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The market of online content - WR #34
Weekly roundups
September 11, 2020

The market of online content - WR #34

Here we are again for our new Weekly Roundup! If you recall, last week we talked about the deals made in the music industry. This time, I wanted to take a closer look at the online content and the strategies it necessitates from streaming platforms. So let’s talk about podcasts, music streaming and even physical sales!

#1. TikTok news

As usual, quick look at what torment TikTok is in this week. Again, let’s remember that, for the music industry, TikTok started to represent a big part of emerging artists’ strategies. This week, the team even showed an optimistic front on being fully licensed, to be able to pay for music streamed through the app.

As for the US ban, things haven’t changed. Discussions are still happening, TikTok is still suing the Trump administration and the deadline for the deal hasn’t moved. Although, TikTok has been facing a new problem, having trouble moderating a shocking video on the platform. Since it is far from the first time it happened, the service is attacked on several fronts for the ban.

#2. Podcasts: the new content online goldmine

Let’s move on to another type of online content: podcasts. Interestingly, this week, Sony Music added many new podcast shows. The partnerships had been worked out over the last few years, leading to the launch of almost 40 new shows this very year.

Even though many major Tech and Music actors are following the trend on podcasts, this news arrives right after Spotify’s first criticisms. We told you about Joe Budden blaming Spotify for capitalizing on a format it doesn’t really value in our Weekly Roundup, while they’re still working out pretty big partnerships. On Amazon’s side, Audible just got merged with Amazon Music, making the access to content way easier. The market is structuring, we’ll see more of these announcements very soon.

#3. The higher end of music streaming

Let’s take a moment on music streaming while we’re at it. We’ve seen an article going around this week claiming 1% of artists account for 90% of streams. The study was led by Alpha Data, a US based data analytics company.

To sum it up, this is based on all the releases over the last year and the number of streams on the major music streaming platforms. The ratio is impressive, and confirmed by Spotify’s own data (approximately the same amount of artists make the most out of their platform). But it also shows how the primary promise of music streaming was wrong: giving a longer life to tracks (or any online content), making the “long trail” easier. If you’re willing to know more about these numbers, here is the main summary.

Let’s also keep in mind, music streaming revenues are growing steadily, and might even grow by $1bn only for the US, before the end of the year.

#4. The most demanded online content

Speaking of, interestingly, it is the back catalog that drives the industry, especially during and after the pandemic. According to Rolling Stone, the majority of streamed content is older and older. One reason for it: the fact that the last 6 months saw a rise of subscriptions from people over 45. And since music streaming is not a major way of discovery, it makes sense that more older tracks are being streamed today.

The situation raises the question of rights management for majors, as back catalogs are getting more attention on streaming platforms. Yes, since majors work with investors, the fact that new tracks might not be the hottest take on Spotify or Deezer could be a problem. You can find the whole analysis right here if you want to get into more details!

#5. Physical sales

To finish on a lighter note, vinyl records have been selling better than CDs for the first time since the 1980s. To be clear, it’s not that more vinyls were sold, it’s that they represent a bigger part in the annual revenue of the music business. In the same report by the RIAA, we can also notice a slight growth overall, even in the current context.

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