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Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 4/14/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week ending on April 14th, 2017. The news this week is varied, but interesting, with Spotify in the lead again. Let’s get into it.

Recording artists are lobbying Capitol Hill to get paid for radio airplay. This has been an ongoing struggle for a couple of decades but the NAB always wins. It might not be so easy this time.

3 Rights societies collaborate for better royalty collection. ASCAP, France’s SACEM and the U.K.’s PRS are hoping that the blockchain technology from IBM will help with better and faster worldwide collections. Blockchain has been offered as a solution by a wide array of tech startups, but having the muscle of an IBM could actually give it a chance.

Google has to change how it presents music in order to prosper. There are two destinations with Google Play and YouTube music, and that’s one too many.

Spotify might take a different route to going public. It might list its shares directly without raising any money, which gives its investors an easier way to cash out.

Jay-Z pulled his music off of Spotify and Apple Music. Then he brought it back to Apple Music. Curious, but too little too late, unfortunately. This won’t help either Jay-Z or Tidal.

Amazon is actually the world’s biggest streaming service. That’s based on the number of Prime members it has, who automatically get access. This doesn’t mean they’re actually using the service though.

Another plagiarism lawsuit catches Ed Sheeran this time. And it cost him $20 million and co-writes.

DailyMotion relaunches to try to take on YouTube. But it’s going to have a lot less user content, so it really isn’t challenging YouTube much.

Spotify is better than broadcast music radio. Well, duh. Especially with long blocks of commercials these days, radio is becoming unlistenable.

A guild for music supervisors has launched. It’s only for the UK and Europe, but can the US be far behind?

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 2/10/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of February 10th, 2017. It’s been a busy week in the music world this week. Let’s get into it.

Google and YouTube merge their music teams. There’s confusion between Google Play and YouTube Red services, so look for these to become just a single service soon.

Warner Music joined the $1 billion streaming club. Now all 3 major labels make more than a bill from streaming.

FM radio is now enabled in half the smartphones in the US. The question is, how many are actually listening?

Ticketing is a broken industry that needs to be fixed. The latest incident with Ed Sheeran may bring things to a head in the UK.

Trump’s presidency will affect music in some way. Here are 5 scenarios of what could happen.

Chance the Rapper gives all his music away for free and still does pretty well. So he doesn’t need a label as a result. Here’s how he does it.

Thanks to the Super BowlLady Gaga’s sales surge over 1,000%. In the grand scheme of things, her sales still aren’t that great though.

A million plays isn’t enough to break an artist any more. I keep saying that the metrics have changed. You need at least 10 million to even get in the ballgame, and 50 mil for a minor hit.

The reason why so many music tech startups fail. They don’t analyze the market to see if there’s really one there. But they’re musicians, what else do you expect (musicians know what I’m talking about)?

Sir Paul McCartney is suing Sony/ATV publishing to get his Beatles songs back. And there’s a good reason why he’s done it in the US, according to this article.

The New York Times is bundling a free Spotify account with a subscription. That should push Spotify over 50 million paid users soon.

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 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.

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 #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.

July 15, 2016

Maybe YouTube Isn’t Music’s Boogie Man After All

YouTube logoArtists, bands and record labels have issued an all-out assault on YouTube this year over a variety of issues that mostly stem from what they consider to be low royalty payouts. The problem is, while it’s likely that many of the presumptions leading to the attacks have a basis in reality, their conclusions may be premature.

In the music industry’s eyes, YouTube is a devil that it’s forced to deal with. The service is widely used to market it’s product while throwing off enough revenue that it can’t be easily dismissed, yet YouTube is in a position of strength where the labels can’t easily use their licensing leverage to get their way as they could with other streaming service negotiations in the past. What seems to be true is that content owners are receiving a lower royalty rate for every video view than ever before. In fact, industry analyst Mark Mulligan reports that the per view rate was actually cut in half from 2014 to 2015, and is now down to around $0.001. That said, YouTube continues to pay the industry more money than ever, with almost $2 billion in payments since 2014.

