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Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 23rd, 2016. Streaming in the news again, but what else is new. It at the heart of the music industry’s evolution right now
Will “flexible pricing” be in our streaming future? Don’t be surprised to see cheaper pricing tiers at all of the services, not that the barriers have been broken.
Universal and Sony are launching their own streaming service. It’s called NOW Music+, but if history tells us anything, these label collaborations never work out.
One of Spotify’s investors wants it to sell to Facebook. Not that Facebook wants it, but at least Spotify Daniel Ek and Facebook Mark Zuckerberg know each other.
Streaming revenue really grew in the first half of 2016. And this article says that Apple Music was responsible. Maybe so, but Spotify still has more than twice as many users.
Don’t look now, but iHeartRadio may launch it’s own streaming network. Seems like a death wish, since the company is so deep in debt. Could it be a Hail Mary play?
Tidal is in trouble because of subscriber churn. The minute an exclusive is over, the subscriber drops the service. Bad news for Jay-Z.
Does radio have to be live? Radio futurologist says no, and live can even be a hinderance to a station.
A third of all people under 25 now pay for music streaming. This according to the latest study from the IFPI. That’s up 40% over last year.
Frank Ocean is looking for a distribution deal. Apparently he’s a handful to work with, so even though he’s hot, negotiations are slow.
That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.
Twitter video is a relatively new element for the service, and it’s being generous in that it’s will to share what it makes from it with content creators. What’s more the company is even giving the lion’s share to the people that make the videos as well.
In an effort to boost a stagnant user base, Twitter is really going for with video, offering a full 70% of the ad revenue to the video creator. This beats YouTube by a lot, since the split there is 55% to the creator, and Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to monetize video views, leaving users with little monetary incentive to post other than a higher view rate on the platform.
Individual content creators can qualify for this new feature by signing up for its Amplify Publisher program, which to date has only been accessible to companies. Once they’re approved by the company (after a quick application process), they can check a box to elect to have pre-roll ads run against their video.
The company is also offering a new media library for creators with any sort of media, including videos, GIFs and images. This also enables tweet scheduling and planning, and provides more tools for managing multiple accounts. Content creators can now manage their videos — and the money they’re making from them — on the desktop as well as on mobile with the Twitter Engage app.
Facebook is the most important social platform for many artists and bands, but the problem is, once you start to get good at using it for promotion, FB goes and tweaks the Newsfeed algorithm, which changes everything works. TechCrunch recently posted an great overview on how the FB News feed works, as well as a whole list of algorithm tweaks, which I’ve copied below. What’s even better is that each tweak leads to an post specifically about it, so there’s a wealth of Facebook info if you’re willing to read for a bit.
Here are all the News Feed change announcements so far:
High Quality Posts From Pages – Timely, relevant, from a source you trust, you would share it or recommend it, genuinely interesting and not trying to game the News Feed, not low quality or a meme, wouldn’t complain, doesn’t get hidden, complete Page profile, fan base overlaps with other high quality Pages.
More Relevant Ads – Fewer ads that other people hide, Fewer ads similar to ones people have already hidden
Higher Quality News – More links to high quality articles, Fewer links to meme photos, related articles to ones you clicked, highlighting stories with new comments
More Status Updates From Friends – More text status updates from friends, fewer text status updates from Pages, more link share stories from Pages, fewer text updates with embedded links from Pages
MoreStories About Topics You Like – Page posts that tag another Page may be shown to followers of the tagged Page
Cleaning Up News Feed Spam – Fewer Page posts that explicitly ask people to Like, comment, or Share. Fewer Page posts that have already been shared by that Page, fewer spammy links that use inaccurate language or formatting to trick people into clicking
Focusing On Explicitly Shared Stories – More explicitly shared stories from third-party apps and fewer implicitly or automatically shared stories
Showing Better Videos – More videos people watch and watch for a long time, more videos to people who watch videos and fewer videos to people who skip videos
Fighting Click Bait – Fewer links that don’t tell people much about what they’re clicking to, fewer links to web pages where people don’t spend much time and come right back to Facebook, more links to web pages where people spend a lot of time, more links to web pages people talk about after visiting and fewer links to web pages people don’t talk about after visiting, more stories with links shared with the link format and fewer stories with links in the description or caption of a photo or video.
