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The State of Streaming | #12

Did you know that U.S.-based music streams broke one trillion for the first time in 2019? That’s a 25 percent increase over the previous high for U.S.-based music streams, set the previous year with 809.5 billion.

On this episode of Play the Music, we’re chatting with Rutger Rosenborg, a digital marketing strategist at Chartmetric, the music industry’s leading data analytics platform, giving artists end-to-end music market analytics.

To put it simply, Chartmetric is “your Spotify charts for artists on steroids,” said Rosenborg.

No stranger to the music industry, Rutger has been in bands since he was 8 years old, and has worked with Topshelf Records, Mom & Pop Music, Round Hill Music, and NBCUniversal before joining Chartmetric. He’s also the guitarist and vocalist of The Lulls, an indie-rock band formed in 2015. Tune in to hear his track, “Take it as it Comes,” during the podcast.

Rosenborg wrote the article “The Subgenres Populating Streaming’s Top Playlists,” discussing a few of the many thousands of popular subgenres of music. During the show, he chats with Jeff and Rich about the state of streaming, the future of music consumption and more.

Then, Jeff, Rich, Rutger and FanLabel’s Mick Brege make their picks for this week’s “Hot New Music” Best of Five Challenge, featuring new releases from Winona Oak, Megan The Stallion and Normani, Mac Miller, Gabby Barrett and Ethan Gruska  featuring  Phoebe Bridgers.

To round out the show, Mick discusses FanLabel’s new app features (version 4.5, coming soon!) and top players.

For more on Chartmetric, visit the official website and check out the Facebook, Twitter and Medium.

Articles mentioned in this podcast:

Rutger Rosenborg

Rutger Rosenborg



Jeff Sloan: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome to this week’s episode of Play the Music in partnership with FanLabel, the revolutionary new app experience. It’s a gamified experience for music. You download it, play for free, show the world you know music by opening up a fantasy record label of your own, picking artists and sometimes songs out of various pools, playing contests, rising on the leaderboards and earning really cool prizes and virtual royalties that you can then spend in the marketplace on cool stuff, experiences, one day soon, concert tickets. We’ll be announcing that coming into the marketplace very soon. Just a really cool, fun, new app, a new way to engage in music. Check it out, download it for free and play today. All right. With no further ado, let’s get into it. Rich Sloan with me here on this episode of Play the Music

Rich Sloan: [00:00:45] I am with you and I’m really excited about talking to our guest today, Jeff – smart dude.

And you know, there is no end of the fascination of how this music industry works, which is part of what makes playing FanLabel really fun because there are just a ton of different kinds of dynamics and drivers that are constantly evolving to make one song stream more than another and help people, you know, earn their fantasy royalty points in the game, but the people who either make it work or help us understand how it works are just fascinating colleagues of ours in this space, and we’re talking to one of those guys today, for sure.

Jeff Sloan: [00:01:21] Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to be talking shortly to Rutger Rosenberg, who’s with a company called Chartmetric. We’ll get into that in a second, but just to put it, yeah. The importance of the subject matter in context. We’re going to be talking about really how you track music success, the metrics that go into tracking the success, the ultimately, how it leads to the charting of music and what this all means and why it’s important, why it’s relevant, who cares, right? I mean, you know, who cares about this stuff? So that’s what we’re going to be focused on in today’s show. And then of course, from there, we’ll go on to hearing how we did with last week’s featured Best of Five FanLabel Five contest.

We’ll hear how we did and we will also then be doing our picking for this week’s contest. Following that, we’ll hear from Mick Brege, the lead FanLabel product designer, lead product guy in charge of FanLabel. He’s going to tell us about new features coming up in FanLabel, maybe even a kind of an overview of who’s playing, who’s playing well in FanLabel. We’ll hear who’s succeeding and who’s achieving a really great success in FanLabel. All right, well, let’s get right into our interview today. Going to be an interesting one. I’m looking forward to it. You need to step it up a bit when we bring this guy on rich.

Rich Sloan: [00:02:26] Yeah, that’s, uh, that’s no problem at all, Jeff. Um, I’m more worried about you.

Jeff Sloan: [00:02:30] As we all are, of course. Okay. Well that being said, let’s get right in. We’ve got Rutger Rosenborg. He’s a musician.He’s also a brilliant guy, tracking and making sense out of music data and putting it into a context where it’s consumable and digestible and usable. And so Rich, this is going to be good subject matter, highly relevant. And by the way, you know, of course, this ties into FanLabel because the outcome of the all the FanLabel contests are driven by these very metrics we’re going to talk about today.

Rich Sloan: [00:03:05] Absolutely. Right. Let’s do it.

Jeff Sloan: [00:03:08] Clearly, we all know music’s going through a lot of change. The way we measure the success of music, you know, the metrics have changed in particular now music streaming as the thing, and in fact it was just reported that music streams now in 2019 topped over a trillion streams. I mean clearly now far and away the way we consume music.

And so knowing that, you have to change the way we track the success of music, the success of a song, the success of various artists and so on and, and the various genres.

Rich Sloan: [00:03:40] Yeah. I would say we have to update the way we track success and also pursue success as artists. Right?

Jeff Sloan: [00:03:47] Indeed. And there are experts in the business.

There are companies being formed all the time that are gathering data, tracking data, reporting data, and so on, making it available to both artists and to the public and other stakeholders in music today. And there are really smart people at these companies, figuring out all of this magic that happens in the data collection and reporting.

