Tag Archives for " Spotify "

September 30, 2016

Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/30/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 30th, 2016. There’s a wide range of topics this week that run the gamut from album sales to social networks to acquisitions to bankruptcy, so let’s get to it.

Adele gets her second Diamond album in the US. Her album 25 just went past the 10 million mark, making her only the third woman to do so. The other ones? You’ll never guess – Britney Spears and Celine Dion!

Drake makes history too. He’s the first artist with an album (Views) that reached 1 billion streams on Apple Music. Image what his totals are when you add the other streaming platforms in.

Spotify may be buying Soundcloud. The reasoning is that SC could make it easier for young artists to get on Spotify, but it seems like too much money (probably over $1 billion) for a service that has already peaked.

The music industry comes down hard on Youtube-mp3.org. It’s a website that allows people to rip the audio from YouTube videos into downloadable files. The site is based in Germany and makes money from advertising, but record labels all over the world have banded together to file a lawsuit to shut it down.

A bid for Twitter looks to be coming soon. The suitors for the social network are said to include Google and Salesforce.com, as well as other technology companies. Could this mean the eventual end of the platform?

Everyone’s angry at Facebook for overestimating video view time. The company’s been doing it for a couple of years, and taking advertisers to the cleaners in the meantime. Those figures always looked too good to be true.

Rdio’s bankruptcy is messy. Here’s what happens when a music streaming network goes belly-up. There’s a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth over money, which is no surprise.

Rolling Stone Magazine partially acquired by BandLab. Doesn’t make much sense on the surface, but Mark Mulligan’s always insightful blog sees the strategy in it, although he doesn’t think the pairing will last.

A Blockchain editor proves the technology won’t be savior of the music business. The tech behind Bitcoin defeats the purpose of how it works if it can be edited. Many companies have popped up recently with hopes of all music being coded with Blockchain, but none could gain industry traction. Their chances are much worse today.

Don’t look now, but Snapchat has some new hardware. The company is trying to go one-up on Google Glass with pair of sunglasses that can record short videos to upload to the platform. They look pretty cool, while Google Glass was just creepy.

Radio’s dying because it’s stuck in the past. It can’t seem to find a way to transition to mobile the way that the music and television industries have.

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

September 26, 2016

Apple Music At 17 Million Subscribers After 70 Exclusives

apple music exclusivesRecord labels hate giving exclusives to streaming services, but they appear to be working when it comes to signing up new paid subscribers. During Apple’s latest product rollout, CEO Tim Cook mentioned that Apple Music was now at 17 million subscribers thanks to over 70 exclusives with artist like Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean and Drake. The service now appears to be growing at just under a million per month.

While exclusives are great for the streaming networks, the rest of the music industry isn’t so sure of the benefits. For one thing, there’s a belief that they cause confusion in the marketplace. What happens is that a listener can readily find the new release from a hit artist on one streaming site, but then gets frustrated when she can’t find it on another. Many consumers apparently don’t care or pay attention to the “exclusive” factor, it seems.

For an artist, exclusives are a mixed bag. They make get a modest cash advance for the privilege, but the big carrot is the promotion that goes along with it, especially with Apple Music. That means not only online hype but traditional promotion on billboards, print and television as well.

A big problem that’s only just raising its head is retaliation from other streaming services over an exclusive. Katy Perry is said to have been deleted from all Spotify playlists and refused promotion over her exclusive with Apple Music, which caused her latest single to fall completely off the radar.

As a result, major labels are said to be putting a hold on the practice of offering exclusives from now on, choosing to take their chances with traditional label promotion instead.

Exclusives may become a thing of the past, but for about a year, they were the hottest thing in music industry and streaming music.

September 23, 2016

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/23/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 23rd, 2016. Streaming in the news again, but what else is new. It at the heart of the music industry’s evolution right now

Will “flexible pricing” be in our streaming future? Don’t be surprised to see cheaper pricing tiers at all of the services, not that the barriers have been broken.

Universal and Sony are launching their own streaming service. It’s called NOW Music+, but if history tells us anything, these label collaborations never work out.

One of Spotify’s investors wants it to sell to Facebook. Not that Facebook wants it, but at least Spotify Daniel Ek and Facebook Mark Zuckerberg know each other.

Streaming revenue really grew in the first half of 2016. And this article says that Apple Music was responsible. Maybe so, but Spotify still has more than twice as many users.

Don’t look now, but iHeartRadio may launch it’s own streaming network. Seems like a death wish, since the company is so deep in debt. Could it be a Hail Mary play?

Tidal is in trouble because of subscriber churn. The minute an exclusive is over, the subscriber drops the service. Bad news for Jay-Z.

