Darryl Ballantyne, CEO/co-founder, LyricFind www.LyricFind.com, leader in legal lyric solutions is joining us today on Hypebot.com's year end virtual panet. On the importance of YouTube Music Key's entry and Apple's acquisition of Beats, Ballantyne says "The jury's still out on both YouTube Music Key and Beats (within Apple), but both have the potential to have a massive impact on the subscription market based on their reach." Read more from Darryl Ballantyne below.
1) Do you see the current debate questioning the effect of ubiquitous free music online leading to real change? Or is the Taylor Swift debate just a short term distraction?
I see it as a short term distraction. There are very, very few artists with the power and following that Taylor Swift has who can leverage withdrawals into record sales; most fan bases would not respond the ways hers did and go and buy the album, they'd just gripe that they pay for Spotify and yet it's not there. I wouldn't be surprised to see more short-term windowing in the future, though, and increased pressure on Spotify (and others) to restrict the free tier further. Overall, though, it's going to be an evolutionary movement, not revolutionary. Unfortunately.
2) How important are the entry of YouTube Music Key and the expansion of Beats Music within the Apple eco-system?And will they lead to a much larger streaming music audience by the end of 2015; or a just fragment a steadily expanding user base?
The jury's still out on both YouTube Music Key and Beats (within Apple), but both have the potential to have a massive impact on the subscription market based on their reach. If Apple starts shipping iPhones with Beats preloaded, and pushes users into the Beats ecosystem for everything music, I'd expect to see huge uptake based on the userbase and frictionless buying process. Apple's biggest advantage in this market is that their users are used to buying things; they have a credit card for everyone and you only need a fingerprint to buy. It's SO EASY. YouTube has an even bigger userbase, but not one that is used to paying for anything; their challenge will be conversion. If they market it aggressively, and play to their strengths (like videos), they could generate some massive numbers; they just need to make sure it's sufficiently better than just using regular YouTube.
3) What was the big shift or story of 2014 that will have a major effect on your business/sector in 2015?
I think 2014 was the year the tide finally started to shift towards acceptance of digital royalty rates. Sure, we still see artists complaining about low payouts, but for the first time we started to see artists DEFENDING the services. Combined with the release of both Spotify and Pandora's artist platforms, and integration of additional moneymaking tools like BandPage into Spotify and others, those services are expanding their reach and their value to artists. I expect the trend will continue in 2015, which will fuel their growth (and as a result, ours).