Jon Maples - The Access Generation - SIC2012
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Jon Maples - The Access Generation - SIC2012

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Jon Maples, Vice President, Product at Rhapsody ...

Jon Maples, Vice President, Product at Rhapsody

The Access Generation

The sudden importance of personal media devices like smart phones has driven consumption of content to an all time high. And with nearly unlimited access to content—from music to books to video—its place in our lives has changed. Through his experience building digital music products and services, Jon Maples has a front row seat to how Rhapsody’s unlimited catalog and around-the-clock access have not only lead to a behavioral changes, but a change in how we identify with, consider and value content in our lives.

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  • Entertainment content is something we think we’re in control of. We choose what and when to consume our favorite tv shows, books, games and music whenever we feel inspired and consume it the way we want to.  But what if I told you that the way we consume content has inherently changed how much we consume, what we listen to and where you listen to it. What if I told you that devices today have made us all more omnivorous in our content consumption, which brings more value to your life, but also causes content to be more temporal and fleeting in our lives.
  • My name is Jon Maples and I’m the VP of Product Management and Content Programming at Rhapsody. For those who aren’t familiar, Rhapsody is a streaming music service that features a catalog of 16 million songs that are playable on demand for a flat rate of ten bucks a month. We’ve been offering the product since Listen.com came up with the idea of the celestial jukebox in the sky back in 2001 and through the hard work of many very talented people, three different parent companies and a fair chunk of change, we now have over a million subscribers. The service offered as Rhapsody in the United States and Napster in Europe. We’re now an independent company headquartered right here in Seattle, just about a block away.
  • The service started out as a PC desktop application before Steve Jobs released the iPod or the iTunes music store. A customer had to download software, install it and have it tethered to their PC and internet connection. This was the era before the mass proliferation of wifi, so customers were sorta stuck playing music tied to a power outlet and an Ethernet chord. Since then we’ve been working on aligning the product with our customer’s lives. What does that mean? Outside of making the service as fast and reliable as we possibly can, we’ve also spent, and continue to spend, a considerable amount of our resources on integrating the service with a range of devices. There are hundreds of devices a customer can use to access Rhapsody, from Smart TV devices to personal digital media players to in-home multi room systems like Sonos.
  • We first started experimenting with these devices when we signed a deal with Verizon back in 2006. Back then it was feature phones and sideloading. Meaning you’d plug up a phone like the LG Chocolate to your computer and transfer tracks that you wanted over to the device. It was a bit cumbersome and glitchy, but customers could make it work. Things changed forever when two huge events happened: Apple developed the iPhone and opened the App Store to developers like us.
  • But what we weren’t on in those days were those ubiquitous iPods that seemed to be everywhere almost overnight. You couldn’t escape them. Apple sold over 300 million over an eight year span and it was the first thing most people asked when I told them about Rhapsody back in the day. “Will it work on my iPod?” Sadly, no. But the world changed.
  • By far and away the devices that have exploded in popularity and usage in the past few years are mobile devices. Mobile, in particular smartphones, have given us the opportunity to embed services like Rhapsody into customer’s lives.  
  • When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, he and said it was a phone, a music player and an Internet device. I’m not even sure he could even imagine that when they opened the App Store in 2007 that he would be creating a heart rate monitor,
