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I’m sure you’ve heard the news. A few days ago at WWDC in San Francisco, Apple finally announced a streaming service that might actually be a competitor. After years of research, posturing, acquisitions, and rumors, the Cupertino tech leader will launch Apple Music.

Continue reading “Apple’s Streaming Service Finally Unveiled, Promptly Under Investigation”

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Episode 3, “What’s a Mixtape Anyway?” is now live!

On this episode we look at the economy of the mixtape in hip-hop.  The mixtape has been a staple in the hip hop world since the dawn of breakbeats — but how has it’s role in the music ecosystem changed since those early days?  To figure it out, we take a look back at how the mixtape was born and what it has evolved into. Alyse Howard of The Urban Coin brings us a special report on how Nipsey Hussle and the Wu-Tang Clan and have used artificial scarcity to create demand and drive pricing.  And Larry Miller chats with Billboard Senior Editor Gail Mitchell about what it means to release a mixtape in today’s music economy.

Continue reading “What’s a Mixtape Anyway?”

Daniel Ek, C.E.O. of Spotify — photo credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Tech website The Verge last week leaked a 41-page licensing agreement from 2011 between Sony and Spotify that shed light on some of the ways that Sony keeps their Spotify revenue growing, and some of their strategies have been met with a less-than-cordial reception by a number of artists and the International Music Managers Forum. But that was just the start to what’s turning out to be a bad week for the the second-largest record company in the world.
Continue reading “SoundCloud Strategy & Leaked Licensing Contract is a PR Problem for Sony, Spotify”

Next Big Sound offices

Yesterday Pandora announced the acquisition of Next Big Sound (NBS), a company that specializes in monitoring the popularity of music on social media and the internet at large. It’s a big move for Pandora, as they follow suit with Apple and Spotify, who both acquired similar companies last year.

For anyone watching the music analytics space and here at Musonomics, this is a big deal.  What does this mean for Pandora? Data, and improved music recommendations for Pandora’s 79 million users. Information is invaluable to streaming services and what started as a side project for founder Alex White and his partners while they were at Northwestern has quickly turned into one of the industry leaders in music analytics.  More important is what it might mean for NBS’s many clients throughout the music industry. Although a Pandora representative said that there would be “no immediate changes” in how NBS works with its existing clients, after Spotify acquired the Echo Nest last year, Rdio and many other EchoNest clients who compete with Spotify immediately dropped the Echo Nest from their roster of data providers.

The biggest surprise of all is who the buyer wasn’t — Nielsen, a company that has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on US music sales data since its acquisition of SoundScan, and has been growing its arsenal of complementary data services on music sales and downloads, radio listening and music broadcast on radio.

In his New York Times story on the acquisition of NBS, Ben Sisario mentioned Pandora’s frosty relationship with the music industry over the rates it pays for music.  It is unclear how NBS will help on that front.  But it won’t hurt.

grooveshark

Grooveshark, the Florida-based illegal music streaming site, was officially shuttered in April following a lengthy litigation process resulting in a federal court ruling against them for massive, willful copyright infringement. As part of their settlement with the major labels, Grooveshark agreed to cease operations, wipe clean all of the record companies’ copyrighted works, and hand over ownership of the Grooveshark.com domain, mobile app and intellectual property, including all patents and copyrights. It was a terminal blow for Grooveshark.com, but since that site came down a number of clones have popped up across the web

Continue reading “Grooveshark Just Won’t Die”

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Spotify is one of the biggest names in streaming, but that doesn’t mean it’s profitable. In fact, it could be a while before that happens. In a new article on  the fantastic MusicBusinessWorldwide.com (MBW), Tim Ingram lays out three ways that Spotify can make that transition into profitability; pay less in royalties, watch the pennies very closely, and/or make the free-tier pay. All of those are, of course, tougher than they sound.

Continue reading “Spotify’s Road To Profitability”

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We’re back with another installment of Musonomics!

In our second episode we take a look at Tidal, Jay-Z’s newest headline grabber, and the state of the industry segment that Tidal is trying to conquer. Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy talks about how we’ll get to a $100 billion music business. Larry Rosin of Edison Research explains how music streaming consumption is actually evolving. And we learn about the music licensing value gap with YouTube from Alex Jacobs of the IFPI.

Listen on iTunes or Soundcloud.
Continue reading “Hello, Tidal! The Escalation of the Streaming Wars and the $100 Billion Music Business”

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A new Morgan Stanley assessment of Pandora paints a bleak picture of the company’s future. By 2017, rising royalty costs and plummeting stock prices could force Pandora to seek “up to $350 million” in financing. Pandora might never become profitable, let alone make it to 2021.

What could that mean for other streaming platforms? Interestingly, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swineburn posits that a Pandora disappearance could signal an uptick in paid streaming subscribers:

“…if not for Pandora, some material percentage of its 80 million active listeners would pay $10 per month for subscription services…”

via DigitalMusicNews

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The numbers are in from last weekend’s festival of vinyl and a familiar vinyl champion is at the top of the charts. The White Stripe’s “Get Behind Me Satan” took the crown as RSD 2015’s top seller. Metallica’s cassette tape — yes, cassette tape —  “No Life Til Leather” took second place. Check out the whole chart of top sellers below.

Overall, numbers for Record Store Day 2015 showed a 24.3% increase in Album Sales and 97.2% increase in Singles Sales. Vinyl sales went up over 1,500% from 2014.
Continue reading “The Record Store Day Numbers Are In”