Tag Archives for " Spotify "

February 22, 2017

You Won’t Believe What The Most Popular Music Platform Is

Most popular music platformStreaming gets all of our attention these days but there’s more to music distribution than that. Business Insider conducted a survey of adults in the United States and found some very interesting data about our very favorite music platform, Here’s what it found.

iTunes – 30%

Pandora – 23%

Spotify – 13%

Google Play – 12%

Amazon Prime Music – 9%

Apple Music – 7%

Other – 6%

Now don’t misunderstand these numbers. It doesn’t mean that people are buying songs from iTunes, just that they’re consuming what they’ve already purchased there.

There are some total surprises with these numbers though. First of all, Pandora rates almost twice as high as Spotify, and Google Play and Amazon Prime Music have similar usage numbers as Spotify. Apple Music still lags behind.

When we look at the year end streaming numbers from Nielsen and the IFPI it’s very easy to think that streaming is all everyone does these days, but as this study shows, there’s more to music consumption than that.

Some caveats with this data though. First, it’s from September of last year, and second, it takes into account all US adults. These numbers would be very skewed towards streaming if it looked at only Millennials and younger (those that listen to music much more than older adults). Still it’s important to keep in mind that as a popular music platform, iTunes isn’t dead yet.

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!

Spotify May Now Be Looking For A Buyer

Spotify looking for a buyerIt looked like Spotify’s strategy was to go public this year, but recent announcements have pretty much put that aside. The IPO (Initial Public Offering) market has changed recently, and tech companies can no longer be assured of the big paydays of just a few years ago. As a result it looks like the company’s new plan is to look for a buyer instead.

Now to be sure, Spotify has over $3 billion in revenue, but it also has been losing money as well. It currently has a lot of investors that want to cash out, and if an IPO is risky, then those investors are going to push for another way to get their money, which is through an acquisition.

Industry consultant Mark Mulligan thinks that a buyer probably won’t be Western. All the deep pocket companies like Amazon, Apple and Google already have their own services. Facebook is a possibility, but still not a good fit. Mulligan thinks that the only reason why Apple might be interested is to use up some of its off-shore cash reserves before it gets repatriated by the Trump administration, but that’s still a long shot. European companies don’t seem to be interested either.

That leaves Eastern companies and there are a number of them that could be potential suitors. China’s Tencent is already the streaming leader in the Asian market and the company has the money and the will for an acquisition. It would give the company an entrance into the West and immediately make it the 800 pound gorilla of music streaming.

There are a number of other Chinese companies also on Spotify’s radar. Alibaba, Dalian Wanda, and Baidu all have pockets deep enough to pull off an acquisition. Mulligan also suggests that a couple of telecommunications giants could also be in the running with SoftBank and India’s Reliance Communications being the most likely, although 21st Century Fox and Liberty Global may also see some synergy with Spotify in the fold.

One way or the other, it looks like Spotify is going to be going through some changes soon. How will that change its service? Probably not much actually. Until the license agreements with the major labels are renegotiated so the company can offer lower prices, things should still remain the same for some time to come.

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 1/27/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of January 27th, 2017. There’s lots of varied news that covers the spectrum of the music business. Here are some of the news highlights for the week.

Spotify wants to pay a lower royalty rate. It’s contract with the major labels is up, but it’s offer is to pay 14% less than it’s paying now. Good luck with that.

Spotify also has some big loan payments soon. Which is why the rush for the company to go public this year.

Pandora thinks it can take on Apple Music and Spotify. Maybe, but it has a long way to go. This article provides its plans.

32 online music services have shut down in the last 5 years. It’s getting tough out there unless you’re one of the big boys.

Sony wants to keep its music division. It plans on selling the film studio, but music is making too much money to cut loose.

Artists can make money from YouTube’s new Super Chat feature. It’s a pay-to-comment feature that the service hopes will add some revenue to the artist’s coffers. It’s also killing the Fan Funding feature in the process.

Google Play Music is testing an auto-play option.  It’s unique in that it resumes play at the spot where you left off when you launch an app.

Music has to lead the way for VR to succeed. That’s going to be difficult, as most creators still view audio (let alone music) as the poor step-child to the picture.

Movie trailers may be the best marketing for an artist. At least that’s what this Atlantic Records exec thinks.

It looks like protest music is making a comeback. We can thank our new president for that.

Some of the copyright changes that the industry hoped for might not happen. The new administration is strangely silent on the matter, which scares music insiders.

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

High-Resolution Streaming Might Be Getting Closer

high-resolution music logoI’ve been predicting for over a year that the streaming world would eventually move to high-resolution audio, and a recent announcement from a group of large industry players makes it look like things are finally moving in the right direction. All 3 major labels, Pandora, Rhapsody/Napster, HD Trax and the RIAA announced their support for the high-quality format through the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), an industry association dedicated to hi-res releases. Interestingly, Apple Music and Spotify were absent from the announcement.

While the DEG didn’t specify exactly what “hi-res” meant, Apple has been collecting high-resolution masters for its Mastered For iTunes program for the last 4 years. Although Apple would prefer masters at a 96kHz/24 bit resolution, it considers any master that’s 24 bit to be hi-res, regardless of the sample rate.

