Tag Archives for " Spotify "

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 4/21/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week ending on April 21st, 2017. Spotify was much in the news this week, but there were a lot of other significant news stories as well. Let’s get into it.

Is the end of the free streaming tier near? It might be coming soon, especially if the music industry has its way.

Now indie labels can window releases too. Universal Music got its way with holding back star releases for the paid tier only, but the indie association Merlin just signed a similar deal with Spotify.

You’re the real product when you consume free music. It’s really your data that Spotify and other streaming services want.

Spotify had $2 billion in revenue last year, but still lost a bunch. And that’s why investors want that IPO as soon as possible.

YouTube is making it hard to be an artist on the platform. It’s shifting algorithms are really hurting creators, especially the outspoken ones.

Universal may go back on its deal with the Prince estate. Apparently the company doesn’t feel like it’s getting its money’s worth.

The nature of the music business has changed. It used to be major versus indie, but now it’s “quick versus slow” according to this interview.

Facebook’s Instant Articles may end up being a flop. Publishers are pulling out, saying that they get a better rate of return with direct links to their sites.

Believe it or not, the “golden age” of UK radio is upon is. There are more listeners than ever before, proving that radio doesn’t have to be old and stogy like in the U.S.

LiveNation is partnering with Mercedes for a VIP ticketing program. I guess it’s smart to go where the money is, but this won’t make concert tickets go anywhere but up.

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

With 32 Million Subscribers Apple Music Is Challenging Spotify As Streaming Leader

Apple MusicWe keep reading about Spotify having more paid subscribers than just about any other service at 51 or so million, but it looks like Apple Music is not only catching up, but surpassing the service in many areas. A new survey from the media measurement company Verto Analytics actually puts Apple Music at the top of the list for monthly unique users in March, with Spotify coming in third behind Pandora. The study looked at adults over 18 only in the United States.

Apple Music is now reported to have 32 million subscribers, which is a huge jump up from the 20 million that was reported only at the beginning of the year. What’s more, it boasts almost 41 million unique monthly users in the US in March, which topped all other streaming services. What was interesting is that the top stickiness (the time spent on a listening session) went to Spotify at 25%, while it also topped out the monthly sessions per user at 51. Amazon Music came in at a strong 22% stickiness for second place, followed by Pandora at 21% and Apple Music at 19%.

Interestingly enough, Tidal was nowhere to be found among the leaders of this chart, despite having more publicity than just about any company not named Spotify.

What this shows is that while Spotify may have the worldwide lead in subscriptions, Apple is catching up fast, and Amazon Music may be even faster (with a reported 65 million subscribers thanks to its Prime service and Echo speakers). The disadvantage for Spotify is that its up against some deep pockets in Apple, Amazon and even Google (which came in at #9 on the chart below). These companies aren’t that concerned with making money from music as it’s not their core business, which makes them very difficult to compete against over the long haul.

The prediction here is that by the end of the year Apple Music and Spotify will be about equal in paid subscribers, but look for Apple to take the lead next year after Spotify goes public and its investors cash out.

Streaming Music Properties

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!

The Reason Why YouTube Pays Artists So Little

YouTube user generated contentThe recorded music business is rejoicing at the fact that after more than a decade, it finally has some strong revenue growth. The best part is that the growth looks like it will continue, as paying for streaming has finally gone mass market and listeners have seem the light of the benefit of paying at least a little every month to enjoy their favorite songs. That said, all this growth comes with little help from YouTube, which still pays artists at a lower rate than every other streaming service.

According to the RIAA and just about everyone else who’s done a survey, YouTube pays around $1 per thousand plays, while Spotify may pay as much as $7 for the same number. That’s a huge disparity and it’s something that all record labels have been wrestling with for some time. YouTube hasn’t been terribly cooperative in these discussions, giving a “This is all we have. Take it or leave it,” response in just about any licensing negotiation.

How does it get away with it when other streaming networks can’t? The key here is that YouTube is primarily a user generated service. If a label was to refuse a license to to the company, its songs would still appear thanks to user uploads. The label can ask for a take down, but as soon as that happens, another one, or 10, pop up. This puts YouTube in a strong position to low-ball on any licensing agreement.

Of course every other streaming service plays by different rules. Their lifeblood are the songs that they’re only able to play thanks to the licensing agreements with the labels. No license, no songs to play. Users can’t upload their own content (legal or otherwise), so the user generated nature of the way YouTube works just doesn’t exist elsewhere.

All this means that YouTube probably won’t be paying much more than it already is in the future, much to the dismay of labels and artists alike. The only good thing in all of this is that there’s some evidence that we’re reached “peak YouTube” and more and more people now prefer to get their music on a dedicated service. That probably won’t have much of an impact on your bottom line if you’re an artist though. It’s still way too little, with no sign of getting better.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 4/7/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week ending on April 7th, 2017. It’s been another big week in the world of streaming, but there’s other news as well. Let’s get into it.

Streaming is now making more money than downloads ever did. And Steve Jobs said it would never happen. Some good charts and comparisons here, but it just goes to show how much the music business has changed in 10 years.

The music business is still unsure about it though. That’s basically because it’s still run by execs that may be a little too “old school” for their own good.

But streaming may be overtaken by artificial intelligence. Don’t bet on it being soon however.

There are 4 ways it could happen. And the article is probably right – it’s just the timing that we don’t know about.

