There appeared to be an overabundance of digital music streaming services before Apple’s iTunes Radio became a reality last week, so it stands to reason that a shakeout—if it wasn’t already on the horizon—could now be only a matter of time.
Well-positioned players such as Pandora, Spotify and Clear Channel-owned iHeartRadio are probably going to be able to absorb hits from the new Apple competition, said Paul Verna, eMarketer analyst, though names like Rhapsody, Rdio, Slacker, Mog and others could be in trouble during the coming months.
"ITunes Radio is going to disrupt the space," Verna explained. "People’s phones are their MP3 players these days."
Indeed, since consumers are becoming rapidly more mobile with their digital consumption, Apple could be in the cat bird’s seat with the iPhone. Per ABI Research, 294 million consumers will utilize Apple’s mobile iOS system—just updated last week with iTunes Radio packaged in—by year’s end. And to Verna’s point, a big chunk of those users are already listening to a digital streaming service on their iPhones, giving Apple marketers device-level opportunities to push iTunes Radio that competitors simply don’t have at their disposable. To compare, 13-year-old Pandora has some 200 million users, leading the pack, while younger Spotify, on the other hand, has more than 24 million.
Marketers for the Rdios and Slackers of the world suggest that Apple will create more awareness around streaming music—benefitting players on the scene from end to end.
"Across streaming services, you are seeing a tremendous amount of momentum," said Carter Brokaw, chief revenue officer for Slacker. "And I think Apple’s announcement has contributed to it. It’s brought a lot more notoriety to the idea of streaming radio being a very big and viable business."
Verna from eMarketer added, “An all-boats-rising scenario is possible. At the same time, it could be that Apple’s huge presence will take business away from others.”
Mark Simpson, president of digital marketing firm Maxymiser, was blunt when predicting iTunes Radio’s impact.
"It cannot fail to affect the space just because of audience," he said. "Any radio station is about audience. iTunes has a massive user base. Even if only 5 or 10 percent sign up, they are going to affect the on-demand radio stations that exist right now. I think we’ll see a shrinkage in the number of players, while iTunes Radio grows into a significant player quite quickly."
Apple can also put big advertising dollars behind iTunes Radio, Simpson noted.
"It is obviously in their best interest to make it be as big as they can," he said. "A TV commercial might not be totally dedicated to iTunes Radio, but the service might be part of a larger Apple ad that highlights various products. And through their other products and services—they can promote the hell out of this if they want to."
Yet the big winners could be brands that purchase digital radio platforms’ audio and display ads, said Lauren Russo, svp, director audio and promotions at media buyer Horizon Media.
"Greater competition in the space will lead to better pricing and/or value," she said. "But the digital audio platforms with the best content, user experience and scale will prevail."
While iTunes Radio may reshape the digital streaming business, the Apple product is far from a no-brainer at this point, other observers say. For instance, James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research, doesn’t expect iTunes Radio to race past Pandora or Spotify to the No. 1 position.
"Remember, even on its own devices, Amazon Kindle books are the most read eBooks despite Apple’s attempt to come in a change that business," he said. "That said, music is Apple’s original customer relationship, and it does a decent job of it so the service should be at least modestly successful, if not dominant."
Source: AdWeek (by Christopher Heine)
There are a lot of places to spend money on digital music, but all of them are dwarfed by iTunes.
If you spend any time at all thinking about the digital music business, you know that already. But it’s good to see it spelled out, courtesy of Asymco analyst Horace Dediu and Billboard’s Glenn Peoples.
Dediu, incorporating new numbers released from Apple yesterday, pegs iTunes music spending at $6.9 billion a year. Peoples, riffing off numbers provided by the music industry’s international trade group, pegs total consumer spending on digital music at about $9.3 billion a year.
In other words, Apple owns about 75 percent of the digital music market. Leaving the rest for a group that includes subscription services like Pandora, Deezer, Rhapsody and assorted retailers like Amazon.
That domination shows you why the music labels are still very eager to see anyone and everyone compete with Apple, as long as they can pay up for advances/royalties.
Conversely, the fact that Apple no longer has the digital music market entirely to itself, as it used to at the beginning of the iPad era, shows you why Apple is watching the advance of competitors like Spotify with a wary eye.
Apple doesn’t worry about making money from digital music, but it does benefit mightily from music’s lock-in effects. Or at least it used to. The more that platform-agnostic rivals like Spotify grow, the weaker that lock gets.
Source: AllThingsD (by Peter Kafka)
Your music everywhere. That’s the focus at Amazon Digital Music these days. Much like the “TV Everywhere” concept being pushed by cable and satellite services, “your music everywhere” is what Amazon is hoping will resonate with its customer base, which straddles both the digital and physical music markets. As consumers move to digital, Amazon is trying to ease their transition, and the company has resisted the urge to double-dip into customers’ pockets by not making them repurchase already-owned music, potentially in favor of luring them with subscriptions.
"The ‘your’ in ‘your music everywhere’ is important," said Steve Boom, vice president of Worldwide Digital Music at Amazon, in a sit-down with L.A. Biz. The "your" emphasizes the ownership aspect of the music, which Boom noted is an important distinction given the increase in streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.
Boom is currently overseeing Amazon’s digital music group, which includes Amazon MP3 and Amazon Cloud Player. He has more than 15 years of experience in building global businesses and teams with a background in product management, engineering, sales, business development, marketing and operations. He was previously a senior vice president at Yahoo!, spending more than 10 years overseeing the company’s mobile business on a global scale.
The Verge recently reported that Amazon is in talks with record labels for a subscription service, but no formal announcement has been made. While all the heat has been on digital, Amazon still does a robust business selling CDs. Its largest markets are the U.S., Japan, U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and a full 70 percent-80 percent of the market in Japan and Germany is still in physical music sales.
GarageBand, the popular music-making application for the Mac desktop operating system and the iPad, is now available for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, Apple has announced.
GarageBand, which was released along with iMovie for the iPad in March of this year, has been scaled down in size to fit the smaller screens of the iPhone and iPod Touch and is selling for $4.99 in the App Store.
According to TechCrunch, Apple concurrently let out Version 1.1 of GarageBand for iPad, with features that will be available across all iOS devices, including custom chords for Smart Instruments and new time signatures like 3/4 and 6/8.
It’s early, but the first reviews are already out from Wired and MacWorld. Both had good things to say about the mini-GarageBand, with Wired calling it “a welcome addition to any mildly creative person’s iPhone or iPod touch.”
The GarageBand app is available here for download for iPhone 3GS and up, iPod Touch and the iPad in the App Store.
Check out screenshots of the scaled-down GarageBand app for iPhone (below).
Article originally appeared on The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com) and was written by Jason Gilbert.
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