« March 2008 | Main | May 2008 »

eMusic Launches In Canada

Emusic_2 eMusic launches its subscription music and audio book service in Canada today. The company's catalog of 3.5 million tracks includes such Canadian indie labels as Nettwerk, Arts & Crafts, Justin Time, Secret City, Mint and Paper Bag.

Canadian pricing is a bit higher than in the US. After 50 free downloads and 2 free audio book at sign-up:

Music

  • eMusic Basic  -  30 downloads $11.99
  • eMusic Plus  -  50 downloads $17.99
  • eMusic Premium  -  70 downloads $23.99 

Continue reading "eMusic Launches In Canada" »


Wednesday's Music 2.0 Briefing: XM & Sirius, EMI Cost Rises & Much More

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

> XM and Sirius have delayed their annual meetings pending their merger.

> The cost of Terra Firma's purchase of EMI could rise 170M pounds sterling because of previous pension plan commitments. (FT)This could also be slowing restructuring plans.

> MySpace has launched a karaoke channel powered by fellow Fox company kSolo.  Users with a mic can sing along to hits and store up to 10 songs for the world to hear. (OurDigitalMusic)

> Weezer is promoting its new CD via a "Food Fight" on Buzznet. (press release)

>  Retailer HMV is launching a social networking site "Get Closer". (Telegraph UK)

Mouse > WORTHY CLICK: Mobilearts.net's mission is to share music from many countries with the world.  This French based English language site shares free downloads and more.


Universal And Sony BMG Invest In MOG

Mog Universal and Sony BMG have joined The Angels Forum 74 in a $2.8 million investment in music social networking site MOG. The major labels are desperately trying to broaden their failing business model; and part of that strategy has meant investing in Music 2.0 companies including Buzznet and now MOG.

COMMENTARY: There's a lot to like about MOG including a nice player and some deep user generated content.  But I've never been a fan of the part of their interface which requires that you let MOG look at the music you store on your computer.  Will Sony BMG and Universal now be able to see that copy of Bowie Live in Berlin that I grabbed from Pirate Bay? And if so, what will they do about it? 


Top 10 Stations On Sirius And XM

Based on weekly cume via RAIN

Sirius At Sirius:
   1. Howard Stern’s “Howard 100”: 1,200,000
   2. “Hits 1” (CHR): 584,800
   3. “Howard 101” (description here): 501,100
   4. “New Country”: 468,300
   5. “Big 80s”: 417,900
   6. “Octane” (hard rock): 383,700
   7. “Classic Vinyl” (early classic rock): 347,100
   8. “Classic Rewind” (later classic rock): 335,500
   9. “The Pulse” (90s and contemporary hits): 330,000
  10. “Totally 70s”: 309,400

Xm At XM:
   1. “Top 20 on 20” (CHR): 1,049,200
   2. “Flight 26” (modern AC): 741,600
   3. “80s on 8”: 698,300
   4. “70s on 7”: 687,400
   5. “60s on 6”: 581,300
   6. “Highway 16” (new country): 579,500
   7. “Top Tracks” (classic rock): 534,900
   8. “The Blend” (Lite pop hits): 532,400
   9. “The Heart” (love songs): 493,400
  10. “Fox News” (news/talk): 464,800


New Coldplay Explodes On Last.FM

1 PLAY EVERY TWO SECONDS SINCE RELEASE

UPDATE:  As of Wednesday AM  it has currently been listened to on Last.FM over 33,000 times, still around 1 play every 2 seconds.

Coldplay Last.fm says the new Coldplay single ‘Violet Hill’ has been listened to 10,000 times in the 5 hours since it was released this morning. That’s 1 play every 2 seconds. The last time a track was listened to this much on Last.fm was ‘15 Step’ from In Rainbows, which clocked up close to 22,000 listens in 12 hours.

"It’s a pretty impressive listening figure for Violet Hill, suggesting you can’t go wrong giving people access to free music – something you know we approve of." says Last.fm PR manager Christian Ward. Coldplay are one of the most popular bands on Last.fm with 51 million listens.  The track is also being offered as a free download for a week on the band's web site and free NY and London concerts are said to be in the works.


Grand Theft Auto Tags Amazon For In Game Downloads

Grand_theft_auto_4 Starting today, players of Grand Theft Auto IV can look up songs they hear in the game with the touch of a controller, then access and download personalized playlists of those songs from Amazon MP3.

Amazonmp3 Amazon has also added a dedicated storefront promoting music from Grand Theft Auto IV. The store is organized by radio stations within the game, and will feature the new 16-song album “The Music of Grand Theft Auto IV”.

Here’s how "discover and download" works: While playing Grand Theft Auto IV, players can listen to 200+ songs across 16 in-game stations. A new GTA IV feature called ZIT lets customers ‘tag’...

Continue reading "Grand Theft Auto Tags Amazon For In Game Downloads" »


N.I.N. - Serving The True Fan, Again

Yesterday Nine Inch Nails announced a unique concert pre-sale that offers registered fans the best seats, a ticket imprinted with their name, early venue access and more. Mastermind Trent Reznor even shares that he's not sure he can't do better:

Nin "We've been working very hard to get the best tickets in the hands of the fans, bypassing scalpers, ticket resellers, and ticketing agencies... This has been a difficult process to bring together outside of The Spiral (NIN's fan club), and frankly, it's a work in progress."

Combine the pre-sale with the recent d.i.y. album release that offers everything from a free 9 track sampler to a $300 Ultra Deluxe Limited Edition, and you get a picture of a musician deeply concerned with serving fans.  Whether the motivation is morality or commerce really doesn't matter. Reznor gives all his fans - from the casual to the committed - what they want.

There's really nothing revolutionary here, he borrows many of his marketing concepts from others. But like any good artist that borrows from the past and present, he  combines concepts in unique ways that speak to his audience. In doing so, Reznor is paving the way for the next generation of musicians who control their content and thrive via a connection to fans. There's no reason that next-gen music execs can't follow Reznor's lead as well.


Tuesday's Music Briefing: WalMart Pricing, ProjectPlaylist Sued, Coachella Radio & More

UPDATED

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

> WalMart continues to push CD prices downward with a slew of $5-$10 newer titles. (WalMart.com CD's Under $10 via DMN)

> Apple is threatening UK lawsuits to stop cheaper iPods imported from the US. (Register) I guess Steve thinks he can manipulate the global economy too.

> Nine labels are suing ProjectPlaylist.com citing massive copyright infringement. (Reuters)

Radio > Clear Channel is launching a new eclectic radio format inspired by the Coachella Festival. It debuted this weekend as a mock pirate radio station at the festival and now moves online at erockster.com and eventually to HD radio. (NY Post)

> TouchTunes is partnering with Rock The Vote for a mobile register to vote campaign. (press release)

> A look at the next generation of music execs at EMI and Sony BMG. (FT) When they talk about guys in their 40's being the "next gen" in banking, I accept it. When its music, next gen should mean 20's.


Warner Brothers Records LA Seeks Interns

Help_wanted FROM WBR: If you are in the LA area,we are seeking interns. You can get school credit. We need interns who can work their way through technology systems such as mailing list managers, content management, uploading graphics, updating social networking sites.

Basic HTML or PHP is a huge plus. We have a cool work environment that is super casual and fun.

E-mail wbrtech(@)gmail.com with a resume.


Op-Ed: Will Labels Share New "Taxes" With Artists?

Former indie promo man David Sherbow shares a very different perspective in this rebuttal to our recent Op-Ed from Music Manager Forum CEO John Webster on the a proposed iPod tax:

Through my independent promotion company I have broken over 100 No. 1 records over the past 10 years.  I have managed and booked lots of acts in my life.  There is not much I don't know about record companies and what they do. 

Lately, record companies especially are doing everything they can do to manipulate  ISP's and device manufacturers to pay what amounts to a tax to help subsidize creativity and facilitate the future for musical artists everywhere.  Does Mr. Webster or anyone else for that matter know exactly how those at the top of the value chain, i.e. record companies, plan on filtering this potential billions of dollars collected by them down to artists at the bottom of the value chain?  Mr. Webster does not speak to this.

Sherbow110 I have seen a lot of recording contracts in my 30 years in the business and I don't remember seeing any clauses anywhere that will cover how an artist signed to a particular label may share in these types of proceeds that will be generated from this new "tax."

I have never had faith in the integrity of large record companies distributing their proceeds fairly.  Maybe some of that faith will be restored if  I can really understand how record companies plan to share this money with their artists and what procedures will be put in place to insure a fair and equitable distribution of these new funds. - David Sherbow


Nokia's "Comes With Music" Comes With High Price

Nokia_comes_with_music_lowres NEW DETAILS EMERGE

Nokia is looking at a "crippling" financial bill for its "Comes With Music" program bundling free music downloads with phones, according to the UK's Register.

