Spotify Only Paid 0.5% on App Store Commissions to Apple for Premium Subscriptions

Several months ago, and with the help of Anghami and Deezer, Spotify formally lodged an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union.

The Swedish music streaming company its rival of taking a 30% “fee” on the App Store.  This, claimed top executives, stifles creativity and innovation while Apple readily promotes its own music streaming service.

Siding with Spotify, a Deezer spokesperson person wrote,

Companies should be able to compete through innovation, content, and customer focus.  Right now, that’s not the case.  iOS and Apple users who love music streaming are disenfranchised, with higher fees and less realistic options as a result.”

Elie Habib, Anghami’s Co-Founder, added,

I think the entire music streaming industry stands behind Spotify in this battle – because it’s blatantly anti-competitive.

The Cupertino tech company quickly fired back, stating Apple has offered to work with Spotify.  Yet, the Swedish company’s CEO, Daniel Ek, hasn’t wanted to.

That didn’t stop the European Union from launching its own investigation into Apple, however.  The Department of Justice a similar investigation.

Now, the Cupertino tech company has responded.

Spotify wants to have its cake, and eat it, too.

As part of its rebuttal earlier this year, Apple said 84% of all developers on the App Store don’t pay a dime.  The company also doesn’t directly compete with Spotify.

Taking a swipe at its rival’s increasingly bitter fight against songwriters, the Cupertino tech company wrote,

We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world.  Where we differ is how you achieve that goal.

Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work.  And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians, and songwriters.

According to documents seen by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Apple argues Spotify has operated on “misleading numbers.”

The Cupertino tech company, for example, had only collected the 30% commission when its rival allowed subscriptions through its iOS app.  During that time, Spotify only signed up 680,000 customers.  Since 2016, however, the Swedish company changed that model, forcing iOS users to subscribe to Premium through its own website.

In short, Spotify only pays the App Store 15% after the first year of a subscription for new customers.  In fact, now that Spotify has 100 million users, the App Store commission has only applied to 0.5% of its worldwide subscribers.

Basically, Spotify hasn’t paid Apple a dime for iOS subscribers in the past three years.  This led an unnamed top music executive to allegedly tell MBW, “Spotify just wants to pay nothing.”

 


Featured image by aisletwentytwo (CC by 2.0).

Despite Downgrade from Evercore, Spotify's Stock Recovers and Gains

Over the weekdn, Spotify’s stock had plummeted.

The drop came following a bearish report from investment firm Evercore.  Spotify’s shares had declined 3.6% in after-hours trading to $143.

Knocking the music streaming company’s stock from In Line to Underperform, analyst Kevin Rippey said investors have overstated Spotify’s ability to make money from podcasts as well as its services to musicians.  He slashed the company’s price target to $110.

Explaining why shares have rebounded this year, Rippey added investors expect one of two outcomes.  Either the company will come out “way ahead” in licensing negotiations with the Big 3 labels – Warner, Sony, and Universal Music – or it will make “a bundle of money” from services which have previously accounted for none of its income.

So, Rippey continues, for the company to achieve Wall Street’s gross profit targets, either Spotify will have to take a larger cut of song royalties from streams, or generate up to $650 million in “ancillary areas” by 2022.  These include Spotify for Artists and podcasts, among others.

Rippey added the company has also overestimated its potential market position in emerging markets.  These includes India, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and in Indonesia.

Stating Jio and Gaana remain the current streaming music market leaders in the regions, he wrote,

In emerging markets like India, local players dominate the market.  This fragmentation leads to an understatement of how competitive streaming music is globally.

In addition, Spotify also remains in a tricky position in the United States.  Still behind Apple Music in subscriptions locally, the company could lose its battle with the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB).

Should the CRB uphold its ruling, Spotify will have to pay songwriters and publishers much more per stream.  This, says Rippey, would cut into the company’s income, which the company hasn’t yet “embedded” in its estimates.

Investors have largely ignored Evercore’s bearish report.  Today, Spotify’s stock closed at $150.11.  The company opened at $143.  On Friday, it closed at $148.31.

 


 

Spotify Faces Backlash Over Axing Beloved Features on Mobile

Once again, users aren’t happy with Spotify’s new mobile update.

Spotify doesn’t have a great track record with iOS users as of late.