One such expert is Rutger Rosenborg from Brooklyn. He’s with a company, he’s the digital marketing strategist with Chartmetric – one such company that is doing this tracking and reporting. Rutger, welcome to Play the Music.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:04:20] I don’t know if I would say expert, but I will do my best.

Jeff Sloan: [00:04:23] You know your stuff.

We know that in fact, we read a really cool article written by you on, you know, various sub genres and other really cool things that when we do the deeper dive, you can kind of help us break down streams and playlists and genres and, you know, appropriate placing a various music and artists and some, but before we get to that first, tell us what your company does and tell us what you do at Chartmetric.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:04:45] Yeah, so our company, I like to think of it as like your Spotify for Artists dashboard on steroids. So we collect a bunch of data from a bunch of different platforms – social media, streaming. I mean we have TikTok, all kinds of like 20+ platforms that we have data from and some radio as well. And so we aggregate all that in a single dashboard for artists, music, industry professionals, management brands, you name it.

The amount of data is overwhelming. So the real challenge and the real value I think that we bring is presenting that data in a unique and actionable way. So an artist or manager can see an insight and just run with it. So we’ve rolled out some data science techniques for organizing this data. One of them is a CPP, which is cross-platform performance.

So you can sort of see how an artist ranks across all the platforms. One of our data scientists has essentially built a model to rank artists across every single artist in our database, which is bridging on 2 million to rank them across all those platforms, and that’s updated every day. So who’s number one across the whole internet pretty much.

Rich Sloan: [00:05:59] Let me ask a quick question about this, because Jeff and I are like relentless, tireless, diseased entrepreneurs. We can’t help ourselves. So you have this capability that shows insights about the data. I’m curious, can it also be used to be predictive? So for example, you know, if you’ve got that kind of data because you’re seeing those kinds of patterns, could you detect artists who are likely to fall into those patterns and have that kind of trajectory? You know, essentially predicting hits?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:06:31] Yeah. So that’s something we’ve been working on also. So Josh Hayes has rolled out a feature called A&R prediction. It’s essentially doing that. He built a computer model that scans for past successes. So what artists have crossed a certain, say, Spotify popularity threshold, and then looking for other artists with a similar early pattern to those artists. So essentially comparing patterns with past successful patterns to predict who will cross a certain threshold in say the next week.

So yeah, that’s available on our platform right now.

Rich Sloan: [00:07:06] Very interesting. Very strategic

Jeff Sloan: [00:07:09] Is the data you’re collecting and reporting a primarily for artists, then?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:07:13] Honestly, it spans the whole gamut. Artists, managers, labels, publishers, brands, festivals, any entertainment professional who is interested in music data or artists data and can leverage that in some way.

Rich Sloan: [00:07:31] You know, it’s really interesting, Jeff, I’ll tell you, as we were getting ready to come on the air for the podcast here, I had the opportunity to have a little hang time with our guests here, and I asked Rutger the question, you know, “Before you were in this role, were you in the business at all?” You know, in any other business capacity. Cause he had said to me, “I was an artist. I’ve been in band since I was eight years old.” I think that’s what you said, right? Eight years old?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:07:57] Yeah.

Rich Sloan: [00:07:58] That’s insane, man. That’s awesome. So, but when Rutger answered the followup question, “Have you been in the business prior to what you’re doing currently?”

He said, you almost can’t be an artist without being in the business. And I just thought that was such an interesting and awesome comment from him, Jeff, because to be an artist and to not be thinking strategically and to not be trying to take advantage of information, resources like this and taking control of your destiny and you know, leveraging this kind of information so that all the people who are around you are smart too, and doing their job to elevate you and promote you and get you out there.

Just really interesting to me. That comment – you have to be thinking about this as a business, even if you’re just an artist.

Jeff Sloan: [00:08:45] Absolutely. And so the data, let’s talk about from a practical standpoint, what, either as a manager or as an artist or a label or whatever it may be, whatever industry professional as recommend, you might want to have access to this data.

Let’s talk for a second about what are the kinds of things I can do as a result of knowing this data? I mean, I, you know, a lot of this data gets reported for the sake of paying royalties and distributing the revenue that comes from the consumption of music. But going way beyond that from a strategic and planning standpoint, how might I use this data?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:09:14] So if you’re to say like, I’m an artist or a manager or a label, we have a feature called the playlist journeys. So you can see, essentially, the percentage overlap between certain playlists. So you can see what smaller playlists feed into bigger playlists and even bigger playlists.

I like to think of it like digital streams and rivers and oceans and estuaries. So artists can target these smaller playlists that they might actually be able to land on that are likely to feed into these bigger playlists. So that’s a very practical, actionable thing you can do because playlisting is sort of the new radio at this point.

Artists to a large extent, have the power themselves to make an impact in that space. And that’s one of the ways that they can really do that. And my coworker Jason, he released this blog article. It’s a really, really good article – a series actually on trigger cities. So you have to think of the industry as very international, becomes, it is especially now, and there are triggers cities, the cities where landing on a certain regional playlist will sort of springboard you to another market or another playlist. Some artists have really blown up by doing this, by thinking both globally and locally at the same time. So it’s all about knowing your market is super important because you just don’t want to go for the whole world at once. You got to think market by market and so playlist journeys and trigger cities that go hand in hand with that.

Jeff Sloan: [00:10:46] And this is important because I want to try to understand how to break this down a little bit and make sure we can all grasp this.

I love the metaphor of the rivers and streams leading to, you know, bigger and bigger rivers and so on. This really relates to how you get discovered. And how a song, you know, ultimately streamed by users more and more and more, right? I mean, that’s what this is leading to.

You’ve got to get discovered. Now, if you’re Drake, that might be one thing, but if you’re a rising star or relatively new breaking band, or you know, you’ve got some new music out, it’s got to get heard in order to catch on and then build a stream to a river analogy that you gave us. That’s what occurs as a result, right?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:11:22] Correct. There’s been this sort of paradigm shift where music is sort of the marketing driver for a brand or some other thing that you’re actually selling. And something that’s really important in this regard as well. It’s, it’s collaborations. We have an article coming out, I don’t want to give too much away, but we have an article about  how collaborations have changed sort of in this environment because it does help raise awareness about you and lead to potential discovery. You know, the more features you have on other tracks and obviously more royalties.

Jeff Sloan: [00:11:58] Right. Discovery leads to plays, plays that are well received, lead to an addition to a playlist, lead to sharing with other people and so on. And this is how the wild, the spark turns into a wildfire, right?

So talk to us about this. You wrote a really interesting article about sub genres within the broader genres. And I want to cover a few of these. Some of them you mentioned are Brostep, Lilith, Etherpop, Crunk, Redneck and so on. What are these and how are they relevant? Give us a little background on all of this.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:12:30] So there’s something like I think seven to 10,000, just thousands of sub genres. There’s a really cool website by a Spotify guy actually, it’s called Every Noise at Once, and I recommend checking that out cause it has just all these genres that you do go through and you can listen to examples of, but yeah, you have crazy classifications like Brostep which is like really in your face dubstep, you have like Metropopolis, which is essentially a portmanteau of, you know, like metropolitan pop I guess. And then you have all these regional based ones too. I mean, Redneck is super country and then you have Moomba tone. Which is a cross between house and reggaeton. So it’s a lot of linguistic sort of combinations.

Jeff Sloan: [00:13:14] In the relevancy of these things, the reason they exist is because if I’m searching, are you suggesting that people actually search for specifically bro step and that helps, you know, me get found if I tag my song when it’s submitted accordingly, it gets found more readily by someone who loves Brostep.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:13:32] I don’t know how much people are searching for these specific sub genres. It could be that it is a good sort of SEO, you know, Spotify search engine optimization or something. But I think we’ve gone from like an upper class and a lower class to this huge middle class. And so with that, there’s this like adaptation that happens where you need to classify all these different niches, and I think it’s a really reflection of that more than anything.

Jeff Sloan: [00:14:00] And so the purpose of them then, if not for search primarily then for what. Why do we need these sub genre classifications? I think for one,

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:14:09] I think for one, it shows the sheer diversity of the music and of the blending of all kinds of – as much as there’s atomization, there’s just as much hybridization that’s happening.

Rich Sloan: [00:14:21] If I can jump in on this, I think too, there’s value to me as a consumer of music. You know, a lot of listening to music, especially for people who are really passionate about music, is the identity that comes with it. And as a consumer, I like the idea of saying, yeah, I’m into that sub genre. That’s cool.That’s me. That’s my thing. That’s my unique thing. So I think there’s that aspect, and I also just think it’s like really easy for people to, it’s easier for people to be able to put stuff in a bucket mentally. And say, yeah, I’m grouping this here and I have an affinity to that, or I don’t have an affinity to that, or I want to share that.

It seems to me though, because the natural thing for us to really want to categorize stuff.

Jeff Sloan: [00:15:05] Well, and I think it’s really, obviously it’s colorful, you know, and it’s, it’s fun. I mean, I love the names, mashup of the names you mentioned. They come, you know, from areas, other broader types of music, and then get mashed up together to create these sub genre categories and monikers that we use to refer to them.

Let me ask you this, we now know that streams have gotten a trillion streams in 2019 it’s clearly the thing, the acceleration in streams is now starting to level off. Is streams, the thing in the near future, or are there other things on the horizon that are you know, becoming highly relevant and meaningful as we head into the next year or two or near-term for music.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:15:42] I saw that headline too, the trillions streams. That was kind of a surprise because streaming just seems so ubiquitous and everyone is doing it.

Jeff Sloan: [00:15:49] You know, it’s funny. I would just want to jump in. I had the same reaction. Just funny. Intuitively I thought, you know, a trillion streams, of course, there’s a trillion streams.

There’s a, there’s a trillion people listening to music. You know, there’s a trillion songs out there. Of course, there’s a trillion streams, so it didn’t sound that shocking to me.I agree with you. But anyway,

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:16:06] As far as like the deceleration of it, I think you’re naturally gonna hit a saturation point, but there are some “emerging markets” coming online that might affect that international rate of streaming before we go into like the next sort of plays and the music industry, which who knows what that will look like. Exactly. I’m sure when tape or vinyl were the big thing, I’m sure no one even conceived of this sort of like jukebox in the sky that we would develop into. So I’m sure we haven’t really even conceived of what the next phase will be, whether it’s like direct implantation of songs into your brain or something.

But I think before that, it will have to do with the monetization of streams. Whether that’s like what you guys are doing with gamification of data. I think that will certainly play a role. I think like a stock market for like intellectual property could catch on in a big way and reinstill value and a more sort of democratic sense of value back into music.

It’s like so many avenues that it could go down, but in terms of like the functional, like how will we listen to music? I don’t know that I can even conceive of what would come next.

Jeff Sloan: [00:17:20] So let me ask a different question about streams and that is, is it the best and most fair way to chart music based largely on streams?

Now I know they’re going to be adding in billboard, for example, announced it’s going to be adding in YouTube, you know, a video plays, for example, as a, as another

Rich Sloan: [00:17:40] That’s the number one spot where streaming occurs. They’re almost forced to.

Jeff Sloan: [00:17:45] Yeah. Right. And so in the absence of that, for example, then one would argue, if that’s the #1 way of consumption, it’s unfair to exclude it.

So of course it has to be included. To your point, are there other things that we’re missing on that, you know, sales downloads, those things are somewhat irrelevant today, that not, I mean, they’re meaningful and in some ways, and in some respects, and for certain artists versus others, but in general, are there missing pieces? Are we doing this the right way by tracking and charting music and artists based largely on streams?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:18:17] Yeah, that’s a good question. Streams are pretty different from just like pure sales revenue. So that’s sort of what we’ve tried to do with our cross platform performance rank is like take into account, so it’s more like a pure, like artist’s performance.

Like data performance metric. And I think in the future that will probably become more important. Like, like just pure cultural capital. Like how are you performing just across the internet, as, as you know, physical dwindles to nothing, which eventually it will. I know it’s still pretty important in Germany and Japan, but that’s changing really quickly.

So I think things will digitize even more, and I think as that happens, sales revenue will, in terms of like CDs or anything like that, will start to dwindle as well as we consider more digital performance metrics like streaming and social media or even –

Jeff Sloan: [00:19:09] You know, a curiosity of mine about streams as the ultimate metric is that one thing, it doesn’t take into account too.

When you had sales and downloads, it was a given that that meant one per customer. So a download or a sale related to a single consumer, if you will, creating a point of consumption that was tracked and measured. Now with streams, you inherently, you’re tracking every stream, not by user. And a certain number of those streams are played once by a given user and then many others are people who are super fans of a given artist will stream a song multiple times. And so one thing we’re missing in the data is really not understanding the bunching up or the multiple points of consumptions by giving users versus, you know, the total audience consumption.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:19:53] Yeah. I think that’s a really good point. I think like what a physical product does really well is it captures the listener and the sort of engagement metric. Cause if you’re buying something, you’re more than a passive listener, you are an actively engaged fan. Whereas with streaming, you can have a million people who couldn’t care less about a song but they streamed it once, and you have a million streams.

Well, what’s that gonna do for you? Not much. You know, you get like whatever, less than a thousand dollars in royalties from streaming or whatever the rate would be for you. So I think that’s a super good point. They will have to be more nuance with it. I don’t think we can compare apples to oranges.

Jeff Sloan: [00:20:33] Right. You can’t. Because in the past, when a CD was sold or when an album was purchased and downloaded, for example, you tracked a sale. You really had no way of knowing the number of times a song or all of the songs on a given album were actually consumed or listened to.

And so we weren’t tracking that. We were really just tracking the sale. Now that’s gotten very granular, you know, and it just means there’s a difference. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad or whatever. I just find it to be very interesting. As you dive deep into the data, what does it mean and what are the points of relevancy of these differences from how we used to track to now, how we track today and thoroughly in all of this, there are winners and losers.

When you change tracking, when you change you know, metrics that you report on and so on and charting tied to that. Certain artists probably inherently benefit while others suffer from these changes. That’s just part and parcel of the way this world works, right?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:21:25] Yeah, definitely. Unfortunately, I mean, especially with the music industry, you always have to be thinking ahead.

You always have to be adapting because this change that happened really, really quick. And I know a lot of my friends that are still in bands trying to fill CDs at their shows. You have to learn as much as possible and be as flexible as possible, and that gets stuck in the same way because things are always changing, especially now.

Jeff Sloan: [00:21:51] Yeah. Well, it’s all really interesting, that’s for sure. And no question there’ll be a lot more dynamic change. I just want to mention Rutger’s past experience in music. You’re a guitarist and a vocalist and your own band?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:22:03] Yeah, I’ve been doing it since I was eight or something off and on, but yeah, I’ve taken a short break just to focus.

I’m writing some, some music with my girlfriend right now, and honestly, I’m super busy with work and school, so I’ve taken a break to learn as much as possible so I can benefit my music as much as possible as well. Because in the end, I am a creative person at heart.

Jeff Sloan: [00:22:25] The Lulls is the name of the band.

Guys, can we hear a little of that?

Love it. Cool. Sound

Rich Sloan: [00:22:44] Really good. Sound

Jeff Sloan: [00:22:45] Really good. That’s your singing, right, Rutger?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:22:48] Yeah, that’s me and my girlfriend

Jeff Sloan: [00:22:50] You and your girlfriend. That’s beautiful. Did you write it?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:23:00]Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that.

Jeff Sloan: [00:23:01] Rutger, listen, we thank you for a little of the insight that by the way, your music falls into what sub genre? Come on. Break it down for us.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:23:12] I don’t know. I just, that’s like the hardest question to answer is like when people ask you “What kind of music do you play?”

I’m just like, “I don’t know. It’s like indie rock.”

Rich Sloan: [00:23:24] Who are a few of your favorite artists that influence your art?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:23:28] Well, I think one of the best rock bands right now is Big Thief. The lead singer songwriter Adrian Lenker, is just absolutely brilliant, and they, in a completely digital world, they still have this like live-people-in-a-room playing, just feeling it out and you can really feel it in music.

