The DualDisc CD/DVD hybrid is finally getting a wider release this month thanks to Sony/BMG. Many naysayers on the net have already dismissed the format in part due to problems with an earlier version. But I think the format has potential giving the fan a richer experience with music, video, liner notes, behind the scenes footage, and a myriad of other possibilities.
The HollywoodReporter.com provides some basic release details: "After postponing a fall 2004 launch, Sony BMG is set to introduce its first DualDisc titles. A blitz of 18 releases will arrive Feb. 8; more will arrive Feb. 22 and March 1. Among the scheduled DualDisc releases are AC/DC's "Back in Black," David Bowie's "Reality," Destiny Child's "Destiny Fulfilled" and Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue." Titles by Good Charlotte, Incubus, Usher, Yo-Yo Ma and Los Lonely Boys are also set for release. The launch will feature current and catalog titles and will be followed by a second group of at least 10, tentatively scheduled for late March. Releases will then come on a regular schedule, Sony BMG executives say. DualDisc is a dual-sided CD/DVD hybrid, featuring standard two-channel 16-bit/44.1kHz audio on one side and such multimedia content as high-resolution, surround-sound audio mixes, videos and documentary footage, Web links, liner notes and photos on the other. The major labels test-marketed the product last year in Boston and Seattle."
FMQB.COM reports that "MTV will take the wraps off the new look MTV2 during the halftime of the Super Bowl. MTV and MTV2 will both air a preview special of MTV2, which features a combination of music, shows and random content geared toward young males. The new MTV2 is slated to launch at midnight on February 7..."
Much hoopla correctly has been made about how the iPod is transforming the way that people experience music and therefore the music industry itself. An iPod on shuffle replaces the need for radio. But how does an iPod user discover new music? In a download dominated world, it's all about the single song instead of the "album". But how can the industry make the 99 cents (or less) transaction model profitable and how do artists develop loyal fans when their connection with them is only 3 minutes long?
These are tough questions, but the answers must begin by fully understanding the cult of the iPod and a new Wired.com article is a great place to start:
"Markus Giesler, a 28-year-old assistant professor of marketing at York University in Toronto, is fast becoming a bright light in high-tech consumer research. "
"A former record producer and label owner, Giesler has researched and written extensively on technology, consumption and marketing. He has published papers on topics as varied as the gift economy of Napster; risk taking in online file sharing and "post-human consumer culture."
"Giesler is currently conducting a study of iPod users and their music-listening habits. He has set up the iPod Stories website to solicit tales of iPod consumption, which he will craft into an ethnographic study called "iPod Therefore iAm."
"...According to Giesler's preliminary research, the iPod isn't simply an updated Walkman. It's an entirely new beast: a revolutionary device that transforms listeners into "cyborgs" through a process he calls "technotranscendence."
"Unlike the Walkman, the iPod taps into a "hybrid entertainment matrix," in which functions like random shuffle are a key construct, not just a cute marketing device."
"IPod and user form a cybernetic unit," said Giesler. "We're always talking about cyborgs in the context of cultural theory and sci-fi literature, but this is an excellent example that they're out there in the marketplace.... I have seen the future, and it is called the cyborg consumer."
The cyborg consumer, Giesler said, is one that uses several different technologies -- from cell phones to Viagra -- and is highly connected, technically and socially.
The iPod, for example, isn't just an MP3 player. It's an extension of the memory: storing the soundtrack of a lifetime, as well as names, addresses, calendars and notes.
Giesler notes that users give their iPods names, and carry them close to their bodies -- the vibrations of the hard drive makes the device feel alive."
"Consumers often say the iPod has become part of themselves," Giesler said. "The iPod is no longer just an instrument or a tool, but a part of myself. It's a body extension. It's part of my memory, and if I lose this stuff, I lose part of my identity."
"Giesler argues that technological products like the iPod allow consumers to become "technotranscendent." Consumers transcend the here and now through the use of technology, like kids playing video games."
REMEMBER WHEN MUSIC USED TO BE THE TRANSCENDENT FORCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES?
Read the entire article here.
