“Soit ils se lancent dans la musique, soit dans le sexe”
“Spotify et Deezer risquent de mourir”
Dans un avenir proche toute la chaîne de production et de diffusion culturelle sera concentrée entre les mains de quelques-uns. Apple et Google ont le pouvoir sur le prix public et imposent leurs conditions pour l’accès aux contenus. C’est une grave menace pour la diversité économique et artistique !”
Amazon lance une alternative à iTunes pour les détenteurs d’iPhone – High-Tech – Actualité – Trends.be
vendredi 18 janvier 2013 à 15h24
Amazon a annoncé qu’il allait mettre à disposition des utilisateurs de l’iPhone son catalogue musical. Il y auront accès via une mise à jour de l’application “Amazon Cloud Player”. Il compte bien en faire une alternative à iTunes.
La guerre se poursuit entre Amazon et Apple, sur le terrain commercial. Le premier a mis un peu plus la pression sur iTunes, la boutique de musique en ligne d’Apple, en annonçant jeudi qu’il vendait désormais des morceaux spécialement adaptés aux appareils du groupe à la pomme. Amazon a lancé “une boutique de MP3 optimisés spécialement pour l’iPhone et l’iPod touch”, selon un communiqué.
“Depuis le lancement de l’application pour iPhone et iPod touch, Amazon Cloud Player (qui permet de stocker de la musique en ligne sur un service d’Amazon puis de l’écouter en streaming ou de la télécharger, NDLR), une demande principale des consommateurs est la possibilité d’acheter de la musique sur Amazon directement depuis leurs appareils. Pour la première fois, ils ont un moyen de le faire”, a indiqué Steve Boom, vice président d’Amazon Music, dans le communiqué.
Amazon espère ainsi convaincre les consommateurs de moins recourir à iTunes, jusqu’ici incontournable pour les détenteurs d’un appareil Apple et qui domine largement le marché de la musique numérique en ligne.
Le distributeur en ligne avait déjà annoncé la semaine dernière une initiative visant à concurrencer iTunes, en annonçant qu’il mettrait gratuitement à disposition sur le compte Cloud Player de ses clients des versions numériques MP3 de tous les CD qu’ils avaient achetés dans son magasin en ligne depuis sa création.
Down And Out: Spotify Halts Its Music Download Service In Europe, But How Many Were Using It Anyway? [Updated] | TechCrunch
Spotify has made a mark in the music business with its hugely popular music streaming service, now with20 million subscribers, 5 million of which pay monthly for it. But the company had also hedged its bets by also offering downloaded music, competing against the likes of Apple’s iTunes and Amazon in the process. All that now is changing: the company has halted music downloads to all customers, unless they have gift cards with a specific download link, in a push to “simplify” the service and “pave the way” for newer features like web-based browsing.
The change was first reported by Pocket Lint, and judging from a scan on Twitter there were people noting the change in at least two markets, the UK and Sweden. In Sweden, at least one person noticed the change before the new year (and another before Christmas), while in the UK it looks like it just started to take effect in the last day. A look on Spotify’s site indicates that download music has ceased in other European markets, too: including Norway, The Netherlands and France – essentially all the markets where it’s been offering downloads. It seems the U.S. didn’t have the downloading option available to begin with.
Spotify has not given an explanation for the change, and it has not responded yet to our questions.
Update: Spotify has responded to confirm the story, and notes the change was made to “simplify” the service. It’s not ruling out re-instating the download feature, developed in-house, again in the future.
“We recently updated Spotify to further simplify the service and pave the way for new features announced at the end of last year. In-app purchases aren’t part of this update but we’re not ruling out their return. Credits/gift cards already purchased are still redeemable.”
It does not appear that all of this affects offline listening for premium subscribers, and those who have downloaded tracks keep those, too. I have reached out to Spotify to double confirm these two details.
In the meantime, the following notice pops up when you try to download a track:
The further details also do not provide any explanation.
In general, the amount of public reaction seems fairly small — a sign perhaps that the service was not used that much compared to Spotify’s streaming option.
