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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - April 2015

The Platforms for Tidal, Spotify, Netflix, News and Magazines

By now, you have already heard about the new music streaming service called Tidal. It's created and backed by a whole slew of superstars, like Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Jay Z, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher.

Apparently, they will save the music industry, bring back royalties to the artists, and... kill Batman (if you are to believe the internet).

But will they? ... or have they just created a Spotify clone? And what about all the other platforms?

Well, aside from the obvious design similarities, it's actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer. But let's take a look at the economics of all these 'platforms'. Not just Tidal and Spotify, but also services like Netflix and the ones trying to do the same for newspapers.

What are the trends involved. What are the challenges they face. And what is the future outlook, from an economic perspective, for each?

Where is the money

The main problem with many of these services is that they are asking for far less money than people are willing to pay. Netflix is a perfect example of this.

If we go back to the time before Netflix and we looked at how much people were willing to pay for TV/movies, we find that it was around $0.5 to $1 per hour. The way I calculate this is by looking at the average cost of a TV package in the past, divided by the number of hours people spend watching TV during the same period.

This gives us a baseline for how much people are willing to spend. Roughly, $1 per hour of basic entertainment.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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