Several months ago, the streaming music company a controversial new feature aimed at forcing fans to share songs on social media.  In the process, Spotify deliberately hid the often-used repeat and play queue buttons.

Following a major backlash online, the company rolled back the update.

Android users haven’t fared much better.

On multiple devices, including Galaxy S10s, S9s, Note9s, and Huawei smartphones, Spotify’s playback lockscreen controls no longer functioned correctly.  This also happened to music lovers who streamed their favorite tracks Bluetooth in their cars.

Unfortunately for Android users, the company  with tone-deaf copy-and-pasted answers.

We’re still looking into this, and will get back to you as soon as we have updates.”

Now, the company has updated its mobile apps, introducing controversial features no one has asked for and axing those users loved.

Who needs the alphabet, anyway?

On June 13th, Spotify posted an update to the ‘Your Library’ feature.

Aimed at forcing users to finally listen to the company’s expanding podcast offerings, the blog post reads,

Starting today, we’re introducing a new version of Your Library to Premium users that mixes form with function.  Everything about the reimagined Library is designed to get you to the content you want faster.  It also makes getting started and staying up-to-date with podcasts on Spotify a seamless, personalized experience.

Basically, the company removed the alphabetical scroll bar as well as the Recently Played tab.  Under Music, users will now find ‘Playlists,’ ‘Artists,’ and ‘Albums.’

It didn’t take long to subscribers and non-paying listeners to lash out.

On the popular Spotify subreddit, you’ll find topics ranging from “BRING BACK OLD SPOTIFY” (which quickly went gold), “I just canceled Premium,”New mobile update sucks!,” and a post titled “This update is bulls—t.”  Complaints range from poor functionality to Spotify’s copy-and-pasted justifications about how the axed features “make the user experience easier.”

One long-time listener didn’t hold anything back when addressing company executives.

What the f—k Spotify?  Why would you shoot us all in the foot like this?  I’m considering switching services if this isn’t fixed before the next billing cycle but I don’t know how other services compare.  Maybe I’ll do a trial of Apple Music but I have years of music stored on my Spotify.  This has ruined my day.

So far, the company has yet to respond to the criticism.  Yet, based on its recent history, expect Spotify to either roll back the update, or tune out its loyal listeners altogether.

Besides, who needs the alphabet when streaming their favorite music, anyway?  Just about everyone.

 


 

20+ Music Industry Organizations Sign the 'Anti-Stream Manipulation Code of Best Practice'

Admittedly, the music industry has a major problem – fake streams.

Three years ago, for example, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) found Jay-Z’s music streaming service, TIDAL, about its total streaming numbers for two popular albums – Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

Despite just having under 3 million subscribers at the time, TIDAL reported that The Life of Pablo had magically achieved 250 million streams in 10 days.  Lemonade had also reached an astonishing 306 million streams in just 15 days

In a published extensive Digital Forensics report by CCIS, the newspaper found that the company manipulated the data.  CCIS first started its investigation on February 7th, 2017.

Now facing a federal investigation in Norway, TIDAL executives deny any wrongdoing, despite authorities receiving a manipulated hard drive as evidence.  An unspecified number of artists and labels their music from Jay-Z’s service.

At around the same time, reports Spotify had also gamed the industry to avoid paying top artists like Kendrick Lamar.

In a lengthy piece, Vulture’s Adam K. Raymond claimed Spotify has purposefully filled its service with fake accounts.  The Swedish streamer had yet to tackle “the coverbots and ripoff artists who vomit… inferior versions of popular songs.”  These ‘fake artists’ allegedly manufactured by the company to six-figure salaries for ripping off popular songs.

Spotify any wrongdoing, stating it wouldn’t “pay itself” for fake streams.

Yet, not everyone is convinced.

Dealing with the issue earlier this week, Louis Poen, founder of indie record label Hopeless, the real cost of fake streams for labels – $300 million a year.

One particular track, for example, earned around 3,000 streams per day.  Then, that number jumped up to 35,000 streams each day for three days straight.  Finally, it had abruptly returned to its previous numbers.

Poen explained where the fake streams came from – Spotify.

When we looked at where those streams came from, 100% of them came from six playlists on Spotify.  It couldn’t be more suspicious.  The playlists were created recently.  They gained a bunch of followers in one week.  They’ve never gained another follower since then.

Now, top organizations and major labels have declared war on platforms which readily allow this form of manipulation.

