Category Archives for "Music Industry Roundup"

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 8/25/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of August 25th, 2016. It’s a little more diverse this week, but there are a few blockbuster topics (Spotify never fails to excite). Let’s get into it.

Spotify’s label deals are now out of contract. The company is going month to month, and trying to negotiate a lower royalty rate, meaning that it wants to pay even less to artists and labels. Spotify already has a “soft” deal, but the labels are now pushing for something better. Not a good strategy for Spotify when its IPO is looming, in my opinion.

London’s looking for a “night czar.” The city is looking for a person to help rebuild it’s fading nightlife. It pays about $46,000 for 2 1/2 days work per week. This is a government gig, but there’s probably not a lot of power to change much, as the reason why clubs are dying has more to do with finances than regulation.

A former Apple Music exec defends exclusives. This is a hot topic, as some say it’s really hurting the music business while others think it’s saving it. Sean Glass makes some good points about why it’s a positive.

AM radio doesn’t seem to have much future. This radio consultant sees there’s a need for it and a few stations are thriving, but more and more AM stations are closing all over the world and the trend will probably continue.

Samsung’s free Milk Music service will close in September. It seemed like a good idea in 2014 when it was launched, but never caught on with Galaxy users. The company is urging users to switch to Slacker instead.

Forbes highest paid DJs. EDM has peaked, especially in the US, but the top DJs are still raking it in.

Tencent is the biggest company in China, and wants to be everywhere else too. The digital entertainment company has the financial backing of the Chinese government, and content deals with all the big players in the world.

Want to invest in music, there’s a fund for that. 10 years ago everyone wanted to be in the recorded music business, now it’s touring and and merch, which is booming. This investment fund specializes in that area.

Is sleep a musical genre? It is to some people that specialize in sleep music creation and sleep enhancement products. Don’t be surprised to start seeing this show up in playlists.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #8

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the last week. As always, streaming and streaming services are in the news, but so are a number of huge artists, as well as some cool speculation on the future. Let’s get into it.

Apple Music is seriously getting into song lyrics. Reports are that it’s hired a new team to curate lyrics rather than use a third party to do it. The feature is supposed to be part of iOS 10, which hasn’t been released yet.

The Ed Sheeran plagiarism lawsuit is causing a bit of a dustup. Billboard rants a bit about the bad journalism surrounding the suit (that “Thinking Out Loud” is too close to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”), and on the surface, this one feels frivolous, but we’ve been surprised by the results before. This could be a bombshell for songwriters and music publishers alike if it goes against Sheeran.

Chance The Rapper turned down all the major labels and signed an exclusive with Apple instead. That’s the way the new music business works, although I’d bet that he ends up on a major sometime in the future.

Speaking of exclusives, Frank Ocean also went with Apple Music. Starting to see a trend here? First it was Tidal, then Spotify, now it looks like Apple is putting on the serious push for exclusives. It will be interesting to see its latest subscriber numbers.

In the meantime, Spotify is diversifying into gaming. It launched a new portal dedicated to game soundtracks, which is a great idea, given that gaming is a far larger business than music.

Pandora’s doing the same thing. Diversifying, that is. The company has added more comedy and podcast content, in a move that might be too little too late. Notice how little press the company is getting lately?

People can’t tell what fidelity they’re listening to. That’s what an informal study by CNBC says. Only 1 in 3 could identify the hi-res stream in a test that included streams from Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music. I’m not sure if that means the codecs have all gotten better or the basic quality of the tracks have gotten worse (probably a little of both).

Will Google suffer Yahoo’s fate? It wasn’t all that long ago when Yahoo was the search engine of choice, and this article shows how it could also happen to the current king of the mountain.

How Drake conquered streaming. First you conquer social media, then the streaming comes with that, according to this article. Yeah, it also helps when you’ve had success before a great team to work with.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #7

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the last week. There’s good news and bad news, and some things to keep an eye out for to see how they play out in the future. Let’s get into it.

Sony Music buys Ministry of Sound. MoS is known for their compilations, which don’t play well in the streaming world since all the money goes back to the original label. This should play better on a major label that already owns many of the licenses.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) are going to war against Sony Music Entertainment. Speaking of Sony, music publishers feel that the label and publishing giant is taking the side of the streaming services instead of songwriters when it comes to the mechanical royalty rate ruling from the Copyright Royalty Board.

Can Deezer’s personal music assistant Flow differentiate it from the competition? That’s what the company is hoping, as it tries to wean users away from the free to a paid tier. It’s going to be an uphill battle though.