Universal Music and Sony BMG are on board and The Register claims that Nokia must pay the wholesale per-unit rate for downloads over a certain ceiling - reportedly just 35 songs per user. "It will cost Nokia a fortune - it's a reckless business move," an insider and supporter of the concept told the Register who also claims that at least two senior execs have been replaced over problems with the business strategy.

COMMENTARY: Something feels wrong with these numbers; but as I've written before, the devil is always in the details. I've asked repeatedly how the money would trickle down to artists and that question remains unanswered. But if the Register's reporting is true, the money the labels will receive are even higher than anticipated.

I also predict that if these numbers are correct "Comes With Music" will not come for long.


iTunes Turns 6 - Much To Celebrate, But Danger Ahead

iTunes celebrates its 6th birthday today.  With an estimated 70% of the worldwide music download market, Steve Jobs & Co. have much to be proud of. A new InStat survey predicts thatBirthday_cake 25% of the overall worldwide music market for iTunes by 2012. But to maintain its dominant position, iTunes has much work to do and some tricky competitive waters to navigate.

Six month after Amazon began offering DRM free downloads from all four major labels and thousands of indies, the majority of music sold on iTunes still carries Apple's proprietary DRM that tethers downloads to Apple created products. The labels may or may not be to blame, but its hard to imagine that Jobs could not move the DRM-free forward if he chose to.

As DRM free music spreads to more stores and new services, iTunes will find that it has more than just Amazon to compete with. MySpace Music, Nokia's Comes With Music, imeem, WE7,Applelogo SpiralFrog, Rhapsody and Napster, niche players and services not yet imagined each have the potential to whittle away at Itune's market share.

Then there's the slow rate of digital music adoption. 85% or more of music is still sold via physical formats. Some consumers are unwilling to give up their home stereos and their autos don't have compatible docks. So, for many, the CD still feels like a more portable product.  RIAA lawsuits, label embedded copy-protection and Apple's insistence on its own proprietary DRM have all led to consumer confusion and among younger buyers deep cynicism.

Congratulations iTunes, on your 6th Birthday. But look over your shoulder; there are a bunch of kids chasing you.

POLL: WHAT DO YOU THINK ITUNES' MARKET SHARE WILL BE BY 2012?  VOTE HERE.


Monday's Music 2.0 Briefing: RIAA Stats, We7, Metallica D.I.Y. And Much More

HYPEBOT FEATURES

> The RIAA releases in depth sales figures for 2007.  No surprises, but interesting reading if you want to understand the stats behind the pain. (pdf)

> The biggest IP offenders are in Russia, China...and Canada...A newWe7 study via ars.

> We7 adds promised free streaming for 500,000 SonyBMG acts and some indies. (press release)

> Metallica hints they be the next major band to go the D.I.Y. route. (Rolling Stone)

> Irish ISP is sued by record labels for aiding piracy. (DMW)

> iTunes could capture 25% of worldwide music market by 2012. (Wired)


Join The Debate: Will Music Become "Modest Niche Business"?

"It's very 'in' now to hate the major labels, and I won't defend many of their practices. But the fact remains that at least 75% of your favorite albums came from one of theses companies. To think that the death of these companies will not result in lower-quality releases is wrong." - Barry M

"Is there money to be made in music 2.0? Absolutely! Accessibility is as great as ever and music consumption is at all time highs. Now, we must figure out a way to monetize that situation." - Adam Wexler

"Music will never become just a niche business. 99% of those in the digital music space continue to abdicate the function of new core artist music discovery to major labels and their larger independent counterparts." - David Sherbow

JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE.


Music 2.0 Week In Review: Capital Layoffs, Nokia Denies Payments, Starbucks Cuts Music & Much More

Capital_records > There were major layoffs at Capital and Virgin Records, but Greg Thompson was promoted to EVP of a combined promo staff

> Nokia denies making high payments to labels for "Comes With Music". Sony BMG says they'll sign on anyway. I still want to know how the acts get paid.

> The slow economy is beginning to effect entertainment spending

> Starbucks is pushing music to the back burner

> Only 42% of music consumed in US is paid forMicrosoft

> Microsoft says it will stop supporting license keys for songs bought at its own former MSN Music. Bad move.

> Will music become a "modest niche business"?

