By Dwight Brown
Good news. That’s what our store partners are giving artists this holiday season, as we look back on 2015 and forward to 2016.
Apple Music turns the streaming game into a competitive race. The Australian music service Guvera adds territories. Spotify may change the way artists can release music. And Saavn is branching out as it hits a new pinnacle.
A lot’s going on this time of year…
A recent article on The Verge follows a heated race between Pandora (78M users and rapid growth), Spotify (75M and rapid growth) and Apple Music (6.5M new growth). “Unless it [Apple] can find something that will get users to pay for Apple Music en masse, it’s going to be stuck chasing Spotify and Pandora.”
Wired thinks otherwise, “Apple doesn’t need Apple Music to win, which is why it will. With a huge pile of cash and massive profits, Apple is under little pressure to show quick returns … Its size, its resources, its visibility—give the company a serious edge in streaming music.” And DigitalTrends quotes music business analyst Mark Mulligan’s report that says, “the music streaming service [Apple Music] will reach 20 million subscribers by the end of 2016.” Is this a race between the Tortoise and the Hares?
More Apple Music News: Since early December, iTunes and Apple Music have listed two separate charts in all territories, so if artists have their music on both services, and it charts, now they’re doubling their visibility. Apple Music is coming to Android. Apple Music is the exclusive distributor of the official concert film of Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, reports Music Business Worldwide.
Guvera is an international ad supported and subscription (ad-free) based music streaming service from Australia. It offers users access to millions of songs and expertly curated playlists from both local and international artists and labels. Now that it has reached 15 million users, Music Week reports it has an eye on jumping into the United States market.
This is after Guvera launched in India and, according to Billboard, distinguished itself from other foreign streaming services by putting a bigger emphasis on securing streaming rights to popular Bollywood music. Said Guvera Chief Executive Darren Herft, “We’re the only [streaming service] in the world that has label agreements with labels like Sony on top of the biggest Bollywood label in India as well.” To meet its ambitious expansion goals, “it [Guvera] has confirmed a $100 million “pre-IPO round” of funding. Guvera is currently in 17 countries—and counting.
Is Spotify thinking about changing its practice of simultaneously making artists’ music available to both its paid subscription service (20M+ users) and “freemium” service (80M users)? Music Business World says, “…demands from significant players in the industry for Spotify to drop its ‘everything freemium’ rule are getting louder.” And MBW points out there is a precedent, “Earlier this year, a new track from UK rock band Muse ended up exclusively on the paid-for level of Spotify.” End of an era? New beginning? Just conjecture? Artists who want to “window” release their music will want to stay tuned to this story. So what is “windowing?” First, transactional sales (downloads, CDs, vinyl); Second, subscription streaming; Later, free streaming.
More News: TuneCore Artist Band Low Cut Connie and their song “Boozophilia” made the Spotify 2015 White House Presidential Playlist. Where do former TuneCore Artists go? To the top of Spotify’s 2015 Biggest Playlist Chart! Drake is the world’s most streamed artist of 2015, with over 1.8 billion streams. A new Spotify feature can create a list of local concerts for users based on their Spotify tastes.
An article in Music Business Worldwide reports news about India’s leading streaming service, “Saavn has secured $100 million in a new funding round led by Tiger Global Management – as the streaming competition in India heats up.” Apple Music and Guvera have put roots down in India; Spotify has yet to launch there.
Saavn views music streaming as a strong base, especially when it comes to its use on mobile phones (Androids), where music is driving data consumption and redefining mobile advertising. “We are building the best-in-class mobile entertainment ecosystem, with music as the foundation,” states Rishi Malhotra, CEO and co-founder of Saavn. Even more ambitiously, a Billboard article reveals that Saavn reaches 18M monthly users. And MBW profiled Saavn’s Gaurav Wadhwa, the new Vice President of Entertainment and Original Content, who will oversee development of Saavn’s moves into new genres, sports, comedy and other entertainment channels.
In 2015 TuneCore’s digital partners found new ways to keep a competitive edge that will help them and TuneCore artists grow in 2016.