While that may be true, the fact of the matter is that YouTube isn’t nearly as powerful as it once was, and indications are that its popularity for music delivery is waning. According to a recent BuzzAngle report that looked at music consumption from the beginning of the year, for the first time streaming actually outpaced music video views, with the number of streams at 114 billion and video views at around 97 billion.

What’s more, according to the GlobalWebIndex study, young people between 16 to 24 (the traditional driver for video views) are more willing to pay for streaming than older adults, despite indications that only 1 in 10 digital consumers end up paying for streaming music overall. This figure for younger Americans could actually be higher though, since pre-teens and teens don’t usually have credit cards. Many ask their parents to pay for the subscription or are part of a parent’s family streaming plan, so the complete picture here is still a question mark. When you take that into consideration, there may be more young people in that subscriber category than you might think.

Google has certainly taken notice to these numbers and is attempting to increase it’s own music subscriptions by running a sale. First of all, a free 2 month trial period for Google Play is now available that includes its YouTube Red service as well, and Red alone is being offered for just $0.99 for the first three months through the YouTube app. A company running aggressive sales campaigns is reacting to the market, and Google sees the writing on the wall. YouTube is falling out of favor with the demographic that, at least up until now, consumes it the most. [Read more on Forbes…]

(Photo: Rego Korosi via Flickr)

June 8, 2016

What If Google Had Bought Michael Jackson’s Half Of Sony/ATV?

Google Buys Sony/ATV?Word came out over the weekend that Google was a clandestine bidder for Michael Jackson’s half of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and the news had the music business wiping its collective brow in relief. Had that purchase happened, we might be looking at a very different industry landscape today.

To recap, last March a buy-sell clause was triggered in the agreement between Sony/ATV and the estate of Michael Jackson that allowed either party to buy out the other, which ended in Sony paying around $750 million for the Estate’s 50% ownership in the company.

At the time it seemed inevitable that the negotiation would go that way, although it was rumored that the Jackson Estate actually had a deep pocket investor who could put up the needed cash to take the deal the other way.

What we didn’t know then was that Google was also a buyer in the mix, and you can bet that was a major factor in Sony pushing hard to get the deal done. In retrospect, it’s surprising that it only cost Sony $750 million, in that it’s conceivable that Google’s presence could have easily pushed that figure much higher.

Now think for a second what the ramifications of Google owning part of Sony/ATV would be today. First of all, it would be part owner of the largest music publishing company in the world – one that manages 4 million copyrights of some of music’s biggest publishing moneymakers, like The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Ed Sheeran, James Brown, Elvis Presley, Oasis and Eminem.

What do you think would happen when it came time to negotiate the next licensing agreement with YouTube (which Google owns) and Google Play? It stands to reason that Google/Sony would give itself a sweetheart deal in such a situation, right? Imagine how the rest of the industry would have reacted to that one. [Read more on Forbes]

YouTube To Introduce A Live Streaming App

YouTube ConnectWhere once we lived in a world of pre-recorded video, that’s changing rapidly as millennials increasingly show how much they love live streaming.

For instance, Periscope has posted more than 100 million broadcasts since its debut in March of 2015, and Snapchat Live Stories has as many as 100 million users per day, which has lead Facebook into the same space with Facebook Live.

And Facebook Live has been successful in just a short time, with some creators pulling in over 100,000 viewers per broadcast.

All this has lead Google to decide that perhaps it’s a good idea to enter this side of the online video business, and as a result, you’ll be seeing its new stand-alone app called YouTube Connect in the coming months.

The service is said to have chat and tagging features built in, as well as a newsfeed that displays videos from friends and brands that the user has subscribed to.

YouTube is beginning to feel the pressure from Facebook when it comes to short form video, and Connect is its way for trying to get back in the game.

Too little too late? Users are fickle, but they usually go where their friends are, so don’t be surprised if many don’t even sample a new offering, even from market leader (for now) YouTube, at least until the next update of their favorite platform upsets them.