Tag Archives for " Apple Music "

February 22, 2017

You Won’t Believe What The Most Popular Music Platform Is

Most popular music platformStreaming gets all of our attention these days but there’s more to music distribution than that. Business Insider conducted a survey of adults in the United States and found some very interesting data about our very favorite music platform, Here’s what it found.

iTunes – 30%

Pandora – 23%

Spotify – 13%

Google Play – 12%

Amazon Prime Music – 9%

Apple Music – 7%

Other – 6%

Now don’t misunderstand these numbers. It doesn’t mean that people are buying songs from iTunes, just that they’re consuming what they’ve already purchased there.

There are some total surprises with these numbers though. First of all, Pandora rates almost twice as high as Spotify, and Google Play and Amazon Prime Music have similar usage numbers as Spotify. Apple Music still lags behind.

When we look at the year end streaming numbers from Nielsen and the IFPI it’s very easy to think that streaming is all everyone does these days, but as this study shows, there’s more to music consumption than that.

Some caveats with this data though. First, it’s from September of last year, and second, it takes into account all US adults. These numbers would be very skewed towards streaming if it looked at only Millennials and younger (those that listen to music much more than older adults). Still it’s important to keep in mind that as a popular music platform, iTunes isn’t dead yet.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 2/17/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of February 17th, 2017. A lot went on in the streaming world, although nothing that you’d classify as major.. Let’s get into it.

Spotify just signed a big new lease in NYC and plans to add 1,000 jobs. The is a curious move given recent rumors about its IPO running aground. Could an acquisition be in the works?

Spotify also made a deal with the New York Times. You now get a free Spotify account with every Times digital subscription. That means the company should break 50 mil subscribers by the end of the year.

Apple Music is “well past 20 million” now. Of course, they didn’t say how much past. The last figure was estimated at 20.9 million paid subscribers.

SoundCloud lost 2 top executives. That’s not a good sign for streaming service that’s the backbone of most indie musicians.

Pandora is really trying hard to become a premium product with paying subscribers. It’s hoping to get to 9 million subs by the end of the year. It might be a futile effort as it has a lot going against it at the moment, not to mention fierce competition.

Facebook ads will now play automatically with audio. Ads used to be muted and you had the option to unmute if you wanted. Now we go to the dreaded autoplay with audio, so we’ll all have noisier news feeds. Why? Facebook says the mobile uses want it that way!?#!

Facebook also wants to steal music away from YouTube. It’s trying to make the labels an offer they can’t refuse.

It looks like big changes are coming to music videos either way. Industry analyst Mark Mulligan points out the many ways this sector is changing.

The movement to have radio pay music artists may be coming to a head. The hope is that the new administration will take the side of the artists instead of the radio industry so artists will finally get paid for airplay (only the songwriters get paid currently).

Prince’s music is back on most streaming services. There’s no reason to hold it back if the estate could be making money.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 1/20/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of January 20th, 2017. We’re back in the swing of things as everyone hits the ground running in the new year. Here are some of the news highlights for the week.

There’s speculation that Sony Japan is tiring of the entertainment business and might now want to sell out. That means Sony Music and Sony/ATV publishing as well. Could the 3 major labels soon be down to 2?

It looks like Sirius XM is still interested in buying Pandora. But only at the right price. Pandora is in trouble, so that price is sure to be coming down to where Sirius likes it soon.

There are predictions that the US radio industry is going to change big time soon. Back to local and away from big station groups, as iHeartRadio is in big financial trouble that could start the change. This is a good thing.

The long term trends in radio don’t look good. Despite what you might read, fewer people are listening to radio, a figure that looks like it will only decrease. Is it because of the product (too many commercials) or the format? Could a big industry shakeup change the trend?

Norway shuts down its analog radio system. It’s trying to make a clean shift to digital. This is for national stations only though, as lots of independent analog stations will still stay on the air.

Facebook has decided to stop paying publishers for live videos. It seems like this was just a short term deal to establish the format and now it wants to put more emphasis on long-form videos instead. This is no-doubt because it will soon be inserting mid-roll ads after 20 seconds, so the longer the video, the better.

