Nielsen Entertainment recently expanded its coverage of music streaming measurement, adding several key streaming platforms to its streaming panel. Newly added services include Vevo, Slacker, MOG, Thumbplay, Akoo, and Cricket. Data from these services, and from the existing reporting panel consisting of AOL, Napster, Rhapsody, Verizon Wireless and Yahoo! will appear in Nielsen’s BDS reports.
Nielsen Entertainment produces reports on lots of activity related to the music industry – Nielsen BDS monitors music played on radio stations in the US, Canada, Europe and Mexico. Nielsen SoundScan reports on physical and digital song sales. They provide lots of insight into things like what songs people listen to and buy, which it sells to radio programmers, record companies, etc. Sources like Billboard produce their reports from this data.
During the first six weeks of 2011, Nielsen tracked more than 1.1 billion music streams through online music streaming services. More than 165 million streams per week are captured and nearly 26 million weekly song downloads are tracked. That is a lot of streaming music activity.
According to their press release, Nielsen is the only company able to provide weekly trending information on streaming activity, as well as a more granular understanding of from where consumers stream music. Nielsen also provides insights on the type of streams; on-demand streams, those songs/videos that consumers choose to listen to, versus programmed streams, or when songs are not chosen by the consumer.
As music streaming activity and digital downloads increase while physical song sales sink, streaming’s importance is growing as an important measure of who is listening to what. I expect we’ll see the list of streaming music platforms in their panel to continue to grow.
Last week CBS owned Last.fm announced that they would stop streaming songs on demand. They’ll also stop hosting videos for on demand streaming. Instead, according to the Last.fm blog, they’ll focus on connecting listeners to services that provide “jukebox-in-the-sky” on demand services, such as Spotify, MOG, and Hype Machine for songs, and VEVO for video.
Last.fm will also continue its personalized radio station streaming services, which provide listeners with the ability to interact, but not request specific songs.
This seems to be another step in CBSRadio’s 2010 journey to profitability in the streaming space. After a few years of streaming everything everywhere, this year CBSRadio is fine tuning its streaming business model and brand identity. Not long ago, CBSRadio began blocking its non-US listeners from streaming in order to control streaming and royalty expenses.
This move last week indicates that CBSRadio intends to focus on what it has determined are Last.fm’s core competencies. “Our scrobbling data shows that, for some time now, people have been using multiple music services and devices, then coming back to their Last.fm profiles to answer the question “what should I hear next?” and to see / show off all their listening united in one place.”
Some recent research has shown that free on demand streaming services are bad for online music sales. Here in the US, the record companies have blocked Spotify from entering the market with their free on demand service by refusing to license it. Instead, Spotify will likely turn to a monthly subscription model like MOG.
The new vision for Last.fm is perhaps even broader than it was: “our vision is for Last.fm to efficiently connect any user to ALL of the relevant streaming options in their country for every track we know about, as well as being able to personalise listening preferences Last.fm-wide.”
This seems to me like a smart move for Last.fm. CBSRadio has identified the best strength of Last.fm in that it connects listeners around and about music. They can do that, provide channel streaming services, and leave the tricky on-demand stuff to other services. It’s actually what Google Music is doing with Pandora and a few other services, except that Last.fm will be providing its own streaming option as well. Which Google Music is not doing (yet).
Vevo, the music video site powered by Youtube launches today. The site will feature videos from three of the four major record labels – Sony, Universal and EMI. Warner Music Group is the only one not working with Vevo, although they are working with YouTube.
Professionally produced music videos are the most popular content viewed on YouTube. Now Vevo will offer music fans music video content, along with an online music store offering music downloads, merchandise created by artists, concert tickets and more. In the future a music video subscription service, offering both short videos as well as streamed concerts is likely to be added.
Vevo has announced a pre-launch partnership with CBS Interactive and will offer extensive music programming from the vaults of the CBS Interactive Music Group’s properties including Last.fm and more than 90 CBS RADIO music stations beginning next year. “Last.fm and CBS RADIO’s stations are producing a tremendous amount of unique video content every day – from long form concerts such as the “Live on Letterman” webcast series and annual special events, to acoustic performances and one on one interviews,” says David Goodman, President of CBS Interactive Music Group. “We’re excited to be part of the next generation of music video services, and look forward to all the benefits that go along with Vevo’s massive audience and reach including increased awareness of our efforts in this space to new revenue generating opportunities.”
The combination of high quality video along with lyrics and access to lots of information on favorite artists is expected to appeal to advertisers and command top dollars. The site will launch with partnerships with AT&T, McDonalds and Mastercard.