2015 was a big year for Internet radio and streaming services. You can see XAPP’s top five blog posts here. Today’s focus is the 10 best articles on the industry over the past 12 months. The top spot goes to David Touve and was published back in January, but is as relevant today as it was then. See the full list below with entries from Music Industry Blog, Billboard, RAIN, Mark Ramsey Media, and more.
1. Wayback Machine: Why Music Service Prices are Falling and Can’t Get Back Up
Demand for music consumption is highly elastic. The economic analysis in this article shows how reducing the price of subscriptions can increase industry revenue and dollars to royalty rights holders. David Touve is an economist to watch in the industry.
2. Ad Supported is 56% of US Streaming Revenue
There is a lot of talk about subscriptions, but Mark Mulligan dissects industry data that show Internet radio and streaming services rely on advertising for more than half of their revenue. Mark wrote the book on the industry – literally – and this is one of two entries in our top 10 list.
3. Labels, not Spotify, are screwing over artists and breaking the music industry. Here’s how to fix it.
This article shines a light on the fact that small artist royalty checks are driven by the music labels retaining about 73% of payouts from streaming services. The artists should blame the labels and not streaming services. David Holmes offers a fresh perspective on the industry and presents an alternative future for artists.
4. It’s Volume, Silly: Thinking Global on Digital Music Revenues
It’s a big world out there. Total industry revenue will rise, but average revenue per user will fall. Trends and data are dissected by the prolific and insightful Glenn Peoples.
5. This Was Sony Music’s Contract with Spotify
It’s not often you get to see the terms of a label contract negotiation with a streaming service and this one isn’t pretty – unless you are a label executive eager to cash a big check for yourself. Micah Singleton had one of the biggest scoops of the year revealing an agreement for $42 million in advances to Sony. Wow.
6. The Controversial Value of Free
What is free listening anyway? Is it really free if a listener has to give up their time to listen to ads which then funnel royalty checks to labels and act as an onramp to new subscribers. Brad Hill knows the industry from top to bottom and he outlines how “free” is a misnomer and actually productive in multiple ways.
7. The Real Problem with Streaming
The legacy of Steve Jobs hangs over the industry as labels try to assert virtual monopoly power after being the victim of it first by music retailers and then by iTunes. Mark Mulligan reveals how the music labels are creating their own future problems by flexing monopolistic muscles.
8. Don’t Cry for Spotify, Don’t Laugh at Tidal – And Watch Out for Pandora
Great year-end summary by Tim Ingham of a volatile year in Internet Radio. Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Apple, Tidal – a lot of streaming ground is covered for anyone who wants a quick scorecard about where the industry stands now.
9. How an Indie Artist Earned $56k from One Song on Spotify (an interview with Perrin Lamb)
Chris Robley punctures the music label narrative about streaming services to show that unsigned artists can actually do quite well financially. Why? Because they are not sending all of their money to the labels and instead, get to keep it. It appears that artists getting to benefit from their work is a novel concept. Do middlemen deserve over 70% of all streaming royalties?
10. Music Labels Don’t Understand the Real Value of Music
Again with music labels and the value of music. Mark Ramsey is the leading voice on how radio broadcasters can thrive in the digital era and he could have easily had multiple top 10 entries. Enjoy.
Top 5 XAPPmedia Blog Posts of 2015
Part 2: Spotify and Other Streaming Services are Saving the Music Industry
Artists Should Blame Record Labels, Not Music Streaming