Apple is looking to produce TV content. Could this be Netflix/Amazon envy, or has it just lost confidence in the core product of Apple Music?

The hottest selling metal records of 2016 holds a surprise. Metallica holds 6 of the top 10 spots and is still selling physical product like crazy.

Music streaming now has more paying users than Netflix. Of course, Netflix is only one company, while the more than 100 million music streaming subscribers is across all the streaming networks world-wide.

10 virtual reality observations. Will it be the next big thing? It could be, but probably not in the way you think.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!

 

High-Resolution Streaming Might Be Getting Closer

high-resolution music logoI’ve been predicting for over a year that the streaming world would eventually move to high-resolution audio, and a recent announcement from a group of large industry players makes it look like things are finally moving in the right direction. All 3 major labels, Pandora, Rhapsody/Napster, HD Trax and the RIAA announced their support for the high-quality format through the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), an industry association dedicated to hi-res releases. Interestingly, Apple Music and Spotify were absent from the announcement.

While the DEG didn’t specify exactly what “hi-res” meant, Apple has been collecting high-resolution masters for its Mastered For iTunes program for the last 4 years. Although Apple would prefer masters at a 96kHz/24 bit resolution, it considers any master that’s 24 bit to be hi-res, regardless of the sample rate.

Since Apple has been at the forefront in collecting high quality masters, it would stand to reason that Apple Music would have no problem implementing a new hi-res tier. There’s been no hint of that, however, although the company is notoriously tight-lipped about new developments. Spotify doesn’t seem to want to go that route yet, having enough trouble getting people to buy up to the $9.99 per month paid subscription tier, although it does have 41 million current subscribers, about twice that of its nearest competitor Apple Music.

Tidal and Deezer both have hi-res tiers, but neither has made much of a impact on music consumers. That said, there are numerous online services like HD Trax that specialize in 96/24 and higher products available for download at a premium price. These are more for the audiophile sector, however, and don’t get much traction from mainstream consumers.

That said, the natural progression is to high-resolution streaming, and all services will eventually go that way (you’ve heard it here first). I predict that what we’ll eventually see is the standard subscription tier at $4.99-5.99, and the hi-res premium tier at $9.99 per month. That’s not going to happen soon though, but 5 years from now there’s a good chance that it will be the norm when it comes to streaming.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 12/23/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 23rd, 2016. Surprisingly enough, there’s a lot of music business-related and social news this week, despite the Holiday season.

iHeart Radio is in big financial trouble. Radio is dying in general, and a few years ago when the hedge funds bought in they didn’t realize that fact. The company probably won’t change much because of the problems (at least in the short term) but the investors will take a haircut soon.

Apple Music is trying to become more than a streaming platform. It’s now more of a quasi-label, offering lots of promotion in addition to streaming. This interview with two Apple Music execs is revealing.

Not to be outdone, YouTube is quietly beefing up promotion for some artists as well. Not that it helps the indie artist much, but you can see where all this going. [subscription required]

There are indie artists making it on streaming alone though. Yes, it’s not only possible, but this article outline a number of indie artists in different countries with massive streaming numbers.

The VR revolution is here, but it has yet to break with consumers. Many think that this will change in 2017, but the consumer uptake so far is disappointing, and understandable.

Dance music hit a big speed bump in 2016. This article outlines 11 things that broke the hearts of EDM aficionados.

The album cycle is pretty much dying, with Drake the perfect example of the new singles paradigm. But playlisting plays a big part in streaming success as well, and this interview with Spotify’s Troy Carter is enlightening.

Streaming is changing music again, finally making the Long Tail concept viable. This Harvard Business Review article shows how streaming is turning the music industry into a singles business, and is killing the album. Oh, and more people are listening to music other than the hits along the way.

Streaming apps aren’t keeping pace, and user experience is the thing to concentrate on. Industry analyst Mark Mulligan makes a number of good points about music falling behind in engagement to non-music apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Buzzfeed.

Twitter is toast, according to one financial analyst. The company is experiencing plateaued growth and a brain drain, and the stock is expected to take a dive soon.

Finally, Facebook is correcting its metrics for ad reach, streaming reactions, Likes and Shares. It looks like the numbers we were seeing weren’t really true after all. If you advertise on Facebook, you should read this article before placing another ad.

