Welcome to SoStereo’s weekly blog, In The Know. We cover the latest news of the week, highlighting stories from across the advertising, music, and business worlds that matter to you.
Here’s a recap of important music business news you need to know:
Switch Up at Pandora: Co-founder Leaves Company
In a move that is sure to raise some eyebrows, Tim Westergren, one of the three original co-founders of Pandora, stepped down from his position on Tuesday after rumors of the change circulated over the past week. This comes right after Pandora raised a massive $480 million cash infusion from SiriusXM last month and the $200MM sale of their Ticketfly business to Eventbrite in May. Westergren became the CEO for two years after the company was founded, took a break, and came back in 2016 to help lead the company in trying times. Faced with rising licensing costs and increased competition from Spotify, TIDAL, and Apple Music, the company hasn’t been able to grow their international presence as they had hoped.
Apple Music Rolls Out New Personalized Playlist
In a move that will make music lovers happy, Apple has added their first ever personalized playlists to the “For You” section on the Apple Music app. Apple decided to go with a soft open for this new feature, debuting a playlist simply titled, “Chill.” Apple has done the initial groundwork of establishing a foundation for the playlist, enlisting the help of their music editors and curators to handpick songs. Apple then utilizes their App music algorithm to help curate a broad range of songs that you’re into. Apple’s push into personalization comes after they’ve made strides in their AI research.
NFL Ad Sales Expected to Slump for 2017–2018 Season:
Sales of ad space on primetime programming for the upcoming NFL season are off to a weak start and broadcasters should brace for lower revenue reports. Voices inside the industry are saying that this is one of the worst years for the NFL ad market since the great recession of 2008. Some major brands decided to reduce their ad spend for this season, partly due to the rising costs of placement on primetime slots and the increased competition among media agencies competing for bids. This squeeze has put pressure on media companies to slash their margins, and ultimately cut their commitments to the NFL. NFL sales have been affected by reduced spending from their biggest customers, the automotive manufacturers. In 2016–17, carmakers spent $889.3 million on regular-season and playoff inventory, more than double the expenditure of the second largest customer, wireless phone companies who spent $338.5 million.
Google launches Advr, a new advertising medium for Virtual Reality:
Google just unveiled their latest incubator called Area 120. Area 120 will focus on finding new ways to test out their most innovative products. They’ve recently unveiled their latest project called Advr. Google aims to create an entirely new medium for advertising different types of content in virtual reality. Videos will play in a cube-like ad format which allows video ads to run in a 3D/VR environment. Area 120 has gotten a lot of coverage over the past few months for fresh and innovative ideas they’ve come up with. Their latest app, Uptime, is the most promising of the group. It allows for a collaborative YouTube watching experience with your friends, allowing users to see comments from their friends in a live format. Other Area 120 projects include the personal stylist app called Tailor; learn to code app Grasshopper; and the cute emoji messenger Supersonic.
JAY Z drops 4:44 on TIDAL
Jay-Z, rapper turned billionaire, released his latest album 4:44 at midnight on Thursday and ended weeks of speculation. 4:44 is his 13th studio album, and it’s streaming as a digital exclusive on TIDAL for one week only. His 13th release features ten personal and political tracks that touch upon the birth of his twins, his infidelity, Beyonce’s lemonade and more. HOV strikes a more mature tone on this album, solidifying his transition into older age.