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  • Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    September 16, 2019

    Spotify’s podcast play

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    Spotify is investing heavily in podcasting through acquisitions, original content and product innovation. It is under pressure to reduce dependence on record labels, whose power makes generating large profit margins difficult. Podcasts promise a non-music content genre where Spotify can capture more value. Secondary benefits abound: Spotify can take an active and lucrative role in modernising online audio advertising, it can solve the podcast discovery problem, and engagement across more forms of audio will improve retention
  • January 17, 2019

    Apple and Amazon bury the hatchet

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    Amazon’s recent deals with Apple in TV, music and device sales mark a turning point after a decade of frosty relations. The context for this involves shifting priorities at both firms, growing pressure on Apple’s iPhone business, and rivals in common — first and foremost Google, but also the likes of Netflix and Spotify. The uneasy alliance helps both companies consolidate their strengths in the platform competition over media and the connected home — but trouble already brews.
  • November 5, 2018

    UK Radio’s evolution towards a digital future

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    ­­­­Radio faces challenges from Spotify and other online audio propositions, while the radio “dial” is challenged by smart speakers and global tech. UK radio broadcasters have risen to the occasion through innovation. New DAB stations have helped radio achieve record audiences and revenues. Combined digital listening is now over 50%, but FM remains the primary platform. The current mix of FM/AM and digital maintains radio’s relevance for the medium term. The long-term future is digital—a wide-ranging sector review is required to determine how to support digital radio’s growth and the question of a future switchover.  
  • September 10, 2018

    Japan’s recorded music market starts to stream

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    Recorded music revenues in Japan are stuck in decline as physical sales sag, although 2017 marks the first year when streaming gained a foothold with 8 million subscribers. J-pop fans spend on 'experiences' with their idols including events, merchandise, CDs and DVDs, which streaming cannot replicate. Top native LINE MUSIC offers integration with a popular messaging app and bundling with mobile. Serving international repertoire, Apple Music claims more subscribers than Spotify in Japan, which is more localised, and has most users on the free tier. Amazon Prime Music is a looming constraint on the adoption of subscriptions. 
  • June 19, 2018

    Advertising after the turning point: When offline is the exceptio [...]

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    Online advertising became the majority of all UK ad spend last year, in step with China but ahead of all other major markets. Direct response has further increased its share to 54% of UK ad spend, fuelled by the self-serve platforms of Google, Facebook and Amazon, while content media nets just 11% of the online advertising pot. We estimate that all online-delivered channels - including "pure play" online properties, broadcaster VOD, digital out-of-home and online radio - could account for well over 60% of UK ad spend by 2020, but only with improved commitment to industry governance.
  • Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    May 17, 2018

    Wall St Shuffle: Spotify’s non-IPO

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    Spotify is now the world’s first publicly listed on-demand music streaming service. Its global footprint generated €4 billion in 2017 from over 70 million paying subscribers and 90 million ad-funded users across 65 countries. As it expands, the service is steadily but surely moving ever closer to profitability, with a 2019 operating profit a very real prospect. So far and for the near future, Spotify’s global pre-eminence versus competition from Apple, Amazon and Google proves remarkably resilient. Plans to build upon its differentiating features will become ever more decisive as the tech titans will continue to wield their resources and ecosystems against the comparatively undiversified company.      
  • September 15, 2017

    Global recorded music forecasts 2017-21

    For the second consecutive year, the global recorded music industry body IFPI reported rising trade revenues, growing 5.9% to reach $15.6 billion in 2016. Our forecasts supplement IFPI’s trade revenue data with richer national-level consumer expenditure data from local bodies in core markets, and project CAGR of 2.3% to 2021, tapering off as streaming approaches maturity. This fairly modest topline growth for global recorded music streaming trade revenues is the product of our judgement that the marketplace remains awash with free music. Streaming trade revenue growth could be higher still if the industry finds a solution to piracy through technological or regulatory means, obviating the need for the ad-funded compromise.
  • June 22, 2017

    US music publishing royalties for 2018-22

    The “fair return” to US music publishers and songwriters for rights used by interactive streaming services will be decided in 2017 by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). Rights owners want to switch to a fixed per-stream or per-user rate on all tiers, arguing music has an inherent value. Apple is asking for a much lower per-stream rate. Amazon, Google, Spotify and Pandora warn of disruption to free and ad-supported tiers if the revenue-share tariff is not rolled over, and the CRB could side with them

  • April 12, 2017

    Spotify secures UMG royalty discount

    As Spotify wavers around the breakeven point, the deal with UMG is good news for royalty costs and thus for the likely advent of the IPO rumoured for autumn 2017. Royalty costs will reduce if Spotify reaches the subscriber growth targets that have been agreed – these have not been disclosed, so are hard to track. Question marks persist over whether a two-week optional windowing of new releases on the premium tier will significantly drive upgrades from the free tier.
  • April 7, 2017

    The Future of Audio and Radio

    Audio media are converging, with various crossmedia platforms already on the market. We explore what this means for the future of audio, how the market is being impacted and discuss how far this convergence is likely to go.
  • January 13, 2017

    Music subscription streaming 2017

    Streaming is now mainstream and we predict 113% growth in expenditure on subscriptions for 2015-18 in the top four markets (US, UK, Germany and France).

