Summary of “The Record Label of The Future is No Label At All”

The company’s recent focus on empowering artists without intermediaries strained its relationship with the major labels as speculation grows over whether their end game is to become a record label.
The average artist signed to a record label only earns 12% of the money generated by their likeness, presenting a unique opportunity for Spotify to influence an artist’s perception of the necessity of a record label as an intermediary.
To remove artist intermediaries, Spotify needs to be able to offer a full stack solution that empowers artists to go direct to streaming while providing them with the infrastructure that they need to record and produce music.
Record labels can approach this with the glass half full by viewing this additional distribution medium as advantageous when shaping their ever evolving artist marketing strategy.
An artist could use Spotify’s studios to record and mix songs and then distribute using Distrokid on all of the major streaming platforms at once.
The artist could then study the data provided by Spotify for Artists to learn more about their listeners and shape a strategy to acquire “1,000” true fans.
As the artist grows in popularity and begins to get courted by record labels, Spotify could remove the financial pressure that faces most artist when choosing to sign to a record label, the cash advance.
By replacing the advance that record labels tempt artists with they could alleviate the financial distress that plagues many artists at the time of negotiations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Five Things Spotify Needs to Fix in 2019 – Rolling Stone”

Amid its year-end financial-results announcement, Spotify confirmed that it was set to spend between $400 million and $500 million on acquisitions throughout 2019, including the recent buyouts of podcasting content company Gimlet Media and distribution platform Anchor.
Things are looking up for Daniel Ek and his green machine – but Spotify still faces a few stark challenges.
Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy told investors on February 6th that self-serve advertising, whereby clients upload their own ads and target audiences themselves, is now “Our fastest-growing [ad] channel.” Spotify Ad Studio, the firm’s self-serve platform, is currently available to varying degrees in markets including the U.S., U.K. and Canada, ahead of an expected wider global rollout.
Analysts at MIDiA Research have predicted that 2019 will likely be the year that streaming subscription growth slows in the North America and Europe – meaning that Spotify will really need to up its game in the Middle East and North Africa region, where it launched in November.
In its forecast for 2019 – partly due to that acquisition budget of $400 million-$500 million – Spotify is projecting another annual operating loss of €200 million to €360 million.
Spotify has reportedly just paid more than $200 million to acquire New York-based podcasting production company Gimlet Media, in addition to podcasting distribution house Anchor.
If this wasn’t indication enough that Spotify is banking its future on the spoken word, Ek told investors this month that his company wants more than 20 percent of listening on Spotify dedicated to podcasts, rather than music, in years to come.
So how can Spotify use podcasts to improve its financial numbers as time wears on? Ek was asked this precise question on the Spotify Q4 earnings call.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Spotify’s $230 Million Gimlet Deal Means for Podcasting”

The podcast world was hit by an earthquake late last week when news broke that Spotify, the Swedish music-streaming giant responsible for those Discover Weekly playlists you love, was “In advanced talks” to acquire Gimlet Media, the buzzy podcast publisher behind beloved shows like Reply All, Startup, and Homecoming.
Those talks concluded in a deal that was announced Wednesday morning, which also included news that Spotify was buying Anchor, a technology platform that seeks to help more people create and monetize podcasts.
Together, these twin acquisitions are a bold statement for the podcast industry: Spotify wants to make podcasting a considerable pillar of its platform, and it’s not messing around to do so.
It’s worth noting that Spotify’s head-first dive into podcasting doesn’t come out of nowhere.
Podcasting, in theory, offers Spotify a new growth channel that’s still relatively untouched pasture.
In Gimlet, Spotify now has a podcast factory line that has a track record of hits, has attracted the eye of Hollywood with its own takes on podcast-to-adaptation pipeline, and has developed a brand that consistently draws press coverage.
There is also strong opposition to what Spotify represents, which is a future where podcasting is much less open and democratic than it originally was.
Born out of the same open publishing technology as blogs, podcasting was once a quirky backwater pond of digital curiosity – equally inhabitable by highly produced public-radio programming, personality-driven talk radio-style shows, and shaggy conversational podcasts started by anybody with a microphone, all working the same odds of finding an audience over a decentralized ecosystem.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Has 10 years of Spotify ruined music?”