Incorporating Feedback About Ads – Using surveys about why people hide ads, fewer similar ads to ads someone hid because it wasn’t relevant to them, fewer ads shown to anyone that people hide because they were offensive, more heavily weighting the hides by people who infrequently hide ads
More Timely Stories – More stories that reference current Trending Topics, more stories shown soon after they’re posted if people Like them soon after they’re posted but Like them less later
More Control Over What You See – When you hide someone’s story, you can select to see less from that person in the future without completely unfollowing them
Reducing Promotional Page Posts – Fewer posts that solely push people to buy a product, install an app, enter a sweepstakes, or that reuse the exact same content from ads.
Minimizing Hoaxes – Fewer posts that people flag as hoaxes or delete after posting because they are scams or deliberately false news
Showing More Content From Friends More posts from friends instead of Pages, fewer stories about friends Liking or commenting on a post, more posts from the same sources for new users without much content in their News Feed
More Stories You Spend Time Reading – More stories that other people spend significantly more time looking at in their News Feed than other stories.
The See First Feature – A new feature lets you choose friends or Pages whose stories you want to see first at the top of your News Feed
Accounting For Differences In How People Hide Stories – People who hide an extremely high number of stories in their feeds including ones they’ve Liked and commented on will have their hides taken less into account by the News Feed algorithm
Incorporating Actions Taken On Videos – More videos that people turn on the sound for, watch full screen, or watch in high definition.
Improving News Feed For Slow Connectivity – Fewer videos and more status updates and links shown to people with slow Internet connections, re-showing stories you’ve already loaded if you have no Internet connection
Incorporating Reactions – More stories similar to ones you react (just as with Likes)
Surveys To Reduce Low Quality Viral Stories – Fewer viral stories that surveys say people would rather not see
Offline News Feed – When someone has slow connectivity, Facebook will re-rank previously downloaded stories by relevance and display them instead of a loading symbol
Incorporating Qualitative Feedback – More stories that surveys and qualitative research show people would be likely to both rate highly and engage with
Matching Reactions And Stories – Over time, Facebook hopes to show people more stories similar to the ones they React to in a certain way, so people who often use the “Haha” Reaction see more funny stories
Showing Live Videos When They’re Live – More Live videos shown while they’re currently Live
Incorporating Time Spent Viewing Sites – More links to Instant Articles and mobile web pages loaded inside of Facebook that people spend more time viewing, fewer posts in a row from the same Page
Prioritizing Friends And Family Over Pages – More stories from humans you care about, and fewer stories by businesses and news outlets
Punishing Clickbait Headlines That Mislead Or Withhold Information – Fewer news stories purposefully trick people into clicking by omitting or exaggerating core details
You can read the rest of this incredibly informative post called Ultimate Guide To The News Feed.
The numbers in total are staggering. To date, there are roughly 2 billion total videos on YouTube that have been watched a total of 39 trillion times, totaling 196 trillion minutes (or 400 million years) of time spent, according to Bernstein Research. What might be most interesting is that out of billions of videos, viewership tends to be intensely concentrated on the top 1% of YouTube channels, and they’ve accounted for 93% of all the platform’s views since its inception.
That means that nearly 3 trillion views went to everyone else, and that’s still a huge number, just in case you’re worrying about getting run over by top creators. Remember that a trillion is 1,000 billion, and a billion is 1,000 millions, which puts that figure a little more into perspective. In other words, there are still plenty of views to go around when it comes to artists and bands.
While Facebook looks like it’s threatening YouTube for the video crown, most analysts are still betting on the later to come out on top. The reason? It’s all about the advertising, and YouTube is far superior in how it handles the pre-roll ads, giving advertisers more bang for their buck, especially when it comes to the top 1% creators.
And don’t forget, although it may be small, YouTube does pay at least a small royalty, and since the company is under fire from a variety of music-related associations and labels, it’s more than likely that revenue is going to rise in the future.
That said, you probably won’t ever get rich on YouTube alone unless you manage to crack that top 1%, but if you keep the purpose of being on the platform in perspective (it’s all about distribution and exposure of your music and your brand), then the money becomes a secondary issue. While you can’t take your eyes off the money and expect to stay in business, the music, and the passion for it, always comes first.
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.
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.
