Category Archives: Music Streaming

August News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

August was an especially busy month for our stores and streaming services, with even some of our more niche partners making big news:

  • iHeartRadio’s listener rate is skyrocketing, surpassing 10 million new registered users within the last seven months.
  • Shazam is soon to become a household name with the new Fox game show Beat Shazam.
  • After its recent acquisition, eMusic is taking another crack at their audiobook subscription service, eStories.
  • Spotify targets a fresh new audience with their Kids & Family genre channel.


iHeartRadio is celebrating its five year anniversary with 90 million registered users.


Since their launch in 2011, iHeartRadio has quickly become the
largest radio outlet in the United States. This month, they got to celebrate even more as they reached 80 million registered users; 10 million of which were earned in just the last eight months.

iHeartRadio’s catalogue features over 30 million songs from moreiheartradio than one million artists worldwide. As iHeartRadio continues to grow, they are putting more focus on customizable and curated content similar to Spotify’s Discover Weekly or Apple Music’s For You playlists.

“Radio continues to evolve — and so does iHeartRadio. We know our users want to listen to our broad range of content on the device of their choice — and we also know they want to enjoy amazing stories that have emerged from the recent podcast boom or hear their hometown DJ wherever they travel,” said iHeartRadio President Darren Davis. “For those reasons and more, people continue to embrace iHeartRadio, and it’s reflected in the continued rapid growth of our registered user base.”

Congratulations to iHeartRadio, and wish them even greater success in the future!

Fox has greenlit a new game show that could make Shazam a household name.


shazam928After seventeen years and countless advancements in cell phone technology, Shazam is already a widely-known brand. Some may even say it’s taking on the likes of Kleenex and Post-It, with its brand being almost universally synonymous with the action of song recognition. However, this fall might make the brand even more popular, after the new game show Beat Shazam premieres on Fox.

In the wake of American Idol’s final season ending, Fox has been in the market for new unscripted content. Keeping in line with Idol’s musical competition style, Beat Shazam will be the Jeopardy of musical game shows. Shazam already has “Beat Shazam” quizzes on their site, but Beat Shazam will involve a round where contestants compete against each other. The last person standing competes in the final round to beat the app itself.

Fox has not yet announced when Beat Shazam will premiere, or where it is set to fit into their programming schedule, but we’ll be looking forward to testing our own skills alongside those competing on TV.

eMusic is revamping its service by reintroducing its audiobook subscription service, eStories.


After being acquired by Triplay last autumn, eMusic has been on theeMusic fast-track to rebranding and retooling their service. One of the many improvements CEO Tamir Koch has been working on is the re-launch of their audiobook subscription service under the new name eStories.

With rating systems, features reviews, and author bios, eMusic’s chief mission is to expose listeners to new books, almost like the audiobook version of the literary site Goodreads.

“We’ve wanted to get into the booming audiobook business for many years,” said Koch. “It is a great companion to our other services and perfectly suited to our technology, digital media experience and ability to offer the same unlimited cloud storage our users have enjoyed for years.”

Boasting a catalogue of over 80,000 titles, eStories is priced at $11.99 per month ($3 a month cheaper than Audible). With apps available for both Android and iOS devices, the revamped audiobook service may bring more attention to eMusic as a whole.

Spotify expands its reach, offering a relaunch of a Kids & Family category to its browse feature.


spotifySpotify is attempting to create a new generation of listeners by re-launching the Kids & Family section of their browse feature. The section now features an array of “Let’s Sing Together” playlists, from “Going on a Drive,” to “Folk for Kids,” to even “Para Dormir” for Spanish-speaking listeners.

The playlists are focused on providing learning and language opportunities for listeners, as well as an opportunity for parents to engage with their children. Sound bites from celebrities such as Tyler Perry, Busy Phillips, and Sarah Michelle Gellar are interspersed between songs to provide games and conversation topics for parents and kids.