We have also now heard from a source close to the situation confirming that observation: “very, very few downloads,” we were told. Furthermore, the source claimed the credit system that Spotify had been operating — these were download bundles of 10, 15, 40 or 100 tracks that you could pre-purchase to bring down the price of individual downloads — didn’t work to encourage more purchases: “a turd,” in the source’s own words.
The downloads used to be powered by 7Digital, until Spotify in 2011 switched to an in-house service to better “manage the entire process“.
It’s not a surprise that Spotify would instead choose to focus resources and energy on its streaming service, which continues to disrupt the overall music sales and download business. Some of that disruption is perhaps too close to the bone, though.
Metallica announced a landmark Spotify streaming agreement in December, with a very loved-up session between Spotify investor Sean Parker, former arch-nemesis Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to commemorate the deal. But since then, sales of Metallica’s music have been down — way down.
According to Billboard:
“Billboard.biz looked at Nielsen SoundScan data for Metallica’s studio albums for four-week periods leading up to Christmas from 2008 to 2012. Based on the catalog’s performance in previous years, album sales were 15% below expectations the week the titles were added to Spotify and 35% below expectations the following week. Sales were in line with expectations the week before the titles were added to Spotify. Another way to look at the drop in Metallica’s catalog sales is to track the rise in sales leading up to Christmas. Metallica sales the week before Christmas have been from 48.8% to 71.1% higher than the average of the preceding three weeks (64.8% in 2008; 71.1% in 2009; 48.8% in 2010; and 53.6% in 2011). But those same albums increased only 28.5% in 2012.”
There has been other evidence pointing to the fact that streaming services have been cannibalizing music downloads and physical sales.
In Sweden, music sales were up by 30.1% in the first half of 2012 to SEK 446 million ($63 million). Within that, digital music was 63.5% of all sales, with physical down by 2.2%, streaming revenues up by 79.4% and downloads falling by 14%. Streaming revenues in Sweden already outpace download revenues nearly tenfold ($40 million versus $4.4 million in the first six months of the year.)
La concurrence entre Spotify et français Deezer est à son paroxysme. Spotify a levé 100 millions de dollars jeudi, via des investissements de Coca-Cola et Goldman Sachs. Si les deux européens dominent le marché, ils risquent de souffrir de l’arrivée des mastodontes américains.
Spotify et Deezer attirent les investisseurs. Jeudi, le suédois a réussi une nouvelle levée de fonds de 100 millions de dollars (78 millions d’euros) auprès de Coca-Cola ou encore de Goldman Sachs. Soit la même somme récupérée par Deezer au début du mois d’octobre. En attendant l’arrivée de nouveaux concurrents, ils se livrent une bataille sans merci. Alors, lequel des deux compte le plus d’abonnés ? Qui est le plus solide économiquement ?
Au nombre d’utilisateurs, c’est Deezer qui l’emporte
Le français Deezer mise aujourd’hui sur l’internationalisation. Asie, Afrique, Amérique du Sud, il veut être partout. Déjà présent dans plus de 130 pays, Deezer prévoit d’arriver à 200 d’ici à la fin de l’année 2012. Avec une telle présence dans le monde, le service de streaming musical peut se targuer de compter plus de 26 millions d’utilisateurs. Mais seuls 2 millions d’entre eux sont abonnés à l’offre payante Deezer Premium.
Le suédois Spotify dispose, lui, d’une base de 15 millions d’utilisateurs actifs. Une belle performance quand on sait qu’il n’est présent que dans 17 pays. En nombre d’abonnés payants en revanche, c’est le suédois qui domine. Quelque 4 millions de personnes paient pour bénéficier du catalogue et du service de Spotify.
Aucun des deux n’est rentable, Spotify dégage 4 fois plus de revenus
Selon le cabinet Privco, Spotify aurait enregistré en 2011 une croissance de 150% de son chiffre d’affaires, à 244 millions de dollars (plus de 191 millions d’euros). Soit près de quatre fois les ventes de son concurrent sur la période (50 millions d’euros).