Many artists and bands have been switching their music videos from YouTube to Facebook lately because of the increase in viewership, but it turns out the viewership numbers might be a big mirage. Facebook videos are said to be getting close to 8 billion views per day on its platform, but that number is in dispute.
First of all, the way a view is measured is very different between both platforms. On YouTube, a viewer has to watch for 31 seconds to be registered as a view. Facebook is way different in that a view is calculated after 3 seconds, but an even bigger factor is that the audio may be muted during the view time and will still be counted as a view.
It turns out that 85% of Facebook video views happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers. Of course, this a major problem for an artist that’s using a video as the means to get their music heard. Advertisers can easily adapt by making sure that there’s text that you can read, and that the point comes across visually. Obviously, that’s not possible when it comes to music.
And, of course, there’s the payment factor, or actually, the non-payment factor is a better way to put it. You may not like what you get paid from YouTube, but at least you have the possibility to get paid something. Facebook is still working video monetization out, although it looks like that’s coming soon.
With that in mind, most artists are probably thinking, “Are Facebook videos even worth the effort?” given that the chances of people listening to a song are pretty minimal. If you’re looking to expand your audience by promoting a video or hoping to go viral, Facebook might not be the best place, given the latest figures. If you have a hungry audience already on Facebook that you want to reach, of course there’s no substitute. That said, don’t give up on YouTube just yet. You may not be getting a fair shake on the platform, but it’s still worth being there if you want your music heard.
It’s obvious that Facebook has been gunning for YouTube for some time now, and the service now claims that it now has more video viewers (although that’s debatable). That’s not enough though, as Facebook will soon introduce a feature called Slideshow that will allow users to create their own soundtracks from a list of licensed popular songs.
Although only Warner Music has signed on currently, all the major labels look to Facebook as a higher paying alternative to YouTube. Having another competitor in the music video streaming space could also force YouTube to reconsider it’s 55/45 payout schedule which has been the bane of record labels for some time. With the rest of the streaming industry paying 70% or more of collected revenue out on royalties, the major labels view YouTube as the thing that’s holding back users from subscribing to the paid tier of streaming networks, since it’s difficult to compete with free.
The labels would still be OK with YouTube if it paid a higher royalty, but since that doesn’t look to happen soon, Facebook’s Slideshow could be their dream scenario.
Facebook, Instagram and Messenger users currently spend 50 minutes a day using the services, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on the company’s last earnings call. It also reported an surprising 57 percent increase in ad revenue to $5.2 billion, and the music industry would certainly like to get a larger piece. That said, the average person spends about 1 hour and 12 minutes viewing online videos, and much of that is still on YouTube. Facebook would like to be part of that daily experience, which is why it views Slideshow as important.
Slideshow better be easy to use and even easier to search, as that’s the secret sauce of YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine in the world (and owned by the largest, which is Google), and that basic ability shouldn’t be underestimated.
User generated videos must be a really big business because another huge online player just jumped into the arena with YouTube and Facebook. Yesterday Amazon announced the launch of its new video posting service, called Amazon Video Direct, in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Japan.
The launch partners include Conde Nast Entertainment, HowStuffWorks, Samuel Goldwyn Films, The Guardian, Mashable, Mattel, StyleHaul, Kin Community, Jash, Business Insider, Machinima, TYT Network, Baby Einstein, CJ Entertainment America, Xive TV, Synergetic Distribution, Kino Nation, Journeyman Pictures, and Pro Guitar Lessons, but curiously, no record labels.
Amazon has also announced how it will pay everyone, as well as how they will take down videos if copyright infringement occurs.
Amazon Video Direct (AVD) gives partners four options when uploading their content:
According to Variety, the Prime Video option pays video owners a 15 cents per-hour royalty fee in the US and 6 cents per-hour in other territories, but that appears to cap at $75,000 per year. On top of that, Amazon will also pay partners a 50% royalty of the retail price from one-off purchases and rentals. As with YouTube, Amazon will pay the partner 55% from any ad revenue received.
Amazon will also distribute $1 million a month to the makers of the 100 most popular programs viewed by Prime members each month.
Amazon Video Direct could be a game changer for content creators in that it’s now possible to get paid a reasonable amount for your content. That said, even though Amazon Prime has tens of million of subscribers (the exact number is unknown but may reach as high as 90 million), it’s still hard to compete with free, which is what YouTube still provides.