Does radio have to be live? Radio futurologist says no, and live can even be a hinderance to a station.

A third of all people under 25 now pay for music streaming. This according to the latest study from the IFPI. That’s up 40% over last year.

Frank Ocean is looking for a distribution deal. Apparently he’s a handful to work with, so even though he’s hot, negotiations are slow.

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

September 16, 2016

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/16/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 16th, 2016. There’s a lot of news in the streaming space, but also some interesting news with club music in Australia and the UK charts as well.

Tidal had huge loses last year. It appears that the streaming service is not doing well and burning around $2 mil per month. No wonder Jay-Z is looking for a buyer.

And it has a lot of unpaid bills. Over 100 in fact, including rent, accountants, recording labels, advertising agencies, and just about everything else you can think of. Tidal was never a serious streaming contender, and was only a money play for Jay-Z that looks like it’s not going to turn out well.

Why hasn’t Apple Music introduced hi-res music yet? It seems that the introduction of the iPhone 7 would have been the perfect time, since the transition over to digital earphones is now underway and audio reproduction is a big feature.

Pandora announced a number of licensing deals. With everyone except Warner Music, that is. Even most of the indie labels are now licensed, which leads you to believe that its new service will be launched just about any time now.

Spotify wants to go public, which means a change in service. The streaming leader may get rid of the free tier to make itself look better to the market, which the major labels will love as well.

YouTube told it has to pay more in the EU. The EU is going to reform copyright laws and video sites like YouTube will have to pay more to be in compliance. Very cool.

Is stream-ripping a real thing? It seems like it’s something that the music industry made up so everyone thinks piracy isn’t dead. People just aren’t a serious threat to pirate music from YouTube, not matter what the article says.

Sydney’s lockout laws are causing a dustup. The bars now have to close by 2AM instead of 3:3oAM, but just how much business can you lose at that time of the morning? Then again, those Aussies do like to party.

A change in the UK charts could influence the US as well. Top 40 charts don’t turn over much any more since they reflect streams of songs that are listened to over and over. The UK wants to reward new discovery, which might change how charts are determined.

Ameba Records in Hollywood will not see the wrecking ball. At least not until its lease runs out. Ameba sold its prime real estate on Sunset Blvd last year, so this might not end well, but at least any ending won’t happen in the near future.

That’s the 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 9/9/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 2nd, 2016. Lots of big news this week so lets get into it.

Apple Music now over 17 million subscribers. It still trails Spotify by a lot, but that service has a 5 year head start. The future still looks bright in Apple-land.

Pandora about to offer new low cost service. But it won’t be this week like every thought. The $5 service would make a huge difference to many consumers, but the major labels have to sign off first.

You’ll never guess who had the first exclusive 15 years ago. Believe it or not, it was The Beatles with their Anthology 1 release and it was really effective.

YouTube Red looks like it’s actually beginning to be used. It looks like the service has already turned 3% of users into paid subscribers, which doesn’t sound like much but is a big deal.

Here’s a new one. YouTube demonetization. You better play nice or YouTube is going to penalize you; and this can happen even if you’re one of the platform best performers.

Drake racks up insane listener numbers during the summer. Drake has been the king of Spotify, and he has some wild numbers to back it up. If this is what we have to look forward to in the future, then the music industry should be okay.

If you’re a superstar, you’ll like these “20 ways to release an album.” Yes, there are a lot of strategies when it comes to releases a new album, but most of them only apply if you’re already a superstar. That said, there are some good tips here.

Streaming service Deezer has a new owner. It’s Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, which owns Warner Music. Conflict of interest for a label to own a streaming service?

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]

September 6, 2016

Music Business Guru Dave Kusek On Episode #125 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

Dave KusekI’m happy to have my friend Dave Kusek on this week’s episode of my Inner Circle Podcast.

Dave has been a pioneer in the digital space in many ways, going way back as one of the creators of the Synare (the first electronic drum) and later the first computer sequencer with Passport. Dave was also the creator of Berklee Online, one of the first online education programs in the world, and now teaches music business with his own courses with New Artist Model.

In the intro we’ll take a look at how Spotify is making their own records under fake names, and the big sub-industry of microphones on mobile devices.

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

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 9/2/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of Sept 2nd, 2016. As it happens just about every week, Spotify is in the news again, but there were lots of other great news articles this week as well. Let’s get into it.

Spotify is making its own records. Yes, it’s commissioning releases from different producers especially for its Chill, Dinner and Focus playlists. Unethical? No different than Netflix creating their own shows. Controversial? You bet, since it controls those playlists and will force legit producers off, and the record labels can’t be happy at this development either.

