How YouTube Is Still The Number 1 Website For Music

Yesterday it was revealed that Ed Sheeran’s hit track ‘Thinking Out Loud‘ was the first to reach 500 million streams on Spotify, a landmark number for the streaming service and the English singer-songwriter. This is a first for Spotify and music streaming as it holds the top spot with over double the users of it’s rivals.

That is unless you include YouTube, the biggest video hosting website in the world and also the most popular place to listen to music. As impressive as 500 millions streams for a single track is the music video for Sheeran’s song has over 750 million views on YouTube. And that isn’t the most viewed music video by far.

In fact there are 10 music videos on YouTube that surpass the 1 billion mark, an impressive feat up until this year when 8 of the videos in the “Billion Views Club” were released. You may remember the first video that reached the milestone in 2012, Psy’s viral hit ‘Gangnam Style‘. This was followed by Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby‘ which was the second to accumulate 1 billion views 4 years after it’s release.

This year we have not only seen the videos reaching 1 billion views quadruple but the time it takes to amass a billion views has reduced too. Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s tribute song ‘See You Again’ took only six months to reach 1 billion views, ‘Gangnam Style’ being the only video to do it quicker.

What’s most interesting to note is that all the videos in the “Billion Views Club” are music videos, despite the platforms multimedia approach. So why is YouTube dominating the online music market, even ahead of music streaming service? It’s not really known though it’s assumed to be a cumulation of it’s simplistic design along with it’s free platform and the appeal of visuals with the music.

With YouTube set to officially release it’s new YouTube Music Key subscription service sometime within the next month (unless it’s delayed again) it’s clear that YouTube aren’t stepping down in the music streaming landscape. There are criticisms over YouTube’s music as the current system allows for anyone to upload anything, including others’ music, and monetise it however with increasingly more effective content ID systems this is hopefully an issue on it’s way out the door.

This isn’t to say that streaming services are at all redundant as they offer a platform with massive libraries of music, higher quality, less copies and covers and a lot more features for music that YouTube currently can’t offer. YouTube may be winning for overall plays of music but when it comes to usability and functionality music streaming services are still miles ahead and that is represented in the mass increase of music streaming this year which has almost doubled since last year.

So a billion views is no longer exclusive to Psy and Justin Bieber but for now Psy is alone in reaching 2 billion views and it’s likely going to be a long time before we see anyone join him.

Michelle Obama Reveals Her Spotify Playlist

The White House has shared the first lady’s Spotify playlist for the world to hear

Yesterday the White House released Michelle Obama’s personally curated Spotify playlist in celebration of ‘International Day of the Girl’. The playlist is packed with empowering tracks by women including Beyonce’s ‘Run the World (Girls)’ and Alicia Keys’ ‘Girl on Fire’.

The International Day of the Girl is a United Nations designated movement based on gender equality. In particular Mrs Obama was promoting the ‘Let Girls Learn’ campaign that is encouraging the education of girls around the world.

Earlier this year the White House launched it’s own channel on Spotify that was used to share Michelle Obama’s playlist and was used at release for two playlist’s “hand-created” by US President Barack Obama. The president released a ‘daytime’ and ‘evening’ playlist featuring a range of artists from Bob Marley, Coldplay, Rolling Stones, Otis Redding and more.

Listen to ‘The First Lady’s Day of the Girl Playlist’ below:

You can see the White House’s channel from here:

Sounds Is The New Music Sharing & Discovery App For Social Media

Sounds is a free app that helps you discover music on SoundCloud, Spotify and iTunes and share it on Instagram and other social networks.

Sounds works by taking a sample and the cover art from a song then you can share it to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tinder and others. The French startup company behind the app started 3 years ago with another app before moving onto Sounds.

Co-founder and CEO Rhai Goburdhun told TechCrunch: “Unlike other apps, we only use the cover art when you share a song. That’s why our users share a lot more often. We don’t use music as a way to showcase user-generated content.”

Sounds has found it’s niche on Instagram in particular, becoming one of the most popular methods of sharing songs through the photo and video based social network.

Sounds uses SoundCloud, iTunes and Spotify for users to create samples and share songs. Reportedly 25% of the Sounds users spend over 2 hours listening to music using the app every day.

The company behind the app is also in talks with major record labels Sony, Warner and Universal to sign direct licensing deals rather than relying on the SoundCloud API.

CEO Rhai Goburdhun spoke about the future of Sounds, saying: “In six months, we want to make Sounds the unique portal to your music. We are going to add a Shazam-like song identification feature, and all of this without adding new screens. You’ll be able to discover, listen, share, identify and even maybe buy concert tickets.”

Sounds is available for free now on iOS and Android.

US Music Streams Almost Doubled in 2015 So Far

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The number of tracks streamed in the US so far this year are almost double the amount of streams in the US last year.

With two new massive players to streaming this year, Tidal and Apple Music, it has clearly been a monumental year for music streaming. Well 2015 just got a little more monumental for streaming services as the latest Nielsen Music report shows a total of 232 billion streams so far this year. This is a 96.4% increase on the first 9 months of 2014.

Stream Equivalent Albums, where 1,500 streams equal an album sale, are up 96%  from 78.8 million in 2014 to 154.6 million this year. Although digital music sales are slightly down, roughly 6.4%, it is suggested that the massive increase in streaming has made up the artist revenue that would be lost from sales.

According to Billboard, independent artists and labels make up about 13.7% of the market. They explain however that that is based on a strict definition and doesn’t include independent artists distributed by majors, saying that in reality the independent market makes up around 35% of the market share.

Yesterday we heard that major EDM artist Deadmau5 had dropped his label Universal Music Group in favour of an independent approach with publisher and label Kobalt. With Independents holding a large share of the streaming market and more artists like Deadmau5, Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie and others going for independent alternatives it seems the time has come for artists to take their own reins. Raising hopes for a future where the artist is in control rather than the label.

Spotify’s Sorting Hat Shows 3000 New Albums in a Week

Last month Spotify introduced their ‘New Release Sorting Hat’ that shows all the new releases of the past week.

With tens of millions of tracks on Spotify there’s no way anyone could ever run out of tracks to listen to,  especially after listening to just Tobu every week. But if you ever did feel bored with Spotify’s expansive catalogue then you needn’t worry.

As Spotify’s new Sorting Hat shows there were over 3000 albums uploaded to Spotify in the last week. So there’s no excuse for stagnation of what you’re listening to on Spotify, you couldn’t get through that in a month let alone a week!

But the Sorting Hat wasn’t intended to be a check-list to tick off each week, Spotify intended it as yet another tool for discovering new and unheard music. In their announcement post Spotify write: “If you’re excited by the freshest sounds the world has to offer, you’ve already found out how hard that is, especially if you’re looking for a particular kind of music.”

They go on to write: “This ‘experimental attempt at an algorithmic organisation of the week’s new releases,’ as it’s described by creator and Spotify data alchemist Glenn McDonald, takes a fresh approach to the problem, with powerful implications for music fans who want to explore the brand new music each week, delight their ears and impress their friends by always seeming to be first to the party – in just about any genre.”

Spotify’s Sorting Hat, named after the hat in Harry Potter, can be sorted by genre so you can hear the new releases in your niche before everyone else (well maybe not everyone…)

The site could use a lick of paint or two but the essence of what it presents is all there and well designed for ease of use. The New Release Sorting Hat also only shows music based on availability in the US so you may see releases that aren’t available in your country and vice-versa.

It was also announced today that Spotify’s Discover Weekly, a custom playlist of recommendations based on your listening history, has had 1 billion listens since launching 10 weeks ago. Though the statistic is new it’s acclaim is not as people have been praising Discover Weekly’s intuitive and varied choice since it’s launch, overshadowing Apple’s proud, human-curated playlists.

Safe to say Spotify aren’t looking, nor acting, like they are at all threatened in their position at the top of streaming services.