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Artist and label services - WR #38
Weekly roundups
October 9, 2020

Artist and label services - WR #38

As you might already have seen, artist and label services are getting more and more attention these days. Among a few major news and main music industry’s actors’ developments, this is the focus I wanted to develop this week. Let’s dive in!

#1. TikTok and other services

First, as usual, let’s take a moment to catch up on TikTok’s situation. Last week, we told you that the Chinese company was still in negotiation for the Oracle and Walmart’s buyout, to get Trump’s approval. But this seems as confusing as before, considering that the US President is willing to approve a deal making the US in full control (which is not planned in the deal currently on the table). It looks like the deadline is going to be pushed, again. Adding up to this saga, the other Chinese app, WeChat, is facing a ban too, for the same reasons: threat of surveillance by the Chinese government. And this time we’re talking about a community in the US mainly using the platform to reach out to relatives and friends in China. Here are a few details if you want to get a bit more information about this ban too.

Regarding artists and creators on the platform, we got news on that front too: even if TikTok created their Creators Funds, some artists talking to Digital Music News revealed they were paid around 0,04 per 1000 views. Creators are definitely not getting paid enough to make a living out of it. Meanwhile, TikTok’s competitors are taking up space, and I am mainly talking about Triller here. The company signed major licensing deals with ICE (representing around 40 million works and paying $1,17 billion to rights holders since 2016) and is now placing itself as the main contestant to replace TikTok. This news came at the right time for Triller; a few days ago, former employees suggested that the app was inflating the number of subscribers on the platform (which was denied by the company).

#2. Evolution of music industry

Well, while we have the large lense on the music industry, let’s keep at it. As our focus for this week is on artist and label services, getting a few elements of context can be helpful. To do so, let’s take a look at the latest streaming numbers. Apparently, the Q2 is the first time music streaming had a decline quarter over quarter. But it is still a pretty big increase year over year (this could be explained by the decrease of ad revenues by the way).

It is no secret that the pandemic changed many revenue streams for the music industry. And this topic was discussed by major artists and Scooter Braun at Fast Company Innovation Festival. The main takeaway: the music industry has to innovate and experiment to be able to keep helping artists to create, and make revenue streams remain active. And as we heard around a few times, artist and label services are at the heart of this mutation: the digitalization of the industry has accelerated and the sector has to step up.

#3. Data management at Spotify

At the crossroads of streaming and digital innovation, here is Spotify, with intriguing news. Before anything, I am not only talking about the fact that the streaming service is now offering lyrics search (catching up with Apple Music, already providing that service for 2 years).

No, this time I’m talking about the patent Spotify has been granted to measure and track personality traits of their users for a better recommendation. If we can get how the music streaming platform’s business model relies on the best recommendation for artists to be listened to by the (potential) fans, this goes further, as the platform is diversifying audio content, and could represent a risk to privacy, discoverability and diversification of content. Here is the overview, with all complete content on Spotify’s patent if you want to dig a little deeper on the matter (and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon).

#4. Sony moving up in artists and labels services 

Let’s re-focus here on artist and label services, and leave that dystopian patent on the side for a moment. As you might know, we launched Releases Manager for our users to get an easy way to distribute music through distribution platforms with tailor-made bulk packages. And our offer includes The Orchard, who is now partnering with Sony/ATV to create a major offer in music publishing for artists and labels.

#5. Independent artists and innovation

To wrap up on a high note, let’s talk about artist services! Even though the current period is tough on the music industry, artists have been creating more and more. MIDiA Research went through the main characteristics for success in independent artists’ strategies.

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