MySpace and CD Sales Matt 06 Dec 2005

36 comments Latest by The Avenger

What happens if you’re a “featured artist” on MySpace and get placement on the front page (alongside Madonna and the Roots) for a week? As far as CD sales, nada (for one band at least). [via Coolfer]

number of times their music was played: around 20,000
number of MySpace friend requests: 1200
number of mailing list signups: over 100
number of CDs sold: ZERO

36 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Nick Dominguez 06 Dec 05

Well I would argue that whether or not the record was actually good is pretty important? no? I mean You can play a band 20,000 times but if the songs are bad, the songs are bad. So why are people going to buy a record if it sucks? Just because it’s on Myspace’s homepage? Hope not.

anon 06 Dec 05

Not to be a major downer, but did the author consider that maybe the band in question just sucks? It would be more interesting to see those numbers averaged over many artists and genres.

Dan Boland 06 Dec 05

LOL, that’s funny and sad at the same time. Sure, it’s easy to say that maybe the band sucks, but I can’t imagine a totally shitty band would be a “featured artist.” And besides, 20,000 isn’t an astronomically high number of listens. Though you’d think someone would dig their tunes enough to buy a record.

Kim Siever 06 Dec 05

Why buy when you can download the music for free?

Colin 06 Dec 05

Album sales are not the measure of music success - royalties must also be considered! Maybe the artists are looking for exposure to drive demand, which in turn drives radio play and album sales.

chris 06 Dec 05

i think we’re all missing the greater point. myspace is not about MONEY, it’s about collecting arbitrary numbers of friends and posting pics of your new emo haircut.

Garrick Van Buren 06 Dec 05

I concur with Colin- CD sales alone aren’t an effective way for artists to support themselves.

Anonymous 06 Dec 05

>>> but I can’t imagine a totally shitty band
>>> would be a “featured artist.”

Yes, in a perfect world. But we live in the world where record companies pay radio stations to play crappy music. Sorry, just the conspiracy nut in me.

gse 06 Dec 05

This is surprising at face value, but given my experience running a little record label - it’s not real surprising. Selling CDs is hard these days.

Of course, it’s not just “these days”. Selling records is hard no matter what, and the internet in some ways makes for cheaper/more efficient marketing than mailing zines all over the country. But I really think that most kids today don’t buy CDs, period. Especially myspace kids. lol im it to me ok tnx hehe.

There are still some “real music fans” out there who support independent labels, and we sell CDs to them and we’re thankful for their existence. But I’m very wary of spending any money doing marketing (for instance, doing a featured myspace band, or running print ads, or hell - even sending out review copies) because thus far I’ve seen little proof that it’s worthwhile. Go blogosphere! I guess.

Drew Pickard 06 Dec 05

What I have been seeing is the promotion of myspace and purevolume as places to ‘sell records without a label’ with absolutely no proof that these sites do that.

I recently read a long article (which I cannot, for the life of me, find now) about a band who had supposedly made it big BECAUSE of myspace (band sold 400,000 CDs or something)

Problem is, I roughly knew the bands history and that it had everything to do with label support, promotion, sales, word of mouth, touring and normal indie label methods that helped them become popular - Myspace was a small footnote.

In the indie world, bands sell CDs based on several factors:
(in pseudo-particular order)

1. Their music
2. Their attractiveness/charisma by physical appearance or personality
3. Their live show
4. work ethic and attitude of the band
5. The bands that they ally themselves with and/or tour with
6. Promotion by outside help (ie: a radio station like KEXP taking an interest, etc.)
7. Promotion directly influenced by the label (promotion to college radio, business linking, influence to get them writeups in magazines/websites)
8. buzz/word of mouth (what people say about them online and off-line)

You can’t put a band on a webpage with some Mp3s and expect them to magically sell records. Music needs context: People have to connect the music with SOMETHING.

Becoming a successful musician is HARD. It is not EASY.
(notice I didnt say profitable, because that’s even harder!)


(cdbaby doesnt sell many CDs because CDs dont sell themselves. Promotion sells CDs … besides the music being good, of course)


sidenote: Do “plays” count when people hit play and then instantly hit stop because the noise is so unbearable?
I bet that counts as a play.

BCM 06 Dec 05

Chances are if this band is featured on the front page of MySpace they have to at least be decently good.

You know why no one bought the album? The MySpace generation has been brought up on downloading or burning every piece of music in their collection!

I honestly don’t think that anyone in this age group even considers buying a record unless it is like their favorite band, and even then it’s up for grabs…

Why do you think the music industry (record sales wise) is completely tanking?

Up until a few years ago I was in bands playing around the country and we had the same problem, kids these days love to download they hate to buy. I have a song I wrote that is being released by a major label artist this Spring and chances are I won’t see more than 30K from royalties, if this was 1994 I’d probably would end up with like 200K. Record companies don’t really expect bands (except the mega acts like Eminem, Green Day, etc) to sell millions of copies anymore.

