‘What Would Diplo Do?’ is now streaming on Hulu

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What Would Diplo Do

Viceland’s original short What Would Diplo Do?, starring James Van Der Beek as Diplo and Dillon Francis as Diplo’s friend Jasper, is now streaming on Hulu. The show, which had also been streaming on Viceland for free prior to the Hulu addition, premiered last August as a hilarious tongue-in-cheek series offering a glimpse of “the life” of the superstar DJ.

In the time since the show’s aired, the Dawson’s Creek alum’s grade A impersonation has even seen great success on Twitter. James Van Der Beek’s @_diplo_Twitter handle has gone on to entertain an entire industry with witty criticism and clever comebacks.

Stream WWDD here.

Elon Musk blasts streaming services for “crazy low payouts”

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Music creatives have long gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to music streaming royalties. Once the honey pot is divvied up between streaming platforms and music labels, artists and songwriters walk away with only a small piece of the pie.

Mercurial tech baron and founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, is the latest powerful voice to recently speak out on the issue of unequal distribution. The issue is no new struggle in contemporary capitalism, either. The fact of the matter is: when big business is involved, individuals lose out.

But it seems Musk now has a direct stake in the issue considering he’s now dating Canadian singer/songwriter, Grimes. The couple made their first public appearance as a couple at the Met Gala last week in New York City.

The conversation arose over Twitter when Musk was asked about his favorite Grimes song; for which, by the way, he has two:

One conscientious fan tweeted the tech baron wondering which streaming platform fans could engage with in order to most directly benefit Grimes financially.

Musk responded with an infographic showing Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube as the bottom three platforms in terms of gross payout per stream. XboxRhapsody and Tidal are among the top when it comes to artist payouts, with Apple MusicAmazon, Deezer, and Google falling somewhere in the middle.

While the issue of online streaming payouts continues to be a new frontier for the music industry — especially as it converges with tech giants and new platforms who want a piece of the pie — Musk should be commended for bringing the issue into public conversation. At the very least, it is a genuine show of online activism when powerful tech elites raise their voices for unheard, underpaid artistic creatives who often get no say in the matter.

Global music revenues grew $1.4 billion in 2017

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Boutique media and technology analysis company MIDiA Research recently released a report indicating that global music revenues grew by $1.4 billion in 2017, ascending to $17.4 billion in trade values. 2016’s revenues weighed in at $16 billion, signaling an annual growth rate of 8.5% between years. Although 2017’s revenues registered just under the $17.7 billion charted in 2008, the figure nonetheless underscores the music industry’s fiscal expansion.

Much of the growth can be attributed to music streaming, responsible for a 39% year-on-year revenue increase. Streaming additionally pulled in $2.1 billion, putting streaming at the $7.4 billion mark, causing streaming to represent almost half of all revenues.

Universal, Sony, and Warner Music lead the market at $5.1 million, $3.6 million, and $3.1 million respectively, or 29.7%, 22.1%, and 18% of all revenues, individually. Independent labels raked in $4.7 million in revenues, 27.6% of the whole picture. Direct distribution platforms geared towards independent artists like TuneCore, CD Baby, and Bandcamp accounted for the “fastest growing segment” in 2017, recording a year-on-year growth of 27.2%. Altogether, three companies collected $472 million in revenue, an increase that exceeds $100 million when compared to the $371 million that the entities garnered in 2016. When evaluated in tandem with independent labels, artist direct signify 30.3% of global recorded music revenues in 2017.

As the report signals, the music market is ever ebbing and flowing in its course. The statistics from MIDiA’s research are represented in a graphic that visually outlines the report’s musically focused findings.

H/T: DJ Mag

Spotify stock opens at $165.90, giving streaming giant opening value of $29.5 billion

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Spotify made a splash with its long-awaited debut on the public market, opening at $165.90 a share, placing the company’s valuation at $29.5 billion — up significantly from their $8.5 billion valuation back in 2015. Opening figures turned out to be considerably higher than projected numbers from last month when privately traded stocks were going for as high as $132.50 a share. The Swedish streaming titan, trading as SPOT, is now on pace to be the third-highest U.S.-listed tech IPO in history, trumped only by Alibaba Group Holdings’ $233.9 billion and Facebook’s $81.74 billion. For its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, Spotify opted to circumvent the traditional IPO for a direct listing, which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

With a rare direct listing, Spotify is avoiding investment-banking underwriters and instead choosing not to raise any money for itself. The move effectively saved Spotify millions of dollars in fees, while still allowing early investors the opportunity to cash out. However, without any intermediaries, investors don’t have the common protections allowed in a typical IPO. This could be risky with the recent downturn of tech stocks accross the board as the market aims to find a stable price for Spotify shares.