Ten years on, Spotify has erased these costly or frustrating scenarios.
Thanks to Spotify and YouTube, no one with internet access – 90% of the UK – needs to pay for music, an important and seismic shift from the vinyl, CD and download eras when, for many people, music ownership was a luxury or treat.
Critics point out that you don’t own the music you pay Spotify for, but effectively rent it, although the “Ownership” of digital files was always pretty illusory and underwhelming anyway – and, as anyone who has tried to copy a library of iTunes files from one device to another, a teeth-gnashing faff.
Spotify speaks to this silent majority of music fans.
For many people, music is just for mood, something to work, exercise or have sex to – situations that Spotify usefully caters to with playlists such as Productive Morning, Extreme Metal Workout and 90s Baby Makers.
At a relatively affordable £9.99 a month for an ad-free subscription, Spotify benefits the consumer more than the artist – superficially.
Spotify prides itself on its personalised recommendations, which work by connecting dots between “Data points” assigned to songs to determine new music you might like.
Add in Spotify’s hugely popular artists with no profile outside the platform, widely assumed to be fake artists commissioned by Spotify to bulk out playlists and save on royalties, and music appears in danger of becoming a kind of grey goo.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Spotify Direct Upload Feature, Explained”

Last week, Spotify began beta testing a new feature that allows independent artists to upload their own music directly to the platform, completely bypassing the old label or distributor model that’s existed as the barrier between artist and consumer since the music business’ infancy.
The direct upload option is available as an invite-only beta feature on its Spotify for Artists platform – which includes about 200,000 verified users, accounting for 72 percent of all streams – and only “a few hundred U.S. based artists” got the invite.
It’s referenced merely to reiterate that artists get to keep their royalties and that Spotify isn’t charging fees or commissions; you’re just granting Spotify permission to license, a.k.a. stream, your music.
Publishing royalties to various third-party rightsholders are “Generally not paid to songwriters by Spotify directly.” One Spotify exec broke it down to the Verge like this: “We created a pretty simple and fair deal for uploading music where artists receive 50 percent of Spotify’s net revenue, and Spotify also accounts to publishers and collection societies for additional royalties related to the musical composition.” But every artist has the opportunity to rake in 100 percent of their royalties.
Like YouTube, Spotify won’t let you upload anything that contains a copyright violation.
“There are three labels who own most of the marketplace, and they have oligopoly power, and we can’t be successful without them as partners It’s important for both of us that we never allow the relationship to become a zero-sum game.” To date, Spotify hasn’t actually signed or developed any artists – and has reportedly told artists not to say they’re signed to Spotify – but they have been accused of gaming their own system by planting fake artists in their playlists by paying producers to create music with that intent in mind, which Spotify has denied.
With Spotify’s direct upload service, they aren’t promising anything more than the opportunity to put your music on Spotify.
It’s likely most consumers already can’t tell the difference for how their music got onto their preferred streaming service anyway; Spotify’s direct upload won’t change that, unless more artists start speaking up about it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Spotify’s $30 billion playlist for global domination”

Despite the lack of fanfare it was a breakthrough success: Spotify ended its first day with a $26 billion valuation, making it one of the biggest tech IPOs in history.
Since its 2008 launch, Spotify has realigned the global music industry toward streaming, popularizing the idea of music as a service rather than goods that consumers own.
Spotify reported $1.3 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2018, and analysts expect it to generate more than $6 billion this year, 90% of it from subscriptions and 10% from advertising.
“Commercial radio, that’s conservatively a $50 billion industry globally. The U.S. radio industry is $17 billion, close to the size of the whole global recorded music industry, which is $23 billion. And what do people listen to? Primarily music.” Ninety percent of Spotify’s current revenues come from subscriptions, but if the free product expands, so can Spotify’s radiolike advertising business.
It turned Spotify into a user’s personal DJ. The company told investors in its prospectus, filed last February, that “We now program approximately 31% of all listening on Spotify” via playlists, which has created powerful new brands within Spotify such as Rap Caviar and ¡Viva Latino!
Troy Carter, the music manager who discovered Lady Gaga and helped turn her into a global phenom, gave up his talent-management business to join Spotify full-time two years ago, as an emissary to artists and industry insiders.
Title: Global head of editorial programmingEmployee since: 2013First album: The Eagles’ Hotel CaliforniaFirst concert: Peter GabrielFirst music business jobs: “After a couple of bands, I ended up as a songwriter and producer for 10 years.”Spotify claim to fame: Holmstén’s startup, Tunigo, introduced the idea of contextual playlists to the service, such as “Intense studying” and “Confidence boost.” Their popularity inspired Spotify to acquire his company.
Financial analysts often compare Spotify to Netflix-a comparison Ek pushes back against-but Ek’s vision of the future looks more like YouTube: a meeting spot for creators and fans, in groups both large and small, and Spotify benefits when transactions happen in this “Marketplace.” Ek says: “In that model, it’s almost like you’re managing an economy.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Apple Music is finally starting to win Spotify’s game.”