Bryan 07 Dec 05

“Buy a MySpace CD, get 4 pictures added to your profile free!”

Wow dudes, how awesome!

He who is not named 07 Dec 05

You know why no one bought the album? The MySpace generation has been brought up on downloading or burning every piece of music in their collection!

I honestly don’t think that anyone in this age group even considers buying a record unless it is like their favorite band, and even then it’s up for grabs…

That’s pretty cynical, I think. The real reason is so vastly more complex than just “they’re really cheap.” I’m just too lazy to type it out.

Sam 07 Dec 05

number of times their music was played: around 20,000
number of MySpace friend requests: 1200

These are not “OMG” numbers when it comes to myspace. so 1,200 people like their music (that includes the biggest noise of the group, ‘friend collectors’, who could care less who the band is, they just want to boost the number).

Anyway, my point is, 20,000 plays and 1,200 friends is NOT a big number on myspace. there are over half a million bands on myspace, all fighting for the same audience.

Ethan Kaplan 07 Dec 05

Well (cough) I have a vested interest in Madonna on there, but this is not surprising in the least. I’ve always thought that MySpace first and foremost is a viral marketing tool, not necessarily a tool for monetization of content. This kind of points in that direction as well.

If some of the bands I work with had as many record sales as friends on MySpace, I would worry a lot less.

David Harrell 07 Dec 05

The number of plays figure on a MySpace page is always somewhat inflated – the music player on a band’s page records a “play” almost as soon as someone clicks through to the page. No doubt a large percent of those 20,000 plays lasted just a few seconds.

beth 07 Dec 05

That’s because the CDs have already been bought at Hot Topic. Duh.

mw 08 Dec 05

I’m glad there’s been on a post about myspace here. For the longest time, I’ve been wondering - how does one defend the business value of good design when a site like myspace (which seems to be the most poorly designed social networking site out there) takes off to the extent that it has?!! I’ve had clients ask me to design sites for them *like myspace* and it makes me want to stick forks in my eyeballs.

Paul Freeman 09 Dec 05

What I’d like to know, is how do they know they didn’t sell any CDs with this exposure? From reading the link, it sounds like either there was a limited distribution path in the first place, maybe the music was rubish, or the CD priced to high etc. Or maybe people didn’t follow the link provided, but hunted around on amazon and the like themselves to try and find cheaper copies.

I know a lot of the groups I listen to give away preview tracks, free MP3s from live performances, encourage p2p distribution of live shows and the like, all of which seem to promote the group, and grow a loyal fan base who happily go out and buy the music in the stores, and tickets for gigs sell out insanely fast.

Since the article avoids mentioning the group, or been able to see just what was on offer though, it’s very hard to draw any conclusions beyond speculation. To me it just goes to show that you can promote anything, but it doesn’t mean what your putting out there is actually worth what you say it is.

Adrian Lee 09 Dec 05

Erm, The Artic Monkeys had their songs put up on MySpace and shared around, and very quickly they were getting packed gigs and had a number 1, kicking ass over the number2 song.

That was the first ‘proper’ single they released (there was one other, but it only had a run of about 2000 cd’s).

not sure if they were featured on the front page or not, but they gave out free cd’s at gigs, people shared them on places like MySpaces, then they got record companies crawling at their feet, ratehr than the other way round and are raking it in.

Seems quite effective to me :)

Mike Barnhill 21 Dec 05

I agree with what Drew said. It takes live shows or word of mouth to win me over anymore. We Myspace addicts are so oblivious to the hundreds of thousands of bands trying to add us everyday. I don’t even give a listen anymore unless someone sends a message. Myspace is a great way for bands that share a gig and like eachother to stay in touch, or to share new songs with friends and fans already established. Myspace was a great tool when it first came out for promotion, but its become so oversatruated that it is no longer really a valuable tool for initial promotion. By the way check me out at www.myspace.com/mikebarnhill

Cobra 25 Dec 05

Maybe the better solution is that a link be placed to by the downloads, from I-Tunes, or what have you, so the sale is direct…no middle man, no shipping time. Instant gratification.


Rah Christiffer 03 Feb 06

You Said:

What happens if you’re a “featured artist” on MySpace and get placement on the front page (alongside Madonna and the Roots) for a week? As far as CD sales, nada (for one band at least). [via Coolfer]

number of times their music was played: around 20,000
number of MySpace friend requests: 1200
number of mailing list signups: over 100
number of CDs sold: ZERO

I Say:

This is the most crucial part of the sale…just planting the seed. It’s all about exposure and marketing. And being on myspace…that’s one of the best promotional tools. Not only can the “listener” see the artwork, they can hear the music and feel as if they are personally interacting with the band through a friend request. This is what generates sales. Some more then others, but it definately drives sales. Bands too often don’t look at the big picture. Just cause it didn’t happen right away doesn’t mean it won’t. I bet that most of the CD sales that are driven through myspace are from when the listener looks at the booking/tour dates and goes to the show. This in turn ends up in buying cd’s and merch. How do I come up with this? I’m at shows all the time and most of the time all I hear now is… “I HEARD YOU GUYS ON MYSPACE” as she/he is buying 30 shirts etc. Most people don’t like ordering online…and to go to a show and say oh you’re my friend on myspace makes them feel even more connected to the artist when buying from them. This is the perfect buisiness relationship.

