Spotify + Hulu

If you’re into streaming your entertainment, Spotify has a new trick up it’s sleeve. Now, instead of paying $9.99/month for access to its’ library of 30 million+ songs, Spotify is also including a free subscription to Hulu (on-demand video/tv streaming service), a savings of $5.99/month. The Hulu subscription will include ads; but, if you are into streaming tv shows/movies and especially if you are already a Spotify subscriber, I say definitely sign up here!

Once you do sign up, be sure to log into your Spotify account and activate your Hulu subscription – this won’t happen automatically. One other note: adding networks like Showtime or HBO is not allowed ☹️. The offer is valid until June 10th, 2019, or while supplies last.

You can also add live tv streaming to your Hulu subscription for $44.99/month…. 🤔👎🏽

Here is a list of tv channels currently available on Hulu:

Spotify and Hulu are available for download on all your (mobile) devices.

Broadway – Now Streaming

Streaming is the name of the game. Spotify lets you stream music; Netflix lets you stream movies; even networks like HBO have dove into the space, providing anytime all the time access to your favorite shows (Game of Thrones any one?) Now Broadway is no different! Introducing BroadwayHD:

  
I just searched the site and there appears to be about 50-60 shows listed – all of which are older. No Lion King and no Cinderella which also means there’s little chance to see NeNe Leakes in Chicago without a visit to New York City. An unlimited monthly subscription will cost you $14.99 a month or you can rent shows for $7.99 each. You can watch the shows on your mobile phone, tablet, desktop/laptop computer, Apple/Google TV and even on Chromecast.

“If you can’t get to Broadway, get to BroadwayHD.”

Given the limited availability of shows I’ll mark this service as a pass (for now); but, as with all streaming services as time goes on, more content will be added. You can take another look at that time.

Music (Streaming) Business

Apple’s 15th World Wide Developer’s Conference was held today. To say that I was underwhelmed is an overstatement. As a person who owns an iPhone, iPad and Mac – I feel completely stupid and reckon this is what Avid Google / Android users have been saying for years… lack of innovation, more of the same, just in a shiny new package. Now, don’t get me wrong, I (still) love all my iDevices but this 2.5 hour event today left me thinking one thing, “Has Apple lost its way?” Or as Spotify’s CEO put it.. “Oh, ok.” (sigh)

Any who … This post is about the business (or lack thereof) of streaming music so let me get to it. There are, what I consider to be 4 key players in this space: Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and now Apple. I’m writing this post, purely based on my own thoughts (will go back and links / references later). Oh, and let me just say right up front that I don’t care really about Amazon music – it’s too hard to use on my iPhone and clearly Google Music doesn’t fit very well into my iLife. Yes, YouTube is huge on music & videos but it currently has no pay-for-play model, but there is speculation it will soon launch a pay-service as well.

So, here we go:

  • Pandora: I can’t imagine anyone pays for this service. I suspect most people who live in this space want free music and are not willing to listen to a few ads along the way – it’s like listening to radio in your car: someone else picks the order, you listed with an ad here and there. (You can indeed listen ad-free for $5 month.)
  • Spotify: My service of choice and the first company to really put streaming music on the map. To reference a marketing term I learned while pursuing my MBA, Spotify has the “first mover advantage”. In essence it is the advantage gained by the initial occupant of a market segment. To be honest, this service I think, appeals to regular people who want to listen to music without ads and are looking to have a decent mobile experience – that’s it. Fanciness not required, nor is access to “behind the scenes, exclusive content”. We like music but don’t WORSHIP artists – we’ll just take the music and go on our merry way. To provide some perspective here, Spotify has 15 million paid users! I pay my $9.99 month and go on my merry way – no hassle. And I’m likely hooked for a very long time.
  • Tidal: Recently introduced to the market, offering higher quality music than anyone else at $19.99 / month. The market here is clearly businesses / DJ’s / artists – I meant the people who are seriously into music, like a whole lot, who can actually hear the difference in higher quality music.Now, think about this – yes, Tidal has a $9.99 / month package, but really at this price point Spotify wins, if not purely on user experience. Let’s guesstimate here: Assume Tidal has 1,000,000 users who pay $19.99 / month. Now do the math: $19.99 / month * 12 months * 1,000,000 users = $2.8 billion. Is this enough to offset its lack of appeal to middle-of-the-road users? Only time will tell!
  • Apple Music: After listening to WWDC today, there’s nothing special here. I actually got really bored. I was completely underwhelmed with the “Connect” experience aimed to draw in a social element – but where’s Twitter / Facebook / Instagram integration – you know, the services people actively use today? (lacking) Beats 1 the 24/7 global radio station led by some tope industry DJ’s seemed the most fascinating but not enough for me to switch. The draw for Apple was to appeal to families: up to 6 people can list (and get their own “space” for playlists, etc. for $14.99 / month; but, Spotify came right out and said it would match that. So what is Apple’s angle? Using its’ $178 billion in cash to squeeze out its’ competition. Cue the DOJ.

