Warner Chappell Music has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with singer/songwriter duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, winners of this year's "Best Original Song" Oscar for "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once".
Under the agreement, Warner/Chappell Music will administer Hansard's and Irglova's catalog of work, including songs written by Hansard as a member of the band The Frames, music from Hansard's and Irglova's debut album, "The Swell Season" and songs from the "Once" soundtrack, as well as their future compositions.
Last week guest blogger Bill Houghton of BroodingSavage.com called ad supported music unsustainable. (read here) Some readers strongly disagreed and I published a rebuttal from Marc Cohen of Ad Supported Music Central. (read here) Today Houghton returns to take on MySpace Music and the on-demand music sector.
Several companies, including LastFM and Imeem, are attempting to build advertising supported music services, and now MySpace has announced intentions to enter the fray. Lets be clear about one thing… these companies are not offering "free" music. They’re offering free on-demand radio. There’s a big distinction.
First, there are already niche players like Last.fm and Pandora, and I applaud these services - especially the service they provide to Independent artists. But music streamed from a website is not very compelling if I can’t take it with me, collect it, and keep it as part of my personal history. Streaming music through a website is not the type of innovation MySpace needs.
Second, it's not certain that MySpace can even make this business work. News Corp can’t even sell it’s existing ad inventory on the site -- falling short by about $4 billion. MySpace has an estimated 2.4 trillion ad impressions annually, but no ability to monetize them. A music service will simply add additional unsold inventory to that overstock. The result will be MySpace eating the cost of the music licenses, or the devaluation of their ad inventory to near $0. (Michael takes his argument further in a two part series on BroodingSavage.)
MORE EXPANSION AHEAD
Last.fm has launched a new section build.last.fm designed to showcase third party applications and widgets for the music discovery and social networking site. The apps extend the Last.fm experience across the web.
Examples include apps for Realtime, Skype and the BBC.com. All were developed using the site's open platform architecture and free webservice tools which have been available since 2003. The company estimates third-party apps on other sites (Facebook, bebo, etc.) added 19 million music fans to its user base in January in addition to the 21 million on the the Last.fm site itself.
Last.fm promises more expansion in 2008. “Our web services will be massively expanded in 2008, and Build.last.fm is the cornerstone of that strategy. The developer community is an integral part of the Last.fm experience and is really what makes the Last.fm platform so strong."
> A fragmented digital marketplace is hurting European download sales. (ars)
> Universal Music Group is buying the Univision Music Group from Univision Communications. The purchase includes Univision Records, Fonovisa Records, Disa Records, Univision Music Mexico and Univision Music Publishing. (FMQB)
> Artists managers are demanding a share of the revenue that labels received from settlements with Napster, You Tube, Kazaa, Bolt.com and others. The Napster alone was $270 million. (NY Post) While the managers claims may seem like another money grab as the ships sinks, in truth their artists lost revenue when their music was used by these music services yet on the labels profited from the settlements.
> LIVE INC NEWS:
> The man behind MP3.com and other more recent Music 2.0 startups like MP3Tunes, Michael Robertson, has a new product called SyncWizard that scans any PC, locates the most valuable personal data from mp3's to your Outlook contacts and stores it in an encrypted format online. The data is safely back-upped in the cloud or can be opened online for any location. (InformationWeek)
> Creative Commons creator Lawrence Lessig has ruled out a run for Congress.
> Get your daily dose of rock wisdom @ TheRockDose.com.
Dave Clark Five lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia in London Thursday just two weeks before the band was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 64.
Smith had been admitted to the intensive care unit Wednesday with a chest infection, a complication from a 2003 spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below the ribcage with limited use of his upper body. (band bio)
Facebook has just launched two new "Pages" for music and film designed to lure more musician and film makers and ease the way for them. The new templates include applications specifically designed for music and film like a review app, tour dates app, the ability to sell tickets and merch, a Flash player, music player and co-branded Facebook applications from sites like Fandango and iLike.
The move is designed to help the social networker compete with MySpace and the massive music and film content and communities found there. A major unveiling is planned for SXSW,
“I think it’s fair to say that 2007 marked the tipping point as far as mobile music adoption was concerned," says report author Dr Windsor Holden. "Far more subscribers began downloading and subscribing to music content in developed markets, and it must be said that that the publicity surrounding the iPhone launch undoubtedly contributed to consumer awareness of mobile music services per se.”
However, the Juniper report also argues that current prices for ringtones are unsustainable and may already have peaked in a number of developed markets, arguing that competitive pricing allied to a steady migration to ad-funded and self-generated ringtones causing the decline.
> A Point Topic study predicts major consolidation in the digital music space this year and next with Real, Microsoft, Nokia and others going on a buying spree. (Hollywood Reporter) You've got our number.
