“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”


Spotify reveals Streaming Ad Insertion, a new podcast advertising technology that intends to help producers and brands better track the performance of the spots that air during audio shows. With more targeted advertising into podcasts in real time, the technology will provide data around ad impressions, ad frequency, and audience insights, as well as allow brands to target based on age, gender, interest segments, and location.

SiriusXM’s year-end 2019 figures revealed a record total of 34.9 million paid subscribers, including around 30 million “self-pay” customers. The company was able to add over one million “self-pay” customers in the final quarter of 2019.

New data published by Nielsen Music/MRC Data showed that overall on-demand streams (audio and video combined) grew by 29.3% in 2019, crossing the 1 trillion mark for the first time in a calendar year. In 2019, there were 1.147 trillion on-demand streams registered, 745.75 billion of which were in on-demand audio streams (up 23.8%) and 401.23 billion of which were in on-demand video streams (up 40.7%).

Make sure to get your tickets to The NAMM Show and register to see our very own co-founder Rene Merideth next Friday January 17th at 4:00 PM inside The Anaheim Hilton to discuss topics in machine learning and data analytics in the music industry. Register here to attend!

The California Copyright Conference will also be holding a panel at the Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks next week on Tuesday January 14 at 6:30 PM. The event will take an in-depth look at the hip-hop genre and will include speakers like peermusic VP of A&R, Tuff Morgan, and record producer, rapper, singer-songwriter Kevin Gilliam aka DJ Battle Cat. RSVP here to attend.

Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - January 10, 2020

Spotify Introduces Podcast Ad Targeting

Streaming service Spotify is introducing new podcast advertising technology, called Streaming Ad Insertion, which the company touts as helping producers and brands better track the performance of the spots that air during audio shows on its platform. The company will effectively be able to insert more targeted advertising into podcasts in real time. That technology will power Spotify Podcast Ads, which executives, speaking on a panel during the CES technology conference, said will provide data around ad impressions, ad frequency, and audience insights. It will roll out with Spotify’s original and exclusive podcasts but content chief Dawn Ostroff says, “this is just the beginning.” The podcast ad tech will also allow brands to target based on age, gender, and location as well as interest segments. Podcasting and nonmusic audio programming has been a focus area for Spotify. In 2019, the company spent around $400 million to acquire podcast producers Gimlet and Parcast and technology provider Anchor. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the podcasting industry is expected to grow to $1 billion in ad revenue by 2021.

SiriusXM Reveals That It Ended 2019 with 34.9 Million Subscribers

US satellite radio firm SiriusXM released its year-end figures for 2019 as an update for its investors. The company says it ended last year with 34.9 million total paid subscribers - a record - including around 30 million “self-pay” customers. SiriusXM added just over one million of the latter in the final quarter of 2019. CEO Jim Meyer added, “Not only did we achieve our tenth consecutive year of million-plus self-pay net additions, but we also completed our acquisition of Pandora Media and made significant investments in our business, all while returning more than $2 billion to our stockholders. And our new 2020 guidance points to what should be another excellent year of growth for SiriusXM.” The company has not given any indication of Pandora’s performance in the final quarter of 2019 yet. More details await from the company’s official financial results come February 4.

“Hollywood’s Bleeding” is Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s Top Album of 2019, “Old Town Road” Most-Streamed Song

According to data published by Nielsen Music/MRC Data, Post Malone closed out 2019 with the most popular album of the year in the US with “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” the artists’ third release, earning 3.001 million equivalent album units during the year. Around 357,000 of that sum came from album sales. The 3.001 million figure is a multi-metric consumption total, which includes album sales, on-demand audio streaming equivalent album units (SEA), and track equivalent album units (TEA). In addition, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was the most-streamed song of 2019, with 2.5 billion on-demand streams (audio and video combined). Overall on-demand streams grew by 29.3% in 2019, surpassing the 1 trillion mark for the first time in a calendar year. In total for 2019, there were 1.147 trillion on-demand streams registered. Impressively, vinyl LP sales grew to a new yearly high, climbing to 18.84 million sold in 2019 (up 14.5%). The format additionally represented 16.7% of all album sales in 2019.