Spotify’s IPO paperwork reveals that the digital streaming leader is burning through heaps of cash, clocking revenue last year nearing $5 billon, but posting a net loss of nearly $1.5 billion. Thanks to the emergence of licensing deals with major labels, Spotify is able to reduce royalty payouts, contributing to a growing gross margin. Even with Spotify’s closest competitor, Apple Music, in close pursuit in the U.S. market, Spotify is projecting a $6.6 billion revenue bump by the end of 2018, up 30 percent from last year’s total. Digital streaming has undoubtedly changed the music consumption landscape in recent years. Now the digital streaming landscape could experience it’s own seismic shifts as Spotify officially plants its flag on the NYSE.

Apple Music outpaces Spotify with The Weeknd’s ‘My Dear Melancholy,’

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the-weeknd-live (1)

Many of us spent Easter weekend crying in the mirror to The Weeknd‘s My Dear Melancholy, many times over. According to data from the record’s issue date however, a staggering 88% of U.S. listeners did so on Apple Music, despite Spotify’s considerable promotional advantages leading up to the release. In the first 24 hours, Apple Music listeners absolutely devoured The Weeknd’s latest, racking up 26 million streams, 6 million of which came by way of the Nicolas Jaar-assisted “Call Out My Name.” Comparatively, Spotify listeners added another 3.5 million streams to The Weeknd’s addictingly morose, brooding R&B/pop concept, but with nearly 120 million more subscribers paying for Spotify than Apple Music, the stats point to what could be a considerable shift in the digital streaming platform landscape, specifically in the U.S. market.

Not only does Spotify have strength in subscriber numbers, but the Swedish streaming titan also had two exclusive music videos from the EP, and it’s also where The Weeknd directed followers to stream the project upon release. Despite the tilt towards Spotify, Apple Music dominated the initial Melancholy traffic, and it isn’t the first time this has happened. Post Malone‘s inescapable “Rockstar” fared better on Apple Music in it terms of first week streams, along with last year’s More Life from Drake — by a whopping 33 million streams more than Spotify produced.

As of 2018, hip-hop has become the most widely-consumed genre in America, and with Apple Music having seemingly figured out the formula to fan engagement in the hip-hop arena, their campaign to outpace Spotify’s U.S. subscriber count this year could materialize as a direct result.

H/T: The Verge


Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine set to assume reduced role at Apple Music in August

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The first chapter of Apple‘s foray into the digital music streaming marketplace is set to close with the impending departure of Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine later this year. The music industry veteran is expected to leave his role at Apple Music in August and move into a “consulting role” after that according to The Wall Street Journal, largely passing off the day-to-day responsibilities of overseeing Apple’s music streaming platform. Last year reports broke that Iovine intended to leave Apple Music, though at the time the rumors were unsubstantiated and Iovine denied any planned departure.

Since the tech giant’s aquisition of Beats Electronics in 2014, steadily shifting away from the Beats Music brand has translated into a meteoric rise for the ensuing Apple Music brand that replaced it. Internally however, the total overhaul of Beats’ original platform and look over the last four years has distanced some of the platform’s top executives — including Dr. Dre. Iovine is just the next in line to hang it up, or at least take a backseat at Apple Music. The Interscope Records founder reportedly doesn’t quite fit the platform’s new model like he did half a decade ago, though the timing seems to work out quite nicely in his favor. Iovine’s compensation from the 2014 sale fully vests in August, likely making way for a mutual changing of the guard, while still allowing Apple to retain Iovine’s expertise and widespread label connections.

Earlier this year reports suggested that Apple Music could surpass Spotify’s US subscriber base by the summer. With Iovine stepping back and possibly fresh blood coming in to assume his responsibilities, look for Apple Music to continue to trend upward in 2018 as they close out Iovine’s incredibly successful run at the top.

YouTube plans to convert music listeners into paid subscribers by slamming them with ads

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YouTube Connect

It seems YouTube is taking a page from Spotify‘s business model, which has been successfully enticing its free users into paying premium tiers for years. During a recent SXSW panel, YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, revealed that the streaming website has plans to bombard its heavy music listeners with more ads in the hopes of agitating them into paying for YouTube Go subscriptions. “There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” says Cohen.