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

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 12/9/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 9th, 2016. There’s a lot of news this week, especially on the streaming side of things, so let’s get right into it.

The three major labels experienced growth this year, all thanks to streaming. Many feel that the industry has finally turned the corner on revenue, especially with Amazon Music finally launched.

Apple Music has topped 20 million users. A milestone for sure, but it still trails Spotify by a lot.

Pandora’s new interactive service has finally launched. Pandora Premium is here, but will anyone really care?

This Quartz article thinks that Apple Music and Spotify are too far ahead for Pandora Premium to matter. Maybe so, but this is more for shareholders than users at the moment.

Will users actually want the $4.99 light subscriptions? This survey says yes, at least for the new iHeartRadio Plus service, pegging the potential subscribers at around 4 million.

Speaking of streaming numbers, there’s a new king of Spotify streams. Drake loses his crown to The Weeknd.

YouTube announced it’s paid over $1 billion in royalties to artists, labels and songwriters this year. This is strictly from advertising revenue as the YouTube Red subscription service has yielded essentially zilch in terms of users or royalties.

YouTube offers some big numbers, but the music industry claims that’s not enough. The royalty split still doesn’t work, but there no immediate relief in sight.

Brits now spend more money on vinyl than on downloads. No surprise here, except for how quickly downloads are slipping from our digital vocabulary.

A US court ruled against Duran Duran in regards to reclaiming the rights to their first 3 albums. It claims they are bound by an English contract, not an American one.

Finally, a law against ticket bots. New York signed into law legislation against unfair ticket purchasing and reselling practices, which could soon mean better seats and better prices for everyone if the law spreads to other states.

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

The Streaming Music Price Wars Have Begun

streaming music price warsIt was probably only a matter of time, but it now looks like the first of many streaming music price wars has truly broken out. In a reaction to Amazon entering the streaming market with its Music Unlimited service, Google has extended the free trial period for its Play Music service to 4 months, making a new subscription average of about $6.66 over the course of the first year.

In response, Spotify reintroduced its offer of just $0.99 for the first 3 months of premium streaming access. This deal was previously offered during the summer and resulted in about 2 million new subscribers per month. The problem, of course, is keeping the paid users after they subscribe, and as noted in previous posts, as many as 25% of streaming subscribers jump from free plan to free plan when their trial period is up. In order to counter that, Spotify has also introduced a $9.99 for 3 month play to lapsed users in order to entice them to reapply.

Apple Music is the only service that hasn’t deviated from its normal plan of a free 3 month trial period before the user is charged $9.99 per month.

This pricing war started last month when Amazon introduced it’s service at $7.99 to Prime members, and $3.99 if locked to one of its Echo devices. The catch, of course, is that you need a $99 per year Prime subscription, so it was really more expensive than the other services, but the perception by the public was that it was cheaper on a per month basis.

The trial period is the only bit of leeway that the streaming service actually have to play with, since the monthly price of $9.99 is locked in by their agreements with the major record labels. Despite many in the industry calling for a decrease in the monthly price in order to attract more paying subscribers, the labels have refused to budge. We’ll see if the current round of deals is enough to boost the subscription rate to the anticipated level, or just leads to more price wars down the road.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 11/18/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of November 18th, 2016. Lots on the legal front this week, and streaming news is back strong again. Let’s get into it.

The Justice Department wants BMI to collect fees in a different way. It asked for “full work licenses” where all songwriters must agree to a license, but lost the argument in court recently. It has now announced that it will appeal. Not good for the publishing business if it wins as licensing will get a lot harder if there are multiple songwriters involved.

A long list of music industry associations have asked the US government to support European copyright actions aimed at YouTube. They’re hoping that the royalty payout from YouTube ultimately rises to that of Spotify or Apple Music. This is a long shot at best, but certainly worthy of continued discussion.

Some insiders think that Trump might be good for business. They site the close ties of the Obama administration to Google. Good luck with that one.

Prince’s estate is suing Tidal. It says that the streaming service has been illegally streaming a number of the superstar’s albums without a license. This could end up being the death knell for the service.

