Independent music is the fastest growing part of the industry

Thanks to the freedom of the internet and new platforms the power has shifted from major labels and into the hands of the artists in a new age for the music industry.

Punk helped to make DIY music a viable reality so that by the late 80s you had bands and artists making music all over the place. Whilst making and releasing music suddenly became an option all by yourself it still made a massive difference if you had connections, and you had to really luck out to get to the same positions as bands with major labels.

The past two decades have seen that power shift quicker than anyone could have predicted. With the internet becoming as globally pervasive as it has, everyone now has access to the same drawing board. We can all communicate with each other around the world in seconds and that has done amazing things for handing power back to the individual.

We have seen streaming services and digital stores explode to replace physical music for millions of people (except the odd vinyl record). With these platforms it’s given distributors like us at RouteNote the chance to team up with them to help all artists get their music heard on them.

This has opened up the playing field so that it is just as possible for a bedroom musician or small town band to get their music in front of the world as it is for No. 1 charting artists signed to the major labels. In fact independent artists are the fastest growing part of the entire recorded music revenue.

This is great news as it not only means that there are opportunities for everyone, but it means that more artists and independent labels have control over their creative decisions and what they do commercially with their music, name, image and so on.

MIDiA Research found that 87% of independent artists were using a digital distributor with an average annual income of $21,233. Their growth surpasses that of all over music and artists and their revenue grew 35% between 2017 and 2018 to $643.1 million for the year.

We’re incredibly proud to be part of the reason why music lovers and makers around the world can put their music out there and make it as a successful artist in a new era of music. We love working with independent artists and being a part of their journey and we can’t wait to keep helping people to achieve their dreams and get people listening worldwide!

Billie Eilish to sing the new James Bond theme song

Billie Eilish has been revealed as the artist behind the upcoming James Bond theme, making her the youngest Bond singer ever.

The young pop-start has been named as the singer behind the 25th James Bond film’s theme song. The 18 year old will be the youngest person to have the now notorious position of providing the theme song to ‘No Time To Die’, out on April 2nd (April 10th in the US).

Eilish said: “It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock.”

The Grammy-nominated singer has reportedly co-wrote the song with her brother Finneas. Rumours had been swirling in the days leading up to the official announcement. Fans noticed Eilish was one of just 81 people that the director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, follows on Instagram. Eilish had also been adding images from Bond films to her Instagram stories.

No Time To Die’s producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: “We are excited to announce that Billie and Dinneas have written an incredibly powerful and moving song for No Time To Die, which has been impeccably crafted to work within the emotional story of the film.”

The film is expected to be Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond. There has been plenty of speculation as to who will take his place but the directors have confirmed it will be a man.

Find the perfect Spotify playlist for you and your pets

Spending time with your beloved animals can have the perfect soundtrack made just for you from Spotify.

After a bit of research Spotify found that pet owners love playing music to their companions. In fact, they found that 71% of pet owners play music to their pets and 80% believe that their pets enjoy music – so why not jam out with them?

Well that’s exactly what Spotify thought, and so they made a new, unique experience for creating playlists tailored to you and your animal friends. Over 50% of people dance with their pets and even more sing to them, so it’s time to start sharing music with them properly.

To create your playlist simply head to spotify.com/pets and then:

Step 1: Pick your pet.

You can choose from a dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

Step 2: Tell us more about your pet. 

From relaxed vs. energetic to shy vs. friendly, select which trait most aligns with your pet’s personality—it will help us pick the playlist vibe.

Step 3: Add a name and photo. 

The playlist cover will feature your pet’s name and photo so you can keep the memory forever, and you’ll also receive a personalized share card!

Step 4: Listen and share. 

Once complete, grab your iguana and get listening, dancing, or singing. Then, feel free to share (and compare) your card on social using #SpotifyPets.

Here’s what I got for me and my cat Spike:

LiveXLive have gained over 1.2 million monthly users for their live music entertainment

LiveXLive finished 2019 with a leap in new users coming to stream from their live music based library of content.

The live music and entertainment company have revealed an end-of-year report that shows a strong 2019. In a year in which they partnered with iHeartRadio to expand their offerings they also gained 140,000 paid subscribers.

As of December 31st, 2019 LiveXLive reportedly had 1.2 million monthly active users, 820,000 of which are paid subscribers. Their users came to them for 28 musical festivals and events live streamed, as well as over 275 hours of programming with more than 230 artists in 2019.

They have gained 17.6% of their monthly active users as they had at the end of the year 2018. For the year they had over 63 million views on their livestreams of the big live music entertainment that they stream.

LiveXLive Chairman and CEO, Robert Ellin stated: “LiveXLive closed out its first nine months with significant momentum and achieving new milestones, as well as focusing on key hires to continue driving growth.

“We are looking forward to reporting full financial results for Q3 2020 in early February and have a number of exciting live events coming up, including livestreaming Selena Gomez’s new album release party, as well as performances from the most popular artists today, including French Montana, Coldplay, Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, and The Lumineers, and the 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards.”

