Archive | Internet Radio
The music streaming landscape just got a little more crowded, as Google today launched the Google Play All Access music service at their annual developer conference. The new service will cost the same as Spotify Premium, $9.99/month, but you can use it for free for 30 day trial, and it’ll only be $7.99/month if you sign up before June 30. Is this a Spotify killer? Probably not. You can stream Spotify for free via its ad-supported model, and there’s no free option for Google after the 30 day trial. Both should be able to co-exist, but the fact that the new service launched before Apple’s, who are planning their own streaming service, is interesting. Apparently Apple is struggling to close down a deal with Sony. Google has deals with Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., the three major labels.
Google Play Music All Access (damn that’s a mouthful!) will be able to take advantage of Google’s search abilities. There will be 22 “top level” genres, apparently, with “more to dive into,” NBC News reports. Apparently it will be easy to explore genres and click to turn them into a radio features, and radio tracks listeners don’t like can be swiped away and off the playlist. And there will be playlists curated by Google Music editors. It definitely sounds like it’ll be fun to play around with, especially with a one-month trial.
It’s hard to imagine that concurrent streaming subscription services from Spotify, Apple and Google will work in the long run. The fact that Spotify has only 6 million paying subscribers out of its 24 million users worldwide shows that some people still are hesitant to pony up $10/month to listen to music. And those 6 million people probably won’t lay out another 10 spot per month for another service or two. And while having the three major labels on board gives Google a ton of music, there are still plenty of independent labels that will be holding out, much the same way there are still noticeable gaps on Spotify.
This isn’t that surprising, especially given the rise of smartphones, but a new study finds that 13 to 35 year-olds are spending as much time listening to streaming music as they are to AM/FM radio. A study done by The NPD Group found that in the fourth quarter of 2012, streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio accounted for about about 23% of music listening among that age group. That’s a 6% increase from 2011. AM and FM radio accounted for 24% of listening in the fourth quarter of 2012, which is 2% less than it was the previous year.
Of those 13-35 year-olds listening to streaming music, the majority of them, 39%, are listening to Pandora. Spotify only comes in 3rd, with 9%. That’s behind iHeartRadio. While iHeartRadio is a product of radio conglomerate Clear Channel, non-CC stations, like WSOU for example, are on there. After that, things drop off, with 3% listening to Grooveshark and 2% listening to Slacker, Pandora One, TuneIn, Last.fm and Xbox Music. Below radio and streaming services are digital music files (15%), on-demand services (14%), CDs (9%), and satellite radio (5%). Of course, older listeners still listen to traditional radio, with 41% of listeners 36 and older listening to AM/FM as opposed to listening to internet radio 13% of the time.
Russ Crupnick from NPD, the company that did the survey, attributes the change to the proliferation of smartphones, or “mobility and connectivity,” as he puts it. It should be noted that while radio is still slightly higher than online streaming, given that iHeartRadio has a relatively significant share of online listening, there are still a relatively high number of people listening to terrestrial radio, albeit via their phones. But if the trend from 2011 to 2012 continues as it likely will, look for streaming services to surpass radio amongst younger listeners next year.
[Deadline, via MetalSucks]
Popular online internet radio destination Pandora announced yesterday that they’ll be placing a cap on free unlimited listening to the service. As of this week, listeners will be limited to 40 hours per month of free listening on Pandora. After the limit is reached, listeners will have the option to pay 99 cents to listen for the remainder of the month or subscribe to Pandora One, which costs $36/year.
In a note on the company blog, Pandora founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren explained that only 4% of their active users hit the 40 hour mark, and the reason they’re capping listening is that the royalty rates they’re currently paying are continuing to increase. It all makes sense, and active listeners that use the service daily probably won’t object to paying a bit for the service, if they aren’t already. And while the more casual listeners probably will never hit that mark anyway, there are probably some that are tuning out now just on principle. Westergren’s blog post is after the jump. Read more »
The new musical landscape is changing almost daily for artists. Just last week, we wrote about how songwriters aren’t making a ton of cash from streaming services, and a sobering article about how indie band Grizzly Bear – with a #7 album and headlining Radio City Music Hall – still struggles to make ends meet is almost enough to make a musician lay down their guitar. However, information is coming out that suggests that not only are artists making more money from online plays than they might think, but artists’ compensation for online streaming may continue to grow at a consistent rate.
Spotify and Pandora are the two biggest streaming services, even though they’re different. Spotify is on-demand, giving you access to your own library and whatever other music while Pandora is essentially a radio station. An insightful article on Hypebot sheds some light on not only what streaming articles are like, but where they could go. While that Pitchfork article claimed that Galaxie 500 was paid .005 cents per stream, they were actually paid .005 dollars, or half a cent per stream. And the article points out that if someone buys a track on iTunes, the owner of the master gets 70 cents for a download. That’s it. But if someone keeps listening to the song, that’s a half a cent every time. And if you weren’t going to shell out $1.29 to buy a song, the artist is still getting a half a cent.
The article looks at Matisyahu, who’s “Sunshine” single was streamed 291,391 times over the last three months, earning him $1569.11. That’s not bad, and given that Spotify is still new and can continue to grow, making that amount of money just off of one song is pretty impressive.
Meanwhile, music video streaming service Vevo, which represents all four major labels, announced yesterday that the service has paid $200 million out to artists in the last three years. While that’s not an overwhelming amount given that thousands of artists it’s shared between, it’s still a nice sign of progress. That probably hasn’t paid out the cost of most of those artist’s videos, but if they’re getting spun on Spotify and Pandora, then there are two more streams of revenue. Nobody said that being a musician was easy, and it’s not like anyone’s going to get rich overnight. But with monetizing online streaming in its relative infancy, there’s plenty of room to go up.
