SoundCloud’s music library now 5x bigger than Spotify’s

SoundCloud have just re-affirmed their position with the biggest music streaming catalogue in the world with over 200 million tracks.

SoundCloud have announced that they now have over 200 million tracks live and streaming on their platform. They are home to the biggest catalogue of music in the world thanks to their open platform allowing anyone to upload their music and share it with the world.

That’s 5 times the number of tracks available for streaming on Spotify, one of the world’s favourite services for music streaming. With “over 35 million” songs on Spotify and Apple Music’s 45+ million SoundCloud definitely lead the market when it comes to quantity.

Whilst traditional streaming services upload music from labels and distributors SoundCloud allows users to upload music themselves. This has built their catalogue up over the years as an amazing home to share music from home recordings to DJ sets, remixes, independent albums and more.

In 2016 SoundCloud launched SoundCloud Go, a new subscription service that offered features like offline plays and ad-free streaming. It also hybridised them with traditional streaming services as it added licensed music from major labels to it’s library available for streaming with subscription. That boosted their catalogue to 125 million tracks across all of their offerings that year.

Now barely 3 years later SoundCloud have reached 200 million tracks live on their platform. As they say themselves: “That’s 200 million uploads… that have launched careers, created movements, and resulted in what SoundCloud is today: the most diverse community of creators and catalog of music that exists nowhere else.”

SoundCloud took note of the artist that became their 200 millionth upload. You can read their feature on Francesca Lombardo and her milestone upload on the SoundCloud Blog.

Daniel Ek explains Spotify’s future in audio – not just music

In a new statement Daniel Ek discusses the future for Spotify as they move beyond music streaming to become an all-round audio platform in an ever-changing industry.

Spotify’s founder and CEO, Daniel Ek has written a large statement on Spotify’s focus moving forward. In particular he talks about their evolution from a primarily music streaming service to an overall audio platform with radio and podcasts a priority moving forward.

Although Ek makes clear, “this doesn’t make music any less important at Spotify,” he sees the future of entertainment in wider audio formats. “With the world focused on trying to reduce screen time, it opens up a massive audio opportunity,” Ek states, adding: “We want Spotify to be at the center of the global audio economy.”

Ek makes a point of how video entertainment is worth drastically more than audio, even though they are consumed in roughly the same amount. He posits the question: “Are our eyes really worth 10 times more than our ears? I firmly believe this is not the case.”

Whilst Ek clearly has a lot of new ambitions for the evolution of Spotify, there’s a clear focus on podcasting in his statement. He explains how in the past 2 years since they introduced podcasts that they have become the second-biggest podcasting platform. Podcast users apparently also spend nearly twice the amount of time on Spotify.

Using radio industry data Spotify predict that “over time” more than 20% of all listening on Spotify will be non-music content. To expand their podcasting goals, this week they announced the acquisition of two podcasting companies: Gimlet and Anchor.

Ek says:

Just as we’ve done with music, our work in podcasting will focus intensively on the curation and customisation that users have come to expect from Spotify. We will offer better discovery, data, and monetisation to creators. These acquisitions will meaningfully accelerate our path to becoming the world’s leading audio platform, give users around the world access to the best podcast content, and improve the quality of our listening experience while enhancing the Spotify brand.

Ultimately, if we are successful, we will begin competing more broadly for time against all forms of entertainment and informational services, and not just music streaming services. We welcome this. Fair competition on an even playing field is what yields the most creative output and innovation, and will result in the best experience for listeners and creators.

In our industry, things change fast but the path ahead for Spotify is clear – we want to become the world’s leading audio platform, and today is an important step in that direction.

Keep listening.

Daniel Ek

Pandora and SiriusXM’s partnership has made a music powerhourse

SiriusXM and Pandora have joined together to become the largest audio entertainment company in the world.

On the 1st February SiriusXM completed their acquisition of Pandora, a deal agreed in September and approved in November. Combining Pandora’s streaming services and SiriusXM’s exclusive content and programming together they now reach over 100 million listeners between both platforms.

Together they have created the world’s largest audio entertainment company. They hope that together they’ll be able to lead the way in digital music and grow their existing offerings whilst creating new packages that help artists grow and build bigger audiences.

SiriusXM CEO, Jim Meyer says: “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and large audiences, and we could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. SiriusXM now reaches more than 100 million people across its audio products. That is a powerful platform for consumers, content creators and advertisers.

