Friday, March 27, 2009

The kings of video streaming

For the last couple of weeks, I've been pointing out that comparing radio royalty rates with online video rates - as the PRS tries to do - is wrong-headed and confused. Here, in my inbox appears a document with an expert who seems to back me up:

‘Lots more performances of music are needed online to generate meaningful royalties since each download or stream is individual in comparison to the wider audience numbers achieved by broadcasts on traditional media channels such as radio or TV.'

Exactly. Why can't the PRS see that, eh? Maybe we should try and see if this chap could try to point out to the royalty body that you're only going to get infinitesimal rates per play of a video... let's see, who was this wise man?
Andrew Shaw, Managing Director of Broadcast and Online at PRS for Music

Yes, having spent three weeks bleating that YouTube offer a tiny, tiny amount for each time a video gets played online, and suggesting this makes Google evil, the PRS now issue a press release reminding everyone that, erm, you can only expect a tiny, tiny amount for each time a video gets played online. I'm not sure if that makes the PRS part of the evil Google conspiracy, or simply suggests that - as with most of the RIAA affiliated groups and companies - at least some people understand digital music and its implications.

This is all part of the PRS press release celebrating the most popular online music of 2008. Yes, it really has taken them three months to work this out. Here's the chart:
  1. NOW YOU'RE GONE - BASSHUNTER
  2. ROCK STAR - HANNAH MONTANA
  3. MERCY - DUFFY
  4. DON'T STOP THE MUSIC - RIHANNA
  5. 4 MINUTES – MADONNA, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, TIMBALAND
  6. APOLOGIZE - TIMBALAND
  7. BLACK AND GOLD - SAM SPARRO
  8. AMERICAN BOY - ESTELLE AND KANYE WEST
  9. I KISSED A GIRL - KATY PERRY
  10. SOMETHING GOOD - UTAH SAINTS
  11. WHATS IT GONNA BE - H two O, PLATINUM
  12. CHASING PAVEMENTS - ADELE
  13. SO WHAT - PINK
  14. SEX ON FIRE - KINGS OF LEON
  15. PIECE OF ME - BRITNEY SPEARS
  16. DANCE WIV ME - DIZZEE RASCAL
  17. VALERIE - AMY WINEHOUSE, MARK RONSON
  18. THE PROMISE - GIRLS ALOUD
  19. ELVIS AINT DEAD - SCOUTING FOR GIRLS
  20. HOT N COLD - KATY PERRY

What is the reaction of the PRS to this discovery?
Some of the entries in 2008 exemplify that digital is truly an audio-visual environment where video can drastically boost a track’s popularity.

Eh? While the list might not exactly match the ILR playlists for the 2008, it's hardly as if there's any gems in the list that you might have missed had you relied on radio rather than going on the internet during the year.

There's something else I don't quite understand. The release says this:
PRS for Music analysed 74 million downloads and streams of music on licensed websites and services such as YouTube, iTunes, Last.fm, Spotify and Bebo, in order to pay royalties accurately to its 60,000 members.

Which is fair enough. But the notes for editors says this:
A typical radio station plays 12,000 pieces of music in a three month period. During the same timeframe, on services like YouTube, PRS for Music will analyse some two billion performances of 14m different videos.

So in 2008, PRS analysed 74 million downloads and streams. But in three months, PRS analyses two billion performances of videos alone - implying eight billion streaming videos in a year. So is it 74 million or eight billion? Shouldn't an agency set up to look after other people's money be better with the numbers?


4 comments:

Olive said...

Something Good by Utah Saints? Has that been released or something? I was listening to that earlier on- it's on one of my gym playlists.

simon h b said...

There was a 2008 re-release which, according to the Utah Saints at least, was the most played track on Radio One last year.

And they think the DJs are too old for the job...

Anonymous said...

I was so surprised at your comment about Utah Saints that I just had to look it up to see where it was actually at according to radio 1. I decided to look at the radio 1 last.fm page that supposedly scrobbles everything they play and, although I don't know how accurate it is, unbelievably I found this http://www.last.fm/user/bbcradio1/charts?rangetype=overall&subtype=tracks

Did I just completely miss 2008? I don't remember hearing Utah Saints in about ten years! Then again according to the same website my "musical compatibility with bbcradio1 is Very Low". Given that Something Good is their favourite song, there's something strangely comforting about having little in common with them.

simon h b said...

The only thing that makes this all a little less unlikely is that Last FM scrobbles all music played - so if a track is used as a bed or in a trailer, it counts as a play.

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