Do you have a low skip rate?
How many people listen to entire albums in the present era of streaming via the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc. Elias Leight over at Rolling Stone has written an interesting article, “Think You Have a Hit? Make Sure It’s the First Song on Your Album”.
The gist of the article is that sequencing matters more than ever, albums are increasingly being front loaded with the ‘best’ tracks, the singles. The skip rate indicates whether listeners make it through any 30 seconds of a song, after which a stream is included in play count statistics, and therefore royalty purposes.
Back in the day when one’s hard earned pennies & cents were spent on a 33 1/3rpm platter, no-one recorded statistics of how many people listened to which tracks. Album bought = record label & artist happy.
Now, with the odd exception of the mega-artist (step forward Adele, Ed Sheehan, Arianna Grande,…), the focus seems to be on beginning the album with the ‘focus’ tracks, in the hope that the listener sticks with the remainder of the work. We are living in an era where attention spans seems to be so short, the album needs to grab attention and attempt to lock it in.
Streaming has given the user the ability to easily change from one song to another, from one artist to another, one genre to another. The catalogues available at our finger tips are vast. In general we will continue to skip until we find something that grabs us. There are many other factors that affect our listening activity, in particular are we listening passively or focused, but statistics analysed by music blogger Paul Lamere indicate that approximately 30% will skip within 10 seconds of hearing a track.
Streaming is here to stay and artists more than ever need to consider track listing.