Clamping down on gaming streaming.

Top tech and music industry companies have signed a new code of conduct.  IMPALA and the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) are among the signatories of the

The signatories have agreed on 22 codes to tackle “stream manipulation.”  These include identifying dishonest manipulation and artificial creation “by human or non-human means,” and stating music streaming services and other digital platforms must play “a valuable role” in tackling fake streams.

Main topics of the code include the definition of fake streaming – now dubbed “streaming manipulation” – ways to identify legitimate versus illegitimate music consumption, practice and reasonable measures against streaming manipulation, compliance with existing national and EU laws, and the legal status of the code of conduct.

Each signatory has agreed the code of conduct will not “affect” existing private agreements with and streaming service providers.

The complete list of signatories include Amazon, the American Association of Independent Music, Artist Rights Alliance, Deezer, IMPALA, the International Artist Organization, ICMP, the International Federation of Musicians, IFPI, the Independent Music Publishers International Forum, Merlin Network, the NMPA, Recording Academy, the RIAA, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment, Spotify, Universal Music Group, and the Worldwide Independent Network.

You can view the complete code of conduct below.

 


Featured image by Spotify.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Says Artists May Get Paid Better Using Facebook's Cryptocurrency, the Libra

Several days ago, and confirming a previously leaked report, Facebook unveiled its new cryptocurrency project – the Libra – which Spotify readily supported.

The social media company also introduced the Calibra, its new global subsidiary.  The subsidiary will provide financial services, allowing Facebook’s 2.4 billion users and others to access and participate in the Libra network.

Around two dozen companies, including Spotify, have signed up to support the Libra.  Each will invest at least $10 million as a part of the Libra Association.  These include Visa, Mastercard, Lyft, PayPal, MercadoLibre, and Uber, among many others.

Facebook had reportedly recruited the backers last month.  Calibra, the new digital wallet for the Libra, will purportedly help users save, send, and spend money.

According to , executives have purportedly worked to create a platform where fans can directly access the audio they want “at any time, anywhere, and at the right price.”  They also want to offer a service with economic bility.

Keep in mind the music streaming company in the music streaming market, just above Pandora and YouTube.  Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also to pay songwriters a 44% increase on royalties, stating it would harm its own ‘affordable’ music platform.

Now, Ek has said using the Libra will actually get artists paid.

Will the Libra help artists get paid?  No, not really.

The Libra Association, an independent, non-profit organization, was founded to create a single global currency and the financial infrastructure to “empower” billions of people around the globe.

Promoting the new digital coin, Spotify wrote,

Libra offers [a] massive opportunity for simple, convenient, and safe payment over the internet (particularly for the 1.7 billion adults worldwide without access to mobile money, a bank account, or a payment card).  We’ve seen this directly in many of the developing markets where we operate.

Pushing its own announcement of backing the Libra, Ek gave a personal interview about the cryptocurrency on the company’s podcast, Culture: Now Streaming.

I think like cryptocurrencies and blockchain are obviously two of the biggest buzzwords you can have today.  And for me, I don’t think technology in itself is that interesting.  What I do think is interesting is what we can do with that technology.”

Repeating Facebook’s argument, Ek said “several billion people around the world…don’t even have access to a bank account.”

In fact, accidentally defeating the purpose of the Libra, he says, these people – most likely from poorer, developing countries – don’t trust “their governments or other people.”

Quickly realizing his mistake and in full damage control, he “[thinks] blockchain…can facilitate trust.”

What Libra is trying to do is really about creating money on the internet by allowing this thing to go, especially to the place of where people don’t have these opportunities.

People, Ek adds, can purchase everyday common goods using the digital coin, including using WhatsApp to pay for rice.

Then, he says a service “like” Spotify can facilitate direct payments to artists.

The most important thing is it will enable paying for things digitally in many of the places around the world where those kind of methods just [don’t] exist.  A service like Spotify, you can imagine what would happen by allowing users for instance to be able to pay artists directly.

A music fan, for example, in Japan could directly pay an artist in Argentina using the Libra.

That opens up huge opportunities for how we can further our mission.”

Yet, one key question remains.  If, after ten years and a highly successful direct listing (including only one profitable financial quarter), Spotify hasn’t paid artists their fair share, what hope do musicians have following the launch of the Libra their money won’t end up in the already deep pockets of company executives?

