The headline out of RIAA’s latest data on the music ecosystem is clear (and to anyone who’s ever had to separate teenagers and their earbuds, no great surprise) — the streaming economy continues to accelerate, strengthen, and mature. Everywhere you look, our industry’s embrace of new technologies approaches, and platforms is paying off for artists, fans, and everyone who loves great music.
Music revenues grew 18%, to $5.4 billion in the first half of 2019. Paid streaming services added more than 1 million new subscriptions a month, taking us past 60 million total paid subscriptions. Thanks to that breakneck growth, plus continued modest drops in digital downloads and new physical sales, streaming now generates 80% of music business revenues and has fundamentally reshaped how fans find, share, and listen to the songs and artists they love.
What would happen if the major music services operated more like Netflix – offering not every artist you can think of, but bidding among themselves for the biggest ones? ByTIM INGHAM
The modern music business is suffering from a crisis of uniformity — and it’s absolutely fine with it. Scan across streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, and YouTube Music, and you’ll find almost exactly the same 50 million songs, presented via similar playlists, similar user interfaces, and similar in-app tool sets. The three major record companies, harborers of colossal market power, like it this way: They are now jointly generating close to $1 million every hour from streaming platforms.
Yet in any industry where innovation is frustrated, resulting in a homogenous product mix, two things are guaranteed: (1) Surviving services will pinch ideas from one another, rendering the leading players ever more indistinguishable; and (2) A low price threshold will eventually become the defining factor in the marketplace.
As for which streaming services are getting use, YouTube leads with a 30% share of weekly music listening, according to the study, followed by Spotify at 24% and Pandora at 17%. Apple and Amazon’s music services each account for 6%. Even though those both have seen strong subscriber growth, MusicWatch found Spotify listeners spend much more time on the platform, driving its higher share of listenership.
IHeartMedia Inc., the biggest U.S. radio-station owner, filed for bankruptcy with a plan to halve its debt load of more than $20 billion, the legacy of a leveraged buyout that hobbled the company as the digital era spawned new rivals.
IHeart, with about 850 radio stations and 17,000 employees worldwide, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Wednesday in Houston, a move that allows iHeart to keep operating while it tries to cement its turnaround plan. The deal still needs approval from the court and some holdout creditors, and the company could hear again from John Malone’s Liberty Media LLC, which has said it wants a stake in the reorganized media giant.
“Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia’s position as America’s #1 audio company,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Pittman said in a statement. Read More
What the click wheel taught us about listening to music “W ow,” a man said to me recently on the subway, “I haven’t seen one of those things in years.” He gestured toward the scuffed-yet-still-sleek, aluminum-colored rectangle in my hand - a 160GB sixth generation iPod Classic. I blinked for a moment.
“It speaks volumes about the rapid evolution of Universal Music Group that a technology leader of Ty Roberts’s stature is joining our team,” Nash said. “I have followed Ty’s career with great admiration for over two decades and could not be more excited to have him bring his track-record of trailblazing innovation and transformative vision about the power of data to UMG at this critical juncture.”
Starbucks this morning announced the overall of its mobile application, now used by 17 million people, in an effort to create a more personalized experience for its customers. The changes rolled out alongside an overhaul of the company’s popular customer loyalty program, Starbucks Rewards, which is now doling out stars based on dollars spent in stores, rather than how often customers make purchases.
Subscription streaming services pumped up the recorded-music industry’s revenue last year, but music consumption on free, legal sites grew faster, threatening the industry’s future growth, according to an industry report.
Apple’s entry into the market isn’t the signal that the world is ready for streaming music; it’s proof that the transition has already begun…
There was a moment in the mid-2000s when it seemed like we might be collecting songs, one-by-one, into eternity. Internet connections were getting faster, hard drives stored more data in tinier spaces, songs were easier than ever to find and available for little or no money. Every year, the new version of Apple’s iPod, first introduced in 2001 with a now-adorable 5GB of storage space, held thousands upon thousands more songs. It was easy to imagine this trend approaching a music lover’s fantasy: a day in the future when we’d be able to carry songs in our pockets, at full fidelity, by the millions. READ MORE