These companies are focused on segmenting their not-very-unique service/offering by user group / audience / community. They are not innovating. In addition, musicians and tech companies are doing a disservice to the music industry as a whole by pitting Artist A vs. Artist B. And Apple has been widely accused of starting the downfall of the music industry all by itself by offering “cheap, digital singles. We’ve also seen the continued consolidation of the music industry down to 3 key players (Universal, Sony, Warner). Recently, PBS also reports that in 1999 the music industry was worth a $14 billion dollar industry and in 2001 it was at half that amount, $7 billion. What do you think it’s work today???

I tried Tidal because of the “oh and ah factor” – I mean Jay Z? Beyonce? Who wouldn’t dip their toe in the water? But, that thrill didn’t last long! I have no intentions of trying Apple Music, even though they are offering 3 months free (right on the heels of Spotify offering 3-months for $0.99). Why should I? I mean, the features are the same as Spotify and there will be a learning curve – no matter how small. So for Apple Music – it’s a no for me.  #SorryNotSorry (can’t you just see Apple squeezing everyone out then raising prices once they are the only player left int the game? Let’s hope Spotify can figure out a way to survive. Competition is a good thing!

Periscope – A New Way to Live Stream

1-sn55t-Ktzj4-N9Q4JUFR5gA new app from Twitter, Periscope, has 10 million users and it’s only been available (iOS only) for 10 days! That’s an average of 1 million users per day. Periscope, is an app that allows you to beam live-stream video to all of your Twitter followers just a touch of a button. While the video below shows a man in a hospital getting a stem cell transplant, you can also use it for weddings, graduations, baby christenings, board meetings and more! Now, if Twitter can only figure out a way to monetize this app to keep it’s stock from tanking, they may be on to something!

 

#TIDALforALL

I have just one job this morning and that is to talk about Spotify’s newest competitor – Tidal. The new music streaming service is owned by Jay-Z but has support from some MAJOR backers, including: Kanye West, Daft Punk, Jack White, Rihanna, Madonna,Usher, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and more! The celebrities all made an appearance on stage in NYC yesterday when the announcement was made.

Here’s the thing: I (already) switched. As I watched the live stream, one of the artists made a comment that really hit home (I’m paraphrasing here), “Somehow the music became about the tech companies when it should be about the artists. Somehow it switched and now it’s time for it to switch back. To focus on the humans, the art, not the tech. As a techie, this statement makes me a bit uneasy but it is SO VERY true – see why Taylor Swift left Spotify via Time Magazine (she’s still not on Spotify) and why she recently gave most other catalog to Jay-Z’s new service, Tidal. People are going to flock to this service for the celebrity, but mostly in support of the MOVEMENT: content owners/developers take control, tech loses.

Everyone THOUGHT the CD-quality offering (called lossless, Tidal HiFi) would price people out of the market at $19.99/month. I’m sure Spotify’s management team possibly even waived this off. BUT, just HOURS before the service was scheduled to launch, they announced a “REGULAR” version (Tidal Premium) at the very same price point as Spotify, $9.99/month. They are also planning to offer exclusive content highlighitng some of the biggest names in music. I guess the question for Spotify is “WHY WOULDN’T I SWITCH???” (Believe me, I already checked and the do have K-Michelle so I’m all set!!!)

 

Now, on to a few MORE things that come to mind: Which industry is next? Is tech under attack? How will/can Tidal and Diddy’s REVOLT.TV partner to really make a splash? Will they launch and HOST their own awards show? (remember, Kayne already blasted the Grammy’s and put them on notice saying, “Stop playing with us. We’re tired of it!”) Lookout music industry! This is about more than a streaming app. #TIDALforALL