 


Featured image by foreverseptember (CC by 2.0).

Spotify Officially Signs On to Support Facebook's New Cryptocurrency — the Libra

According to a leaked report from the Wall Street Journal last week, Spotify had signed on to support Facebook’s cryptocurrency project.

Dubbed the Libra, over two dozen other companies would also support the cryptocurrency.  Each company around $10 million as part of a consortium.

The consortium – known as the Libra Association – will govern the digital coin, ensuring it remains ble and profitable.  Facebook recruited the backers last month to fund the crypto-based payments system.

Now, as expected, the social media company has confirmed the project.

Officially introducing the Calibra and the Libra.

Facebook has formally introduced its new global subsidiary – the Calibra.  The goal of the company is to provide financial services, allowing its 2.4 billion users and others to access and participate in the Libra network.

Launching a separate website for the new cryptocurrency, the social media company explained the purpose of the Libra.

A simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.

Reinvent money.  Transform the global economy.  So people everywhere can live better lives.

According to Facebook, people have a difficult time saving, sending, and spending money online.  In addition, for people in developing countries, almost half don’t have an active bank account.

The cost of that exclusion is high — approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.

Calibra, the new digital wallet for the Libra, will purportedly help users save, send, and spend money.  Using a smartphone, people can send the Libra “to almost anyone” with a smartphone as with a simple text message.  Partnering with over two dozen companies, Facebook wants people to pay bills “with the push of a single button,” buy a cup of coffee with a quick code scan, and even ride local public transportation “without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.”

Calibra will purportedly launch with strong protections and safeguards to keep users’ information and wallets safe.  Dismissing past privacy breaches and high-profile leaks by the company, Facebook vows to never share personal account information or financial data to third parties “without consent.”

Of course, the social media company says these goals could change at any time.

So, why did Spotify sign on as a backer?

Publishing its own blog post, Spotify explained the reason for joining the Libra Association.

According to the music streaming company, executives have worked to create a platform where fans can directly access the audio they want “at any time, anywhere, and at the right price.”  They also want to offer a service with economic bility.

The Libra Association, an independent, non-profit organization, was founded to create a single global currency and the financial infrastructure to “empower” billions of people around the globe.

The company writes,

Libra offers [a] massive opportunity for simple, convenient, and safe payment over the internet (particularly for the 1.7 billion adults worldwide without access to mobile money, a bank account, or a payment card).  We’ve seen this directly in many of the developing markets where we operate.

Plugging the new cryptocurrency, Alex Norström, Spotify’s Chief Premium Business Officer, concludes,

One challenge for Spotify and its users around the world has been the lack of easily accessible payment systems – especially for those in financially underserved markets.  This creates an enormous barrier to the bonds we work to foster between creators and their fans.

“In joining the Libra Association, there’s an opportunity to better reach Spotify’s total addressable market, eliminate friction, and enable payments in mass scale.

Facebook hopes to launch the new cryptocurrency next year.

 


Featured image by Facebook.

Spotify Reportedly Signs On to Support Facebook's New Cryptocurrency, the Libra

Spotify has reportedly jumped on the lengthy backers’ list for Facebook’s new project.

For more than a year, Facebook has quietly worked on a new cryptocurrency dubbed the Libra.  Now, the company has prepared to formally unveil the project this week.

Reportedly launching next year, the social media platform has signed up over two dozen companies who will back the Libra.  According to a leaked list from reputable crypto-news site The Block, supporters include Visa, Mastercard, Lyft, PayPal, and Uber, among many others.

One name, however, sticks out – Spotify.

Venture capitalists, along with the finance, e-commerce, and other companies, will invest $10 million each as part of a consortium.  The consortium – known currently as the Libra Association – will govern the digital coin, ensuring it remains ble and profitable.  Facebook has previously recruited the backers last month to fund the Libra, a crypto-based payments system.

Users, sources told the Wall Street Journal, would send the digital coin to each other.  They will also use the Libra to make payments on Facebook and other websites.

Facebook has yet to lock down agreements with all the major backers, however.  The sources added the consortium’s memberships may also change.

In addition, most major companies have no clue how the Libra will function exactly, nor its value.  Members remain concerned about how Facebook and its users will use the cryptocurrency tokens.  This includes potential money laundering and terrorist financing.