  • a camera that would utterly make digital video and still cameras pointless, [SLIDE: GUY WITH A MILLION CAMERAS TAKE A PICTURE WITH AN IPHONE], a cash register, a GPS good enough to kill that market, a cab hailer, a travel agent, a personal video player, a virtual coach
  • and a babysitter [SLIDE: ANGRY BIRDS].
  • Customers love it. Satisfaction surveys of the iPhone and iPad are off the charts. And young people in particular think it’s one of the most important products in their lives. A recent Neilsen survey showed that Americans those under 25 think it’s more important to pay their cellphone bill before they’ll pay rent.
  • Between cellphones and the explosion of tablet devices, it’s safe to say that the post-PC era is well underway. And while this has started as a first world phenomenon, there’s nothing in the phones that someone in the developed world didn’t have access to before. The penetration of TVs is over 100 percent. Digital cameras, GPS’s, and pretty much everything a smartphone can do is accessible and relatively cheap. These devices just unify the experience and do it better, easier and much more cheaply
  • But in the third world, smartphones will bring access to a variety of high end tools for their lives that they never had access before. In the excellent book That Used To Be Us Michael Mandelbaum and Thomas Friedman’s refer to it as Flat World 2.0. [SLIDE: FLAT WORLD 2.0 CONNECTIVITY + MOBILE + CLOUD = WORLDWIDE MARKET]. They describe the rise of always on connectivity, combined with mobile devices that can go anywhere, and the advent of cloud computing creating a worldwide market where skilled workers in a places like
  • Sersi, an agricultural trading center of about 90,000 located in the Indian countryside compete with folks from around the world.
  • They’ll have the same tools at their disposal as the highly skilled professionals in New York, Seattle or Brisbane. Since these phones are going to be so important everywhere, Rhapsody believes every smart phone sold in the world creates a potential customer. Immediately. That’s why you see companies like us and our competitors quickly rolling out to the entire world.
  • So what has all these devices meant to music customers? The space has seen significantly more usage. And while in some instances it has replaced current formats, it has in essence beem additive usage. Nielsen will capture more than 30 billion streams and transactions in music. More than ever recorded.
  • But before we dig into these questions, I’d like to show you a clip of music listeners and how they’re using the products today. We recently performed an ethnographic study of digital music listeners to see how they use the products in their lives. You’ll hear more about these folks later.
  • Rhapsody is arranged by a proprietary genre tree that we consistently adapt when the latest trend happens so customers can find music based on a style, or a genre of music. We have twenty top level genres like Rock/Pop, World, and Rap Hip Hop. We also have over 300 subgenres that are much more targeted, like Alt Country, Ska Revival, and Baroque Pop. It’s the primary way that customers have related to music since the advent of the record store, since most retail outlets were organized in this fashion.
  • Genres not only organize music, but when I was growing up, it defined who you were musically. In some respects, they were concrete dividers that you didn’t cross. Back in my day, the punk rockers didn’t mix heavy metal burnouts who wouldn’t even look at those guys who were into R&B or funk. And god forbid if you listened to disco. Even as a guilty pleasure. That’s another term that seems to be headed for the woodshed of history, btw. So a genre wasn’t just a classification. It was also an identity and a social order. And while genre identity still exists today, after the launch of the original Napster, where the access model got its first, and some would still say its best, exposure, it is far from locked down.
