Spotify Promotes Potential Growth as It Prepares to Go Public

As Spotify Technology SA prepares to go public, co-founder and chief executive officer Daniel Ek has some convincing to do. Not necessarily about the company’s numbers, which are impressive (70 million paying subscribers, for starters), but about the potential for growth and revenue. On the one hand, with Spotify’s help, the music business has seen three years of global growth after 15 years of decline — but on the other hand, Spotify isn’t making money, having to contend with music-rights holders collecting over 75 cents per dollar.

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Westergren to Step Down as CEO of Music Service Pandora

Pandora co-founder and CEO Tim Westergren plans to step down from his position running the 17-year-old streaming music pioneer. The company has yet to select a replacement. Earlier this month, satellite company Sirius XM announced it would invest $480 million in the web radio service for a 19 percent stake in the company and three board seats. Despite a user base of 80 million, “Pandora has struggled to generate enough advertising revenue to cover the cost of the free service,” reports Recode. “Meanwhile, music listeners have begun gravitating to the on-demand subscription services of Spotify, Apple and others, which offer ad-free access.” Continue reading Westergren to Step Down as CEO of Music Service Pandora

Grooveshark Shutters Music Service After Losing Legal Battle

After facing a six-year legal battle with major music labels, Escape Media has finally agreed to cease operations of music startup Grooveshark, which offered users access to millions of songs for free. Grooveshark’s founders recently published a formal statement to apologize for attempting to offer music without having the licensing agreements to legally do so. Under the terms of the settlement, the company has been mandated to shut down its website, apps and clear all of its servers.  Continue reading Grooveshark Shutters Music Service After Losing Legal Battle

Studies Show Listeners Still Turn to Radio for Music Discovery

Despite the rise of online streaming music services, the “local nature” of radio makes it the most popular platform for music discovery. According to Nielsen, some 243 million people still tune in to radio each week and 51 percent of listeners use radio to discover new music. That’s more than the number of people that find new music on services like YouTube or Spotify, but many music consumers use a combination of both traditional radio and online services to listen to their favorite tunes. Continue reading Studies Show Listeners Still Turn to Radio for Music Discovery

Streaming Services Grow While iTunes Music Sales Decline

Music sales via Apple’s iTunes Store have dropped about 14 percent since the start of the year. Meanwhile, streaming services now supply one-third of the recorded music revenue in the U.S. The total number of streams reported for services such as Spotify and Pandora have increased 46 percent this year over 2013. This shift may be one reason behind Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics. The company is reportedly planning to relaunch Beats next year as a part of iTunes. Continue reading Streaming Services Grow While iTunes Music Sales Decline

Music Industry: Rulings Could Have Long-Term Consequences

In a 57-page decision issued this week, a New York federal judge ruled against music streaming service Grooveshark in a copyright infringement case. The judge ruled that the service’s parent company, Escape Media Group, and co-founders Samuel Tarantino and Josh Greenberg, had uploaded almost 6,000 songs without licenses, and urged their employees to do the same. Meanwhile, a California judge ruled in favor of musicians Flo & Eddie in a suit against SiriusXM, and now the duo is taking on Pandora. Continue reading Music Industry: Rulings Could Have Long-Term Consequences

Spotlight on Spotify: Facebook Integration, Radio Feature, Impact on Piracy

  • Spotify has been drawing a great deal of media attention this week, more so than the growing number of other streaming music services.
  • Since the company announced its partnership with Facebook at the recent F8 event, Spotify has gained more than one million new users, despite the public outcry from those who question limiting the service’s signup to Facebook users only.
  • In response to concerns regarding Facebook’s media-sharing philosophy, Spotify released a new update that enables users to access the Facebook app without sharing their listening habits, reports Digital Trends. This may be good news for subscribers not happy with the recent announcement regarding Facebook integration — and could potentially serve as a model for how others offer access to services via social networking.
  • In related news from The Hollywood Reporter, Spotify recently released a radio feature in the U.S. that has long been available to European users. Radio will be accessible on the desktop client, but not on the Spotify mobile app. The add-on is reportedly in no way a Pandora killer, due mainly to its lack of mobility and attention to detail.
  • Additionally, Digital Trends reports that Spotify may be having a significant impact on music piracy. Illegal downloads in Sweden have reportedly dropped 25 percent since Spotify launched there in 2009. “Here in the U.S., Spotify isn’t the only option — and it may not even be the best, depending on user preference. Pandora, MOG, Rdio, Grooveshark — the list goes on,” indicates the article. “We don’t yet have numbers to show how these services are affecting music piracy in the U.S. But we’d put our money on them having a similar effect as Spotify is having in Sweden.”

Spotify Sees Early Success with 70,000 Paid U.S. Users

  • Billboard reports that Spotify has already reached 70,000 paid U.S. subscribers, one week after the streaming music service’s invite-only launch.
  • It’s too early to tell what the initial success will mean in the long term since the service’s closest competitors have been on the market for years (Rhapsody and Napster, for example, have more than 10 times Spotify’s number of paid subscribers but took years to get there).
  • Spotify currently has an ad-supported free option, but also offers two paid tiers that start at $4.99.
  • Paid subscriptions provide ad-free service, unlimited play time, and mobile device access.
  • In a recent review, Digital Trends found the service “to be the most well-rounded service out of Pandora, Spotify, and Grooveshark.”
  • In related news, licensing firm BMI announced it has completed deals with Spotify and to provide some 6.5 million songs to the online music services.