Mais la forte croissance des revenus n’est pas un gage de rentabilité. Spotify aurait en effet accusé parallèlement une perte de 59 millions de dollars (un peu plus de 46 millions d’euros). Deezer, lui, était devenu rentable fin 2010. Mais il est retombé dans le rouge depuis, du fait “d’une période d’investissements”, avait précisé son PDG Axel Dauchez. Il espère redevenir rentable en 2014.
Des difficultés qui découlent en partie de la spécificité du marché de la musique en ligne, relève CNN.
Les catalogues des majors coûtent cher, très cher
Pour inclure de nouveaux titres dans leur catalogue, Deezer et Spotify doivent au préalable négocier avec les labels, les éditeurs ou plus rarement les artistes indépendants, qui peuvent se permettre d’imposer plus ou moins leurs conditions. “Dans la plupart des autres secteurs, si un fournisseur impose des conditions qui ne sont pas raisonnables, un revendeur peut se tourner vers des concurrents”, écrivait Michael Robertson, dirigeant et fondateur du site MP3Tunes.com, dans un post publié sur le site GigaOM. Avant d’ajouter : “Depuis que la loi confie aux labels un monopole garanti par les gouvernements, une telle option n’est plus envisageable avec la musique [...] Reste deux options : accepter les termes ou renoncer à inclure les titres des ayants droits dans le catalogue”. Une logique qui accroît considérablement les coûts. En 2010, le New-York Times révélait ainsi que la rétribution des majors par Spotify dépassait son chiffre d’affaires. D’où la nécessité de trouver le bon modèle économique.
Le choix de l’abonnement, et des partenariats
Aujourd’hui, ils misent à la fois sur la publicité et sur la vente d’abonnements. Selon le Syndicat National de l’édition Phonographique (Snep), ces derniers ont généré deux fois plus d’argent: soit 23 millions d’euros contre 12,7 pour la publicité. S’il a compris aujourd’hui que les abonnements sont plus rémunérateurs, Deezer a mis longtemps avant de croire à ce modèle. Il faut dire qu’à l’origine, lorsqu’il s’appelait encore BlogMusik, le service exploitait les titres musicaux sans l’accord des majors.
Pour faire cohabiter ces deux modèles économiques, Deezer a instauré une limitation d’écoute de 5 heures pour les utilisateurs simplement authentifiés et non abonnés. Spotify a lui opté pour un seuil de 10 heures. Sauf qu’en plus il a maintenu une limitation de 5 écoutes maximum par titre, dans certains pays (dont la France, l’Allemagne et la Grande-Bretagne).
Le problème, c’est que les abonnements ne représentent pas encore un marché de masse. D’où la nécessité de collaborer avec des sociétés capables de faire venir des clients. Deezer a ainsi gagné de nombreux abonnés via les forfaits proposés par Orange, qui est aussi l’un de ses actionnaires. Comme le rappelle PC Inpact, il a mené la même stratégie dans 14 autres pays. Et les partenariats conclus avec Facebook leur permettent de profiter de la viralité du réseau social pour attirer d’éventuels nouveaux clients.
Trends.be avec l’Expansion
Le mythique label de jazz a lancé un portail bien pensé qui permet de (re)découvrir l’imposant catalogue de la maison.
Saviez-vous que la ritournelle de flûte du mythique Sure Shot des Beastie Boys provient d’un morceau de Jeremy Steig, Howlin’ for Judy, datant en 1970 ? Dans la plus pure tradition du rap des années 1980 et 1990, les trois MC de Brooklyn ont souvent pillé le jazz pour construire leurs instrus. Une application sortie par Blue Note Record sur Spotify la semaine dernière est là pour nous le rappeler. Dans le volet le plus ludique de l’appli, intitulé Blue Break Beat et développé en partenariat avec le site WhoSampled, on peut ainsi passer des heures à découvrir l’origine de samples entendus un jour chez Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, La Rumeur ou NTM. La démarche se révèle addictive. Elle ne constitue pourtant qu’un apéritif dans la découverte de l’objet façonné avec soin par le label septuagénaire.
L’auditeur se voit offrir un voyage à travers l’histoire de la maison, allant de Herbie Hancock à Miles Davis, d’Erik Truffaz à Norah Jones. Avec un souci d’être le plus complet possible. Walter Gross, un dirigeant d’EMI qui a chapeauté le développement de l’appli, résume ainsi au magazine américain Rolling Stone l’esprit qui a conduit au développement de cette application : «Les gens me disent souvent : “j’ai envie de découvrir le jazz, par où dois-je commencer ?” je souhaitais que cette application apporte une réponse à ces personnes, tout en satisfaisant les vrais fans de jazz». Au vu du catalogue, dont près de cinq cents albums sont disponibles, et de la qualité de l’objet, la mission semble remplie.
Visuellement séduisante avec sa charte graphique rétro, l’appli est intuitive. Il suffit d’ouvrir le filtre, de passer son curseur sur une période historique, un artiste, un instrument ou même un type de jazz et d’ouvrir ses oreilles.
Tout est également pensé pour prendre par la main l’auditeur en manque de repère. Dans le volet Blue Note 101, le catalogue du label est par exemple décomposé en rubriques plus ou moins accessibles. On pourra commencer avec des artistes plus mainstreams tels Keren Ann ou Norah Jones avant de rebondir au gré des suggestions faites par l’application.
La démarche du label est à saluer d’autant que d’autres géants de la musique comme la Warner ont déjà lancé des appli, avec beaucoup moins de réussite.
Seuls bémols: la maîtrise de l’anglais est souhaitée, de même qu’un abonnement payant à Spotify pour bénéficier d’une écoute illimitée. Une condition quasiment indispensable, car il faudra bien des nuits blanches pour parvenir à écluser l’ensemble du catalogue de la note bleue.
- What You Need To Know About Syncing Spotify With An iPod (makeuseof.com)
- Explore a timeline of Jazz with Blue Note Records’ free Spotify app (theverge.com)
- A Piece Of Technology That Makes Listening To Jazz Better (npr.org)
- Students design ‘Skube’, a Spotify-powered music box – but will it be produced? (theverge.com)
- Discovery Over Snobbery: Blue Note’s New Spotify App Designed to Make Jazz More Accessible (atlantablackstar.com)
Remember when Friendster was the hot social network, publishers doubted that ebooks would ever sell, and Netflix thought DVDs in red envelopes was the future?
We do — that was that state of digital media when paidContent launched in 2002. Other weird things were happening back then too: People still got much of their news from television and newspapers, and they learned about major events after they had already happened.There have been some huge shifts since 2002: Tablets and smartphones are now ubiquitous, lots of people read on their digital devices, and just about everyone is part of a social network or three. This summer is the tenth anniversary of our launch. In an effort to gain some perspective on the past decade in digital media, I’ve been reading back through paidContent’s archives — a collection of over 80,000 posts.
Since I was only a freshman in college when paidContent came to life, I often didn’t know, as I read through the stories from the early days, how things had begun or how they turned out. As I watched them unfold, I wanted to grab our readers’ arms and give them advice (“Don’t buy that Zune!” “Invest in Facebook!” “Go for the good Twitter handle now!”). But I also realized how difficult it is to predict success.
Some takeaways from my trip through the archives: Some companies — AOL and Yahoo come to mind — have been consistently bad at predicting what consumers want. And a couple of companies, namely Apple and Amazon, have been very good at it. Also, being a native digital company helps, but it’s no guarantee of success (what up, MySpace?). And after all these years, it’s still not clear what content customers will pay for, or how much they’ll pay.
What do analysts, CEOs and bloggers have in common? None of us can predict the future.Roger Ebert joked in 2002 that “on-demand streaming movies on the Web, like HDTV, are five years in the future — and will be for at least another 10 years.”
If Disney’s Moviebeam had been the only game in town, Ebert probably would have been right. When it launched in three cities in 2003, customers paid $6.99 a month to use a device that could hold 100 movies and plugged into the back of a TV set. They also had to pay for each movie they watched– billing was done via the phone line. The company went through various unsuccessful iterations before India’s Valuable Group bought it in 2008. It was never heard from again.
