YouTube Music Aims Spotlight on Personalization, Discovery

After a year in beta testing, YouTube Music is finally available for Android and iOS. The app — meant to compete with streaming music offerings such as Apple Music, Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and Tidal — emphasizes music videos and amateur recordings. YouTube’s catalog of 50 million songs does not mean a video for every song, since the collection mixes video, audio-only, fan covers, emerging indie artists and much more. Discovery continues to be the underlying focus, and each song is connected to an auto-generated station of related songs. YouTube Music also blends human and algorithmic curation, similar to Apple Music’s approach. Continue reading YouTube Music Aims Spotlight on Personalization, Discovery

Pandora Buys Ticketfly, Boosting Ticket Sales for Live Events

Pandora just bought ticketing company Ticketfly, a move that furthers the company’s goal to improve relationships with the musicians whose music it plays. Ticketfly will enable artists to promote live events and sell tickets to local listeners. Pandora’s move will likely nudge other streaming music services to follow suit. The Ticketfly purchase comes on the heels of Pandora’s development of its Artist Marketing Platform, AMP, a portal for artists. Pandora currently has 80 million monthly listeners, almost all in the U.S. Continue reading Pandora Buys Ticketfly, Boosting Ticket Sales for Live Events

Rightscorp Signs Sony as Client, Continues to Combat Piracy

Rightscorp, a company that goes after people who illegally download songs, has just signed Sony/ATV Music Publishing as a client. The signing is a coup for the company, which despite having signed a few big clients, has been struggling on the verge of bankruptcy. In addition to Sony/ATV, Rightscorp also counts BMG and Warner Bros. among its clients. The company process is to scan the Internet for illegal downloads, using its proprietary algorithm to gather IP addresses, and then threaten those users with legal action. Continue reading Rightscorp Signs Sony as Client, Continues to Combat Piracy

Streaming Services, Artists Forge Ties Based on Data, Touring

The deep connection between streaming music services and ticket sales is becoming increasingly clear. Streaming not only introduces an artist’s music to potentially millions more listeners, but makes it easy for fans to learn about upcoming concerts. Some experts believe that in the not-so-distant future, fans will actually be able to purchase tickets to local concerts within the streaming music service. That’s good news for musicians who, although they get a small percentage of record sales, are making real money from touring. Continue reading Streaming Services, Artists Forge Ties Based on Data, Touring

Vevo, Pandora, Spotify: Defining Musical Tastes of Millennials

Millennials discover and listen to music differently than past generations, spending an average of 25 hours a week on streaming music services including Vevo, Pandora and Spotify. That’s one result reported by Vevo in its “Music Fan Report,” slated for release next week. Another way that millennials differ from past generations is that they generally do not consider themselves fans of any particular genre but rather are interested in finding new music, regardless of its musical category. Continue reading Vevo, Pandora, Spotify: Defining Musical Tastes of Millennials

YouTube Readies New Ad-Free Service for Monthly Subscription

Google-owned YouTube is reportedly readying the launch of its much anticipated online subscription service. Sources indicate a launch is likely by the end of October. Two offerings are expected: an updated version of its Music Key service (previously launched in beta) and a new service that offers access to all YouTube content without ads. Earlier reports suggest the bundled offering would be available for $10 per month. While YouTube has hinted in the past about an upcoming subscription service, it has yet to unveil firm plans or a timeline. Continue reading YouTube Readies New Ad-Free Service for Monthly Subscription

Music Fans Have Already Streamed One Trillion Songs in 2015

According to a new report from music analytics firm Next Big Sound, consumers streamed more than one trillion songs during the first six months of this year. The report acquired data from Pandora, Rdio, SoundCloud, Spotify, Vevo, Vimeo and YouTube. While digital downloads and CDs continue to experience a decline, streaming music generated $1.87 billion last year. Streaming music is clearly on the rise (Next Big Sound cites only 450 billion streams for all of 2014), yet companies are still looking for opportunities to profit. Continue reading Music Fans Have Already Streamed One Trillion Songs in 2015

Apple’s Plan to Dominate Streaming Music Off to a Good Start

Since launching Apple Music on June 30, Apple reports 11 million users have signed up for a three-month trial to access 30 million songs. If they all become paying members, by October the Silicon Valley firm will have half the membership of leading music streamer, 10-year old Spotify. Apple is launching a comprehensive marketing campaign — with billboard, TV and radio ads — for the new streaming service. In the fall, it will roll out its Android version of Apple Music in beta. Continue reading Apple’s Plan to Dominate Streaming Music Off to a Good Start

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

Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

A week before Apple was set to unveil its streaming music service, Google came out with a free, albeit limited, version of Play Music, which began as a $9.99-a-month subscription service in 2013. Google is offering the service to lure more listeners to its subscription version, which loses potential customers when they are asked to input credit card information. Whether this strategy pays off is unclear, and some industry analysts wonder if Google is cannibalizing its own services or amping up its music creds in a competitive streaming music environment. Continue reading Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

Apple Music to Pay Royalties During New Service Trial Period

Apple Music, the highly-anticipated $10 per month streaming music service, is launching this month with a free three-month trial for music fans. Last week, Apple’s Robert Kondrk said that the company was planning to pay 71.5 percent of subscription revenue to all music owners. However, Kondrk also noted that Apple would not be paying owners during the three-month trial period. Following criticism by Taylor Swift and others, Apple changed its plans. Apple’s Eddy Cue quickly explained via Twitter that Apple would make sure that artists are paid. Continue reading Apple Music to Pay Royalties During New Service Trial Period

Ericsson: 70 Percent of World Will Have Smartphones by 2020

There are currently 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide, and while developing markets have been leveling off, less mature markets are starting to experience significant growth. According to the latest annual Mobility Report from Ericsson, we should expect to see 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation by 2020, at which point phones will exceed the number of active fixed line subscriptions globally. Ericsson projects that the total number of mobile subscriptions will reach 9.2 billion in five years, as less developed markets continue their expansion. Continue reading Ericsson: 70 Percent of World Will Have Smartphones by 2020

Apple Plans Music Streaming Service to Compete with Spotify

Facing a decline in download sales, Apple plans to launch a competitor to Spotify and other music streaming services. The announcement will likely be made at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. In 2003, the iTunes Music Store revolutionized how consumers buy music. While Apple currently sells about 80-85 percent of global music downloads, music consumption has changed, and the company only has a small fraction of the streaming business. Meanwhile, Spotify accounts for 86 percent of on-demand music streaming in the United States. Continue reading Apple Plans Music Streaming Service to Compete with Spotify

Pandora Purchases Music Data-Tracking Firm Next Big Sound

Music streaming service Pandora announced this week that it has acquired Next Big Sound, a company that tracks how popular songs become online and via social networks. Next Big Sound has become a standard for measuring artist popularity through activity on Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and other platforms. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. However, in similar data-tracking deals, Spotify paid about $55 million for the Echo Nest last year and Apple paid a reported $50 million in January for Next Big Sound competitor Semetric. Continue reading Pandora Purchases Music Data-Tracking Firm Next Big Sound

New Apple Music Service to Feature Ping-Like Social Features

Latest reports suggest that Apple’s anticipated Beats-based streaming music service will be called “Apple Music” and will feature social networking integration for artists. According to those briefed on feature plans, Apple Music will enable musicians to maintain pages within the service to post content such as photos, videos, sample tracks and concert info. Performers will also be able to cross-promote by sharing content from other artists. Additionally, users will be able to like and comment on the artists’ posts. Continue reading New Apple Music Service to Feature Ping-Like Social Features