Last Thursday, Digital Music News reported that Apple Music overtook Spotify in paying subscribers in the United States.
Apple Music is becoming the platform of choice for more serious music fans.
The company’s previous success with iTunes showed that it could guide the music industry into a new digital waters, but in the digital-downloads era Apple didn’t face a competitor like Spotify.
Music Business Worldwide observed that when North Carolina rapper J. Cole released his latest album KOD in May, the album in the first day hit 64.5 million streams in the United States on Apple Music compared to only 36.7 million streams on Spotify-a nearly 30 million gap between the two platforms, despite Spotify’s overall user-base advantage.
The world of pop music is skewing heavily toward rap, which at the moment is the area where Apple Music is seeing the most success.
The power of its playlists can influence taste, but as Apple and Spotify get closer in listenership, it raises the question of which audience is more desirable: engaged or disengaged? Each new streaming milestone Drake breaks first on Apple Music makes a strong argument for pushing toward engaged listeners.
Apple Music got first dibs on Drake’s record-breaking 2016 album Views, while the rapper is now the avatar for the paid music streaming era.
Spotify built an impressive music platform, but by courting music’s more passive listeners; Apple Music is happily reaching-and billing-music’s most dedicated fans.

The orginal article.

Summary of “There Is Another”

Every time you use Spotify, grouping songs into playlists, and your music pops into your friends’ feeds, giving them ideas, Spotify gets better, making it a Benjamin Button firm.
Unlike Apple Music, being a pure-play gives Spotify more cred among purists, young people, and influencers.
Spotify accounted for 36% of premium music subscribers globally.
Anyway, despite a substandard offering, Apple Music is growing faster in the US than Spotify, as the Apple Music icon is on the home screen dock of 1B iOS devices.
Apple charges Spotify a 30% tax to be in the App Store and denied an update to the iOS Spotify app, essentially blocking iPhone users’ access to the latest version of the Swedish service.
Netflix needs to become Spotify before Spotify becomes Netflix.
Nobody has cracked social and TV, and as half of young people no longer watch cable TV, if Spotify were to launch video and captured any reasonable share and engagement via unique playlists, then cable and Netflix would begin ceding market cap to Spotify.
Spotify now means streaming music – it could mean social entertainment.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Lofty Optimism of Spotify and the Influence of the Streaming Revolution”

On Tuesday, Spotify-which has more than seventy million paid subscribers and more than a hundred and fifty million users, and now claims to be the most popular streaming service in the world-will begin selling shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
Of course, Spotify did not invent creation-nor the idea of making a living as an artist, nor the activity of listening to music and feeling inspired-but, since its launch, in 2008, it has changed the way we think about all of those things.
For a critic, the question of how listeners acquire and consume new music can feel tangential or tedious-it’s far more exciting, after all, to talk about the music itself-but the two topics are once again becoming inextricably intertwined.
Just as the advent of the commercial recording industry changed the way musicians write and produce songs too, has streaming.
The popularity of streaming has led to obvious changes in how music is being produced-in 2018, a pop song needs to sound excellent piping out of a laptop’s tiny speakers and on headphones-but streaming has also resurrected the idea that the medium through which an album or track is made available is as much an aesthetic choice as anything else.
Spotify has yet to foster a creative community in the same way.
The inherent optimism of Spotify lies in its founding belief that “Music is universal and that streaming is a more robust and seamless access model that benefits both artists and music fans.” The company is essentially insisting that freer and easier access to music is the only thing that matters; everything should be available to everyone, because freedom of choice is an essential freedom.
Putting aside whether this is true or not, and ignoring the significant question of whether Spotify fairly compensates musicians for streams, the idea of access equaling freedom is certainly appealing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Spotify’s first hardware device might be this music player for your car”

It’s unclear whether the company is planning to unveil hardware later this month in New York City, but evidence suggests that Spotify has been working on an in-car controller – or even a standalone player – for the streaming service that would allow drivers to control music playback with their voice.
Back in February, several Spotify customers reported that they received an offer inside the app for a new device that would come included as part of a $12.99-per-month subscription.
That price would cover both Spotify’s music service and the device itself if users agreed to a 12-month commitment totaling $155. The device has a circular design with physical buttons for track controls and shuffle, plus an LED running around the outside in Spotify’s signature green.
For some, Spotify detailed built-in 4G mobile data so that the device could function independently of a smartphone.
Outside of Reddit, the device has been mentioned on Spotify’s support forums but drew little attention, with forum administrators dismissing it as a test.
Spotify has put out job listings for hardware projects, and the company is actively testing voice commands on its smartphone app.
Spotify recently rolled out a native player app for Cadillac vehicles and confirmed to The Verge that it views voice control as an important component of the in-car experience.
Spotify’s current car integration includes apps for Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto.

The orginal article.