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What Spotify and Apple Music's 2023 lists reveal about the music industry

It's more than just the fact that Taylor Swift had a massive year.
Both Spotify Wrapped and Apple Music Replay had the same top artist of the year. Can you guess who?
Spotify

After the podcast industry boom and bust, what's next?

Dec 6, 2023
"All of these companies, new and old, public radio and private, threw a bunch of money into podcast departments. And I think they quickly learned that the economics of this high-quality journalism is complicated," said Micah Loewinger of "On the Media."
Barriers to entry are low in the podcasting world, but turning a profit is a different story.
Jason Davis/Getty Images

Spotify CEO cites "expensive" capital as factor in layoffs. What does that mean?

Dec 4, 2023
The music streaming service just announced its third round of layoffs this year after previous years of intensive borrowing.
For most of Spotify's existence, interest rates barely got above 2%. But once borrowing and debt got expensive, investors became interested in profitability over expansion at any cost.
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Spotify's apology to staff over Joe Rogan scandal sends a broader message

Feb 7, 2022
Addressing employees' displeasure is a growing priority in how companies handle public relations problems.
Employees are an increasingly important audience for companies' responses to public relations problems. In the tech industry especially, managers fear that offended workers may flee.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

The economics of indie music streaming

Dec 23, 2021
Musicians depend on high streaming volume to make a living when they're paid as little as .0032 cents a stream.
Ruby Room Recordings’ producer, engineer and songwriter Elan Wright, left, listens to the mix of a new song with with musician Mark Diamond.
Emily Fox

Comedians are demanding royalties. Spotify yanked their recordings.

Dec 9, 2021
Have you heard the one about the aggrieved comics and the streaming service?
Comedians are speaking out about their desire to have the same kind of royalties deal that musicians typically have.
Getty Images

Spotify offers music streaming in more African countries

Jul 5, 2021
The expansion offers African music lovers another option and makes the landscape more competitive for local streaming services, like Gateway in Zimbabwe.
Spotify's streaming expansion is sparking competition with local platforms in Africa.
Rich Fury via Getty Images for Spotify

For public good, not for profit.

Can streaming do better by musicians? SoundCloud says it's willing to try.

Mar 15, 2021
The pandemic has left musicians more dependent than ever on streaming revenue, but that can be a fraction of a penny per listen.
Bad Bunny, whose music was streamed billions of times in 2020, performs during last year's Spotify Awards in Mexico City.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Spotify

Spotify is spending big on podcasts

Feb 5, 2020
The music streaming service is buying podcasting heavyweight The Ringer, which has a strong built-in audience.
“What we really did with The Ringer, I think, is we bought the next ESPN,” says Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
Toru Yamanaka/AFP via Getty Images

Song lyrics are a big business online. Here's how it works.

Jul 9, 2019
Once upon a time, lyrics were extras. If you were lucky they were stuffed inside the sleeve of an LP. Now, they’re all over the place.
The original handwritten lyric sheet for the song "Royals" by New Zealand musician Lorde.
Phil Walter/Getty Images