  • First the data: We’ve done studies of our best customers, and what we’ve found is that their behavior has changed.  To get a better idea of our core customers—the ones who have opted into our Rhapsody Sounding Board influencer program to give us feedback on new products and give us insights when we need them--we studied their behavior over the past 18 months. We looked at where they played music, what artist from different genres they listened to and how much they consumed. In 18 months:-they listened to music classified in all 20 top level genres-on average they listened to music in around 150 distinct genres-they sample like crazy to see if they like it not something or not. They play an average of distinct tracks somewhere north of 500 and there’s a fairly large chunk of users who are way, way north of that. Somewhere around 1800.  And these are primarily customer who have been with us the longest. They tend to be older and aren’t the young world that grew up listening to music on YouTube. Actually this group under-indexes for mobile usage, where we’ve seen a titanic shift in adoption.
  • Our mobile customers skew younger than the sounding board members. Maybe not quite as young as the YouTube generation, but closer to that age. And they have driven an enormous amount of our usage growth for Rhapsody. Since the release of the first mobile app, we’ve seen our plays per customer spike enormously.
  • And maybe even more importantly, we’ve also seen our days with a play increase almost at the same rate. We believe that days with a playis our most important as it deter 
  • To follow our statistical analysis, we commissioned an ethnographic study. We talked to people who looked like our best customers in one on one interviews. We went into their homes to see how they consume music in their lives and what they think and feel about music.
  • I’ve got some more clips to show you about how people are interacting with music today. This first clip points to the value of music for customers. So yeah, music fans show lots of value for sharing in a way that they’ve never been able to. But it also leads to pre
  • With just a click
  • And with so much content being consumed, as we spoke about before,
  • And that identity has started to change music. Just last week Billboard annouced that they were changing the formula of their charts. Instead of just top 40 radio, the charts now look at social platforms and streaming as well as purchases to come up with new charts. The reaction hasn’t been widely loved, but it certain seems to reflect more of what’s going on in the world, as you can see by Psy, the Korean YouTube superstar who took the music world by storm with Gagnam Style. Would have Psy ever been able to even sniff the charts without massive sharing?
  • And it’s even changing artists and music itself. We’re seeing bands move away from narrow definitions of what was expected from artists in genres. Country superstar Taylor Swift’s lead single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together was co-written and produced by SWEDISH POP GURU MAX MARTIN, who is famous for working with some of biggest pop stars in the world, from Keisha to Britney Spears and it sounds like it. Country stars used to crossover from their genre to pop, but generally they’d fully pivot their careers to be defined by pop. Now genres can wildly fluctuate from song to song. Other examples: rap star Lil Wayne released a rock record this summer. Even Grammy winning indie stalwart Bon Iver featured auto-tune on several tracks, an vocal technique more identified with hip hop than indie rock. Kanye West became a fan and covered Bon Iver’s song Up In The Woods on a recent release.
  • In past generations, moving from genre to genre was explosive. For example, the groundbreaking video for Aerosmith and Run DMC covering Walk This Way was a huge deal. Remember both groups dissing each other in the video before they came together to sing the song? All the fans of Aerosmith weren’t exactly into the mashup either. Garth Brooks decided that when he wanted to record a rock record and his audience would never accept it. Hence the birth of Chris Gaines, who looked alot like Trent Reznor. Obviously outside of the questionable decision to create a new persona, it is very different than today. Can you imagine Taylor Swift changing her persona to put out a another genre of music? It would be unheard of. Even legacy acts like Willie Nelson can move from country to reggae without anyone batting a lash. Although that might be more of a brand extension for Willie.
  • My next clip explores how the size of the catalog and the intensity of the content is affecting their experience.
  • Rob Gordon from High Fidelity was an outlier.
  • MEANING TO THEIR LIFE RATHER THAN IMMERSED IN THE PERFORMANCE, BUT IMMERSED IN THE MOMENT.

