Spotify today added audio and video content from dozens of major sources along with new personalization options to its music streaming service. To introduce the new offering, Spotify created two videos.
[UPDATED] "Today music discovery and collection have converged.... radio and the record store are converging (online)," said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek during his introduction to today's launch event. But music was just the jumping off point, as Spotify added audio and video content from a variety of major sources.
Pundits are fond of saying that the major labels blew it by suing Napster instead of doing a deal with them. It's as though they're obligated to repeat it as a mantra; they didn't get it, they were asleep, how could they have missed such a golden opportunity, yadda yadda. Shift through all the reverential twaddle, and you'd think Napster walked into the major labels offering trays of gold and were rebuffed.
Digital music deals and launches are accelerating ahead of next months Apple music relaunch. Spotify hit a solid double yesterday with multi-faceted Starbucks deal that includes 200,000+ free Spotify Premium accounts and marks a shift for the ubiquitous retailer away from a longterm relationship with iTunes.
The final chapter in the long, sordid story of the pirate site, Grooveshark, finally played out in a New York Courtroom last week. The principals, after years of litigation, have finally shut down their website and signed an agreement stating they will never own or operate a pirate site again or face millions of dollars in fines.
The question of just how to distribute the royalty dollars from music services has moved from a back-office thought exercise to an out-in-the-open debate. Moving forward in this debate is the argument that it would be fairer—particularly to emerging, independent, or less “popular” artists—to distribute royalties on an each pair of ears basis (i.e., per subscriber) rather than on an all pairs of ears basis (i.s., all subscribers).
Many in the music industry are concerned that income from streaming will not adequately fund artists and the music industry. With the shift to streaming accelerating, should record labels and other rightsholders force streaming music services to limit their free offering or will that just drive fans to piracy?
The internet exploded with 'Spotify Is Killing Free' headlines after Digital Music News quoted "multiple unnamed sources" that Spotify was succumbing to label pressure to end its free music service. replacing it with a 3 month free trial.
In what can only be described as troubling and suspicious activity, NPR has joined Google, Amazon, Pandora, Clear Channel, the NAB and even the National Restaurant Association in opposing changes that would benefit songwriters and musicians.
The laws governing digital music are a mess and getting messier. Recently, the FCC approved Pandora's purchase of a radio station that would lower payments to rightsholders, and an ASCAP attempt to retroactively raise their rates was defeated in court. Yesterday, however, BMI scored a major victory vs. Pandora for songwriters.
Streaming monetization is polarized between premium subscriptions on one end and free streaming on the other. The middle ground that was the scale heartland of the CD and the download is disappearing and taking with it the mainstream consumer. It is into this environment Rdio just announced a new $3.99 tier.