Maybe it's the changing of the seasons, or the aftershock of Lady Gaga's album flop (by her standards at least, since it never made it into the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100, something most of her previous catalog had achieved), but this has been a quiet week in streaming music.
Let me hold your hand while we go over the dirty details, however few there were.
No big new exclusives
Apple Music and Tidal have a few exclusives this week, but nothing exceptionally notable.
- Tidal debuted new music videos for Bon Jovi's forthcoming album and an emotionally charged video treatment for a Vic Mensa track that unabashedly condemns police brutality.
- In the same week, Tidal premiered Amy Schumer's take on Beyonce's "Formation" music video. While some consider it a harmless parody/tribute (especially considering that Beyonce's husband Jay-Z owns Tidal), others called it an abomination (OK, I called it that) and a tasteless lampooning of a socially and politically significant piece of art. As a result, Twitter threw an #AmySchumerGottaGoParty, which I happily attended.
- Apple Music is exclusively streaming the soundtrack to "Before The Flood" (Leonardo DiCaprio's latest environmental docu-drama), the soundtrack to Fox's "Rocky Horror Picture Show" remake, and an album by some guy named Jack Savoretti -- which thematically fits in with the rest of the exclusives by sounding like a soundtrack, one made for a straight-to-DVD rom-com (in other words, I'll pass).
What is notable is that despite their close ties with Apple Music, Drake and Pharrell have released new tracks you can find on any streaming music platform.
- Pharrell dropped two new soulful singles for the upcoming movie "Hidden Figures." He produced and contributed original music to the film, which tells the true story of African-American female mathematicians who totally kicked ass at their NASA jobs. Unsurprisingly, they were unfairly left out of history books -- hence the movie's title.
- Drake, whose last album exclusively debuted on Apple Music, shared two new songs from a project titled "More Life." It's expected to land in December, and while there's no word on whether it'll be an exclusive in the end, the fact that he called it a "project" makes it sound like a mix-tape (as opposed to a LP), which tend to be free and available to all.
Spotify for free, forever
Despite some suspicion that Spotify's free tier days are numbered, Spotify doesn't care if you think its freemium service is bad for the music industry. Instead, it believes that though fans might not pay for an artist's music, they will pay for concert tickets and merchandise. And for the time being, it seems like the company is doing well enough to keep it going.
Pandora ready to rescue Pandora
Pandora doesn't get music exclusives the same way Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal do, so they do cute things like a Call of Duty playlist curated by rapper YG to promote the video game's release.
That's not to say Pandora won't ever see how green the grass is on the other (a la carte streaming) side. It's planning to launch a Spotify rival in early December. The streaming radio service trails behind its competitors in listeners -- it even saw a small decrease in active users recently -- but it's hoping to capitalize on its longtime reputation by introducing a new service that can actually compete with a la carte music services.