ByteDance’s Douyin App Now Has 400 Million Daily Active Users in China

ByteDance revealed official numbers for Douyin, its Chinese short-videos app. The service now counts 400 million daily active users in China, up from 250 million in January 2019, so that’s 60% year-on-year growth. According to TechCrunch, there are some cultural differences between Douyin in China and TikTok globally. For example, educational (or “knowledge-based”) videos are one of the most popular categories on Douyin in China. Research firm eMarketer also has published its predictions for how Douyin will grow in the future. It expects the app to have 442.6 million users this year, growing to 555.8 million by 2023. “Douyin users make up 67.9% of China’s mobile social network users and 59% of smartphone users overall. These figures will grow to 68.3% and 59.6%, respectively, in 2020,” claimed the company.

German Music Industry Breaks the 100 Billion Stream Barrier

GfK Entertainment and the German Music Industry Association (BVMI) both recently announced that there were 107 billion music streams in Germany during 2019. Like in the UK, this is the first time that there have been more than 100 billion streams in the country. In 2018, there were 79.5 billion music streams in Germany. That means the current number represents a 34.6% increase from a year ago. There were only 56.4 billion streams back in 2017. The two most streamed songs in the country for a single day were Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (3.2 million streams on Christmas Eve) and Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (3 million streams on the same day).

Katy Perry’s Lawyers Request Retrial in “Dark Horse” Copyright Case: “A Travesty of Justice”

Katy Perry’s attorneys and her “Dark Horse” collaborators are demanding a retrial in the copyright infringement case that resulted in a $2.78 million judgment against Perry, Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald (Dr. Luke), and others last July. Perry and her associates were accused of lifting a beat from Christian rapper Flame’s (aka Marcus Gray) 2008 track “Joyful Noise” without permission. The plaintiffs failed to satisfy both extrinsic and intrinsic tests of “substantial similarity” between the two tracks and likewise failed to establish that “Joyful Noise” was widely disseminated enough to prove the “Dark Horse” team had access to it. Though a retrial is mentioned as an option, the defense is alternatively asking Judge Christina A. Snyder to throw out the jury’s decision altogether, asserting that jurors failed to follow court instructions when making their decision. The decision comes after the plaintiffs’ November opposition filing, which countered the defense’s earlier motion for an appeal.

ByteDance: We’re Not Selling a Stake in TikTok

Beijing-based company ByteDance recently stated that it is not selling a stake in its hit short-form video sharing app, TikTok. Alex Zhu, TikTok boss, issued a pre-Holidays internal memo, obtained by Reuters last month, which dismissed an earlier Bloomberg report suggesting that the company was mulling the sale of a stake in the app. Bloomberg’s December 24 article further wrote that the Chinese tech giant was considering various options over US security concerns. The internal memo seen by Reuters, published December 24, by TikTok’s Zhu responded that Bloomberg’s report was untrue. It read, “I want to assure you that we have had no discussions with potential buyers of TikTok, nor do we have any intention to.”

Miley Cyrus Settles $300 Million Copyright Lawsuit Over “We Can’t Stop”

Miley Cyrus recently settled a $300 million copyright infringement lawsuit from a Jamaican songwriter Michael May, Reuters reported late last week. The songwriter, who performs under the name Flourgon, sued Cyrus in March 2018 and claimed that she took elements from one of his compositions, “We Run Things,” for her 2013 hit “We Can’t Stop.” He further claims that about 50 percent of Cyrus’ hit comes from “We Run Things,” which was a No. 1 single in Jamaica. May, Cyrus, Sony, and other defendants filed a joint stipulation in Manhattan federal court last week on Friday, ending the lawsuit with a prejudice, meaning it cannot be filed again. Cyrus’ lawyers confirmed in a Dec. 12 letter that a settlement agreement had been signed, and that the stipulation would be filed “pending payment of the settlement proceeds,” which were not specified.

Random Ramblings

  • Analysis: Music industry trends to watch in 2020.
  • Copyright in 2020 (And Beyond).
  • Improving the Copyright Office ownership database.
  • 2019 was the year of new stars in Rap.
  • Travis Scott-led Jackboys project debuts atop the Billboard 200 Chart.
  • Lauv kicks off the year with a new video of reflective track "Changes".

Who is Exploration?

Exploration is proud to be the company of choice to administer much of the world’s most important media. Utilizing competent staff and advanced technology, our clients are able to better control their data and collect their money.

We’re writing a free book on how the music business works. Learn more here.

The catalog metadata template offers the minimum viable data needed to collect publishing royalties. Download the .csv file here.

Please feel free to reach out anytime if you have any questions or ideas!

Hope you have a great weekend!




171 Pier Ave., #251
Santa Monica, CA 90405