Digital Media News

November 2016

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League posts a monthly digest of relevant news and information regarding changes, trends, and developments that may affect the digital media activities that orchestras use to achieve their institutional missions. For each monthly digest, the League's digital media consultants, Michael Bronson and Joe Kluger, draw from a variety of websites and publications to provide excerpts or summaries of articles. (These do not necessarily represent the views of the League.)

League members with questions about the information in this digest or about other digital media topics – e.g., planning, strategy, and production – may contact Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Philadelphia Orchestra dives in with a streaming music service

Move over, Spotify and Deezer: There’s a new digital portal for classical music - “Orchestra on Demand” - and it's all Philadelphian, all the time. Launched by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the website offers a sprinkling of concerts from current and past seasons, mostly from the archives of WRTI, which carries weekly orchestra broadcasts. Just a couple of the streamable-on-demand concerts are free. Full access is available as a perk to orchestra patrons who’ve donated or purchased tickets to the value of $50 or above on an annual ongoing basis. Or, you can make a donation directly on the site. (Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Daily Download

YourClassical, from American Public Media (APM), is a collection of curated streams, unique programs and relevant features to “promote calm and focus.” It now offers the Daily Download, a handpicked, free, downloadable piece of classical music available every weekday, some of which include performances by the New York Philharmonic. (Source:

It’s now Amazon Music vs. Spotify vs. Apple Music

After a week filled with rumors about their upcoming music service, Amazon has finally launched Amazon Music Unlimited. The music service has launched at $9.99 for non-Prime members and $7.99 for Prime members. There’s also a $79/yearly plan for Prime members with a $99/yearly plan for non-members. The new music streaming service reportedly has tens of millions of songs. Like its competitors, you’ll get access to a huge library of songs, curated playlists, radio stations, and lyrics. However, in a surprise move, Amazon has also released their Echo-only service at just $3.99 per month. This is much cheaper than the $4.99 price tag previously rumored. The $4 price tag also undercuts Pandora Plus, a critical jab. (Source: Digital Music News)

You bought it, but you don’t own it

The days of buying software, movies, and music albums on nifty plastic discs are about over. Content—streaming and on-demand delivery of entertainment and software—will reign supreme. When consumers buy a copy, it will increasingly be stored on remote servers (i.e. the cloud) that are accessed online. At first glance, this might seem like unalloyed progress. But, to protect themselves from piracy and other unlawful copying, copyright owners are using a variety of legal and technical methods that are causing the concept of “copy ownership” to disappear from entertainment that is available only on the cloud. Software, motion pictures, and even music are increasingly a service provided to you, to which you have limited, temporary access, even after you have bought it. (Source: Slate)

Live screenings ‘won’t kill theatre’

Cinema broadcasts of plays and musicals are only a “minimal threat” to touring work and have a positive impact on theatre companies, according to a landmark new UK study. In recent years, several theatres across the UK have raised concerns that so-called live-to-digital may lead audiences to abandon going to the theatre for the cinema alternative. But of 243 companies surveyed, 38% said the advent of live-to-digital has had a positive impact, compared with only 13% who said it had had a negative impact. In fact, an audience preference for live shows over the recorded alternative was found to be the biggest barrier to attendance of theatre broadcasts at cinemas. Just over half of those surveyed said their preference for live theatre put them off event cinema. (Source: The Stage

Uber, but for millennials who want orchestras in their living rooms

In 2013, Sam Bodkin started Groupmuse, a company that has hired over 1,200 young classical musicians to play small concerts in living rooms across the country. Professional musicians and those studying in conservatories can upload samples to a Groupmuse profile, which an internal team approves. Next, the Groupmuse team pairs performers with hosts who volunteer to host strangers and musicians in their home: a soloist for 10 people, a quartet for a house that can fit 50 listeners. Around 20 Groupmuse shows happen across the country every week, mostly in Boston, New York, Seattle and the Bay Area. Groupmuse suggests each attendee pays $10 for the show; musicians go home with an average of $160. (Source: Wired

Your phone’s on lockdown. Enjoy the show

The comedian Dave Chappelle used to hate when fans would pull out smartphones during his act, record the performance and then post it on YouTube and social media before the show had even ended. But in late 2015, Mr. Chappelle discovered a technology called Yondr. Fans are required to place their cellphones into Yondr’s form-fitting lockable pouch when entering the show, and a disk mechanism unlocks it on the way out. Fans keep the pouch with them, but it is impossible for them to snap pictures, shoot videos or send text messages during the performance while the pouch is locked. Lesser-known performers might be more hesitant to try Yondr, as many rely on fans posting photos and videos to promote their shows. And some fans object to not being able to disseminate and see live shows via videotape. (Source: New York Times)

Is YouTube really shortchanging artists? A look at some actual data

A September report titled ‘Measuring Music 2016’ published by UK Music shows that the UK music industry has outperformed the UK economy in terms of economic growth. Most notably, revenues grew 49% from music streaming and YouTube also beat out top music streaming services as a source to listen to music. However, this isn’t necessarily good news. The report reproached YouTube for its poor artist payout system. The study noted a value gap that exists between content creators like music artists and the service. “In 2015, YouTube paid out $740m in music rights payments, up only a modest 11% from 2014 despite total views growing 132% to 751 billion streams.” (Source: Digital Music News)

The rise of the small screen is what's driving AT&T's $85.4-billion deal for Time Warner

AT&T’s proposed $85.4-billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. is the most dramatic example yet of the shift in the balance of power in Hollywood from the big screen to the small screen. Thanks to the rise of high-speed Internet and smartphones, consumers increasingly are getting their entertainment not from the multiplex or traditional TV outlets — but from the Internet and their mobile devices. Both companies, who are laboring to hold onto customers, confront a similar challenge: how to deliver content to younger consumers who are turning away from traditional media. (Source: Los Angeles Times)

An unsigned artist makes 4X more from streaming than a major label artist

Perhaps the number one question we get from artists is the following: ‘what do streaming services actually pay?’ We developed the following estimates of what different streaming services pay artists as a per-stream royalty, based on actual streaming statements submitted to us confidentially by the artists or labels themselves, and never from streaming services or major labels. [See chart in linked story.]... According to new calculations released by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, an unsigned artist can expect to receive nearly four times the royalty from streaming than an artist signed to a major label. Here’s a quick breakdown of what a major label artist can receive from every dollar of streaming revenue. This assumes that the artist wrote 100% of the music, and is the sole performing artist. [See chart in linked story.] (Source: Digital Music News)