Archives For music biz

As I mentioned previously Spotify needed to implement a “family plan”, which they’ve now done and announced yesterday.

But if subscription services are to gain the mass they need to be viable into the long-term, I believe optimal pricing is somewhere around $3 per month per user for a family-type plan, perhaps $5-8 for individuals.

As it stands, Spotify’s Family Plan offers a 50% discount off each extra account. For my family of four, that’s $25 per month; $300 per year. Pass!

According to Re/code:

Apple has been pushing the labels for more extensive price cuts. It wants to relaunch the Beats Music subscription service it bought last spring next year, and industry scuttlebutt is that it’s trying to get the price cut in half, to $5 a month.

Anyhow, why I call their Family Plan a fail is that they’ve gone half way. Why not simply cut the price to $5 for everyone on the plan. Simple.

Portishead’s Dummy was a revelation when I first heard it and like all great records has retained its vitality while revealing something new on each listen. Hope you like it too.

As an aside, I drove the band around Brisbane, Australia on their last tour. They really are fantastic people.

Any questions about Australia’s ability to produce amazing music (or tech startups for that matter)? Flight Facilities feat. Emma Louise released by Future Classic. It’s a trifecta! Discovered via Stephen Phillips’ awesome new thing wonder.fm.

I have posted this album before, but it’s one of my faves and I listen to it often. I love the record for its remarkably chilled groove. It really is something special.

In his article Music Streaming Is Booming, and That’s a Problem for Music Sales Peter Kafka suggests the right price for a streaming subscription “might be $3 to $4 a month” (also see David Pakman’s The Price of Music).

Like everyone I would of course be happy to pay less than $10/month for my Spotify sub, but there’s a bigger elephant in the room.

The problem from my pov, and that of anyone else in a family environment, is that $10 a month only buys a single-user experience. Multiple users are not welcome! That’s really, really bad UX, especially since Netflix and Amazon Instant deliver multi-user.

The labels must allow Spotify, et al, to deliver a “family plan” at $10/month for the simple reason they’re not going to get additional subs from the average household anyhow. Which is a round about way of saying $3/month is the right price, but like Kafka I can’t see the labels buying in any time soon*. They have history of acting too late.**

Lastly, to the issue of streaming being a problem for music sales, of course it is, which Kafka admits. Just as piracy is a problem for sales, academic papers to the contrary (which simply don’t withstand the “bleeding obvious” nature of human behavior).

* Streaming cos could always offer a teaser rate to see what happens to subs, much like the pay-TV cos. Or maybe that’s what they’re already doing ..?

** In 2005 I analyzed music pricing and determined that price equilibrium for a then $15+ CD was somewhere around $5. Would it have “saved” the record biz? Probably not but the point is that in the face of technological change the record labels tend to hold on to their pricing models for too long. Which is odd given that tech change tends to disrupt business models and little else.