Member companies in the Libra Association may ultimately serve as nodes, allowing them to verify transactions and maintain financial records.  Facebook nor backers, including Spotify, would control the cryptocurrency.  Separating itself from the Libra would also add legal protection for the social media giant against potential liability over how its 2.4 billion users actually use the cryptocurrency.  Yet, Facebook may still “exert considerable control” of the Libra.

The social media giant reportedly wants at least 100 companies to back the Libra.  Other supporters include Stripe Inc. and Argentinian company MercadoLibre.  Facebook has also asked several member companies to back the Libra’s official introduction this week.

 


Featured image by MichaelWuensch (CC by 2.0).

Spotify Unveils Daily Drive, a Personalized Playlist Featuring Music and News

Spotify has unveiled a new feature for your daily commute.

Taking full advantage of its recent podcast acquisitions – – the company has rolled out Daily Drive.

The feature incorporates news podcasts alongside music recommendations.  NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and Public Radio International will provide news audio clips.  Music and news recommendations will update multiple times a day, meaning your evening news and music listening won’t be the same as in the morning.

Daily Drive represents Spotify’s broad efforts to aggressively grow its podcast listener base as well as its podcast offerings.  As described by the music streaming giant, the new feature mixes personalized music with “timely world updates from reputable sources.”

Daily Drive also follows other podcast-centric features.  Last week, the company rolled out human-curated podcasts to around 5% of its users in the UK, United States, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina as part of a test.  Podcast themes include comedy, geek culture, motivational walking, and true crime, among others.  With this new feature, Spotify aims to improve podcast discoverability.

Doubling down on its podcast features, the company has also posted a new job listing – News and Documentary Podcast Producer.

Serving in the news and culture lead division in New York, the selected candidate will work as a producer for pre-production, production, and distribution of Spotify’s internal News-focused podcasts.

The job will also include managing and producing content for publication on all platforms as well as audio production.

Based in New York, the selected candidate will report directly to Natalie Tulloch, Spotify’s Director of Planning and Ops in Content Partnerships.

The selected candidate will also have between 5 and 6 years of related work experience serving in the news and documentary community, proficiency with ProTools and Hindenburg, proficiency with presentation decks and data pulls, the ability to maintain a high attention to detail in a fast paced environment, experience recording in a studio setting, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to work under pressure and an ease with people from different cultural and educational backgrounds.

People interested in the position can apply directly on Spotify’s website.

 


 

McDonald's Teams Up With Spotify to Offer Playlists Based on French Fries

In the mood for some Spotify with your large French fries at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s has partnered with Spotify to offer unique tunes for its customers.

In Latin America, the food giant alongside Sao Paolo advertising agency DPZ&T, Leo Burnett Colombia, and sound producer Lucha Libre invite people to place their French fries on tray liners set to a specific tune.  If the fries don’t fit, customers will have to eat some to make them line up on the tray.

Then, after opening up the Spotify app, fast food lovers will scan the code the fries form on their tray liners.  This will pull up a playlist dubbed ‘FriesList’ containing songs such as ‘FriTops of the Moment,’ ‘I’m Out of Fries,’ and ‘Someone Stole My Fries.’

(Click to enlarge.)

The new promotion aims to push users to check out the Spotify music streaming service.  This also aims to help McDonald’s gain new customers interested in checking out the experience.

Speaking about the French fries/Spotify offering, Pablo Acosta, a creative director at Leo Burnett Colombia, explained,

In addition to the quality of the variety of the menu options, we want consumers to enjoy the experience in McDonald’s restaurants even more, whether through innovative actions or interacting to each other.  We want to value individual and collective experiences.

Spotify isn’t the only company to team up with a fast food brand.

Earlier this year, Swiggy, an Indian online food ordering chain, tweeted the following message to its 74.6 million followers.

bluueeblaahhhbleehhhblueeblahblehblue.

The message left users confounded.  It wouldn’t take long before the Indian food chain revealed it had teamed up with Instagram.

Offering up to one year’s worth of food vouchers, the official Swiggy account wrote,

Wondering what this was?  Not a typo for sure!  It was our Voice of Hunger! Get ready for the #SwiggyVoiceOfHunger challenge.  You just need to recreate food shapes through Instagram VOICE NOTES, to win a year worth of food vouchers! 1st challenge coming up tomorrow.  Stay Tuned!