The songs on the playlists themselves cover a lot of ground, as well. From tried-and-true classics like The Wiggles, to songs from E.R.A.’s RnB Nursery Rhymes, the playlists are a diverse blend of songs that kids and parents can both enjoy.

The Kids & Family category is part of Spotify’s “social good” initiative in an effort to provide more readily-available educational musical content. Spotify works with the Family Independence Initiative to gain feedback from listeners in their network and award funding to artists who host musical activities for children and families.

As one of TuneCore’s most successful genres, we hope to see our artists featured on these playlists in the future.

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TuneCore Artists Earn $44 Million in Q2 2016

TuneCore is excited to share that in Q2 of 2016, our collective base of independent artists earned $44 million – a 24% increase from the second quarter of 2015. That means that since TuneCore launched in 2006, TuneCore Artists have earned $733 million from 36.5 billion downloads and streams.

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Once a contentious point of consideration for artists distributing new music, streaming has proven to be a choice method of consumption for fans, prompting artists to cast a wide net and make their music available on these platforms. In fact, we’re looking at an 82% increase in streaming growth, with top contributors including TIDAL (+157%), Amazon Music (+112%) and Spotify (+89%). Streaming has proven to be on the upswing around the world as well, specifically in Australia (+124%), UK (+97%), Germany (+108%) and India (+112%).

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The more fans’ access to music increases, the more music TuneCore Artists desire to create! We’re psyched to see that TuneCore Artists continue to distribute at a record pace all over the globe. Some of the fastest growing territories include India, Africa, Asia and South America:

fastest_growing_territories

On the music publishing administration side of things, TuneCore Artists saw a 31% growth in gross revenue year over year. In addition, YouTube continues to be a lucrative platform for independent artists with gross revenue from YouTube Sound Recording experiencing a 110% increase and YouTube Art Tracks seeing a 384% increase in gross revenue growth.

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TuneCore’s fastest growing genre is K-Pop, which has increased by 147% since the second quarter of 2015 and is popular in markets including US, Canada and Australia. Additional fastest growing genres and their respective popular markets include:

  • R&B/Soul (+85%) in Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, Netherlands & Sweden
  • J-Pop (+81%) in Japan, UK & France
  • Hip Hop/Rap (49%) in Netherlands, Mexico and Chile
  • Children’s Music (+42%) in Norway & Canada

You can head over to our awesome interactive infographic to explore which genres are doing well in every country in the world! 

Trending_Genres_HipHop_Worldwide

As we’ve launched new sites internationally, we’re also excited to announce that TuneCore’s local offerings in these markets are experiencing steady increases in customer growth: Germany (+221%), UK (72%) and Australia (+13%).

TuneCore_Website_Growth_Local

Here’s to another successful quarter for the members of our TuneCore Artist community!  For more information, don’t forget to check out our interactive infographic.

 

July News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

Our stores are gearing up for the second half of the year with some exciting new developments:

  • Spotify attempts to rival Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio by launching two new radio shows on their service.
  • TIDAL caters to both artists and listeners alike at the twelfth annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in DUMBO.
  • After a two year wait, Deezer has finally been made widely available for listeners in the United States.

Spotify launches two new radio stations to compete with Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.

Spotify is giving Apple Music a run for their money by launching two new exclusive radio stations. Similar to Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, Secret Genius and AM/PM are artist-focused and feature new music, artist interviews, and more.

spotify-logoAM/PM focuses on the music that guest artists like to listen to, both in the morning and at night. In addition to the interviews, each episode comes packed with an AM and PM playlist curated by the guest. Guests artists thus far include Tinie Tempah, Wolf Alice, Lianne La Havas, and more.

“There’s an experimental edge to what we’re doing: let’s try this out and give it a go,” said Spotify’s Rob Fitzpatrick. “…AM/PM is an artist-friendly way of doing that without it becoming a thing that turns into a slog for them.”

