Tag Archives: John McDuling

Investors think streaming could take music back to its glory days

[P. Schoenfeld Asset Management] argues there will be some 277 million streaming music subscribers globally by 2020 (that number is 5.5% of the predicted global smartphone customer base in 2020, which PSAM thinks will be 5.03 billion). These subscribers alone, it goes on to say, will generate $16.2 billion in revenue—more than the entire global recorded music industry (including physical sales and downloads) is expected to generate this year ($14 billion). – John McDuling, Quartz

The music industry wants to fight the internet again—and it’s probably going to lose

A generation of consumers who grew up with illicit file-sharing services like Napster have been conditioned to expect access to music for nothing. Spotify thinks that turning them back into paying customers is a delicate process. Erecting pay barriers too soon could turn them back to piracy. As CEO Daniel Ek explained in a blog post earlier this year, “If we want to drive people to pay for music, we have to compete with free to get their attention in the first place.” So the growth of Spotify’s paid service depends heavily on its free option. […] But Spotify isn’t the only one feeling the heat. The industry has been trying to crush Pandora, the free online radio service that music labels think pays them too little in royalties. And there are even hints that they are beginning to turn against YouTube. Up until now, no-one has really been brave enough to take on the Google-owned video upload site, which attracts more than 1 billion sets of eyeballs each month and is very popular for music videos. “YouTube gets a free ride,” bemoans Merlin’s Caldas. – John McDuling, Quartz
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Hollywood should be very afraid of Popcorn Time, the “Netflix for piracy”

Popcorn Time has no funding—it’s run out of the pockets of the small community behind it—and no business model, English says. Unlike other platforms used for piracy it doesn’t even carry advertising.”We are a community and we are not really driven by the money of it,” he says. “I don’t think it will be ever turned into a proper business.” In other words, there are no plans to emulate Napster or BitTorrent and seek legitimacy. Napster, the first file sharing site to gain prominence, had a string of legitimate business owners after being shut down, including German Media conglomerate Bertelsmann, US retailer Best Buy, and is now part of streaming music provider Rhapsody. BitTorrent (the company, not the protocol) is backed by venture capital funds including Accel Partners. – John McDuling, Quartz 
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Napster still exists, and it has millions of streaming music subscribers

[I]n the late 90s and early oughts, the service was being used by many high-school and college students to share and download media files, mainly MP3s. It conditioned a generation of consumers to expect to be able to access music for free. Then, after its legality was challenged successfully in the courts by Metallica, Napster shut itself down, […] It was passed between a number of owners, including German multimedia giant Bertelsmann Music Group, and, even for a brief time, the retailer Best Buy, before being acquired in 2011 by Rhapsody – John McDuling, Quartz
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The secret to Amazon’s success in streaming TV

One factor might be the company’s unique approach to commissioning original content. Like Netflix, it rigorously analyzes data on user behavior to help decide which shows to green-light. But unlike Netflix, it is happy to put pilots up for user consideration (last week 13 new ones debuted) before deciding whether to proceed. – John McDuling, Quartz
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Streaming hasn’t killed the radio star

Radio reigns supreme. The old-fashioned wireless remains the audio service used by the most Americans. […] The enduring strength of radio is probably best explained by the automobile (which Americans also still love). About half of all radio listening takes place in the car, where radio remains dominant relative to satellite and internet services. – John McDuling, Quartz 
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Here is is the most streamed artist on Spotify in 2014

[Ed Sheeran] has racked up more than 860 million listens across the globe so far in 2014 on the world’s biggest subscription-based, streaming-music platform. […] The most-played track in the world this year was Happy, by Pharrell Williams, which was streamed more than 260 million times. In the US, the most streamed track was Iggy Azalea’s Fancy. – John McDuling,Quartz 
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Apple is about to change streaming music—and Spotify should be worried

If you’re an Apple user, be prepared to have Beats Music, the streaming-music service the company acquired for $3 billion earlier this year, forced down your throats. However you feel about that, the implications for the streaming-music landscape—and indeed the entire music industry—could be far-reaching. […] Apple will include Beats in the next update of its iOS mobile operating system next year, which could effectively give the product a permanent spot on the home screen of millions of Apple devices. […] In any case, Apple would only need to convert a fraction of device/iTunes users into Beats subscribers to seriously challenge Spotify (which now has 12.5 million paid-up subscribers) as the biggest streaming service out there. Credit Suisse earlier this year forecast that global streaming-music subscriptions would rise from less than 20 million currently to almost 150 million by 2025. – John McDuling,Quartz 
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The problem with Netflix’s overseas expansion

The Australian launch actually provides a hint about why further expansion for Netflix’s service might actually be not as straightforward as it sounds. Like others around the world, thousands of Aussies already get the US version of Netflix using masking services that spoof their location (one survey suggests it is already the second most paid popular content company there, before even launching). The costs of accessing content and software (among other things) are disproportionally high Down Under. As a result, the nation is a world champion when it comes to video piracy. – John McDuling,Quartz 
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Forget Taylor Swift: Spotify is facing a much bigger problem

Spotify itself has admitted, YouTube is already, easily, the biggest streaming music site on the planet, and that’s without it even really trying. The YouTube brand, which gets a staggering 1 billion unique visitors each month, might be in a stronger position to convert users into paying music subscribers than its parent company has been. The service will include the ability to watch videos without advertising, and the ability to save music for listening offline, the Financial Times reported. – John McDuling,Quartz 
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