Through Instagram’s then-launched voice notes feature, people could recreate food item shapes through direct messages.

 


Featured image by McDonald’s and Spotify.

Goldman Sachs Estimates Global Music Revenue Will Reach $131 Billion

According to a new report from Goldman Sachs, in around 11 years, nearly 1.2 billion people will pay for music streaming.

The latest report from the investment bank – dubbed ‘Music In The Air’ – comes nearly two years after Goldman Sachs predicted global revenue from paid music streaming alone will hit $28 billion in 2030.

Two months ago, the IFPI global recorded music market revenue hit $19.1 billion in 2018, up 9.7% over 2017, thanks in large part to music platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and others.  So, Goldman Sachs’ global revenue projection doesn’t seem too farfetched.

The investment bank writes,

After nearly two decades of disruption, the music industry is undergoing a massive revival.  Artists, labels, and publishers are cashing in on the growing popularity of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music – and consumers are signing up for subscriptions like never before.

According to the investment bank, live music revenue totaled $26 billion in 2017.  Recorded music revenue totaled $30 billion.  Publishing revenue hit $6 billion.  In total, global music revenue totaled $62 billion.

Updating its projected forecast, Goldman Sachs forecasts overall music revenue to more than double to about $131 billion by 2030.

Breaking that number down, recorded music revenue will reach $80 billion while live music revenue will hit $38 billion.  Music publishing will total $12.5 billion.

So, what’s behind the surge?  Goldman Sachs writes millennials and Generation Z music lovers spend more of their annual budgets on music than other age groups.  People aged 13-17, for example, now spend $80 a year.  Those aged 18-34 spend $163.  Overall, people of all ages spend an average of $152 to enjoy their favorite music.

Breaking down the proportion of people who stream music on their smartphones, 18% used music streaming platforms in developed markets last year.  That number will more than double to 37% by 2030.  In emerging markets, 3% of people streamed music last year on their smartphones.  By 2030, that number will reach 10%.

In a stern warning to the music industry, however, Goldman Sachs wrote platforms like Spotify and Apple Music must continue to provide “access to millions of tracks.”  41% of paying users consider this very important.  35% also consider a large catalog fairly important.  So, music streaming could lose its appeal, forcing consumers to resort to piracy should subscription prices go up or labels choose to pull their catalog from a specific music platform.

You can view the full report here.

 


Featured image by Jericho (CC by 3.0).

Once Exclusive in Australia, Spotify Officially Launches Stations in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Spotify unveiled an interesting streamlined app for music listeners in Australia.

Dubbed Stations, the app  users to quickly stream curated stations.

The app description on Google Play explains how users wouldn’t have to laboriously search for music.

With the world’s music at your fingertips, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge.  Stations gets you to music instantly—no searching or typing needed.  As Stations learns more about what you like, it creates stations packed with the music you love, made just for you.

Stations first started as a small-scale experiment by Spotify.  The 8.1 MB music player has only hit just over 10,000 installs on the Play Store.  Most users continue to complain about the app’s bugs and lack of full-scale features, showing people may not fully understand Stations’ purpose.

Cool app, but it’s very buggy.  I added one more artist to an existing playlist and it ended up deleting all the existing artists.  When listening to music, the Spotify app also shows so I have two notifications.  The ‘Play To’ feature doesn’t show all devices, so I’m unable to stream to my Google Home.

Lacking some basic features, but very fast.  Spotify proper locks up on my 3-year-old phone, but Stations at least lets me get music into my ears.

Okay app, but would be great if we could mix multiple genres into one station, e.g. rock metal ballads hits, etc.

Last month, the music streaming giant unveiled the app on iOS devices, but with a major caveat – only users with iPhones and iPads in Australia could install and use Stations.

Now, the company has officially launched Stations in the U.S.

Both Android and iOS users can download the experimental lean-back listening Stations app on the Play Store and App Store, respectively.

As hinted at earlier, Stations personalizes playlists – aptly dubbed ‘stations’ – for each user based on their listening history.  So, the more you listen, the more Spotify customizes your music streaming experience.

Stations isn’t meant to overtake the main app.  Instead, it serves only as a “complimentary experience.”  This app also includes Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and user favorites.

Current subscribers will have access to an ad-free experience.  Non-paying users will listen to ads intermittently, just as in the main Spotify app.

 


Featured image by Spotify.

