Tag Archives for " Soundcloud "

Money Is Getting Tight For SoundCloud

SoundCloud Plan BIt looks like Pandora isn’t the only streaming company having big financial problems. SoundCloud is reported to now be in a do or die situation where it must either raise some serious cash or sell for pennies on the dollar. The company has been trying to raise $100 million to keep the doors open for almost a year now with no success, and it hasn’t been able to find a buyer in that time either.

One of the reasons why a buyer hasn’t stepped up is that SoundCloud valued itself too highly, reportedly seeking $700 million, but now that number is said to have decreased significantly. The company has raised about $250 million so far (including $70 million from Twitter), so now any offer over that number will be considered, which just goes to show how dire the circumstances seem to be.

One of the big problems is that although SoundCloud reportedly has 175 million users, not many of them pay for the service. They’re mostly indie artists who use it has a repository for their music, and while that serves a major slice of the market, it’s not necessarily one that has been successfully monetized yet. Plus, that 175 million figure hasn’t been updated in 3 years, so it’s possible that its now even lower.

The company has tried to boost its revenue by launching two paid tiers, one $10 per month and the other more recently for $5, which hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. That’s because most music consumers go to the one of the larger services first before they consider SoundCloud, and just like any other streaming service, it’s very difficult to get someone to either buy an additional service or change from the current one that they’re using.

All this means that it’s entirely likely that the streaming landscape will face even bigger changes in the coming months. SoundCloud plays an important part in the indie music environment, but if you’re an artist, it might not be a bad idea to have a plan B ready.

OWC’s Larry O’Connor On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Larry O'Connor OWCIf you’re a Mac computer owner then there’s a good chance that you’ve purchased hard drives, memory or accessories from Other World Computing or OWC (I know I have – a lot).

OWC founder and CEO Larry O’Connor joins me for a conversation about new and old Macs, upgrades, and performance enhancements on this week’s podcast. He’ll also tell us some surprising facts about hard drives that every computer owner (and that includes PC people) should know.

In the intro I’ll take a look how the fate of both Pandora and SoundCloud are now hanging in the balance, and at the increasing incidence of hearing loss in adults.

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

New SoundCloud Go Tier Priced At $4.99

soundcloud goMost pundits in the recorded music business have been advocating for a low-priced streaming music tier for years, predicting that real growth in that end of the business won’t begin until the entry level price falls from $10 to around $5. While Amazon introduced its low-priced tier at the end of last year, you needed to own either an Echo or Dot to take advantage. Now SoundCloud has launched it’s new $4.99 tier to try to compete with some of the deeper pockets in the industry.

The service is called SoundCloud Go and it offers 120 million songs, no ads, and the ability to listen offline. The company’s original tier, SoundCloud Go Plus, is still $9.99 but offers 150 million songs in its catalog.

Considering that all other streaming services have far fewer songs available (Apple Music has 40 million and Spotify 30 million), that might seem like a strong selling point except for the fact that most of these songs are by unknown artists. Even with the other music services, most streaming is dominated by hitmakers, so high catalog numbers don’t really mean anything in the end.

What does count is registered users and paying subscribers though. SoundCloud says it has 175 million users, but won’t say how many of these actually currently pay for the service.

Many think that the company is in serious financial trouble and that SoundCloud Go is a last-ditch effort to increase its paid subscriber base. There have been numerous rumors over the last few years of a larger company buying the company but that has yet to happen, and the official company line today is that it’s not for sale.

SoundCloud definitely has a  place in the music ecosystem as it’s the main repository of indie music, and is key to any indie artist music strategy. That doesn’t mean it can make money from that however, as has been the case so far.

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 2/3/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of February 3rd, 2017. This has been a big week for social media changes, but there are still some interesting record label-related developments. Let’s get into it.

Sony earned $1.2 billion from streaming last year. It still made more from physical sales, but not by much.

Streaming is changing music consumption, but is that good? Well, the measurements are no different, and this article doesn’t think they’re as fair and equal as they should be.

Investors are putting more money in the music business. That’s because they believe it’s finally coming back, and owning music publishing is an appreciating asset (which it’s always proven to be).

