Ticketmaster are secretly scalping their own tickets

Notoriously dodgy ticket sellers Ticketmaster have just been unearthed with their own ticket scalping racket ripping of concert-goers.

An undercover investigation undertaken by CBC News and the Toronto Star has discovered some shady practices going on at Ticketmaster. The ticket selling site has often come under fire for it’s unreasonably large extra charges on ticket sales but the real enemy has always been ticket scalpers. It turns out that Ticketmaster are scalping and touting their own tickets, the investigation has revealed.

Both publications reportedly sent two reporters undercover to Ticket Summit 2018, a convention of ticketing and live entertainment taking place in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The journalists were apparently pitched a professional ticket reselling program by company representatives from Ticketmaster. The reps said that their resale division “turns a blind eye to scalpers who use ticket-buying bots and fake identities to snatch up tickets and then resell them on the site for inflated prices”.

The resale tickets have extra fees which Ticketmaster profits from, it’s like they’re selling the same ticket twice. One of the sales representatives, caught on hidden camera, said: “I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts. It’s not something that we look at or report.” It’s a shady move from the company after less than ten years ago their CEO-at-the-time, Irving Azoff said: “I believe that scalping and resales should be illegal.”

A representative for the website got in contact with CBC after the report broke saying that it is “categorically untrue that Ticketmaster has any program in place to enable resellers to acquire large volumes of tickets”. They continued to say that before the report was released they had already begun an internal review of professional reseller accounts and employee practices.

Ticket scalpers are pricing up the cost of tickets constantly and pricing many people out of seeing their favourite artists. If this is true, Ticketmaster have a lot of work to do to gain concert-goers trust again – that’s if people trusted them in the first place.

Music streaming streaming royalty rates for artists 2018

As an independent artist you want your music to get out there and for the world to hear it. But the next step once it’s live online is getting paid for it, how much exactly will you make from each service?

At RouteNote we pride ourselves in giving every artist, musician, producer, label and everyone else musical the same opportunity as major label artists. We send your music to all of the top streaming services and music stores around the world, all for free. So when the royalties start rolling in, this article looks at how much you make from each service.

It can be very hard to decipher exactly what stores are paying for each stream as each service pays out a different amount and that amount varies in every different territory it is being streamed in. But we can gauge an average estimate of what each store pays out and you can see that as well as a breakdown how each service is running in this wonderful graph from informationisbeautiful.net below.

music streaming royalty rates independent artists revenue money payouts earnings

As we mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to get an exact figure of what each service pays out but this is as close as it gets to an accurate representation of what each stream will get you on all of the top services. This graph is based on data from March this year.

Amazon are bringing Alexa to amps, subs and… microwaves?

Amazon want the world to get connected with AIs, specifically by putting Alexa in every piece of technology you can imagine.

A report from CNBC reveals Amazon’s plans to release 8 new Alexa-powered products this year. As part of their mission to bring Alexa to homes all around the world, they will launch a whole range of products ranging from music products to home appliances.

Later this year Amazon plan to put Alexa into new subwoofers and amplifiers as well as receivers for music lovers. They are also implementing their AI into an in-car gadget as cars get more connected with interfaces for music streaming and apps. The most interesting product that Amazon will be putting Alexa into however must be a microwave.

So when you’re in the living room and want to start streaming the fattest possible track you own at a floor-shaking level, just ask your sub to stream it. And likewise, when you’re zapping up a microwave meal for the 3rd time this week you can ask your microwave how to boil rice and fry vegetables.

But in seriousness, this is a big step for Amazon who no doubt want Alexa in all households in every possible way. We’re moving towards the future we’ve been showing for years in films, where our house is essentially a robot that can talk to us, help us, answer questions, keep track of our commitments, and most importantly play our music.

In the Smart speaker market, Amazon holds a giant 71.9% of the market. Their biggest competition is Google who’s AI makes up 18.4% of the market and then all of the other Smart Speakers struggle to make an impact at just a 9.7% share for all of them. They are definitely well on the way to achieving world domination, Amazon AI’s inside tech in every room of our house is their next logical goal.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos confirms their aim, saying in July: “We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are. There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year.”

