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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.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 10/14/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup from the week of October 14th, 2016. Streaming is back in the news this week as Amazon and Pandora both launched new services. There’s so much more though that you could easily have missed. Let’s get to it.

Amazon finally launched its stand-alone streaming service. But is the company taking after Apple and using it to sell hardware?

Pandora launches it’s new service too. Not to be outdone, Pandora finally launched its interactive service as well as a total rebranding. It was curious that it launched on the same day as Amazon though. It was pushed down the list of news as a result.

Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine hints at things to come. He’s claiming that we’re going to love the upcoming features and upgrades to Apple Music, but then again, he’s always been a salesman.

Doing an artist deal with Apple may not be what’s it’s cracked up to be. It seemed like a good deal at first, and the money was good, but in the end Anohni feels that the company tempered her political style.

Is canned music on the way out? An organization in the UK is trying to ban elevator music, blaming it for noise pollution and world-wide hearing loss.

Michael Jackson topped the list of dead celebrity earners. That was mostly because of the sale of his publishing to Sony Music so this might be a one time only thing.

Will Emotional Radio save the medium? This new smart radio senses your mood via artificial intelligence and programs it accordingly.

Speaking of radio, BBC 1 is losing all its best DJs. It’s shaping up as a big problem as it’s affecting the ratings.

Streaming exclusives may be here to stay. Labels hate them and there’s evidence that they don’t actually boost an artist’s album, but the evidence says they’re not going way.

A new agreement opens the door to unofficial mixes on Spotify and Apple Music. The contract with Dubset sets the stage for more indie artists and more music that haven’t been able to get on the platforms before.

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

October 11, 2016

PR And Crowdfunding Expert Ariel Hyatt On Episode #130 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

ariel hyattAriel Hyatt was one of the first in the PR world to realize the value of social media, and her Cyber PR agency has been helping artists and bands with their online presence ever since.

Now Ariel breaks new ground with her latest book called Crowdstart, which provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. Ariel’s my guest on this week’s podcast to talk about what she’s learned in the sometimes confusing world of crowdfunding.

On the intro we’ll look at the streaming wars and how Spotify and Apple Music own the majority of the market at the moment, and how many believe that the latest generation of audio plugins are “cheating” in that they may allow you to bypass years of experience during mixing.

You can listen to it at bobbyoinnercircle.com, or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.

Spotify’s Paid Over A Billion Dollars To Record Labels This Year

spotify royalty paymentsThe major record labels seem to have it out for Spotify, but the platform is contributing mightily to their bottom lines. It’s been reported that the company has already paid $1.2 billion dollars in royalties to the music industry this year, and over $5 billion lifetime. The platform is paying out around $133 million per month, and over $4.4 million a day, according to Music Business Worldwide.

Spotify recently announced that it now has 40 million paid subscribers, which goes a long way to contributing to that royalty payout. Apple Music, the next most popular streaming music platform, has less than half that at 16 million. The music industry currently favors Apple Music because it doesn’t offer a free ad-supported tier like Spotify. Allowing users to access music for free, even with ads and listening limitations has been ridiculed by artists, songwriters, publishers and labels, but many platforms, including Spotify, feel that it’s important to introduce users to the the value of streaming music first before asking them to pay. That said, many users are now hip to the the benefits of streaming music and that introduction may no longer be as necessary as it was previously.

Regardless, Spotify’s royalty payments are now a huge part of the revenue stream for most labels. Even though that amount still doesn’t make up for declining CD and download sales, the streaming user numbers are steadily rising, and many feel that it’s only a matter of time until streaming makes up the largest segment of recorded music industry income. Spotify might be leading the way, but until it eliminates its free tier (which has been rumored), the company will still receive the wrath of the industry. It won’t be alone, however, as other companies offering the same free tier will be lumped in the same boat, as the industry tries to move away from anything free.

September 26, 2016

Apple Music At 17 Million Subscribers After 70 Exclusives

apple music exclusivesRecord labels hate giving exclusives to streaming services, but they appear to be working when it comes to signing up new paid subscribers. During Apple’s latest product rollout, CEO Tim Cook mentioned that Apple Music was now at 17 million subscribers thanks to over 70 exclusives with artist like Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean and Drake. The service now appears to be growing at just under a million per month.

