The royalties paid by music streaming services have been under scrutiny this past month as major artists have called for better compensation. Taylor Swift, Aloe Blacc and Jimmy Buffett have all made public statements claiming that the current rates are unfair for the music creators.
Audiophiles rejoice! Americans and Brits can now stream over 25 million records in CD-quality format through the streaming service Tidal, which launched this week. The new music subscription service costs $20 per month. It features a similar user interface to Spotify and has already proven itself in a handful of European countries.
Millennials have a tendency to do things differently, and music consumption is no exception to that. They outspend most other groups and are much more connected on social networks to share what they like. Here are five key take-aways from Nielsen’s report on the 18-35 year olds that are changing the way music is marketed.
Last week was historically bad for the music industry. Weekly album sales figures dropped to their lowest point since Nielsen Soundscan began been keeping record in 1991. It was also the first week on record that sales of albums dropped below 4 million units. While multiple factors are blamed for the record lows, streaming is the undeniable catalyst.
Apple is working on a new way to deliver and sell albums. According to TIME and Billboard, U2’s Bono has been collaborating with Apple to work on a new “interactive” album format that will allow fans to “play with lyrics and get behind the songs.” While no details have been released regarding new format, it’s likely Apple’s reaction to declining album sales over recent years to streaming.
The last true iteration of Apple’s iconic and world-changing MP3 player, the iPod, has been retired. Last week, as Apple announced new iPhones and a forthcoming Apple Watch, the iPod Classic quietly disappeared from their online retail store. This marks the end of an era that redefined our music listening habits and launched Apple on its path to become the most valuable company in the world.
SoundCloud has announced that it will implement advertisements into its streaming service. Similar to Youtube, the “On SoundCloud” service will allow users the option to allow audio ads to play before their tracks in exchange for a share of the ad revenue. While it will likely prove to be lucrative for some artists, others are decrying the move as a loss for indie artists to commercial interests.
One of the trade-offs of having your music available everywhere via the Internet is not being able to monitor where and how your music is being used. Because of this, you could likely miss out on a lot of royalty money you’re owed. Thankfully there are performance rights organizations (PROs) that can help monitor, collect and distribute your royalty payments. Here’s some basic information on how PROs work and how they can help you monetize your music.
Pandora has pioneered an agreement with indie rights coalition, Merlin, to skirt the standard rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. This will offer independent artists better pay per stream and better exposure on the streaming service. The deal is the first of its kind, enabling independent labels and distributors to negotiate with a major streaming service directly.
Last month Google bought Songza, the playlist curation and music streaming service. While they haven’t said how Songza’s technology and playlists will be incorporated into Google’s products, such as Play or the new Youtube streaming service. It’s certainly a notable acquisition as streaming services are continuing to proliferate.