Netflix almost went down the same road. It had a plan to release a Moviebeam-like “proprietary set-top box with an Internet connection that could download movies overnight.” But instead, it decided to forge ahead with streaming — starting with a complicated “quota hours” system in 2007 and moving to unlimited streaming in 2008. By 2010, the majority of subscribers were streaming something, and the company began offering streaming-only subscriptions, though CEO Reed Hastings said that same year that the company would keep shipping DVDs until 2030. (We’ll see about that.)
ABC was the first network to sell episodes of its shows on iTunes, back in 2006, and to stream shows free with ads on ABC.com — and later on AOL. But by the time premium subscription service Hulu Plus launched in 2010, the platforms getting the attention were devices with built-in access, like Internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players, and tablets.
Speaking of AOL: It’s something of a miracle that the company still exists. In 2000, when it merged with Time Warner, it was valued at $350 billion, and the next year, more than 24 million people in the U.S. were paying for its Internet access service. By the end of last year, that number had dwindled to just 3.3 million subscribers. Here’s a quick recap of some of AOL’s miscues over the years:
- AOL Voicemail ($5.95 per month)
- A teen service called Red (featuring “a talking head—using the image of an actual employee—that uses software to answer users’ questions”)
- A digital music partnership with Burger King
- A reality show called “Gold Rush”
- Social networking site AIM Pages
- Going free
- The hyperlocal Patch blogs
Though AOL was once a high flier, no other company ever liked it quite enough to buy it. Googlebought a five-percent, $1 billion stake in AOL in 2005, leading analysts to wonder if Microsoft missed out. That resulted in a $726 million writedown in 2009. Time Warner bought back Google’s stake and finally spun off “the albatross” in December 2009. AOL is still promising a bounceback. “The executive team expects a profitable content business by next year,” CEO Tim Armstrong said in May 2011.
Yahoo hasn’t fared much better. The company launched Yahoo Platinum in 2003; for $9.95 a month, subscribers got access to audio and videos. The program was dead by October of that same year. It later tried a Twitter-wannabe microblogging service (“Meme…where you share everything that you find that’s interesting,”). Perhaps the smartest move Yahoo ever made was not buying AOL.
Where did these companies go wrong? In 2010, former Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin pondered that question in an interview with the New York Times . The AOL-Time Warner deal was “undone by the Internet itself,” he said. “I think it’s something that no one could have foreseen, and to this day, whether Apple is going to dominate entertainment or whether Amazon is going to dominate publishing, all the old business plans are out the window. How do you get paid for content?”
In 2006, an RBC Capital analyst estimated that a certain social networking company would be worth $15 billion in a few years, based on “raw, unprecedented user/usage growth.”
Six years later, Facebook went public with a valuation of $104 billion. Too bad the analyst wasn’t talking about Facebook but about MySpace. The social networking company that Rupert Murdoch acquired for $580 million in 2005 sold for just $35 million in 2011.
Why did Facebook soar while MySpace — and other social networking services like Friendster — sank? It allowed people to build real connections using their actual personal information, and rolled out a product that was ready to scale and had good technology. Other companies realized sharing was important too — in 2005, Yahoo SVP Jeff Weiner called sharing “the next chapter of the World Wide Web” — but Facebook was able to implement it in a way that kept users coming back. The site surpassed Yahoo and AOL for “stickiness” in 2009, when Nielsen found users spending an average of four hours and thirty-nine minutes a month on Facebook.
Social has already disrupted some industries — witness the rise of Twitter and the way it has changed the way news is reported, with stories like Osama Bin Laden’s assassination breaking there first. In a sign of the importance of these emerging platforms, newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times are launching “Everywhere” initiatives to deliver news to readers where they are already hanging out.