There’s been a lot of industry discussion about how online music streaming services are compensating artists. But while Spotify and Pandora might be great ways to expose new acts to people, that isn’t translating into money for the songwriters whose music is being exposed. And while there aren’t any metal artists in these two below cases, it’s pretty easy to see that streaming services are shorting songwriters.
Galaxie 500 was a late ’80s alternative band. While they broke up in 1991, they’re still getting spun on Pandora and Spotify. But as the band’s Damon Krukowski recently broke it down to Pitchfork, online streaming services are hardly a cash cow for a band of their stature.
My BMI royalty check arrived recently, reporting songwriting earnings from the first quarter of 2012, and I was glad to see that our music is being listened to via these services. Galaxie 500′s “Tugboat”, for example, was played 7,800 times on Pandora that quarter, for which its three songwriters were paid a collective total of 21 cents, or seven cents each. Spotify pays better: For the 5,960 times “Tugboat” was played there, Galaxie 500′s songwriters went collectively into triple digits: $1.05 (35 cents each). To put this into perspective: Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one–one– LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.) Read more »
In an announcement that’s probably got Pandora nervous, there are multiple reports surfacing that Apple is launching a streaming radio service in the first three months of next year. Bloomberg reports that talks at the major labels have intensified, with the primary discussion centered around how to share ad revenue. While Spotify has become the de-facto leader in online streaming, Apple and iTunes are so ubiquitous that if the program is clean and easy to use, it could easily become a major player in the online streaming wars.
Sales of music on iTunes have slowed down, and if it’s as easy to buy something from iTunes that you’re hearing streaming, that could at least temporarily pick things up a bit. Apple is also trying to have a little more flexibility than Pandora, which limits how many tracks can be skipped per hour and how many times an artist will come up in an hour. Sources told Bloomberg that Apple is hoping to create an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as opposed to delivering music through a web browser. The app would also be able to be integrated with Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform. Shares of Pandora have fell 18% this year.
Just a few weeks ago, an unnamed independent label stated that they weren’t making much money at all from streaming services like Spotify. However, an article that ran in the New York Times alleges that royalties from Internet radio stations like Pandora as well as SiriusXM are starting to increase. SoundExchange, a non-profit group that process payments for online streams, announced yesterday that they paid more than $100 million in payments to artists and labels in the most recent quarter. In all of last year, they’d only paid out $292 million. This quarter brings them to the $1 billion mark for what they’ve paid artists and record labels since their founding in 2000.
“The way the industry is going, it is about multiple revenue streams, not just one,” SoundExchange president Michael Huppe told the Times. The article looks at indie label Jagjaguwar, Bon Iver’s label, whose founder says that they’ve made $95,000 since 2007 from SoundExchange. That’s not a ton of money for a label, but it’s more than what they’d be making without anyone tracking digital sales. It’s also worth noting that it’s the only way that labels and performers are getting paid for airplay, since terrestrial radio only pays songwriters and publishers in the United States.
Digital radio royalties still have a ways to go before they catch up, however. Songwriting licensers ASCAP and BMI paid out $1.64 billion in 2010, which is a fraction of the $292 million that SoundExchange paid. Yet as the music landscape continues to change, it’s encouraging to see that streaming and Internet radio revenues are possibly starting to fall in line and give artists another stream of revenue.
The Consumer Electronics Show is taking place now in Las Vegas, and internet streaming service Pandora came to the convention with some good news. Despite all you’re hearing about rival service Spotify, Pandora still has a 68% market share among Internet audio. And while terrestrial and satellite radio won’t want to hear this, it’s coming for your car next. With the addition of Acura and Kia, they’re available in 16 brands, which is way more than the four they had more recently, and you can buy aftermarket car stereos from seven manufacturers.
With Spotify ending their six-month trial period and enacting new restrictions, there will likely be some users defecting to Pandora, which already has more than 125 million registered users. Their users apparently listen to about 18 hours of music per month. And most are used to listening to the service without paying for the premium service, with only 10% ponying up for the privilege of listening commercial-free. That’s still 12.5 million people though. And as more and more people buy cars with Pandora in their dashes or pick after-market radio to upgrade their car listening experience, those numbers will likely increase.
When you think of the target audience for public radio, you’re probably imagining a Prius-driving, overeducated vegan that listens to The Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, or whatever Pitchfork tells them to. That’s why we were pleasantly surprised to find New York City public radio station WNYC not only flirting with metal, but embracing it by streaming a full length Immolation concert from a the band’s first club show in seven years.
The Daily Swarm brought it to our attention that the band’s July 28th show at the Studio at Webster Hall, part of the very awesome Blackened Music Series, was streaming as part of their “No Cover” series. Other shows in the series, like The Magnetic Fields, Meshell Ndegeocello and Bear In Heaven, seem a lot more public radio-ready than a Yonkers death metal institution that’s been around for 20 years. So kudos to WNYC for potentially terrifying listeners whose idea of edgy music is Broken Bells.
No, that’s not a typo. According to Pandora founder Tim Westergren, the company is currently activating 100,000 new users every day on mobile devices. Music Ally reports that Westergren made the comments at a press launch for Samsung’s new TVs. The television maker will be spending $70 million on its next-generation TVs, so Pandora will undoubtedly have a hand in those. But 1 million new users every ten days? That’s amazing, considering that the company was struggling with bankruptcy as recently as last year. Considering that there are so many streaming music sites out there, it looks like Pandora is the iPod to everyone else’s Zune, to mix a metaphor or two.