Tag Archives for " streaming "

Tidal Releases Some Year End Numbers, But Not The Right Ones

tidalOut of all the music streaming networks, Tidal seems to get more than its fair share of publicity. No doubt that’s because it’s owned by a music celebrity (Jay-Z), but for a relatively small player in the streaming game, Tidal manages to punch above its weight. The company recently released some interesting numbers that covered everything except what matters most, and that’s paid subscribers.

For instance, the company says it has produced 39 live streams of concerts and festivals, given away over 180,000 tickets to subscribers for more than 100 events, hosted more than 45 music videos and 90 behind-the-scenes videos, and offered more than 150 playlists created by artists, athletes and celebrities throughout the year.

It also reported 32 exclusive albums released on the platform in 2016, including releases of Rihanna’s Anti, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. It made a big deal out of the fact that it was the only place to stream 15 Prince albums, only to discover down the road that, according to the Prince estate, it had no right to do so.

These are all nice numbers, but there’s no mention of the number of subscribers. It’s been estimated that Tidal has around 3 million paid subscribers, which while is not in the same league as Spotify and Apple Music, is still respectable. That said, it’s also been reported that Tidal has more subscriber churn than other services, with many users signing up for an exclusive, then dropping it after the exclusive has run out.

The company has also faced a significant brain drain, changing high-level execs regularly, and appears to be in a money crunch, which is why Jay-Z has been openly looking for a buyer for some time. That’s less and less likely to happen, since there’s not that much that another service would get for the acquisition. The subscriber numbers aren’t that high, you probably wouldn’t inherit the licenses, and any streaming service in the game already has it’s own infrastructure in place.

With all that in mind, look for Tidal to change significantly during 2017. To be sure, it won’ be the same service this time next year.

5 Marketing Takeaways From Streaming Music

Marketing TakeawaysIf you look closely, streaming is teaching us all some marketing lessons, according to analytics service Next Big Sound (now owned by Pandora), a company that looks at social, streaming and event data as well as the interaction between an artist and a fan. While many look at it as just a way to get their music to the public, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Here’s what the company found.

1. Streaming platforms provide a path to niche audiences

When you’re trying to reach a specific demographic, streaming music platforms coupled with social media channels provide the most direct path. For example, according to the report, “latin artists now account for one-third of the most popular artists on YouTube. Half of the top 20 artists on Pandora are most popular with 25- to 34-year-old women.” Streaming, along with social media, allows you to specifically target the group that you’re interested in reaching.

2. Underground EDM and hip-hop fans are the most engaged

Some of the biggest top 40 artists may have larger followings, but that doesn’t mean they’re the most engaged. Artists like Vinny Cha$e, Marshmello, and Logic haven’t even sniffed radio or the Top 40 but have extremely strong audiences, in some cases more loyal than the superstars.

3. People still listen to older hits

Believe it or not, in America people are is still listening to bands like Nickelback—a lot. On Pandora, legacy rock artists like Journey and the Eagles perform just as well as Katy Perry and Kanye West.

4. Some musical genres resonate more with listeners

If you look to the Top 40 as a barometer for what’s popular, you’d come to a wrong conclusion as you’d probably get the idea that pop or country ruled. On Pandora, 60% of the top artists are hip-hop artists, compared to just 15% on the top 40.

5. Emerging artists can be social influencers too

Once again, it’s easy to think that Beyonce or Katy Perry rule because they seem to dominate the streaming and social networks but that’s not the case. Young electro pop artist Halsey, for instance, has a follower growth on Twitter that outranks the Top 40 artists like Iggy Azalea, Adele, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears.

The bottom line is that we tend to think that the world revolves around music’s 1 percenters, but that’s not the case at all. Maybe in radio and on the Top 40, but not across all streaming networks, which gives hope to indie artists everywhere that are trying to improve their marketing .

December 14, 2016

Neil Young To Turn Pono Into High Resolution Streaming Service

Pono PlayerNeil Young has finally gotten the message about his Pono high-fidelity service, only it’s a couple of years too late. Originally conceived as a download service complete with its own dedicated player, the development took way too long and when it launched potential users had already moved on to streaming instead of buying downloads. Now the artist has announced that the service will convert to streaming, although no other details were given.

This makes sense from the standpoint that the catalog is already licensed, the most difficult part of the equation, and it’s also online, although the format is probably not what will be ultimately streamed.

Of course the big problem here is that the idea of Pono is a service to deliver higher resolution audio than than currently available from the major streaming services. That said, it’s not clear that people will actually pay a premium (approximately double the monthly fee) for something they’re not sure they can hear in the first place. Both Tidal and Deezer offer hi-fi premium tiers already, and that feature hasn’t been a major factor in attracting users or generating revenue for either of those services.

While the world doesn’t need another streaming service, there just may be a niche in the hi-fi area. It’s still unknown whether there are enough people interested to make the service viable though. Then there’s the fact that at some point, the other major streaming players can turn on a hi-fi tier as well (especially Apple, who’s been collecting hi-res audio tracks via its Mastered For iTunes program for about 3 years) at any time. Either way, you have to give Neil Young credit for being passionate about audio enough to take on this gargantuan task.

Pono’s hi-res music store went offline in July. There are no predictions when the new service will be launched.

November 3, 2016

The Chart That Tells The Music Business Story

music businessRarely does one chart say so much about how an industry goes as does this one from Fortune. It’s the revenue generated by the recorded music business over the last 40+ years, and it shows the staggering loses that it suffered with the onset of digital music, as well as how the industry has responded to the incorporation of each new music delivery technology.

As you can see, back in the late 70s the industry was fairly healthy in that vinyl sales where at their highest, supported by the first somewhat portable format (in your car, at least), the 8 track tape.

As we get into the 80s the CD takes over, bolstered at least for a time by cassette sales, and it reaches a peak around 2001. This peak is far beyond what the industry had seen before, or since, by almost a factor of 2. Much of this had to do with the fact that the prices for its products were also the highest they’d ever been.

In around 2007 we see that downloads peak in revenue, but the industry is still mostly supported by CD sales, even though they’re declining at a rapid pace, a reaction by consumers to the high prices.

By the end of 2015 CDs are still selling, but at only a fraction of their previous peak, while streaming is increasing at a rapid rate.

If we were to look at an extended chart at the end of 2016, we’ll see that streaming has an even greater growth than what’s seen here, with the general health of the music business revenue-wise beginning to return.

While it’s unlikely that the industry will see anything like the halcyon days of 1999-2001 again (unless a new hit physical format is created), at least it’s growing again. For the first time in a long time, there’s optimism in the air, although you wouldn’t know it from this chart.

Music Industry Revenue