Shortly after Spotify livestreamed its over two-hour “Stream On” conference, at which it announced a host of new initiatives but no subscription price hike in the US, Kinkle gave a talk at Morgan Stanley. Without mentioning Spotify, the world’s largest streaming subscription service, by name, Kinkle noted that if the price of an individual monthly streaming subscription were adjusted for inflation, it would cost $13.25 instead of $10, Variety reports.
Warner Music’s new CEO Robert Kinkle brings a look from the other side of the music industry’s top. He was head of the business at YouTube, where he led a fundamental change in the giant’s relationship with the music industry by introducing a paid subscription music service, and at Netflix, where he led the company’s transition from DVD to streaming.
Over the past few years, almost every conversation has been about raising subscription prices. Milana Lewis, CEO of distribution and payments platform Stem, told Variety as recently as this past summer that all prices are going up, and music platforms continue to make it easier for their users by offering all sorts of low-cost subscriptions Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Deezer have already raised the prices of their services, but others are staying with the same monthly price of $10 in the U.S. as at the very beginning, Variety reports.
“I do think that music is undervalued, and I think it’s underappreciated in the markets. This is not my opinion: If you take the U.S., the price that the user pays per hour of consumption of music is half of what they pay for movies and TV shows on streaming services. I’m not even counting cable TV, where the ARPU is insanely higher than that — but just streaming. So right there, it’s 50% undervalued today”,
said Robert Kyncl.
After acknowledging that the initial low prices were essential to the resurgence of an industry whose value had halved due to illegal file-sharing, and that some services had begun to raise prices, he said Spotify was now the lowest form of entertainment where monetisation was available. He believes music is the entertainment with the highest affinity, greater than movies and TV shows, because it is used the most. Therefore, it also has the highest form of engagement, the highest formal affinity and the lowest cost per hour, which in his view this does not seem right.