Tag Archives for " streaming music "

IFPI Numbers Show How The Music Industry Is Getting Healthy Again

IFPI music industry healthyThe annual IFPI revue of the music business confirms what all the other studies have shown – that music is truly on the comeback trail. After years of doom and gloom, the industry has seen its first double-digit rise in revenues in nearly 20 years, all thanks to streaming. The skeptics said it would never happen, but the numbers don’t lie, as a billion dollar increase in income shows that the format replacement cycle has finally has finally taken hold.

The IFPI found that there were 112 million paying streaming subscribers, which is a little higher than most other studies have found. The predictions were that once the industry got to 100 million subscribers then the pain from the death of the CD would be lifted, and the prediction proved to be true. The fact of the matter is that this 112 million figure should be just the tip of the iceberg, as there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

One of the things that industry analyst Mark Mulligan cited was the growth of streaming in South America. When the CD was king, most of the consumer’s money went into purchasing a player, then the user bought mostly inexpensive bootlegs CDs, which meant no money returning to the artist, label, songwriter and publisher. Streaming changes the whole equation though, since most people already own a smartphone, so subscribing to a free or paid tier is more affordable. The same is happening in other parts of the world as well. Chalk that up as a win for increased revenue and royalties. It also shows why that 112 million figure is just a drop in the bucket.

Just to put this all in perspective though, streaming numbers will have to increase in a big way, as the CD revenue is about to collapse in the both Germany and Japan. Of course, it’s still a big business in the U.S. at a little less than a billion dollars a year, but expect that number to fall off a cliff soon too, maybe even in 2017.

There are still a lot of inequities when it comes to streaming royalties, beginning with the way they’re currently calculated by the streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to the minimal payments from YouTube, but strides are being made in both areas that can change the dynamic soon. Word is that 2017 has started off a little flat on the revenue side of things, but barring some unforeseen catastrophe, 2017 will end up being another good year for both streaming and the music industry.

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

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!

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.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 3/10/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of March 10th, 2017. Nothing major, but a lot of interesting business tidbits this week. Let’s get into it.

Streaming music is a bad business according to this article. It is if that’s the only product you have. As I’ve explained before, it’s a loss-leader for Apple, Amazon and Google.

But the music business is a model for non-music businesses. Which means, learn by our mistakes.

Spotify is quietly A/B testing the pricing for a high-resolution tier. It’s called Spotify Hifi, and it will be either $5 or $10 more than the normal paid subscription.

And Spotify has hit 50 million paid subscribers. That said, it’s beginning to look like the streaming business is slowing down. Time to lower the price? That will give it the kick it needs.

Ed Sheeran is dominating Spotify. He breaks a single day record for streams with his new album, then tops a billion views on YouTube.

Nirvana’s Nevermind is still on the charts 350 weeks later. It has a way to go to top Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon ( 741 weeks), but that’s still pretty impressive.

Another indie artist goes #1. Move over Chance the Rapper, Stormzy hit the top of the charts in the UK.

Indie artists should not skip streaming. CD Baby’s CEO gives some pretty interesting numbers that just backs up what we all know – the music industry is quickly become all about the stream.

Songwriters are pushing hard for increased royalties from interactive streaming. It’s currently a pittance of a pittance, and they deserve more.

New York City is the center of the music universe. More ticket sales there than anywhere else, and it even has twice as many digital music startups than Silicon Valley or Los Angeles.

Iron Maiden is beating the scalpers. They’ve managed to bypass 3 of the top secondary ticket sellers in the UK. Quite an achievement!

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

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 2/3/17

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!

If You Want To Reach Music Fans, Go To Instagram

Instagram logoNielsen has just completed a study analyzing the habits and lifestyles of U.S. music listeners on Instagram, and the results show that if you want want to reach music lovers, that’s one of the best platforms to use for promotion.

What was determined? First of all, Instagram users are huge music fans, and show it with their wallets. They spend 42% more money on music and listen 30% more than the general population. In fact, the typical Instagram user spends a surprising $269 per year on music.

What do they listen to? 41% listen to pop/Top 40, 39% to rap and hip-hop, 33% to R&B, 30% to rock, 23% to country, and 13% to EDM.

When it comes to music consumption, a whopping 90% of Instagram users stream music, and they’re more than twice as likely to pay for it too. And where do they get it from? 49% get it from YouTube, 44% from Pandora (a surprise), and only 29% from Spotify. They are also 3 times more likely to use Soundcloud or Apple Music.

Instagram users are also frequent live events like concerts and clubs, and are especially drawn to a club with a DJ. What’s more, during live music event, Instagram is the #1 platform and is used 83% more for sharing with concertgoers, artists and fans than any other platforms. They’re also more likely to use smartphones for activities than the general population. This includes purchasing music that they hear at a concert, visiting a performer’s website or social presence, calling friends to let them hear the concert, or sharing videos of the event.

For sure, Instagram shouldn’t be the only social platform in your promotional arsenal, and you certainly can’t ignore the others even if most of your fans live here. That said, the study shows is that the platform can be very important for reaching either your current fans, or potential ones.

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