With European success behind the firm, Spotify is planning to launch in the UK, even while fresh reports confirm (what we’ve been saying for some time) that the cash artists get from streaming services isn’t enough to justify prosecuting file-sharers.
A Billboard analysis shows that even the amount of money earned by top artists from on-demand streams and noninteractive streams (such as Internet radio) is, in plain terms, shockingly low. “Of the more than 100 artists examined to compile the Money Makers list, only 10 made more than $2,000 from noninteractive streams in 2009,” a Billboard report eplains.
Interestingly, the labels seem to do alright out of the streaming music deal. Rob Wells, the senior vice-president Digital for Universal Music Group International says Spotify was Universal’s fourth largest digital partner last year in terms of the amount of revenue it generated for the company.
Digital music sales continue to grow, the latest results from giant major label, Universal Music confirm.
Issuing its full year results this week, parent company Vivendi revealed that digital sales in its music division grew 8.4% last year (Results release, PDF link).
Despite this area of growth, revenues at Universal were down 6.2% from 2008 to €4.36bn. Digital, however, grew 8.4% despite the company reporting a “softening demand for mobile products in the United States and Japan”.
This is interesting – Rob Wells, Senior Vice-President of Digital at the world’s largest major label, Universal Music Group International, tells us what’s what in the future of music.
This is a wide-ranging chat, covering the past, present and several different outcomes for the future of music, including building new commercial models that integrate social and search sites, and of course a little mobile (Apple). Interesting stuff for anyone who cares about the future of media and music. (Video after the break). Continue reading →
Apple’s forthcoming iTunes 9 upgrade’s already being touted as the best thing since sliced bread, with reports promising support for Blu-ray, and built in capability to output the music you’re playing to iLike and Last.FM.
Apple’s also meant to be working on Cocktail, a new album format in which music fans don’t just get the music, but also gain access to video, images and all sorts of interactive elements; a radical reinvention of the album format, possibly within an App. But the record labels don’t want Apple to have all the fun, and are developing their own similar mixed musical drink, conceivably to offer this to other digital music operators.
Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI and Merlin (the body which represents Europe’s independent labels all own shares in Spotify, shares the company offered the labels for an aggregate €8.8 million – presumably as part of the negotiation to secure permission to stream their music online.
Together, the labels own 18 per cent of Spotify. Sony BMG took the lion’s share, now owning 5.8 per cent of the service.
In the final Macworld Expo keynote Apple today introduced new computing and software products, and also confirmed long-standing claims that songs sold through iTunes from all four major labels are now to be made available DRM-free.
The company also announced that iTunes users can now download songs directly onto their iPhone 3G using their carrier’s 3G network.
Given the extent of repeated rumours in the run-up to Christmas, it’s no great surprise that fresh reports this morning claim Apple could announce a fully DRM-free iTunes Store as soon as today.
The report claims Apple has also given agreement to flexible pricing on music, so labels will be able to charge slightly more for in vogue hits, though the cost of older tracks will fall to 79-cents in the US.
These plans will see music retail widgets provided by Musicane made available for use on artist websites and also on the websites of music fans. The deal will see fans take a 5 per cent slice of music sold through their sites.
We caught up with UK online music service 7digital’s chief executive Ben Drury this week. A seasoned digital music industry professional, he shared his insights on Apple’s music market challenges as competition proliferates, social networking in music, lossless music downloads and much more.
Distorted Loop:Why does music matter? Ben Drury: Although music is not defined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow_hierarchy_of_needs), I believe it must figure pretty highly on most people’s lists. In all cultures, with the possible exception of some extremist religious societies, music forms an integral part of self-expression, social cohesion, worship etc