Giant torrent sites might disappear. Once the scourge of the music business, torrent sites like Torrentz and Kickass Torrents are gone and the future of other large torrent sites are cloudy at best. You can thank streaming for that.

Nigerian musicians a big influence on the British music scene. They used to lie and say they were from Jamaica, but no more, as Nigerians leave their mark on every corner of the British music business.

Music for apps is becoming a larger revenue stream for artists and songwriters. More app developers realize that hit music can make people play longer, but now record labels are making it easier than ever to license the music they want.

Spotify’s new Release Radar feature provides a new way to discover new music. It provides a playlist of songs from newly released albums. Discover Weekly, which looks at songs released over the last 6 months, starts the week off on Monday, while Release Radar, which only looks back to the last 2 or 3 weeks, hits the weekend on Friday.

Ringo explains why The Beatles benefited from being late to CDs, late to iTunes and late to streaming. It doesn’t matter what the format is, the band continues to sell exceptionally well.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #6

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the last week. Warner Music was in the spotlight, as was Sony/ATV publishing, but Spotify and YouTube couldn’t stay out of the news if they tried.

Warner Music signs with Vevo. Warners is the last of the big 3 major labels to do a deal with Vevo, but it finally happened, mostly because of Vevo’s “reboot” with a a redesigned logo and interface, new user profiles with social components, and a personalized video player offering recommendations.

Warners also partners with Vadio. Vadio’s curation platform, ChannelMaker, allows its clients to curate music video channels from a library of videos, and WMG is the first major to sign on.

How millennials act online. If your target demographic is millennials, then you’ll want to check out this infographic that shows when they’re most likely to buy and what content types they prefer, among other things.

Political campaigns and music licensing. Curious about what music a campaign can legally use? This is a great overview of the many possibilities (it’s not as cut and dried as you might think).

BuzzAngle’s mid-year music report.  Music has changed a lot from last year to this year, and you can check out just how much in this report.

Google’s report defends YouTube. The major labels are at war with the platform, so Google put out his report to defend itself. As with everything, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Spotify is starting to beat YouTube. When it comes to streaming music, people are beginning to prefer Spotify over Youtube, a trend that looks to continue. Remember, throughout history, convenience always wins in the music industry, and Spotify is way more convenient to use.

YouTube multi-channel networks were once hot, now they’re not. Disney-owned Maker Studios, home to PewDiePie, laid off staff last week, and the executive brain drain continues. YouTube once seemed unbeatable, but now seems very vulnerable.

Sony/ATV publishing gets permission from the EU to complete the Michael Jackson buyout. The speculation is that this won’t be good for songwriters in the long run. Also, expect it to change its name to simply Sony Publishing, as the company becomes a closer rival to Universal.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #5

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the last week. There’s much more diverse news than previous weeks, but streaming continues to dominate the conversation.

Taylor Swift is the highest earning celebrity. The thing is, she didn’t get that way from selling music. She learned early that it’s the brand that sells.

Elizabeth Warren has it in for music monopolies. She has her eye keenly on Apple, Google and Amazon. This is not the person to have angry with you, regardless how large the enterprise.

Spotify’s trying some hosted radio shows. It seems like Apple Music’s Beats 1 is making an impact, so Spotify’s trying something similar, but without the big name DJs.

Spotify looks to go public this year. In related news, 5 sources have stated that the company will file an IPO soon. I bet the investors are happy at the prospect of getting some money back, but what will the market say?

Sirius XM subscribers pass 30 million. Everyone thought that the satellite business was dying, but that’s not the case at all. You know what? It’s all about the programming (something that terrestrial radio should learn).

Pandora is teetering. The major shareholders aren’t happy and they’ve brought in a high-powered consultant to explore a sale.

Artists not seeing much from secondary ticketing. Not much of the money made by Stubhub, Viagogo or Ticketmaster seems to be making its way back into the pocketbooks of the artists. Isn’t this a bigger issue than YouTube royalty rates?

Selena Gomez social media posts are worth $550,000 a piece. Astonishing but apparently true, Ms Gomez ranks #1 with sponsors who are willing to pay to be included in her posts.

Nielsen’s mid-year charts. Drake, Adele, Rhianna dominate. No surprises here except for Bowie’s Blackstar being the #1 vinyl album so far (but with only 57,000 copies sold). Sales are still falling, with Adele’s 25 leading the pack with only 1.4 million in sales.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #4

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s some interesting music business news from the last week. There’s a lot going on in the streaming world, but as usual, that’s not all.