The Orchard, a large distributor of independent music owned by Dimensional Associates, announced on Monday that it has licensed portions of its 300,000-song catalog to eight mobile services, which will in turn offer them as master ringtones to their customers. The deal will license The Orchard's content to Dwango Wireless, Zingy, 9 Squared, HIFI Ringtones, IAM Mobile, Securycast, Arvato Mobile and Hudson Soft. In addition to tracks from artists ranging from Beck and Coldplay to Ravi Shankar, the agreement includes comedy tracks from Jerry Seinfeld and George Carlin. Additionally, New York-based Dimensional Associates announced the formation of Dimensional Mobile Entertainment (DME), a new unit that will focus on mobile media through development and acquisitions. DME plans later this year to launch an eMusic Mobile service, offering a single subscription to its eMusic catalog for both PC and mobile usage.
The Universal Music Group is set to launch it's own video channel THE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FEED. Few details are available, but it appears likely that the channel will feature primarily (or entirely?) UMG's worldwide artists presented with an international flair. While its hard to imagine watching a channel knowing that it's only programming music and videos from a single (albeit large) source, kudos appear in order for their international approach. In an increasingly global cultural, travel, and business environment, it's encouraging to see someone bringing this sensibility to the enjoyment of music.
The Hollywood Reporters writes from MIDEM that, "Music must not only be protected but also made easier for consumers to move around and enjoy if the digital world is to succeed, speakers at the MidemNet conference leading into the annual Midem music market agreed Saturday. "Right now, it's more of an iPod revolution than a digital music revolution," said keynote speaker Mike Conte, Microsoft's MSN Marketplaces general manager and head of MSN Music. "But even the most optimistic reckonings say the digital music space is 2% of music right now. It's important to grow this market together." New International Federation of the Phonographic Industry chairman and CEO John Kennedy, in his first speech at Midem since succeeding Jay Berman, said that iPod should get credit for helping the music industry recover in 2004, but he said the biz would not turn the corner until 2006. "If 2006 is to be the year the suffering ends, then governments and ISPs must start the work now," Kennedy said. "Interoperability, especially, has to be addressed."
There is a great article in the London Telegraph on the growth and future of internet broadcasting and the incredible variety of formats available.
"Video killed the radio star," sang Buggles in their number one hit of 1979. A quarter of a century later, the lament has proved to be a long way wide of the mark. Radio is more popular, and more accessible, than ever before. And now, having evolved through AM, FM and digital incarnations, a new radio revolution is underway – on the internet."
Read the full article here.
|One day after George Bush took the oath of office for his second term as President of the United States, various sources are reporting that FCC Chairman Michael Powell is planning to resign today after four years at the helm. |
Previous speculation on a reason for a possible Powell resignation centered on his exploring a run for governor of Virginia. He was appointed an FCC commissioner in 1997 by President Bill Clinton.
So who could possibly replace Powell at the head of the FCC?
The Wall Street Journal speculates that Commissioner Kevin Martin, former Texas Public Utility Commission leader Becky Klein, the NTIA's Michael Gallagher, telecom consultant Janice Obuchowski, ex-ICC Chairman Darius Gaskins and former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jim Miller could all be in the mix.
Powell's legacy will likely be the crackdown on allegedly indecent programming that was instigated by Janet Jackson's nipple being exposed at last year's Super Bowl. While in his position Powell accomplished the elimination of interference with public safety wireless communications and was an advocate for digital television and broadband Internet expansion."
According to the Hollywood Reporter, "The Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, has resuscitated the Verve Forecast imprint -- the home of a bright array of developing talent during the '60s -- as an enclave for new nonjazz acts addressing the adult contemporary market. Initial signings for the imprint include blues-rock singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi; Old 97s front man Rhett Miller; the blues-inflected Sacramento, Calif.-based, singer-songwriter Jackie Greene; eclectic New York quartet Brazilian Girls; and English singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson. Verve Music Group president/CEO Ron Goldstein -- who also oversees the jazz labels Verve and GRP -- noted that the recent success of jazz-oriented Verve releases by Diana Krall, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, Jamie Cullum and the "Verve Remixed" albums spurred the rebirth of the Verve Forecast brand."
