Tag: streaming

Songs are getting shorter

A new study finds that pop songs themselves are getting faster as listeners’ attention spans diminish  and young people have the attention span of goldfish

The study was penned by Hubert Leveille Gauvin, a doctoral student in music theory at the Ohio State University who looked at the year-end top 10 on the US Billboard chart between 1986 and 2015.

He found that instrumental openings to songs have shrunk dramatically over the past three decades and, to a lesser extent, the average tempo of hit singles has been speeding up.

In 1986, it took roughly 23 seconds before the voice began on the average hit song. In 2015, vocals came in after about five seconds, a drop of 78 percent, he found.

His study was published in Musicae Scientiae, the Journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music. He linked the trend to the rapid rise of Spotify and other streaming sites that give listeners instant access to millions of songs.

“It makes sense that if the environment is so competitive, artists would want to try to grab your attention as quickly as possible and the voice is one of the most attention-grabbing things that there is.”

Apparently if you like to concentrate, you like instrumental music.

As an example of the shift, Leveille Gauvin pointed to Starship’s 1987 hit “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” which takes 22 seconds for the vocals to begin and more than a minute for the chorus.

On the 2015 hit “Sugar” by Maroon 5, Adam Levine gets to the point within seven seconds with the lines: “I’m hurting baby / I’m broken down.”

Leveille Gauvin doubts that many pop stars are clamouring in the studio for shorter intros, he just thinks it is a steady evolution in songwriting conventions.

He connected the trend to scholar Michael H. Goldhaber’s concept of the “attention economy”—the quest to hold attention in an internet overflowing with information.

“You can think of music as this double role. Music has always been a cultural product, but I think that more and more songs are also advertisements for the artists,” Leveille Gauvin said.

Streaming content is not piracy

Derbyshire Trading Standards has said that if users only stream and don’t download, they’re likely to be exempt from copyright law and can’t be considered pirates.

So far no one has been prosecuted for merely streaming content, mostly because it is hard to track, but the Standards body has suggested that while those selling streaming services are probably breaking the law, their customers are not.

Derbyshire Council Trading Standards said that Kodi was a legitimate piece of software and the developers do not support its use for illegal purposes.

“Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers believe it is illegal under copyright legislation to sell Kodi boxes installed with those add-ons that facilitate the illegal streaming of copyrighted material – although there are court cases pending elsewhere in the UK that will provide further clarification.”

“Accessing premium paid-for content without a subscription is considered by the industry as unlawful access, although streaming something online, rather than downloading a file, is likely to be exempt from copyright laws,” the spokesperson added.

Telly catches Fire

old-school-tvA separate Fire TV device might become a thing of the past as telly makers are starting to integrate the streaming technology.

Seiki, Westinghouse and Element Electronics are launching a series of 4K sets with Fire TV technology built-in. They all include Amazon’s current interface, including a wide range of Alexa voice commands thanks to a microphone-equipped remote. If you use an over-the-air TV antenna, you’ll have access to both a channel guide and favourite individual channels on the home screen.

The first lot are appearing at CES and so far, none of the companies are saying when.  There will be 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch models. These are budget telly makers so adding Fire into your telly will not cost much more.  It is also likely that other cheaper manufactures will follow suit.

Samsung, LG and Sony already have highly developed smart TV platforms (whether in-house or Android TV), and it’s doubtful they will bother.

Spotify grows after rival Apple Music starts-up

97334cab7b3dc626b77b25cb6f686dacThe creation of Apple’s Music streaming business has accidently given a leg up to its rivals.

Spotify has noted that it has seen a faster pace of growth since the launch in June last year of rival Apple Music. Spotify, which was created in Stockholm 10 years ago, now boasts of having close to 100 million users in more than 59 markets, despite increasing competition and, so far, a lack of profits.

Jonathan Forster, a vice president said the arrival of Apple in the market has been good for business by helping to raise the profile of the industry.

“Since Apple Music started we’ve been growing quicker and adding more users than before. It would be terrible if we were just taking each other’s users or to learn there was just a ceiling of 100 million users – I don’t think that is the case,” Forster said.

Spotify now has 30 million paying users, making it the market leader in music streaming, while Apple Music has reported having 13 million paying subscribers since its launch last year in over 100 countries.

But Forster said that there will be some downsizing in the market soon.  There is competition from Pandora, SoundCloud, Tidal, YouTube and Google Play Music.

Forster said having multiple streaming services was not sustainable in the long run.

“My Internet history would tell me that there’s probably not going to be that many significant players, and then maybe smaller niche cases … maybe there could be a classical music streaming service. It’s a hard business.”

Big Content coins it in

taylor-swift-is-the-apple-of-musicDespite Big Content telling the world+dog that it was nearly bankrupt due to torrenting pirates, it made an absolute fortune last year.

According to new Futuresource figures, last year was the most successful year the music industry has seen in 15 years.

While people didn’t spend nearly as much on music as they did in the heady days of the early 2000s before digital music, piracy and streaming turned the market upside down. But the amount of money spent by music fans is growing. In 2015, industry revenue grew five percent, reaching nearly $19 billion.

Futuresource looked at revenue from sales of CDs, vinyl and other physical media, of subscription services such as Spotify and Apple Music, and of pay-per-download outlets including iTunes.

A lot of the cash appears to be coming from streaming, which Big Content fought tooth and claw claiming that it would lead to more piracy. Streaming hasn’t been fully adopted worldwide. The Germans and Japanese, for example, still spend most of their music budgets on CDs.

