Music Industry

A New Service for Exclusive Music. This Could Get Weird.

All the streaming music services are falling all over each other in a race to provide exclusive music and content. Hey if Apple Music can provide some hot exclusive content ahead of Spotify (or vice versa), wouldn’t that entice people to use that service over the other? This is one of the benefits that Tidal keeps trumpeting about what it does.

Now there’s a new rival: We Transfer.

Yes, the site we use to transfer files too big for email attachments (user base: 85 million) is now getting into the business of sharing music. On Wednesday, the Netherlands-based company will announce a new music player. Bloomberg reports:

Prince, Big Grams and Disclosure have already released songs and videos on WeTransfer, and the company hopes to land more exclusives with the new feature.

While WeTransfer has no plans to make money from music, the company aims to compete with major streaming services, social networks and video sites like Vevo for potential hits. It’s also using music to differentiate itself from larger competitors, like Dropbox Inc., as it begins to expand in the U.S. Its pay service is most popular among people working in video who need to move large files. WeTransfer allows free transfers of files of up to two gigabytes.

“We’re using music to put us on the map,” Kadiks said. “Six years ago we started out in Europe, and that is where we see the biggest amount of users. The U.S. is taking over in terms of growth.”

Well, this could get interesting. Or very weird. Stand by.

Meanwhile, analysts predict that Pandora will have a tough time entering the streaming music after it swallows Rdio in the next month or so. This is from Market Watch:

Pandora Media Inc. will face an uphill battle as it enters an on-demand music streaming market dominated by Spotify and Apple Inc., and analysts think things are going to get worse for the digital radio company before they start to get better.

The company announced plans late Monday to buy certain assets from Rdio for $75 million and launch a subscription music-streaming service akin to Apple Music. But the deal doesn’t include Rdio’s music-streaming licenses, meaning Pandora will have to spend a lot of time and money negotiating contracts with music labels in order to offer the same breadth of on-demand music offered by Spotify and AppleAAPL, +0.24%

Shares of Pandora tumbled 7% to $12.47 on Tuesday. The stock has fallen 35% over the last three months, with most of that decline coming in October after Pandora reported weaker-than-expected revenue and warned of high content costs and competition. The stock is off 68% from its all-time high, reached in March 2014. It ticked up 0.3% in premarket trade Wednesday.

As music fans, we need to keep a very close eye on what’s happening. Everything is changing fast–and it will impact on how we acquire and consume music.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38291 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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