This year, hip-hop superstar Drake broke a record by becoming the first artist to clock 10 billion streams on Spotify – which helped make him the most popular male artist on earth in 2016.
The streaming success of rappers like Drake, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Future and others is also having an unexpected consequence on the bottom line of your cell phone bill.
Last week, the big three providers – AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, announced lower than expected earnings for the quarter.
Fans of these rappers have an insatiable appetite for streaming music and media to their phones thanks to platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and others.
This huge demand for data has forced the big phone companies to rollout plans with unlimited data packages for their customers.
Thankfully, data prices fell a little bit under the Obama administration’s federal regulations of the telecom companies through the 2015 Open Internet Order.
The growing demand for streaming music and videos from your favorite rapper could also usher in a regression for music, movies, and even Drake’s career.
Thanks to sweeping new “Net Neutrality” rules ushered in by President Trump’s FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, the big three will no longer be regulated like public utility companies.
They will be mostly left to self-police themselves and their businesses and artists like Drake could suffer tremendously under the new rules.
Most acts in the business live and die on around promotion through streaming outlets like Apple/Beats 1, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud and other streaming platforms.
Here is an example.
Just today, Drake’s biggest crush, Nicki Minaj, dropped her video for the single “Regret in your Tears.”
The Young Money rapper dropped her video via Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service, which is now owned by Sprint.
The fear is that the competing telecom providers like Verizon and AT& T will play favorites, and throttle the speeds of their competition on their networks in the preference of preferred partners.
This could create an unbalanced landscape for the speedy delivery of Nicki’s video if the competition even carries it.
Spotify released some data from their platform, to underscore how big the problem is.
On average, half of the world’s Internet users now consume streaming content. In mature digital markets, such as the United States and Sweden, more than 60% of the population streams. And this trend can only be accentuated, since many streamers are part of the Z generation that grew up with streaming.
More than 60% of streaming is now mobile, generating new moments within the day during which brands can reach their audience.
Mobile musical moments, such as “sport” and “work” generated up to $220 million in additional advertising revenue in the 7 markets surveyed.
Streaming enthusiasts are more likely to have increased usage of all types of media than other users, and 23% prefer to access content rather than own it.
They are also more open to content discovery, using personalized recommendations to discover new features.