Warner Music had it’s best quarter in a long time. Streaming agrees with this major label, and it’s up around 14% over the same time last year. Guest what? It’s all due to streaming.

“Happy Birthday” is copyright free, but what about “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land Is Your Land?” Both are considered national treasures and thought to be in the public domain, but are instead controlled by the daughter of Woody Guthrie. New lawsuits attempt to change that, but what does it mean for copyright law?

Many superstars are going it alone without a manager. Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Beyonce and Ariana Grande are using a close tight nit team to guide their careers instead of traditional management companies. Prince was notorious for doing the same thing, and Mick Jagger has essentially guided the Rolling Stones since early in their career. Works for some, not so much for others as Queen and Billy Joel had a rough time after trying the strategy.

Drake’s Views chart dominance is mainly due to streaming. It seems that sales aren’t what they used to be, but I’ve been making that point for a long time.

Spotify is trying to program ads based on your musical tastes. The company is now asking advertisers to submit ads that fit specific profiles to better target listeners on its free ad-supported tier. Creepy or smart?

Song pluggers now target playlists. Song “pluggers” or promoters used to target just radio in order to raise the profile of a song and make it a hit, now they target various playlists instead.

Apple has fixed a big problem with Apple Music. It has moved to fingerprinting technology to help better match your personal music collection to its online catalog. User have been frustrated with inaccurate matches, but this promises to kill the bug.

Downloads will be dead by 2020. That’s what this article predicts as it looks at the downward spiral down of downloadable music consumption. Not analysts believe it will happen this quickly, by the way.

Has streaming broken the UK singles charts? A better question might be, what dos the singles chart now measure, because it certainly isn’t sales.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #3

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s some interesting music business news from the last week. As always, it’s surprising how some old topics keep on coming back to life, and the new topics that we never expected pop up.

Streaming music has surpassed YouTube music views. They said it would never happen, but streaming music is now more popular that YouTube for listening to music. This is extremely important because it’s really a paradigm shift happening right before our eyes, as music streaming becomes the big dog of music distribution. Watch the financial pie get bigger for everyone in the food chain!

Spotify and Apple Music are beating YouTube with blockbuster hits. Huge hits like Drake’s “One Dance,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Desiigner’s “Panda” and Zayn’s “Pillowtalk” don’t appear as much on YouTube as on the streaming services.

Spotify paid subscribers now at 37 million. That’s a good strong metric for success, except that so many of subscribers are on a discounted $0.99 per month or 3 months for $10 plans, so there’s no telling what will happen when those run out. Spotify figures they’ll lose between 1 and 1.5 million subs, but experts figure it will be higher. Still, the streaming service continues to grow at a faster rate that the competition.

Sony/ATV’s purchase of the other 50% of Michael Jackson’s catalog is in jeopardy. It appears that European regulators may block the acquisition because it will give Sony too much control of the publishing world. I guess that owning 60% of any industry would get anti-trust regulators to open their eyes.

Speaking of Sony, it’s being investigated in the U.S. for colluding against Rdio. The streaming service filed for bankruptcy last year (a lot of its assets were purchased by Pandora), but Rdio’s 3 founders are filing an anti-trust suit saying that Sony colluded with Warner Bros and Universal in licensing issues to force them into bankruptcy.

The music and tech industries are out of touch when it comes to copyright laws. That’s the conclusion from an article in the Wall Street Journal, but most industry experts think that the existing copyright laws need a serious updating since they apply more to a time before the high-tech age we live in today.

A classical composer has a similar viewpoint. It’s not only pop and rock songwriters that are suffering from existing copyright laws. Jennifer Higdon feels she’s not getting free market value for her compositions, which are played by orchestras worldwide.

Distrokid has created a new system for getting artists paid. This allows for multiple people to get paid, even with different percentages of ownership, instead of the current system of a single payment to one person that has to be divided after the fact.

Soundcloud is taking another step to becoming a full-fledged streaming service. It’s added a new radio-like feature similar to what other services have. Users have said it’s very “Pandora-like,” although I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #2

Music Industry News Roundup It appears that Music 3.0 blog readers liked the News Roundup concept, so here’s the second addition, although it’s a bit abbreviated because of the July 4th holiday.

Google Play offers 4 free months. If you’re a brand new subscriber, you can get Google Play and YouTube Red bundled together for what amounts to $40 value for a free trial. There is a catch though. If you’ve ever been a subscriber, even for a free trial, you’re not eligible.

How well is YouTube Red doing? Much better than you think, according to analyst Mark Mulligan. He says it’s reaching between 5 and 10% month over month growth, and there’s an appetite for the service, especially in the U.S. That said, it’s still only reaching slightly less than 90% of the current YouTube users, so some aggressive marketing is needed.

