Winner and loser of the week: Huawei’s new market and Spotify’s power

Julia had the chance this week to experience a new market entry at first hand with the Huawei FreeBuds Studio. The manufacturer offers its first over-ear headphones with ANC and targets Bose, Sony & Co. With Spotify, David had a real bone to pick.

Musicians have it very hard at the moment. While restaurants and bars can keep their heads above water during the second lockdown to contain the pandemic, at least with takeaway offers, many artists are falling by the wayside. Concerts cannot take place and thus the important merchandising business, with which the most money can often be made in times of music streaming services, falls away. Spotify, still the leader in online music streaming, announced a rather controversial new system this week. But before I reveal why Spotify qualifies as our loser of the week. Let’s take a look at our picks.

Winner of the week: Huawei and the FreeBuds Studio

Because my colleague had the chance to test the new FreeBuds Studio of Huawei this week. The logo of the Chinese company on the side of the new headphones looks a bit unusual at first, I think. Normally, wireless over-ear headphones with ANC and a price tag of £300 are reserved for names like Bose, Sony, and for some time now also Microsoft. Now Huawei is pushing into the market, naming its product on the much speculated Apple AirPods Studio and delivering a surprisingly solid first appearance.

After her test, Julia thinks that the Huawei FreeBuds Studio sounds excellent for the recommended retail price of €299 in Europe. Particularly good was the battery life and wearing comfort. Compared to the Sony WH-1000XM3, which are already a bit old, the battery life is excellent, and the new Huawei headphones can be recharged within a very short time thanks to the quick charge function. Here’s her conclusion in short:

All-in-all you get very good headphones for the money with outstanding battery life. Bravo, Huawei! This is a great entry into the over-ear market.

The detailed version of this headphone review will be coming to NextPit very soon. Currently, you can also find a review of the SoundCore Life Q30 on our homepage, if the new Huawei headphones are too expensive for you. The cheaper alternative also comes with ANC and costs less than 100 bucks.

Loser of the week: Spotify’s new Song Booster Service

If you have already pre-ordered the FreeBuds Studio (the release is on November 9th), you can connect the headphones to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This makes it possible to use music streaming apps. But David recommends a small boycott of the platform this week. The platform introduced the new song booster service, a feature that could become a problem for artists. Basically, it is about a new possibility to gain reach with your music. Titles that are especially important to a musician, their showpiece songs, can be offered to a potentially larger audience with just a few clicks.

Spotify Streams 102720 v4
This way Spotify knows what music you like to listen to most. / © Spotify

According to Spotify, the probability that the song will make it into the coveted radio playlists is therefore higher. This sounds very good in and of itself, but the tender for the song boost service is at the expense of the royalties that Spotify pays to artists. Since this is already dwindling compared to other music streaming providers, the revenues become a farce, especially for small artists. In his article, David describes the situation in more detail and is of course happy to hear your opinion on the subject. What is exciting here is that an artist himself gives his opinion in the comments.

How, when, and where do you prefer to listen to music? Do you still own CDs and vinyl, or do you rely on streaming services?

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