Despite “advanced talks” Spotify aren’t buying SoundCloud now

Earlier this year in September rumours circulated that Spotify might buy up SoundCloud’s open digital music platform, but discussions have now reportedly been closed.

In September reports suggested that Spotify were in talks with SoundCloud for a purchase, a deal that would have put Spotify in a giant position within the industry. Sources have now revealed to TechCrunch that those talks have died in the past week.

The sources say that Spotify felt an acquisition of SoundCloud’s scope could negatively impact upon their IPO (initial public offering) which Spotify reportedly plan to go ahead with next year. Whilst Spotify haven’t confirmed that they will have an IPO the source speaking to TechCrunch said that Spotify “doesn’t need an additional licensing headache in a potential IPO year.”

Assuming Spotify are planning an IPO for next year a $700 million purchase (SoundCloud was last valued at) would have a big impact on the music streamer that has yet to become profitable. Despite being the leading music streamer with 40 million subscribers and over 100 million users Spotify have yet to make a yearly profit in their 8 years of existence thanks to the nature of startups and the expensive licensing costs that come with dealing with record labels. Purchasing SoundCloud would just add more licensing costs for Spotify.

As music streaming becomes more and more competitive a purchase of SoundCloud’s massive platform could have secured Spotify’s position at the top, especially with major rival Apple Music having recently reached 20 million subscribers. Regardless as a streaming trailblazer and arguably the most established music streaming brand Spotify don’t look to be fading away anytime soon.

 

Vevo name their up-and-coming artists to watch in 2017

Vevo, the music video service created by major record labels, have revealed their list of rising artists to keep an eye on next year.

As 2016 comes to a close Vevo are looking forward to what the next year holds for music with their dscvr Ones to Watch 2017 list. The list features 20 artists that Vevo’s team think are going to be the big influencers in 2017, breaking out with popularity.

For the first time ever Vevo have release both an electronic and a physical magazine that covers the 20 acts in detail to get an insight into these up-and-comers. The magazine features interviews, pictures and features all focussing on their Ones to Watch 2017.

Vevo’s list of artists tipped to hit the big time next year are:

Last week the BBC revealed their BBC Music Sound of 2017, showing their picks for the rising stars that they think will shape 2017. The list featured many original choices but Vevo and BBC seemed in agreement with AJ Tracey, Jorja Smith, Nadia Rose and Raye.

 

Streaming “needs our help” says newly knighted UMG CEO Sir Lucian Grainge

A week following his knighting by Prince William, UMG’s top dog Sir Lucian Grainge pledges his support to music streaming.

In the latest edition of Music Week Sir Lucian Grainge, the chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, spoke on the new market dominator in music streaming. Streaming has been a contentious issue in the music industry, but one that most naysayers are coming around to as streaming continues to grow and provide a much needed boost the global industry.

Speaking in London, following his knighthood by the Duke of Cambridge Prince William, Grainge said: “There’s opportunity everywhere. I’m not one of those who looks at change and sees it as a risk. We have to help them grow their business for all the stakeholders. We want as many options for consumers as possible.

“I believe in scale and as much competition as there can be and you’ll see that in how we’re trying to support the market and lead where we’re able.” Without support from major labels music streaming probably wouldn’t exist and that’s why Grainge is adamant that streaming services “need our help to grow and build and develop.”

Universal recently made a first by announcing that they wouldn’t allow their artists to sign exclusive deals with one streaming service as this damages sales, leaves fans left out and allows streaming success to be bought – something that Apple Music has been criticised for.

You can read the full interview with Sir Lucian Grainge with a subscription to Music Week.

Amazon have sold over 5 million Echo home speakers in just two years

Amazon Echo is dominating the home speakers market despite increased competition, a new report indicates.

An analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners indicates that Amazon Echo has been a giant success since launching at the end of 2014. CIRP undertook the task of finding out Echo sales since Amazon don’t release their own numbers for Echo, and found that roughly 5.1 million units have been sold since launch.

Amazon launched their Echo speakers just over 2 years ago in November 2014. Echo features Amazon’s Siri-like intelligent AI Alexa which is voice controlled to stream your music, arrange your calendar, keep you up to date with the news, find answers to your questions and much more. Since launching the Echo has been a major success and spawned other AI home speakers from rivals like Google.

CIRP found that approximately 2 million of the total Echo units sold were in the first 9 months of 2016, representing increased awareness spurring sales growth rather than dwindling after 2 years. Amazon also launched two new cheaper variants of the Echo speaker with scaled down features.

Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP, Josh Lowitz said: “Amazon continues to expand Echo, introducing two new models this year, the Dot and Tap. Amazon also promotes it heavily, with special pricing on multiple Echo device purchases and Echo devices bundled with compatible speakers and home automation devices. Amazon also offers deals available only to Amazon Prime Members exclusively through Echo.

“Our research shows that more than half of Echo owners use the device as more than a voice-controlled music speaker. Users report asking about weather and news, and increasingly controlling other connected devices.” Lowitz continued. Whilst roughly a third of users use the Echo for information it’s primary function with users is still it’s music streaming with over 40% using it as an audio speaker.

Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP, Mike Levin said: “The installed based (sic) of Amazon Echo users continues to grow at a rapid clip. We estimate that the new Echo Dot and Echo Tap models account for at least one-third of sales in the past six months, since Amazon introduced those models. And, a small but meaningful percentage of Amazon customers own more than one Echo model.”

With Amazon reportedly working on another new Echo model with a touchscreen and upgraded audio, it seems the only way is up for Echo. However with their success home speakers are quickly becoming a competitive market with other brands wanting to get in on the new electronics fad, but for now Amazon hold the power.

“Unstoppable” Drake tops Spotify for the 2nd year in a row in their 2016 top lists

Spotify have revealed the top streaming lists for 2016 taking a look back at the year in music and seeing who dominated the platform.

Today Spotify released their annual look back at the year after 2016 has shown an incredible increase in music streaming popularity. The lists highlights the success of artists like Rihanna who takes her second year as the most streamed female artist on Spotify, whilst Drake continues his domination of the service taking the top streamed position for the second year in a row.

Spotify’s chief content & chief strategy officer, Stefan Blom said: “Drake has been unstoppable this year – he’s a true global superstar. With the top album and the top song this year, as well as his successful Summer Sixteen tour, Drake continues to engage his fans in a way that only Drake can; it’s no surprise he is dominating the music industry.”

Drake isn’t the only success story to come out of music streaming this year however as services saw their best year ever, adding phenomenal numbers of new users. Streaming’s giant rise in 2016 has been so significant that it has driven the first increase in recorded music revenue for years as well as climbing to become the biggest earner for major record labels Warner Music Group and Sony Music.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly has had a great first, full year of release with Discover Weekly tracks being streamed over 9 billion times this year alone. Thanks to features like Spotify’s lauded Discover Weekly playlists listeners have been able to discover more new music than has ever been possible before.

Spotify’s Global Year in Music 2016

Most Streamed Artists

For the second year in a row, Drake was the world’s most streamed artist with over 4.7 billion streams this year, more than doubling his record of 1.8 billion streams last year. In fact, Drake is the most streamed artist of all time on Spotify with over 8.7 billion streams.

Here are the top five artists for 2016:

  1. Drake
  2. Justin Bieber
  3. Rihanna
  4. Twenty One Pilots
  5. Kanye West

Most Streamed Female Artists

Putting in ‘work’ this year with over 2.5 billion streams, Rihanna takes home the title of most streamed female artist for a second year in a row with Ariana Grande, Sia, Adele and Fifth Harmony rounding out the top 5:

  1. Rihanna
  2. Ariana Grande
  3. Sia
  4. Adele
  5. Fifth Harmony

Most Streamed Male Artists

Behind Drake and with the help of his late 2015 release of his album, Purpose, Justin Bieber shoots to the number two spot on the list of most streamed male artists followed by Twenty One Pilots, Kanye West and Coldplay:

  1. Drake
  2. Justin Bieber
  3. Twenty One Pilots
  4. Kanye West
  5. Coldplay

Top Five Breakout Artists

One Direction fans still have love for ZAYN, putting him on top of this year’s list of breakout artists along with FRENSHIP, Anne-Marie, Madeintyo and Rob $tone. These breakout artists made their mark in 2016:

  1. ZAYN
  2. FRENSHIP
  3. Anne-Marie
  4. Madeintyo
  5. Rob $tone

Most Streamed Tracks

Drake’s One Dance made history this year by overtaking last year’s winner Lean On by Major Lazer (ft. MØ and DJ Snake), as the most popular song ever on Spotify with almost 970 million streams.

  1. One Dance (feat. WizKid and Kyla) – Drake
  2. I Took A Pill in Ibiza – Seeb Remix – Mike Posner
  3. Don’t Let Me Down (feat. Daya) – The Chainsmokers
  4. Work (feat. Drake) – Rihanna
  5. Cheap Thrills – Sia

Most Streamed Albums

After dropping Views in April, Drake’s album has racked up over 2.45 billion streams on Spotify in 2016, making it the most streamed album of the year. Here are the top 5 most streamed albums for 2016:

  1. Views – Drake
  2. Purpose – Justin Bieber
  3. ANTI – Rihanna
  4. Blurryface – Twenty One Pilots
  5. Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd

Most Popular Playlists

Of Spotify’s 2 billion+ playlists, Today’s Top Hits was the most popular this year with over nearly 12 million followers

  1. Today’s Top Hits
  2. Rap Caviar
  3. Hot Country
  4. Peaceful Piano
  5. Baila Reggaeton

Fun Facts:

Top Artists by Genre:

Emerging 2016 Genres:

  1. Ambient Fusion
  2. Witch House
  3. Indie Emo
  4. Underground Latin Hip Hop
  5. Baile Funk
  6. Dangdut
  7. Hoerspiel
  8. Speed Garage
  9. Brazilian Gospel
  10. World Meditation