So much for those air-tight negotiations, but… it looks like Apple is demanding a radio royalty rate that is half the statutory current rate paid by Pandora (ie, about $0.0012 per track, with Apple’s request coming in at a paltry $.0006). A major label executive phoned an old industry standby, the New York Post, and shared the news (which of course, Apple loves).
So is this just a case of the rich guy being cheap? Apple might argue that its integrated radio service deserves a lower, directly-negotiated rate, thanks to an iTunes-nested platform that enables instant buying (and they may be right). Then again, acquiescing to that demand could make it harder for the major labels to argue against Pandora’s aggressive demands in Congress for lowered royalty rates.
And let’s not forget, Apple is apparently poking into the on-demand subscription space as well, with some ‘informational’ meetings with Beats/Daisy.
And speaking of Pandora, this streaming financial mess actually got quite the bounce on Wall Street on Thursday. Aftermarket shares were surging, largely because recent quarterly revenues jumped 54.1 percent to $125.1 million, with bumped-up ad revenues (including mobile revenues) a major reason. Perhaps expectedly, profits — or lack thereof — were the problem, with losses stumbling to a massive $14.6 million (in one quarter). But even that was considered an improvement.
Which brings us to Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy, who’s now stepping down after ten years at the helm. Kennedy, considered an adult at the table, may have gotten the boot for a trainwreck of financial losses and fruitless Congressional and PR campaigns. Or, maybe the guy’s just fried. Interestingly, Kennedy was one of the few executives not cashing out tens of millions in Pandora stock — but that could change upon exit.
And, Facebook. Which has now unveiled a completely-revamped newsfeed that contains a music tab. Which means a separate section for music-related updates, a longtime sore spot for Facebook bands. According to Zuckerberg, this is ‘the best personalized newspaper,’ complete with all sorts of content-specific sections, though let’s see if it really bumps band views and engagement.
More on Facebook’s News Feed update here; ongoing coverage from various partners (including DIY players) ahead.
And why are major labels supporting streaming and access over ownership, despite the massive drop in potential revenue? Here’s one take from Moses Avalon.
Just in time for SXSW: On the funding front, discovery-focused app TastermakerX has just rustled $1.25 million, with a shift away from the whole ‘stock market’ gamification concept.
Are they running that circus animal into the ground? Enter Justin Bieber, who is scheduled to play a Friday gig at the O2 in London after collapsing on stage last night. Medics attended to the 19-year-old, who was later hospitalized (and tweeted a topless pic from a hospital bed).