✖️ Wait, is Spotify trying to make all musicians creators?
And: Instagram performs strongly and develops Exclusive Stories; Let's get biodegradable; Nina, a decentralized distribution platform; no vaccine passports in the UK; Amazon's vinyl service
Most of you will know that it’s Spotify‘s core mission to give a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art. There’s a couple of narratives around this:
It’s a lovely goal, but currently only 7500 artists actually make more than $100k per year. Moreover, this means Spotify won’t reach their goal in this century.
Spotify isn’t capable of creating value for the vast majority of musicians, nor can they generate profit through music. Therefore, they focus on audio-first and podcasts because they can create profit through that.
In a recent Means of Creation podcast Spotify’s Chief R&D Officer Gustav Söderström spoke about how all of their creator tools are also aimed at musicians. Let’s unpack what that means and how it can play out.
🦍 Instagram continues to perform strongly despite inconsistent brand identity (Hanna Kahlert)
“Perhaps this is the beauty of Instagram, in the end: it has become a highlight reel, the sort of ‘get yesterday’s internet headlines’ in a flashy, easy-to-consume and easy-to-share feed. It may not be particularly ‘social’ anymore, but by adapting to simply take on the best of what goes on elsewhere, it has found a niche of curation in an entertainment economy dominated by chaos.”
🔐 Instagram is developing its own version of Twitter’s Super Follow with ‘Exclusive Stories’ (Sarah Perez)
“When other Instagram users come across the Exclusive Stories, they’ll be shown a message that says that “only members” can view this content. The Stories cannot be screenshot, either, it appears, and they can be shared as Highlights. A new prompt encourages creators to “save this to a Highlight for your Fans,” explaining that, by doing so, “fans always have something to see when they join.””
❓ Cameo targets $200 million-plus in video sales this year (Kaya Yurieff)
“The big question mark, of course, not just for our business but every business in the creator economy is, now that the world is opening back up, are we seeing the big hyper-growth we saw last year.”
Steven Galanis, Cameo CEO
🎟️ Spotify explores expansion into events (Jessica Toonkel)
“Spotify would sell tickets for the events, giving it a new source of revenue. If the business took off longer term, the move could help Spotify diversify its revenue beyond what it has to currently share with the music labels, following its nearly billion-dollar expansion into podcasting. But the medium-term revenue impact is likely to be minimal, as Spotify isn’t planning to try to compete with the giants that dominate the major-events business, such as LiveNation and Anschutz Entertainment Group, the people said.”
👐 NINA, a decentralized distribution platform (litepaper)
“Through the Nina protocol artists press record-coins which can be bought by fans directly from the artist. Owning a record-coin allows fans to stream the associated music from their personal collection. Fans can collect, trade or sell record-coins. The artist decides the amount available, the initial selling price, and the percentage of royalties they receive on secondary market sales. All royalties are programmatically shareable between artists, bandmates, collaborators, labels, management, etc. Each party is able to collect their share whenever they choose.”
Or, if you’re so inclined, check out the NinaVision Song Contest.
😎 Lee Martin summarizes his projects of the last twelve months (Lee Martin)
“Included in this newsletter are some of my favorite freelance projects from the last year. They range from the typical (fan affinity, listening parties, playlist generation) to the more experimental (gaming, telephony, group interaction.) Each project includes a link to an in-depth dev blog about why and how we built each. (You’ll also find videos and images.) Skim through or dive as deep as you wish. In addition to client work, I’ve included an update on Listening Party development. Finally, if you make it to the bottom of this email, you’ll find some of my recent hacks and a bit of info on technology I’m excited about.”
💰 Why music royalties are hitting the right note for investors (David Dunn)
“Increasingly, however, music industry outsiders have been securing some of those returns as an alternative asset class untainted by stock market fluctuations.”
📮 Amazon launches “golden era” vinyl subscription service (Will Lavin)
“Once signed-up, subscribers will be able to see what album is lined up for them to receive next, and they can choose to skip the selection before it even arrives. There are no tie-ins either and the membership can be cancelled at any point.”
📦 Let's get biodegradable: Lorde details CD alternative for ‘Solar Power’ & eco-conscious new era (Jason Lipschutz)
“That same thought process was applied to the Music Box concept — which Lorde says came to her roughly a year ago, when she began considering the physical components of Solar Power, an album thematically focused on “the natural world,” and dreaming up alternatives to a traditional jewel case. The Music Box itself will be a plastic-free box, with 100% paper and cardboard waste, that’s biodegradable in three months.”
🛂 “Nightclubs and music venues to reopen “without Covid tests or vaccine passports” (Nick Reilly)
“The decision follows the success of England’s Covid vaccination programme, as well as pilot events to determine the safe reopening of live music.”
My kid tends to hug the speakers when I play this and he’s not wrong to do so. Yasmin Williams takes fingerpicking guitar-playing into a whole new dimension.