Hard to believe it now, but there was real skepticism that iTunes’ 99-cent songs would be able to compete with peer-to-peer file-sharing services. “According to academics who’ve studied the economics of digital music distribution,” we wrote in 2003, the year iTunes launched, “the cost still seems too high to attract users of peer-to-peer file trading services.” The piece cited an economist who believed “the appropriate price of a downloaded song is 18 cents.” In fact, Real Networks dropped its song prices to $0.49 in an attempt to compete against Apple.
In the end, consumers choose selection and convenience over P2P networks. We called iTunes “a kickstart for the micropayments industry.” Was it? While Steve Jobs said in 2004 that Apple wouldn’t hit its one-year, 100 million songs downloaded goal, global digital music sales crossed $1.1 billion in 2006. In April 2008, Apple surpassed Walmart as the largest music seller in the United States.
The company that arguably started the digital music revolution — Napster — didn’t survive. Once it no longer offered “free,” it was done, though it tried to reincarnate itself: launching a mobile music service, “Napster To Go,” with AT&T in 2004 (the one smartphone that supported it could hold up to 6 songs), partnering with Circuit City on a digital music store, getting itself acquired by Best Buy in 2008 ,and then being bought back by Rhapsody in 2011. Unfortunately, Rhapsody was already losing out to newer (and free) streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.
The partnerships with Circuit City and Best Buy, though, were probably the kiss of death. One of the big trends of the past 10 years has been brick-and-mortar retail stores’ consistent failure to compete effectively against digital-native companies. Best Buy wasn’t the only retailer to try to crack the digital-content business — and fail: Target and Sears both took a shot. And McDonald’s sold digital content over its WiFi network and even tried DVD rentals in its restaurants.
Just as digital music didn’t really take off until Apple introduced the iPod, the ebook revolution didn’t take place until the arrival of the Kindle. In paidContent’s early years, ebooks were written off as a failure in part because publishers couldn’t figure out what to do with DRM. (In 2003, “temporary electronic ink” that would disappear after a few months was floated as a possible solution.) Barnes & Noble decided to stop selling ebooks in 2003, and Yahoo stopped selling them in 2004.
Meanwhile, Amazon and Google were pushing forward. Google launched Google Print – now called Google Book Search, and still besieged by lawsuits seven years later. Amazon tested two now-defunct programs: Amazon Pages, which allowed customers to buy access to digital copies of select pages from books, and Amazon Upgrade, which bundled print books with online access to the complete work.
Customers weren’t biting. Then Amazon came out with the Kindle in 2007 for $399. Less than two years later, Amazon was selling more Kindle books than print books, and ebooks now make up over 20 percent of some big-six publishers’ sales. Barnes & Noble has had some success with its Nook e-reader and digital bookstore, but bankrupt Borders shuttered all its stores in 2011. Meanwhile, theDepartment of Justice suit against Apple and five big publishers for allegedly colluding to set e-book prices drags on.
A Forbes survey back in 2002 found that “business professionals” would be willing to pay for “news content to be delivered to their cellular devices,” and some media companies tried early mobile experiments. Verizon offered a cell phone version of the Yellow Pages — which, at $19.95 per year, gained 15,000 subscribers in three months. But starting in 2004, everyone decided the future was in ringtones. A $4 billion global business by the end of the year, one company projected.
So, so many ringtones. You could buy them from Rolling Stone or from an ATM-like device called E2Go. A fall 2004 marketing campaign let you mix your own ringtones on Levi’s website. Billboard launched a top ringtones chart.
Could ringtones “prove to be a passing fad”? we wondered late in 2004. Luckily, yes — a new technology came along to shake up the mobile market. No, it wasn’t the $500 ESPN phone, but the iPhone, which came out in 2007. And by opening its platform up to third-party app developers, Apple got users ready for its next ecosystem-changing device, the iPad, in 2010.
Advertising has always been a fuzzy business — how exactly do you measure engagement and success? Well, that’s still the big debate about advertising in the digital era. ”If here’s anything that’s really holding back ad spending on the web, it’s the lack of good measurements,” Tim Armstrong, then Google’s VP of national sales, said in 2007.