The Hollywood Reporter writes that the "Universal Music Group reinforced its belief in the mobile entertainment space by establishing Universal Music Mobile US and appointing Rio Caraeff to head it as vp and general manager. The new division is the United States counterpart to the Paris-based Universal Music Mobile International, which launched in 2002. Caraeff will be based in Santa Monica and report to Zach Horowitz, UMG president and chief operating officer. Horowitz said UMM-US will pursue opportunities in all types of mobile content, not just music. "The mobile market has quickly become one of the industry's most powerful platforms for delivering content directly to consumers," he said."
Cingular Wireless said on Thursday that it partnered with Sony Ericsson and Sony Urban Music on a hip-hop artist talent search that will include the chance for finalists to perform alongside hip-hop artist Xzibit on his upcoming national tour. Selected finalists who submit an original song will have their track converted into a ringtone that Cingular will distribute, asking subscribers will vote for their favorites via text-message.
Chaoticom, a provider of mobile music download services, announced on Thursday that it has signed a license agreement with major record label EMI, to offer full-length song downloads of 200,000 tracks from EMI artists to cell phone users. The deal now gives Massachusetts-based Chaoticom's agreements with all the major record labels for mobile music delivery. The company's service is currently available to 24 million European wireless subscribers through carriers Eurotel, Orange, Pannon and Telenor.
FROM FMQB: "Sony BMG has announced plans for its new Global Marketing Group, which is a specialized unit that will support the company's labels, repertoire centers, operating companies, and respective international departments around the world. The mission of the Global Marketing Group is to create worldwide campaigns for Sony BMG's major releases and developing artists in order to build global music stars. The group is based in New York but will also have marketing teams in Europe, Latin America, the Asia Pacific region and Japan."
"I'm pleased to announce key members of the newly formed Sony BMG Global Marketing Group, which, together with every marketing and promotional professional at the company, will make Sony BMG an unrivaled marketing force," said EVP and Chief Marketing Office Tim Prescott. "In today's fast moving music world, there is no longer any such thing as an isolated, local market. With this in mind, we've appointed this new team as a unified group capable of creating cohesive, fully integrated global marketing plans for the benefit of our artists and projects."
The key appointments are:
Tim Delaney has been named SVP, Global Marketing, Europe. He will be based in London.
Daniel Levy and Ryan Wright have both been named VP, Global Marketing and will be based in New York.
Luana Pagani has been named SVP, Global Marketing, Latin. She is based in Miami but will report to the New York office.
Cate Smith has been named VP, Global Marketing, Asia/Pacific. Based in Sydney, Smith also will report to the New York headquarters.
Daniel DiCicco has been named VP, Global Marketing, Japan and will be based in Tokyo.
Guy Kinnell has been named Senior Director, Global Marketing and Waco Moore has been named Director, Global Marketing Services.
eMusic, the world's No. 2 digital download service selling nearly two million tracks monthly, today announced the addition of hundreds of leading indie labels and artists to its rapidly expanding catalog.
The addition of these sought-after tracks reinforces eMusic's position as the most diverse and critically acclaimed music service in the world. Coveted tracks from artists including Bjork, The Hives, Cowboy Jack Clement, Waylon Jennings, June Carter Cash, Soul Asylum, Beck, Dead Milkmen, Modest Mouse, Mickey Hart and Kitaro; as well as the addition of the largest Frank Zappa catalog available in digital form, enhance the already expansive offerings of the largest catalog of indie music ever assembled.
In addition, eMusic announced continued sales growth in Q4, selling more 4.75 million digital downloads, making it second only to iTunes for holiday season download sales.
"If you took the ten hippest record stores across the country, added the 100 most knowledgeable music critics, and put them in the digital music world, you would have eMusic," said David Pakman, COO of eMusic and a managing director of Dimensional Associates, the private equity arm of JDS Capital that owns eMusic, The Orchard and Dimensional Music Publishing. "Our catalog is diverse, eclectic, surprising, well-considered-and growing daily-a far cry from the top-100 fare offered by the other services. And, we've assembled an unprecedented team of music critics to help 'curate' your experience. As more and more music fans discover eMusic's universally compatible and restriction- free catalog, we expect continued growth throughout 2005 and beyond."
