Could Apple Possibly Owning A Label Change The Face Of Streaming?

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As some of you may be aware that there are rumours of Apple apparently to strike a deal with Big Machine, the record label that owns Taylor Swift. This sparked talk of potential exclusives of Taylor swift and other Big Machine to apple and their future streaming prospects.

It is quite safe to say that exclusives to one streaming site will force others to follow suit. Spotify, Pandora and Deezer will all be in the market to get exclusive artists to their site too. Exclusive is not a word I like, it means that you can only get it in once certain place, and usually you have to pay extra to get it. It is a clever but evil marketing system, Sky Tv have been the masters of that for years.

Battling for the rights of certain artists could be key to attaining customers and keeping old ones, Spotify losing Taylor Swift from their ranks would have been a huge blow, and if Apple do get the rights to her music that is a massive gain for them and would surely sway some people to want to use their streaming service. Even though this is a powerful tool in gaining customers, do Apple really need to do it?

Personal opinions of how much I hate Apple aside, you can’t deny their presence in the music industry based on their history of successful hardware and software. From reading an article by Josh Constine on Tech Crunch on the topic, he states that:t

“iTunes is said to have over 800 million credit cards on file and is available in nearly 150 countries. Compare that to the Spotify’s 15 million paying subscribers and roughly 60 countries of operation

Then there’s those 1 billion iOS devices sold. If iTunes’ streaming app comes pre-installed in the next generation of iPhones and iPads, it could leapfrog Spotify’s user base over night..” 

Numbers really speak for themselves, there is a far superior number of Apple loyalist to how many people use Spotify, that is quite a daunting figure for Daniel Ek (owner of Spotify) to look at I would imagine. In reality it is Ek who would likely need to secure exclusives to Spotify to keep up with Apple’s streaming service. As Constine also states, Apple may be late to the party where streaming is concerned, but their usual MO is to enter it with superior fire-power like they did in the phone market.With the potential exclusive artists and the apparent price plan at $7.99 a month which undercuts Spotify’s $9.99, Apple already look like they will steamroll the streaming market.

How does this affect customers? We won’t know until it happens but from clear speculation I expect chart names to be the types of acts that services would try to get to sway customers minds towards them. Bigger names will be the targets, your Sam Smiths and One Directions. Customers will then have to decide if they can afford multiple services or choose a priority one based on their music preference. I personally listen to acts on Spotify that aren’t exactly in the limelight, no major labels, these are the sort of acts i expect to be on several services and I doubt there will be streaming sites that will want their exclusive rights. Assuming that will be the case then if all I want is on Spotify I wouldn’t need to use Apple’s service, though if they start buying up the rights to someone’s favourite artists and it is no longer on Spotify, they are likely to switch over.

What do you think? Will apple dominate the streaming world?

here you can find the article I read

http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/08/exclusive-streaming/

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Is The Social Media Phase Ending? Or Are People Jumping To Conclusions

After reading what Fred Wilson had to say about what has happened to in 2014 in the social media and technology world, I can’t help thinking he is wrong in some aspects, or he has some wishful thinking, I will show you some of what he has to say, along with my response on it.

1/ the social media phase of the Internet ended. this may have happened a few years ago actually but i felt it strongly this year. entrepreneurs and developers still build social applications. we still use them. but there isn’t much innovation here anymore. the big platforms are mature. their place is secure.

Now this I strongly disagree, even though people come and go from it and slate certain aspects of social media, it is still going very strong, and still one of the most convenient ways to keep in touch with people and certain information.

2/ messaging is the new social media. this may be part of what is going on in 1/. families use whatsapp groups instead of facebook. kids use snapchat instead of instagram. facebook’s acquisition of whatsapp in february of this year was the transaction that defined this trend.

Again I disagree, most of this is not “instead of”, it is “as well as”. Most of the same people who use one, use all the others too, they are all just more options

8/ we finally got rid of files. dropbox, google drive, soundcloud, spotify, netflix, hbogo, youtube, wattpad, kindle, and a host of other cloud based services finally killed off three letter filenames like mp3, mov, doc and xls. spending a week in the caribbean with young adults and bad internet was the tell on this one for me. they don’t even have mp3s on their iphones anymore!

Surely this is based on personal preference, some people find may find it more convenient streaming or storing things on the internet, but no, the file is not dead as long as the file still has use. People still have vast music collections over the years that they have stored on computers and backed up on hard drives, that will not stop and it will continue to grow. Students will back up their work, again storing it on computers, multiple hard drives and possibly the cloud out of paranoia of losing their work. For now these are all still just options, not a definite way of doing things.

I can’t help thinking that what Wilson has said is more of a wishful future prediction than what is happening, I can’t see social media ever dying out, not completely, it will just adapt to society. It has become too big for it to now just go. Platforms will go, something else will just replace it, Myspace was so 10 years ago, Bebo came along for a short while, Facebook has being going fairly strong for years, same with Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr are kind of outsiders, but they all link in with each other in some format, you take a picture on Instagram and share it to the world of Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. All of them have millions of users every day, does that seem like the end of social media to you?

The “in” way people will contact each other will continue to change like it always has. Phoning, to texting, to instant messengers and Skyping, to snapping. Note that these are still options, it’s just that snapping seems to have been the big phase over the last couple of years. People have already gotten bored with that while others still love it, just like most forms of social media, something else will come along at some point for people to fuss over. though the other options will stick around.

