Stagnant Streams: How streaming killed the charts

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Let’s be honest with ourselves, for as long as the charts have existed they have had to be taken with a pinch of salt. “Chart topping” music and good music rarely coincide, and any institution that gives Mr Blobby a number 1 single can’t be said to represent the best music in the country. Even so chart placings remain a source of pride for up and coming artists who rightly celebrate them as a milestone. However with the new rules in place to allow streaming figures to contribute to chart positions it could end up being the final nail in the coffin for this longstanding music institution. Continue reading

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Albums aren’t dead!

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Modern music media is quick to write off albums as a thing of the past, pointing at dwindling sales figures as a sign that the end is nigh. Industry moguls can often be found lamenting over the apparently fickle nature of modern consumers and the fact that people these days simply can’t be bothered to sit through an entire album. To paraphrase Mark Twain: the reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated, and I for one am fed up of this bleak and out of touch outlook. The truth is albums have more power now than they have done in a long time, you just need to know where to look. Continue reading

SoundCloud launch streaming service

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Music sharing site SoundCloud has announced that it will be entering the already overcrowded world of music streaming. SoundCloud Go will allow users to listen to the back catalogue of streamable songs alongside the millions of pre-existing SoundCloud exclusive songs. The fee is currently set at the industry standard of £9.99 per month, although their back catalogue will be far smaller than those of industry leaders Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music and the exclusive tracks will still be freely available to the public.

Restricted Access Albums: A worrying trend

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These days more than ever music is all about business. Less about the art and more about the money, which has sadly gotten far worse since the advent of streaming services. A world where all music is readily available to everyone at the touch of a button is a music mogul’s worst nightmare. As such the industry has been coming up with more and more nefarious ways to squeeze some extra pennies out of us, the latest of which involves making albums only available to an exclusive group. Continue reading

Music sales rise in UK for first time in over ten years

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According to BPI, music sales in the UK in 2015 came to a value of £1.06 billion, compared to 2014’s £1.03 billion. This is the first rise in music sales since 2004. The sales increase is due to the rise in streaming and the vinyl resurgence. Streaming use rose 82% and vinyl sales rose 64% in 2015. The biggest money makers for the industry are home grown artists, with Adele’s ’25’ being the best selling album of the year and Ed Sheeran being the most streamed artist.

Beatles discography added to streaming sites

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Christmas has come early for fans of the Fab Four. The entire Beatles back-catalogue has been added to streaming services worldwide including Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and Deezer. Thus far ‘Let It Be’ is the most streamed track. ACDC added their music to streaming services earlier in the year, whereas modern artists such as Taylor Swift and Adele have resisted allowing their music on the sites. Odd that it’s the old artists that are more open to embracing the future of music.

Neil Young removes his music from streaming sites

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The Canadian singer/songwriter made the decision to remove his music from streaming services after he claimed the sound was “the worst quality in the history of broadcasting”. He stated that he’d be willing to allow his music to stream again if the sound quality improved. This isn’t the first time Young has gone off the rails over sound quality, also dissatisfied with the quality of mp3 files he’s worked to produce his high fidelity ‘Pono’ player although it has found little success.

Apple unveils new streaming service

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During a conference in San Francisco it was announced Apple Music will launch at the end of the month and will be available on all Apple devices. The system’s unique features include a 24/7 radio station hosted by former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, A supposedly more advanced music recommendation system, a social network that allows fans to connect with artists and siri compatibility to allow voice commands. Whilst I think this new service is miles ahead of rival service Tidal, it is still behind Spotify as only Spotify offers an ad-supported free service. Work needs to be done to make sure the new Apple music and it’s features are to the highest standard if it is to live up to it’s subscription fee.

Tidal streaming service relaunch

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The music streaming service Tidal, which was bought out by rapper Jay Z, has been relaunched and rebranded as being owned by the artists. The co-owners of the business, including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, Madonna, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris and Alicia Keys, hosted a conference in New York. Their aim was to create a better platform for music streaming which provided high quality audio and where a greater percentage of the profits go to the artists. Continue reading