streaming

Apple Ending Music Downloads?

Since mid-March there have been rumours that Apple may be ending music downloads on March 31st, 2019 to promote their Music Streaming services. But contradictory statements have been issued so I don’t personally believe Apple would shut down such a lucrative service.

Yes, the streaming service has become quite popular with iPhone users and streaming accounted for 65% of the music sales in 2017 according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But digital downloads still accounted for 15% of these sales last year, regardless of their 25% reduction in sales from the previous year and iTunes retains a good percentage of these sales.

I support artists by buying music and music video downloads from iTunes, Google Play and CD Baby because artists generally get more royalties from these download services than their streaming counterpart, although it should be noted that SOCAN did confirm a hike in streaming royalties in their 2016 annual report.

I don’t own an iPhone and I am not interested in owning one, preferring to listen to my music on an older Sony digital music player instead of draining my Sony Xperia smartphone’s battery to listen to music. And iTunes has been my primary source of music since Puretracks closed, on both the Windows and Apple operating systems, so i’m hoping they will continue the service because I am not that interested in streaming services.

Although I have installed Spotify and several other streaming services on my desktop and tablets, the vast majority of the music I listen to was copied off compact discs and I don’t want to need an internet connection to play my music.

I’m not willing to pay extra to listen to music I already paid for and I occasionally visit areas with little to no internet access so paid streaming is not the best option for me.

I guess we’ll see what they’re planning my March 31st, 2019 and I will definitely contact them with my concerns if they ever choose to bow out of music downloads.

Great News From RIAA

The Recording Industry Association of America has compiled its data for 2017 and sales are up by 16.5%, driven by the heightened sale of vinyl records, music downloads and streaming service subscriptions.

The actual report can be found here (in PDF) and additional commentary on this growth in sales can be found on Medium.

The Case For Blu-Ray

Thought i’d bump a blog article I like about how blu-ray is significantly better than streaming. Click here to read it.

Prime Music Comes To Canada

Prime Music is now available for free to Amazon Prime Members in Canada.

This music service, which is available on multiple devices through an app, features millions of songs and is advert free.

Amazon Prime Members will also notice that many addresses in Ottawa-Gatineau are now eligible for one day shipping.

Piracy in Streaming

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has released a report (PDF) this month and although it appears that the majority of consumers use legal streaming services to listen to music, 40% stream music from sites that are illegal.

These illegal sites, unfortunately, do not give royalties to the artists and also appear to be promoted by Google via their search engines.

This has become a concern because 85% of music consumers from the age of 13 to 15 stream music and video according to this report and the IFPI believes the issue is compounded by the popularity of music videos on Youtube, which “accounts for 46% of all time spent listening to on-demand music”; The IFPI believes upload services like Youtube “are not returning fair value to the music community”.

More people are listening to legal streaming services though, which is up from 37% last year to 45% this year. But the IFPI wants to obtain more revenue from Youtube, comparable to that of Spotify, whose royalties are estimated to be $20 per user, per year; The report claims less than a dollar in royalties are collected per user per year from Youtube.

The IFPI is also concerned about stream ripping, which involves the capturing of audio from streaming services.

This report estimates that more users are stream ripping, up from 30% last year to 35% this year. But advancements have been made to end this practice with the dismantling of YouTube-MP3.org earlier this month.

That site enabled its 60 million plus users to rip audio from Youtube videos but the Recording Industry Association of America sued and the owners of this site settled by closing it down.

RIAA had also successfully closed Sharebeast as well this month, a site that “averaged 14-16 million visits per month at its height in 2013” according to the Official RIAA press release.

Netflix Update

A few minutes ago I got an email from Netflix Canada saying I will be paying more this month, in line with the previously announced hike in fees.

The new rates are of course as follows :

$8.99 for Basic subscription (inc. SD broadcasts on one device only)
$10.99 for Standard subscription (inc. HD broadcasts on up to two devices)
$13.99 for Premium subscriptions (inc. both HD and 4K broadcasts on up to four devices)

Lately, they’ve been adding more films, music documentaries, and concerts so I’m probably going to continue subscribing for the time being. The second season of Stranger Things is coming up in late October.

Although I am somewhat concerned that Disney will be pulling Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar films from Netflix soon, I already own my favorites from these film companies on Blu-ray and DVD (thanks to the Disney Movie Club) so I don’t think I will miss them.