On / off: streaming services are increasingly forced to hide tracks and change the content of libraries

Yesterday, we worked with you together with the premise of a hands-on deal between Tidal and Square. Today we are looking at new “vendor-lock“And how music services are being pulled into”war for content“, Typical for sites that stream TV series and films.

Photo: elnaz asadi.  Source: Unsplash.com
Photo: elnaz asadi. Source: Unsplash.com

K-pop is “off”

Recently, the library of one of the largest streaming sites has lost more than a third of the tracks leading in the South Korean charts. The fact is that the local distributor Kakao M, collaborating with the key musicians of the peninsula, could not renew their licensing agreement with Spotify, which broadcast their work to audiences in other countries. Distributor representatives first issued statement that the platform was in no hurry to go forward and work on a new agreement, but after the major media became interested in the topic, softened their words and told them about the ongoing negotiations.

However, such a contradictory tone may well be justified by the fact that Kakao M owns the most popular music service in the country – it is called Melon… According to researchconducted in 2019, about 59% of South Koreans aged 10 to 59 years old listened to music with its help. The second place with a margin of almost 20% is occupied by YouTube, and Spotify has just entered the South Korean market. Profile publications announced its launch on the peninsula only on the first of February this year.

Can these events be considered a coincidence? We don’t think so. But the confrontation has not yet passed into the open stage. Most likely, after some time, the companies will nevertheless find a common language and decide how to distribute the rights to content among themselves. Another thing is that so far there is no talk about the completion of the negotiation process, and the listeners are switching to other services.

And the musicians are not happy with what is happening – Spotify was forced to hide albums and tracks at least twenty seven groups and performerswhich are now suffering direct losses and receiving less attention from audiences around the world. Only one South Korean boyband lost about a billion streamsthat in context dissatisfaction with the level of payments from music services and the transformation of music from a source of income into a marketing tool can have a significant impact on the well-being of this and other groups.

Vendor-lock – “on”

Despite tens of thousands of tracks daily uploaded to the windows of streaming platforms, it is really difficult to insure against such an outcome of events. Problems can arise not only for a separate service – on almost all sites, the public increasingly sees hidden tracks, depending on the country of residence. They are either opened according to the release schedule of this or that album, or they are not allowed to listen to them at all. This approach cannot but cause irritation, because it increasingly resembles “war for content», Which is conducted by online cinemas, similarly restricting the viewing of TV series and films.

Photo: Stillness InMotion.  Source: Unsplash.com
Photo: Stillness InMotion. Source: Unsplash.com

The situation around podcasts also adds spice. Popular shows today are sorted out like hot cakes. And this is not only Joe Rogan’s program

Music venues like Spotify are buying entire podcast studios do it with alarming regularity and a clear focus on exclusiveness.

How will streaming libraries targeting Russians, Americans, Europeans and residents of other regions and countries differ in just a couple of years? Will the struggle for exclusiveness be limited at the level of the platforms themselves, or should the South Korean example be considered a direct confirmation of the “division of borders” between local players and global streaming services? How far will all this go and what kind of music can be streamed without VPN and other tweaks? In the current environment, answering these questions is becoming increasingly difficult.

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