Rich Sloan: [00:23:46] I’ll tell you, Jeff, I want his playlist.

Jeff Sloan: [00:23:49] Yeah, for sure. So share it with us. How do people find you?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:23:52] My socials are just @rarosenborg, so I just, my first initials and my last name, and we’re actually working on some Chartmetric playlists. So we’ll be keeping an eye out for that cause we’ll have, you know, some of our own curation on that.

Jeff Sloan: [00:24:08] Very cool. Right on. Hey, Rutger, thanks a lot for joining us on Play the Music today. We really appreciate your insight and enlightening us to how to understand and grasp and put into relevancy all of this data and reporting and tracking and so on that you guys are doing at Chartmetric.

Really appreciate it.

Rich Sloan: [00:24:23] Is awesome when we have the opportunity to spend some time with people who are informed, who are sharp as hell, who are part of the thought leadership and making stuff happen in this amazing world called the music industry. So definitely talking with one of those today on our Play the Music podcast.

All right, well that was a great interview. Rutger provided us some good insight, really important stuff. Again, highly relevant to FanLabel’s interests. Given that the contest outcomes are driven by, you know, talk about how you apply data and what’s the value of it and so on. Well, FanLabel contests are driven by the very data we talked about just now with Rutger. Rutger, standby. We’re going to get with you in a second. We’re going to bring you back when we go to picking of this week’s contest, songs, the ones that are going to stream the most, but before we do that, let’s bring on Mick Brege.

Hey, good to have you back. You’re a guy that knows how to pick music, that’s for sure. You’re proving that.

Mick Brege: [00:25:11] Yeah. I’m taking the scientific route. You guys are just choosing based on your ear,.

Jeff Sloan: [00:25:16] We’re going to review last week’s results in a second, but were you prepping before you come in here for these things?

Mick Brege: [00:25:22] I just know my music, Jeff, I’m just on top of my game. I’m trying to take a look at, uh, you know, who I know historically has the most streams. I’m looking at collaborators. I’m taking a look at, you know, based on who these artists are. You know, what I know about their history,

Jeff Sloan: [00:25:35] Let’s talk about this for a second.

When we do a contest, are you going with, you mentioned you use scientific method, so that would be like research, you know, looking into data trends, looking into genre as it relates to data trends and so on. Artists’ track records. Are you doing it that way primarily, or do you go with your gut and your ear?

Mick Brege: [00:25:55] So it really depends, but mostly it is. When I’m on the show, I’m thinking of the scientific route. And the thing is, it totally differs. Like I’ll, I have my top songs that I play all the time, which are totally just from the heart, things that I like and the chances of them being on this list are pretty low. These are things that I’m, totally different genres are familiar with, but you know, you’ve got to kind of stay on top of what’s, what’s relevant.

Jeff Sloan: [00:26:25] And then there’s the business of music. Which is very different.

And the business of music is driven by, you know, consumption like total streams. Irrespective of whether you like it or not. In fact, if you’re going to be at a record label, running a record label, you’ve got to pick music that’s going to sell and separate your own personal taste from picking music and signing artists that you think are going to sell, just like you have to do in FanLabel.


Mick Brege: [00:26:48] You know, something interesting too that I was thinking about when you guys were talking to Rutger, is there’s this new thing that’s going on with Warner Brothers, the studio film studio, where they’re employing new artificial intelligence solutions to take a look at where film trends are going, taking a look at what audiences are liking, what stars are trending, and taking all this data in analytics and predicting how, what films are going to make money, what blockbusters that they could produce next.

Jeff Sloan: [00:27:12] That’s going on in music too.

Mick Brege: [00:27:13] Exactly.

Jeff Sloan: [00:27:15] All right guys. Let’s see how we did through whatever means you used to make your picks, let’s see how we did. The best performing song, meaning the song, the stream the most over the week-long period that we had in our last episode of Play the Music was a song called “Usually,” and that song by DanniLeigh did 350,000 total streams during that period. Let’s take a listen.

Now, Rich, I hate to say it, but respectfully, you picked that song. You were in the number one spot. Let me ask you this. Did you pick it because you loved it or did you pick it because you knew it would be a good-performing song?

Rich Sloan: [00:27:56] Well, first of all. There are more variables than that. It’s a comparative thing, right?

So in these best of five contests, you’re thinking of what the potential is for one song versus the others, first of all. And then you apply, you know, out that the analytics and the strategy like Mick has been talking about, and then maybe some of your own tastes and instincts and no doubt there’s value to the gut instinct.

But as I recall, I picked that because I thought that it was a dominating sound.

Jeff Sloan: [00:28:25] Yeah. Now all the songs, interestingly, all of the songs last week were in the hip-hop genre, so they were all hip-hop. There was no differentiation between the genres, so there was no advantage there, one over the other. It was which hip-hop song is going to stream the best? and that one did.

By the way, Mick Brege again and me too – the three of us, all three of us interestingly picked that song.

Mick Brege: [00:28:47] I think we knew too that there was some viral thing going on in the background here with this track too. And that’s what I was talking about last episode with a TikTok. So that’s, that’s gonna pull through.

Jeff Sloan: [00:28:56] Number one, the power, I mean TikTok

Mick Brege: [00:28:58] Songs are going to be 30 seconds in the future because of TikTok.

