Live music popularity has seen a decline in 2019

Live music has never been as big an industry as it has been in recent years, but so far this year it has seen a surprise reduction in popularity.

Live music is massive. Just look at some of the biggest tours of the past ten years and you’ll see that the scope of live music has grown to immense levels. From the size of the audiences which can go into the hundreds-of-thousands to the massive revenues made from concerts, live music is a major part of the modern music industry.

Despite how giant the live music industry has become this year has seen a dwindling. So far in 2019 the top 100 highest grossing tours have grossed $2.06 billion. It may seem like a lot but it’s a 26.8% decrease from last year, or a $752 million decrease.

This may be worrying for promoters and artists, particularly as live music becomes a more significant portion of artist income. However, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the live music industry as a whole. Independent music is thriving with the advent of music streaming and local gigs are seeing a new surge of life.

It’s not necessarily the case that: whilst the bigger artists are losing out on their concerts smaller artists are picking up the slack. However we are seeing a gigantic shift in the music industry as independent artists are set to
earn more than $1 billion in 2019 and have overtaken both Sony and Warner in their music market share in the UK.

Independent labels take larger UK music market share than Sony, Warner for first time

As the music industry shifts and independents take the power away from major labels, the UK’s music market shows just how strong independent music has become.

The latest statistics from the Official Charts Company in the UK shows that independent record labels are doing better than ever. They’re doing so well that their market share is now bigger than two of the world’s major record labels in the UK.

Independent Record Labels were shown having a higher market share in the first half of 2019 than both Sony Music and Warner Music. Independents were shown to have a 25.1% market share. That’s almost 4% higher than Sony Music who had a 21.5% share and they vastly surpassed Warner Music who were shown to only have 16.2% for the period.

The third of the 3 major labels, Universal, stayed on top with a whopping 37.3% market share. But beyond Universal the results show a vast growth in the independent music sector which has been boosted in recent years by music streaming and the internet opening the opportunities up outside of label deals to everyone.

Find out more information on the labels and their shares this year from Hits Daily Double.

7digital needs £4.5 million before next month or faces administration

7digital’s future is on the line as it needs to raise a load of additional funds as July approaches on the brink of administration.

B2B music service 7digital is on a shaky precipice that requires some large funding to keep it afloat. The company’s latest financial filing states: “The Company currently believe that it still needs to raise Additional Funds of at least £4.5 million by 31st of July 2019, failing which it is highly likely that the Company would need to be placed into administration.”

The announcement follows 7digital’s warning that they had experienced a “significant disruption” to business in the first half of 2019. Their board had already said they expect revenues to be “significantly behind the equivalent period in the prior year” earlier this month.

eMusic CEO Tamir Koch is set to join 7digital’s board following a £1.3 million investment from companies including Magic Investments and Shmuel Koch Holdings. The investment came earlier this month as a debt-for-equity swap in the already troubled music company.

Tamir Koch and eMusic have expressed their various plans for the service moving forward, depending on the ongoing situation that follows their funding due date next month.

TikTok’s owner gets 1 billion users every month globally

China’s tech industry is making it’s impact all across the globe and infamous Bytedance reported 1 billion monthly active users this year.

If you haven’t heard of TikTok, welcome out from under the rock you’ve been living under. They’re a short video app whose popularity has proliferated around the globe and caused a media frenzy. Their parent company ByteDance have now revealed just how successful their global presence has become.

ByteDance are a Chinese tech company running a series of apps, including the incredibly popular Douyin (TikTok, as it’s known outside of China). This year has been particularly monumental as they’re reporting that they have had 1 billion active users using their apps every month since January.

Douyin’s president, Zhang Nan, announced the figures at the Shanghai festival last month. The company reckons that TikTok has been installed an estimated 1.2 billion times worldwide. They predict that the app’s gross revenue will surpass $100 billion (US) later this month.

Parent company ByteDance is reportedly worth $75 billion now, making it one of the most valuable private technology firms in the world. Their apps cover a wide range of media from the short, viral video creation of TikTok to their popular news applications in China.