First music licensing reform in 20 years passed by senate

The US Senate have passed the contested Music Modernization Act signalling the first changes in music licensing laws for 20 years.

The long-discussed and at times contentious Music Modernization Act has finally been passed by the United States Senate. It’s now up to the House to consider it and for President Trump to sign it off and music licensing laws will see their first update in the US for 20 years after the industry has transformed with new technology and digital platforms reshaping how music is consumed and released.

The Music Modernization Act has seen significant support from much of the music industry including high profile artists and songwriters. It has however seen backlash, particularly from licensing company Harry Fox Agency and Sirius XM who will both be impacted by the act. The Harry Fox Agency were able to resolve their disputes but Sirius XM and free music service Music Choice stood firmly against it.

Their opposition slowed the process but the act has now been passed by the Senate, however Sirius XM remain against the act. Their issues lay primarily in the CLASSICS section of the act which will legally obligate them to pay songwriters and artist royalties on recordings made before 1972.

The president of the Recording Industry Association of America, Mitch Glazier said: “As legendary band the Grateful Dead once said in an iconic pre-1927 song, ‘what a long strange trip it’s been.’ It’s been an epic odyssey, and we’re thrilled to almost be at our destination. For the modern U.S. Senate to unanimously pass a 185-page bill is a herculean feat, only achievable because of the grit, determination and mobilisation of thousands of music creators across the nation.

“The result is a bill that moves us toward a modern music licensing landscape better founded on fair market rates and fair pay for all. At long last, a brighter tomorrow for both past and future generations of music creators is nearly upon us. We are indebted to the leadership of Senators Hatch, Grassley, Feinstein, Alexander, Coons, Kennedy and Whitehouse for helping get us there.”

The new bill will combine 3 pieces of new legislation into Section 115 of the US Copyright Act:

  • The Music Modernization Act, which streamlines the music licensing process to make it easier for rights holders to get paid when their music is streamed online.
  • The CLASSICS Act (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act) for pre-1972 recordings.
  • The AMP Act (or Allocation for Music Producers Act), which improves royalty payouts for producers and engineers from SoundExchange when their recordings are used on satellite and online radio. Notably, this is the first time producers have ever been mentioned in copyright law.

Spotify and Nielsen team up to reach audiences

Spotify want to help advertisers understand their audiences and reach them better through their services with the help of Nielsen.

Last week Spotify announced that they were expanding their partnership with research company Nielsen. Their relationship now includes the use of Nielsen’s Brand Effect system to measure how audiences are engaging with ads on Spotify and help advertisers optimise their efforts on the music streaming service.

Spotify’s integration of Nielsen Brand Effect will allow advertisers on their platform to look deeper into how audiences are engaging and responding to ads. The system will give insights on audio, video and visual ads on Spotify and will inform brands on how to structure ads in future and whether they are reaching the right people on Spotify to make the most of their slots between free streamer’s listening experiences.

Spotify’s global head of advertising, Brian Benedik says: “Advertisers of all sizes come to Spotify to connect with consumers in an environment that millions worldwide love and trust. As our advertising platform matures, we’ve set out to prove that Spotify is so much more than the cool kid on the block; it’s a valuable platform that delivers major impact for brand advertisers. With Nielsen’s industry leading measurement tools in our arsenal, we’re able to prove just how big that impact is.”

Nielsen’s own senior vice president of digital solution, Jessica Hogue added: “Modern marketers are increasingly faced with questions across every facet of their advertising execution, and we’re excited to collaborate with Spotify to help provide greater clarity into the campaign optimisation process. Whether an advertiser is looking to make decisions on creative format, length or placement, Nielsen Brand Effect will be able to help bring real insights based on real people to better inform those choices on maximising the value of their investments.”

The state of music streaming in 2018

2018 has been the biggest year for music streaming yet as people all around the world sign up for limitless listening.

Midia have released their report for the music streaming industry in the first half of 2018. It shows that the incredible growth of online music in recent years is still going strong and that more people around the world are listening to music on streaming services than ever before.

