Hotline Blinged And Adele Answered With A Hello

So Drake won’t be getting that No.1 spot after all – and shoulda, woulda, coulda is the legacy that’s left behind for ‘Hotline Bling’ and unfortunately that could very well be because of that exclusive deal with Apple Music.

The war on content is raging bigger than ever, and while the big titans of tech battle it out – the biggest casualties are still the actual content creators. For a video that captured the internet as frantically as Drakes video – who’s going to remember in retrospect that ‘Hotline Bling’ was the No.1 single that shoulda been? Today all eyes have shifted to the phenomenal return of Adele and she’s on her way to breaking some big records.

The numbers so far with the release of ‘Hello’ are nothing short of outstanding – what’s may be less outstanding is how those numbers will get split down the line in terms of revenue – though it’s still nothing to frown at. The largest revenue share this week, will still come courtesy of Apple, with iTunes downloads at No.1 in every country, that’s pointing to the largest chunk of income with reportedly the first 2 days having already shifted 450,000 singles.

Unlike previous releases, Adele has allowed ‘Hello’ to be streamed on Spotify – the stats are in and on its first day alone the track was streamed approximately 9,000,000 times on the streaming service, although apparently only generating around $63,000 in revenue.

Unlike Drake’s plays on Apple Music, Adele’s YouTube streams will be counted toward her chart position and currently the video stands at over 88 million plays – which also generates revenue for Adele adding up to a pretty decent chunk in that overall pot.

So was the payoff in Drakes deal with Apple Music worth it even if it failed to deliver that coveted No.1 spot on the Billboard chart. Was it worth aligning with Apple, living through the short term pain to reap the possible rewards in the long term gain if Apple Music wins in its battle with Google and Spotify? Whoever wins the conditions of battle aren’t making it any easier for content owners and creators.

While YouTube moves to subscription service with YouTube Red – even the giant media content creators like ESPN are being forced into ‘take it or leave it’ deals, according to TechCrunch – “That YouTube simply couldn’t fathom having any content missing from its subscription service doesn’t justify it forcing creators to sign the Red deal or have their videos removed. Certain creators might have other deals in place, intentions to monetize their videos differently, or qualms with the 55% payout that make them not want to sign on to Red. Penalizing them so harshly by removing their content from the top online video platform still seems like bullying.”

An article in Vibe, contrasts the coverage in the tech press who’ve been more than scathing towards Tidal,  pointing out the value creation at work – “The fact of the matter is, “high fidelity music streaming,” and “expertly curated content and editorial, and unique experiences” means nothing to a cheapskate who uses Spotify for free, or an Apple loyalist who trusts Tim Cook and company with his technological life. TIDAL figured out that we needed receipts, and finally gave us proof of purchase.

TidalX was a big bet for Jay-Z and the all-star line up drew in 3.3 million people in 198 countries through the free live streaming of the event. Why is that significant? Because according to Billboard – “it was more than double the number of people who streamed the Super Bowl in 2015“. What’s even more significant is a new deal thats been struck between Tidal and the Barclays centre in Brooklyn – making Tidal the first digital content platform in a Title sponsorship deal with a live performance venue. The Tidal Theatre will host events and make more strategic moves into the live content space.

What Tidal has started to show is a different kind of understanding of the changing face of the media business and making strides to build the right kinds of cultural partnerships – multi-platform endeavours that crossover live, management, streaming, content and venues could stack up to become the kind of media and tech partnerships that could be the envy of the Tech world.

Fact is how many subscriptions can a person realistically afford – if an industry standard shelf price of £9.99 becomes the norm – then we’ll be comparing the added value between Netflix vs HBO vs Amazon vs Spotfiy vs Apple Music vs YouTube Red vs Tidal vs Soundcloud vs other and eventually we’ll make a choice. Maybe it’s time for someone to invest in a shiny new comparison site for music platforms?

Adding value today is all about making the right partnership deals, all while we’re still window shopping. Leading the race now doesn’t mean winning the race. Unless we have the luxury of paying for multiple subscriptions services, we’ll have to pick the one which gives us the most for our money. That will still be determined by what we want, how much we want it and who we’re willing to pay for it.