors, is not a guarantee of financial success (however defined). It's about the extension of fairly price digital distribution to all artists -- including hobbyists as well as stars. And it represents the ability of music consumers to buy music from each and every one of them.
(Digital Music News)
Are Narcissistic Words Increasing in Pop Lyrics?
-- At his Futurehit.DNA blog Jay Frank writes about the increased use of narcissistic words like "I" and "me" in pop lyrics. He weaves in information on research into both decades of pop lyrics and college student surveys that find a statistically significant upsurge in narcissism and hostility in pop music.
Here's Frank on Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," a party song with a heavy personal slant:
"The first verse starts out with eight mentions of 'I' variations. It then follows with four mentions of 'Our' which, while acknowledging a group, is also possessive and certainly narcissistic in attitude against the broader song. However, once you reach the chorus, there's only one 'I' and one 'we' mention in the entire refrain. The chorus is a more general statement about partying that feels strong in a group moment without fully defining the group for when the listener is alone. Overall, while the song appears to be about a group party, it's really just about the singer allowing the song to exist in both worlds. Final counts: 'I' variations -- 30; 'We' variations -- 16; 'you' variations -- 12."
Mark Montgomery Tapped For Topspin Advisory Board
-- Digital music entrepreneur Mark Montgomery had been named to the advisory board of Topspin Media. The advisory board also includes Marc Geiger of William Morris Endeavor; Nathan Hubbard, CEO of Ticketmaster; Dan Springer, CEO at Responsys; John Silva of Silva Artist Management; Craig Collins, CFO at Ironport Systems; and Paul Brown, COO at Mendeley.