Secret Genius concentrates on songwriters, interviewing different artists every week to discuss the songwriting and collaborative process. Guests have included breakout star James Blake, as well as more behind-the-scenes songwriters Nick Van Eede, Ed Drewett and Nicky Chinn.

The radio stations are available to all Spotify users, including those with free accounts.

Brooklyn Bridge Park provides a backdrop for TIDAL’s latest exclusive concerts at the 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was pulsing with the sound of hip hop earliertidal logo this month. The TIDAL-sponsored 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival was a major attraction for hip hop lovers from New York and the Tri-State Area, featuring headliners like Nas and TuneCore artist Talib Kweli.

The 4-day event was held in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a small neighborhood tucked in between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges that is home to both the festival and TuneCore’s Brooklyn office. Each day was unique, offering a different flavor of hip hop entertainment for every day of the festival.

Wednesday, July 13th kicked things off with the “Hip Hop Institute,” a series of lectures and workshops with artists and executives of the hip hop world. The lectures covered everything from making it as a musician to what it means to be a woman in hip hop. In the aftermath of several police shootings this month, keynote speaker DeRay McKesson inspired listeners with words about Black Lives Matter.  

Day two focused on hip hop and film with the Dummy Clap Film Festival. Screenings included 86-32, the 1983 documentary Style Wars, and the 25th Anniversary Screening of New Jack City. Day three took a page from Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” video, combining visual art with music from DJ Midnite, TuneCore artist Taylor Bennett, and more. Finally, the weekend was capped off by a blowout finale concert on the waterfront, including Fabolous and Rapsody, in addition to headliners Nas and Talib Kweli.

TIDAL helped bring the Brooklyn festival to hip hop lovers everywhere, offering a live stream of the concerts throughout the weekend that can now be viewed at any time on TIDAL.

Deezer is ready to tackle the US streaming market with the long-awaited launch of their service in the United States.

Spotify, TIDAL, Apple Music, etc. have another streaming service to compete with, starting this month. The French streaming service Deezer has been working to launch a US version of their site for the past two years, offering limited beta memberships through partners like Bose and Cricket Wireless during that time. However, the wait is now over for the rest of us, and Deezer is fully live for streaming in the US.

“We are thrilled to make Deezer available to all music fans in the U.S., at a time when the company is growing stronger and developing new technologies that enable us to deliver a much more personalized experience. We’ve already received an overwhelmingly positive response since offering Deezer via our partners Sonos, Bose and Cricket, and now look forward to making our service available to everyone,” Deezer Global CEO Dr. Hans-Holger Albrecht said in their launch statement.

Deezer-logoDeezer’s US service is Premium-tier only, meaning there is no option for listeners to stream music free in exchange for ads. Instead, Deezer is offering a 30-day free trial for all new customers, who will then be required to pay $9.99 per month to continue with the service.

With 16 million monthly users across 180 countries, Deezer is one of the most widely-available music stores around. The service is already a household name in Europe, but it faces some tough competition this side of the Atlantic including goliaths like Apple Music, TIDAL, and Spotify. The newly-updated “flow” discovery feature, along with their quirky and hilarious advertising campaign, should be a big selling point for US listeners.

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NEW STORE ALERT: Kuack Media Group

Here at TuneCore, we’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for new, exciting streaming services and digital music stores to offer independent artists access to. As the way in which consumers all over the world choose to listen to and discover new music evolves, we too must evolve to help creators reach new fans in different places.

With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that TuneCore is officially distributing music to Kuack Media Group. Kuack Media Group is the market leader streaming service for mobile telecommunication companies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

That means music fans who have mobile service from Virgin Mobile Colombia, Digicel, Kolbi Costa Rica or Viva Bolivia and subscribe to either “Premium” or “Top” tiers in territories like Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, El Salvador, and more will have access to your music when you distribute to Kuack Media Group.

For those less familiar with mobile services like those mentioned above, let’s just put it into perspective for you: across all four mentioned, there are over 19 million mobile subscribers combined – all of whom have easy access to Kuack Media Group’s respective platforms as a convenient streaming subscription service option.

