Friday, March 20, 2015

Jay-Z’s Radical Idea Is Out To Upend The Streaming Music Business

Jay-Z image
Rapper and business mogul Jay-Z has an old idea that he’d like to try out on the new music business.

Prior to the official announcement of his acquisition of the Swedish streaming music service Aspiro, the magnate held a giant pow-wow with some of the movers and shakers of the music business during Grammy week in February.

According to a post on Showbiz 411, guests at the meeting were literally a who’s who of music creators, including Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Nikki Minaj, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Jack White, Beyonce, two unnamed country music stars and about 20 other non-musicians ranging from attorneys to music execs. 

The reported reason behind the meeting was to gather information about how Jay-Z could turn his upcoming streaming network into something along the lines of the old United Artists film studio, where the artists themselves had control of the business and reaped more of the rewards than in the current mostly-corporately owned system.

Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter)‘s company Project Panther Bidco Ltd complete its purchase of Aspire on March 13th. The company owns the WiMP and TIDAL streaming networks, one of the few services to currently provide CD quality streaming. The network is small with only 512,000 paying subscribers with only about 20,000 of those subscribed to the high-def tier. Upon relaunch the network will be renamed TIDALHiFi

The purchase seems like a good one from Jay-Z’s perspective. Paying only about $56 million for a service that already has infrastructure and subscribers seems like a steal compared with the estimated $300 million that Apple paid for the Beats Music service as part of last year’s $3 billion Beats acquisition. Still there’s plenty of challenges, with services like Pandora and Spotify already with a huge head start and deep pocket competitors like Apple (with its new service built around the Beats Music infrastructure) and Google (with its YouTube Music Key) set to relaunch later in the year. Read more on Forbes.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Generation Gap In Music Streaming

Generation Gap image
It's been said that statistics can be presented to reach any conclusion that you want and that's true to some degree. While a chart or graph might show one thing, it may overlook or ignore the real reason the result is happening.

Take for instance this infographic from Statista that shows the generation gap of the users of streaming music. The information comes from Edison Research's annual survey called The Infinite Dial and shows that Baby Boomers are way behind the curve when it comes to streaming adoption, as opposed to 12 to 24 year olds.

What the chart doesn't take into account is that 12 to 24 is the prime age for music consumption. 25 to 54 is when people are starting families and working and therefore have less time for music in general, while people ages 55+ typically consume far less music in general because of other interests.

The point is if you look at any area of music consumption, you'll find the same general breakdown.

A couple of things about this chart that are interesting though:

1. All age groups use Pandora much more than than the on-demand Spotify service.

2. More people use iTunes Radio than generally believed.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Facebook's 5 New Community Policies That Could Affect An Artist's Post

Facebook Community Standards image
Facebook just outlined 5 new community posting policies that could have at least some affect on what artists and bands post. In a new very detailed Community Standards document, the network fully explains what it means when it says things like "no nudity" and "no hate speech."

So what are the 5 new policies? Take a look:
  • Nudity: Facebook will now remove posts that show fully exposed buttocks and photos of female breasts if the nipple is included, among other things. With music videos and promotional campaigns being ever more sexually suggestive, this could put a damper on posts that worked before.
  • Violence or Graphic Content: Images that celebrate or glorify violence will now be removed. This could affect several genres of music with images that revolve around violence.
  • Hate Speech: Posts that attack someone's race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, or disability or disease will be removed. No more using any of this for shock value on FB.
  • Bullying and harassment: What's interesting here is that FB makes a distinction between those that have gained news attention or public interest and those that haven't. If you're a public figure, it's not bullying. If you're a private individual it is.
  • Self-harm: This includes anything that depicts suicide or self-injury.
Some of this is about old-fashioned good taste, but that never stopped an artist or band from trying to use the shock value of an image for promotional value. The only problem is that on Facebook, it will no longer work.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Oscar Effect On Music

The Oscars image
Television appearances for music artists don't have an affect on music sales like they once did with one exception - the Oscar telecast.

Nielsen Research has found that the "Oscar effect" is real when it comes to music nominated or featured on the broadcast, and can still provide significant impact on sales, streaming and social media immediately following the telecast. That momentum can even sustain for as much as a full week afterwards.

Here's what the company found a full week after the most recent broadcast (in % of increased activity):

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” - Glen Campbell
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +50.36%
On-demand Streaming - +71.36%
Facebook Likes - +8.70%
Wiki page views - +420.21%

“Lost Stars” - Adam Levine
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +3.08%
Streaming - +48.09%
FB Likes - +4.98%
Wiki page views - +74.97%

“Grateful” - Rita Ora
Streaming - +85.76%
Wiki page views - +92.86%

“Glory” - Common/John Legend
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +141.77%
Streaming - +209.09%

“Everything Is Awesome!”- Tegan & Sara
Digital Tracks + Stream Equivalents Sales - +34.72%
Streaming - +21.79%

Lady Gaga (Overall) 
Digital Track Sales - +31.4%
Wiki page views - +167.7%
Facebook Likes - 3300%!!
Twitter Followers - 28%

What's more, there was a huge uptick in consumption of nominees for Best Original Song:

   *  I’m Not Gonna Miss You/Glen Campbell - +2177.8%
   *  Grateful/Rita Ora - +909.99%
   *  Glory/John Legend & Common - +564.14%
   *  Everything Is Awesome/Tegan & Sara - +135.15%
   *  Lost Stars/Maroon 5 - +90.22%

So it looks like the new way to increase your sales is to be tied to a hit movie. Wait, that's something that's never really changed, it's just more important now than ever.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Samsung Milk Music Streaming Service Now On The Web

Samsung Milk Music image
Samsung's Milk Music service has been a distant also-ran in the streaming market, so the company took a step to alter that perception recently by letting users access it via the web. Until now, it was only available via Samsung smart phones, tablets and TVs.

It's now available to anyone who creates an account at

Milk Music features 200 curated stations, and lets you customize them by favoriting artists and fine tuning the songs you want to hear by their popularity or timeliness.

You can also create your own station, as an interactive radio function allows you to select and customize what you want to hear.

Samsung didn't create Milk Music from the ground up, as it wisely partnered with Slacker for its content. As a result, the catalog is pretty wide at 13 million songs, and includes music from artists including The Beatles, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.

Still, it's doubtful that just making the service available online will boost its attractiveness much, although it is free. A premium version at $3.99 allows you to listen to music ad-free, skip as many songs as you want, and play music on your mobile device without being online.

Somehow I don't think that Spotify or Pandora are shaking in their boots over this though. Let's see how long the service keeps going before they shut it down.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pandora Tries To Add Value For Artists

Pandora app on phone image
Stung with ongoing complaints of low royalties from artists across the success spectrum, Pandora has instituted a new feature to presumably add value to their being on the service. 

The feature is called “Artist Audio Messaging” and it will allow artists to submit short recordings regarding tour schedules or new music, then have them added to playlists based on their music.

Pandora has signed 10 artists for the pilot program utilizing the feature that will soon include Lenny Kravitz and Fall Out Boy.

While artists, labels and managers may like the feature, fans don’t seem all that thrilled with the prospect, as the comments so far are more in the camp of "wanting to listen to music with the least amount of interruptions possible," even if it is from a favorite artist.

Pandora knows its fighting a battle that it will eventually lose to on-demand services like Spotify, so its strategy is to get artists on its side. By giving them some added value besides having their music on the service, it could keep the it viable long enough to be bought by a larger entity, or so the idea goes. Unfortunately, this first effort hasn't gotten off the start it anticipated.

You should follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business, Twitter and Facebook for daily news and updates on production and the music business.


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