Music, music everywhere. And not a drop to stream.
Could we see that outcome in the near future?
You wouldn’t have thought so a few years ago, when music streaming seemed like the cure for all things Napster. Simply by dropping a commercial in between every third or fourth song and/or draping a music portal in ad banners left right top and bottom, a new business model for music distribution was a sure bet for any Tom, Dick, or Ringo.
But there are some potential signs that the wheels on this bus are starting to wobble.
Case in point: Spotify announcing it will delay its previously much-anticipated entry into the U.S. marketplace, even after its (apparent) heady success overseas.
And while Pandora continues to cite ever-increasing numbers of daily “sign-ups,” its illustrations of heavy/daily users don’t seem to reflect such growth. By its own admission, its “sweet spot” is the 18-24 year-old cohort, a scary thought for a business based on advertising acceptance.
Here’s more: a recent data point from Forrester (tagline: use our data, not our insight) showing roughly 20% of U.S. adult Internet users listen to streaming music regularly. That percentage hasn’t grown much at all in the past three years. I will repeat that. That percentage hasn’t grown much at all in the past three years.
Finally, then, it might be obvious why I consider this press release excerpt a contrarian tell for the music-streaming market: “Ad-supported music service Guvera has closed a second round of funding worth $20 million…”
$20 million dollars for one more “better mouse trap of a business model” based on inserting ads into the user experience? TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS? Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to the streaming-music market peak.
iTunes set the tone (no pun intended) for this market by putting the final nail in the coffin of album sales, making it easy, and legal, to self-curate only the songs you want from your favorite artists. What streaming-music experience can really compete?
Still and all, music remains a great way for marketers to access their target segments. I can’t think of a more fun marketing assignment. An infinite supply of musicians, concerts, and music festivals seeking sponsorship to help them get what we as marketers aim to do every day – stand out from the crowd.
And away from the mainstream.