Spotify May Soon Launch Another New Feature — Social Listening

Taking its popular Connect to the next level, Spotify has reportedly prepared to unveil a brand-new social feature.

Well-known data miner Jane Manchun Wong, who previously uncovered multiple now-revealed and features, made a new discovery.

The music streaming giant has started work on Social Listening.  This will allow friends to control music together with their own devices.  Wong came across the new feature hidden in Spotify’s latest Android app code.

To get started with the new feature, Spotify will first provide users with a unique code in the settings menu.  Then, after manually scanning your friend’s codes under the ‘Connect with Friends’ option, you’ll have the ability to control their music.  Though the feature remains in testing, users may also receive a personalized link instead.

Wong explains,

Spotify is working on Social Listening, letting friends to control music together with their own devices.

Scan Spotify Code or open link for it to begin.

For example, I’m listening Spotify right now. Feel free to introduce me new music: https://open.spotify.com/…”

Once both users are connected, you’ll find your friend under the new ‘Already Connected’ list.  This will allow users to quickly connect with each other.

Wong writes,

When connected to Spotify’s Social Listening, you will show up on the “Already connected” list.  The “Now Playing” UI will show the amount of friends listening (friend’s identity here replaced with mine for privacy).

Unfortunately, it remains unclear when Spotify will actually launch Social Listening.  The company has previously confirmed it regularly tests new features.  Yet, based on the photo evidence Wong provided, it seems the new feature has already undergone serious Q&A testing.  She has also admitted it’s unclear whether friend’s songs will sync in real-time, allowing for instant playback and listening.

Wong concludes her post, stating the feature remains available only to company employees.

The link to control my music will only work for those with access to Social Listening, meaning only Spotify employees for now.

For those at Spotify, feel free to go wild 😀

 


Featured image by Spotify.

Spotify's Bitter War With Songwriters Claims Its First (But Not Its Last) Casualty — Adam Parness

Spotify’s decision to publicly oppose the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) 44% songwriter royalty increase has created a PR nightmare for the company.

Top music industry executives, publishers, and songwriters have spared no words in slamming the music streaming giant.

Vowing to defeat Spotify’s CRB appeal, Warner/Chappell in a public letter to the industry,

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and other trade bodies, of which Warner/Chappell is a member, are being very vocal in their opposition to this appeal.

As such, we will vigorously seek to protect the value of music and passionately promote the rights of songwriters.

On Twitter, influential music exec Irving Azoff ,

Apple understands they’re in the artist business.  Clearly, Google, Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon don’t.

Justin Tranter, who has written songs for Ariana Grande, Fall Out Boy, Justin Bieber, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Gwen Stefani, said,

Without songs, these tech companies have nothing to stream/sell.  Shameful.

Others took a more direct approach, like notable music lawyer Dina LaPolt.

Spotify, you cheap pieces of s—t.   F—k you and your secret bulls—t Genius awards.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Finally, in a united front, the songwriting community – including Ali Tamposi, Frank Dukes, Teddy Geiger, Babyface, and Nile Rodgers – penned an open letter to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

We’re hurt and disappointed.  You created a songwriter relations team and ingratiated Spotify into our community…You have used us and tried to divide us but we stand together…

WE all create the ONE thing you sell – songs….

Do the right thing and drop your appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board rate determination.

Oblivious to the criticism, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explained the royalty increase would ultimately hurt consumers.  Defending the company’s much-maligned feud with the CRB, he added Spotify won’t ever change its position.

We think $10 a month is a very, very cheap and an amazing proposition.  But the amount of people who wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Hey, I want to like pay $10 a month for music’ isn’t as great as most people would believe.

Stating over 30,000 artists now make a wonderful living off of Spotify – as well as songwriters – Ek later ,

I don’t know what the number is now but it’s far greater.  Even on Spotify itself, it’s far greater than [30,000 artists].”

Now, Spotify’s public feud with songwriters has claimed its first victim.

Adieu, Adam Parness.

Spotify’s Global Head of Publishing, Adam Parness, has resigned.  He’ll officially leave the company on June 3rd.

Parness had joined the company two years ago, previously serving in publishing relations roles at Pandora and content acquisition at Amazon.  He reportedly led efforts at Spotify to add songwriter and producer credits.

