Spotify’s new features see it step up competition with Apple

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Business Site in Russia Claims that Apple’s new Music Streaming Service will Land in Russia Right out of the Gate.

Streaming music service Spotify has announced new features including adding podcasts and video; music that adapts to the listener’s running pace; and the promise of smarter abilities to serve the right playlists for the time of day, activity and habits of the user. Apple is reportedly planning an early roll-out in Russia for its relaunched Beats music service, that is likely to be followed by a large-scale global launch.We have been hearing more and more about the new Apple Music streaming service over the last few weeks, we had previously thought that the service would initially launch in the US.It’s being reporting today that the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported that “Apple plans to launch its streaming service in Russia and is in negotiations with labels, according to a local media report.

The company’s launch event in New York on Wednesday, helmed by its chief executive Daniel Ek, offered some deeper clues about how Spotify is evolving, and the key challenges it faces as it aims to grow beyond its current 60 million active users, of whom 15 million pay for the service. Recent months have seen a wave of stories about Apple’s supposed backroom machinations with music labels, encouraging them to clamp down on Spotify’s free, unlimited streaming service – which in turn would boost the prospects for Apple’s upcoming relaunch of its Beats Music. According to the report, it seems that Russia could be amongst the first countries in which Apple will launch its new music service which has been dubbed Apple Music. As we approach Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicking off with a Keynote on June tenth, we’re bound to hear a number of rumors about a number of potential products and/or services that Apple may introduce. Apple’s advantages include a massive war chest to pay for exclusives on big albums; the fact that it can push its music service on hundreds of millions of iOS devices; and the way rivals have to pay it 30% of any money they make from in-app subscriptions on iOS – which means many of them charge $12.99 for a monthly subscription to cover that extra cost.

Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine, was best known for its audio products, the real charm for Apple out of this high-profile deal seems to have been its well-curated music service. The company is negotiating with the labels on digital rights to streaming and it is apparently moving along pretty well, although unsurprisingly Apple’s Russian branch did not respond to comments about the claims. Apple has no doubt its roots well stuck in the digital music world via its iTunes store, but ad-supported music streaming is trending these days and revenue generated from it is also greater than that from paid downloads.

The research firm believes that Apple is further complementing its vertically-integrated hardware with multi-sided platforms, which could strengthen the ‘Applesphere’— a term UBS analyst Steven Milunovich has coined for Apple’s ecosystem.” About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. His responsibilities included music selection and scheduling, brand promotion and consistency, host/DJ management, interviewing musicians and pop icons, industry relationships, scripting and overseeing channel imaging, and directing and hosting live broadcasts to millions. “There really isn’t anything he doesn’t know about electronic music culture; everyone in that world knows Austin,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. But it’s also taking the fight to Apple with marketing partnerships: this week it struck deals with Starbucks and Nike, who have been two of Apple’s closest partners in the past. Tuma Basa (pictured centre): Before joining Spotify this year, Tuma Basa spent four years at BET, ten years at MTV and three years as VP of Music Programming at Revolt TV – the online hip-hop specialist broadcaster founded by Sean ‘Diddy’ Coombs.

It also seems that Apple could have an advantage in the country as their competitor, Spotify, decided against launching in the country, citing a variety of reasons why which includes the slowing economy as one of them. In any case more details about Apple’s rumored relaunch of their music service should be made clear in the next couple of weeks when WWDC 2015 kicks off, so be sure to check back in with us then for the details. When Daniel Ek used the words “incredible” and “profound” in his closing sentence before handing over to musician D’Angelo to close the show, it was straight out of Apple’s press-launch playbook. But really another key reason for our success is that we have some of the most talented music experts working to curate the playlists that matter most to our users. “Honestly, you’d have a hard time finding anyone who is more serious and passionate about Spotify’s music. Playlists have become very important to Spotify: they’re front and centre on the service, including its new “Now” screen – which is based not just on algorithms to understand where you are and what you’re doing, but on the entirely human compiling of thousands of themed playlists by Spotify’s in-house team.

Apple’s streaming service will have a similar focus: it hasn’t just hired Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe but also several of his colleagues – and it’s also paying freelance music journalists to write copy for playlists. Thank you to them.” Presumably Spotify has hired music curation experts in other genre fields, but the recruitment of this trio of ex-broadcast programming experts is highly significant.

At Spotify’s press event this week, Ek made a point of praising some of his company’s hires from the world of radio, too, which was no coincidence. As Spotify announces podcast and talk radio elements to its offering, it is starting to appear possible that a more presenter-led approach to curation could emerge in future.

One of the key battlegrounds between these two companies will be who has the best curators, but also who has the best algorithms for matching those playlists to listeners. Every major label now has a team devoted to creating their own playlists for Spotify and rivals, while independent labels are talking about the idea of banding together to create their own equivalent. The two companies both want the people initially attracted by their music or messaging to spend more time in their apps, with video clips their first move. Companies like Vice Media and Maker Studios, which have lots of viewers on YouTube, are keen for partnerships elsewhere to boost their income, and will want to explore partnerships with Spotify, Snapchat, Vessel and others. The latter was always an app that you looked at with your phone in your hand, while the former was one you listened to with your phone in your pocket.

In both cases, it’s another element of the pitch for streaming to become the new radio – something you can expect to hear more about when Apple launches its service. Millions of unused gym memberships show the commercial power of our desire to be healthier – if also (for many of us) our lack of drive to follow through on that desire.

If Spotify can detect when I’m flagging in a run (ie five minutes in) and whack on Hey Boy Hey Girl by the Chemical Brothers, it’ll be on the right lines. Spotify hasn’t just been watching Apple press conferences closely: the company has learned some lessons from Tidal’s recent relaunch under the ownership of Jay Z and other famous musicians, which provoked a swift backlash. What they missed that night was the chance to talk about what Tidal would do for non-famous musicians, which is something they’ve been scrambling to rectify since – see Jack White’s comments this week for example. Spotify’s pitch is that it will help emerging musicians find an audience: Ek announced at his press launch that Spotify users discover artists they’ve never heard before 2bn times a month, and he picked out singer/songwriter Sam Hunt and band MisterWives for having found 6m and 8m listeners respectively on Spotify.

This being a press conference, he didn’t talk about bruising negotiations with major labels for Spotify’s licensing deals – and he certainly didn’t mention the leaked contract between his company and Sony Music that was published this week by The Verge, providing an eye-opening insight into the business terms around streaming music back in 2011. But all those things that weren’t mentioned will be as crucial to the company’s survival as the inventive new features and partnerships that were.

But Spotify will have to be just as smart in its dealings with labels, publishers and creators in the months ahead to make that growth something that truly reshapes the music industry.

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