More streaming/publishing news for you all this week as well as some events for the weekend!
Have a lucky weekend everyone!
1. YouTube launches a subscription service… and the industry is not impressed.
YouTube recently announced it would be rolling out its new audio-video subscription service YouTube Red, which will exist alongside its freemium tier that we all know and love. With the number of streaming services growing every year, its not surprising that YouTube is throwing its hat in the ring. However, the music industry isn’t exactly jumping for joy. Rights holders have long been uncomfortable with YouTube underwhelming copyright exploitation. One CEO of a digital distributor, in relation to proper copyright exploitation, described YouTube as “borderline criminal”. Google says its service is part of its initiative to build “better business models to drive higher engagement and revenue”. Only time will tell if thats true.
2. Does Adele need streaming?
With the forthcoming release of her first studio album in four years, Adele has people wondering whether she will perform quite as spectacular as her last album, 21. 21 is renowned for having sold 30 million copies worldwide in a time when music sales had begun to plummet. Four years later, music sales revenue has dropped by a quarter since her last release and the market has grown ever more saturated with streaming as a source of music consumption. Adele, a strong “album artist”, seems to move people to actually purchase music, but will that hold true today is it did four years ago? When compared with another strong “album artist” such as T-Swift, who is notoriously anti-streaming, Adele’s audience is older and more spread out. This may actually better her chances to maintain her reputation as an artist who convinces consumers to buy music
As the chart references, the two audiences (those who only stream and those who only buy) are surprisingly distinct. This, coupled with Adele’s audience demographics may mean that her listeners are somewhere in that 27%. And that’s what might enable her to perform as well as four years ago. However, with the numerous changes to the music industry since then, even if she does exceedingly well, it’ll be difficult to repeat the success of 21.
3. Pandora and Sony/ATV shake hands mostly as a contingency.
Two of the most unlikely bedfellows, Pandora and Sony/ATV have entered into an agreement in which each party gets exactly what they want. Sony/ATV gets the higher royalty rates that it, and every other publisher in the industry, has been begging for while Pandora gets rate certainty, which is especially important in the face of the oncoming decision by the Copyright Royalty Board at the end of the year which will set rates to an unknown amount until 2020. In this way Pandora assures that it will know its rate with, at the very least, the largest publisher in the world. Essentially, Pandora is hedging against the possibility that publishers will be able to nix the PRO’s (Performance Rights Organizations like ASCAP and BMI that control the compulsory royalty rate) non-exclusive control over their performance rights (plays on Pandora fall in this category) and negotiate directly with digital services like Pandora. If the PRO’s don’t provide the non-exclusive compulsory license option, then the publishers have way more bargaining power. Another article on the subject expressed confusion how publisher negotiations with digital music services that bypass the PRO’s can even be legal in the first place, since they undermine the whole PRO concept.