As their growth shows serious signs of success around the world, ByteDance are looking to new avenues. According to reports this year they are looking at areas like smartphones as a potential next step for their business, allowing them to pre-load their range of apps onto smartphones. They are also looking at the potential launch of a music streaming service.

Target your Spotify adverts directly at the podcast lovers now

Spotify want advertisers to reach the right audience so they’re now allowing ads targeted specifically at podcast listeners.

Adverts on Spotify are tuned to intelligently play for specific people based on the music or playlists they like. This means advertisers can ensure they are reaching an audience they think will be interested in whatever they’re advertising. Spotify have now introduced targeted ads for podcasts.

This means that advertisers can make their adverts stretch even further by pushing them to the people they think will respond best to them based on the podcasts they listen to. It’s part of Spotify’s plan to both make their platform better for brands to advertise on as well as their big mission to create a feature-packed podcast experience alongside music streaming.

A spokeswoman for Spotify said: “We aspire to develop a more robust advertising solution for podcasts that will allows us to layer in the kind of targeting, measurement, and reporting capabilities we have for ads that run alongside other content experiences like music and video.”

The adverts will be presented the same as they are on Spotify free for music, interspersed between content. Adverts within the podcast won’t be affected in any way. Targeted ads for podcasts are now available in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Australia.

Pandora are being sued for lyrics, by a company who just sued Spotify for $1.6 billion

Who would’ve thought lyrics could cause such a fuss? Wixen clearly do as they look to sue Pandora for using the lyrics of their artists in their music streaming service.

Music publishing company Wixen have been challenging some of the world’s most high profile music streaming services lately. Following a licensing dispute with Spotify which resulted in a, now dismissed, $1.6 billion lawsuit in December, Wixen are looking to Pandora for their latest license battle.

Wixen have now taken a suit against internet radio streamer Pandora for using lyrics from their artists such as Tom Petty, Rage Against the Machine, and Weezer. Wixen say they displayed the lyrics “without any valid license or authorization”.

Pandora display lyrics for appropriate music on their streaming service on both mobile and desktop players since 2009. They’ve partnered with various lyrics providers to source lyrics and license the rights to use them.

However Wixen claim that their clients weren’t included in any of these licenses. They claim that they notified Pandora in early 2018 who only began to respond by taking some of the lyrics down last month. They’re calling Pandora’s delay a “willful and deliberate” copyright infringement.

Damages in the suit could be as much as $150,000 per song. Neither Pandora’s parent company Sirius XM nor their lyrics affiliate LyricFind have responded to comments according to The Verge.

China’s massive Tencent are looking at a 50% stake in major label Universal

One of the world’s biggest music labels is being eyed up by Chinese conglomerate for a potentially massive stake acquisition.

Tencent, the massive Chinese company responsible for much of the biggest music tech happenings in Asia, have set Universal in their sights. According to reports, Tencent Music are in serious talks about acquiring as much as 50% of major label Universal Music Group (UMG).

French media conglomerate Vivendi SA are looking at a group of potential “strategic buyers” to buy stakes in UMG, according to reports. Tencent Music Entertainment are one of the front runners looking at a giant stake in the major label, an acquisition which would be a massive bolster to Tencent’s worldwide music industry influence.

Analyst for Macquarie Group Ltd., Giasone Salati said to Bloomberg: “When I think about the UMG deal, I think about the play ‘Waiting for Godot’. Why pre-announce the deal such a long time in advance instead of just doing so once the deal has been agreed upon? Still, maybe it helps the stock price of Vivendi.”

As well as Tencent there are a series of other potential purchases eyeing up the major music label. This includes: Apple, private equity firm KKR, and Liberty Media who already own stakes in massive music related entities like music streaming companies Pandora and Sirius XM, and Live Nation concert ticketing company.

Australia’s music revenues grew over 10% in 2018

Australia have reported incredible growth in recorded music revenues last year with a massive boom in streaming.

Music streaming services worldwide are causing a giant boost to music industry revenues. The Australian Performing Right Association have released their figures showing that recorded music revenues in Australia grew by 12.3% last year.

Revenues surpassed a whopping $526 million for the year in their fourth successive year of industry growth. Music streaming is the driving force of all growth which now accounts for over two-thirds of their market – 71.4% of revenues at $304 million. That’s growth of 41.2% for streaming revenues.

Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand chairman and CEO, Denis Handlin said: “This result is a testament to the great music that is being produced by our outstanding local artists, as well as the tenacious approach that our local industry takes in marketing and delivering music from all around the world to fans across the country.”

Presenting the IFPI’s Global Music Report, CEO Frances Moore spoke on the “very healthy level of growth” that was happening for music in Australia currently. Stu Bergen, Warner Music Group CEO, says that Australia “continues to be a good place for creative expression and creative talent” as it is “growing significantly”.

Music revenues worldwide are up 9.7% with massive growth in streaming

2018 saw another year of growth for recorded music all around the world as music streaming gets bigger in more and more countries.

In 2018 the global recorded music market grew by 9.7% according to the recorded music industry trade group IFPI’s Global Music Report 2019. This is the fourth year of consecutive growth for music worldwide after the advent of online piracy caused revenues to drop for an extended period.

Music streaming services offered a legitimate solution to the issue of music streaming that brought money back to unlimited music access and the effects are clear to see. In 2018 music streaming revenues were up 34% worldwide, making up almost half of the $19.1 billion in global recorded music revenues.

Last year, for the first time music streaming’s growth offset the decline in physical revenues and digital downloads which were down 10.1% and 21.2% respectively. The largest growth was seen throughout South America, with 16.8% growth in the region. Asia is also seeing significant growth in music.

The IFPI’s chief executive Frances Moore said: “Last year represented the fourth consecutive year of growth, driven by great music from incredible artists in partnership with talented, passionate people in record companies around the world. Record companies continue their investment in artists, people and innovation both in established markets and developing regions that are increasingly benefiting from being part of today’s global music landscape.

As music markets continue to develop and evolve, it is imperative that the appropriate legal and business infrastructure is in place to ensure that music is fairly valued, and that the revenues are returned to rights holders to support the next cycle of development. We continue to work for the respect and recognition of music copyright around the world, and for the resolution of the value gap by establishing a level playing field for negotiating a fair deal for those who create music. Above all, we are working to ensure that music continues its exciting global journey.”

Read the full report here:

Pandora’s grip on American music streaming to give way to Spotify in 2 years

Pandora have long been the favourites for online music in the US but eMarketer reckons their rein is coming to an end.

Spotify are easily one of the world’s leading music streaming services with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Before they became so popular in the US, Pandora had the digital game down with their radio-style digital service offering up endless streams of music on-demand. Pandora are still winning the numbers game but for how long?

Online research firm eMarketer have predicted that Spotify will become the most popular music streaming service in the US by 2021, overtaking Pandora. They reckon that in the next 2 years Pandora’s userbase will slightly drop whilst Spotify continues its trend of meteoric growth worldwide in the US.

In their updated forecast for Spotify and Pandora, eMarketer predicts that Pandora’s user base will be 9% lower than their peak by 2023. Pandora currently have 72.4 million US listeners, 0.5% less than last year. Meanwhile Spotify have been growing nearly 14% year-on-year with 65.3 million users currently in the US.

eMarketer’s forecasting analyst, Chris Bendtsen said: “Pandora lost users last year because of tough competition from other services attracting people to switch. Apple Music has been successful in converting its iPhone user base, Amazon Music has grown with smart speaker adoption, and Spotify’s partnerships have expanded its presence across all devices.”

Whilst Pandora’s offering of unlimited music streaming was unique at the time it’s now the standard in music services. Bendtsen warns that the same is happening with Spotify and that their unique offerings which fuelled so much growth has now been diluted by competition.

Bendtsen says: “Spotify’s initial growth was driven by its unique combination of music discovery, playlists and on-demand features. But now that all music streaming services have the same features, Spotify’s future success will rely on partnerships with other companies. We expect more partnerships to come, leveraging multiple brands, devices and services to drive user growth.”

What Spotify still offers over most competitors, giving it the edge, is it’s free model. The same goes to Pandora. Whilst rivals like Apple Music are gaining large amounts of traction with subscription growth, growing 17% from last year in the US, it’s a subscription only service.