In August we reported on news that whilst LiveXLive was seeing substantial growth in their paying subscribers, their profits weren’t growing to match. They reported an operating loss of $10.3 million in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year.

Pandora and SiriusXM bundles could be on the way

SiriusXM and Pandora look to come together to provide your music needs in and out of the car for one discount price.

Last February the US’ favourite car-streaming service, SiriusXM, acquired Pandora to make a music streaming powerhouse. Reports say that both services are considering the potential of a music bundle that offers a subscription to both at a discounted price.

SiriusXM offers thousands of satellite radio stations and is primarily car-based, though they have since expanded to desktops and smartphones. Pandora meanwhile offers a more traditional on-demand music streaming service with a station-based system that creates algorithmically tuned mixes of music.

Since the acquisition they’ve continued to operate mostly independently with a few crossovers, like a Pandora station of popular songs on SiriusXM and some of the satellite radio streamer’s talk shows coming to Pandora. A bundle would be a great way to consolidate their separate user-bases.

Currently Pandora offers a free tier with adverts and limited streaming options. They then offer Pandora Plus for $4.99 a month, which offers an ad-free version of their automated radio station style streaming. At $9.99, Pandora Premium gives listeners full, on-demand access to over 40 million songs.

On the other hand SiriusXM’s packages start at $5 a month for in-car listening and streaming at home on the Amazon Echo Dot. For $8.25 users can stream SiriusXM’s stations outside of the car on any device.

A bundle could be a very attractive offer for in-car and at home listeners, though they haven’t revealed any information on which tiers a package would offer. They have confirmed that they’ve been testing cross-promotions with discounts for subscribers who sign up to both.

SiriusXM and Pandora Chief Product Officer and Head of Technology, Chris Phillips said: “We’re giving listeners choice. But when we give them choice, we want them to be able to have the best of what we offer in many places. In the future, the idea that there’s a single opportunity – we’re looking at what that might be.”

SiriusXM entered 2020 with 34.9 million subscribers after a big year thanks to taking their service outside of the car as well as their acquisition of Pandora. This made for a significant year in growth and expansion for SiriusXM.

SiriusXM CEO, Jim Meyer said: “Last year was a milestone for SiriusXM. Not only did we achieve our tenth consecutive year of million-plus self pay net additions, but we also completed our acquisition of Pandora Media and made significant investments in our business, all while returning more than $2 billion to our stockholders. And our new 2020 guidance points to what should be another excellent year of growth for SiriusXM.”

Anghami could be up for sale at a value of up to $400m

One of the biggest names in music streaming for the Middle East right now, Anghami are weighing up their options for the future.

Anghami is a major music streaming service based in the Middle East and is one of the biggest streamers in the region. New reports from “people familiar with the matter” reveal that Anghami are eyeing up a potential sale if not a round of investment.

Despite facing encroaching competition from worldwide streamers like Spotify Anghami weren’t worried, announcing over 21 million users with more than 1 million paying subscribers last March. However if reports about a sale are true it could be a sign that streaming rivals in the Middle East are becoming a threat.

Bloomberg reveal that the company could be worth as much as $400 million in a sale. Dubai-based premium TV network, Orbit Showtime Network are penned as the front-runners for a buyer. However, reports also suggested that Anghami might instead look to raise funds with the aid of investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co..

Anghami had an eventful year of expansion last year, seeing their platform grow to include podcasts. As seen by Spotify, podcasts have become a highly valuable source of streams and as more Spotify users listen to podcasts every day they’re looking to monetise them in new ways.

Last year Spotify and Deezer both launched in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region. Despite that increased competition Anghami brushed it off, saying that: “YouTube is by far a more important competitor than Spotify or Deezer; understanding that means that video isn’t a second class citizen for us.”

As such Anghami have been expanding their video offerings. Last year they made a deal with Wavo, a subsidiary of Orbit Showtime Network, which included the rights to stream the final series of HBO’s massively popular Game of Thrones.

SiriusXM enter 2020 with 34.9m subscribers

SiriusXM’s 2019 saw them expand even further beyond the car and gain record numbers in the last quarter of the year. 

SiriusXM are the streaming service of choice for many US drivers, offering satellite radio on-demand in cars. 2019 saw SiriusXM take their beloved radio offerings outside of the car to stand side by side the massive music streamers in America.

Taking Pandora under their wing last February, SiriusXM aren’t only a leading radio streaming service but also control one of the biggest music streaming services in the US. With big and bold moves in 2019, SiriusXM have bolstered their position in the thriving digital music market.

In their ‘Subscriber Guidance’ for investors they revealed that they ended the year with 34.9 million paying subscribers. The record high for them came after their tenth consecutive year of adding more than a million paid users. They revealed a massive $8.1 billion in revenues for the year.

SiriusXM CEO, Jim Meyer said: “Last year was a milestone for SiriusXM. Not only did we achieve our tenth consecutive year of million-plus self pay net additions, but we also completed our acquisition of Pandora Media and made significant investments in our business, all while returning more than $2 billion to our stockholders. And our new 2020 guidance points to what should be another excellent year of growth for SiriusXM.”