Google Play Music rolled out some new features. Improvements to the user interface include contextual song recommendations, which are garnering kudos all around. This could end up being a big deal, as Apple Music is generally thought of as clunky to use, while Spotify as a little stodgy in its UI.

Amazon launched Amazon Music Unlimited in Europe to much fanfare. It’s now available in the UK, Germany, and Austria. And the service rolled out a Family Plan as well.

More than a quarter of all music streaming subscribers hop around. They go from service to service on the free plans with different email addresses, according analyst Mark Mullligan. Not good that they can’t be converted.

Spotify now driving concert ticket sales. It’s now sending out emails to subscribers with ticket offers.

BMG going all in with Alibaba in China. It had signed a 2 year deal to supply music to the Chinese giant, and now extended the agreement for 3 more years.

Metallica’s music returns to Napster. 17 years after the group had a collective thrombo over the music service, their music is back on the platform. We’ve come full circle on that one, haven’t we?

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

Neil Young Gives In And Puts Music Back On Streaming Services

Neil YoungNeil Young pulled his music off of every streaming service in 2015 because of the poor sound quality in favor of his own Pono service, but in a reversal, now he’s back. Although last May his music was made available on Tidal, now it can be found on both Spotify and Apple Music.

Pono was Young’s idea for a high-resolution streaming service complete with it’s own player, but the timing, as well as expectations for demand, were off. By the time it launched, music lovers had abandoned music players like the iPod for streaming, so putting an expensive, oddly shaped device in the pants pocket was out of the question, regardless how it sounded.

While Neil Young has always used the argument that his fans wouldn’t stand for the lower quality sound and expected more from him, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and his entry back on the various streaming services is an admission to that premise.

This is another example of how fans care more about convenience than anything else. Although improvements in sound quality have frequently come with new delivery technologies that the music industry has adopted, that’s never been the reason why most people would buy or use the product, although for many it was a happy coincidence. It’s been improved ease of use that’s always won the day, and streaming has been the best example of that ever.

Although the sound quality isn’t up to par with vinyl and CDs, the fact that you can access literally millions of songs almost anywhere anytime is a far more attractive feature to most users. That said, the streaming quality is getting better, and high-quality tiers from both Deezer and Tidal are available for anyone who cares enough.

I predict that by the end of 2017, one or more of the mainstream streaming services will also make the move to high-resolution, which may put the quality issue to bed for good (unless you’re an audiophile, of course).

[Photo: Andy Roo]

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 11/4/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of November 4rth, 2016. We’re coming to the end of the year, and as a result, starting to see a number of year-end stories. And it looks like the piracy argument will never die. Check it out.

YouTube Red is a bomb. It only managed to sign up 1.5 million subscribers in its first year, a pitifully small number.

On the other hand, Apple Music is coming on strong. Mostly because its users have more disposable income and trust the iOS environment.

The rumor is that Apple Music will soon be cheaper. Inside sources say that it will decrease to $8 a month by the holiday season.

Do A&R people follow online metrics of artists? Not as much as you might think, it turns out. When it comes right down to it, a real show with a real audience is a much better indicator of how good you are than an edited video.

Make way for the new hybrid record labels. Irving Azoff started the trend on the high end, but now there are indie labels attempting to do the same thing and build a label around today’s technology and mindset.

Pirated CDs are showing up on Amazon. The industry brings the pirated music issue up again, but the fact of the matter is that streaming has won, and this is a drop in the bucket revenue-wise.

Speaking of piracy, Facebook has banned several music sharing groups. That’s such an easy thing to do. Piracy may not be that big of a deal these days, but it’s still best to cut it off when you can.

YouTube makes a deal with GEMA. Good news for artists, labels and songwriters to get paid for their video views in Germany.

There’s a reason why tech companies are importing music execs. They just don’t know how to deal with artists and creatives, it seems. Whether this idea will work is yet to be seen.

The highest paid women artists – Forbes knows. And it’s exactly who expect them to be, but the amount they made last year is still staggering.

And finally, for the first time in long time, NPR has seen a large ratings increase. Politics may have something to do with it, but the state of radio in general is deteriorating as streaming takes over and the ad revenue dries up.

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

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