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.


February News From Our Store Partners

By Dwight Brown

Two months into the New Year and already our digital store and streaming partners are helping more and more TuneCore Artists reach new fans around the world.

Tidal is giving back to the community. Spotify is wooing paid subscribers. Apple Music is going into countries where one of its chief rivals hasn’t gone before.

Read on.

The home of some of today’s top artists shows some heart

Initially, music fans looking to stream Kanye’s The Life of Pablo had only two choices: his website and Tidal. Beyoncé made her single, “Formation (Dirty),” a free download on Tidal too. Fans scored a free copy of Rhi Rhi’s eighth studio album Anti by using the code “ANTI” on Tidal’s website. T.I. announced at a pop-up show at Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall, which was being live-streamed as part of the Tidal X concert series, that he’d become a co-owner.

tidal logoNow the brand previously best known for pushing windowing into the mainstream is wading into the waters of social justice too. Billboard reports that Tidal has donated $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups. The money comes from the proceeds of the first Tidal X: 10/20 charity concert that took place in Brooklyn. Tidal is also dedicated to mentoring new artists through its Tidal Discovery Program, which is done in partnership with TuneCore.

Spotify’s expanding subscriber base takes on a life of its own

By the end of 2015, Spotify amassed more than 25m payingspotify subscribers. Two months into 2016 and that number has ballooned up to 28m! As Musicbusinessworld.com points out, “what’s really significant about these new numbers…is the rate of conversion… let’s assume that Spotify’s total active user number is 99m. Spotify would have successfully converted 28.3% of its customers into paying subscribers.” Does that mean Spotify’s Freemium model is on its farewell tour?

MBW: “If 28m people are paying for Spotify right now, they will be generating a whopping $1.986bn a year – approximately 70% of which will be paid to music rightsholders.” That’s quite a calling card as CEO Daniel Ek seeks $500m in financing. Still, some talking heads wonder how the funding model (loans with guaranteed interest) will affect artists

OTHER NEWS: The lyric annotation website Genius is teaming up with Spotify. Its new Fact Tracks initiative offers explanations and anecdotes of a song’s lyrics as it streams.

Apple Music is now in 113 countries and live on Sonos systems

apple-musicEight months after its launch, Apple Music has expanded its reach into areas where Spotify has not gone, including: Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine), Asia (Indonesia, Japan, China, India), Africa (Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria) and the Middle East (UAE, Saudi Arabia). Musicbusinessworld.com lists “59 countries in which Apple Music is available and Spotify is not.”

As the article notes, Apple Music is following in the strategic footsteps of iTunes. That’s easier for a streaming service to do when it’s backed by one of the richest companies in the world, which can well afford the overhead for new launches. Meanwhile, Spotify, as aforementioned, is seeking $500M investment funding to reach its goals. Billboard.com scores it: Spotify: 28m subscribers. Apple Music: 11m subscribers, and expected to reach 20m by year’s end.

OTHER NEWS: Apple Music is now available on Sonos systems and a Sonos Station on Apple Music has also been launched.

Apple is getting into the video production biz. It financed Drake’s ultra popular Hotline Bling video.


November News From Our Store Partners

Good news. That’s what our store partners are serving up this time of year while we count our blessings and give thanks.

YouTube is busting out. Claromúsica celebrates big numbers. Amazon Music adds new features. Tidal is causing a big wave. Spotify is killing piracy.

The next few billion!

YouTube-logo-full_colorYouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl is way beyond thinking about his website’s future new viewers in terms of millions. According to Money.CNN.com, he’s thinking about “the next few billion.” He credits more and more people from emerging countries logging on to the Internet for the first time, and mostly through smart phones. The 1990s and 2000s brought the wired Internet. These days the wireless Internet speaks to our increasingly mobile-first planet.

“YouTube will always have most of its money come from advertising.” Kyncl continues, “The next few billion people that will come online will most likely be only monetizable through ads.” That said, the company has launched a new $10 per month subscription service, YouTube Red, another revenue stream for artists. This is the perfect time for artists to make money from YouTube through TuneCore’s Sound Recording Revenue collection service and by collecting songwriting royalties from YouTube through TuneCore Music Publishing Administration.  

5 million subscribers in Latin America.

claromusicaClaromúsica, which publically launched in January 2015, evolved from a digital venture back in 1996 called Beon, which was owned by Grupo Carso and run by Carlos Slim Domit. It’s a division of America Móvil Group, a company owned by the father of Slim Domit, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, the richest or second richest man in the world, depending on the day. The online music service is a bit like iTunes, a bit like Spotify. Domit tells Billboard.com, “With Claromúsica, people can buy songs and records, subscribe to free and paid ­streaming services, and listen to online radio stations. Our market vision is regional, and we are in 16 Latin American countries.”

The service is most popular in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile, and is used throughout Central and South American and the Caribbean. Music fans can purchase monthly or
weekly packages. The Slim family seems to have the magic touch.  Claromúsica now has 5 million subscribers in
Latin America—a   muy caliente (very hot) market that likes all kinds of music. Slim Domit’s secret is catering to music fans’ tastes, “In the end, it all comes down to a service, and you can’t miss what people want.” Exactamente.

New offline listening, expanded catalogue & new territories.

2. amazon-music-logoIt’s here. The ability to download songs to an SD (Secure Digital) card for offline listening, which is the size of a postage stamp. It’s the latest advance for Amazon Music. This is great news for those with Android Wear devices who now have the ability to add saved tracks and albums from Prime Music to their phones’ SD card without taking excessive storage space. Thenextweb.com shared that news and mentioned that it is also great news for music fans with Android Auto, who like to rock and roll on the road.

Cnet.de says Prime Music is also being launched in Germany and Austria where its library is small compared to Apple Music or Spotify, but its fringe benefits are huge—for $49 a year music fans get also get movies, series, e-books, photo storage…. For artists, it’s an enticing, multi-faceted service that gets their music to fans in the Alps.

1 million reasons to ride Tidal’s wave.  

Another TuneCore alumnus is lighting up the music world. According to engadget.com, Jay Z’s pet project Tidal has just hit the big seven-figure mark. One million users are getting their kicks fromtidal logo his streaming service. The rapper, who knows how to “Run This Town,” is “Crazy in Love” with the new figures that quiet the haters and verify that he’s on course. Jay Z tweeted, “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists,” And yes, he put it out there, “Tidal is platinum.”  

Billboard.com passed on this news from The Hollywood Reporter: To sweeten the pot for users, Tidal is adding a comedy series to the mix: No Small Talk is a standup comedy show hosted by DJ Cipha Sounds. A 35-million song library. Several thousand music videos. Tidal is creating a big wave for artists who want to get heard, noticed—and paid.

Spotify gives music piracy the beat down.

Piracy is on the wane and the super power that may be killing it is Spotify. Digitalmusicnews.com confirms that Spotify is causing a noticeable drop in music piracy. It also is reducing paid downloads from iTunes and Amazon. Here’s the math. Spotify solidly reduces illegal swapping and torrenting; 47 Spotify streams replace one illegal download. On the other hand 137 Spotify streams appear to reduce track sales by 1 unit. A European Study reports, “Our analysis shows that interactive streaming appears to be revenue-neutral for the recorded music industry.”

spotifyAirline passengers will have their choice of 30 million streamed tunes via Spotify’s new deal with Virgin America, reports Music Business Worldwide.  And we relayed some great news for artists; the new feature Spotify Fan Insights gives them a clear profile (demographics, location, preferences) of the music fans that listen to their music on Spotify.

Death to piracy. Long live money-making revenue streams for artists.