    Free vs paid-for streaming is the central question for the music ecosystem: free yields fractions of pennies, making subscription the only credible business model.

    Market leader Spotify is facing competition from tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google, with deep pockets, for whom content is a pawn in a larger game.

  • June 28, 2016

    Global music publishing 2016

    Music publishing revenues are trending up in a broad sustainable manner across the US, Europe and Japan, underpinned by longstanding music rights regimes.

  • May 26, 2016

    Google Home takes on Amazon Echo

    Google Home will compete against ­­­­Amazon’s Echo in the contest to supply voice-activated home hubs to US homes.Google claims Home is better at voice-based search due to its superior capabilities; pricing is unknown, but is likely to be at par with Echo ($179).Prime, Fire devices and media services are competitive advantages for Amazon in the US that will make it hard for Google Home to succeed there.

  • December 18, 2015

    Pandora’s 2016 music royalties to rise 12%

    The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) delivered its Web IV ruling on statutory SoundExchange licensing rates for webcasters for 2016-20, raising Pandora’s total music royalty costs by a forecast 12% in 2016. Had the CRB sided with SoundExchange, rates for Pandora’s non-subscription tier would have shot up 79%, leaving the company floundering in a sea of red ink. Nevertheless, these increased licensing costs for Pandora over 2016-20 will postpone the moment when the company attains net profitability.

  • November 6, 2015

    YouTube Red: Google’s original bid for premium content

    At launch, Google’s new subscription service YouTube Red competes most directly with premium music streaming services, also offering ad-free videos. YouTube’s augmented revenue model re-boots incentives for native talent to produce content for the platform, and will also widen its appeal for established content producers. Although consumers are likely to find paid subscription for ad-free videos a weak proposition, Red holds much potential for YouTube as it competes for attention across device ecosystems, and presents little risk to its existing advertising model.

  • October 12, 2015

    Music publishing in Germany 2014-17

    Germany remains the second largest market in Europe for the exploitation of composition rights by their authors, with €382 million paid out to them in 2014, up 8% on 2013 (63% share of distributions on average). The German Government intends to secure an even “better balance for authors” in their contracts with music publishers, by allowing the composer to “re-tender” their contracts after five years to secure a better deal. GEMA, the collecting society, has a strong position in Germany and is poised to lead the development of the digital single market for online music services. Together with PRS for Music (UK) and STIM (Sweden), GEMA has formed a joint venture (JV) to offer multi-territory licensing and copyright administration services to services, music publishers and other CMOs, cleared by the EU Commission. Music publisher revenues from domestic collections could rise from €225 million to €247 million from 2014 to 2017, due to a moderate rise in broadcast revenues on the back of the economic recovery, a boost to public performance revenues from a higher live music tariff and flat royalties from recorded music expenditure, as the decline of physical mechanicals is offset by the rise of online royalties.

  • August 24, 2015

    Music Publishing in the UK 2014-17

    The UK is the top music publishing market in Europe, at £428 million in 2014, despite being second to France and Germany for collections, because mechanical royalties for the reproduction rights (CDs, vinyl, digital) flow only to music publishers, while performance royalties are shared with writers. Thanks to the recovery of the UK economy that started in 2013, royalties from performance on radio, TV and in public have risen more strongly in recent years than in the difficult period of the recession 2008-10, providing a more promising context for sustained growth of the performance component of music publisher revenues. For online royalties, which accounted for 12% of music publisher revenues in 2014, the withdrawal by major music publishers of their rights to Anglo-American repertoire has shifted licensing to SOLAR, a joint venture of PRS for Music, STIM, and GEMA, also offering an aggregated repertoire and copyright administration services. This makes PRS for Music a leader in the development of multi-territory licensing of digital music services.

  • June 18, 2015

    Apple at WWDC: intelligent design

    Apple has confirmed the launch of Apple Music, its streaming music service, available on iOS devices by the end of June, and later on Android. Priced at the same level as Spotify’s premium tier and lacking a free ad-supported offer, much hinges on the appeal of its curation tools. Other key announcements included a news app, the roll-out of Apple Pay to the UK, improvements to maps, and new operating systems for Mac, iPhone/iPad and Watch. The main theme was one of increasing intelligence in services, with Music and News both being curated and the software getting better at understanding and predicting user needs. This is a necessary step to prepare for the next wave of consumer technology: wearables and connected devices.

  • Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    Spotify’s freemium model gains traction
    November 14, 2011

    Spotify’s freemium model gains traction

    Spotify has just passed the 2 million subscriber mark in Europe and the US, and could reach 2.5 million by the end of 2011. Smartphone adoption and partnerships with MNOs and ISPs have proven a key driver of subscription in Europe for Spotify, which lacks a telecoms partner in the US. We think subscription is profitable. Spotify's lower usage caps on the freemium tier will help compress total losses in 2011 in relation to the £25 million reported in 2010, despite the US launch.