Kalle Magnusson runs the music label Hybris that released the debut albums of artists such as Jonathan Johansson, Familjen, El Perro del Mar, Vapnet and Korallreven. The text is taken from our publication “Access over ownership”, about the trend of wanting access to things instead of owning them. Collaborative consumption is one of the topics featured at Media Evolution The Conference in August.
”Spotify doesn’t give money to artists!” I do not know how many times I’ve heard it. And yes, running record labels or music companies in the 2000s has its problems. But if people only knew what Spotify’s latest six months has meant for Swedish musicians and music companies they’d be surprised.
Hybris was founded in 2004. Music file sharing was really popular by then. The CD grave had already been dug. We had no money and no contacts. What we did have however was good music and great ideas about how to spread things on the Internet. Our idea is to work as hard as we can to get as many people as possible to like our music.
We quickly became an established pop label, but it took until the autumn of 2011 before there was a revenue model that suited the way we work with music.
Music out 2005, money in 2012
Vapnet’s 2005 debut single ”Kalla mig” is a prime example of the fantastic development in the music industry in recent years.
When we released the single we printed 1,000 CDs and encouraged fans to spread the music. A few months later, ”Kalla mig” became a summer hit. When people summed up 2005 ”Kalla mig” was one of the top ten most played songs on the popular Swedish radio programme P3 that year – and the band has tens of thousands of fans. But not surprisingly, sales did not materialize.
As of spring 2012, Vapnet has not released an album for 4 years. ”Kalla mig” hasn’t received a big boost, hasn’t been part of an ad campaign or used in an awesome TV show. But it’s still a good song, and people have continued to listen to it and it’s attracted new listeners.
If it weren’t for Spotify starting to flourish, we would not have noticed anything. Nowadays, 4 out of 5 people using Spotify in Sweden pay to use the service, which means that payment to artists and companies is higher than if they only listened to the advertising-based service. Revenue per play has nearly tripled for us in the last 12 months.
For ”Kalla mig” it means that we get more revenue per quarter from Spotify today than the single sold in its entire first successful year.
Many loyal fans make a difference
Today, a huge fan base and lots of attention mean lots of plays on Spotify. And lots of plays on Spotify means a good income. These are exciting times for Hybris and our artists. We will soon have 500 songs in our catalogue, and Spotify has become by far the most profitable stream for us – almost 80% of our revenue comes from Spotify. And payments are increasing all the time.
We’re not back in the 90s yet, but if you hear someone complaining that streaming services don’t work, that they don’t replace the artists or companies, that accessibility is not the model – ask them to contact us. We can show them that the trend is very positive, and that we mainly have Spotify to thank for it.