29 Ağustos 2017 Salı

The Today Of Music: Online Musical Notes

Radio sets with long antennae, cassette players, Walkmen that are the very first portable state of music and CD players that are the last commotion of nostalgia had already found their places on the dusty shelves even before the MP3 players were launched owing to the developments in technology. You will remember: The MP3 players that superseded all the other devices that were only able to provide limited access to music have been the first step into the digital age of music. The pirate music platforms, that emerged as these compact, portable devices where MP3 tracks downloaded from the internet can be stored became widespread, have dealt a major blow to the music industry.

While artists aiming to end the pirate music industry as well as the music lovers who prefer to just listen to their music on their smart phones that are readily available rather than carrying one more device hinted at the fact that MP3 players are becoming obsolete, there came the online music streaming platforms. The music industry has become rather digitized with the help of these platforms and started to gain its former vigor.

The music industry that continued to grow thanks to the online music streaming platforms has started to return to profitability for the first time in the last 15 years and become one of the industries to quickly keep up with the digitized world. Online music industry has generated US$ 2.9 billion in revenues in 2015 and quadrupled in size in the last five years. According to a report by MIDiA, music subscriptions have surpassed 100 million with a 48% increase with respect to the previous year.

As developed as it may be, the digital music industry is absolutely not free from the industry-specific problems. Online music streaming platforms providing access to millions of songs free of charge or at reasonable prices prevent people from pirating music to some degree. However, the music platforms may experience problems with artists as they may not find it enough and react to be paid royalties per play. For example, one of the most smashing reactions came from Taylor Swift when she removed her music from Spotify for a long time...

Another industry-specific problem is the paid memberships not being quite preferred by the users despite the additional benefits they offer. The high number of users that opt for free of charge membership alternatives or cancel their memberships once the free trial period is over reveals that it is a common preference to not pay for listening to music. They state the reasons behind this tendency as follows: it is too expensive, they can get music for free, and they won’t use the service enough to get value for their money.

Despite the aforementioned problems, many brands are seeking ways to strengthen and sharpen their place in the industry. New platforms that slightly differ from each other in terms of fees or services have their eyes set on the leader position that has been occupied by YouTube for many years. While Spotify is the market leader among the online music streaming platforms that grow in number with each passing day, other outstanding players are Apple Music, Tidal, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, Fizy and Google Play Music.

In order to differentiate themselves in such a crowded arena, these platforms have to come up with and offer unique features. There are too many distinctive features of Spotify that differentiate it from its competitors. One of these is the one that allows its users to directly add the song they have identified using Shazam to their Spotify library. Another distinctive feature of Spotify is that it saves the algorithms of the songs streamed by its users and creates exclusive “Discover Weekly” playlists based on these songs.

Spotify also offers exclusive playlists and an interactive space for children under the “Children & Family” category. The playlists feature fairy tales and lullabies classified according to age range as well as recordings to which they can sing along with their parents.

Brands treat this platform that keeps data of such a wide range of users as an area of opportunity for new generation marketing. Spotify shows targeted ads based on users’ moods with its recently launched “Spotify for Brands” platform. “Playlist Targeting” platform segments those who clicked the same one among millions of playlists. For example, playlists such as “Workout Mood” or “Chill Out Mood” that connect people with a common activity or mood feature ads of the brands that target workout enthusiasts or people who like to spare time for themselves. Thus, first-hand data provided by Spotify enable brands to reach their target audience.

Spotify, that utilizes the broad data it possesses in their communications, has attracted attention with its ads on billboards and buses last year. It both made many consumers smile and sparked a debate over privacy of data with humorous headlines such as “Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day, what did you do?” or “To the 1235 guys who loved the “Girls’ Night” playlist last year, we love you.”

Regarding other platforms, Apple Music seems to be the most critical competitor to Spotify. Apple Music which joined the online music market in a belated manner has reached a wide audience in a short time. It differentiates from Spotify, with which it has a lot of common features, in offering a movies and series archive in addition to music and not offering a free usage alternative. In addition, Apple Music has further differentiated itself in its collaborations with fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, along with top DJs, where they would curate for Apple Music and create and share their playlists for a month.  

Tidal is another music streaming platform which has hit the headlines when it was bought by Jay Z for US$ 56 million. With shareholders including world famous singers like Rihanna and Beyoncé, Tidal has managed to accumulate its users among the fans of such partners. For example, Beyoncé fans have to use the app in order to listen to her last album Lemonade since it has been released only through Tidal and it is not possible to listen to it on any other music streaming platforms. Naturally, the same applies for Jay Z’s new album.

The other players in the industry may not be as frontrunner as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal but still manage to differentiate themselves with their content. SoundCloud shines out by hosting songs by amateur musicians, Fizy by broadcasting live concerts and Pandora by having the best algorithm to analyze the songs appealing to its users’ liking.

YouTube, which is known by everyone and has secured a place for itself in the music market for years, has not remained inactive during the transition of online music industry. It offers its users a variety of features such as ad-free video streaming, video recording and offline watching, background playing, content rental and sale with its recently launched YouTube Red service.9 A paid-for service, YouTube Red has not been launched in Turkey, yet.

So, what is going on in Turkey while the global music industry is that much sophisticated? We have conducted a research in order to find out the way music streaming attitudes and behavior are formed in Turkey. Our research comprised of 100 females and males who are 15-45 years of age, AB/C1/C2 SES and live in İstanbul.

80% of the interviewees stream music online and YouTube is preferred the most. While YouTube is the most dominant by far, it is followed by Spotify. Among other answers are Google Play, Fizy, radyokarnaval.com and TTNET Müzik. The frequency of listening to music has been specified to be every day of the week.

67% of those who stream music online indicated that they mostly use their smart phones to listen to music and 33% their computers. 45% of the interviewees are in the know of “online music streaming” platforms where lots of artists, songs and albums are available for a fee or free of charge. The platform that is known the most is Spotify. Among others mentioned are iTunes, Fizy, Google Play, Deezer and TTNET Müzik. 7% of the interviewees are online music streaming platform members. The platforms of which they are members are Spotify, Fizy, TTNET Müzik and Deezer – in parallel with the ones that they know of.  

When we asked what they liked about online music streaming platforms the most, the answers frequently given are they are “offering broad content” and “easily accessible/within arm’s reach”. Among other features that they like are “songs not being pirated”, “discovering new songs”, “creating playlists” and “following others’ playlists”.

When they were asked about the reasons why they had chosen to become a member of such online music streaming platforms, the answers were along the lines of “broad archive”, “free of charge”, “so as not to pirate music”. Especially YouTube is outstanding among the platforms with which they have a membership with its “long-established” perception.

The ones who became paid members of these platforms are low in number. The main reason that they chose to become a member is being able to see the new albums as soon as they are released. In addition, being able to “download songs” is another feature that was mentioned.
When asked about whether they would prefer to pay a fee in order to not see or hear ads, most of the interviewees stated that they did not lean towards paying money even though they did not like being exposed to ads.

CD, cassette and radio were mentioned to be used the most before online music streaming platforms became available. 14% of the interviewees stated that they used to pay for downloading music and 81% stated that they used to buy albums or CDs.

Also, 75% of the interviewees said that they listen to music on YouTube, and 11% of those who listen to music on YouTube said that they might prefer paying a certain amount of fee so as to get rid of advertisements.

When we assess the results of the research, it would be safe to conclude that online music streaming platforms are becoming more popular in Turkey. These platforms that have completely changed the music industry and brought it to a whole new level possess a rather huge power in terms of data. The means of usage of such data and by whom will be an important determinant of how it will differentiate. We will be seeing 

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