YouTube Red is going cheap. As a result, Red is trying to drum up business with a $0.99 for 3 months. The catch? The Christmas holiday season doesn’t apply. These 3 articles show that Google/YouTube is starting to get more aggressive in the marketplace, which will affect both Spotify and Apple Music. Price war, anyone?

People still refuse to pay for music. According to a BPI Briefing study, 2/3rds of adult Internet users stream music at least once a month. The bad news? Only 1 in 10 are willing to pay for it. Most surprising? It’s people between 16 and 24 that are more likely to pay for it.

Facebook changes its Newsfeed again. Everyone but consumers seem to be up in arms about Facebook’s new Newsfeed algorithm. The new one places more emphasis on posts from family and friends first, and posts that entertain and inform second. Ads and commercials come in last.

When music becomes more popular faster. An interesting article on Poly-Graph shows how there have been more music videos that exceed a billion views recently. How much so? Out of the 17 that have passed a billion, 15 have come in the last year. Adele’s “Hello” made it in only 87 days!

Automated rights might not be the way to go. Anti-piracy firm Rightscorp is questioning its own viability after some dismal first-quarter financial results. The company is hired by record labels and publishers to collect money from copyright infringers, but the pirates are either getting better at it, or it maybe piracy just isn’t as bad as it used to be.

The Consent Decree still stands. What may be the biggest story of last week, the U.S. Department of Justice refused to change what’s known as the Consent Decree. Music publishers want to be allowed to negotiate their US digital rights outside of the blanket licences offered by ASCAP and BMI, but the DoJ ruled against it. What more, the DoJ ruled that both ASCAP and BMI must accept 100% licensing – meaning that if a licensee clears a track with one writer, it doesn’t need to bother doing so with his or her co-writers or co-publishers. Publishers and songwriters aren’t happy, to say the least.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what this has brings.

Music Industry News Roundup

Music Industry News Roundup Today begins a new  series on the Music 3.0 blog. One day every week I’ll provide a post with links to a number of interesting music business-related stories. Some will be about social media, some about music distribution, some about royalties, and some about record labels, but all will be connected to the industry in some way (or at least you can take the information and use it for the music business). Let’s get started.

Does YouTube change your listening habits? The article thinks it does. In fact, it states that many listeners don’t even enjoy what they’re listening to and are just dialing up sounds for a particular situation. It says that we watch groups of videos clustered into categories, but I’m not so sure why that should surprise anyone.

Spotify lost more money in 2015. It’s making a bunch, but it’s paying out more than it’s taking in. How much longer can its investors stay in the game? Still, it’s the streaming service to beat as it has more paying subscribers than any other at the moment.

Spotify’s playlists are responsible for a billion streams a week. Speaking of Spotify, their playlists are killing it as they’re now responsible for about 4% of all streams on the service. Not only that, they’re paying out around $1 million per day in royalties!

7 digital advertising trends. This is an Adweek post, so it’s written mostly for brands instead of bands, but it still has some useful information. Like you see elsewhere, it predicts that mobile is the way to go and chat is the future, but it also looks at ad blocking and annoying online ads.

We’re spending less time on social media. Especially on Twitter and Instagram. People are spending less time on Facebook too, but still spend over 45 minutes on the service every day.

Facebook is preferred for video viewing. It didn’t take long for the service to catch up to and surpass YouTube, but it’s now the platform of choice for viewing. Only millennials prefer YouTube now, according to this survey.

A key part of digital copyright licensing law is being streamlined. Right now there are multiple lawsuits against Spotify and other services by songwriters because they weren’t notified that their songs were available on the service, which is required by law. The problem is, it’s not really an easy chore for a service as it’s set up right now, and it’s costly, so a new and improved way of doing it online can make a big difference going forward.

Rights that no one talks about. There’s a lot of money being made when an artist’s songs are publicly performed, but they’re not always discussed outside of an attorney’s office. These “neighboring rights” are important though, and are finally getting more attention.

Classic artists are more popular than ever. Even dead artists like Tupac, Prince, Michael Jackson and Elvis are making more money than ever, and superstar artists over 60 like Paul Simon and Bob Dylan are even having hit albums again. What does that mean for the health of the music industry?

Metal still sells. Attendance is still strong for metal concerts, and the earnings for superstars and newcomers alike are surprising.

Each of these posts contain some useful and interesting information that I hope you’ll enjoy. Let me know if you like this format, and I’ll do more in the future.