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RECAP: The Whole Story on the Frank Ocean Apple Music Exclusive, Spotify’s Label Contracts Expire, Closing the Value Gap in Europe

Posted by Glen Sears | August 29, 2016 9:14 am | No Comments

frank-ocean

Story of the Week

What the Frank Ocean Apple Music Exclusive Deal Means for UMG, Artists, and Labels
When Frank Ocean’s latest album ‘Blond’ dropped, it did so like a nuclear bomb, sending shockwaves throughout the music industry. In one of the audacious release strategies of recent years, Ocean and his team at 360 fulfilled the final album contractual commitment to Universal Music by ushering his breaking-the-mold visual album ‘Endless’ onto Apple Music.

But no sooner had Universal executives started daydreaming about Grammys then along came what turned out to be the ‘actual’ album ‘Blonde’, self released by Ocean (Universal contractual commitments now of course conveniently fulfilled) and, for now at least, exclusively available on Apple Music. Universal boss Lucian Grainge then reportedly sent a memo to the entire company outlawing exclusive deals with streaming services.

Sean Glass – a former Apple Music employee – wrote: “Contrary to what you read, there’s no scary Apple board room conspiracy where corporate is plotting to take over creativity via artist exclusives. There’s one guy who is behind ALL of these campaigns — and he is light years ahead of everyone else. He works intimately with each artist as a creative peer, and develops an amazing plan, this is no simple land grab. He works closer with the artists than labels do.”

That ‘one guy’ is very likely Larry Jackson – a Jimmy Iovine protege, who is tasked with striking artist relationships that result in exclusive deals for Apple.

Mark Mulligan of MiDiA Reseach claims, “Streaming exclusives (and indeed label services deals) work best when an artist has already established a brand and an audience. Most often that means after an artist has had a record label recording career. Apple cannot be relied upon to build anything more than a handful of artist brands.”

“Labels still account for the vast, vast, vast majority of music listening. Make no mistake, a momentous value chain shift is taking place, with more power and autonomy shifting to the creators, but that is a long journey and ‘Blond’ is but one part of this much bigger shift.”

Read the entire story on Music Business Worldwide & MiDiA Music Industry Blog.

Top Music News Stories

Spotify Is Out Of Contract With All Three Major Labels – And Wants To Pay Them Less. Spotify continues to be licensed by all three majors on a rolling month-by-month basis, and the possibility of UMG, Sony or Warner catalogues being pulled is widely regarded as out of the question.

Should We Believe All The Negative Hype Surrounding New DOJ Rules On PROs? Dave Brooks of Amplify offers an alternative perspective on the recent Department of Justice ruling, suggesting that the rules may in fact help rather than harm venues and event producers.

European Commission Seeks Solutions for YouTube Value Gap. Plans for user-generated platforms like YouTube and DailyMotion to require licenses or sign-up to revenue sharing deals with rights holders are reportedly being considered by the European Commission.

Playlists Dominate Listening For Most Music Streamers. Streaming music users love playlists and use them to drive their music consumption, according to a new survey and infographic just released by the analysts at Music Watch.

Amazon’s Echo-Only Music Streaming Service Again Rumored. The service will cost half of the now-standard $10-per-month that Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal (minus hi-res) and Amazon’s own rumored, full-feature service will cost.

Soundcloud Logs 175 Million Monthly Listeners To Massive 135 Million Track Catalog. New Soundcloud stats show just how big its footprint is, both in terms of listenership and the size of its music catalog — but most of their listeners are free and monetizing them, along with making such a massive catalog user-friendly, presents a challenge.

The Coming Arms Race In Online Music: Artist Services. Digital music industry veteran Tim Quirk examines the coming arms race in the music industry, with online music services competing to offer artists programs and features which enable them to generate revenue beyond just streaming royalties.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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