The shift from buying music to renting/streaming it has happened more rapidly than almost anyone predicted. This chart from Statista shows the year-over-year pace as tracked by Nielsen who says audio streams were up 76%, while digital album and track sales were both down 20%.
Royalties from Pandora’s ad-supported radio service will continue to be paid to artists through SoundExchange, despite recent direct licencing deals with major music companies. The agreement both insures a major income stream for SoundExchange and maintains the performing rights organization's position as a protector of artists.
UPDATE 2: Pandora shared some positive news about both subscribers and earnings late on Thursday, after a week in which investors shaved tens of millions of dollars off it valuation. As of mid-afternoon Friday, Pandora stock was up almost 7%, the same percentage of staff who will be getting pink slips this quarter.
Last week President Obama commented that he’s “still waiting for his job at Spotify” to former Swedish ambassador Mark Brzezinzki and his wife Natalia Brzezinski; and today Spotify founder Daniel Ek tweeted to POTUS a very unique job opening for a “President of Playlists” at the music streamer.
As President Obama ends his 8 years in office, he's hinted that he'll be working to rebuild the Democratic party, bringing more millennials into the fold as activists and candidates. But at a White House event for outgoing U.S. ambassadors, he jokingly shared his aspirations to get a job creating playlists for Spotify.
Surging vinyl sales may make a great headline, but at just 2.6% of total sales, they won't save the music business, says music industry analyst Mark Mulligan of MIDiA. The real headline should be the increasing fragmentation of the industry with little overlap between the most popular artists on the vinyl, streaming, singles and album charts.