> OneRepublic's "Apologize" has become only the second song in history to score 3,000,000 digital song downloads, following "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" from Soulja Boy Tell'em earlier this year according to SoundScan. (press release)
> Two groups representing China's local musicians and songwriters have filed a lawsuit against the country's top search engine Baidu alledging copyright violation. (Reuters)
> There have been top level promotion staff shifts at Virgin. (FMQB)
> Pass or fail? A look at the RIAA's college campus campaign on its one year anniversary. (ars)
> WORTHY CLICK: INDISTR empowers indie artists who want to take the Radiohead/AmieStreet fan driven pricing approach. Artists keep 75% and get paid instantly.
Buddy Miles, who co-founded and played drums in the Band Of Gypsys with Jimi Hendrix, passed away on Tuesday yesterday in Austin, Texas at the age of 60. Here's some great footage of Buddy from the Hendrix documentary:
"The next Big Thing is a dozen things". - Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG
"Anyone who has spent an hour or a day listening to demos understands the labels' place in the food chain." - Ted Mico, Interscope
"Music 1.0 is dead". - Ted Cohen
“The biggest opportunity we have is to create an access model to the consumer, where the consumer can consume the music in a virtually limitless way.” - Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG
Apple announced that iTunes is now the number two music retailer in the US, behind only Wal-Mart, based on the latest data from the NPD Group and that iTunes now has 50 million customers. The store has sold over four billion songs with 20 million songs sold on Christmas Day 2007 alone.
The #2 claim is based on data from market research firm the NPD Group’s MusicWatch survey that captures only sales that consumers reported in the past week unit and counts one CD representing 12 tracks excluding wireless transactions. According to NPD, The iTunes Music Store became the second-largest music retailer in the US after Wal-Mart based on the amount of music sold during 2007 according to this measurement. SoundScan which measures actual sales continues to rank Amazon above iTunes.
> We've been hearing increasing gossip of various WMG labels reaching out to new A&R sources. Now comes word that celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton is negotiaing for a Warner Bros. Records A&R post. (NY Times) When will the madness end?
> Destiny Media, developer of a platform for secure digital distribution of pre-release music to radio, Play MPE, is now also offering playerless download, which enables its customers to download tracks from any computer web browser. (press release)
> Limewire has signed a deal with RedEye for P2P distribution. (RouteNote)
> Sirius narrowed its losses as subscribers grew. Regulatory approval of merger with XM
still looms. (FMQB)
> OurDigitalMusic proclaims "Amazon MP3 Is The Best Place To Buy Downloads".
Beggars Group needs an enthusiastic Apple support who is not afraid of Windows, who can handle hardware and software roles with calm efficiency and isn't fazed by networks, servers or printer issues. They have a high percentage of mobile staff, so laptop to smart phone, desktop to router, you will deliver.
Not only will you work in our New York office, which is newly fitted,running a gigabit LAN and private LES circuits to our offices in Europe, you will travel 6 to 8 weeks a year through those offices working with colleagues with the same passion to give the best to the best.
Just in case you thought that the RIAA was making a little headway or that it was still somehow possible to slow unauthorized downloading...here comes, PiraBoogle, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek mash-up of Google and Torrent sharing websites.
The developers even wrote us. "We thought it fun to showcase how easy it is to provide a really easy-to-use Torrent file search engine with Google's own tools given all the recent coverage about PirateBay.org being sued and Yahoo removing PirateBay from its search results" Fun indeed.
Cat Power, Interpol, The New Pornographers, Sigur Rós, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Devendra Banhart, Belle and Sebastian and more join fan-driven pricing movement.
UPDATED: It's said that no single revenue model will drive the next generation of music companies - ad supported, pay what you want and artist subscription are all finding a place along side more traditional revenue schemes. Another innovator AmieStreet seems to be single-handedly proving that fan driven or perhaps more accurately popularity driven pricing has a place in the new music industry tool box.
Starting today, thousands of tracks from indie label leaders Beggars, Matador, and Polyvinyl will be available on AmieStreet at prices determined by the site's fan driven service. All songs on Amie Street are initially free to download and then rise in price based on popularity up to 98 cents.
Only seven hours after launch some of the newly added tracks had risen to 44 cents (Of Montreal's "Suffer For Fashion") while other popular indie artists like Belle And Sebastian still had tracks offered free. AimeStreet also offers users an array of juried and fan driven music reccomendation and discovery tools that appeal to artist and labels trying to find ways to win new fans.
UPDATE: The price for Belle And Sebastian has risen and AmieStreet tells us this is all just normal fan activity. I asked if the price goes down as interest wanes and was told no, but they are not ruling out doing that in the future.
A guest commentary postulated that ad supported music is an unsustainable model.
"People seem to all be looking for one way to 'fix' the woes of the music industry. There isn't one way and never will be...Business as usual, just spread more thinly over more ground..."
Join the discussion here.
A rare video interview with Interscope's Jimmy Iovine drew mostly negative comments and a few supporters.
"Ya'll MFs are crazy! Jimmy was kicking sme serious knowledge. major labels are huge boats that are very hard to change course with, it's good to see a captain who has a clue."
Join the discussion here.
