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Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week ending on March 31st, 2017. There is less news about streaming than in past weeks, but there’s still lot of very interesting items nonetheless. Let’s get into it.
New music is cool, but it’s old music that sells. The weekly Top 50 is only worth less than 4% of the total music revenue pie, and gets most of the audio and video streams.
Warner Records just launched a vinyl-only label. The difference is that all the releases are selected by fans.
Whatever happened to Generation X? They joined the ranks of the Baby Boomers, that’s what. Interesting story of the transition here.
5 ways Spotify is gaining leverage over the major labels. It needs all the leverage it can get because it still also needs those new label licensing deals.
Can Snapchat change the music business? I have my doubts, but this article thinks it’s possible.
Every hear of a record store crawl? There’s one coming to New York City in April and 11 more cities during the summer.
A battle is shaping up at the US Copyright Office. And it could have a big affect on the music business.
iHeartRadio now has more than 100 million users. Doesn’t matter, the company still has big financial problems.
Sad to say, but music education appears now to be only for the white and wealthy. With all the money spent on other things that are frivolous in the grand scheme of things, you’d think that there’d be a little money for something so essential.
That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!
As mentioned here before, Spotify’s licensing deals with the major labels is currently out of contract. This is a big deal since the company wants to go public this year, and that could be put in jeopardy if it doesn’t have its licensing house in order. But the labels are driving a hard bargain, not only financially but how their new music will be served up to users, and that could make Spotify tiers look different soon.
One of the things that’s already happening is that some of the hottest new releases will only be available on the paid tier (why did it take them so long to think of this?). Of course that’s an incentive for more people to upgrade from the free tier, but there may be something else coming soon that amplifies that strategy.
It’s been reported that the labels are pushing for the free tier to be for singles only that are past their release “window” (the amount of time after it’s been exclusive on the paid tier), and the rest of the album will only be available on the paid tier. Again, this makes total sense in that it’s another incentive to get users to pay.
Of course, should Spotify adopt that strategy, then you can be sure that the other streaming networks wouldn’t be too far behind.
It’s also been reported that the majors are pushing to up their stakes in Spotify in exchange for the new licensing agreements (yes, the majors all own a piece of Spotify), which could make them quite a bit of money when the company IPOs.
All this means that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes at Spotify and negotiations will get more intense in the coming days and weeks. The sooner this is all worked out, the sooner the company can IPO, something that the investors are pushing heavily for. This might not be the best thing for music consumers, but reconfigured Spotify tiers will be better for artists, labels and publishers in the long run.
Here’s a very interesting video from The Economist that looks at the new dynamics of the record business and whether an artist really needs a record label these days. It’s a veiled advert for Kobalt, but frankly, that company is way ahead of the game when it comes to not only collecting artist royalties, but reporting them as well.
I had a personal demonstration from founder Willard Ahdritz a few years ago and it was indeed impressive in that an artist could see in real time how much he was making. This, of course, beats having to wait until the end of the quarter or even the end of the year to see a statement to see how much you’ve earned.
As the video correctly points out, Kobalt is perfect for an established artist, but the company has yet to break a new artist, and this is where record labels traditionally excel. Major labels are also able to take a successful artist and boost her to superstar status because of the infrastructure they have in place, something that can’t be easily replicated.
So there is a place for the record label in today’s Music 4.0 world, but there’s also a place for a rights management firm like Kobalt. Check out the video as well as this interesting article to learn a lot more.