As Spotify Goes, So Goes The Music Industry

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As Spotify goes, so goes the music industry. This statement became a maxim sometime after the launch of Apple Music in 2015, when Apple used its industry weight to secure exclusive releases from major stars to spur user growth. That practice has now all but disappeared. Why? According to record labels, it was bad for business. Spotify, and its 70 million paying subscribers, are the recording industry's critical infrastructure. This is why everyone is paying such close attention to Spotify's upcoming, and unusual, direct listing IPO. What happens if the stock flops? Spotify has yet to turn a profit, so it's not out of the question. If it does, what are the implications for the recording industry's recent growth trend?


For marketers, the Super Bowl is... the Super Bowl of ads. (So then what's the Super Bowl of clichés? We digress...) But Super Bowl ads are expensive and there's stiff competition. Skittles came up with a solution. They're making a 60-second Super Bowl spot but not airing it during the Super Bowl - too mass an audience. They're going for exclusivity. The ad is so exclusive, in fact, that only one person will actually see it. Fear not, dear readers, Skittles produced multiple teasers for the exclusive ad. Silly PR stunt? Maybe. But it’s also a pretty good meta take on Super Bowl ad hype. Not the Super Bowl of meta takes... but solid.


Bloomberg has a new report out on the retail apocalypse, and it's not pretty. Sure, this has been going on long enough that you didn't need to Google “retail apocalypse,” and indeed, up until now, one could accuse the phrase of being hyperbolic. That might be changing. The rate of store closures is rapidly accelerating despite low unemployment, years of economic growth, and high consumer confidence. The chronic economic conditions for retailers has been troubling for some time, but Bloomberg diagnoses a new, acute problem: debt. Most retailers took on debt during the financial crisis of '07-'08, and that debt, all $1 trillion of it, is coming due. And sure, maybe it’s a good thing that the days of suburban mall utopianism are over, but the retail industry employs 8 million people. That's the apocalyptic part.



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This WeekCristina Fernandez