“Importantly, the premier products that SiriusXM and Pandora listeners have enjoyed for years are not changing. On behalf of everyone at SiriusXM, we are excited to officially welcome the talented Pandora team and look forward to working with all of our employees to continue delivering the best audio entertainment experience in the world and creating enhanced value for stockholders.”

SiriusXM have summarised their approach with Pandora for the future:

  • Capitalizing on cross-promotion opportunities across the combined company’s more than 100 million listeners in North America, with close to 40 million self-paying subscribers, and 75 million trialers and ad-based listeners, which represents the largest digital audio entertainment audience in the U.S.
  • Pairing SiriusXM’s curation and exclusive programming with Pandora’s uniquely predictive listener personalization technology – representing one of the world’s most extensive datasets of music listening information – to deliver audio experiences tailored to the tastes of each listener.
  • Creating new, unique audio packages that bring together the best of both services, providing a powerful platform for consumers to connect with established and emerging artists, entertainment brands, and talent. 
  • Expanding monetization opportunities through both ad-supported and subscription services – in and out of the vehicle – creating innovative new ways for listeners to enjoy even more audio entertainment.
  • Continuing to invest in talent, content, technology and innovation to create and offer the best audio entertainment available, including specially-created music channels and programming from major and emerging artists, provocative talent in talk, entertainment, comedy, and exclusive sports programming.

How to use Apple Music on your computer without iTunes

Apple Music may be great on mobile and a new project website makes streaming on computers a dream at last

Since launching their massively popular music streaming service in 2015 Apple have refined the experience on mobile for one of the best music streaming apps available. But if you want to listen on your Mac or PC the experience doesn’t quite match the simplicity and quality of it’s app, requiring you to go through their clunky iTunes program.

Finally a solution is here from a new project called Music.sh. It’s a website that lets you access Apple Music and it’s giant music library straight from your browser and stream with ease. You can browse Apple Music with all of it’s music, their top charts, playlists and more for free with 30 second samples or sign in to your Apple Music account for a full streaming experience.

It makes music streaming with Apple simple and means that you don’t have to download iTunes or have it open to stream your library. They used Apple’s MusicKit to create the interface and keep it in-line with Apple Music’s mobile design/layout.

The design has a few quirks that make it a joy to use, the most notable being that selecting an album opens the tracks in a floating window so you don’t leave the page you were already looking at. They’re hoping to add Apple Music’s Radio section to the web player soon.

It’s about time there was a web player for Apple’s music streaming service considering their rivals like Spotify and Google Play Music both offer simple in-browser sites. For now the solution is a third-party website but perhaps if this is a success it will nudge Apple towards creating their own computer streaming option outside of iTunes.

Stream Apple Music from your web browser: musi.sh

Spotify’s India launch looks likely for 31st January

Spotify’s long-awaited launch in India may be sooner than expected thanks to a leak spotted on the music streamer’s site.

Spotify have been teasing a launch in India for almost a year now, opening up their own office in Mumbai last March. Since then eyebrows have remained raised as to when they might officially launch their music streaming platform in the country, with their Mumbai staff suggesting it would happen in the first 5 months of 2019 at the start of December.

Now it seems we may have a set date, as one user noticed a hidden update to Spotify’s terms of service in India. The new Terms and Conditions of Use say that they will go into effect in the country on January 31st. Spotify haven’t confirmed they will launch in India on this date but the terms highly suggest that the 31st will be the drop date.

Whilst Spotify are undoubtedly streaming leaders in Western countries like the US and UK, they face much larger rivals in India. At the end of 2018 India’s two most popular services, JioMusic and Saavn, combined to become the most valuable music streaming service in South Asia: JioSaavn. The streaming giant now boasts over 250 million listeners.

The country has a population of over 1.3 billion and as it increasingly adopts music streaming it is becoming a valuable target for music streaming services. Spotify’s eventual launch, whether it be this month or later, will see them face not only giant local services but also familiar faces like Apple Music and Amazon who have launched there previously.

Want to block R Kelly on Spotify? Soon you can

Spotify want your music streaming experience tailored to you personally and soon that will include the option to block artists from appearing in your stream, especially R Kelly.

Spotify are preparing a new ‘block’ feature so that users can mute particular artists and groups that they don’t want to hear under any circumstance. They have been testing the feature in the latest version of their iOS app. It allows you to select an artist and block their entire catalogue from playing. The feature stops artists playing from your library, in playlists, chart stations or radio stations on Spotify.

