Music News Recap: Music’s Role in Digital Content Shrinking, FCC Announces Audits, RIAA Wins Piracy Case
Posted by Glen Sears | February 29, 2016 10:11 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
The Role of Music in Digital Content is Small And Shrinking
At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, MiDiA Research’s Mark Mulligan focused on digital music and its relation to mobile apps and sources like video in the broader digital content ecosystem. One of the themes of the address was how the streaming music business relies on almost the same model as mobile games like Clash Of Clans—by counting on a very small percentage of the total audience to pay the bills.
The difference of course is the average paying user’s overall contribution. A Clash of Clans “King” user averages $290.41/year while for UMG the annual contribution of a streaming music subscriber is $29.77. Mulligan gives credit to UMG for breaking streaming records, but insists that getting music streaming to scale isn’t enough when only 10% of streaming music users are paying customers.
Yet the most impactful takeaway from the speech is how small digital music’s role is in the broader ecosystem. Digital music (at retail values) will be just 10% of digital content revenue by 2020, down from 16% in 2015. Not only is digital music relatively small, but it will continue to lose market share. Online video, which is at an earlier stage of its development, is already bigger (at retail value) than the entire recorded music business (at trade value), while mobile app revenue is double that of online video.
Music News Recap: Tallying Major & Indie Label Grammy Wins, UMG Releases Financials, VEVO Considers Subscriptions
Posted by Glen Sears | February 22, 2016 10:20 am | No Comments
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Grammy Scoreboard: Tallying the Major & Indie Label Wins
The Grammy scorecard for artists places Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd among the big winners at The Grammy’s — but a look at labels and groups shows a tighter race. Executives at the Universal Music Group and the Warner Music Group are, unofficially, each claiming 34 Grammy wins from their artists and songwriters, while Sony Music privately counts 32 wins. A2IM says its member labels’ artists were awarded 22 times.
On the publishing side, Sony/ATV claimed 31 Grammy winners by its songs and songwriters, including Swift’s 1989, which won album of the year; and “Uptown Funk!,” which won record of the year. At the Warner Music Group, executives there are claiming the wins for 18 of its recording artists and 16 of Warner/Chappell Music’s songwriters. At Universal Music Group, it’s 34 wins.
Finally, the indie label trade group A2IM also called last night a victory — with some of the artists already claimed by Sony and Warner. In indie publishing, Kobalt said its songwriters Max Martin, Shellback, Ryan Tedder worked on Swift’s album of the year, also noting that another of Kobalt’s songwriter/artists, Lionel Richie, was the recipient of a tribute, along with Skrillex taking Best Dance Recording, among other awards.
Pandora Releases Financials, Reportedly Courts Buyers, Apple Passes Spotify Geographically [Music News Recap]
Posted by Glen Sears | February 16, 2016 10:13 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Pandora Releases Financials: Huge Revenue & Losses, $120M to Battle Spotify, May Be Courting Buyers
Music-streaming service Pandora announced its latest financial results last night, revealing revenues of $1.16B in 2015, but a net loss of $169.7M. Pandora is preparing to expand from its current radio-like model to fully on-demand, subscription – including outside the US. CEO Brian McAndrews said that 2016 will primarily be a year of licensing negotiations and product development for Pandora, with its global rollout beginning in earnest in 2017.
“Of the investments we are outlining, $120M of it is earmarked specifically to develop and launch new music services that we believe will accelerate revenue growth in 2017 and beyond,” said CFO Michael Herring.
Interestingly, a New York Times report, published just hours before Pandora released fourth quarter and 2015 earnings, claims the Internet radio company has engaged Morgan Stanley to meet potential buyers. A Pandora representative told Billboard the company “decline[s] to comment on rumor or speculation.”
McAndrews has admitted that intensifying competition is having an effect on Pandora’s listener growth, but the CEO was also bullish about whether any of those rivals are a serious threat. “Over the years, we have seen more than 30 imitators and so-called Pandora-killers. And yet, Pandora has thrived where others have not, becoming the mobile service with the highest engagement across the consumer internet.”
