A lot of Music Ally’s journalism resides behind our subscription paywall, in the form of our daily news bulletin and fortnightly reports. But we do also publish features – interviews, news analysis, the odd liveblog and sometimes breaking news – for free on this blog, with more than 277,000 unique visitors reading our free articles in 2013.

So what were the most popular pieces? Here’s a rundown, in order, of the 10 most popular stories on Music Ally this year. Unsurprisingly, streaming music and artists loom large in the listing. Clicking on the headlines will take you to the full article.

1. Analysis: How can Spotify help new artists make a living?
“I’m not a crisis PR specialist, but even I can see that every single public statement that Spotify and its peers make in the coming days and weeks should be laser-focused on one question: how can we help new artists make a living? How are we doing it already, and how can we improve to do it better in the future?”

2. TheAudience: Sean Parker and Ari Emanuel’s stealthy social media startup
“TheAudience once meant a rather-fine indie band fronted by Sophie Ellis-Bextor. In 2012, it means a stealthy social media startup co-founded by two of the most powerful men in the entertainment and technology industries: Sean Parker and Ari Emanuel.”

3. Writing or speaking about streaming music screwing artists? Read these articles first
“This article isn’t trying to prove that streaming is marvellous or dreadful for artists. It’s not taking sides. Some of the pieces referenced below are heavily critical of Spotify and streaming payouts, others are very supportive, and others are simply trying to get to the bottom of the actual numbers. The point: spend an hour or two reading all these pieces, and you’ll hopefully have a lot more information to base your own opinions on.”

4. Daft Punk, Vampire Weekend and Queens of the Stone Age aren’t Spotify holdouts
“The story here isn’t about labels and artists holding out on Spotify. It’s about the pre-release stream being an established – even essential – part of album marketing campaigns, and about there being greater choice for labels than ever about how to do it, and with which partners.”

5. David Guetta tops Spotify’s most-followed artist chart with 4.7m fans
“If we were to say to you ‘David Guetta, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Flo Rida, Fun, Skrillex, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Adele’, what would your reply be? Bonus points but a gentle shake of the head for ‘That’s a bold lineup for the next Band Aid single…’ The headline will have given it away, of course. These are the 10 most-followed artists on streaming music service Spotify.”

6. Interview: Alex Day talks BitTorrent, YouTube and the lure of touring
“The fact that Day is selling hundreds of thousands of downloads is significant, I think. Not least because a big chunk of his fanbase are teenagers, who are often maligned by older industry folk as a generation that’s unwilling to pay for music. ‘The demographic is about 85% female, and then 60% 13-17 year-olds, with around 40% in the US and 30% in the UK,’ says Day.”

7. Sonos Playbar unveiled as co-founder talks speakers, Spotify and apps
“‘Sonos today is four times the size it was three years ago, and this year it’s twice the size it was last year,” says Cullen. ‘80% of our business is speakers now. Our mainstream business isn’t in the high-end audio any more. We’re the second biggest speaker-maker in the world today, and while it’ll take a few years to catch up to Bose, that’s what we are doing’.”

8. Atoms for Peace quit Spotify: ‘It’s bad for new music’
“After a good few months for Spotify in terms of winning over streaming-music holdouts – Pink Floyd and The Eagles most notably – the company could be in for an interesting week. In a not-so-good way. Atoms for Peace – the band including Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers – have pulled their albums from Spotify…”

9. Green Day made $4k from post-VMAs Chirpify D2C offer
“Handily, the public nature of the transaction means it can be tracked: a Twitter search for ‘@GreenDay buy’ reveals that 126 people took advantage on 7 September when the deal was tweeted, and another six the next day. So just under $4k in gross revenues IF all those people had Chirpify accounts, from a Twitter following of 2m.”

10. Spotify starts showing play-counts for popular tracks
“It’s another move towards more transparency for Spotify, and it could also benefit the streaming service by making Spotify play-counts a popular metric for success in the music industry, sitting alongside (and, indeed, compared with – ‘The A Team’s official video has just under 60m plays on YouTube for example) other figures like YouTube views, Facebook Likes and SoundCloud plays.”

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