With the massive popularity of playlists on Spotify this feature will come as a joy to many who may enjoy listening to their playlists when they’re updated weekly but might want to avoid certain artists who come up frequently.  For example if you’re a hip-hop fan but haven’t got time for Drake, your Rap Caviar experience is about to become a lot more tasty. Whilst the block feature works universally on an artist’s entire catalogue it doesn’t extend to tracks that they have featured on.

The feature comes following the surge in notoriety surrounding singer R Kelly’s history of sexual violence and abuse, thanks in large part to a new documentary. The #MuteRKelly protest has re-invigorated support for dismissing R Kelly’s music from Spotify which they decided not to do in 2017 when his allegations were brought to the forefront again. After “serious consideration” Spotify decided not to remove R Kelly’s music from their platform. Last year Spotify did remove all instances of R Kelly’s music from their own curated playlists.

To acknowledge the dispute without causing issues with the labels Spotify are putting out their new feature to put the control into the listeners hands. This new feature works far beyond the R Kelly controversy and is actually quite a neat feature that will no doubt come in handy far beyond the muting of R Kelly on the streaming service.

Deezer’s new app offers the best in radio across 30,000+ stations

Deezer are putting radio in your pocket in a big way with their brand new app offering more radio stations than you could listen to in a year.

Radio by Deezer is a new mobile app from the French music streamer that sit’s standalone to their music service. The app is free to download and features 30,000 radio stations that listeners can tune in to with no sign-up or subscriptions required. Just open the app and start streaming from any of their giant collection of stations all in one place.

The app identifies any songs that are playing on the station you’re tuned in to and lets you save them into a ‘Favourite’ tracks library. Radio by Deezer can link up to the full Deezer music streaming app so that you can listen to any and all of your favourite tracks on-demand if you’re a registered Deezer user.

The vast collection of radio stations available on the app include everything from the top chart music stations, talk radio, sports channels, and many more. As it’s free and doesn’t require you to be a Deezer user you can simply download the app, browse and listen to your heart’s content.

The app’s layout features 3 main sections:

  • Explore: Browse 30,000 stations from top networks around the world with music, live sports, news and talk. Pick stations based on your current location, or explore FM and internet radio stations from other countries all around the world, and sort them by genre.
  • My stations: Listen to your favorite stations with no additional ads with Recently Played and Most Played tabs. Listen live to Absolute Radio, talkSport, BBC Radio, Classic FM, Kiss Network and all the stations you love.
  • My Music: Find the name of that awesome song you’ve just heard with track identification, and add it instantly to your collection – so you can keep track of all your favorite songs in a user-friendly library.

The app is available in beta on Android in the UK and you can download it here.

Spotify want to make 2019 the year of the podcasts

Spotify continue to dominate music streaming worldwide and as they look to the year ahead after a phenomenal year in streaming they’re focusing on areas outside of music.

After the most phenomenal year for music streaming yet with more people listening on services around the world Spotify are looking to the year ahead and how to go beyond music. With over 200 million users Spotify are one of the biggest music services in the world but in 2019 they want to put more attention on podcasts as well as expanding their beloved music platform.

Taking their lead from services like Deezer and Google Play who have enjoyed success offering podcasts alongside their giant music catalogues, Spotify have built up the spoken word offerings on their service in the past couple of years. They launched their first exclusive podcasts at the start of 2017 and have since gained in reputation nabbing big names like Joe Budden, who partnered with Spotify to exclusively distribute The Joe Budden Podcast in August, to host their podcasts on Spotify only.

Their exclusive podcasts are only going to grow this year and they’ve already announced a new podcast for Spotify hosted by former chief correspondent and senior columnist for ESPN’s The Undefeated and Emmy winning journalist Jemele Hill. Hill will look at the news of the week across sports, politics, culture, music and identity with a range of guests in her weekly podcast ‘Unbothered‘ coming in March on Mondays and Thursdays.

With their focused growth in podcasts Spotify are looking to boost their advertising business by selling them within podcasts to help monetise more areas of their platform and move further towards profitability. The company’s approach to working with podcasters doesn’t reflect it’s exclusive work with artists whose music they don’t want only on Spotify – particularly thanks to the controversy over album exclusives a couple of years ago when Apple were buying artists out.

Spotify Studios’ head, Courtney Holt, said at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week: “Over the last year, we become very focused on building out a great podcast universe. The first step was to make sure that we’ve got the world’s best podcasts on Spotify, and integrated the experience into the service in a way that allowed people to build habits and behaviour there. What we started to see is that the types of podcasts that really were working on Spotify were ones where they were really authentic voices… so we just decided to invest more in those types of voices.”