The report shows that in the first half of 2018 music streaming rose a considerable 16% to 229.5 million subscribers, after closing 2017 with 198.6 million subscribers. From the same time last year, music streaming has gained 62.8 million subscribers which represents over a 25% in total growth. This growth is incredible, but also represents growth similar to the year before when from H1 2016 to H1 2017 subscribers grew by only 2 million less; 60.8 million.

Midia predict that music streaming’s incredible growth is only going to continue for the rest of 2018, and no doubt will remain through 2019. Countries where music streaming has been heavily adopted like the US and Europe will probably soon start to slow down in growth as all the main audiences for streaming sign up or are already signed up.

Midia reckons that future growth for music streaming will be mostly driven by emerging territories which are newly adopting music streaming, such as Japan, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. The growth of streaming in these territories will require unique offerings however, says Midia in their report. They reckon that promotions like bundling services with telco packages will lead growth in mid-tier streaming markets.

The trends for the top streaming services were:

  • Spotify:Spotify once again maintained global market share of 36%, the same as in Q4 2017, with 83 million subscribers. Spotify has either gained or maintained market share every six months since Q4 2016. Spotify added more subscribers than any other service in H1 2018 – 11.9, which was 39% of all net new subscribers across the globe in the period.
  • Apple Music:Apple added two points of market share, up to 19%, and up three points year-on-year, with 43.5 million subscribers. Apple Music added the second highest number of subscribers – 9.2 million, with the US being the key growth market.
  • Amazon:Across Prime Music and Music Unlimited Amazon added just under half a point of market share, stable at 12%. Amazon experienced the most growth within its Unlimited tier, adding 3.3 million to reach 9.5 million in H2 2018. In total Amazon had 27.9 million subscribers at the end of the period.
  • Others:There were mixed fortunes among the rest of the pack. In Japan, Line Music experienced solid quarterly growth to reach one million subscribers, while in South Korea MelOn had a dip in Q1 but recovered in Q2 to finish slightly above its Q4 2017 figure. Elsewhere, Pandora had a solid six months, adding 0.5 million subscribers, while Google performed strongly on a global basis

Apple get EU approval to acquire Shazam

Apple have been eyeing up Shazam since last year hoping to buy the music recognition software and they’ve just been given the ‘okay’ from the EU.

Last December, Apple announced plans to acquire Shazam. Purchase of the music recognition software and it’s massively popular apps would give Apple a big boost to their grip on digital music, bolstering their music streaming service Apple Music and download store iTunes.

When the reported acquisition came out an EU antitrust investigation was launched by the European Union. A full-scale investigation was opened by the European Commission in April to ensure that Apple wouldn’t gain too much power from it, giving them an unfair advantage over the competition. It was requested by France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and 3 other European countries but Apple have now been cleared for the acquisition.

EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: “After thoroughly analyzing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market. Data is key in the digital economy. We must therefore carefully review transactions which lead to the acquisition of important sets of data, including potentially commercially sensitive ones.”

It looks like Apple are going to go ahead and purchase Shazam, though it’s unclear what this will mean for the service. Apple have spoke on their plans with the service or whether they will allow it to remain a standalone business owned by Apple. Currently Shazam works with many of the major streaming services so that listeners can instantly add songs they’ve scanned into their libraries and playlists – hopefully the acquisition won’t see Apple make Shazam work exclusively with Apple Music and iTunes.

Beats by Dre are now NBA’s official headphone supplier

Basketball has never sounded so good with Beats by Dre headphones now the official audio supplier for the NBA in a new global partnership.

NBA players have been big fans of Apple owned, and Dr. Dre founded, Beats headphones. Now the National Basketball Association have made it official and signed a multi-year partnership deal with the headphone makers with LeBron James leading the promotions for the new collaboration.

Many players in the NBA have long sported Beats headphones without sponsor and others have worked before with Apple and Beats to promote their headphones, including LeBron James. Now the partnership is official for all players in the league and LeBron has spearheaded their promo advert thanks to his long-running love of the headphone makers, as well as LeBron’s rumoured minority stake in Beats.

NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver said: “Beats revolutionized the music industry and has become one of the most innovative and culturally influential brands in the world. Through our partnership, we have an exciting opportunity to merge sports, pop culture and technology to deliver unparalleled experiences and premium products to our fans.”

Beats will supply the NBA with all of their headphones, wireless speakers and any other audio gear used in the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, and US National Basketball team. The only real competitor in big audio brand deals in sports is wireless earphones AirPods, which are also owned by Apple but not distributed under their Beats division. It’s safe to say that Apple have athletes under their thumb for all of their music experiences.

Luke Wood, the president of Beats by Dre, said: “The NBA and its players have long been significant drivers of global culture. Basketball, music, and style speak as one voice: Julius Erving became a style icon, Allen Iverson cemented hip hop’s place on and off the court and LeBron James is breaking new music every day… The list goes on and on. This partnership with the NBA is the perfect alignment for Beats. It feels like coming home.”

YouTube is where 16-44 year old’s discover music around the world

The internet has transformed how we find and listen to music and a new report shows that YouTube is the place to go when it comes to finding your new favourite artists.

A new report from Midia Research looking at the “State of the YouTube Music Economy” has revealed YouTube is the place to go for music in 2018. YouTube is the most widely used streaming music app in the world and when it comes to 16-44 year olds, YouTube is the place to go to discover new music or re-listen to their favourite gems.

As the newer generations move towards streaming for all of their music needs, YouTube’s availability and ease of use have made it a favourite for music lovers. The report shows that YouTube is the main way 16-44 year olds around the world are discovering with a giant penetration rate of 73% of 16-19 year olds in Brazil. This has especially increased in recent years thanks to YouTube’s new approach and prioritisation of music.

Last year YouTube signed deals with all of the major record labels to rectify conflict with the music industry, with many musicians unhappy with how little they paid for music compared to other streaming services. Since resolving their low payout issues YouTube have taken music much more seriously. They have created a new separate platform for music, YouTube music, which acts much more like a traditional streaming service with the added benefit of music videos, live music, and more music content that you can get on YouTube.

It’s working to make music vastly more popular than it already was on YouTube. By the end of July this year, Vevo reported that ten music videos released this year had already reached 1 billion overall views. Together those videos have a total of 17.2 billion views. In 2010 it took on average 1,841 days for a video to reach 1 billion views.

YouTube made an immense $3 billion in revenue from their music content in 2017, however it trailed in revenues behind some other genres, particularly gaming videos which make up the majority of YouTube income. This accounted for 21% of their revenue last year, although music made up 32% of their overall views. Hopefully income and views will align much better this year with YouTube’s new focus on music.

Tencent Music set a date for their $30 billion IPO

One of the biggest forces in music business around the world, Tencent Music Entertainment are prepping their monumental IPO and have finally set a date for the event.

Tencent Music Entertainment have set the 18th of October as the date they hope to launch their IPO. Their public offering comes after Spotify successfully went public on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year and increased their value by over 50%. Since then many other music companies have looked into trading publicly.

Tencent will submit their IPO to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on September 7th for a launch on the public stock exchange on October 18th. TME has been valued at only slightly less than Spotify as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have underwritten the IPO at $30 billion, 1 billion less than Spotify’s market value of $31 billion. At least, this is according to sources in China.

Interestingly, late last year Spotify and Tencent swapped stock with each other, giving both company a 9% non-controlling stake in each other. Whilst technically rivals from different ends of the earth, the two companies seemed keen to invest in each other with Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek saying: “This transaction will allow both companies to benefit from the global growth of music streaming.” Tencent’s upcoming IPO will no doubt see an increase in value for Spotify in their shares, definitely if it lives up to it’s current valuation.

Tencent are the owners behind a massive section of music streaming services in China and further Asia. TME operate the incredibly popular QQ Music as well as services like Kugou and Kuwo. Each service was estimated to have over 100 million users in the first quarter of 2018 but QQ and Kugou both reported over 200 million users, according to iResearch.