CLICK BELOW FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF NEW EMUSIC LABELS.
From the Hollywood Reporter: "More than 200 million music tracks were downloaded legally in the United States and Europe last year, up from a year-earlier 20 million, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Wednesday. Releasing its second-annual IFPI Digital Music Report, the trade body said that legal music sites had quadrupled to more than 230 last year, bringing record companies their first significant revenue from the digital format. IFPI said that analysts Jupiter Research estimated 2004 digital revenue at $330 million and predicted they would exceed twice that figure this year."
From FMQB: "FCC Chairman Michael Powell has released an official statement confirming reports that he has opened payola investigations involving Armstrong Williams and WKSE/Buffalo Program Director Dave Universal.
"In response to recent reports regarding potential violations of the 'payola' and sponsorship identification provisions of the Communications Act, I have instructed the Enforcement Bureau to open two investigations:
One into issues regarding commentator Armstrong Williams; and the other into issues regarding station WKSE (FM), Niagara Falls, New York, licensed to a subsidiary of Entercom Communications Corporation.
These provisions govern disclosure and sponsorship identification regarding payments or other consideration in connection with broadcast programs."
(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) -- Napster experienced strong subscriber growth during the recent holiday period as paid subscribers increased sequentially by 50% in the quarter ending December 31, 2004. Napster ends calendar 2004 after just over a year of operation with 270,000 paid subscribers, including 44,000 paid subscribers participating in its university programs.
"We believe 50% quarter over quarter subscriber growth makes Napster the fastest growing music subscription service in the industry," said Chris Gorog, Napster's chairman and CEO. "These results, combined with industry analysts' projections, continue to support our belief that the future of digital music is subscription services. We expect to continue to drive very substantial subscriber growth in 2005 starting with the upcoming consumer launch and marketing campaign for 'Napster To Go,' the world's first portable music subscription service." --Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen
Musicrypt Inc., a leading enabler of user-friendly and secure music distribution today announced, it will enter the United States Music Industry in early 2005, partnered with Billboard Radio Monitor, following an extremely successful year in Canada. Musicrypt’s Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS) is the premier digital music distribution system in the industry. DMDS is currently used by over 85% of the Canadian music industry. Major Canadian broadcast chains representing 100% of all chart monitored radio stations also use DMDS.
Musicrypt’s DMDS is an easy to use web-based system that requires no expensive software or hardware. Musicrypt delivers music simultaneously nationwide and is available 24X7. Its advanced technology allows record labels, and broadcasters to control the delivery and receipt of their music. .
"Musicrypt's DMDS has dramatically increased the speed of delivery for SONY/BMG’s new music, internally and to the trade. Our promotion, marketing and sales staff now work with portable digital devices rather than bulky CD libraries.” Said Norman Miller, VP Digital Business, IS&T and Marketing Services for SONY/BMG Canada, Inc. “We expect to eliminate the distribution of advance music on CD (to the industry) altogether in 2005.
Musicrypt has securely delivered over a quarter of a million deliveries’ to date with today’s hottest music chart toppers such as Shania Twain, Britney Spears, U2, 3 Doors Down, Green Day, Tim McGraw, Usher and hundreds of others.
“Based on the high demand for more advanced digital distribution in the music industry, we are looking forward to launching into the U.S. market early this year.” stated Cliff Hunt, Chairman and co-founder of Musicrypt.
As the year draws to a close we're seeking nominations for a list of the top campaigns, trends and products shaping the music industry in 2004-2005.
Nominations are being accepted in two categories: Big Budget Campaign, Trend Or Product and Small Budget/No Budget Campaign, Trend Or Product. “We know that big money and major labels are often not the driving force behind new and powerful trends and it’s time that the underground and independent innovators get honored too,” say Hypebot.com founder Bruce Houghton of Skyline Music.
Up to ten nominations per category should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to January 10th. Ten winners in each of the two categories will be chosen by Hypebot and panel of industry professionals and will be announced before the end of January.