As far as the subscriptions go, artists can rest assured that they’ll be paid for streams whether fans prefer Premium (unlimited streaming, conditional downloads, playlist creation, & more) or Top (access to a Top 40 Chart and rotating playlists which can be downloaded conditionally as well) tiers. Even cooler? Kuack Media prides itself on promoting independent artists!

If you’re interested in getting your music in front of more Latin American and Caribbean music fans, head over to your Store Manager and add  your music to Kuack Media Group.

Not a TuneCore Artist yet? Sign up for your free account today and get your music distributed to all of our awesome digital store partners.

June News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

The days are longer, the sun is brighter, and our digital store partners are gearing up for a summer’s worth of big updates:

  • Amazon Music plans to release a new streaming service that will compete against Spotify and Apple Music
  • US music mogul Guy Oseary, famous for representing Madonna and Nicki Minaj, has become an investor and partner of Saavn
  • Apple Music responds to negative customer reviews with a total overhaul of their interface
  • Deezer uses a simple, fun advertising strategy and sees their new user numbers triple

Our store partners are working hard to improve customer experience, offer new products, and make it easier for your fans to listen to your music.

Amazon Music is stepping into the streaming arena with a new service planned to rival Apple Music, Spotify, and TIDAL


Pretty soon, Apple Music, Spotify, et al. will see another competitor in the ring of digital music streaming. A source informed Reuters earlier this month that Amazon Music is planning to offer a standalone streaming service for, in keeping with what has become an industry standard, $9.99 per month. The service is set to launch early this fall.

2. amazon-music-logoCurrently, Amazon offers a curated catalogue of music for
streaming, available only to Amazon Prime members. The new 
service will be available outside of the Prime membership for the monthly cost of $9.99, and will offer a larger catalogue of music for streaming.

Amazon has been making huge strides in its competition with other streaming services outside of just music. Prime Instant Video is in direct competition with Netflix and Hulu, and Amazon recently launched a customer-supported video service called Amazon Video Direct which is a similar service to YouTube. It’s therefore something of a natural progression for the store to invest in a music streaming service to compete with Spotify, TIDAL, and Apple Music. The service is also likely to complement the Amazon Echo device released last year.

We’re excited to check out the service when it launches!

Saavn receives an investment from a major music industry executive. What does it mean for the service?


Legendary music executive Guy Oseary has joined Saavn as an investor and partner, as of earlier this month.

Oseary started his career at 19 years old as an A&R rep for Maverick Records. He quickly climbed through the ranks, now acting as partner and CEO for Maverick, which represents artists like Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Paul McCartney, and Lil Wayne.

8. Saavn-Logo-Horizontal-Green-1000Saavn isn’t Oseary’s first go at tech investment. He joined with Ashton Kutcher and Ronald Burkle to form A-Grade Investments, which has helped finance Airbnb, Spotify, SoundCloud, Shazam, and Uber. In the case of Saavn, however, this is a personal venture and is not associated with A-Grade.

Saavn CEO and Co-Founder Rishi Malhotra is excited to have Gil on the Saavn executive team. “Guy has incredible instincts across entertainment and media. He understands that we are not building the Spotify or Pandora of India. We are building Saavn in India, for India, and we’re thrilled to work with him to build the company for the long term.”

Perhaps, to quote the 1942 movie Casablanca, “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Apple Music gets a makeover to improve their customer experience.


Between their first year anniversary coming around the corner and their recent announcement that Apple Music is now up to 15 million subscribers, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the Apple Music community.

Another big piece of news from the Apple Music front was apple-musicannounced at their Worldwide Developers Conference that took place between June 13th-17th in San Francisco. Senior Vice President Eddy Cue showed off the brand new Apple Music interface, designed to better employ the feedback received from customers over the last year. The new version of Apple Music is designed to centralize the listening experience and create a fluid transition between streaming and downloaded music.

