Tag Archives for " Spotify "

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.

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.

Neil Young Gives In And Puts Music Back On Streaming Services

Neil YoungNeil Young pulled his music off of every streaming service in 2015 because of the poor sound quality in favor of his own Pono service, but in a reversal, now he’s back. Although last May his music was made available on Tidal, now it can be found on both Spotify and Apple Music.

Pono was Young’s idea for a high-resolution streaming service complete with it’s own player, but the timing, as well as expectations for demand, were off. By the time it launched, music lovers had abandoned music players like the iPod for streaming, so putting an expensive, oddly shaped device in the pants pocket was out of the question, regardless how it sounded.

While Neil Young has always used the argument that his fans wouldn’t stand for the lower quality sound and expected more from him, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and his entry back on the various streaming services is an admission to that premise.

This is another example of how fans care more about convenience than anything else. Although improvements in sound quality have frequently come with new delivery technologies that the music industry has adopted, that’s never been the reason why most people would buy or use the product, although for many it was a happy coincidence. It’s been improved ease of use that’s always won the day, and streaming has been the best example of that ever.

Although the sound quality isn’t up to par with vinyl and CDs, the fact that you can access literally millions of songs almost anywhere anytime is a far more attractive feature to most users. That said, the streaming quality is getting better, and high-quality tiers from both Deezer and Tidal are available for anyone who cares enough.

I predict that by the end of 2017, one or more of the mainstream streaming services will also make the move to high-resolution, which may put the quality issue to bed for good (unless you’re an audiophile, of course).

[Photo: Andy Roo]

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.

October 11, 2016

PR And Crowdfunding Expert Ariel Hyatt On Episode #130 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

ariel hyattAriel Hyatt was one of the first in the PR world to realize the value of social media, and her Cyber PR agency has been helping artists and bands with their online presence ever since.

Now Ariel breaks new ground with her latest book called Crowdstart, which provides a step-by-step breakdown of how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. Ariel’s my guest on this week’s podcast to talk about what she’s learned in the sometimes confusing world of crowdfunding.

On the intro we’ll look at the streaming wars and how Spotify and Apple Music own the majority of the market at the moment, and how many believe that the latest generation of audio plugins are “cheating” in that they may allow you to bypass years of experience during mixing.

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

Spotify’s Paid Over A Billion Dollars To Record Labels This Year

spotify royalty paymentsThe major record labels seem to have it out for Spotify, but the platform is contributing mightily to their bottom lines. It’s been reported that the company has already paid $1.2 billion dollars in royalties to the music industry this year, and over $5 billion lifetime. The platform is paying out around $133 million per month, and over $4.4 million a day, according to Music Business Worldwide.

Spotify recently announced that it now has 40 million paid subscribers, which goes a long way to contributing to that royalty payout. Apple Music, the next most popular streaming music platform, has less than half that at 16 million. The music industry currently favors Apple Music because it doesn’t offer a free ad-supported tier like Spotify. Allowing users to access music for free, even with ads and listening limitations has been ridiculed by artists, songwriters, publishers and labels, but many platforms, including Spotify, feel that it’s important to introduce users to the the value of streaming music first before asking them to pay. That said, many users are now hip to the the benefits of streaming music and that introduction may no longer be as necessary as it was previously.

Regardless, Spotify’s royalty payments are now a huge part of the revenue stream for most labels. Even though that amount still doesn’t make up for declining CD and download sales, the streaming user numbers are steadily rising, and many feel that it’s only a matter of time until streaming makes up the largest segment of recorded music industry income. Spotify might be leading the way, but until it eliminates its free tier (which has been rumored), the company will still receive the wrath of the industry. It won’t be alone, however, as other companies offering the same free tier will be lumped in the same boat, as the industry tries to move away from anything free.

Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 10/7/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of October 7th, 2016. There’s a little less on streaming this week for the first time in a while, but still lots to cover. Let’s get to it.

Music supervisors don’t think they’re hurting songwriters. I wrote about this last week and now a music sup responds. The bottom line is that if you change your music to please people you’re really compromising your art.

Americana music is being kept alive by the Brits. Is this the same thing that happened with Blues in the 1960’s happening all over again?

Spotify is launching in Japan, but it might not be successful. It’s a different music culture over there, and digital music still hasn’t caught on.

iHeart is looking for the casual music fan. It’s new streaming service is trying to stay out of the way of Spotify and Apple Music.

Streaming revenue is increasing for labels, but not so much for artists and songwriters. So what else is new? History repeats itself again.

Shazam is making a lot of money, but not from music. It’s the image and sound recognition technology that advertisers pay big bucks for.

Piracy isn’t new; we’ve been stealing music for a long time. Although this article outlines more recent instances, I can remember Rupert Perry telling me that EMI felt it was losing as much as 20% of its sales way back in the days of the reel-to-reel tape recorder.

It just might make sense for Spotify to purchase SoundCloud. Mostly because it gives new artists a way onto the platform without using an aggregator.

SiriusXM launches a talk show about music. It’s called Volume and has been dubbed “Sports talk for music.” I’ve waited a long time for this.

EDM is trying to expand to Asia. The genre is slowing elsewhere in the world, but Asia is still a big open market that promoters are keen to develop.

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