While exclusives are great for the streaming networks, the rest of the music industry isn’t so sure of the benefits. For one thing, there’s a belief that they cause confusion in the marketplace. What happens is that a listener can readily find the new release from a hit artist on one streaming site, but then gets frustrated when she can’t find it on another. Many consumers apparently don’t care or pay attention to the “exclusive” factor, it seems.

For an artist, exclusives are a mixed bag. They make get a modest cash advance for the privilege, but the big carrot is the promotion that goes along with it, especially with Apple Music. That means not only online hype but traditional promotion on billboards, print and television as well.

A big problem that’s only just raising its head is retaliation from other streaming services over an exclusive. Katy Perry is said to have been deleted from all Spotify playlists and refused promotion over her exclusive with Apple Music, which caused her latest single to fall completely off the radar.

As a result, major labels are said to be putting a hold on the practice of offering exclusives from now on, choosing to take their chances with traditional label promotion instead.

Exclusives may become a thing of the past, but for about a year, they were the hottest thing in music industry and streaming music.

September 16, 2016

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

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 16th, 2016. There’s a lot of news in the streaming space, but also some interesting news with club music in Australia and the UK charts as well.

Tidal had huge loses last year. It appears that the streaming service is not doing well and burning around $2 mil per month. No wonder Jay-Z is looking for a buyer.

And it has a lot of unpaid bills. Over 100 in fact, including rent, accountants, recording labels, advertising agencies, and just about everything else you can think of. Tidal was never a serious streaming contender, and was only a money play for Jay-Z that looks like it’s not going to turn out well.

Why hasn’t Apple Music introduced hi-res music yet? It seems that the introduction of the iPhone 7 would have been the perfect time, since the transition over to digital earphones is now underway and audio reproduction is a big feature.

Pandora announced a number of licensing deals. With everyone except Warner Music, that is. Even most of the indie labels are now licensed, which leads you to believe that its new service will be launched just about any time now.

Spotify wants to go public, which means a change in service. The streaming leader may get rid of the free tier to make itself look better to the market, which the major labels will love as well.

YouTube told it has to pay more in the EU. The EU is going to reform copyright laws and video sites like YouTube will have to pay more to be in compliance. Very cool.

Is stream-ripping a real thing? It seems like it’s something that the music industry made up so everyone thinks piracy isn’t dead. People just aren’t a serious threat to pirate music from YouTube, not matter what the article says.

Sydney’s lockout laws are causing a dustup. The bars now have to close by 2AM instead of 3:3oAM, but just how much business can you lose at that time of the morning? Then again, those Aussies do like to party.

A change in the UK charts could influence the US as well. Top 40 charts don’t turn over much any more since they reflect streams of songs that are listened to over and over. The UK wants to reward new discovery, which might change how charts are determined.

Ameba Records in Hollywood will not see the wrecking ball. At least not until its lease runs out. Ameba sold its prime real estate on Sunset Blvd last year, so this might not end well, but at least any ending won’t happen in the near future.

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

September 7, 2016

Which Music Streaming Services Will Survive 2016?

Music Streaming ServicesNote: Here’s a guest post from Caroline at Culture Coverage.

In a world of free music, not all streaming services are created equal.

Between premium subscriber systems and free platforms with limitless libraries, there are a lot of options that can cloud a music lover’s desktop and not provide any real advantages. For these five industry leaders, however, it can be a different story. To figure out the future of streaming, check out this list of what’s up and what’s worth a listen. 

Spotify

As the behemoth winner of the streaming music world, Spotify started out just like any other digital age streaming startup, but it’s as much about what critics would consider faults as it is about its apparent successes; the truth is, everything is working for it. The easy-to-use interface, the completely free use of its music catalogue and mobile listening features make it perfect for all ages. Customizable playlists, radio stations, and great social features that mean easy sharing—it’s easy to see why Spotify is top dog in a world of free music. From customized Discover Weekly playlists tailored to your likes and cool features like the one that matches your songs to your running pace, this service is one that only gets better.