David DiMuzio 13 Feb 06

Myspace is going to kill the whole Music Superstar thing as it has been in the past. There won’t be anymore Princes or Michael Jacksons. People are already doing everything themselves and make a much more personal connection to there fans. You’ll be able to write your fav. singer and actually have a chance of them writing you back. It think it’s cool! I wrote a song called Jade, and now I have 250+ friends named Jade on myspace who love my song and many of whom have written me thanking me for writing it. It’s cool to have that kind of access to people that have effected you and that your music has DIRECTLY effected. Listen to “Jade” at….
Myspace.com/daviddimuzio

David DiMuzio 13 Feb 06

Myspace is going to kill the whole Music Superstar thing as it has been in the past. There won’t be anymore Princes or Michael Jacksons. People are already doing everything themselves and make a much more personal connection to there fans. You’ll be able to write your fav. singer and actually have a chance of them writing you back. It think it’s cool! I wrote a song called Jade, and now I have 250+ friends named Jade on myspace who love my song and many of whom have written me thanking me for writing it. It’s cool to have that kind of access to people that have effected you and that your music has DIRECTLY effected. Listen to “Jade” at….
Myspace.com/daviddimuzio

David DiMuzio 13 Feb 06

Myspace is going to kill the whole Music Superstar thing as it has been in the past. There won’t be anymore Princes or Michael Jacksons. People are already doing everything themselves and make a much more personal connection to there fans. You’ll be able to write your fav. singer and actually have a chance of them writing you back. It think it’s cool! I wrote a song called Jade, and now I have 250+ friends named Jade on myspace who love my song and many of whom have written me thanking me for writing it. It’s cool to have that kind of access to people that have effected you and that your music has DIRECTLY effected. Listen to “Jade” at….
Myspace.com/daviddimuzio

David DiMuzio 13 Feb 06

Myspace is going to kill the whole Music Superstar thing as it has been in the past. There won’t be anymore Princes or Michael Jacksons. People are already doing everything themselves and make a much more personal connection to there fans. You’ll be able to write your fav. singer and actually have a chance of them writing you back. It think it’s cool! I wrote a song called Jade, and now I have 250+ friends named Jade on myspace who love my song and many of whom have written me thanking me for writing it. It’s cool to have that kind of access to people that have effected you and that your music has DIRECTLY effected. Listen to “Jade” at….
Myspace.com/daviddimuzio

David DiMuzio 13 Feb 06

Myspace is going to kill the whole Music Superstar thing as it has been in the past. There won’t be anymore Princes or Michael Jacksons. People are already doing everything themselves and make a much more personal connection to there fans. You’ll be able to write your fav. singer and actually have a chance of them writing you back. It think it’s cool! I wrote a song called Jade, and now I have 250+ friends named Jade on myspace who love my song and many of whom have written me thanking me for writing it. It’s cool to have that kind of access to people that have effected you and that your music has DIRECTLY effected. Listen to “Jade” at….
Myspace.com/daviddimuzio

P.W.Esquire 03 Mar 06

Im here trying to get heard through the whole myspace thing i need help getting more friends..how can i get my myspace page set up to a featured profile..

Anonymous Coward 22 Jul 06

You know why no one bought the album? The MySpace generation has been brought up on downloading or burning every piece of music in their collection!

who cares if the artist make money theyre millionairs they get millions of dollars to sing….thats it….while thet have cops,marines,navy,national guard and all them barely making anything when they’re risking their lives, so if yall download your music o well singers and artist dont need money that bad

ME 22 Jul 06

You know why no one bought the album? The MySpace generation has been brought up on downloading or burning every piece of music in their collection!

who cares if the artist make money theyre millionairs they get millions of dollars to sing….thats it….while thet have cops,marines,navy,national guard and all them barely making anything when they’re risking their lives, so if yall download your music o well singers and artist dont need money that bad

doni 28 Aug 06

i have a nice buzz from myspace i want 2 become a featured artist because i am going indie with my project
i have been signed to majors my project has never been released

i believe people will buy my record off of the net

im a female r&b singer let me know what u think

The Avenger 31 Aug 06

Major labels SUCK major ass!

The Avenger 31 Aug 06

Major labels SUCK major ass!

The Avenger 31 Aug 06

Major labels SUCK major ass!

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