Spotify v. Apple

SXSW: the best place to discover new *checks notes* multi-million dollar brand activations.
 

Spotify v. Apple

Spotify filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple with the European Commission, arguing that the App Store – specifically the 30% cut Apple takes for any subscription paid for through the iPhone app – gives Apple an unfair competitive advantage. Apple Music is one of Spotify’s biggest competitors and isn’t subject to that same 30% fee (it's owned by Apple). This is Spotify's primary greivance according to an advocacy website they set up. Spotify is certainly not wrong, and their case could be the tip of the spear in any major anti-trust action against the big tech companies. However, mere days earlier, Spotify also announced it was appealing a Copyright Royalty Board ruling that increased publishing royalty rates. Arguing for the increase, publishers cited many of the same arguments Spotify uses against Apple, specifically that artists are forced to offer their songs on Spotify because that’s where most of the audience is. As April Glaser notes in Slate, “Spotify’s position is that it would like to keep more money from subscriptions while denying more of it to artists.”
 

The Brand Is Strong

A hit single breaks a band, but it’s the brand that sustains a band. Not as in a sponsorship (though that doesn’t hurt), but rather an artist’s brand, their milieu, their “story.” Few bands have managed their brands more skillfully than Florida Georgia Line, the “bro-country” duo out of Nashville. Savvy consumers of Nashville Pop radio, they noticed early that the lines separating music genres were fast blurring. Early on, the band leaped over those borders, found an ‘anti-genre-snob’ posture, and told a story, “they’re just two good ol’ boys, trading memories over some cold-as-hell brews.” This brand proved so alluring over the years that it’s overpowered the band’s music. “At this point, the music is marketing” for the FGL Empire, argues Noisey. That empire includes Old Camp, a whiskey line, FGL House, a popular venue in Nashville, FGL Fest, and Tree Vibez, a publishing arm, all wildly successful.
 

Some News About News Feed

Last week we noted that it looked like big changes were ahead for Facebook, including the potential end of the News Feed. This week we got confirmation. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer who oversaw the creation of News Feed, along with Chris Daniels, head of WhatsApp, announced their departure from Facebook. Time will tell what this means for News Feed (and Instagram’s News Feed style public feed), but the big question remains, how will they replace all the revenue those two products produce? This question came into sharp focus on Thursday, when an outage knocked out both News Feed and Instagram for nearly the whole day. The Verge reports that a single vendor lost $10,000 in revenue when they couldn’t advertise during the outage. Millions of companies – a whole economy – rely on these platforms to run their business.
 

 LINKS + LINKS 


 

 LISTEN + LOOK 

Anderson .Paak
King James

ScHoolboy Q
Numb Numb Juice
How I Built This
Logic + Chris Zarou

Nari Ward
 

 FRIDAY GIF 

See ya next week...
This WeekMatt Pennington