Jeff Sloan: [00:29:02] Yup. Well, “Uncle Iroh” had 134,000 streams. That’s the name of the song. The artist is a Tobi Lou. That song was in number two. Number three was a song called “Split” by wifisfuneral at 103,000 streams. Number four was “Information” by Too $hort at 6,950 streams.

And fifth place was “Go Far” by DP beats featuring Wiz Khalifa that had 2,147 streams. Okay, so there’s your list. That’s how we did guys, all three of us in first place. Great. That was really cool.

Mick Brege: [00:29:49] Yeah, it was fun.

Rich Sloan: [00:29:51] Yeah, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel as good as beating you guys.

Jeff Sloan: [00:29:54] It’s true.

Mick Brege: [00:29:55] But you never get that feeling, so how would you know?

Jeff Sloan: [00:29:57] It’s been pretty hard to beat Mick. I’ve stayed. I’ve stayed pretty toe to toe with you, dude. I’m hanging in there with you. All right, so guys, let’s move on now that we know last week’s results and let’s get into this week’s contest. We’ve got Rutger with us, so we appreciate him for sticking around. Rutger, we’re going to get to some song picking now where we do the classic FanLabel feature of picking the song that we think is going to stream the most this week.

Mick Brege: [00:30:20] Yes. I know I’m on a roll.  it’s my favorite part of the week when I get to jump back in and trash-talk my bosses.

Jeff Sloan: [00:30:27] Okay, there you go.

Rich Sloan: [00:30:28] Hey, Jeff. Why is it in this world that it’s okay to trash talk to your boss, but it’s not okay to trash back your employee?

Jeff Sloan: [00:30:35] It’s really funny around the office Mick is perfectly respectful and everyone else, you get them on the air, he becomes this whole different character. He becomes empowered and you know, here he is.

Mick Brege: [00:30:50] I’ve got a platform now.

Jeff Sloan: [00:30:52] There we go. All right guys. So this week on the show, the FanLabel Five is Hot New Music. So it’s the hot new music coming out. It’s just come out. We’re going to make our picks based on the song that we believe will be streamed the most over the next week. And if you happen to be right, those of you listening and playing FanLabel and play this contest, there’s a bucket of 5,000 virtual royalties to be awarded to your label if you pick the right song, the most streamed song out of the five. Okay, guys. So that’s the rule here. And so here we go. Let’s run down some of the songs. The first song we’re going to feature is a song called “Break my Broken Heart” by Winona Oak from her new album titled “Closure.” Let’s hear it.

Well, that’s a big sound.

Mick Brege: [00:31:49] Yeah. Very poppy fits in with the, uh, kinda Chainsmokers vibe. She was featured on one of their tracks before.

Jeff Sloan: [00:31:54] By the way, Winona is a Swedish singer songwriter, she was featured on a Chainsmokers 2018 song called “Hope,” big sound – pop genre. Next song on the list that we can choose from is a song called Diamonds from the soundtrack from the upcoming film, “Birds of Prey,” Megan the Stallion and Normani. Let’s hear this song. “Diamonds.”

All right. Now this song falls into the rap/hip-hop category. Now it’s worth mentioning, for those of you who are using strategy and doing your song picks. Rutger, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the hip hop category accounts for like 28% of all music streams.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:32:46] Yeah, it’s a pretty high number. Hip hop and pop are pretty, they’ve been pretty neck-and-neck for the past couple of years really. And they sort of trade off first and second.

Jeff Sloan: [00:32:55] Yeah. So again, so using strategy, Mick, you’re the guy using all the strategy here. Clearly you’re thinking that you’re the guy thinking about it.

You know, knowing that rap category generally does well, that’s a tip. Right there. Right. Okay. And Megan the stallion. Megan’s a rapper, singer, actress, songwriter from Texas, and is really taking off now, so that’s cool.

Number three is a song called “Good News” by Mac Miller from the alternative hip-hop genre.

Mick Brege: [00:33:31] Yeah. Such a sound. It’s such a bummer.

Jeff Sloan: [00:33:34] Such a sound and such a bummer. So the bummer, obviously the sound is obvious. The bummer is unfortunately, Mack passed away in 2018 and his family just announced the release of this album, uh, of which the song is apart.

Mick Brege: [00:33:47] Talk about some of the later work being genre-bent, kind of what you guys were talking about earlier. This fits right into some of Mac’s later stuff, so yeah, very sad, very sad still.

Jeff Sloan: [00:33:57] Indeed. Song number four – “Hall of Fame” by Gabby Barrett

That song, obviously in the country category. Gabby’s a singer from Pennsylvania. She interestingly, she placed third on season 16 of American idol. Good song.

Song number five, last but not least “Enough for Now”, by Ethan Gruska featuring Phoebe Bridgers.

Well, I can say, I mean, it’s got a good sound to it. Alternative category. You know, we’ve got five really good songs this week.

Mick Brege: [00:34:51] Yeah, we do. And that one’s throwing it to the, uh, the creative team here at FanLabel cause Phoebe Bridgers is like our, our go to. So it’s a fun, fun track.

Jeff Sloan: [00:35:00] Wow.

Mick Brege: [00:35:01] And a little bit about Ethan too.

I mean, the grandson of John Williams, I mean, how could you compose a bad song?

Jeff Sloan: [00:35:07] that’s really cool. I have a question for you. You mentioned that this music has caught on with the, uh, creative team here at FanLabel. How’d that happen? How does start, where does, where did the, where did the stream start that became a river of all of you creative guys here in the office, listening to it?

Mick Brege: [00:35:24] Yeah, so I think it’s probably – we’re pointing fingers at Leah here on the team for introducing us all, but I think anyone in the creative side is probably more on the alternative or indie category.

Jeff Sloan: [00:35:35] I find it interesting for this reason, you know, I think I read a stat recently that 21% of all music is still discovered as a result of social interaction.

And there it is. I asked you how this happened, but Leah introduced you to it.

Mick Brege: [00:35:49] Collaborative Spotify playlist. That’s really what it is. We have one for the office and we just add in anything we’re listening to, anything that’s trending.

Jeff Sloan: [00:35:56] Really cool. So let’s get right to it.

Rich, I’m going to call you out first. You obviously did well last week.

Rich Sloan: [00:36:06] I’m going with “Break my Broken Heart.” And unfortunately I am doing it a little bit blind. Like I feel like that’s a, again, a reaction I had to the music. It felt poppy, it felt good, but I’m not sure if I understand enough of the, you know, the trajectory of the artists and all the promotional details and backing her, but I’m going there.

Jeff Sloan: [00:36:25] Okay. Now I regret having you go first because now it makes me a copycat. And unfortunately, if the worst kind, not only copying, but picking the song my brother picked. I mean that’s a, that’s a Bummer, but I was going to pick it first Rich, just for the record anyway, I’m going with the same song.

I’ll put it on the record, break my broken heart. Mick, what about you?

Mick Brege: [00:36:44] Yes, so definitely “Good News” by Mac Miller and, uh, I think I’m going to win this week.

Jeff Sloan: [00:36:53] Last but not least, we’re bringing in now the genius or the expert, or however you want to qualify it. Rutger, no pressure.

But, uh, we want to hear from you. We want to hear from you, which of these five songs, I intentionally went with you last, so we didn’t have Rich just following you. Uh, which of these five songs is going to stream the most over the next week?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:37:12] So we’re talking pure streams, not growth.

Jeff Sloan: [00:37:15] Oh, here we go.

The guy’s breaking it down already. He wants to know all the fine print. We’re talking pure streams, streams, total streams.

Rich Sloan: [00:37:25] And it’s just during the contest period. So it’s not lifetime streams.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:37:29] I’m going to have to go with Mac Miller.

Jeff Sloan: [00:37:31] Wow.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:37:32] There you go.

Jeff Sloan: [00:37:33] Interesting. The two young guys.

Mick Brege: [00:37:39] Rutger, do you know, is this the first single, uh, that’s been released since 2018 from his passing?

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:37:45] I think it might be, and if we look at trajectories of artists who have died and then released stuff posthumously, or artists who have just died, their data is crazy. And it’s sad to say, but it’s true.

Mick Brege: [00:38:00] Yeah. That was a, unfortunately, if I’m playing the game by strategy, my first thought, I’m like, well, if this is the first thing that’s come out since, I mean, I feel like it’s just going to blow up.

Um, and I’m not, it’s a, not a sympathetic thought, but it definitely is, you know, going to win. So, sorry guys.

Jeff Sloan: [00:38:18] I love that. That’s the fun of it. We will check back next week on how we all did. And good luck. All of us. We’re now on the record. All right. Hey, listen, thanks again, Rutger for joining us.

We look forward to keeping in touch with you, having you on again at some point, and  here’s to making news together. Yeah.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:38:34] Thanks for having me. Pleasure to chat.

Jeff Sloan: [00:38:36] Enjoyed it. Great interview. Learned a lot from our buddy Rutger Rosenberg. Mick, good having you on.

Mick Brege: [00:38:41] Thanks so much, guys.

Jeff Sloan: [00:38:42] Yeah, good pick again. I look forward to finding out which of us prevailed in our best five this week.

I’m feeling strong, you guys. I guess you and I picked the same one, but at least we need to beat Mick. We absolutely have to beat Mick. Listen, one of my feelings about this week’s FanLabel Five contests, it was really cool cause I actually loved all five songs.

I liked the songs and that’s one of the beauties of playing FanLabel – the music discovery aspect. I mean, here are hot, new, hot new music coming out. We’ve now heard those five songs and –

Mick Brege: [00:39:16] Yeah, I’m over here on Spotify, adding a “Good News” to my playlist and “Enough for Now.” So there you go.

Jeff Sloan: [00:39:22] Not only is it not only music discovery, but now music consumption.

Right. I love that. Thank you FanLabel

Mick Brege: [00:39:27] And thanks to the content team over there.

Jeff Sloan: [00:39:28] Nice job – Ryan O’Blenness, man knocked it out of the park, and Daman. Absolutely great list of music this week. Love it.

Alright, Mick. I know of now moving on, we want to report on some of the new features happening in FanLabel.

We also want to report in some of the players that are really achieving amazing success. Now listen, I’ve got to report to you some really good news. We had our best month ever, our best month of people signing up most aggressively on FanLabel and, here’s the double whammy.

This is what it’s all about when you’re in the app world. Our monthly active users, we’re most active and we had more monthly active users in December than any other month. Right. And that’s exciting stuff.

Mick Brege: [00:40:06] Attributed to the holiday, attributed to the marketplace now in FanLabel attributed to the kind of content that we were running in the holiday-themed events.

So I think it was a really good season for us. And, uh, now we’re kind of pushing forward on even more things to start off the new year with.