Information Week reports that while subscriptions to both Sirius and XM Satellite Radio continue to grow, each is still operating at a loss. XM reported a loss of $304 million on revenue of $161 million through the first three quarters of 2004, after reporting a loss of $319 million on revenue of $92 million in 2003. Sirius reported a loss of $450 million on revenue of $41.6 million through the first three quarters of 2004, after reporting a loss of $226 million on revenue of $12.9 million in 2003.
While the operating losses are substantial, both companies are still spending big money on new content, which they hope will offset losses. XM is looking to break even in 2006. "We don't directly tie subscribers to a profitability timetable," said XM Manager of Corporate Affairs David Butler. "We do believe we can be looking at break even in 2006."
Sirius VP of Corporate Communications Jim Collins points to both services still being in an early growth mode and says losses will turn around in time. "We have enough assets to get to the finish line," he told Information Week.
From FMQB: MTV Networks, which controls MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, has struck a deal with Verizon Wireless to deliver television programming to cell phones. MTV Networks will launch 3G (third generation) video programming in conjunction with Verizon's launch of its broadband EV-DO service in February, according to the New York Daily News. MTV plans to take shows like VH1's Best Week Ever, for example, and customize it for cell phone users.
"Consumers are increasingly incorporating wireless content into their daily lives and MTV Networks will extend our reputation for creating compelling programming into the wireless world in even bolder new ways," said MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath."
"In addition to this new venture, MTV is also expanding its ringtone business. The Daily News says that MTV plans to unveil a service called "Made Hear" which offers original ringtones. The network also is creating an album featuring original ringtones created by Rap producer Timbaland. And VH1 just launched a mobile content store where users can buy thousands of popular ringtones as well as exclusive pop culture wallpaper images."
From The Hollywood Reporter: Hewlett-Packard's chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina called on several famous friends to help make the point that her company's plans for entertainment go far beyond the desktop computer. It was all part of her keynote speech at the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show. Bolstered by the presence of such luminaries as DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg, Matt Damon and Gwen Stefani, Fiorina's consistent message was that innovation improves everyone's lives. "The digital revolution is about the democratization of technology," she said on Thursday. "It's about giving power to the people." Fiorina unveiled the latest HP Digital Entertainment Centers, which feature high-definition ATSC tuning capabilities, and what she described as the industry's first HDTV media hub, a product that combines HDTV, a digital cable set-top box and a dual-tuner digital video recorder with the ability to access and manage photos, music and video.
C-Net concludes that thanks to broadband and a number of other factors internet radio is poised for future growth. "Radio analysts say Clear Channel (who has just begun a nojor online ititaitive for its 1200 stations), along with other broadcast radio stations, is being pushed online and toward new technologies by a fragmentation of its own market and by growing competition from satellite radio. Mix the power of Internet radio with those new delivery tools, and terrestrial radio begins to look increasingly fragile, unless it's online too, some observers worry. "
"What changes radio isn't necessarily the incursions made by Internet radio now; it's what happens if there is wireless broadband," said Sean Ross, a radio analyst at Edison Group. "There will be a day when every radio station can be on the car via the Internet, instead of via signal. That's making radio stations that pulled off the Web four years ago come back on."
Read the entire article here.
From FMQB.COM: "After a four-year decline, album sales jumped slightly in 2004 with 666.7 million albums sold last year, compared to 656.2 million in 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Overall music sales in the U.S. were way up, thanks largely to a significant spike in download sales in 2004 that translated to a gain of 733% over 2003 figures. Last year saw 140,902,000 downloads sold, up from 19,200,000 in 2003. 5,536,000 digital albums were also purchased in 2004. Albums, singles and digital track sales rose to 817 million in 2004, up from 687 million in 2003.
"There were 817 million decisions made to purchase music in 2004," Nielsen Music President Rob Sisco told AP. "That's a number that we haven't seen the likes of in years."
The top selling albums of 2004 included: Usher Confessions (7,978,594); Norah Jones Feels Like Home (3,842,920); and Eminem Encore (3,517,097).
The top downloaded songs of the year included: Hoobastank "The Reason" (379,839); Maroon 5 "This Love" (346,922); and Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get It Started" (328,239)."