Transmission: Music Industry News & Updates

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Transmission: Music Industry News & Updates is a new feature on the Manitoba Music website that will offer a semi-regular summary of music industry news from across the country and around the globe. Below is the first installment and look forward to providing future roundups of relevant and interesting industry happenings. We hope you enjoy it.

In 2012, YouTube continued its emergence as a major player in the international music market. This article from the U.K. explains how rather than focusing on getting unauthorized videos taken off the digital services, record labels are learning to make money from plays on YouTube. 

At the same time, the streaming site has upped its diligence in the realm of ‘fake’ views. YouTube canceled billions of allegedly faked music video views from videos by major label artists. Update: a more detailed description from the labels on the practice of trimming view counts.

On the other end of the technological spectrum, for the fifth consecutive year, more vinyl albums were purchased than any other year in the history of Nielsen SoundScan. In 2012, vinyl album sales reached 4.6 million in sales, breaking the previous record of 3.9 million LP album sales in 2011.

Top selling vinyl was a mix of catalogue and new releases, in the U.S. including Jack White, The Beatles, Mumford & Sons, and The Black Keys. The xx led a similar rise in the UK, along with Adele, and Tame Impala.

Moving even farther back up the technological evolution, Canada saw 1,400 pre-recorded cassettes sold in 2012. That’s more than double the number sold in the UK in the same year.

The SoundScan numbers also reveal that, perhaps unsurprisingly, digital sales are on the rise. In the last week of December, over 55 million digital songs were purchased, the biggest number since the same week in 2008, when consumers bought 47.73 million songs.

Another music sphere that showed substantial growth in 2012 was country music. Fans purchased 44.6 million physical copies of country albums during the year just ending, an increase of 4.2 percent over 2011. Many of these were Taylor Swift’s Red (3.1 million).

One of the world’s largest streaming music services, Spotify, killed its download to purchase option in the Europe this month. (The service is not currently available in Canada.) The company offered few details except to say that it is preparing to offer new services and features. 

A summary of the Nielsen Company & Billboard’s 2012 Music Industry Report is available online.

In a streaming meets marketing union that also harkens back to the LP days, tipster magazine Pitchfork has launched Advance, an immersive music streaming platform designed to emulate the classic album experience. The services features pre-release albums streams with graphics of album art, lyrics, credits, track listings, and artist info. 

Touching briefly on current affairs and the Canadian mainstream news, the ongoing Idle No More campaign has caused a stir throughout the country. The movement can now count some notable Canadian musicians among its followers, including Leslie Feist, Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip), John K. Samson (The Weakerthans), Steven Page, Sarah Harmer, Bry Webb (Constantines), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas), Mike O'Neil (The Inbreds), The Sadies, Justin Rutledge, and many more, who have all signed on to a Facebook page.

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