Since Apple has been at the forefront in collecting high quality masters, it would stand to reason that Apple Music would have no problem implementing a new hi-res tier. There’s been no hint of that, however, although the company is notoriously tight-lipped about new developments. Spotify doesn’t seem to want to go that route yet, having enough trouble getting people to buy up to the $9.99 per month paid subscription tier, although it does have 41 million current subscribers, about twice that of its nearest competitor Apple Music.

Tidal and Deezer both have hi-res tiers, but neither has made much of a impact on music consumers. That said, there are numerous online services like HD Trax that specialize in 96/24 and higher products available for download at a premium price. These are more for the audiophile sector, however, and don’t get much traction from mainstream consumers.

That said, the natural progression is to high-resolution streaming, and all services will eventually go that way (you’ve heard it here first). I predict that what we’ll eventually see is the standard subscription tier at $4.99-5.99, and the hi-res premium tier at $9.99 per month. That’s not going to happen soon though, but 5 years from now there’s a good chance that it will be the norm when it comes to streaming.

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 12/9/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 9th, 2016. There’s a lot of news this week, especially on the streaming side of things, so let’s get right into it.

The three major labels experienced growth this year, all thanks to streaming. Many feel that the industry has finally turned the corner on revenue, especially with Amazon Music finally launched.

Apple Music has topped 20 million users. A milestone for sure, but it still trails Spotify by a lot.

Pandora’s new interactive service has finally launched. Pandora Premium is here, but will anyone really care?

This Quartz article thinks that Apple Music and Spotify are too far ahead for Pandora Premium to matter. Maybe so, but this is more for shareholders than users at the moment.

Will users actually want the $4.99 light subscriptions? This survey says yes, at least for the new iHeartRadio Plus service, pegging the potential subscribers at around 4 million.

Speaking of streaming numbers, there’s a new king of Spotify streams. Drake loses his crown to The Weeknd.

YouTube announced it’s paid over $1 billion in royalties to artists, labels and songwriters this year. This is strictly from advertising revenue as the YouTube Red subscription service has yielded essentially zilch in terms of users or royalties.

YouTube offers some big numbers, but the music industry claims that’s not enough. The royalty split still doesn’t work, but there no immediate relief in sight.

Brits now spend more money on vinyl than on downloads. No surprise here, except for how quickly downloads are slipping from our digital vocabulary.

A US court ruled against Duran Duran in regards to reclaiming the rights to their first 3 albums. It claims they are bound by an English contract, not an American one.

Finally, a law against ticket bots. New York signed into law legislation against unfair ticket purchasing and reselling practices, which could soon mean better seats and better prices for everyone if the law spreads to other states.

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 For The Week Of 12/2/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 2nd, 2016. We’re still in Holiday Hangover so news is light again this week. The fact of the matter is that activity drops off substantially from Thanksgiving through about the 2nd week of January. There is some news to report though, so let’s get into it.

iHeartRadio is releasing its new music service. It’s pretty innovative in that it allows you to replay any song you hear from a radio station in the app. There’s also a Save button that allows you to save a song to a playlist to listen to latter. Just $4.99 per month.

Pandora hasn’t launched its interactive service yet, but it’s trying hard on the non-interactive side. The problem is, will anyone notice or care?

Soundcharts is a new service that measures music consumption across 2600 charts. This includes streaming services and radio stations across the world. The first month is free, but they have plans down to the artist level.

Music can make us sick. This is a paper on the surprising number of artists and musicians that suffer from depression or similar mental illness.

The impact of social media on the music industry looks at the obvious, but it’s still a worthwhile read. The problem is that it looks at exclusively on big names, when a little down market focus would have been nice.

Autonomous cars are coming, and the music industry should take notice. We’ll have a lot more time to concentrate on listening when we don’t have to worry about driving.

Artist’s are making a lot of money from Spotify plays, and this article shows you just how much. Go to the bottom and check out the list of the top 25.

Some public radio powerhouses have banded together to launch VuHaus. It’s a non-profit video streaming site filled with music performances. Seems like a great idea.

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

The Streaming Music Price Wars Have Begun

streaming music price warsIt was probably only a matter of time, but it now looks like the first of many streaming music price wars has truly broken out. In a reaction to Amazon entering the streaming market with its Music Unlimited service, Google has extended the free trial period for its Play Music service to 4 months, making a new subscription average of about $6.66 over the course of the first year.

In response, Spotify reintroduced its offer of just $0.99 for the first 3 months of premium streaming access. This deal was previously offered during the summer and resulted in about 2 million new subscribers per month. The problem, of course, is keeping the paid users after they subscribe, and as noted in previous posts, as many as 25% of streaming subscribers jump from free plan to free plan when their trial period is up. In order to counter that, Spotify has also introduced a $9.99 for 3 month play to lapsed users in order to entice them to reapply.

Apple Music is the only service that hasn’t deviated from its normal plan of a free 3 month trial period before the user is charged $9.99 per month.

This pricing war started last month when Amazon introduced it’s service at $7.99 to Prime members, and $3.99 if locked to one of its Echo devices. The catch, of course, is that you need a $99 per year Prime subscription, so it was really more expensive than the other services, but the perception by the public was that it was cheaper on a per month basis.

The trial period is the only bit of leeway that the streaming service actually have to play with, since the monthly price of $9.99 is locked in by their agreements with the major record labels. Despite many in the industry calling for a decrease in the monthly price in order to attract more paying subscribers, the labels have refused to budge. We’ll see if the current round of deals is enough to boost the subscription rate to the anticipated level, or just leads to more price wars down the road.

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