Posted by Glen Sears | February 8, 2016 10:00 am | No Comments
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The Pirate Bay Now Lets You Stream Torrents From Your Browser, Music Streaming Coming
Last week the Torrents-Time browser plug-in turned The Pirate Bay into the world’s biggest video streaming portal. Users now find a “Stream It!” links next to video torrents that can be played in-browser without having to leave the Pirate Bay site.
Torrents Time itself was only released at the beginning of this month by the team behind Popcorn-Time.se — the first major fork of the popular Popcorn Time app. The plugin isn’t just built for The Pirate Bay though — any torrenting site can add support. KickAssTorrents, Videomax, and others have already pledged to add support on their sites for the plugin.
Over the weekend, a spokesperson for Torrents-Time confirmed that in-browser music streaming would be added to its plug-in and major torrent sites “within weeks.” “Our audio functionality is currently undergoing QA procedures,” Torrents-Time’s Fedik Nazar told Hypebot. “We’ll advise when ready, not before we are 100 percent sure of excellent quality, flaw-free operation and no copyrights infringements.”
Music News Recap: Amazon Reportedly Expanding Streaming, SFXE Declares Bankruptcy, Cür Music Launches
Posted by Glen Sears | February 1, 2016 10:06 am | No Comments
Amazon Reportedly Preparing to Launch Standalone Music-Streaming Service
Story of the Week
According to the New York Post (who themselves cite unnamed music industry sources), Amazon is prepping a Spotify-killer. The e-commerce giant has held meetings in the past few weeks to discuss licensing tunes for a full-blown subscription music service that would ape streaming music market leaders Spotify and Apple Music, several sources confirmed.
Amazon already has a music streaming service: Prime Music. The service has launched in the world’s four biggest music markets, and is enjoying moderate success. Yet the service is bundled into Amazon’s Prime membership program, with a small 1.4m-tracks catalogue tuned for mainstream listening. The planned stand-alone music streaming service would come with its own monthly fee. “The music industry wants to see all the tech giants fighting it out to try and really take streaming to the mainstream,” one music industry insider said.
As downloads decline and streaming grows, it may make strategic sense for Amazon to prepare a replacement for its MP3 store – but only if this most data-driven of companies identifies an audience of music fans for whom Prime Music won’t be enough—or of Prime Music users who’d be ripe for an upgrade using their billing relationship with Amazon.
Top Music News Headlines
Cür Music launches to compete with streaming heavyweights. The “hybrid streaming service,” with support from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, intersects internet radio services like Pandora and on-demand services like Spotify.
Spotify Raises Half a Billion — Can It Hold Off Apple Music? Spotify wants to have enough capital for any “consolidation opportunities” that arise, like its 2014 acquisition of The Echo Nest or Seed Scientific in 2015.
Apple’s Free iTunes Radio Has Shut Down. As signaled, Apple’s free ad supported iTunes Radio shut down last week, with the Pandora-like online radio service now only available for Apple Music paid subscribers.
SFX Files For Bankruptcy, Sillerman to Be Replaced as CEO. The company says it will to eliminate “more than $300 million” of its $490 million of debt in part by turning the majority of bondholder debt into equity.
YouTube Wins Latest Round With German Collection Society. The Munich Regional Appeal Court ruled against GEMA, which argued that YouTube is technically a music service and therefore responsible for the infringing content found on its site.
Record Labels Accuse MP3Tunes Founder of Separating from Wife to Hide Assets. “Indeed, the timing is highly suggestive that Robertson may have separated from Burcham for the precise purpose of shielding assets from his creditors.”
Is This The End Of AM Radio? Bobby Owsinski claims that with numerous technological changes taking place, demand for AM radio has been steadily dropping—electric cars like the Tesla Model X or BMW i3 don’t install them since the AM reception is impossible due to the internal electrical noise of the car.
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