Since the June 2015 launch of Apple Music, Apple has struggled to consolidate the pre-existing iTunes app with their new streaming service. Both listening platforms were combined into the Music app, but the interface has notably been difficult to navigate, and in rare cases has resulted in thousands of lost audio files. This new overhaul is designed to not only better harmonize iTunes and Apple Music, but it’s also making the interface easier to maneuver.

Cue detailed that the new version of Apple Music will have a mostly black-and-white interface, making the colorful album artwork pop, as well as more detailed song information and a “Recently Added” section to check in on what’s been recently downloaded or saved on the device. The new updates will also affect the desktop OS, with Apple Music sharing available directly through iMessage.

The newly designed Apple Music should be integrated with iOS 10, coming this fall, and we can’t wait to test it out.

Deezer uses their enormous registration increase to revamp their advertising strategy and help close the gap between themselves and Spotify.


Deezer took a leap last year with their first attempt at TV advertising, and it’s paid off big time. The streaming service, available in over 180 countries, has seen a 300 percent growth in daily registrations within the last year. With that momentum, they’re taking on a new strategy with a fresh set of video advertisements.

Deezer-logoDeezer’s first campaign approach is simple: what rhymes with Deezer? The commercials are straightforward and fun, and the bright colors, subtle humor, and “sounds like you” tagline give the store’s branding a friendly and approachable vibe that inspires you to check out the service. Their new campaign takes the silly but candid sentiment that brought them so much success in 2015, only now doubling-down its own absurdity. They even went for a one-two punch by adding puppies, because who doesn’t love a dog jamming out to dance music? The new “flow my music” tagline refers to their recommendation tool, but also implies an easy-to-use interface.

“Our first foray we saw a 300 percent increase in daily registrations. With those results in mind, having demonstrated TV is a success and we’re keen to unlock more of that opportunity. With this new campaign we’re broadening the offering to more audiences and more media channels,” said Christian Harris, managing director for the UK & Ireland.

As Deezer grows in strength, they hope to close the gap between themselves and Spotify. With a campaign this naturally enticing and their consequential success over the last year, it looks like Deezer is quickly becoming a huge asset to artists around the world.

Deezer is available in almost every territory, and listeners can apply for the beta in the United States.

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Store Update: Rhapsody is Now ‘Napster’

If you were born before the late 80s or early 90s, the word ‘Napster‘ is synonymous with completely disrupting the way anyone with access to a computer equipped with dial-up Internet service could consume music.

Sketchy song titles, people mixing up  artists like “Soft Cell” and “The Clash”, slow downloads, and the first-ever DIY ‘mix CDs’ once those ‘burners’ came long – to music lovers who felt, rightly or wrongly, that they’d been subjected to overpaying for albums for the past five years, it was a welcome, hands-on process.

But even younger music fans and creators remember what would come next for Napster. (Read: Confusion, fear, and some wealthy artists taking legal action…catch up here.)

A Web 2.0 relic that laid the foundation for a wave of music piracy while simultaneously inspiring the future of digital music consumption, the Napster brand was ultimately bought by Rhapsody – a popular music streaming platform that TuneCore has proudly distributed independent artists’ music to for years – in 2011.

‘Why?’ people wondered, ‘What are they gonna do with that?’

Well, yesterday Rhapsody has announced that it is rebranding as Napster in the U.S. They had already been using the Napster brand in other countries. The company said:

“Rhapsody is becoming Napster. No changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists. Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!”

While we’re not sure exactly what’s next for the brand, we’re excited to continue calling them our partner! As they suggest, stay tuned – we’ll be sure to keep you updated on any developing details.

Rhapster
Photo c/o GadgetPipeline.com

If you’re a TuneCore Artist who doesn’t yet distribute to Rhaps—er, Napster, head over to your Store Manager and add your music today! Remember, any connotations you had with Napster can be shaken off, as it’s functioning as a totally legal streaming service on the main stage helping artists earn revenue – and we’re psyched to be partnered with them.