Vevo has now reached 100 million users. The music video network partially owned my Universal Music was seen by 43% of all viewers who watched YouTube in December. The funny thing is, most of them aren’t even aware that they’re watching it.

Speaking of Vevo, MBW thinks Facebook should poach it from YouTube. The article says that it could make approximately $32 billion a year if it did, which sounds a bit far-fetched to me. Still a good idea though.

Soundcloud’s getting deeper into advertising. Users don’t want to hear this, but the company is trying to increase revenue to look like a better acquisition target.

Snapchat is adding augmented reality. A new lense will allow users to identify environmental elements and superimpose digital effects on top. It’s still experimental so we won’t see it for a while, but it’s cool that it’s in development.

Hulu launched its virtual reality show On Stage. You need the service’s VR app in order to get the full effect, but it’s good to see the technology getting off the ground in music.

Facebook is going to start paying for videos. Both up front and revenue sharing from ads will make video content creators happy. It’s also a shot across the bow of YouTube.

People are upset that Instagram now does groups of photos. They feel it’s trying to become all things to all people and losing its focus.

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

Spotify’s Acquisition Of SoundCloud Look Like It’s Off

SoundCloudIt looks like all of those rumors about Spotify buying SoundCloud have turned into nothing more than words on paper. Word is now out that any hopes of a deal between the two companies has been squashed, although months of talks almost lead to a deal.

Why? Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Spotify is planning on a public offering in 2017, and there were fears that this particular acquisition could negatively impact the IPO. The fact that Spotify hasn’t turned a profit yet and owes loads of money is bad enough, but at least it’s generating lots of cash and growing. You can’t say the same thing for SoundCloud, however. Despite many different attempts to both gain more users and get them to pay for the premium service, that hasn’t happened, so the company’s health is definitely in question.

The other question that potential investors and underwriters had was about the synergy between the companies. For SoundCloud, the acquisition would be a life preserver. For Spotify, it would gain some potential users, and perhaps provide them with an easy path to post their music on Spotify, but it’s difficult to see how that helps Spotify enough to justify a potential billion dollar investment.

Another negative is the fact that Spotify would have to enter into another round of negotiations with record labels and publishers for new SoundCloud license agreements. These licenses are the biggest hurdle for any company either trying to get into, or already in the music distribution business, and investors know how difficult they can be. As a result, it’s a headache that Spotify can’t afford to take at the moment.

If Spotify does go public next year and is flush with cash (after paying off investors that is), look for the company to revisit the SoundCloud acquisition again. Until that time, SoundCloud has to hang on.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 10/28/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup from the week of October 28th, 2016. As always, it’s a mixed bag of different industry items that caught my eye. Let’s do it.

Pandora lost a lot of money and listeners in the last year. The company may be transitioning to a full interactive platform, but it could be too late to be a real competitor in the space by the time it finally gets it done.

Spotify video isn’t doing too well. It got almost no traction, so the company is cutting ties with some of its providers, while claiming that it’s still in the game.

Soundcloud grows a bit. And it claims it’s all thanks to getting people to pay.

Twitter is discontinuing Vine. Could this be a sigh of things to come, now it’s killing is short-form video app?

Georgia is trying to bring in more music projects. It may pass a law that will provide incentives to producers and artists to record there. Sounds like a good thing, but other states have tried this as well and have halted it after a few years. It never has the effect that either the state or the producers hope it will have.

The first virtual reality music release is here. Universal Music jumps in the game first with something new from Avenged Sevenfold.

MTV adds fan livestreams. In an effort to stay relevant, MTV will allow fans to livestream starting with a full-time show on MTV Australia (although it was tested in the US this last year as well).

Radio tries some audio sharing. One of the things that bums people out about radio is that they can’t share something they like with their friends. Maybe they now can with these new apps.

Radio online made easier. A better way to listen to radio streaming as well with something called Radioplayer.

Piracy is supposedly up again. How? Streaming ripped off of YouTube. I don’t believe it, personally. Piracy is always going to be there, but for most people it’s far more convenient to get it for free from Spotify or a similar service, so why bother with the hassle.

