✖ Music's TV opportunity: connected TVs and advertising revenues

And: Ghost Festival; NFTs; LÜM; cancelled tours; CES; what we can learn from improv

TV is having a breakout moment, or perhaps we should call it a revival. For years, traditional TV, delivered via cable or satellite, has mostly seen their subscriber numbers dropping. This is mainly an issue in North America, followed by Europe and Latin America, while Asia and Africa still see growth in this department. However, TV is making a comeback over the internet, mainly through connected, or smart, TVs. When you buy a new TV from Samsung, LG, Philips, etc. you get access to a whole line-up of TV channels for free, but supported by ads. Data shows that viewing via these channels is growing fast and that streaming video now mainly takes place via connected TV devices.

For now, it’s the usual suspects of news, sports, and classic shows that attract people to watch those ads and pay with their eyeballs (and data). Now, music is primed to take a chunk out of this new revenue pie.

It’s Vevo time

Looking at what makes for popular viewing on what’s called FAST (free ad-supported streaming television) services, shows that it’s mostly a lean-back experience. It seems to be the kind of TV people put on in the background as opposed to sitting down and watching their favourite show on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, etc. Music’s, somewhat problematic, playlist culture, offers a way to tap into that market as it’s very well suited to a leanback experience. As such, there’s been a rush to release music-related channels on FAST services. From jazz to EDM and from karaoke to audio, the most obvious candidate to benefit from the leanback viewing experience is perhaps Vevo. First, they partnered with interactive music video TV channel Xite, and they’ve recently pushed into the world of FASTs launching on various services. Of course, Vevo was founded by major labels, helping it get access to both content and the artists who create it.

Reach and advertising

Since people who tune into a channel on a FAST service watch ads, it’s important to maximize the time they spend on your channel. A leanback listening experience is great for this, because it allows people to tune in do something else and have the TV on in the background. Of course, music will never beat the reach of sports, but it’s got something else. In the words of Bill Durrant, quoted in a recent DigiDay article:

“We are an industry that seeks out consolidation because it makes our lives easier and reaching a large number of people easier. But when we’re not doing that, we need [media companies] that aren’t microscopically small and still reach people around a specific passion point in consumers’ minds. That’s still relevant in driving involvement and consideration for brands.”

That’s where music comes is. A company like Vevo is not small and there’s hardly a better passion point than music. Moreover, a lot of brands are already familiar with putting their money against musicians and artists (I know you’re thinking of Travis Scott right now).

The music video format is also suited for advertising breaks with the added bonus for advertisers of utilising their brand partnership to combine their ad-buy with a deeper connection and product placement.

The future is on TV

Even YouTube shows that viewers are migrating from mobile to the TV. With the added bonus that on TV those viewers watch around twice as long as on mobile. Furthermore, eMarketer is expecting ad spending on connected TVs to grow by 52.9% in 2021. So while many of us will focus on TikTok, Snapchat, and other social media there’s a strong argument that a large part of what will happen for music in the near future will happen on the big screen. Various services, from TV makers’ owned and operated platforms to, for example, PlutoTV, are drawing viewers into their TV screens again. Brands will always be attracted to music and the dedicated audiences that come with it. Equally interesting are the laidback listeners who are willing to engage their eyes and ears to advertising while they enjoy a music video.

Maarten Walraven

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🖼️ 2021 will be the year the music industry embraces NFTs, but we’ll need to see more innovation, especially when it comes to artists being able to hold on to their masters. Matthew has more.

🎞️ Bandsintown is launching a new livestreaming platform called Bandsintown PLUS, which is a subscription service. For me, it’s still vague on what kind of audience they’re aiming for and what exactly they offer subscribers besides a livestream and chat. One thing they mention peaks my interest in that I’m curious how they’ll organise it:

Members are also entitled to special perks, like intimate chats with artists and access to sought-after concerts on other platforms.

🧰 There’s more and more creator toolboxes out there. One of them is LÜM, who have just launched a new marketplace called The Exchange. It’s aimed at creators who use LÜM and want to increase the value relation between themselves and their fans and their fellow creators.

🔆 A couple of things you didn’t know you needed from CES. A shower speaker that’s powered by the water flow from your shower. Mictic is the first wearable musical instrument and they’re moving to LA to find those artists who will use it. There’s more, and The Music Network has handily put it together in one article.

🪀 Bringing together avatars, the metaverse and immersive reality Sony Immersive Music Studios was launched at CES with a performance by Madison Beer. Sony has a stake in Epic Games and the experience was built on the Unreal Engine. As we’re moving away from linear livestream experiences Sony could be leading the way into a more immersive world that will keep us glued to our screens, or VR goggles.


🦠 In his latest installment of Penny Fractions, David Turner asks discusses how the music industry adjusts to the pandemic. My main takeway? We haven’t actually adjusted…

❌ In what could be a precedent, The 1975 have cancelled their 2021 tour, which mostly consisted of postponed 2020 dates. Fans will get their tickets refunded, but no information was shared on who took the insurance hit.

🗒️ The Conversation has a great article on what we can learn from improvisation to get through 2021. My favourite one is that we can learn to connect with nature and each other and that we can do so creatively even when we’re apart.

🎺 If you’re wondering how independent venues are doing, they’re hopeful but desperate.

“We have yet to book a single new show for 2021 since we still face so many unknowns between the delayed vaccine rollout and much-reduced, state-mandated capacity numbers.”

Liz Pellent, event coordinator at Orange Peel, Asheville, North Carolina.

👻 Have you heard of Ghost Festival? You never will, because it will never happen. But you can buy tickets for it.


Leikeli47 is simply one of the best rappers around.

✖ MUSIC x, founded by Bas Grasmayer and co-edited by Maarten Walraven.

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