Mobile advertising has also faced obstacles. In 2006, mobile carriers began allowing advertising despite fears of annoying customers. Customers were indeed annoyed – 79 percent of them found mobile advertising annoying, according to a 2007 Forrester study — but they could “see the potential benefits of mobile advertising and marketing to themselves,” particularly if they could get a useful special offer or coupon.
Further complicating matters for advertisers: The smartphone market is fragmented among different brands — marketers don’t want to spend the money to create different ads for Android and iOS — and there are two mobile ad universes: mobile browser and apps.
Nevertheless, mobile advertising has gained ground, crossing $1 billion in the U.S. for the first time in 2011, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, totaling $1.6 billion for the year.
The next opportunity is social media advertising. And once again, it will be a challenge to figure out some standardized metrics. What’s a retweet worth, anyways?
Though micropayments worked well for music when Apple launched iTunes, the path to payments for written content has been rockier. In 2004, we wrote that “micropayments today are still characterized by a large number of competing transaction types” – including direct-to-bill, merchant aggregation, prepaid accounts and direct transfer – and “each of these face the current incumbent in digital content distribution: the flat-fee subscription model.”
Eight years later, it appears that the subscription model has won out. The iPad opened the door for magazine and newspaper publishers to create new revenue selling content on that platform, but the results have been mixed. When Rupert Murdoch’s “The Daily” iPad newspaper launched in early 2011, the company called it “the model for how stories are told and consumed.” We wrote, “The bet here is that while consumers are less and less likely to reach into their pocket for a few quarters to buy a newspaper, they might not care about the 14 cents on their credit card for a copy of an e-newspaper.” A year and a half later, The Daily has over 100,000 paying subscribers — but it’s living on borrowed time and may not get through the five years its publisher has said it needs to break even.
Writing for the web, of course, has been around for awhile. At the beginning of the decade, blogging was called “nanopublishing,” and the question was how blogs could support themselves doing it. All sorts of models have arisen. For example, Gawker tried a licensing deal with Yahoo, but that relationship ended a year later. The deal “garnered way more attention than we expected, but less traffic,” Gawker CEO Nick Denton said in 2006.
Some bloggers have stayed independent and make a living from advertising (or from their day job); others write their blogs under a newspaper, website or larger magazine’s umbrella — see the Dish’s Andrew Sullivan, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, WaPo’s Ezra Klein. Or, they go to work for the Huffington Post!
Magazine companies have grappled with whether to bundle digital editions with print subscriptions or charge for them separately. Time Inc. — which first put digital editions of its magazines behind AOL’s paywall in 2003 — started out charging separately, but today Time Inc. and Condé Nast print subscribers get the digital edition free. Hearst, meanwhile, is charging separately, and it said its digital business in the U.S. became “solidly profitable” for the first time in 2011.
Could there ever be a Netflix for magazines? Time tried it for print versions with its 2008 Maghound service. It failed, due to a lack of marketing and reader interest. Magazine publishers are trying again with joint venture Next Issue Media.
Many newspaper publishers, most notably the New York Times, tried paywalls at the start of the decade and then abandoned them – only to return to the model in the past couple years. In its most recent earnings report, the NYT said it has 454,000 digital subscribers. Is that enough to sustain the newspaper in its 21st-century transition? Probably the best answer to that came from Vivian Schiller. But it was in response not to the NYT’s recent digital subscriber numbers, but to the NYT’s decision in 2004 to close the paper’s first paywall, known as TimesSelect. Schiller, then the SVP and general manager of NYTimes.com, was asked whether TimesSelect had worked. “It did work,” she said. “It’s just a matter of as compared to what.”
Birthday cake photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [Robyn Mackenzie].
TV photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [Somchai Buddha].
Zombie hand photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [lineartestpilot].
Piggybank photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [cardiae]
Fast food photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [Sergio Martinez].
Book photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [TrotzOlga].
Ringtones and apps photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [violetkaipa].
Cash register photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [titelio].
Magazines photo courtesy of Shutterstock user [bernashafo].
