Web Trends: Listen To Spotify's Most Played Song Of 2011
Web Trends: Listen To Spotify's Most Played Song Of 2011

U.K. Dance Labels Pull Out of Spotify, Other Subscription Services
-- Subscription services have so many millions of songs they are sure to satisfy most of the people most of the time. But for an avid music fan with underground tastes, the growing holes in services' catalogs could start to become a serious problem.

In the past few months, labels such as Century Media and Projekt Records have decided to street clear of subscription services. Now UK based independent distributor ST Holdings, a digital distributor and record label management company, is pulling its labels from subscription services. ST Holdings distributes dance and electronic labels such as Hyperdub (home of popular dubstep artist Burial), Dub Police, Creative Source and Moonshine Recordings.

"All the labels we represent have been given the choice to have their music to Spotify, Simfy, Rdio & Napster," ST Holdings announced at its web site. "As of today (16.11.11) from the 200+ labels we distribute, 4 have expressed that they would like to be on these services."

An earlier report at MusicWeek describes the revenue decline that led to ST Holdings' decision. In the third quarter of 2011 - which ST Holdings says is its first full quarter with Spotify, Simfy, Rdio and Napster - its digital revenue dropped 14 percent and iTunes revenue dropped 24 percent. It was the first decline in the company's history.

Another factor was Spotify's per-stream payout for the quarter: The company claims it received £2,500 for 750,000 streams. That works out to about 0.3 pence per stream, which according to the numbers I've heard is a pretty typical amount.

The report prompted reaction on MusicWeek's @MusicWeekNews Twitter account. Radio presenter Stuart Miller wrote, "This Spotify thing is a total joke…If Radio 1 plays like 6 mins I get £120 or around that from PRS."

Perhaps, but as music publishing company Sentric pointed out, radio royalties take into account the size of the audience. "Yes, he gets £120 for a six minute play on Radio 1; because 8 million people are listening to it... If he received 8 million streams on Spotify he'd be earning more than £120 in royalties."

While anecdotal evidence indicates some labels might be seeing a decline in digital and physical purchases because of subscription services, there is no clear indication of the degree to which streaming services cannibalize purchases on a large scale. Persons at two major labels have told me they have not yet seen evidence of cannibalization.

And as streaming services and label executives frequently point out, services being criticized are giving consumers a good alternative to piracy. Ironically, those services become a less viable alternative to piracy as more labels desert them.

Not everybody can love streaming services as much as the average Swede. paidContent picked up some stats in a consumer survey by Sweden's Internet Infrastructure Foundation that shows just how much Swedes use Spotify.

According to the survey, 85 percent of Swedes aged 16 to 25 use Spotify and 55 percent listen to it daily. Overall, 37 percent of Swedes surveyed use Spotify each month while 18 percent engage in file sharing, 9 percent buy a CD and 4 percent purchase a digital download. ( ST Holdings)

Live Nation Reveals Some Groupon Details
-- The Live Nation presentation at Thursday's Liberty Media investor and analyst meeting contained a lot of familiar information, but CEO Michael Rapino did have some interesting things to say about discounted ticketing and dynamic pricing.

Through GrouponLive, Live Nation's joint venture with Groupon, the company sold 1.2 million tickets in the first 9 months of 2011. Rapino added that 60-70 percent of those sales were incremental, so the company doesn't see discounted ticketing having too much of an impact on its primary ticket sales.

He also offered some information on dynamic pricing, which has been offered at over 300 events this year and will get a broad rollout next year, according to the presentation slides. At 50 of those 300 events, Live Nation has seen a 10-percent revenue increase on roughly 70,000 tickets. Artists don't want a $700 ticket being sold on StubHub, said Rapino. "We don't want to be in the StubHub business."

FanFueled Raises $1 Million
-- FanFueled has raised $1 million in a seed round of funding led by Listen LLC and angel William Lohse. The Chicago-based company has what it calls a "DIY social ticketing platform" that turns fans into promoters by rewarding them when their friends buy tickets using their social links. (FanFueled blog, via Hypebot)

SoundExchange Names Bender COO
-- SoundExchange has named Jonathan C. Bender http://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathancbender to the role of chief operating officer. Bender is a digital music veteran who has held senior roles at Concord Music Group, Universal Music Group, and EMI Music. Most recently he was a principal at Outpost Partners. Prior to that Bender was SVP, Operations, IT and Digital Development at Concord Music Group.

"Jonathan has a solid reputation, most notably for pioneering digital content development for some of the world's leading record labels, and a track record in growing and transforming organizations," said SoundExchange President Michael Huppe in a statement. (Press release)

FanBridge launches Partner Ecosystem

-- FanBridge has launched a Partner Ecosystem to give its customers services that cover audio, crowdfunding, e-commerce, social giving, streaming and ticketing. The initial partners at launch include Bandsintown, CrowdSurge, Dympol, IndieGoGo, Moontoast, Nimbit, Owjo, PledgeMusic, Songkick, SoundCloud, Stickam and Topspin. All partners have built embedded modules now living within FanBridge Facebook fan pages.