Australian music streamer Guvera shutting down Australian site

Guvera have announced that they’re pulling out of their home country to focus on other markets that “can’t and won’t pay for the streaming of music”.

It’s been a tough year for Guvera;p they’ve had an IPO rejected, lost customer support after asking users to pay for features they could previously use for free, and just this week had their CEO leave. Now they’ve revealed that they will be leaving the market of their home country, Australia, to focus on… less successful markets.

The struggling music streamer has been making a loss for years now, which is usual for a startup but with it’s planned IPO (Initial Public Offering) cancelled by the Australian Securities Exchange and an unsustainable ad-supported service, Guvera is between a rock and a hard place. So Guvera have decided to pull out of Australia to focus on their Asian markets where music streaming is less popular and profitable because of, well, reasons.

Guvera confirmed the news yesterday, saying to The Courier-Mail: “Unfortunately, the time has come for Guvera to withdraw from the Australian market, this will come into effect in the following week.”

In a badly worded note to investors, Guvera wrote: “We have decided that in order to achieve sustainable and long-term goals, we will focus all efforts in key emerging countries, such as India and Indonesia. Research shows that in these countries consumers simply can’t and won’t pay for the streaming of music and we feel we can return the greatest value for our shareholders [there].”

Although taken at face value that sounds ridiculous, and if I received that as an investor I know i’d be reversing as far away from Guvera as possible, what they likely mean is that music streaming doesn’t hold as much value in these countries, therefore music licenses cost less. Purchasing the rights to distribute music from labels is the most costly part of running a streaming service, and that license costs more in a country like Australia where users are much more likely to be consuming music.

Despite that it will be interesting to see whether Guvera can turn a profit from these other countries. Even with cheaper music licenses if they “can’t and won’t pay for the streaming of music” as Guvera say themselves it’s going to be hard to make good returns in these markets. This also leaves a lot of uncertainty for investors who Guvera will be lucky to retain support from.

SiriusXM add half a million subscribers in 3 months for 25m total paid users

Yesterday satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM revealed their most recent growth figures which show massive subscriber and revenue gains in 2016 so far.

Sirius XM Holdings announced that they’ve seen a giant net growth of 587,000 new subscribers in the second quarter of 2016, that’s only 3 months. These levels of new customers are similar to the growth of giant music streaming services Apple Music and Spotify, showing SiriusXM has fast become a major player in online music.

This subscriber growth puts their total subscribers at over 30 million, and taking into account the 5 million free trial users puts their total paid subscribers at roughly 5 million. This greatly surpasses Apple Music who have roughly 15 million subscribers and brings them close to the world’s most popular streamer Spotify’s paid user count of 30 million.

This growth has been brilliant for SiriusXM’s revenue which has seen a 10% increase year-on-year. Their revenues now stand at an impressive $1.2 billion with stocks rising so far this week thanks to the reported success of Sirius radio. FactSet analysts even predict that the company should expect about $4.97 billion in revenue at the end of 2016.

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said in a statement: “SiriusXM’s second quarter results demonstrated continued strong demand for our content bundle and solid execution by our entire team. We grew net new subscribers by 587,000 in the second quarter, and our subscriber base, revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow have never been higher. We are pleased to once again raise our key guidance metrics for the full year.”

SiriusXM’s majority shareholder Liberty Media are no doubt thrilled with their growth. Liberty are also looking to expand their reach in the online music marketplace with rumours suggesting they plan to attempt to require Pandora, the most popular radio streaming service that has built a giant user base in America. Pandora has however seen user numbers dropping which could entice them into a sale.

Apple Music buy James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke for a full series

James Corden’s hit TV segment that has blown up online has been bought by Apple for a full length series streamed exclusively on Apple Music.

Carpool Karaoke was a runaway success segment in British comedian James Corden’s ‘Late Late Show with James Corden’ that has amassed hundreds-of-millions of views online. The feature saw Corden driving with various celebrity passengers, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and FLOTUS Michelle Obama, as they chatted and sang some tunes. Now it’s been reported that, as with anything successful and remarketable, Apple has bought the segment for it’s own series.

