“Though I think and speak of greater becoming, I, too, am an infinite work in progress.”

T.F. Hodge

The European Commission launched an anti-trust investigation into Apple’s App Store rules last year and recently published its preliminary findings on April 30, telling Apple that it has “abused its dominant position for the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store'' and “distorted competition in the music streaming market”. Apple now has the opportunity to examine the findings and respond in writing to argue its case.

YouTube Shorts will roll out to all creators in the US as of next week, meaning that all creators will now have access to the Shorts camera, which comes complete with a full suite of proprietary editing tools. The feature will also be replacing the “Explore” tab in the YouTube mobile app.

Although new subscriber additions, acquisitions, and investments were part of many factors that contributed to the streaming boom in 2020, the reopening of theaters and music venues during the post-vaccination stage in 2021 is expected to slow growth and adjust expectations for streaming services like Spotify and Netflix.

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Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - May 07, 2021

EU Accuses Apple of Breaking Competition Law Over App Store Rules, After Spotify Anti-Trust Complaint

Apple has been accused of breaking European anti-trust rules, and furthermore, of having “distorted competition in the music streaming market”, according to the European Commission. The EC launched an anti-trust investigation into Apple’s App Store rules last year and published its preliminary findings on April 30, telling Apple that it has “abused its dominant position for the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store”. At the center of the EC’s investigation are: the mandatory use of Apple’s own proprietary in-app purchase (IAP) system for the distribution of paid digital content, and Apple’s rules, which prevent developers from telling users about alternative purchasing options outside of their iOS apps. Spotify made a separate complaint in 2019 regarding the impact that Apple’s App Store rules have on competition in the music streaming business. Spotify’s anti-trust complaint was filed against Apple with the European Commission in March 2019. The EC has published a ‘Statement of Objections’ today, which is a requirement as part of a formal investigative procedure into suspected EU antitrust violations. If confirmed, the Commission’s preliminary findings would mean that Apple’s conduct breaks anti-trust rules. Apple now has the opportunity to examine the Commission’s findings, respond in writing and request an oral hearing to argue its case in front of representatives of the EC and national competition authorities.

YouTube “Shorts” is Rolling Out to All Creators in the US, Will Replace “Explore” Tab on App Homescreen

YouTube confirmed via its Creator Insider channel that TikTok competitor Shorts will roll out to all creators in the U.S. as of next week. This means that all creators will now have access to the Shorts camera, which comes complete with a full suite of proprietary editing tools. YouTube is instituting a drastic change to its mobile app layout in order to make Shorts more discoverable, adding a Shorts tab at the bottom of its mobile homescreen alongside ‘Home’, the create button, ‘Subscriptions’, and ‘Library’. Shorts will replace the ‘Explore’ tab, YouTube says, which will now appear as the first bubbled topic at the top of the home feed. Explore houses YouTube’s ‘Trending’ tab, spotlights up-and-coming creators that are curated by YouTube, and also provides the ability to search for videos via various topics. In its most recent earnings report, YouTube confirmed that Shorts were generating 6.5 billion daily views, a substantial uptick over the 3.5 billion daily views that the feature was generating in late January.

Spotify and Fellow Streamers Soared in 2020, But Expect Growth to Slow

Subscriber additions, acquisitions and investments, heightened level of competition, and quality of content all contribute to streaming’s boom. But streaming services, like Spotify and Netflix, and their investors will need to adjust expectations to the U.S.’ burgeoning post-vaccination, out-of-the-home reality in 2021. As theaters and music venues reopen, the ways people use digital media will change because they will spend less time at home. Key takeaways include not comparing year-over-year quarterly earnings to 2020, understanding that on-demand streaming will continue to erode linear programming like cable television and broadcast radio, and knowing that streaming video on demand (SVOD) is a battle of titans — AT&T, Comcast, Disney, Apple, Amazon, ViacomCBS — that requires big pockets to survive the war of attrition.

Amazon Prime Video Service is Being Used By 175 Million People

In a statement accompanying Amazon’s quarterly financial results, CEO Jeff Bezos said, “As Prime Video turns 10, over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year.” In addition, the company generated $108.5bn of revenues in the first quarter of this year, up 43.8% year-on-year, helping it to an operating profit of $8.87bn, and a net profit of $8.11bn. Amazon Music last reported 55 million users (“nearly all” of whom were paid subscribers) in January 2020.

SoundCloud and Triller Team Up for Emerging Artists Playlist

SoundCloud is launching a playlist on Triller to spotlight emerging independent artists. Housed within Triller’s ‘Music Discovery’ page, it will focus on artists whose tracks have momentum on SoundCloud, and will also be available to stream on SoundCloud itself. The tracks will all be available for Triller users to put in their own videos, while artists will be able to link their SoundCloud and Triller profiles. The announcement additionally talked about artists’ ability to “grow additional revenue through SoundCloud’s new fan-powered royalties system” by linking their profiles.

YouTube Viewers Now Watch More Than 1 Billion Hours of Content on TV Screens Each Day

As YouTube did at the 2019 and 2020 NewFronts, it focused this year’s star-studded presentation (aka Brandcast) on touting its TV screen reach, emphasizing its position as a real competitor for linear TV, and bidding hard for the ad dollars marketers would normally spend on traditional networks. In December alone, more than 120 million people watched YouTube content on televisions. Each day, viewers watch more than one billion hours of content on TV screens. That’s up from 450 million in June 2020, and 250 million in 2019. The platform also said that, in September 2020, it reached more TV viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 than all linear networks combined. On the heels of these numbers, YouTube highlighted upcoming ad products that will specifically allow brands to target TV viewers: Brand Extensions and YouTube Select Sponsorships.

Random Ramblings

  • The MLC partners with the Recording Academy® on a series of upcoming webinars aimed at educating the creative membership of each chapter on The MLC’s work.
  • A musician’s guide about copyright.
  • Why fanbases need to be networks, rather than channels.
  • How a Jazz label continues to shape music.
  • H.E.R. and Tauren Wells drop a new video of their inspiring collab of "Hold Us Together (Hope Mix)".

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