Weekend Perspective: March 17-21

Weekend Perspective: March 17 – 21

This week, two major music-business reports were released, both telling a similar story. First, the RIAA unleashed its 2013 usage and revenue report, indicating that income from streaming represented 21% of the U.S. music business. Second, the IFPIF — a global federation of national industry groups — also divulged 2013 statistics, in which digital music played a big part as well.

Another major news item played out over a few days. The ASCAP vs. Pandora trial reached its conclusion, with federal judge Denise Cote refusing ASCAP’s arguments to raise Pandora’s royalty rate for ASCAP-represented composers and publishers. At the same time, the court denied Pandora’s request for a lower rate. Pandora clearly got the best of the bargain, as RAIN demonstrated with its analysis of its dollars saved during a five-year royalty period.

Saving on royalties didn’t stop Pandora from raising its subscription price by 25% percent, however. In its announcement, Pandora laid the lame squarely on increasing royalty rates from the other side of the licensing fence — the record labels and performers, represented by SoundExchange.

Among music services, Beats Music was reported to be converting 70% of its trial users to paid subscribers, at a rate of about 1,000 per day. Turntable.FM, which was teetring on the edge of closing for months, finally did.

The week’s most lighthearted story belonged to a band called Vulfpeck, which is trying to fund a free concert tour with a Spotify gimmick. The band released an album filled with silent, 30-second songs. Stream the album all night, every night, the band says, and the royalty payments will be enough to fund the tour.

Brad Hill

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