> Music magazine ad revenue dropped 28% last quarter

> An Op-Ed from Jon Webster of the Music Managers Forum in support of the UK iPod tax

> MySpace has launched 1000 outside applications for use on personal pages

> Looking back at a big month of deals and changes in the new music industryLivenation221205

> Concert giant Live Nation plans an ambitious slate of summer contests despite a slowing economy

> Sonific's Songspot has shut down blaming major labels.

IN BRIEF: SXSW sets '09 dates, eMusic added more classical, EMI Pub promoted two execs, Sony bought Gracenote, Fontana to distribute Pulse, Andy Kingston now EVP Sonicbids, SprialFrog hired Russ Geiger as VP


Starbucks Pushes Music To Back Burner

Starbucks A year ago Starbucks moved more aggressively into music with releases by Paul McCartney and others that many saw as hopeful signs for a struggling industry. Now SVP Entertainment Ken Lombard is out and day to day control of the Hear Music label is moving to partner the Concord Music Group. The changes are  part of a company effort to re-focus on the core coffee business.

Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, has been promoted to senior vice president and will assume the leadership helm of the Entertainment category as part of his responsibilities.

Starbucks will continue its relationship with the William Morris Agency to identify book projects as well as the Apple and AT&T strategic relationships designed "to enhance the customer experience through the use of wi-fi and other in-store technology".

Continue reading "Starbucks Pushes Music To Back Burner" »


MySpace Launches 1000 Outside Apps

Myspace The MySpace Application Gallery has now officially launched. Since the beta launch in March, MySpace has added more than 1,000 approved outside apps. The apps come in a variety of categories including music, politics and causes, quizzes and polls, and video and have been installed 2.1M times.    

All approved applications have their own profile page similar to MySpace user pages and the Application Gallery will be accessible to all international users in their native language.        

Developers can access the MySpace Developer Platform Site.

(press release)
   


A Big Month For Music 2.0

It has been a month of major announcements, changes and acquisitions for the new music industry and in this guest post, Scott Perry of the always informative NewMusicTipSheet.com does a great job of chronicling them:

I haven't seen a land-grab like this since 1999. Call it a land-grab, call it an explosion of innovation, but the steady trickle of new developments in online music consumption and communication has turned into a flood as of late.

Videogum Let's pull out our dance card, folks: in the past month alone, Pitchfork and Stereogum have both launched video destinations, and PluggedIn went public
Ingrooves with their music-based HD video community site. Universal has made strategic investments i n PluggedIn (which is also partially funded by Welk Music Group founder Kevin Welk), online distributor InGrooves, and music-based social net Sonybmg Buzznet. Buzznet has purchased the music blogs Stereogum and Idolator, which raised question by other blogs about their futureBuzznet_logo unbiased-ness. Tommy Hilfiger has launched a video destination via SonyBMG, SonyBMG's myplay is growing as an ad-monetized social net, all the labels continue to monetize their sites' traffic with ads, and Music.com has quietly transformed...

Continue reading "A Big Month For Music 2.0" »


Friday's Music 2.0 Briefing: PirateBay Hits 12M, UK Secondary Ticketing & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES -

> File sharing hub PirateBay now claims to serve 12 million users (TorrentFreak)

> Live Nation schedules conference call for Thursday, May 8th at 5PM EST details here.

> The UK has decided not to further regulate the growing secondary ticketing business. (Celebrity Access)

> Reciva net radios are adding access to MP3Tunes lockers. (press release)

> Czech police have shuttered a major server offering up pre-release tracks. (IFPI)

> Agenda announced for LA Games conference. (press release)


Help Wanted: Orchard Seeks Royalties Database Assistant

Help_wanted As a service to the industry, Hypebot publishes free job openings and internships. Email yours here and see more opportunities on our free music industry job board.

Digital distributor The Orchard is seeking job candidates for Royalties Database Assistant with MySQL experience. Responsibilities include:

  • Assist in converting statements sent in multiple formats into a common format for uploading into our database.
  • Research missing song metadata in our internal databases.
  • Organize statements received by email and FTP into our file system.
  • Prepare lists of data updates for our partners.
  • Assist other departments as needed during downtime and royalty runs.

Candidate should have:

Continue reading "Help Wanted: Orchard Seeks Royalties Database Assistant" »


Live Nation Plans Ambitous Summer Despite Slowing Economy

Livenation221205_2 Despite a weakening economy, Live Nation today announced an ambitious slate of summer tours and performances.  “This summer we are staging concerts in more than 30 countries around the world,” said Michael Rapino, head of Live Nation. “We expect a very strong season as our global platform will be fully utilized by an anticipated 7,500 shows during our busiest season."