In October Spotify opened up their Podcast platform to everyone in a Beta. This allows podcasters to add their podcast feed to Spotify to upload all existing episodes and ensuring that each new episode gets published to Spotify when they’re uploaded to their host or aggregator. Although the podcasts are uploaded to their platform to be playable by any of their 200+ million users it isn’t actually hosted by them and rather just linked in from the podcast’s original source. Because of this Spotify don’t monetise the podcasts, working on the assumption that those who want to earn money from their podcasts will monetise it at the source.

You can add your podcast feed to Spotify and see stats about how they’re performing at Spotify for Podcasters now. If you run a podcast it’s a good idea to get on Spotify with over 200 million potential listeners and their increased focus on boosting podcasts this year.

Where are people most likely to hear my music online?

Getting your music onto all of the top streaming services and stores around the world is not only simple but entirely free with RouteNote. But where are people most likely to listen to music online? You may be surprised.

In the past 15 years music consumption has been transformed as people switch out the high street for their home computers. With the advent of streaming services the music industry has seen hundreds-of-millions of people go online for their music and the industry’s revenues are seeing growth for the first time in years.

The latest figures revealed from Apple Music put them at 56 million subscribers worldwide whilst Spotify’s free and Premium streaming offerings have over 180 million monthly listeners combined. These are just the 2 biggest Western music streaming companies, not to mention all of the other music services offered in the West and then the massive boom in music streaming coming out of Asia.

There are 252 million people on India’s favourite service JioSaavn and over 800 million monthly users in China’s QQ Music and Kugou streaming services. We offer free distribution at www.routenote.com to all of the services listed above and many more, allowing independent artists and labels all around the world to get their music online with no cost or effort.

With over a billion people from all corners of the globe coming online to listen to music from a whole range of different services it raises the question, what single service has the most people listening? It turns out that when people want to stream music online they aren’t heading to traditional streaming services but actually going to the video site YouTube.

In fact, a new report from MIDiA reveals that 55% of consumers watch music videos on YouTube regularly. In comparison all other free audio streaming services have a combined 37% of regular usage. Most of YouTube’s popularity can likely be placed in it’s convenience – it’s a free website that is simple to access and immediately use as well as being the biggest site for video in the world.

But that doesn’t mean we should all ditch our streaming services and head to YouTube because, whilst they may be the most popular service for music they are definitely not the best place for artists. In fact last year YouTube had to launch an entirely new music service as part of their site after years of complaints over their astonishingly low payouts for every stream. Whilst they’ve made efforts to rectify this they are still the lowest paying of any popular music service by a long shot.

If you’re looking to distribute your music on online streaming services and stores and are interested in how much they’re all paying nowadays check out our recent post on it. Remember, with RouteNote you can distribute your music to any and all of the world’s favourite streamers and download stores – 100% free of charge.

Ebro Darden now runs hip-hop on Apple Music

Apple have nabbed Ebro Darden to lead hip-hop content on their music streaming service as Spotify’s Rap Caviar looms as the runaway leader in rap on music streaming services.

Apple Music have appointed Ebro Darden as their new global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B after 3 years as a host on Apple’s digital radio Beats 1. Darden has risen to prominence as a host on Hot 97 where he has covered hip-hop and interviewed many of it’s biggest names over the past 15 years. He will continue his roles as host of ‘Ebro in the Morning and his Beats 1 show alongside his new role, starting the 2nd January.

As their head of hip-hop and R&B Darden will be responsible for developing the music streaming service’s strategy and selections for artists, albums and new songs in the genre. Darden replaces Carl Chery who left his position as head of artist curation at Apple Music for a place at Spotify last April. Spotify’s Rap Caviar playlist has proven to be one of the most popular sources of music in the world and has become a massive influencer, so Apple are trying to level their influence in the world’s most popular genre.

Speaking on his appointment Darden says that he wants to use his new position to help “artists connect with consumers in a real way”. He said: “Black music comes from the community. This is music made by people living real lives and artists speaking on behalf of those real lives.”

Apple Music’s director Rachel Newman said of Ebro: “Having dedicated his life and career to hip hop, R&B, and pop music, he has so much to offer. One of Ebro’s most defining characteristics is that he has great ears for where R&B and hip hop are transcending and evolving to beyond even the borders of the US.”