Pharrell Williams and about 40 other singers and songwriters have joined forces and are demanding that YouTube takes down about 20,000 videos, otherwise they will sue the company for $1 Billion.
The group of artists are all part of a newly founded legal Group called Global Music Rights which is headed by Irving Azoff who is a well known manager of many artists.
Google has announced the new subscription service Music Key under the YouTube brand which will go up against other streaming services such as Spotify. The company claims they do have the rights and so far has not agreed to take down the content.
This is the latest drama when it comes to digital music and the debate about artists being compensated properly. Just recently, Taylor Swift pulled all her music from Spotify ahead of her new 1989 album, here is what she said in an interview about the move:
“Music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment,” Swift said. “And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
It will be interesting to see if the big players in the streaming business change the way they compensate artists in order to avoid law suits or music being pulled completely.
The class action law suit which could cost Apple $1 billion started yesterday and emails from Steve Jobs were used as evidence to show that Apple apparently abused the marketing leading position they had in the digital music space.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Patrick Coughlin showed an email from 2003 in which Steve Jobs wrote “We need to make sure that when Music Match launches their store, they cannot use iPod”.
In another email from 2005, Steve Jobs simply said “We need to change things here” when he became aware of a Real Player introducing a program which would enable users to buy music anywhere and play them on the iPod.
The attorneys argue that by locking the iPod, Apple was able to charge an unfair high price and it also stopped users from considering music players from other brands when upgrading as they could not move their purchased music with them.
Today a long lasting class action law suit will actually start in court. Apple is being accused of abusing their market position during the iPod dominance when it comes to blocking competing devices and services as Apple made sure iTunes music could only be played on the iPod.
The group of individuals and resellers that are suing Apple, wanted to receive $350 million in compensation as they argue that by locking the iTunes music, the prices of the iPod was inflated. Apple chose not to settle, if they lose in court the amount the company has to pay will increase to over $1 billion.
GoPro is looking to expand the product offering with consumer drones costing between $500 and $1000.
At the moment there is really only one player in this segment, DJI with the Phantom Quadcopter which costs just over $1000 and comes with a HD video camera that allows live streaming and connects to your smartphone via an app.
The DJI Phantom also comes without a camera, the basic model is priced at $429.
GoPro has a huge loyal customer base and this could potentially ad a lot of revenue for the company. According to reports, DJI generated $125 million in revenue last year and projected $400 million for this year. Once GoPro enters the space it will be interesting to see what happens to DJI.
GoPro reported $244.6 million in revenue last quarter, looking at what DJI has done you can do the math on the potential upside for GoPro.
According to the Financial Times, Apple is going to pre-install Beats Music on all iOS devices starting early next year. Since the $3.2 billion acquisition of Beats there have been many rumors surrounding the streaming service Beats Music. People wondered if Apple would keep it around at all or integrate it with iTunes.
So it seems Apple is going to keep Beats as a separate brand to gain market share in the music streaming space. Spotify is the world’s largest music streaming service with 50 million users of which 12.5 million are paying customers. Amazon offers free music streaming to Prime customers and Google has a number of offerings, most recently they released Music Key which could shake up the entire industry.
Certainly no lack of competition in the space which in the end only benefits consumers but continued price decreases of course also have a negative effect on the music industry in terms of earnings / royalties.
Google is going to launch the highly anticipated music streaming service Music Key under the YouTube brand on Monday November 17th. The invite-only service is going to be available in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Spain, Italy, Finland and Portugal. With your $9.99 subscription you are going to automatically have access to Google Play Music as well.
The ad-free service will allow you to watch videos and listen to music even when you have no internet connection or you use another app.
Members that will be invited to use the service are going to get six month for free and only pay $8 after if they decide to keep it.
Google has also launched a free music streaming service which includes advertising. The regular YouTube app will have a separate tab for music.
So what does this mean for the music streaming industry?
Companies like Spotify better watch out because with the reach of YouTube it would be strange if Music Key doesn’t become the largest music streaming service in a very short period of time.
Spotify has 50 million users of which 12.5 million use the subscription, advertising-free version. They are the largest streaming music service today however if you consider that YouTube has 1 billion monthly users, you do the math. The free music streaming service will be integrated with YouTube, if only a fraction of the regular visitors use it, Music Key will surpass all other services. The key for YouTube will be to convert visitors to the subscription service.
YouTube Music Key might just be what the masses and the music industry have been waiting for.
Spotify is going to release a new subscription called Spotify Family which gives up to five users access to the premium features of the music streaming service. The first user pays the regular fee of $9.99, every additional member will come at half price.
Spotify is the largest music streaming service in the world with 40 million users of which 10 million are paying premium customers.
The streaming market is extremely competitive; Amazon is offering free music streaming for prime customers and Apple is aggressively looking to gain traction in the market with Beats Music.
According to a recent article from Recode, Apple is looking to reduce the monthly fee for Beats Music from $10 to $5. Apple reportedly said that the best paying iTunes customers spends about $60 a year on music which is how they came up with the new price. Currently the company is talking to the music industry to see if they are able to reduce the fees in order for the new price to make sense.