While it remains to be seen exactly what the contours of a deal might be, Zoë Keating‘s advocacy of data sharing with artists by online music retailers is getting some traction. Beats is making positive noises in that direction and I would expect others to follow shortly. This is something of a privacy law challenge, but it could be something as simple as a “sign up here” button for the artist’s email list next to the “buy here” buttons to buy the artist’s downloads or CDs.
I’m willing to be educated otherwise, but it seems that an email opt in would be unlikely to present a greater privacy issue at all for the retailer. This is because the fan would be in control of the opt-in decision, and any privacy rules applicable to the email list would live at the artist site and would (or should) already be in place regarding the existing artist email list.
It is very, very unlikely that a Big Data company like Google is interested in a music platform just because they really want to be in the music business and make their cut of subscription, download or webcasting revenue. No, the real cash cow for Big Data is Big Data. That’s not a tautology–it was confirmed as recently as last week by the Financial Times (with the hysterically funny title, “Google Looks to Beat Music Rivals“):
Google is in talks with big music labels to launch a streaming service to compete with companies such as Spotify and Deezer, as it looks to expand into one of the fastest growing areas of the music market.
The discussions reflect the technology company’s ambition to extend its influence into new business areas and diversify away from advertising, which accounts for 95 per cent of its revenues. [Good thinkin’, Dob….]
[But, wait, not so fast…there’s more….] Advertising executives also speculated that by scrutinising consumers’ listening habits, Google could build a valuable database for advertisers.
“It will be another piece of the puzzle for understanding consumers,” said Christophe Cauvy, European head of digital at advertising agency JWT. “This will be very interesting for brands where purchases are emotionally or status driven.”
So…think about that. Where’s the real value going to lie…so to speak…for Google? Making a tiny vig off of music, or collecting a bunch of information about fans that can be used in other Google products? Hmmm? As Ben Sisario identified it in the New York Times, which of the Two Googles are we talking to? Aaron or Roy?
The Financial Times is even fuzzy on this issue as their article starts like they think that Google intends to get further into the music business because they want to make money off of streaming. Given what we know about artist royalties from streaming, that seems highly unlikely.
What seems more likely is that Google Play gets consumers to put a Google entertainment center in their home and then Google monitors them all the live long day to serve advertising to the fans. Maybe not while the fans are listening to a no-advertising subscription service, but when the fan leaves that environment and uses Google for something else.
Of course, Google will add this information from non-display uses to the data that it has already collected from serving ads to pirate sites offering the identical music, movies and books.
Do you think for one second that Google (or any other Big Data company) would share that information with the artists whose music gave it value? Much less share it for free?
Hello, Roy. I thought that was you.