IHM News

IHM’s Year in Review: 2013

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : January 28, 2014

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation,, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2.


Sanity check one month into the new year! It’s time to keep those resolutions fulfilled and start executing your plan of attack for 1st quarter. Before we get too much further into 2014, let’s take a look at some trends that emerged in 2013.



1.     The (Once again) Rise of the Indie Artist and Streaming services


2013 saw a boom in independent music and services that echoes a similar trend that occurred in the 90’s (don’t believe us? Check out these articles on The Elephant 6 Recording Company, Sub Pop Records, Merge Records and Duck Down Records).  Indie labels (which include everyone except for the big 3: Universal Music Group, Sony and Warner Music Group) now control collectively 34.5 percent of the music business by presenting acts including Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Mumford and Sons and others who’ve been able to penetrate and thrive in the market without a traditional radio campaign.


The first half of 2013, consumers listened to over 50 billion songs on various streaming video and music sites like Pandora, Spotify and Youtube. A huge part in this growth is due to consumers relying less on fm radio (as a sidenote: getting your song on FM radio is a bit of a fools errand if you don’t have a budget behind it as payola is still practiced) to find new music and turning to services like the aforementioned Pandora, whose playlists are composed of 50% independent artists, as opposed to FM radio’s playlists which only 13% of it’s playlists incorporate non-major label artists.  Keep in mind though that even with this success of the indie’s, the big 3 aren’t obsolete yet as many of these Indies had to go through them to get a distribution deal (which isn’t the same as a record deal).


2.     Drop in Digital Sales


While making your project available for purchase digitally is still a necessity for an upcoming artist in 2014 (unless your genre is Country, as consumer purchasing habits still lean towards physical sales) it’s interesting to note that for the first time since the iTunes store opened in 2003, there has been a decline in digital sales, with track sales falling 5.7% (1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion) and albums sales dropping 0.1% (going from 117.7 million to 117.6 million in the span of a year. The finger seems to be pointed at the aforementioned streaming services, which analysts say are cannibalizing digital sales. Regardless of this trend, you should have your project or track available for purchase through as many outlets as you possibly can…. which includes your live shows!


3.     Top Grossing Tours of 2013


Can you guess who the top touring worldwide grossing act was for last year? We’ll give you 3 guesses. Blues Traveler? Nope, not even on the list. Taylor Swift? She made it in the top ten but not #1. Tupac’s Hologram? Now you’re not even trying. According to Pollstar, the highest worldwide grossing act on tour last year was actually Bon Jovi. They earned $259.5 million globally on tour.  Coming in second place was Beyonce ($188.6 million) and in third was Pink ($170.6 million). Other acts and events that made the top ten were Justin Bieber, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson: The Immortal). Billboard calculated gross ticket sales worldwide to be at 4.8 billion,  which was an increase of over 30% from last year.


4.     IHM’s Favorite projects from 2013


Before we go, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite projects from 2013. Some commercial, some indie in no particular order:


Tom’s picks

Chvrches- The Bones of What You Believe

Released towards the end of the year, this Scottish Synthpop’s music kept me warm through the winter months. I got hooked when I heard their single “Recover” and look forward to checking out their new material.


Tef Poe & Rockwell Knuckles – The David Ruffin Theory

I’ve been following these guys solo projects for a while now and was really stoked when I heard they were working on an album together. Up and comers from St. Louis, these guys have contrasting deliveries that compliment each other. I love the fact that they put care into their writing and bar structure. Awesome production to boot.


Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

While it took me a while to get used to this guys flow, he put out a solid project that paints a vivid and honest picture of what growing up in Chicago is like, comparable to what Kendrick Lamar did for Compton on Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. You’ll be hearing a lot from this guy in 2014.

Bram’s Picks

I’ll start with the Grammy picks I voted for:

Lorde “Royals” – This was by far one my most favorite tunes of 2013. Everyone agrees it is a smart track that changed the sound of 2013 single handedly. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the record did not compare to the power of this track.


Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” – First great track of 2013, it demonstrates the power of collaborative songwriting. Plus, it’s hard to get tired of this tune especially when you roll a video out like this:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis –  Although the album was released in 2012, it’s momentum last year makes this artist a 2013 Grammy hopeful. Multiple smart tracks, independent release and tunes that got people of all ages singing in 2013.


Records you may have overlooked:

Sky Ferreira – Loved this record upon first listen. the title drew me in as it was borrowed from one of my favorite David Lynch flicks “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”. Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, who also did Haim & Vampire Weekend, was nominated for a producing Grammy this year. Favorite track, listen to “Omanko”:


Best IHM charting artist of 2013:

Mikey 360 – A little known R&B/Hip-Hop artist from Phoenix, Arizona, Mikey360’s EP release “Reckless Emotions” hit #1 on Heatseekers Mountain charts multiple times, top ten on national Heatseekers, top 50 Independent Albums, R&B Albums & Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums entirely from live show sales. Never underestimate the power of your fans or live show.


John’s Picks

Six60 – I heard this soulful, dubstep-tinged New Zealand rock band when my wife returned from yoga and told me she heard a song that she thought sounded a lot like me singing.  Of course, when I heard this singer, I wished I sounded this good.  Check out the soulful track she told me about called “Lost.” It is powerful if you like soul:


Bon Iver  – (where “Iver” is pronounced “ee-v-ay-er”  and rhymes with “Slayer”).  Though it didn’t come out in 2013, I discovered this US based artist’s song “Holocene” for the first time and it moved me to tears:

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