Black windowing

2016/05/20 by Lassi A. Liikkanen

Black windowing – the curse on the streaming music service customers

Streaming digital music has brought consumers many delights of accessing, sharing and discovering music in unforeseen quantities. But there are also points of pain. One of those has been aching for months and that’s what I call black windowing.

Black windowing is the practice of releasing records at different times to different channels. Most typically it means indefinitely postponing release of the most recent album by a front line artist on the popular streaming music services. This is similar, but conceptually different from a exclusive publication on a certain channel. For instance, Kanye West initially released his album The Life of Pablo only on Tidal. This exclusive that also included black windowing as a later release on other platforms was not announced.

Here’s a recent example I posted in moment of despair:

Windowing itself is not a new practice to entertainment industry. Movies for one are known go through a predictable cycle from theaters through airplanes, rentals, streaming services and finally broadcast.

The worst thing about it is the lack of transparency. Other than that I’d not call it black. The consumer who is invested in a single streaming ecosystem has a considerable inertia to overcome if they want to return to buying (or licensing) music mode.

I blame the artist

The artist may blame the ecosystem, but I, the consumer, blame artist. Especially should I invest my money on a MP3 or physical version of the recording – only to find out that the music became available next day on my favorite, premium subscribed streaming platform.

Hey artists, you don’t really need my grudge on that!

Professionals, get a grip!

Labels and artists, get your stuff together! This is an awful and immature behavior in a global business. The pioneering streaming services Deezer and Spotify have been around nearly ten years. Spotify in particular has a well known revenue sharing model so all big artists should have accurate predictions what they will earn at each platform. Thus, make the decisions and make it public.

Come up with a transparent windowing model for digital music. One that is actually visible, understandable and actionable for consumers. Don’t screw up people who’ve give up privacy to support your cause. Announce that you're following a 3 or 12 month streaming window and I'll be able to coordinate my own behavior around that.

I have nothing to do with inventing this madness. I am merely suggesting a name for this evil spell that rids current music streaming landscape.

Related content:
Liikkanen L. & Salovaara A. (2015) Music on YouTube: User appropriation and engagement. Computers in Human Behavior. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.01.067, 2015/04/20

YouTube music video typology illustratation and two short stories on related, world's first studies on YouTube music listening, 2015/04/20

Information about INMI researchers around the globe, 2015/02/22

No comments for this page
Add comment | Show all comments

Name*:
Email*:
Your email will not be shown publicly or disclosed to third parties, it is used to validate messages
Location (City, Country):
* This information must be provided

Keywords: [music] , [media_psychology] Document's status: Ok (Document dates explained)

This document created: 2016/05/20
Modified: 2016/05/20
Published: 2016/05/20


This document's permanent URI (linking):
http://iki.fi/lassial/columns/music/160520-Black_windowing

© Lassi A. Liikkanen 2016. All rights reserved.
^Top of the Page^

*Change layout:
Printable printable
Large text

Myydään:

@lassial Twitter feed: