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All the latest news in music, tech and apps: 11/12/2018
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The Digest 11/12/2018

Hello all - 

To say Facebook is now deep in the mire would be quite an understatement - less so based on their financial earnings, but more when you just look around beyond that. Aside from a recent poll finding it to be the least-trusted company when it comes to personal data, the company has now hit such a trust problem that when it sent out its new Portal devices for review, most reviewers refused to even set it up in their home, such was their concern around privacy. 

Of course, this trust issue ripples out, and it is telling to see how anything bearing the main Facebook branding is now having issues. The company has launched a TikTok clone to try and court teens, but I cannot see this succeeding on any level. Facebook has a bad track record with separate apps (its news app being a great case in point) and with new added trust issues tossed into the pot, I'd think that makes its new app doomed from the get-go. 

Messenger is another platform that is also hitting its own bumps, though I'm not sure this is quite as connected to the broader branding problem. Facebook ads guru Jon Loomer has an excellent piece explaining why he has shut down his own bot, and much of his experiences reflect our own here at Motive Unknown. Despite hyped engagement rates, the reality never really matched that, and the costs per month simply don't add up in the music space. Beyond that though, the issue we hit internally here at MU was this: why would you spend time and money building another audience that the artist does not own? After all, at any point Facebook can move the goalposts and suddenly your reach is capped or you're paying more to reach people.

Perhaps that is where Facebook's broader trust issues do factor in: whilst on a personal level users are ebbing away, on a business one similar issues are also rearing their head. Whether it is changing rules around engagement and reach, or misrepresenting ad stats, the general distrust around the platform is growing. Right now it feels like Facebook would do well to distance Instagram and WhatsApp from the main Facebook brand as much as possible, and invest heavily into those being the company's future, because at this point in time, their main operation feels doomed. 

Have a great evening, 

D.  

Contents:

The Album Is in Deep Trouble – and the Music Business Probably Can’t Save it

In 2018, “streaming-equivalent albums” seems like daft phrasing. It is e-mail-equivalent faxes. It is car-equivalent steeds. It is Netflix-equivalent Betamax. The death of the album track, if not the album itself, is having a significant commercial impact. Lucas Keller is the founder of Milk & Honey in Los Angeles, a management firm that looks after some of the hottest behind-the-scenes pop songwriters and producers in the modern marketplace. He told Music Business Worldwide this week that the days of his clients making any real money from non-hit album tracks are now “pretty much over.” Keller commented, “I sit at a dashboard . . . showing the publishing revenue across the board on all of my clients, and I have a really good idea what Track 9 isn’t worth.”
 
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/the-album-is-in-deep-trouble-and-the-music-business-probably-cant-save-it-753795/
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Why I Turned Off My Facebook Messenger Bot

Sounds amazing. Anyone who can get a 50% open rate on email would be absolutely pumped. But if you’re like me, an “open” Messenger message doesn’t necessarily mean you read it. The click rate would be about 2.8%. Maybe not horrendous, but when you’re only getting about 165 total clicks over an entire month, that’s not saying much. Especially when you consider… It Was Expensive When I first started using my bot a year ago, it was $4 per month. Back then, these kinds of numbers would be fun! But as my subscriptions increased, so did my costs. By the end, I was spending $375 per month. So, I’m sure you can start to see why I turned my bot off. I spent more than $2 per bot click. Fun times.
 
https://www.jonloomer.com/2018/11/04/why-i-turned-off-my-facebook-messenger-bot/
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Facebook's Portal device met with brutal reviews, privacy fears

Ian Sherr wrote for CNET: “Did you think we all missed that this new Portal device isn’t just some magical video chat gadget, but also a way to gather even more information about us so you can send yet even more targeted advertising our way?” Sherr’s misgivings are not unfounded. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed with Recode last month that data about who you call and which apps you use on Portal can in fact be used for targeted ads.
 
https://qz.com/1457071/facebooks-portal-device-met-with-brutal-reviews-privacy-fears/
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Spotify to Musicians: Let Us Be Your Label

Industry experts say the labels don’t have much reason to worry. Hiring staff to service every artist everywhere would require Spotify to invest billions of dollars and take on thousands of new employees. Even if the company could afford to do that, the majors are sitting on copyrights for millions of popular songs, and their contracts with Spotify prevent it from competing to sign acts. But Spotify could take a page from another service, SoundCloud, and sell a bundle of marketing and distribution services, says Jeff Ponchick, co-founder of distribution company Repost Network Inc.
 
