By Kathleen Blackwell
Attention. How do we measure that? Major labels use old school metrics. Maybe, at some point in the future, we will find a new way to measure music success. But, sales of recordings is no longer it. Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter (12-17-10)
While the music industry paradigm has shifted, it still holds true that great music is at the heart of the music business. However, since music is “free” in today’s download world, or at least artists are encouraged to give away songs (that they have paid to have recorded) in hopes of capturing new fans or simply to be heard, the ultimate question is: How do musicians, bands—artists—make money if they are living in an era that has de-monetized the very thing they create and the very thing that is still at the core of the music business—music?
The Solution To The Market in the New Music Business Paradigm:
Stock Rock Exchange (SRE)™ • Stock Rock™ • Rock Pop Stock™
New School Music Metrics = Monetizing Artists Upon Overall Artist Career = Artist Brand Equity
The Stock Rock Exchange, or SRE, is a revolutionary site, a market, an exchange that calculates an Artist’s Brand Equity (ABE)™ based upon a new set of metrics, Music Data Exchange Format (MDEF)™, that allows fans to trade music stock (Rock Stock™) or rock star bonds (RSB’s) of both mainstream-major and independent-indie artists. The fans have access to the Artist’s Brand Equity and along with how the fan thinks their past, present and future career stands—the make purchases, holds, trades or sells ROCK STOCK. In exchange, the artist receives payment—a new form of royalty called Brand Royalty (BR)—based upon the ROCK STOCK exchange.
Music Data Exchange Format (MDEF)™: Identify fans, measure social engagement, find hot markets, track radio plays, discover trends, gauge attitudes, in-depth reports and more.
With the Stock Rock Exchange (SRE), participants (fans, etc.) initially use simulated money to buy and sell “stock shares,” aka ROCK STOCK, of musicians, bands, artists, producers, upcoming releases, and music industry-related options. As an initial incentive, every participant (fan, etc.) starts with “virtual dollars,” which convert to real cash if profit is earned up to a certain amount. Initially, there is no cost to participate in the game.
How does it work? Every musician, producer registers as a ROCK STOCK ticker number. Equity is based on the overall artist career (music, touring, merchandise, press, downloads, file sharing, apps, promotions, fans, named-producers, exposure, etc.) and their overall establishment as a unique brand. Each piece of the pie receives a qualitative and quantitative rating. For example, a band goes on tour and pre-sells 45% of tickets—that receives a specific value rating. Or, a band gets a press write-up and the press medium, number of words, circulation, number of hits, downloads and readership helps to determine the value rating of that piece of the metric pie.
Independent artists start like penny stock—everybody can afford one—and there is room to rise. Major, established artists start at a higher, correlate value.
Because trading directly affects the prices of the stock—purchasing enough shares of a stock causes its price to rise, and selling causes its price to fall—and because the ultimate value of a Rock Stock is based on the artist’s overall career, or brand, stock prices act as new release predictions.
THE FAN, or purchaser of ROCK STOCK, for the first time, also stands to make cold, hard cash for simply being a fan and participating in the development of the artists career and the artist stands to gain because money (loosing, or gaining) creates a natural incentive for the fan to promote the artist. The purchase of ROCK STOCK can take a variety of forms, but two examples would be 1) outright purchase of the stock, or 2) as an added value with every purchase of a song by the fan, the artist gives the fan one share of stock (in lieu of a hard-cash item like a t-shirt, or poster.)
In what way is ROCK STOCK good for fans?
- “Penny stock” = low enough cost for fans to risk on any artist = fans love.
- The fan owns a piece of the artist “in the sky”—in this cloud-investing world.
- The fan feels connected to the artist outside of their music; responsible for the artist, want to help.
- The fan can actually make money back off of the artist.
In what way is ROCK STOCK good for artists?
- If fans own stock in the artist, they have even more of an incentive to promote the heck out of that artist.
- Further incentive for the artist to continue to create great music and do well.
- Artists are now monetized as a whole of their career, not only in the ‘free’ music they give away.
- Establishment of a new metric paradigm.
Rock Star Bonds:
Rock Star Bonds are available for artist’s who have hit a certain market share and represent the “trailing average gross” of an artist’s releases to date. As with Rock Stock, trading directly affects the value of these bonds, until they adjust after a new release. Rock Star Bonds can be volatile, as an artist may produce a hit, or a dud, only then to be jettisoned back to the indie world, causing their Rock Star Bond to fall rapidly.
Options & Derivatives:
A Rock Stock Option is either a “Call” or a “Put.” A call is claiming that an artist will make more than a certain amount for newest release, and a put is claiming that the artist will make less than that amount.
A fund is similar to a personal portfolio; however, all the holdings of a particular fund are visible to the public. Funds also have themes, so instead of being able to invest in any security, the fund manager may only be able to invest in genres, like pop music, classical music, rock music, electronic music, music for movies and television, music in video games, sophomore releases, touring, etc.
The price of a fund is only influenced by the stocks held by that fund, not by the players who buy or sell the fund. Most funds cash out once they reach H$100 per share, or the equivalent of H$100 million for a personal portfolio. This type of security can help to educate newer players about how to effectively manage a portfolio, and is also an opportunity for slow and steady growth.
ROCK STOCK also releases various special derivatives throughout the year. For example, during February, there are derivatives for the Grammy’s.
Other nuances to ROCK STOCK:
- Anytime an artist’s name is written in the press, just like regular business on the NYSE, the artist’s name gets printed with the ticker symbol in parenthesis. This automatically goes out with artist’s press releases, etc.
- Fan: Want to email someone the track? Let the band’s site do it for you. If the person the artist sends the music to clicks a button on the email saying he actually likes the new track, the fan gets a free share of stock.
- This site, program, service aims to help the middle class artist—which is most artists.