I. Music & Tech
Forbes Hip Hop Elites
Forbes’ List of the “Wealthiest Hip Hop Artists of 2018” reveals the CEOs and moguls who continue to solidify themselves as the financial pillars of the culture. Diddy was dethroned as number one, as Jay Z’s net worth hit a staggering $900 million. Still, the Bad Boy CEO continues to rise with his latest report coming in at $825 million. Interestingly enough both Jay and Combs seemed to have made significant gains in the spirit industry. Jay with his investments in Armand de Brignac champagne and D’USSÉ cognac, and Diddy with his stake in DeLeon tequila and Diageo. Coming in third for the second year in a row is music hardware mogul Dr. Dre, with a net worth of $770 million. Read more and see the full list here.
Google Music Production
Google Creative Lab continues to innovate with one of their latest releases, “Chrome Music Lab Song Maker,” – a simple, browser-based program that allows users to make music without signing up or downloading assets.The Chrome Music Lab Song Maker gives users the ability to easily create loops simply clicking or tapping on a series of blank panels. In addition to offering a small range of samples and to tool also keep everything in the same key to ensure tuneful creations. Users can save their completed songs to a simple Google link, which can be sent to friends who are able to edit the tracks on the fly. Check it out here
Facebook x Warner Music
Early last month Facebook finalized it’s licensing deal with Warner music. The social media giant now has deals secured with all the major music, giving their users licensed access to use music in videos posted by users on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Oculus. Read more about Facebook’s plans to incorporate music into their suite of user features here.
Pandora Invests in Audio Ads w/ AdsWizz
Streaming pioneer Pandora, continues their ad tech push with the acquisition of Audio Ad Tech Start Up – AdsWizz. As of the announcement made at the end of last month, the company will continue to operate independently as a subsidiary of Pandora offering clients the ability to purchase audio ads across the entire Pandora platform and others. Read more about Pandora’s plans and the other company’s AdsWizz serves here.
CDs & Vinyl Trump Digital Downloads
The Recording Industry Association of America’s annual music sales report revealed that in 2017 digital downloads fell below that of physical sales for the first time since 2011. With a combined total of $1.5 billion CDs and Vinyl outperformed digital downloads totaling $1.3 billion. While both of these categories continues to shrink, streaming revenues continue to grow and show promise. In addition to premium subscription, it seems limited subscription services which offer discounted streaming rates with service caveats is showing the greatest momentum. Read more about the trends here.
Youtube Music Video Ads
The often scrutinized, but arguably most popular listening platform, Youtube announced recently that they would be adding more advertising content in between videos. Intended to target “longer” duration listeners, the ads will grant access to exclusive content and playlists. Read more about the news delivered by Youtube’s Head of Global Music, Lyor Cohen here.
Spotify Voice Search
Spotify announced last month that they would begin testing an in-app voice control feature. The native voice search software will let users launch playlists and search for music. The feature is currently available to a limited number of users. Read more here.
Iovine Steps Down from Apple Post
Apple executive Jimmy Iovine will transition to a consulting role in August, according to sources for The Wall Street Journal; Iovine intends to be less involved with Apple Music, but will continue to support SVP Eddy Cue; Iovine previously dismissed reports he planned to retire from the company. This comes after joining the company in 2014 when Apple purchased Beats for $3B. Read more about Apples leadership concerns here.
Streaming Platform Stats
Apple announced 38M paid Apple Music subscribers at the end of March, up from 36M in February; comparatively, Spotify claimed 71M premium subscribers at the end of 2017; Amazon Music Unlimited claims 16M paid subscribers and Pandora claims ~5.5M total subscribers; Google Play Music doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers. Read more about the listing platform numbers here.