Most of broadband is streaming video

old-school-tvA report from broadband services company Sandvine shows that 70 percent of the Web traffic is streaming video and audio.

The report shows that most internet use is during peak evening hours and indicates that the world wide wibble is no longer the thing that brings you websites and email and is now bringing video.

If you think this is obvious, Sandvine says that five years ago, video/audio represented 35 percent of prime-time usage. Now it has doubled, to 70 percent.

Most of the increase comes from YouTube and Netflix, which sucks up half of broadband usage a couple of years ago and continues to grow. These services are joined by relatively new entrants, like Amazon and Hulu, which barely registered a couple of years ago and now account for nearly six percent of usage.

Amazon’s PR agency pointed out that Amazon now represents one of the top three sources of video traffic in North America, up from number eight on Sandvine’s 2014 report.

Video and audio, primarily YouTube, dominate mobile usage, too. But Facebook and Snapchat are also big. Video and audio accounts for 41 percent of mobile traffic, and social media eats up 22 percent.


Netflix has daft excuse for poor sign ups

netflix_3038088bInternet video streaming outfit Nexflx has come up with a truly daft reason for not adding as many subscribers as Wall Street expected.

Netflix said it only added 0.88 million U.S. subscribers in the third quarter ended September 30, compared with its forecast of 1.15 million.

The outfit blamed a move in the US to chip based cards. US credit and debit card companies have been shifting to chip-enabled cards ahead of the October 1 deadline.

Netflix claimed that the switch meant that many of the older cards on its file no longer worked as the companies gave new cards to their customers.

Chief Executive Reed Hastings made the claim in a letter to shareholders, but the statement was widely condemned.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter went on record saying it was the “just the dumbest thing I’ve heard”.

Other analysts thought that given that the cards have been around for a bit the statement created more questions than it answered.

Netflix increased the subscription rate for some new members earlier this month by $1.00 a month to $9.99 in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Internationally, Netflix added 2.74 million subscribers, compared with its projection of 2.40 million.

Netflix, which is also battling competition from streaming services such as Amazon.com Prime Video service and Hulu, has been aggressively building its overseas presence.

Netflix forecast adding about 1.65 million customers in the United States in the current quarter. It also said it expected to add about 3.50 million subscribers worldwide.

Amazon bans Google and Apple

AmazonOnline book seller Amazon will stop selling media streaming devices from Google and Apple that do not play nice with its video service.

The outfit sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video.

No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed October 29, Amazon said.

Basically, there was no chance of Google or Apple coming up to snuff. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rivals’ hardware.

Roku’s set-top device, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, which work with Amazon’s video service, aren’t affected, it said.

It is a risky move and shows that Amazon is OK about losing sales to improve its own video streaming service. Apple and Google have the best selling media streaming devices generally.

But Amazon has invested heavily in online content, including producing its own exclusive shows as a way to attract new Prime subscribers, who pay $99 a year for speedy shipping and access to video and other services.

It might hurt Google and Apple a little. Google does lean on Amazon more than Apple which has its own stores and uncritical legion of fanboys who will buy whatever Jobs’ Mob tells them.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku devices made up 86 percent of all media-streaming products sold to US households with broadband in 2014. An estimated 86 million media-streaming devices will be sold globally in 2019, the research firm said.

Amazon supplanted Apple for the No. 3 position in sales in 2014. Roku led the market with 34 percent and Google was second with 23 percent.

“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon said in the e-mail, which was sent to sellers yesterday. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”

Mobile data traffic levels soar

technic, funk, man at short-wave receiver, 1961, 1960s, 60s, 20th century, historic, historical, radio operator, radio operatorsA report from Gartner estimates that mobile data traffic worldwide will hit 52 million terabytes (TB) this year and it’s only set to grow more.

The rise this year will be 59 percent more than 2014, and analysts estimate that by 2018 traffic level will hit 173 million TB.

Jessica Ekholm, a research director at Gartner should set alarm bells ringing in the ear of communication services providers, which need to re-think their data caps.

She said: “Mobile data traffic is soaring worldwide, more than tripling by 2018. New, fast mobile data connections (3G and 4G) will grow more slowly, from 3.8 billion in 2015 to 5.1 billion in 2018, as users switch from slower 2G connections and consume more mobile data.”

She said that Gartner had surveyed 1,000 smartphone users in Germany and another 1,000 in the USA. German people are less likely to watch videos compared to cellular networks because of the data caps.

And the German people mostly waited to download apps or look at content when they were in a wi-fi zone. Just over a third of Americans do that, largely because the US data plans were more flexible.

Families with children are mostly responsible for mobile video usage, helped by providers offering shared data plans the reason.

Indie musicians endorse Apple streaming

poison-appleAfter the cafuffle at the weekend when Taylor Swift put her foot down and said she didn’t want to give away her music for free, important Indie organisations have decided they’ll approve Apple streaming.

According to the BBC, Merlin and Beggars Group have endorsed a new offer by Apple Music to pay for music under a three month free trial basis. Apple had originally said it wasn’t going to pay musicians for using their music, causing an almighty stink.

Merlin chief executive said that Apple had decided to pay for music on a per play basis and has modified a number of other terms and conditions.

But just because the two umbrella groups have endorsed Apple’s new offer, it doesn’t mean that individual members or groups have to participate in the scheme.

Merlin has more than 20,000 independent record labels under its wing.