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.
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.
LG has just released the Music Flow, a multi-room streaming speaker system. Three different sizes have been announced, the H3, H5 and H7. A sound bar and network bridge complete the system which all connects to the Music Flow app.
Through the Music Flow Player app, users can centrally manage their entire digital music library, even if music is stored across multiple devices, and control all Music Flow units in the home. The app can also recommend songs and playlists, provide easy access to internet radio stations and function as a smartphone music player when the user is on the go.
LG Music Flow also gives you access to streaming services like Spotify and Deezer.
LG Music Flow employs mesh network technology and dual band Wi-Fi to ensure uninterrupted, crystal-clear HD music playback unlike competing systems that rely on a single access point which causes music interruptions and pauses whenever the signal level drops.
Sonos has been the market leader in this segment for a long time but as far as we are concerned they have been able to charge a high premium for too long so competition from the likes of LG is only going to benefit consumers.
According to various reports, Apple is set to buy Swell which is a personalized radio and podcast application. The Cupertino company is said to be being around $30 million for the company.
Companies such as Spotify and Pandora have made music streaming extremely popular and as a result digital downloads have declined, directly impacting Apple when it comes to revenue generated through iTunes.
With the Swell App you can listen to unlimited personalized radio, some of the stations available are iTunes, NPR, ABC, ESPN, BBC, TED and CBC. The app gets glowing reviews on the app store but as part of the deal it will be removed shortly as Apple will integrate features and possibly some of the design into their podcast.
This is of course nothing compared to the $3.2 billion Beats acquisition but it shows that Apple continues to invest in their music platform.
Google is at it again and is acquiring Songza, a streaming service that will serve you playlists based on your mood.
So why is Google buying a streaming service for $39 million when they have Google Play Music?
The service has over 5 million users, but that is not the reasons Google is buying them. Songza has tons of data on how you listen to music at what time depending on what you are doing about how you are feeling. Getting more information and data is always a core factor for a Google acquisition.
Here is what Google had to say on their Google+ page:
“They’ve built a great service which uses contextual expert-curated playlists to give you the right music at the right time. We aren’t planning any immediate changes to Songza, so it will continue to work like usual for existing users. Over the coming months, we’ll explore ways to bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music. We’ll also look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products.”