Playlists are a big deal. They’re how many discover new music and this post looks in depth at them.

Katy Perry takes a hit over exclusives. It looks like she’s been blackballed by Spotify because of her Apple Music exclusive. Of course, it could be that her last release wasn’t that great and this is a convenient excuse.

Is Bandcamp the best online music store? This New York Times article says it is, but from who’s perspective – the company, the investors or the artists?

A look at how much Frank Ocean with make. Here’s some great insight into what a hit artist can make today and the multiple revenue streams it takes to make it. It might be more than you think, or less, depending on how you look at the industry.

Do you know what the “Millennial Whoop” is? It’s the same exact whooping, melodic sequence that’s been showing up in a surprisingly high number of recent pop songs, and this article takes a close look at it.

The VMA’s were down 34% this year. MTV’s Video Music Awards once were a must watch show for not only the United States, but the rest of the world as well. Not so today and viewership is plummeting. The show really took a big hit this year despite a lot of pre-show hype.

Want an example of a hit DIY artist? Look to Jonathan Coulton. A good overview of a geek programmer who left his job to explore his musical passion. The move worked out well, yet so very under the radar.

What blockchain for music really means. Many believe that blockchain technology will be the savior of the music business, making everyone pay for music again. This blockchain expert explains why that could, or could not happen.

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

Spotify Appears To Be Punishing Artists

Spotify punishing artistsTalk about a sore loser, it looks like Spotify is punishing artists who do exclusives with Apple Music. According to an article in Bloomberg, the service is manipulating search results so that those who provided Apple Music with an exclusive on a new release don’t appear in the top ranks of searches after their music becomes available when the exclusive is over.

Spotify has also warned artists who provide Apple Music with an exclusive that they will no longer be included on its playlists. Spotify playlists have become a very important promotional tool, so any exclusion could hurt a song or album’s popularity on the platform.

A Spotify spokesperson has denied the allegations, which appear from have come from inside the company.

The fact of the matter is that Apple Music is using these exclusives in order to catch up with its rival. Spotify now claims to have 39 million paid subscribers while Apple Music sits at 15 million, so the company is using the artist exclusives to help close the gap. Whether that’s actually working or not is yet to be seen, since we’ve not seen subscriber numbers from Apple for a while, at least before the exclusive wars got into full swing.

Of course, it’s easier for Apple to get artists to provide an exclusive on a new release because of the company’s deep pockets for an advance, and widespread television and social advertising and promotion, something that Spotify or most other streaming companies can’t easily match.

Will it be worth it? Many in the industry actually feel that exclusives hurt everyone involved since the consumer isn’t able to get the music when she wants it on the platform she wants to use while the album is hot. My guess is that we’ll see exclusives die down in 2017 after Apple reaches subscriber parity with Spotify, or something close to it. Until then, Spotify will probably continue punishing artists who bow to Apple’s advances.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 8/25/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the week of August 25th, 2016. It’s a little more diverse this week, but there are a few blockbuster topics (Spotify never fails to excite). Let’s get into it.

Spotify’s label deals are now out of contract. The company is going month to month, and trying to negotiate a lower royalty rate, meaning that it wants to pay even less to artists and labels. Spotify already has a “soft” deal, but the labels are now pushing for something better. Not a good strategy for Spotify when its IPO is looming, in my opinion.

London’s looking for a “night czar.” The city is looking for a person to help rebuild it’s fading nightlife. It pays about $46,000 for 2 1/2 days work per week. This is a government gig, but there’s probably not a lot of power to change much, as the reason why clubs are dying has more to do with finances than regulation.

A former Apple Music exec defends exclusives. This is a hot topic, as some say it’s really hurting the music business while others think it’s saving it. Sean Glass makes some good points about why it’s a positive.

AM radio doesn’t seem to have much future. This radio consultant sees there’s a need for it and a few stations are thriving, but more and more AM stations are closing all over the world and the trend will probably continue.

Samsung’s free Milk Music service will close in September. It seemed like a good idea in 2014 when it was launched, but never caught on with Galaxy users. The company is urging users to switch to Slacker instead.

Forbes highest paid DJs. EDM has peaked, especially in the US, but the top DJs are still raking it in.

Tencent is the biggest company in China, and wants to be everywhere else too. The digital entertainment company has the financial backing of the Chinese government, and content deals with all the big players in the world.

Want to invest in music, there’s a fund for that. 10 years ago everyone wanted to be in the recorded music business, now it’s touring and and merch, which is booming. This investment fund specializes in that area.

Is sleep a musical genre? It is to some people that specialize in sleep music creation and sleep enhancement products. Don’t be surprised to start seeing this show up in playlists.

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