Taylor Swift’s Album Debuts on CD, Not Streaming Services

Taylor Swift is releasing her sixth album, “Reputation,” on CD, rather than any streaming service, say sources, who suggest that the streaming “blackout” could last one or two weeks. Swift and her label Big Machine Records have declined to be more specific, but an initial streaming blackout would be in line with Swift’s last album, “1989,” which when it was released in 2014 took seven months to reach streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music and others. Now, “1989” streaming sales dominate over downloads and CDs. Continue reading Taylor Swift’s Album Debuts on CD, Not Streaming Services

Streaming Music Surpasses Digital Downloads for First Time

According to Nielsen, streaming officially became the primary means of consuming music in the U.S. during 2016. “Overall on-demand audio streams surpassed 251 billion in 2016 — a 76 percent increase that accounts for 38 percent of the entire music consumption market,” reports Pitchfork. For the first time, on-demand audio streaming has surpassed sales of digital albums + digital track equivalents. An average day saw 1.2 billion streams, compared to a total of 734 million downloads for the entire year. Rock is the most popular genre, representing 29 percent of consumption (but only 20 percent of streaming), while hip-hop and R&B make up 22 percent of total consumption (but an industry-leading 28 percent of streaming).

Continue reading Streaming Music Surpasses Digital Downloads for First Time

Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Spotify is readying an initial public offer next year, pressured by its most recent financing. Private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group and Goldman Sachs are part of a group that issued $1 billion in convertible debt, which carries an interest rate that increases until Spotify’s IPO. Investors also get a discount on shares if they convert debt into equity — 20 percent now, but increasing if Spotify delays the IPO. One problem prevents Spotify from doing so: long-term rights for the music it plays. Continue reading Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Apple is in “exploratory talks” to purchase Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, according to insiders. Apple is said to be interested in augmenting its Apple Music service with top artists associated with Tidal including Madonna and Kanye West. Tidal landed a number of high profile exclusive releases this year from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé. It is also the only streaming service to feature the catalog of the late pop star Prince. Tidal says it presently has 4.2 million subscribers who pay $20 per month for the high-fidelity version of the service or $10 per month for the standard-quality version. Continue reading Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Berlin-based SoundCloud, which began signing licensing deals with major and indie record labels in 2014, just debuted its new subscription plan. The online music service’s 175 million regular users will now have the option of the free version, which features 100 million songs, or the $10/month subscription version, SoundCloud Go, which offers 125 million ad-free songs, and lets users save songs to their phones. In 2014, SoundCloud posted $19.5 million in revenue, but a net loss of almost $44 million. Continue reading SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

BuzzFeed, already a top Facebook video contributor with four different brands, launched another one in October: Top Knot, which focuses on beauty and fashion. The Top Knot Facebook page already has nearly 1 million fans and has logged almost 200 million views in two months, with a handful of clips generating up to 7 million views each. BuzzFeed and NBCU, which invested $200 million in the company, are looking into ways to collaborate, in addition to an announced plan to jointly cover the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

Adele’s Latest Album Breaks Sales Records Without Streaming

With her latest album, “25,” Adele has erased any doubt about her preeminent position in the music world. The new album, which showcases her signature torch songs and ballads, had a record-breaking first week of sales — $3.38 million in the U.S. — despite the fact that Adele withholds her music from streaming sites and largely eschews a social media presence (although she did appear on “Saturday Night Live” and promotions for Target). Adele’s previous album, “21,” sold 30 million copies worldwide. Continue reading Adele’s Latest Album Breaks Sales Records Without Streaming

Adele’s New Album to Launch Today, But Not for Streaming

Adele’s long-awaited new album “25,” her first in nearly five years, is scheduled for release today, but will not be made available via top streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Less than one day before the album’s launch, major music services were reportedly informed that the singer’s new songs would not be made available for streaming. With the music industry in flux, especially in regards to distribution platforms, most artists need to accept the royalty payments and terms of service related to streaming offerings. However, top acts such as Adele, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift may have the power to set their own terms. Continue reading Adele’s New Album to Launch Today, But Not for Streaming

SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

SoundCloud, which has mixed music and community for eight years, now boasts 150 million registered users who have uploaded over 100 million tracks and clips. Such artists as Prince, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé and Drake have used the platform to release special tracks, remixes and promos. But as SoundCloud transitions from a free service with unlicensed content to one that licenses content and shares revenue, it teeters between two different creative models and the potential of a major breakthrough or bust. Continue reading SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

YouTube to Block Artists Who Don’t Sign Up for New Service

Content from indie artists could disappear from Google’s YouTube “in a matter of days.” As YouTube prepares to launch its ad-free streaming music service, it also plans to block videos from independent labels and artists that choose not to sign up for the new subscription offering. While YouTube has signed licensing deals with the major labels, it says it will block others from using its entire platform if they do not agree to terms of the upcoming premium service. Continue reading YouTube to Block Artists Who Don’t Sign Up for New Service

Why Buy Albums When You Can Get the Songs for Free?

Sites like Pandora and Spotify have made a significant impact on the music industry with their free streaming music services. Now, these sites may be influencing how well artists do in regards to their album sales. Justin Timberlake, for example, released his new album “The 20/20 Experience” to Spotify, which resulted in 980,000 copies being sold within the first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Continue reading Why Buy Albums When You Can Get the Songs for Free?

NPR Music Hits a High Note with Eclectic Music Programs

Public radio broadcaster NPR, which is primarily known for its news and interview programs, has been making a name for itself in the music world. NPR is expanding its horizons with its fifth year of NPR Music, which includes online streaming and podcasts. With a variety of programs like “Tiny Desk Concert” and “All Songs Considered,” the station is providing unique opportunities for lesser known artists and established acts. Continue reading NPR Music Hits a High Note with Eclectic Music Programs