Look for Exploration at the Music Biz Conference May 15 - 18 in Nashville, TN!

Music Biz 2023 is the premier place for the global industry to gather, network and work together to build a better music business. We’ll also celebrate industry achievements along with the Association’s 65th Anniversary.

In this newsletter:

Sales of cassette tapes have reached a 20-year peak, with an annual figure of 195,000 sales for 2022.

Snapchat creators with over 50k followers and 25m monthly views can now monetize their Stories.

Soundtrack Loops and Cherry Audio offer a charity bundle, with proceeds going to Music Will, raising $10k+.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - April 21, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

Cassette Tape Sales Peak With Nearly 200,000 Sold in 2022

Despite the world of music streaming and digital downloads now dominating the way we consume music, physical formats of music have made a triumphant return with a slow climb back to popularity over the last two decades. According to new research from The British Phonographic Industry, sales of cassette tapes have risen for 10 consecutive years, and the surge has been driven by high-selling releases from artists such as Arctic Monkeys’ The Car, Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, and Florence + The Machine’s Dance Fever. In 2012, the total number of cassette sales was just 3,823, which has now jumped into six-figures with 195,000. Paul Williams, a spokesperson for the British Phonographic Industry, said (via Sky News): “Not long ago, people would have written off the cassette, but I think you have to learn the lessons of the vinyl market which had an incredible revival. “It’s something at a lower level, but it is happening now with cassettes. There’s this return for people wanting to own music, to go out and buy,” he explained. “What we’ve noticed with the cassette market – the cassettes and the artists that are doing well are artists with real fan bases.”

Snapchat Stories Monetization is Expanding to Creators With 50,000 Followers, 25 million Monthly Views

Snap Head of Talent Development Brooke Berry revealed that Snapchat creators with at least 50,000 followers and 25 million monthly views will now be eligible for the app’s Stories monetization program. Last year, Snap began sharing revenue on midroll ads that appear in its Stories. After piloting that program alongside a select group of creators, the app is now expanding Stories monetization. Creators “may be eligible” to profit from their Stories so long as they meet the above criteria and share at least 10 of the disappearing posts each month. Snap is also opening up new monetization opportunities on Spotlight, its TikTok-esque vertical video format. Short-form stars like Hayley Thompson have been able to earn thousands by participating in themed Spotlight Challenges, and Snap is now increasing the total payout pool for the creators of top Spotlight posts. With all of these developments, Snap is encouraging users to create content across all of its formats rather than focusing on one of them. That strategy has paid dividends for creators like Eitan Bernath, who have harnessed Snap’s numerous revenue streams. “The monetization is really great for creators,” Bernath told Tubefilter last year. “On Snap, very often the number of monetizable views will be higher than the number of viewers.” To consolidate all of those formats in one convenient location, Snap is introducing Public Profiles (pictured above), which will increase visibility for creators. Public Stories will be introduced as well, thus creating more impressions for Snap’s fledgling monetization program.

Soundtrack Loops Teams Up with Cherry Audio for Charitable ‘Humble Bundle’ Initiative

Soundtrack Loops produces royalty-free samples, loops, and music for films, creative artists, beat makers, producers, DJs, and music lovers. The company recently announced a charitable partnership with Cherry Audio to create a donation-focused ‘Humble Bundle’ called ‘Level Up Music Creators Power Pack’. Cherry Audio offers an extensive catalog of virtual instruments that are inspired by classic synthesizers, with high-end features that suit demanding music productions. Proceeds from the sale of ‘Level Up Music Creators Power Pack’ will go to Music Will, which runs the largest non-profit music program in the U.S. public school system, providing instruction, instruments, and professional training to K-12 and collegiate educators. According to Humble Bundle, ‘Level Up Music Creators Power Pack’ has already raised over $10,000 for Music Will. Level Up is only available until April 26th. For as little as a dollar, Level Up brings sample sound packs with thousands of loops, a software synth, a software euro rack synth, and Cherry Audio plugins. For $25 or more, buyers can get the complete music production suite with pro-level DAW, virtual synths and instruments, SFX, and over 15,000 loops and samples from soundtrack loops.

Soundcloud Partners With Feature.fm to Provide Marketing Tools to Indie Artists

SoundCloud has teamed up with Israel-based music marketing platform Feature.fm to provide independent artists with marketing tools and resources as they launch their careers. Feature.fm‘s services include shareable and trackable pre-save and smart links, campaign and artist landing pages, real time-analytics, and a self-serve ad platform, among others. The company claims that it created more than 1 million links for 300,000 artists last year. The partnership with SoundCloud, which will kick off in May, includes perks and discounts from Feature.fm. SoundCloud’s highest ‘Next Pro’ tier of artists can take advantage of a free plan and free ad credits. Feature.fm will provide SoundCloud artists with marketing, advertising, analytics and CRM tools. “We are thrilled to join forces with SoundCloud to bring professional marketing tools to independent artists, making their journey to success even more accessible,” said Lior Aharoni, CEO & Co-Founder, Feature.fm. “With SoundCloud’s reputation as one of the most artist-friendly platforms in the industry, this partnership is a natural fit for Feature.fm’s mission and dedication to empower artists.” Feature.fm recently partnered with YouTube Music to include various integrations including the ability for artists to track the number of streams from both YouTube Music and YouTube that came from a Feature.fm Smart Link.

Drake Sued For Alleged Copyright Infringement Over Sample Used on ‘Calling My Name’

Ghanaian artist Obrafour has filed a lawsuit against Drake, claiming that the superstar rapper’s 2022 track “Calling My Name” featured an unauthorized sample from one of Obrafour’s own works. Fifty-three seconds into that track, a vocalist can be heard saying “Killer cut, blood, killer cut.” In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday (April 18) with the US District Court for the southern district of New York, Obrafour alleges that this line was taken from a remix of his 2003 track Oye Ohene. In the complaint, Obrafour alleges that an agent representing Drake and the other defendants emailed him asking for permission to sample the track “mere days” before “Calling My Name” was released last year. That email went out on June 8, 2022, and the agent sent a follow-up email on June 13. Obrafour hadn’t yet responded to these emails when “Calling My Name” dropped on June 17, the complaint alleges. “The infringement by the Defendants has been, and continues to be, willful and knowing,” the complaint states. On top of the $10 million in damages, the lawsuit seeks profits made from record sales, streams, live performances and other sources of revenue linked to “Calling My Name”. It also asks for compensation to cover Obrafour’s legal costs.

Random Ramblings

  • AI continues to test creative industries and existing legal frameworks.
  • The battle over techno’s origins.
  • The power of thought.
  • The most mysterious noises heard around the world.
  • Tori Kelly delivers R&B nostalgia in her new visual of "missin' u (more)".

Who is Exploration?

Exploration is proud to be the company of choice to administer much of the world’s most important media. We rely on advanced technology and a competent, full-time staff of 70+ people to help our clients and partners better control their data and collect their money.

We wrote a free book on how the music business works.

To see who is collecting your royalties, request a free copyright audit.