While the move will be frustrating for the millions of users who use the platform as a free streaming alternative, it’s a win for YouTube in terms of business. Either users will be converted into paid subscribers or YouTube will make loads of money from increased advertisement revenue. The move is thought to help make the company more competitive with Spotify, who currently leads all streaming platforms in overall subscribers. Artists and labels have long criticized YouTube for hosting millions of videos that violate music copyrights while earning YouTube profits.

YouTube’s new service is still expected to launch sometime this spring, with combined features of the existing YouTube Red and Google Play Music services into a single streamlined package.

Via: Bloomberg

Twitter writes off its $70 million investment in SoundCloud from 2016

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As SoundCloud struggles to keep a sinking ship above water, Twitter has written off the considerable chunk of change the social media giant invested in the music streaming platform less than two years ago — a cool $70 million to be exact. That figure, however, could have been a much heavier blow, as many will remember that Twitter was just about 140 characters away from purchasing SoundCloud outright back in 2014 for just over $1 billion. When the dust from the failed purchase settled, Twitter injected SoundCloud with a much-needed round of funding in the summer of 2016, in hopes of leveraging massive pop stars like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna‘s thriving social followings as direct-to-user music distribution networks. Less than two years later and Twitter is facing the music — they’ll likely never recoup those funds, or if they do, it’ll take much longer than they’re willing to wait.

Moving on because the funds are, “not expected to be recoverable within a reasonable period of time,” the sizable write-off shouldn’t really be more than a speedbump for Twitter this year. By the end of 2017, reports revealed that the platform had raked in nearly $2.4 billion in revenue, and another $4.4 billion short-term investments.

Meanwhile, SoundCloud continues a seemingly never-ending cycle of survival measures, pivoting away from their $10 monthly subscription model to a more affordable $5 subscription as well as a renewed emphasis on a plan provided to music producers and other prosumers. Spotify and Apple Music may be putting up healthy numbers in 2018, but Twitter’s write-off proves that the digital music marketplace is still very much an uncertain and shifting landscape.

Apple Music set to outpace Spotify as top music streaming platform in the U.S. by summer

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apple music spotify

Watching how the digital streaming platforms’ subscribers race has unfolded over the last half decade is a fascinating study in new digital capitalism. Music streaming platforms have to navigate perhaps the most heated online competition to win their consumers, catalyzing moves like partnering with artists for high-profile releases a la Drake‘s Views on Apple Music, or Kanye West‘s The Life of Pablo Tidal exclusive, to deeply discounted student pricing and inventive co-branding ventures. Chief among the DSPs clawing for your business is Spotify, though in the United States, Apple Music is mounting a steady comeback, and reports show Apple could claim the country’s No. 1 spot as soon as this summer.

According to a report by The Wall Street JournalApple’s U.S. subscriber base is growing at a rate of 5 percent per month, well surpassing Spotify’s 2 percent monthly growth. By this summer, Apple will likely close the gap in subscriber numbers completely. Sources even expounded to WSJ that if official numbers included users in trial periods, Apple Music would already have an edge on Spotify’s subscriber count in the U.S. Considering Apple Music’s launch was less than two years ago, compared to Spotify’s July 2011 U.S. debut, the numbers — even just as projections — are quite impressive.

Analysts believe this rapid rise in Apple Music’s adoption rate is due to all Apple technology coming with the digital streaming platform already pre-loaded on all devices, and the upcoming launch of Apple’s home assistant, the HomePod, could likely reinforce another considerable spike in subscribers.

Despite growing competition from Apple, the Swedish music streaming giant still dominates the top spot globally, boasting 70 million users in its most recent report, compared to Apple Music’s 36 million global tally. However, the momentum shift in the U.S. comes at an interesting moment, with Spotify gearing up for their highly anticipated public stock offering.

As the DSP arms race continues to develop, one thing remains certain: competition is fierce, and it seems that this buyer’s market will only continue to get better.

Spotify breaks down your listening habits over the last year

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Spotify has officially released its Your 2017 Wrapped feature. By tracking listening habits over the year, the Swedish streaming giant provides users with a year in review to sum up their most listened to artists and genres throughout the year.

The feature farms data throughout the year to generate a list of listener’s top 100 streamed songs, and also provides a convenient virtual infographic detailing genre preferences, minutes listened, demographics, and even the amount of times listeners skipped tracks. Spotify also gives users a short quiz based on listening preferences to determine musical self awareness: Did you know that Bassnectar was your top streamed artist of 2017? How many minutes did you listen to music throughout the year? What is your most listened to genre? If you know the answers to these questions, you might be considered musically self aware.

All of these features can be accessed by visiting the service here and logging in with your Spotify account.

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