CRS In Action: Rhapsody, Beats, YouTube And iHeart Digital Platforms
February 20, 2014 at 3:42 PM (PT)
The CRS 2014 “RHAPSODY, BEATS, YOUTUBE and iHEART: It’s Their Country, Too” session took place this morning (2/20). It featured RHAPSODY’s JASON SCHNECK, BEATS MUSIC’s KEN TUCKER, CLEAR CHANNEL’s ZENA BURNS, YOUTUBE’s MIKE CANNADY and was moderated by LON HELTON.
HELTON kicked off the session by noting that a lot of people in the audience feel like “If they’re listening to you, then they’re not listening to my station.”
KEN TUCKER responded, “We are a premium streaming music service that asks you to pay $9.99 a month. I don’t see us competing with radio any different than popping a CD into your stereo. I understand that if you’re listening to us, then maybe you’re not listening to radio, but I don’t think that our goal is to do away with radio.”
ZENA added, “Computers, if you do it right, will actually help radio survive. It makes it easier to access your favorite radio station brands no matter where you are. I see it as the same thing with streaming. I look at it as a music collection, and I’m talking about an A-track or a CD. A way to consume music has always been very complementary to radio. ”
HELTON asked how Country listeners are using each service. “It’s a really interesting time for Country and YOUTUBE,” said MIKE CANNADY. “Country content is underrepresented compared to what we see in an interest for the genre. If you look at the search volume on YOUTUBE and you look at the top-five music genres, Country is definitely in there and growing. Specific to Country radio, we don’t see a lot of Country stations building channels yet. I think it’s a real opportunity. We’d love to see them build a bigger presence with us.”
JASON added, “85,000 users on RHAPSODY are primary Country users. 350,000 consumers have played Country in the last month. When we do a Country feature, we see a 20-30% increase in that catalog after. Country is growing exponentially for us. There’s a great opportunity there and we’re doing all we can to promote it.”
ZENA explained that AM/FM radio is still the highest ranking in ways people typically learn about new Country music, but there is an appetite there for these digital platforms. “Country music fans are also more social, tech and digital-savvy than all other U.S. adults,” she added on her slides.
The session wrapped with a question about royalties. JASON noted that RHAPSODY pays a premium royalty on every stream that is out there. BEATS MUSIC pays 70% of every dollar that they take in to the rights owners.
“We feel very strongly that we have to change the model for digital music,” said ZENA. “We have tried to create a model that benefits artists, labels, songwriters and our business as well trying to keep things sustainable. We’ve struck direct deals with a lot of forward-thinking labels that understand we have to change the model if the digital music industry is going to be sustainable. We’re up to about 25 labels as of last week, and I think it’s telling that the first label we struck a deal with was a Country label, BIG MACHINE.”