Parness’ abrupt departure may not be the only casualty of Spotify’s bitter feud with songwriters.  An unnamed senior US publishing executive lamented,

It feels like all of the people who took care of music publishers at Spotify are jumping ship.

“Adam was a true champion of music publishers in that company.  He will be sorely missed.”

 


 

Following "Detected Suspicious Activity," Spotify Resets the Passwords of an "Unspecified" Number of Accounts

Spotify has sent out a new e-mail to users.

An “unspecified” number of users have received notifications the music streaming giant had reset their passwords.

The e-mail told users the company made this change “due to detected suspicious activity.”

Confirming the reports, Peter Collins, a Spotify spokesperson, issued the following statement.

As part of our ongoing maintenance efforts to combat fraudulent activity on our service, we recently shared a communication with select users to reset their passwords as a precaution.

“As a best practice, we strongly recommend users not to use the same credentials across different services to protect themselves.

According to TechCrunch, the e-mails follow a “credential stuffing attack” on the service.  This occurs when hackers find usernames and passwords from other sites (including popular dumping site, Pastebin) and “brute-force” their way into the accounts.

Multiple users admitted to using the same password across different websites.  Others, however, used passwords unique to Spotify.

Speaking about experiencing the same problem two years ago, one user wrote on HackerNews,

I had a similar issue not long ago.  I went in and really changed it into a massive 50 character pw.

“My Spotify account was hijacked in 2017 and managed to get it back – someone from Tunisia – he had the audacity to start creating playlists full of autotune rappers.  I wouldn’t mind sharing, but man, his taste in music was awful.

Stating the service denied any database breaches, another user explained,

Same thing happened to me, right around the same time.  Also, my hijacker shared a similar taste in music to yours!  Spotify denied that they had any database breaches, but I only use that password for Spotify, so I find that highly unlikely.

The forced resets come months after major companies reported similar breaches.

Denying the company was hacked last month, Chipotle spokesperson Laurie Schalow said,

[We’re] monitoring any possible account security issues of which we’re made aware and continue to have no indication of a breach of private data of our customers.”

Following a similar hack late last year, a DoorDash spokesperson denied a data breach had occurred.  Instead, a spokesperson blamed credential stuffing attacks.

We don’t have any information to suggest that DoorDash has suffered a data breach.  To the contrary, based on the information available to us, including internal investigations, we have determined that the fraudulent activity reported by consumers resulted from credential stuffing.

 


 

Spotify Confirms Public Test of Car Thing, Its First Official Hardware Product

Early last year, and prior to its non-IPO direct listing on Wall Street, Spotify posted three interesting job advertisements.

Unveiling a shift away from its dependency on music streaming, the company sought an Operations Manager in Hardware Product along with a Senior Project Manager in Hardware Product.  The music giant also looked to hire a Project Manager in Hardware Production and Engineering.

Revealing the company’s strategy to build hardware products – possibly including speakers and other offerings – the first job advertisement read,

You will define and manage Distribution, Supply, Logistics, fulfillment, and Customer Service for Hardware Products, and work with partners to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users.

The company, for the most part, has remained rather silent on its upcoming hardware product offerings.

Now, we may know what Spotify plans to build.

Testing the ‘Thing.’

The company will publicly test a voice-controlled smart assistant for cars “in the coming weeks.”

Dubbed Car Thing, the test device plugs into a car’s 12-volt outlet, or the cigarette lighter.  Similar to Alexa and Google voice assistants, drivers can activate Car Thing simply by saying, ‘Hey, Spotify. ’ Then, after linking the device to their personal Spotify accounts, users can make a request.

Little remains known about what requests listeners can make.  The company also doesn’t have a specific test timeline, meaning the test can last several weeks to even over a year.  In addition, the test will only take place in the U.S. with only a “small group of Premium users.”

Speaking about Car Thing, Spotify confirmed in a blog post the company will also test similar products in the future.

We’re testing how people listen in the car through a voice-controlled music and podcast device called “Car Thing.”

While we know there has been some speculation about our future plans, Car Thing was developed to help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts.  Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform—not on creating hardware.

The test will be done in the US only, with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users.

We might do similar voice-specific tests in the future, so don’t be surprised if you hear about “Voice Thing” and “Home Thing.”

We don’t have any current plans to make this specific device available to consumers, but the learnings from our test will dictate how we develop experiences everywhere you listen.

 


Featured image by Spotify.