Popular genres, v2
I thought this was a very good point made in the comments of my previous post:
- It strikes me that one issue that may skew these numbers is the relative breadth of categories. "Classical" is a very big tent, to the point that someone looking for Gregorian Chant and someone looking for post-Romantic French music will be looking in the same place. There is a much greater chronological and stylistic range in what you call classical music and what you call "hard rock," "electro rock," "electronica," etc.
His point is that the "bucketing" in the chart is really skewing the results. So I redid the charts by combining sub-genres in a way that seemed appropriate.
Here's what I did:
- I combined "ambient" and "new age"
- I combined "Alt Rock" "Hard Rock", "Electro Rock" and "Hip Hop"
- I combined "World" with "Jazz" (I know, that's debatable).
- I left Electronica as its own genre
The chart does come out differently after doing this.
here are some things I note from this new chart:
- each genre (except new age/ambient) has a similar number of albums at Magnatune
- demand for classical is greater than the catalog size, and he opposite is true for new age. However new age/ambient is still the #2 more popular genre.
- jazz/world and electronica have appropriately sized catalogs for their demand, though we have more rock than demand.
VISITORS vs MEMBERS
DEMAND in the chart above is based on what visitors to the Magnatune home page click on.
But, I wondered, what do paying members actually download?
Here is the chart:
Here is what I take away from this:
- New Age is very popular with people who choose to become members, followed by Classical.
- the catalog size fairly closely matches up what is desired by members.
- there is more demand for new age and classical than there is catalog
- and there are more rock albums than there is demand for them.
Conclusion: both charts are important. The first chart shows how our catalog size matches up with what new visitors to magnatune are looking for. Those are potential members. The second chart shows what paying members actually download, and keeping them happy keeps them as members.
Will this knowledge change what kind of music musicians I sign up for Magnatune?
No, not really: I get about 100 artists submitting every week, and I simply sign anything that comes to me that I think is fantastic.
However, it's possible that these sorts of numbers will motivate more musicians in certain genres to submit more music, which would then cause me to sign more of that genre.
Posted by John Buckman on February 20, 2011 at 07:55 PM | Permalink
I'd like to think I've done my part for the success of New Age music...so much so that since becoming a member last week, the bot-proofing security has asked me twice if I am indeed a human or (apparently) just a thirsty jukebox.
But the thing that initially brought me here of all things was Magnatune's collection of Medieval music. A friend of mine who is into fantasy roleplaying games suggested running the Medieval podcast during game sessions to create mood...which we did, and often.
I am curious though...has there been a real lack of submitted music in the Country/Western genre? I've had friends ask why there's no country music..though in my opinion there are a few folk-styled albums that might qualify. It would be nice to see more local country musicians signing on.
Posted by: Spike Page at Feb 21, 2011 1:04:06 PM
- I am curious though...has there been a real lack of submitted music in the Country/Western genre? I've had friends ask why there's no country music..though in my opinion there are a few folk-styled albums that might qualify.
We get very, very few submissions in that music style, and none so far that I think was great. We do get "southern rock" and "country & western influenced rock" and some of it is indeed great and is on Magnatune.
Posted by: John from Magnatune at Feb 21, 2011 1:16:06 PM
There is an interesting inversion of conventional wisdom here, or at least the "wisdom" we hear from major record labels, who tell us that they can't sell jazz or classical music, and so they cut those catalogues while giving release after release of sound-alike pop. I attended a classical guitar concert over the weekend, and the large hall was absolutely packed at $20 a seat.
Your stats reconfirm my suspicion that there is demand for great classical music and jazz out there; in fact, there is more demand than there is supply. It's just that the majors have no idea how to sell it.
Posted by: John at Feb 22, 2011 11:27:13 AM
I am a lifetime subscriber, and I listen to every release. If I were choosing an album at a time, and paying incrementally, I would acquire most of the classical, half of the jazz/world, the heavier part of the rock, a tiny bit of new age, and almost no electronica.
I really like to listen to a range of music, including some music that I don't like. I prefer to think of music as a life form in which my ears and mind participate, than a bit of pleasure that I consume. I try to approach each recording by absorbing the music as well as I can, rather than by evaluating how well it suits my taste.
Sure, I can only keep up my musical interest over the years by hearing some things that I really like and enjoy. But I particularly treasure the way that Magnatune allows me to listen to everything, without worrying in advance how much I like it.
Posted by: Mike O'Donnell at Feb 24, 2011 5:41:08 PM
I think that New Age/Ambient style music is great aural wallpaper for streaming during the business day - and it's NOT Muzak :-) (ie: please see my thesis on ambient "But Is It Muzak", google it on the "internets)
For those souls who are officebound and deskridden, there is something wonderful about streaming some beautiful new age or ambient music during the day to brighten the atmosphere. And this sort of music very rarely takes your attention away from what you are concentrating on, which is quite helpful in that environment.
I am glad to see that our new Age/Ambient catalog is doing so well and is so extensive here on Magnatune. When I am listening, it's usually to other artists in this genre as well!
Posted by: bobby d/stargarden at Feb 26, 2011 9:48:10 AM
For me, the best thing about Magnatune membership has been the way it has led me to listen to classical music that I would never, before I was a member, have considered. Knowing that it is already paid for, through my membership, I am happy to take a punt in a genre which I used to find intimidating. As a result, I now listen to radio 3, attend local recitals and even took my wife to a modern opera up in London for her birthday last year! (She loved it)
Personally, I think jazz musicians are missing a trick. There is something about classical and jazz music production and marketing which discourages casual interest; if you can't write a dissertation on it, it feels, you are not really able to enjoy it. This is nonsense, of course, but Magnatune cuts through that anyway. There is now no email to which I look forward more than your weekly round-up of new releases. My theory is that, if the subscription is there, the advertising ceases to be about persuasion and becomes purely a matter of information and shared enthusiasm; a purer form of advertising, if you will. The success of Magnatune isn't just in the music; it's in the approach and in the experience of finding new music.
Posted by: Danceswithcats at Feb 28, 2011 12:52:56 AM
Speaking of genres, have you considered bluegrass? There may be high quality musicians and demand to put together there, as you can sample on KPFA.
Posted by: Burk at Mar 26, 2011 9:59:34 PM
As one of the 99.5% non-member listeners, I wanted to chime in about the advert during tracks. I've appreciated your classical offerings for years now, bought a few albums but never committed to any membership level. I would visit now and then until today, I thought I was imagining the adverts but sure enough, I found this blog.
Very helpful incentive/reminder to support you and the artists, I will need to start putting aside for the lifetime membership.
The renaissance lute/chant brought me in. :)
Posted by: Daniel at Mar 30, 2011 8:36:37 AM