Jon Maples - The Access Generation - SIC2012 Jon Maples - The Access Generation - SIC2012 Presentation Transcript

  • THE ACCESSGENERATIONHOW MEDIA CONSUMPTION ISCHANGING THE WAY WE USE ANDTHINK ABOUT CONTENT IN OURLIVES
  • LISTEN.COM (1999)
  • RHAPSODY THROUGH THE YEARS View slide
  • RHAPSODY “PORTABLE” MUSICCIRCA 2006 + View slide
  • MOBILE DEVICES +UNLIMITED CONTENT =EXPLOSION OF MEDIACONSUMPTION
  • SMARTPHONE SATISFACTIONJP POWER & ASSOCIATES, SEPT 2012
  • WORLDWIDE SMARTPHONE SALES1 BILLION ACTIVE SMARTPHONES
  • FLAT WORLD 2.0 CONNECTIVITY + MOBILE + CLOUD = WORLDWIDECOMPETITION
  • 2011TRANSACTION & Overall Albums CD 331,000,000 227,000,000PERFORMANCE Digital Albums 103,000,000TO TA L S Vinyl Albums 2,900,000 Other Albums 81,000 Digital Tracks 1,271,000,000Sales through 1/3/2011-1/1/2012 (52 Weeks).Streams include: Yahoo!, Streaming 21,000,000,000AOL, Napster, Rhapsody,Slacker, MediaNet,Guvera, Thumbplay, Vevo,Akoo, and others. Airplay Airplayinlcude: US Terrestrial,Satellite, and TV Video. Radio Spins Radio Audience 158,000,000Slide format stolendirectly from JayFrank’s awesome 842,000,000Breakthrough Trends TV Video Spins will capture more than ,000 Nielsenin the Music IndustryNew Music Seminarpreso, which you canread here. 30 BILLION 753,000 Streams & Transactions in 2012
  • TODAY’S QUESTIONS• Have always-connected devices combined with unlimited access changed how we listen?• Has it changed the importance of music in our lives?• Do we relate to music and artists who create it differently?• And have these changes made artists rethink about the way they make music and relate to fans?
  • MUSIC LISTENING ZONE
  • SOUNDING BOARDLISTENING BEHAVIORIN THE PAST 18 MONTHS:-LISTENED TO MUSIC CLASSIFIED IN ALL 20TOP LEVEL GENRES-AVERAGED LISTENING TO MUSICCLASSIFIED IN 151 DISTINCT SUB-GENRES-SAMPLE LIKE CRAZY TO SEE IF THEY LIKE ASONG OR STYLE-AVERAGE OVER 500 DISTINCT TRACKS-LARGE PORTION OF CUSTOMERS AVERAGEOVER 1800 DISTINCT TRACKS
  • KEY RHAPSODY METRICS PLAYS PER USER
  • KEY RHAPSODY METRICS DAYS OF PLAY
  • ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDYSTUDIED 36 DIGITAL MUSIC LISTENERSOVER A PERIOD OF SIX WEEKSTHREE PHASES• DIARY STUDY OF PEOPLE’S LISTENING HABITS• ONE ON ONE INTERVIEWS IN SUBJECT’S HOMES• GROUP GATHERINGS TO TALK ABOUT MUSIC’S ROLE IN THEIR LIVESCONDUCTED BY STORYLINE RESEARCH AND PRODUCTIONS
  • MUSIC AS CURRENCY
  • SHARING BEFORE
  • SHARING TODAY
  • 2011TRANSACTION & Overall Albums CD 331,000,000 227,000,000PERFORMANCE Digital Albums 103,000,000TO TA L S Vinyl Albums 2,900,000 Other Albums 81,000 Digital Tracks 1,271,000,000Sales through 1/3/2011-1/1/2012 (52 Weeks).Streams include: Yahoo!, Streaming 21,000,000,000AOL, Napster, Rhapsody,Slacker, MediaNet,Guvera, Thumbplay, Vevo,Akoo, and others. Airplay Airplayinlcude: US Terrestrial,Satellite, and TV Video. Radio Spins Radio Audience 158,000,000Slide format stolendirectly from JayFrank’s awesome 842,000,000Breakthrough Trends TV Video Spins will capture more than ,000 Nielsenin the Music IndustryNew Music Seminarpreso, which you canread here. 30 BILLION 753,000 Streams & Transactions in 2012
  • IS VARIETY THE NEW MUSICIDENTITY?HUGE CATALOGS OF MUSIC +ALWAYS AVAILABLE PERSONALDEVICES +EASY PERSONAL AND BROADCASTSHARING =MASSIVELY INCREASEDECLECTIC LISTENING
  • “I HAVE A HOT 100THEORY ALLTHE GENRESIN MUSIC ARECOAGULATINGINTO ONE BIGMONOGENRE”-KYLE CORONEOSSAVING COUNTRY MUSIC IN THE NY TIMES
  • GENRE COAGULATORS
  • GENRE BENDING LAST GENERATIONAEROSMITH AND RUN DMC CHRIS GAINES
  • MUSIC DISCOVERY AS CRAFT
  • COLLECTIONS BEFORE
  • COLLECTIONS TODAY
  • MUSIC IDENTITY AS AGENCY
  • ACCESS TO CATALOG CREATESLISTENING ISSUES• CURATION FOR CUSTOMERS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER• UNLIMITED MUSIC = SHORTER SHELF LIFE• MOVING ON TO THE NEXT THING QUICKER THAN EVER• CHARTS AND POPULARITY MORE FLUID?
  • “Music technology insome ways appears tohave been on a trajectoryin which the end result isthat it will destroy anddevalue itself…. Thetechnology is useful andconvenient, but it has, inthe end, reduced its ownvalue and increased thevalue of the things it hasnever been able [to]capture or reproduce.”