Apple Music

While the streaming service isn’t free (and therefore a huge negative), Apple is the leader in everything else tech related, which gives the service strong staying power even if it’s had slow success since debuting in 2015. With only 15 million followers since it launched, Apple Music has been rumored to be acquiring Jay-Z’s TIDAL, which is predicted to be a smart business move. While it may have only 4.2 million subscribers, the clout TIDAL has with big musicians like Kanye West and Rihanna is suspected to boost the listener experience and advantages of subscribing to the Apple Music service.

YouTube

YouTube is the uncontested largest music streaming music service around with over a billion monthly visitors, and since it launched YouTube Red, it’s finally available without pesky ads. YouTube also leads in the music category by allowing users to search concert tapes, music videos, live recordings, and a plethora of uploaded work ranging from wedding videos to covers. While sifting through all the noise can be a drawback, the lyric video revolution and payout to artists means this globally unifying music source isn’t going anywhere soon. 

Pandora

With 80 million active users, Pandora gets away with having a limited number of skips for one reason: it’s the best way to discover new music. With personalized radio station features and the opportunity to use the app across multiple platforms, the music service has a great price, and it’s perfect for customized listening. While the geographical limitations on this one are a little archaic (though nothing a Virtual Private Network can’t fix), and it’s not your best option when you’re looking for a specific song, it’s free level is one that can’t be beat. The ever-updating and shifting song selection also make it a road tripper’s go-to. 

SoundCloud

A hotbed for indie artists, remixes, and the Next Big Thing, SoundCloud is still free, though this could change in the next year with its execs looking for a buyer. In the meantime, it offers something none of the other streaming services can. With raw mixes, unreleased EPs and fresh demos, this platform is where untested, undiscovered and underground artists flex their chops, which means it has serious staying power for listeners who want something outside of the commercialized music industry. Plus, there are options for sharing privately with friends or on social media; and with SoundCloud Go, you can listen anywhere.

From on-the-go to at-home listening, these five streaming services are providing the bulk of the industry’s listening platforms, and for 2016, they’re the masters of their trade. What’s next for the 2017 leaders? Only time—and the ear—will tell.


About Me: Caroline is a music junkie and streaming service lover, uploading any and all of the available service apps to her phone to continue her hunt for the next best one. Currently leaning toward the platforms that let her take the music with her, she’s open to being persuaded if you feel like leaving a comment and pointing her in the right direction. 

[Image courtesy of Nickolai Kashirin under CC BY 2.0]

Spotify Appears To Be Punishing Artists

Spotify punishing artistsTalk about a sore loser, it looks like Spotify is punishing artists who do exclusives with Apple Music. According to an article in Bloomberg, the service is manipulating search results so that those who provided Apple Music with an exclusive on a new release don’t appear in the top ranks of searches after their music becomes available when the exclusive is over.

Spotify has also warned artists who provide Apple Music with an exclusive that they will no longer be included on its playlists. Spotify playlists have become a very important promotional tool, so any exclusion could hurt a song or album’s popularity on the platform.

A Spotify spokesperson has denied the allegations, which appear from have come from inside the company.

The fact of the matter is that Apple Music is using these exclusives in order to catch up with its rival. Spotify now claims to have 39 million paid subscribers while Apple Music sits at 15 million, so the company is using the artist exclusives to help close the gap. Whether that’s actually working or not is yet to be seen, since we’ve not seen subscriber numbers from Apple for a while, at least before the exclusive wars got into full swing.

Of course, it’s easier for Apple to get artists to provide an exclusive on a new release because of the company’s deep pockets for an advance, and widespread television and social advertising and promotion, something that Spotify or most other streaming companies can’t easily match.

Will it be worth it? Many in the industry actually feel that exclusives hurt everyone involved since the consumer isn’t able to get the music when she wants it on the platform she wants to use while the album is hot. My guess is that we’ll see exclusives die down in 2017 after Apple reaches subscriber parity with Spotify, or something close to it. Until then, Spotify will probably continue punishing artists who bow to Apple’s advances.

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.