The UMG/Spotify deal is a bigger deal than you think. Mark Mulligan outlines why this is really a big deal for both parties other than what’s been publicized. He says it ushers in a new era of licensing agreements.

The windowing part of the deal is bogus. Bob Lefsetz makes a great point that it will only alienate users, and he has a point.

Pandora is losing audience. Fewer visits and less time spent is a bad sign as it loses users to Spotify.

Spotify may be looking to become a label. But despite what this article says it can’t go into competition with the major labels yet.

You can’t trust Facebook’s numbers. It seems to fudge things by 10 to 15%. But advertisers (the lifeblood of the service) are catching on.

And Beats 1 is not the biggest radio station in the world. Apple fudges the facts as well.

YouTube is changing its advertising and everyone is making less money. Advertisers aren’t happy and content creators big and small are besides themselves. Mark my words, we have now passed “Peak YouTube.”

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

Spotify Gets A New Deal With Universal Music

universal musicAs I’ve written in other posts, Spotify wants to do a public offering this year but won’t be able to do that until it signs new licensing agreements with each of the major labels. It looks like the first of those agreements has come to pass with the reported signing of Universal Music.

The fact is that Spotify was not in a particular position of power here, so had to make some concessions that under other circumstances (like not having an impending IPO to think about) it would probably not agree to. One of the biggest is that it has agreed to make new album releases available only on its paid tier, something that the company has stated it would never acquiesce to in the past. This “windowing” is for two weeks and begins today. New singles will still be available across both the free and paid tiers.

One of the more interesting reported terms is that Spotify is said to have set subscriber growth targets in return for a reduced royalty payment. No one is saying exactly what those subscriber milestones are, but the company must feel very comfortable with them in order to place it in the agreement. It’s presumed that the payments will increase if Spotify doesn’t meet those goals, but there could also be a penalty involved or maybe even an increased staked in the company.

This is only the first of the agreements that Spotify has to have in place prior to its IPO. There’s still Sony and Warners as well as Merlin for indie content. That said, one would think that the other agreements would be similar to the one with Universal Music, as most labels require a “favored nations” clause that requires everyone to get the same terms.

If Spotify can’t get these agreements in order, it could shoot down its IPO, as there would be too much future financial uncertainty for investors or underwriters to sign on. This is a good first step.

 

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 3/31/17

Music Industry News Roundup 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.

We’ve said it before, Pandora is in trouble. The problem is that the major labels aren’t too thrilled with the prospect as they might have been before.

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!

Yes, Spotify Tiers Might Look Different Soon

spotify tiersAs 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.

Voltra Tries A Stream-To-Own Approach

VoltraYou’d think that owning music is a thing of the past, yet the iTunes music store still does over a $1 billion a year selling downloads. Streaming may be putting a big hit on downloads, but a new online store called Voltra is coming at it with a new approach that might benefit both music consumers and artists alike.

Voltra allows users to listen to an entire song once for free, and then pay a small fee for each consecutive listen. After the 10th play, the track is fully paid for and officially owned by the user. Best of all, the dreaded 30 second preview is gone from the service and there are no ads. You listen for free, then if you like the song, you then begin to pay for it.

Voltra users also has a premium membership tier for the typical $10 a month. The stream-to-own deal is still the same, but the user’s files are automatically backed up to Amazon’s Glacier storage. The advantage here is that if a user cancels the account, there’s little danger of losing your music like with some other services.

How is this better for artists? Artists who sign directly with Voltra will receive 100 percent of their earnings, since the company doesn’t deduct a commission from their song profits. And it’s free to upload your music as well. Reportedly an artist can earn 99 cents after only 10 streams on Voltra, compared to 226 streams on Spotify, 134 on Apple Music, and 146 on Google Play, so it’s a pretty good deal. Artists and labels can also opt out of this stream-to-own option, but so far it looks like most in the service’s catalog are going along with it.

 The problem is that Voltra is just launching and the service’s desktop and mobile players are in beta (they’re free to download). According to the company there’s about 5,000 users in the beta program and a song catalog of around 3 million so far.

This is a pretty cool idea. Let’s see if this gets some traction. Find out more at Voltra.co.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 3/24/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of March 24th, 2017. Spotify gets a lot of attention because it’s getting serious about its upcoming public offering, but lots of other news as well. Let’s get into it.

Spotify is nearing a new licensing deal with the major labels. It’s been out of contract for the last 2 years, but needs to reup before its IPO this year.

The Street takes a grownup look at Spotify’s current financial situation. There are a lot of forces currently at work here that are pushing Spotify to make deals that it might not want.

Speaking of Spotify, it’s collecting a huge amount of data from you. It doesn’t care much if you stream for free because it’s learning so much about you that it’s turning into cash.

Voltra has a different approach to monetizing music, both for the consumer and artist. The question is, will it survive against the deep pocketed services that have a big head start?

Just after you thought no one can top Ed Sheeran, here comes Drake again. He breaks both Apple Music and Spotify records with 90 million streams in 24 hours for his latest release.

Vinyl versus streaming – the future. Experts predict what may happen to both, but they’re actually pretty vague, and I think off the mark.

Discogs is bringing record collecting into the 21st century. Although there are many who go along kicking and screaming.

Google Hangouts gets a makeover. It’s not only going after Slack, but WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well.

LiveNation has acquired 13 companies in 13 months. The latest is the UK’s Isle of Wight festival. Talk about a rollup.

Radio is listened to at the same rate in all age groups. Surprising numbers from Nielsen, but these numbers have been holding steady for years.

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

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