Are you ready for the first streaming-led Q4?

Are you ready for the first streaming-led Q4?

As the busy Q4 release schedule commences, record labels are starting to reveal their streaming plans for key albums.

The streaming format fuelled another quarter of growth in overall music consumption in Q3 - the format now accounts for 42.4% of all music consumption - and looks set to do the same in Q4, despite the season usually being dominated by physical music sales. Those will no doubt prove crucial again as gifting plays its part but, in a sign of just how vital streaming has become to the business, Music Week enquiries reveal that new albums from Emeli Sandé, Michael Bublé, Susan Boyle, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs and The Weeknd are all set to debut on all streaming services, both free and premium, on release.

Last week, the president of Sandé's label Virgin EMI, Ted Cockle told Music Week: "We don't want to frustrate any of our business partners, or any of her potential audience."

So far Music Week has not uncovered any planned exclusives, although Island act Bon Jovi have been playing new album This House Is Not For Sale in full at specially organised listening parties live streamed by Tidal. Lady Gaga, Metallica and Alicia Keys have yet to reveal their streaming plans.

In 2015, artists such as Coldplay and Adele windowed their album releases on streaming platforms, while 2016 has been nominated by a number of streaming exclusives. Back in August, after Frank Ocean preceded new album Blonde with Apple Music exclusive Endless, Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge decreed the major would step back from future streaming exclusives. 

So far, it seems to be working...

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