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Spotify Tests $.99/month Subscription Plan

Spotify confirmed with The Verge this week that the company is testing a 99-cent subscription plan with a small group of users. The subscription plan, called Spotify Plus, will offer users an unlimited number of skips and on-demand listening. These features are two of the biggest concerns that turn ad-supported streamers into premium members. 

However, there’s still a big catch; the $.99 plan will still play ads between songs. Additionally, the description of Spotify Plus lists nothing about downloads, meaning if you wish to listen to your favorite songs while disconnected from wifi, you will need to purchase one of Spotify’s 4 other premium plans. Those being $9.99 to use one premium account, $12.99 Duo plan for two premium accounts, $15.99 Family plan which can link up to 6 premium accounts, or, if you are a college student, a $4.99 plan for one account and access to ad-supported memberships with Hulu and Showtime. All plans are billed monthly. 

There is no current information on how this new subscription model will impact the amount of money musicians can make from the amount of streams their music earns on the platform. Today, Spotify classifies 1,250 streams from premium accounts and 3,750 streams from ad-supported accounts to count as one album sale. With the $.99/month plan, the price of membership is only 10% of what it costs to be an individual premium account. This would likely make the number of streams to classify as an album sale stay at 3,750, but the company has yet to comment. 

What we do know for now is that the Spotify Plus does exist, but for a very small group of participants. The company is also testing a variety of price points for the service. Spotify told The Verge that there is no current plan to roll-out the new model nation-wide, but their research is still ongoing.

How to get your music on Spotify playlists

vinyl sales

Vinyl Sales Increase 108% In 2021

Between January 1st and July 1st of 2021, Vinyl sales grew by 108.2% according to MRC Data. MRC Data is a leading data and analytics company specializing in counting music sales data every week from all areas of the entertainment industry. 

As digital streaming services rose to prominence over the past decade, physical album sales and even digital downloads (i.e. iTunes, etc.) fell considerably. Yet, vinyl sales have continually seen a steady increase. In fact, 2021’s half year report conducted by MRC Data shows that 2021 is the first year in the company’s 30 year history where vinyl outsold cds. While physical CD sales totaled $18.9 Million in the last 6 months, Vinyl sales reached $19.2 Million. 

What makes vinyl so appealing? Is there really a sonic difference between listening to a digital file vs. a physical record? speculates that the answer could be as simple as consumers gravitating toward retro aesthetics or an appreciation for album artwork that can be displayed in the home. Limited edition vinyl with unique colors and designs could also be driving increased consumer demand for the retro format. Record Store Day was created to celebrate vinyl and the culture of independent record stores and has acted as a catalyst for artists and labels to invest in specialty vinyl production.  It’s likely that consumers are buying the experience of vinyl rather than superior sound quality or convenience. The ritual of putting a record on and listening front to back is something you can do in Spotify, but it just doesn’t feel the same.

Analyzing CD sales from the last 6-months, the top two selling cd’s were Taylor Swift’s December 11, 2020 release ‘Evermore’ with over 374,000 copies sold, and Morgan Wallen’s January 8, 2021 release ‘Dangerous: The Double Album’ with 241,000 copies sold. Country music was the best selling genre with a combined 2.1 Million sales. 

Finally, for vinyl sales, the top three selling LP’s were Taylor Swift’s ‘Evermore’ with 143,000 copies, Harry Styles’ 2019 release ‘Fine Line’ with 125,000 copies, and interestingly, Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 release ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’ totaling 99,000 copies.

billy boat

Gigmor Pro New Releases: Billy BOAT – “7 Hot Springs”

Billy BOAT is a Brooklyn-born, Georgia-raised rapper based out of Queens, New York. Billy told us he’s been rapping since age 11 and released his first release all the way back in 2011 under the name J. Fraser. Since then, he has rebranded as Billy BOAT (Billy = GOAT, BOAT = Baddest of All Time). Graduating from Yale University in 2020, he’s done everything from performing in his college dorm room to opening a local nightclub for internet personality and rapper Yvng Swag.

Billy BOAT describes his artist style as party music that makes you think. After growing up listening to Outkast, Kanye West, MF Doom, and Metaphor, Billy has “Broken free from those inspirations as of late and now working on making a unique style specific to me and where I want to go.” 

On his recent release titled “7 Hot Springs”, he says the song is a “Dreams and Nightmares-esque in the sense that it’s a slow build — I start by talking about my unsuccessful life and face the truths of who I was head on. However, the song quickly picks up as I show listeners who I am now and where I’m going while inviting anyone willing to join me on my journey. There’s also a bit of a political twist, but I leave that to listeners to figure out. Really, it’s a summer track perfect for the beach, in the car, at a party, or to silently contemplate on your own; each line in the song has a multitude of meanings that can be further expanded on.”