File owning won’t die yet either, this current generation still strongly uses them. For example I use Spotify but I will always prefer to have a copy of music to stick on to a portable MP3 player. Until there is a more practical way for me to stream on the go, I will continue to use an MP3 player. And I’m sure other people are the same with their iPods and MP3 players. It won’t be too long though before there are better options to streaming on the go and at home, and more benefits to cloud based websites, the next generation is more likely to be the ones that don’t use files, because they never will do.

Here is the rest of what Fred Wilson had to say

Will YouTube Have To Change To Suit The Needs Of The Music Industry?

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After reading Mark Mulligan’s blog post about how YouTube should change to be more like a radio station, it makes me wonder, is that easier said than done?

Claiming that YouTube is a key platform of music discovery for the modern generation, in the same way that our parents and grandparents used the radio to discover new music. The difference being there is more freedom with YouTube to choose what you want to listen to. I completely agree, at college I would have a YouTube channel on in the background as I’d do my work and I found it to be a great way to learn about new bands in my specific niche, though I find it just as easy to do that with Spotify radio too.

Mulligan feels that YouTube shouldn’t allow music videos to be free on demand. Again I agree to some extent, people have access to so much music for free on YouTube that they take for granted, I certainly do, and there are people I know that would search YouTube all day just looking at videos wasting their day away.

On a practical level taking away this free option of free music would cause a massive uproar and I think it would have damaging effects on musicians lower down on the totem pole of the industry, or should I say the alternative niches that don’t get a lot of mainstream view compared to your Ed Sheerans and Taylor Swifts

I feel that removing a free-tier to YouTube music only benefits the acts that are already well established, and if they or their label doesn’t think it is fair their music is available on YouTube for free then they need to deal with it without affecting less established acts. An Ideal world would be that only some channels charge and others are free to view, Like a Sky TV package, some channels you don’t have to pay extra for, some you have to pay an added monthly premium. Or better yet as Mulligan mentioned, have a PAYG system.

Though if YouTube went this way with music, what about other content? there are whole films available, documentaries, DVD footage, football highlights, content that isn’t exactly sanctioned officially but it is still up there, If labels and bands in the music industry start charging, do film and TV studios start too? I definitely see that if the music industry starts to clamp down on YouTube, a chain reaction will follow within of areas of the media.

You can find Mulligans post here

Is This The Death Of Piracy And The Rise Of Streaming Through Its Ashes?

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After what looks like the death of Pirate Bay, EZTV and other torrent sites this month due to police raids on servers, a huge question remains on, what is the future of Piracy?  Pirate bay seemed to be the most popular torrent site going, anyone could use it, and you don’t have to sign up or keep control of your seeds to keep using it, nice and easy, you can come and go when you want, well not anymore.

Industry heads in all areas of media would say good riddance, whereas freeloaders are weeping somewhere looking for the next best torrent site to pilfer from. Will this lead to a chain reaction of more sites to follow? or was Pirate Bay being arguably the biggest just and easier way for it to be tracked down?

Data shows that since the rise streaming sites, the most popular at the moment being Spotify, the numbers in piracy have dropped quite severely…. Why is this? Easier access to music and it being much easier to use could be a huge factor. A bigger one is that you can use it for free if you wish, a gigantic library at your fingertips to listen to for free if you don’t mind adverts every few songs. Spotify has almost everything that people want in their vast library (…..as long as you don’t want Taylor Swift). We have become a lazier generation, I for one have reduced the amount of downloading I do and use Spotify instead, I even listen to music that I own already through it because it is easier to play almost everything through one platform.

Marc Geiger claims that Streaming is the future of this industry, I highly agree and I think with the highly anticipated Apple iTunes and Beats merge soon to be released, streaming will boom even more through Apple loyalists, no doubt that iTunes is one of the biggest music providers, now imagine if the majority of its customers converted to streaming. It is a very exciting concept, and I’m highly intrigued to how it will all pan out.

I am not an Apple fan, I don’t like their capitalist ways in trying to squeeze as much money out of people as they can. I Also  think iTunes is one of the least user friends programs going, but I cannot help wanting to see what the new streaming model will look like, how big it’s library is, how it is compatible with iTunes. And what about portability? Spotify has an app, I’m assuming iPhone’s will have one, but will Apple release a new iPod with the ability to stream?

This leads to more questions. Most people download music so they can own it, so they can put on a device to listen to as they go, whether it is an iPod/Mp3 player or a phone, whatever….Will people still need to download legally or illegally if streaming becomes more accessible on the move? will newer devices be made to cater for streamers? As much as I like the idea of streaming on the go, my phone battery won’t hack it with all the other things I use it for, practicality needs to come into the equation too.

As cynical as this sounds, you can be vigilant all you want with piracy, the only way to completely stop it is to shut down the internet, that isn’t going to happen. When wildly popular sites like Pirate Bay go down the traffic of piracy will drop a little until the next best thing is available. Currently proxy sites are handy for the freeloaders to use to avoid site blocks from such providers like Sky. As a music enthusiast, I’d love to see streaming dominate and for music to be available at fairer prices for customers to access it. The simple thing is that free is everyone’s favourite price, if you can get it for free then why pay for it?

What do you think? Will piracy die out if streaming does start to dominate the music industry?