Jeff Sloan: [00:40:22] Great way to finish out the year, and sets the bar high for performance in the new year. All right, well, speaking of setting the bar high, you know, Mick, we do.

That’s why you’re the guy. Cause the bar is high. What do you got for us?

Mick Brege: [00:40:36] So we’re working on 4.5 right now. We’re working on it. I was at my desk before I came over here doing the final checkups and making sure that everything tees off right when we update this new build.

So here’s what we got in 4.5. So a number of big changes and features going on in this build. And I think every page has been touched in some way. Changing things around, making it clearer allowing users to stay up to date on their labels. Current and past activity was most important to us and stats.

And that was really important. A lot of users were saying, “How did I perform and challenges in the past?” We’re updating the stats, allowing users to see the results a lot faster. Mainly changes across the board, most of them happening to your label, but a lot of stuff going on in the rest of the app. So aside from that, we have check-ins on progress and activities, contest and challenges that users have played. You get the low down on your label stats, you can now follow other labels. Friending and following is a really big thing right now. Following other users, you can see what your friends are doing and that will appear on the home feed and you can prioritize their activity in your feed by following them and seeing what they’re up to.

Also on that note, you can now search. You can search for other contests and challenges that are going on. That’s a big thing. So if you missed something or if you’re searching for something that you wanted to jump back in on, maybe swap picks and a draft or something like that, you can now search for the contest.

When making a new label, there’s a new way to onboard. We’ve tightened that up a little bit, made things a little bit more clear and, you know, we released the marketplace in the last big update, but we’ve changed some things there, gave it an overall update, a lot of new visual features added.

Jeff Sloan: [00:42:08] And a cool thing about the market place, people should, you know, check regularly. We’re going to be expanding the offerings there. Uh, right now it’s a lot of artists merchandise. We’ll always have that, but we’re going to be soon offering concert tickets and a variety of other things. It’s going to be robust and dynamic. Some really fun stuff that we thought about, VIP experiences and other things that’ll be in that marketplace very soon.

Mick Brege: [00:42:28] Yeah, and what I’m talking about with some visual overhaul updates is really just setting the groundwork for some of these digital items and new items too. We needed to make some changes in comparison to the last version so we can prep for this stuff and in the marketplace soon. As always, it’s a process.

We really value feedback and a lot of these changes were introduced to us directly through, uh, some of our fans who have come back to us and said, “Hey, what do you, what do you think about this?” So we’re always listening to feedback and we’re changing stuff up. A FanLabels a work in progress, and it’s, it’s going fast.

Jeff Sloan: [00:42:56] Of course, it’s really exciting dynamic. We love what we do, we love the product, and we’re really proud of it. So Mick, we also have some players which are really distinguishing themselves in FanLabel as being people who really do know music.

Mick Brege: [00:43:09] Okay. Number one. As always on the global leaderboard for the last few weeks.

Lana – Potato Jams number one with 1.3 million points. Oh my gosh.

Jeff Sloan: [00:43:19] That’s amazing.

Mick Brege: [00:43:20] Yeah. 1.3 million royalties.

Jeff Sloan: [00:43:22] That’s a lifetime earnings. So in all the activities in FanLabel, 1.3 million.

Mick Brege: [00:43:28] Exactly. This is total lifetime earnings that she’s had, and this is collected from activity.

So Lana’s has been number one for a while, followed by Crystal, who has been fluctuating up and down the leaderboard. I just want to say Jeff, between number one, two and three on the global leaderboard right now, based on total earnings. Lana has 1.394 million. Crystal has 1.393 million, and Lisa has 1.387 million. That’s how close they are. It’s neck and neck.

Jeff Sloan: [00:44:02] That’s really fun.

Mick Brege: [00:44:03] So it really just depends on what contents in the app at any given time. And the top three are always fluctuating. It’s just really fun to watch.

And then of course, following that, we have TSA or TSArban, that’s Tyler 1.271 million. And then also Mike and Machine Records jumping up and down there. 1.266 million. So it’s really fun to watch these guys. It’s a lot of fun to see how they stack up on the leaderboard. We’re always keeping track of those top players.

And you know what the thing is too, while they’ve been playing for a while and banking those royalties, it’s not hard for a new user to jump in and also start jumping up the leaderboard and get to the top. It’s not something that, it’s like if you’ve been playing forever, that’s the only way you can get to the top.

A new player could get in here and in a few weeks have enough royalties to top those players. Right. It really just depends on how good you are.

Jeff Sloan: [00:44:51] That’s the fun of it. I mean, that’s really the fun of it. It’s the gamification of music, the thrill of being at the top, the chase, all the rest. And so get in there and play and play hard.

Play smart. And you too will be on the leaderboard of FanLabel. All right. Right on. Thanks, Mick. All right guys. Great show. Thanks a lot, and we’ll be back next week with more on Play the Music! Before we sign off, we want to thank our production team, Kara OBlenness, Kristin Kujawa, Andrea Garcia, Daman Nallamothu Ryan OBlenness and our engineer, Mark Pastoria. Download the FanLabel app from the Apple store or the Google Play store to play!

Hey Rich, we’ll see you next week.

Rutger Rosenborg: [00:45:33] See you on the leaderboards!

FanLabel Staff

FanLabel Staff

Enjoy great music and fun contests as you operate your own fantasy record label in the FanLabel app! Pick the songs you think will rise on the contest charts. Compete for the top spot and become a music mogul!