Festival That means that from May 1st until the end of September, Live Nation will produce an average of nearly 50 shows per day. By the end of the summer, they anticipate that they will have sold more than 27 million concert tickets worldwide. In the United States and Canada, Live Nation will produce the following tours:

Continue reading "Live Nation Plans Ambitous Summer Despite Slowing Economy " »


Will Music Become A "Modest Niche Business"?

Money FORGET ABOUT STOCK OPTIONS & IPO RICHES

Earlier this week Silicon Alley Insider reviewed a survey showing distrust of record labels, took a quick look at the state of the industry and declared that music was fast becoming a "modest niche business".

Even if SVI is right, there is still money to be able in the niches. (Remember the Long Tail?) So they asked readers what opportunities they saw to make a buck on music.

"....the artists will win...There's only one party that has any coherent vision, and it's the artists. Radiohead may be the first, but they won't be the last."

" label-type entities, unburdened with legacy cost structures, that can increase the likelihood of scoring popular acts by signing multiple acts - but without large advances and perhaps sharing a bit more of the upside"

Looking at the ideas, two venture capitalist said most ideas designed to make real money in music are D.O.A.  Music's inability to deliver the 3X return that VC's look for as well as legal battles that haunt many music startups are to blame. (Music discovery was one bright spot where VC's see potential according to Digital Music News.)

TWO THOUGHTS:

  1. Who cares? One of the great things about 2.0 is that you don't need VC cash to start a business or to create, distribute and market content?
  2. What's so bad about a bigger and broader artistic middle class alongside entrepreneurs to service and support it?

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is there money to be made in Music 2.0?  Or do you even care about the money?


Big Changes At EMI's Capital & Virgin

Capital_records Down-sized:

  • Virgin VP Promo Dave Reynolds
  • Virgin DR of Promo Operations Jordan RosenblattVirgin
  • Virgin Boston Regional Promo James MacDonald
  • Capitol Chicago Regional Promo Amy Kaplan
  • Capitol Florida Pegional Promo Ric Austin
  • Several assistants in LA including Jen Kelly

Promoted:

  • Greg Thompson, EVP of Promo. He will oversee a consolidated promo staff that will work all Capital Music Group label releases except Christian

More: FMQB, Billboard


Thursday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Microsoft Defends MSN Shut Down, GetBack.com & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

> Microsoft's Rob Bennett defends the decision to shut down MSNMicrosoft Music's licensing servers. "...Every time there is an OS upgrade, the DRM equation gets complex very quickly...Every time, you saw support issues. People would call in because they couldn't download licenses. We had to write new code, new configurations each time...We really believe that, going forward, the best thing to do is focus exclusively on Zune." (cNet) Best thing for who?

> Nokia adds several music smartphones to compete with the iPhone. (TechWeb)

> New nostalgia music, film and TV site Getback.com has launched. Shawn Amos and some execs from Shout! Factory are part of the team.

> Warner Music to hold an earnings conference call on Thursday, May 8th. Details here.

> Little Big Town has signed with Capitol Nashville. Capitol will also acquire the band's two previous records released on Equity Records - the 1.3 million selling Road To Here and A Place To Land released in November.

> A look at NYC indie store Other Music's successful move into digital. (BusinessWeek)


EMI Publishing Promotes Two Execs

Emi_logo EMI Music Publishing has promoted two insiders to new roles within its NY based licensing division.

Kristin Durie is now VP of Music Services & Licensing. See will manage EMI Publishing’s relationship with the major TV networks, and work with the company’s Film & Soundtrack unit in LA.

Jovanka Ciares has been promoted to Senior Director of Music Services & Licensing, with overall responsibility for EMI Publishing’s activities in merchandising and its relationships with key US advertising agencies.

Continue reading "EMI Publishing Promotes Two Execs" »


eMusic Adds Classical Labels

Emusic SAYS FREE SAMPLERS DRIVE SALES

eMusic announced a number of larger ndependent classical label signings including UK-based Chandos Records, Telarc, and Harmonia Mundi. Other classical labels recently added include Naïve, Vox, Lyrita, Hungaraton, Supraphon, and CSO Resound, the Chicago Symphony’s in-house recording label. These additions will be available on the website both in the US and worldwide.

eMusic says that more than half of its subscribers who downloaded one of two recent free classical music samplers went on to purchase additional classical music. Of those, nearly one third had never downloaded a classical track before.