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Music News Recap: 25M Listeners Want To Pay For HD Audio (Maybe), Streaming Revenue Doubles, Deezer & SFX Financials

Posted by Glen Sears | January 25, 2016 10:14 am | No Comments

high definition lossless music streaming

Story of the Week

25 Million People Are Willing to Pay More for Better Sound Quality (Maybe)
Lossless streaming audio, often referred to as “high-definition” music, is enjoying something of a slow burn. HD audio is the defining feature of TIDAL, and Neil Young’s Pono music player promises to “stand up for sound.” We’ve written before about why most digital music services aren’t high-definition, and it comes down to two points: high cost and low market demand. Now a study unveiled by MusicWatch challenges one of those factors.

MusicWatch has shared research into consumer sentiment about what listeners want in a music streaming subscription. When asked what feature would encourage them to pay for their tunes, far and away the top answer was control over a completely on-demand service at 39%. However, 11% said “sound quality as good as the recording studio.” According to MusicWatch Managing Partner Russ Crupnick, that’s an estimated 25 million people voicing willingness to pay for better audio.

While encouraging for pristine audio evangelists, one of the most interesting facets to the results was that while “recording studio” quality clocked in second, the option of sound that’s “better than MP3; as good as CD or vinyl” would only motivate 6% to upgrade to paying customers. Crupnick interpreted this as a sign that highly technical jargon may not be the best way to explain the benefits or features of better-quality audio. Either way, the question remains whether or not these estimated 25 million people would be willing to pay the premium required for HD audio—especially as they already have the option.

Read more on RAIN News, Digital Music News, and MusicWatch.

Top News Stories

Is There A Streaming Music Ceiling? According to music industry writer Cortney Harding, streaming services don’t make economic sense for the vast majority of music consumers when free options like YouTube and ad-supported Spotify exist.

App Annie Report 2015: Music Streaming Revenue Doubles. “The decline in digital music sales is a trend that will most likely continue in 2016… and is likely to receive another boost as underpenetrated markets such as Japan finally reach a tipping point.”

Apple Music Reportedly Has 300K Subscribers in Russia. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti claims that “Russia is quite likely to be on the top five of Apple Music biggest markets” – with figures backed up by Billboard’s industry sources there.

Study Finds Digital Music Sales the Least Hurt By Piracy…Eight Years Ago. A new research paper (that focuses on some fairly old data) delves into the relationship between file sharing and music sales.

Deezer Raises $109 Million From WMG Parent and Telecom Giant. CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht says the “vast majority” of the funding from Access Industries and Orange will address Deezer’s biggest challenge, customer acquisition.

SFX Borrows $20M At 20% Interest, Uses Promoter ID&T As Collateral. To avoid bankruptcy, CEO Robert Sillerman have secured a bridge loan under very unfavorable terms to keep the company afloat.

Is There a Music Tech Bubble? Billboard Senior Editorial Analyst Glenn Peoples claims “sky-high valuation” and “runaway funding” mean the music industry should be thinking about life after streaming.

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