Carpool Karaoke will have it’s own 16 episode series, streamed exclusively on Apple’s music streaming service Apple Music. The episodes will be released weekly to keep viewers coming back for more. It’s not clear whether they want to expand the segment into full 20-30 minute features but it seems like that’s the approach Apple is taking with the show.

Apple’s senior vice president Eddy Cue said: “We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages. It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music – bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favourite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”

Despite James Corden hosting the segment up until now The Hollywood Reporter says that Corden is unlikely to be the host for Apple Music’s version. Whether this is due to Corden’s own ties or Apple wanting to take another approach isn’t certain but if they do go forward with the series, omitting Corden, it may upset fans who tuned in thanks to Corden’s unique charm and personality.

Carpool Karaoke will be a big step for Apple Music in original content as possibly the most popular feature being introduced to the streaming service. However there’s no way it will be able to achieve the viral online fame that it’s seen from being released free on YouTube as a streaming exclusive for Apple behind a $10 monthly subscription cost. Though it will probably bring in a sizable mass of new subscribers who can’t go without their singing celeb fix, and they might just stick around for the whole music streaming thing they offer.

SoundCloud now lets you release Albums, EPs, and Singles

SoundCloud have added Albums to their platform so you can share proper Albums of music separate from your playlists.

Yesterday SoundCloud began rolling out a whole new section of their community driven music streaming platform – Albums. Whereas before SoundCloud allowed you to create playlists, which many would use to collect the tracks of their albums into one collection, you can now create officially marked and sorted albums on SoundCloud.

You can also mark whether the newly created album is an EP, Single, or a Compilation, or a playlist as before. This massively improves the platforms ability to showcase users’ music, whereas before everything was sorted into separate tracks that could be collected into playlists, and will likely draw in users to release more of their official music releases on SoundCloud.

In their announcement SoundCloud said:

One of SoundCloud’s early aims was to help creators share their work, track-by-track. Over the years, the platform evolved to enable the creation of playlists. As the diversity of both our creators and listeners continues to grow, we want to give creators more ways to share and organize their work, and listeners even more ways to discover, share and interact with the massive catalog of music and audio available today on SoundCloud.

For listeners, we are constantly looking for new ways to help you discover and experience all of your favourite music on SoundCloud, we hope you enjoy this new addition.

Albums feature music streaming EPs singles playlists

You can create a new Album, EP, Compilation or Single, or if you want to turn one of your old playlists into a proper release you can do that easily as well. Just go to a playlist, select edit and choose which type of release you would like to mark it as. You can create it on upload by uploading all the tracks of your release at once and then choosing which type of release you’d like.

SoundCloud removing Groups feature to enhance other areas

SoundCloud have decided to get rid of Groups as they move forward with their open music streaming and sharing platform.

SoundCloud’s Groups feature allowed anyone to create a Group of music which people could become members of and add tracks to, like social playlisting. The Groups feature for collating genres and label music into one place but wasn’t popular enough to warrant keeping available.

SoundCloud say that they were reviewing their existing features when they found that Groups weren’t performing on the same level as reposts, and properly curated playlists. Without wanting to leave a feature for the sake of it, and “to make room for future updates” SoundCloud have decided to get “phase out” groups on August 22nd. Until then however you can still use groups as before, and if there’s any close to your hearts you might want to get through to saving the tracks and artists soon.

In their announcement SoundCloud said to moderators of Groups:

As a Group moderator, we understand the following you’ve built by moderating submissions to your Groups — we suggest to keep that following going by creating a profile to curate. You can use Reposts and Playlists to share suitable tracks, and accept submissions via Messages.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve your experience on SoundCloud.

You have just under a month to preserve your Groups somewhere else and to adjust to the painful transition of a SoundCloud without Groups from 22nd August.