Hi there –
There’s an interesting paradox in two news stories today. First is that Amazon Music is now making available a catalogue of over 100M songs for Prime users to listen to – albeit only in shuffle mode.
The second is that the constant growth of Spotify’s (and to be fair, other DSPs) long tail of music is both creating a cost issue (on the basis all this music requires storage somewhere in the cloud) and frustration among the major labels, who are viewing the platform as one increasingly clogged up with poor quality music.
So, Amazon are wooing users with that big 100M number, whilst the majors (well, Universal at present, though I suspect Sony and Warner would feel similar) are tiring of the bloat of these systems in which all music is presented equally, when in their view it is not.
This 100M number has cropped up previously, when Apple Music announced it had that many songs on its platform. Ironically at the time, the point of their press release was to highlight how the company is helping users navigate that all. In reality, that detail was lost as everyone (myself included) simply focused on that monstrous number and asked what this was doing for music consumption in general.
I’ve felt for some time that DSPs are pretty broken in that regard, and are having quite a negative effect on listening habits. I am one of those people who now avoids DSPs for the most part in favour of physical formats, purely because I think the ritual of listening to music is more rewarding that way.
Does Joe Public feel the same though? Perhaps Amazon will be the canary in the coalmine in that regard. Will consumers settle for a listen-on-shuffle experience if it’s rolled into their Prime subscription? My gut feeling says no, but it will certainly be interesting to find out.
Once again though, I wonder how much longer this can go on before music fans crave a more focused, niche experience. Everywhere I look, the cultural signposts are there: people are increasingly tiring of social, tiring of the “all of everything all the time” gluttony of consumption, and alongside it, they’re burning out.
In the face of that, it looks like more and more companies are realising that the answer is to pull their customers in closer and super-serve that. This is why Amazon is offering more to their Prime subscribers. It’s why Disney is opening an ecommerce store to drive merch sales to their Disney+ subscribers.
It’s all about drawing down revenue from a diverse range of income streams. With that in mind, anyone sitting hoping that Spotify alone will pay the bills is crazy. The name of the game now is the focus on those artist-centric communities and super-serve that.
Have a great evening,
🎶 written whilst listening to Monster Magnet’s “Dopes To Infinity“. I’d forgotten what a gem this album is. Perfect for a frazzled mind like mine to hammer the Digest out to 😆