Selling songs without selling out. You don’t always have to be aggressive with your networking and marketing to get your songs placed.

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]

A SoundCloud Demise Would Create A Void For Indie Artists

SoundCloudSoundCloud is seeking a buyer, and that could make it much more difficult for indie music artists across all genres to have their music heard. The streaming music service is reportedly seeking a sale in the $1 billion range in a deal that could alter that part of the music landscape for a long time.

According to Bloomberg, SoundCloud execs are currently mulling over a strategy that would result in the sale of the company. No potential buyer has been identified however, and one may not be on the horizon at the valuation the company appears to be asking. Either way, it’s beginning to look as if the streaming service’s days are numbered, at least in the form that we know it today.

SoundCloud has sometimes been compared to an audio version of YouTube in that it’s basically a free service for user generated content, most of which is posted by indie music artists. It’s been good for that niche in that it’s easier and cheaper to post a music file to SoundCloud than to host on the artist’s private website or social media network. That said, the company was never going to earn enough revenue just from usage fees by artists, and it’s really not much of a draw for music fans when compared to any of the sites like Apple Music or Spotify that feature commercial music from label-signed artists. It may have 175 million users a month, but most are not high-volume listeners like on the larger services.

But what really hurt SoundCloud’s prospects for turning a profit is the fact that it was forced to sign expensive licensing deals with the major networks in order to avoid pending copyright issues, and to clear the way for the service to offer a subscription tier in an effort to finally increase revenue. While that sounds good on paper, the biggest distinguishing feature of SoundCloud is its indie artists, and that hasn’t proved to be enough of a draw when its free, so it’s difficult to imagine how it could work for a monthly fee. [Read more on Forbes…]

Music Industry News Roundup #3

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s some interesting music business news from the last week. As always, it’s surprising how some old topics keep on coming back to life, and the new topics that we never expected pop up.

Streaming music has surpassed YouTube music views. They said it would never happen, but streaming music is now more popular that YouTube for listening to music. This is extremely important because it’s really a paradigm shift happening right before our eyes, as music streaming becomes the big dog of music distribution. Watch the financial pie get bigger for everyone in the food chain!

Spotify and Apple Music are beating YouTube with blockbuster hits. Huge hits like Drake’s “One Dance,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Desiigner’s “Panda” and Zayn’s “Pillowtalk” don’t appear as much on YouTube as on the streaming services.

Spotify paid subscribers now at 37 million. That’s a good strong metric for success, except that so many of subscribers are on a discounted $0.99 per month or 3 months for $10 plans, so there’s no telling what will happen when those run out. Spotify figures they’ll lose between 1 and 1.5 million subs, but experts figure it will be higher. Still, the streaming service continues to grow at a faster rate that the competition.

Sony/ATV’s purchase of the other 50% of Michael Jackson’s catalog is in jeopardy. It appears that European regulators may block the acquisition because it will give Sony too much control of the publishing world. I guess that owning 60% of any industry would get anti-trust regulators to open their eyes.

Speaking of Sony, it’s being investigated in the U.S. for colluding against Rdio. The streaming service filed for bankruptcy last year (a lot of its assets were purchased by Pandora), but Rdio’s 3 founders are filing an anti-trust suit saying that Sony colluded with Warner Bros and Universal in licensing issues to force them into bankruptcy.

The music and tech industries are out of touch when it comes to copyright laws. That’s the conclusion from an article in the Wall Street Journal, but most industry experts think that the existing copyright laws need a serious updating since they apply more to a time before the high-tech age we live in today.

A classical composer has a similar viewpoint. It’s not only pop and rock songwriters that are suffering from existing copyright laws. Jennifer Higdon feels she’s not getting free market value for her compositions, which are played by orchestras worldwide.

Distrokid has created a new system for getting artists paid. This allows for multiple people to get paid, even with different percentages of ownership, instead of the current system of a single payment to one person that has to be divided after the fact.

Soundcloud is taking another step to becoming a full-fledged streaming service. It’s added a new radio-like feature similar to what other services have. Users have said it’s very “Pandora-like,” although I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

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