The Social Times released an infographic about how to improve organic reach on Facebook. And indie publishers said Apple has yet to reach a licensing agreement with them for Apple Music. Also, the New York State Attorney General’s office continued to investigate Apple for anti-competitive behavior.
Improving Organic Reach on Facebook
Brands have recently been struggling to obtain organic reach on Facebook, and according to the Social Times, this is due to its transition to a “pay-to-play” ad structure. The decline in organic reach can be attributed to the huge number of artists and other brands (18 million) vying for attention on the platform as well as Facebook’s need to sell as many ads as possible in order to stay afloat.
Kissmetrics put together an infographic that shows the difficulties brands are having on Facebook when it comes to organic reach and presents some remedies. While there are many factors that determine whether or not artists’ and others’ posts make it into newsfeeds, research continues to indicate that photos and videos get more attention, unless they are reported as spam. And user interaction with ads also affects the newsfeed visibility algorithm.
The Kissmetrics infographic indicates that improving organic reach is dependent on focusing on the best metrics for a specific brand. For example, posting at non-peak posting times, having more personal conversations with customers and fans and generally engaging with fans in a variety of ways including Q & A sessions will all increase reach without having to turn to “algorithm gaming.”
Kissmetrics’ Facebook infographic and explanation of the organic reach algorithm can be found on the Adweek site.
Apple Music Still Non-communicative with Indie Publishers about Royalty Rates
Apple continued to hold out on getting information to indie publishers about Apple Music’s royalty rates. However, Billboard asserted that the company is likely planning to pay them more than other streaming services currently pay for use of their music.
Apple Music’s launch date is on June 30, and indie music publishers have not been contacted by Apple about licenses. Many industry experts have predicted that this means publishers will simply get a mass email with an attached opt-in contract.
Music industry executives close to the situation said that Apple will be offering publishers 13.5 percent of revenue, more than the 12 percent it currently pays publishers for its locker interactive streaming service and the ten percent publishers get for the iTunes Radio service. Sources also said that Apple will give a higher rate to publishers who agree to hold off royalty payments until after the initial three-month trial period. This same concept has been poorly received by indie labels.
Introducing the free trial and not paying rights holders exempted Apple from using the same type of statutory licenses that other streaming services have. If they used those licenses, Apple would have to send notices of intent to publishers with a list of songs they would use, then pay publishers using a formula approved by the Copyright Royalty Board.
If Apple’s introductory rate for indie publishers is 13.5 percent, it will likely be just one step in one tier of the payment formula that will ultimately be used to establish the final royalty rate paid.
Universal Denying Involvement in Apple’s Possible Anti-Competitive Practices
Universal Music Group (UMG) denied involvement in any anti-competitive behaviors related to Apple’s launch of its new streaming service, reported Music Business Worldwide. The New York Attorney General’s office has been investigating Apple since rumors swirled that it had tried to get major labels and other rights-holders to help force Spotify to limit its freemium tier.
The Attorney General is trying to determine whether labels and Apple “worked together to suppress the availability to consumers of free, advertising-supported, on-demand music streaming or similar services, such as those offered by Spotify and YouTube.”
UMG’s lawyers sent a letter stating that any exclusive deals the company makes with digital service providers are “based on our legitimate unilateral business interests and not part of any agreement to restrain competition.”
The company also denied any conspiracy with other labels: “UMG does not currently have any agreements with Sony Music Entertainment or Warner Music Group to impede the availability of free or ad-supported music streaming services, or that limit, restrict, or prevent UMG from licensing its recorded music repertoire to any music streaming service on any terms that UMG may choose. Nor does UMG intend to enter into any such agreements … Similarly, UMG does not currently have any agreements with Apple Inc. to impede the availability of third-party free or ad-supported music streaming services, or that limit, restrict, or prevent UMG from licensing its recorded music repertoire to any third-party music streaming service on any terms that UMG may choose. Nor does UMG intend to enter into any such agreements.”
The New York Attorney General’s office issued a statement saying the letter “is part of an ongoing investigation of the music streaming business, an industry in which competition has recently led to new and different ways for consumers to listen to music … to preserve these benefits, it’s important to ensure that the market continues to develop free from collusion and other anti-competitive practices.”
The Connecticut Attorney General’s office has also joined the investigation.