Apple Under Increasing Pressure to Change App Store Fees

Apple’s 30 percent commission on digital goods and services in its App Store has raised the ire of numerous companies, including Netflix and Spotify, which have formed a coalition to promote legal and regulatory changes for app marketplaces. Apple and Epic Games are battling the issue in court, and Spotify filed an antitrust suit in Europe last year, with claims that it unfairly harms competitors. Apple is, however, giving a brief COVID-19-related reprieve on fees to some companies selling virtual experiences. Continue reading Apple Under Increasing Pressure to Change App Store Fees

Alibaba’s Singles Day Reaps $38.3B, Dwarfing Black Friday

On November 11, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba brought in nearly $38.3 billion worth of goods in the 24-hour period known in that country as Singles Day. That surpasses last year’s Singles Day that bought in $30.8 billion. Both figures dwarf the numbers for Black Friday, the massive commercial day-after-Thanksgiving sale in the U.S. Alibaba invented Singles Day ten years ago and, since then, has become a tech giant along the line of Amazon or Alphabet. China also has become wealthier and more digitally connected. Continue reading Alibaba’s Singles Day Reaps $38.3B, Dwarfing Black Friday

Fake Followers on Instagram Are Becoming a Costly Problem

Fake followers are a problem on Instagram. A $1.3 billion problem, to be exact, due to the brands that are paying influencers whose followers simply don’t exist. It’s gotten easier to buy fake followers, from dozens of online sellers and a coin-operated vending machine from artist Dries Depoorter. Cybersecurity firm Cheq tallied the monetary cost above to brands for 2019 alone. Now, potential sponsors and agencies are increasingly up in arms about the scam, and looking for ways to hold influencers responsible. Continue reading Fake Followers on Instagram Are Becoming a Costly Problem

Taylor Swift Returns to Streaming With Her Seventh Album

Taylor Swift, the last streaming holdout among major musical artists, embraced the technology by releasing her seventh studio album, “Lover,” on Spotify and other streaming services. She had pulled her music from Spotify in 2014, and, in 2017, withheld her sixth album, “Redemption,” from streaming services for three weeks. According to Nielsen, in that year, streaming accounted for about 60 percent of all U.S. music consumption; this year it’s up to 80 percent. Spotify is making the most of Swift’s move with a very visible marketing campaign. Meanwhile, Swift has also helped launch an industry-wide conversation about copyright. Continue reading Taylor Swift Returns to Streaming With Her Seventh Album

Live-Streamed Music Events Prove Effective For Marketing

Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music are among the music streaming services using live events and concerts to stand out from the crowd. For its Prime Day promotion, for example, Amazon live-streamed a Taylor Swift concert in New York City. Musicians also find these live streaming events as a way for their songs to rise above the millions available on the services. Streaming services are experimenting with different kinds of concerts, including album-listening parties and those based on popular playlists. Continue reading Live-Streamed Music Events Prove Effective For Marketing

Social Media Platforms Ramp Up Removal of Fake Accounts

On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, millions of fake profiles take on the identities of authentic celebrities and public figures in music, movies and politics. Such profiles can be a cover for crimes, as when Australian authorities busted a 42-year old man who impersonated Justin Bieber and racked up 900 child sex offenses. Such social media imposters are so rife that Oprah Winfrey has warned her Twitter followers, and her chief marketing officer Harriet Seitler reported that, due to sheer volume, her team only reports the impostors if the miscreants are trying to scam fans. Continue reading Social Media Platforms Ramp Up Removal of Fake Accounts

Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Physical CDs are still selling well, although the U.S. has seen sales down by 18.5 percent. But Best Buy and Target have just taken steps that may hasten the demise of physical media. Best Buy, which was once the biggest music seller in the U.S., has told its music suppliers that it plans to pull CDs from its stores on July 1. The company will continue to carry vinyl records for two years, fulfilling a promise made to vendors. Meanwhile, Target is now telling music suppliers it will sell CDs on a consignment basis. The move would also impact sales of movies, TV shows and other video content on DVD. Continue reading Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

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

Katy Perry Is First to Achieve 100 Million Followers on Twitter

Singer Katy Perry, who joined Twitter in early 2009 and just released a new album called “Witness,” has become the first to achieve the 100 million follower milestone on the social platform. “The second most-followed Twitter account belongs to Justin Bieber, who currently has 96.7 million followers,” according to Variety. “Next in line are Barack Obama (90.8 million), Taylor Swift (85.1 million) and Rihanna (74.1 million).” While these figures do not specify the number of spam accounts or bots, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said bogus bots represent less than 5 percent of accounts. Perry also broke her own YouTube record last month when single “Bon Appetit” reached 16.8 million views in just 24 hours. Continue reading Katy Perry Is First to Achieve 100 Million Followers on Twitter

Spotify Inks a New Licensing Deal with Universal Music Group

Spotify and Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record company, finally inked a global, multiyear licensing deal after two years of intermittent negotiations. With this deal in place, Spotify now has a better chance of convincing Sony and Warner to follow suit, and UMG, whose artists include Drake, U2, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga, has more flexibility on how it streams its music. Spotify’s contracts with UMG, Sony and Warner had expired long ago. Spotify, valued at $8 billion, now also has a clearer path to going public. Continue reading Spotify Inks a New Licensing Deal with Universal Music Group

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

Music Industry, YouTube in Stalemate Over Copyright Tracking

The music industry and YouTube disagree over the efficacy of YouTube’s Content ID system, which tracks content for which royalties are due. According to YouTube, Content ID is 99.7 percent accurate and responsible for $3 billion in payments to the music industry. However, music rights holders put Content ID’s accuracy at about 50 percent, adding that they must engage in time-consuming daily manual searches to find offenders. Also at issue are rates, with YouTube’s payments considerably less than those from other streaming services. Continue reading Music Industry, YouTube in Stalemate Over Copyright Tracking

BitTorrent Launches Ad-Supported Music and Video Platform

BitTorrent has launched its open, ad-supported music and video platform that allows consumers to access media content via apps for Android, iOS and Apple TV. BitTorrent Now is the latest effort to shed the piracy stigma of the popular peer-to-peer technology for more legitimate uses. Up until now, BitTorrent offered free and paywall versions for artists to get their content to people. With the new ad-supported service, artists have an alternative for generating revenue while users can stream their content through an Android app launched yesterday, and iOS and Apple TV apps to follow. Continue reading BitTorrent Launches Ad-Supported Music and Video Platform

Pop Star Taylor Swift to Release Mobile Game Later This Year

Move over, Kim Kardashian. Taylor Swift is entering the mobile gaming space with the help of game publisher Glu Mobile, which has created popular games for Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry. Swift’s first mobile game is expected to be released in late 2016. The announcement gave investors some confidence and Glu Mobile’s stock jumped 29 percent in after-hours trading. Glu Mobile’s “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” mobile game generated $43 million in its first three months. Continue reading Pop Star Taylor Swift to Release Mobile Game Later This Year

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