- Cable exec: “Netflix is our frenemy” – paidContent (digitaltvnewssummary.wordpress.com)
- Hope You Guys Didn’t Like Magazines Because Here Come the ‘Branded Experiences’ (observer.com)
- Can Motorola’s cloud-based DVR kick-start TV Everywhere? – paidContent (digitaltvnewssummary.wordpress.com)
- Netflix Profit Plummets 91% (newser.com)
Spotify is now the No. 2 revenue source for the major music labels, a source close to the company tells us.
Spotify is an on-demand music service. There are free and subscription options. 23 million people used the service last month, according to AppData.
The No. 1 revenue source for labels is Apple’s iTunes.
iTunes paid approximately $3.2 billion to record labels in 2011, Business Insider Intelligence estimates.
The gap between Apple and Spotify remains extremely large, our source tells us.
“iTunes is way up here,” our source said, gesturing up high, “and everyone else is way down here.”
At this year’s SXSW conference in Austin, early Spotify investor Sean Parker said: “If we [Spotify] continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”
Spotify raised more than $100 million at a $1 billion valuation in 2011.
We first heard about Spotify’s latest raise at a massive valuation back in March. Then, investors told us they were very skeptical of the company’s prospects. The reason: Spotify does not own the content it sells to consumers. The labels do. In this view, the music labels will be able to keep a close eye on Spotify’s margins and tax the startup’s (as-of-yet unrealized) profits heavily.
The more optimistic view is that the labels will support Spotify as an alternative to iTunes, which the labels view as too powerful. In this outcome, Spotify will become a revenue source the label come to depend on and it will be able to dictate terms.
- Report: Spotify Now The #2 Digital Revenue Source For Labels (allaccess.com)
- Spotify Is Now The Second Biggest Source Of Revenue For Labels – Source (businessinsider.com)
- Spotify said to be No.2 source of revenue for major music labels (bgr.com)
- iTunes And Spotify Are Now Highest Income Generators For Labels (noise11.com)
- Spotify now number two revenue source for music industry (electronista.com)
APRIL 12, 2012
New opportunities arise to sponsor content and artists as streaming services gain users and listening hours
A battery of disruptions have roiled the US recording industry and shrunk it in half in just over a decade. The industry’s past experiments with digital media seemed promising at first but have not generated enough revenue to stem losses from sagging sales of compact discs. Against this backdrop, can a new generation of cloud-based streaming models revive the industry?
“The short answer is maybe,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Cloud-Based Music Streaming: Emerging Opportunities for Brands.” “Key trends are pointing in the right direction, including positive technology adoption forecasts, a profusion of social sharing activity connected to music, video channels that are generating revenue and expanded marketing opportunities around music content.”
In a sign of how important online streaming and subscription music services have become to the recording industry, trade publicationBillboard recently updated its weekly Hot 100 song chart to include data from Spotify, Slacker, Rhapsody, Cricket/Muve, Rdio and MOG. The revamped methodology went live in March 2012, after several months of testing that showed a rising curve for audio streams, from 320.5 million in the first week of 2012 to 494 million during the week of March 4, 2012. By comparison, digital track sales during that period decreased from 46.4 million to 27.1 million, according to Nielsen.
Another indicator of the popularity of cloud-based streaming was a 50.5% increase in online music listening hours in 2011. According to a February 2012 report from AccuStream Research, US consumers spent 1.3 billion hours listening to music through internet radio and other streaming services in 2011, up from 865 million hours in 2010.
The media spend associated with US internet radio and on-demand streaming services amounted to $293.7 million in 2011, according to AccuStream Research. This compares with $171.7 million spent on subscriptions to those services. AccuStream forecast that the total market would grow by 78% in 2012.
Ad monetization is expected to grow at a healthy clip on the mobile side as well. eMarketer expects US mobile music advertising revenues to hit $591.5 million in 2015, more than doubling 2012’s total of $264.5 million. According to eMarketer estimates, the advertising component of mobile revenue is much higher with music than with gaming or video, largely because of the popularity of Pandora and Spotify on mobile devices.