As we approach the Christmas break, we’re happy to deliver you with news about a whole bunch of exciting recent developments to our distribution network. The last few weeks has seen particularly frenzied development amongst music streaming services which our labels and partners should know about:
Spotify last week announced that it is now making a range of services available on mobile devices for free. These services include free mobile radio, plus the ability to listen to the playlists that you create or follow on your mobile device. Additionally, Spotify users will be able to play shuffled artist stations featuring just music from their chosen artist.
These new features make Spotify’s free mobile offering some way more advanced that offered by similar services – though it’s important to note that whilst access to these features will be free to access available, the radio and playlist functions will still be supported by advertising. Those seeking real on-demand listening without ads will still have to pay for a Spotify Premium subscription. As if that was not enough, Spotify has also announced 20 new country launches, meaning that it’s service is not available for the first time in Hungary, Czech Republic, Malta, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Cyprus, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, El Salvador, Paraguay, Honduras, and Panama.
US-based music streaming service Rdio is meanwhile also making its own international expansions and last week also announced launches in a bunch of new territories. Rdio will now be available in: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Google Play‘s Music All Access service has also made its long-awaited launch in Germany. Having launched in most major European markets some time ago, the subscription streaming service Germany had been notably absent in Germany. Not any more, and music fans in Germany might do well to take advantage of Google’s introductory offer promising subscriptions at €7.99 per month for anyone who signs up before January 15th, rather than the usual €9.99.
Another welcome development in the streaming space is the news that Paris-based streaming service Qobuz is making a major expansion of its service into several new territories. Qobuz, which offers both standard and hi-res FLAC audio streaming tiers, as well as studio-quality 24 bit downloads, has always been available outside of its native France. It is now getting more serious about its ambitions for expansion however and is launching local language platforms and editorial selections in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Customers additionally have the option to pay for a classical-only tier, meaning that the service is highly likely to find interested customers in its new territories.
We’re delighted to see so much development taking place in the streaming space. Whilst the streaming model may have its critics, we believe that streaming should be regarded as an absolutely essential part of the future music landscape – and therefore much more of an opportunity than a threat. finetunes labels who want to talk more about what streaming services offer them are, as always, invited to contact their Key Accounter.