Looking forward to 2020, they have partnered with Marvel to release totally exclusive content from the massive comic book franchise on Pandora and SiriusXM. They have also teamed up with platinum selling hip-hop artist Drake for exclusive content.

They will release their fourth quarter and 2019 earnings call date on February 4th 2020.

Spotify launch targeted adverts in podcasts

Spotify have expanded their platform for brands and are placing adverts in their vast catalogue of podcasts available to stream.

Since expanding their platform from solely music to include podcasts for streaming, Spotify have seen podcasts take off. With their now expansive list of podcasts available to stream and millions of listeners tuning in to episodes every week they are opening them up to advertisers.

Spotify have announced ‘Spotify Podcast Ads’, allowing brands and companies to pay to advertise on podcasts. Using Spotify’s ‘Streaming Ad Insertion’ technology marketers will be able to target their ads to audiences they think are the most likely to respond to their products based on the podcast and user’s listening habits.

Spotify are also offering digital advertisers a suite of tools so that they can analyse the response to their ads and see the audiences and listening behaviour behind each advert listen. Spotify reckon they are in a unique position with podcasts to offer advertising that can be truly tracked, as podcasts are streamed through their platform rather than downloaded.

Spotify present 3 main areas of importance for advertising on podcasts with them:

  • Reach the audience you want to reach
    To date, podcast advertisers have had to rely on audience surveys or inferences about the podcast’s content to figure out where to allocate their podcast ad budgets. Spotify Podcasts Ads reach a logged-in user base of millions of listeners. We provide data-driven recommendations and insights to help you reach the right audience.
  • Deliver your ads with confidence
    In 2016, the IAB unified measurement of “ad delivery” across the industry,3 but due to the distributed, downloaded nature of podcasting, the new guidelines could not tell advertisers whether listeners actually heard their ads. Spotify Podcast Ads measure real impressions as they occur, reporting on the age, gender, device type, and listening behavior of the audience reached.
  • Understand the impact of your investment
    Without knowing who actually heard an ad, podcast advertisers have largely been unable to measure the impact of their podcast advertising through typical digital media practices like brand lift studies or conversion reporting. To date, podcast advertisers have found creative ways to directionally indicate whether their ads resonated through tactics like coupon codes and vanity URLs. With Spotify Podcast Ads, we will be able to tap into our suite of digital measurement capabilities to learn more about how people perceive your brand and take action after hearing your ad.

Spotify’s Senior Product Manager of Podcast Monetisation, Joel Withrow says: “In the past five years, podcasts have become a staple of pop culture. In that time, I’ve spoken to a lot of skeptical brands, and the conversation consistently begins and ends with measurement. I’m excited to continue evolving the medium at Spotify.

“With our trusted, logged in audience, we can finally prove out the effectiveness of podcasts with the data and insights that digital advertisers expect.”

Executive Vice President of Strategy at Havas Media, Gabrielle Rossetti added: “Podcasts have long been a highly compelling advertising environment, but we’ve been hesitant to dive in given the medium’s well-known limitations.

“Naturally, we were eager to test Spotify’s new podcast ad tech and have an influencer like Jemele endorse our new line of sneakers the Clyde Hardwoods. We’re excited to continue partnering with Spotify to push the boundaries of podcasts.”

Germany streamed over 100 billion songs in 2019

Germans have joined the UK in a landmark year of music streaming with people listening more than ever.

Around the world, music streaming services have become the number one destination for music addicts to casual listeners to get their fix. 2019 saw a monumental decade of music streaming close on a major high that is evident in Germany’s streaming figures.

Music streams in Germany hit 107 billion this year, research by GfK Entertainment in cooperation with the country’s Federal Association of the Music Industry (BVMI) shows. The UK also surpassed 100 billion streams last year for the first time.

Hitting the 100 billion mark isn’t just a giant landmark in listening throughout Germany but also shows the incredible growth of streaming services and music listening year-on-year.

Music streams in the country have nearly doubled in 2 years since 2017, when Germany streamed music 56.4 billion times. In 2018, Germans streamed music 79.5 billion times. That represents 35% more listening in just one year following a decade of continuous growth that is clearly not slowing.

BVMI’s CEO, Dr. Florian Drücke said: “Over a hundred billion audio streams in Germany in 2019 – this is not only a milestone, you can also see the continued considerable dynamism in this area and thus the acceptance among music fans. Streaming continues to expand its position, but at the same time the other usage formats remain relevant, the offer of our members continues to range from vinyl to the cloud.”

Their research noted how Christmas music had been a particular boost to streaming numbers. The season created tens of millions of streams on old songs that hadn’t been ranking for the rest of the year. Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ broke the record for most streams in a single day with 3.2 million on December 24th, Christmas Eve.

GfK Entertainment’s Managing Director, Dr. Mathias Giloth said: “Music streaming is popular across all genres – and the playlists were particularly hot at Christmas time. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve had new records in 2019 with 431 million and 407 million hits [respectively].

“The days with the most streaming so far have been set up. At the beginning of the year, the daily number of hits was still less than 250 million, which shows the enormous leaps in the format that has been part of the Official German Charts since 2014.”