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-09/spotify-to-musicians-let-us-be-your-label
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Giphy launches short video platform following first film festival

A Giphy representative tells The Verge this is just a soft-launch event to showcase what the company’s video platform will look like in 2019. The page currently features 118 videos on the site, which were submitted as part of Giphy’s first short-form video festival. The festival took place in New York City last night, and submissions were judged by some of today’s biggest creators, including YouTube’s Casey Neistat.
 
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/9/18079480/giphy-short-form-video-platform-tv-film-festival
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Facebook Is the Least Trusted Major Tech Company When it Comes to Safeguarding Personal Data, Poll Finds

Facebook is the least trustworthy of all major tech companies when it comes to safeguarding user data, according to a new national poll conducted for Fortune, highlighting the major challenges the company faces following a series of recent privacy blunders. Only 22% of Americans said that they trust Facebook with their personal information, far less than Amazon (49%), Google (41%), Microsoft (40%), and Apple (39%).
 
http://fortune.com/2018/11/08/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-reputation/
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Global music collections rise 6% to €8.34bn, digital royalties top €1bn

Global music royalties have grown to €8.3 billion, up 6% according to the 2018 Global Collections Report published by CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers). CISAC represents 239 authors’ societies in 121 countries. Royalties from digital income also topped €1bn for the first time after a 24% increase in 2017 according to the report. Digital collections are up 166% over the last five years, boosted by music and video streaming services.
 
https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/global-music-collections-rise-6-to-e8-34bn-digital-royalties-top-e1bn/
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Musicians will have to pay to use full Spotify for Artists service

Artists and managers will receive a limited suite of tools for free, but will have to pay for the full range of services. Data is “very unlikely” to be a tool that costs money, according to Elk. Elk said: “Our strategy in our marketplace side of the business is the same as we have on the rest of Spotify, which is it’s a freemium business, meaning there will be a certain amount of products which artists and labels can get for free, and there are others which we will charge money for.”
 
https://djmag.com/news/musicians-will-have-pay-use-full-spotify-artists-service
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Spotify Earnings: Why I Want to Pay More for Streaming Music

This means that instead of spending lots of money on largely useless “discovery” mechanisms — last year, Spotify’s research and development expenses reached 396 million euros, almost 10 percent of revenue — I want the company to give more money to copyright owners. And I’m willing to pay twice what I’m paying today to a streaming service that does its best to get every artist’s latest album immediately after its release. Unfortunately, Spotify is far from that ideal, and so are its competitors, which also seem to believe that maximizing catalog size and getting music faster aren’t the best ways to get more users.
 
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-02/spotify-earnings-why-i-want-to-pay-more-for-streaming-music
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Facebook quietly launches a TikTok competitor app called Lasso

Facebook has quietly released an app called Lasso that lets users create fun, short videos designed to compete with TikTok, the viral 15-second video app that recently merged with Musical.ly. Lasso is Facebook’s latest bid to win over teens, which the large social media platform has lost its hold over. In 2018, only half of teens say they still use Facebook, compared to in 2014, when 71 percent of them said they did. The app was first reported as in development in late October.
 
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/9/18080280/facebook-lasso-tiktok-competitor-app
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Vine co-founder plans to launch successor Byte in Spring 2019

Vine — the much loved and mourned short video hosting platform — will return, kind of, sort of. Co-creator Dom Hofmann announced on Twitter today that its spiritual successor is set to arrive next spring. Details? We don’t have many. Though Hofmann did give us a name — Byte — and logo to match. From the sound out of, things will operate similarly to Vine, with short, looping videos. So far it’s got a domain and a couple of admittedly clunky social media handles.
 
https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/08/vine-co-founder-plans-to-launch-successor-byte-in-spring-2019/?guccounter=1
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TIDAL Launches on Samsung Wearables

It also expands TIDAL’S partnership with Samsung following the recent launch of TIDAL’s Samsung Smart TV App. Additionally, new TIDAL users signing up from their device will be able to access a 3-month free trial. TIDAL claims that there are more wearable device integrations to come.
 
https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/tidal-launches-on-samsung-wearables/
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Other recent articles:

Spotify launches analytics tool for music publishers
Apple Music Taps CD Baby, The Orchard and Kontor For 'Apple Preferred Distribution Program'
Pandora beats in Q3 with $417.6M in revenue, fast-growing subscription business
TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube in downloads last month
Shazam, Instagram Partner On New Stories Functionality
Freshly Updated - 9th November! Great articles you might also love:  
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