> The debate is just beginning about "Free! Why $0.00 Is The Future Of Business" the new book by WIRED editor and Long Tail author Chris Anderson. I view "free" as only one tool, but its important to understand its potential. Anderson's WIRED article is the place start. Check out today's AimeStreet announcement for another tool in the new music industry tool box.
> According to The NPD Group, the amount of music acquired in the U.S. increased 6% in 2007. An increase in legal downloads could not offset declines in CD sales, which resulted in a net 10% decline in music spending from $44 to $40 per capita among Internet users. The overall portion of music that consumers actually paid for fell to 42% in 2007 from 48% in 2006. (press release)
> With major royalty reform being debated in Congress, the usual players are making their arguments. Monday The artist and fan centered MusicFirst coalition released three tough questions it would like to have Congress ask the National Association of Broadcasters when hearings begin. Read them here.
> RIAA again fails to get a judgment against defendant that didn't even bother to show up. (ars)
> A new study takes a look at how consumers interact in the digital environment. (How To Change The World)
> Bandloop tries to streamline band and fan relationship. (Listening Post)
Last week we posted a guest commentary by Bill Houghton which concluded that ad-supported music is not scalable. Marc Cohen who blogs at Ad Supported Music Central disagrees and we invited him to share his thoughts.
The first incorrect assumption is that the success of ad-supported music should be measured by whether it can “fully subsidize music”. No one who advocates ad-supported music believes that it will, or should, be the revenue strategy for all recorded music.
The new world of recorded music is one where the hegemony of the CD is gone. In its place will be many ways to obtain and pay for recorded music. Ad-supported music will be only one of those forms - albeit a significant one.
Bill Houghton’s second assumption error is the fatal one and illustrates the blinders that most...
Warner Music Group announced this morning that effective June 1st, Michael Nash will be promoted to Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development, succeeding Alejandro (Alex) Zubillaga. Nash will be responsible for the company's worldwide digital strategy including mobile.
Zubillaga, who is also Bronfman's brother-in-law, joined WMG in 2004 from one of the venture capital firms that purchased the label group that year. He is leaving to "pursue entrepreneurial activities in media and other businesses."
Nash, whose career is more grounded in digital, has served as WMG's SVP Digital Strategy and Business Development since February 2000. He was once labeled a "visionary" by The Atlantic Monthly, and since joining WMG in 2000, has overseen WMG's new media projects, strategic relationships and business development activities.
Free on demand music is officially a hit.
CBS owned Last.fm says it has had a unique listener bump of 92% in the four weeks since the launch of their free on-demand music service. In addition, unique visitors continued to show sustained growth, up 59%, and page views increased 58%. Last.fm says it has 21 million active users worldwide monthly.
Currently the free-on-demand service is available in the U.S., U.K. and Germany without registration or the download of any software and is scheduled to roll out globally in the coming months.
> Warner Music Group's executive vice president of digital strategy, Alex Zubillaga, is leaving the business in June "to pursue other opportunities". (Reuters) Zubliga - who is WMG CEO Edgar Bronfman's brother in law - came aboard as part of the venture capital purchase of the music group in 2004. Now perhaps someone with more appropriate experience can lead the important charge towards digital. (Ethan, clean up your desk. Maybe they'll promote from within.) SEE MAJOR UPDATE
> STUDY THE STUDIES:
> Google's new AdSense For Video program may provide a real revenue opportunity for labels and producers of music videom according to Listening Post.
> The owner of a pirated Beatles web site is jailed for 18 months in Brazil. (IFPI)
> 44 Blue Productions, a top supplier of reality, documentary, lifestyle, and action-adventure programming tapped the Alan Ett Creative Group to its "virtual music department".
> Just make sure you didn't miss anything important last week, don't miss our Music 2.0 Week In Review.
> Vivendi has launched Zaoza in Europe offering unlimited mobile downloads. Is this a preview of Universal's Total Music service?
> A rare and rambling interview with Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine.
> One of the largest indie labels TVT has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the CEO Steve Gottlieb explains why.
> SXSW 2008 by the numbers. Is bigger better?
> A fun look at the desk of Warner Brother Record's VP of Technology Ethan Kaplan.
> A new RIAA training video has a sad resemblance to to the paranoid hysteria of "Reefer Madness".
> Is the ad supported music model unsustainable? Digital consultant Bill Houghton thinks so..
(Join the discussion and read a guest rebuttal from Ad Supported Music Central here.)
" Despite the release of Spiralfrog, Qtrax, and other ad-supported music services, it’s not possible to fully subsidize music via traditional digital advertising. The size of the digital music market is simply too large to be subsidized by the online advertising industry.
A quick analysis of both industries illustrates the point. Including P2P downloads, the online music industry has an estimated value of about $30 billion and rising. That number will only rise as in-store CD sales continue their slide. Free and subsidized distribution models also will increase the percentage of music distributed online.
Meanwhile the total revenue from Internet advertising across all markets and platforms is about $20 billion...