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Dell Downplays MP3 Player, Broader Strategy Hinted

Dell_2 Dell is downplaying earlier reports that they are reentering the mp3 player market with a WiFi enabled device. "We have not announced that we are going to be selling an MP3 player," the spokesman told TechWeb. "We are looking into the possibility of coming up with different content avenues that can be shared across multiple devices built by Dell."

The devices could include Dell manufactured desktops, notebooks, mobile devices and "possibly an MP3 player," the spokesman said. "We're considering all of our options."  Integration between devices an between download store and devices has been a key consumer complaint as a plethora of manufactures continue to release music delivery products and devices that don't work together easily.

Columbia Records Prank Day #3

Columbia_2 If you've been following our little exercise making fun of Columbia Records having ads on their web site,  as of early this morning we've spent all of $4.14 cents to achieve 9270 negative impressions.

At the moment, the rotating Google ads box on the front page appears to have been replaced by a Jamster Music Tones ad.  I can't say if  the new ad was scheduled to run any way or if Columbia finally got tired of the prank after it spread across the web including via Bob Lefsetz who originally inspired me, Silicon Alley Insider (whose Peter Kafka has been taking his own swipes at the music industry lately), Ryan Holiday and elsewhere.

If somebody from Columbia or parent Sony BMG wants to comment on or off the record, I'll publish it. In the meantime, I'll keep running the ad for a little while longer since they lost $42 million last quarter and may need the money...

The offending ad:

Continue reading "Columbia Records Prank Day #3" »

Thursday's Music Briefing: Charts, Yahoo, McBride & More


> Yahoo now says it will offer full refunds to customers of its former music store. The EFF wants Microsoft to do the same. (EFF)

1 > CHART ACTION: Miley Cyrus debuts at #1 selling 371,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. Country's Sugarland is #2 with Love On The Inside selling 314,000. Top 5 also includes the soundtrack to Mamma Mia with 168,000, Kid Rock sells 92,750, and Lil Wayne sold another 85,000.  Other debuts this week include Nine Inch Nails’ The Slip, which debuted at #13 selling 29,000 despite being available free since May. One Day As A Lion (collaboration between Rage Against the Machine's Zach de la Rocha and ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore) debuts ar #28 selling 17,000. Candlebox debuts at #32 with 14,000 copies, R&B singer Noel Gourdin enters at #36 with 14,000 and Buddy Guy earns his highest charting album ever entering at #68 with 9000 sold.(FMQB)

Bandwidth2008_2 > The Bandwith Conference is getting nearer. This intimate gathering of about 200 professionals from the music and digital music industries that takes place August 14 and 15 in San Francisco. Bandwidth has panels on marketing, fan behavior, trends and future forecasts, and examines the ways that people discover, purchase, interact with, and are exposed to musichas  panels on marketing, fan behavior, trends and future forecasts, and examines the ways that people discover, purchase, interact with, and areexposed to music. Register now (today is the last day to save on advance registration) or if you're feeling lucky take a stab at our contest for two free passes. Contest ends next Tuesday August 5th.

> I missed this when it came out, but Terry McBride has been taken to task on the tech blogs for claiming at a recent Music Tank event that his client Avril Lavigne had $2M coming from You Tube.  (ValleyWag, Silicon Alley Insider)

Asthmatic Kitty To Use "Pay the Buck$ His Due" Pricing Model

Just got this email from indie label Asthmatic Kitty:

Warholbucks Asthmatic Kitty unenthusiastically announces the release of the Land of A Thousand Rappers Vol 2. The album will be sold via the next-generation, all rights reserved, Warhol Buck$ copyrighted, "Pay What Warhol Buck$ Determines Is a Highly Profitable Pricemodel," aka "Pay the Buck$ His Due," aka "Pay What He Wants." See below for details.

Honestly, our lawyer tells us that as a record label we don't have much of a legal say on this matter.  And while we support the "Land of a Thousand Rappers" as a project-at-large, Volume 2 brings us a full album's worth of misogynistic, unethical, and opportunistic green-economy business models.

It all spews from the foul-mouth of Warhol Buck$ and his company of white collar CEOs...

Continue reading "Asthmatic Kitty To Use "Pay the Buck$ His Due" Pricing Model" »

Rob Stephenson To Head Virgin US

Virgin_3 BREAKING NEWS: Rob Stevenson has been named to the President of Virgin US by Nick Gatfield, EMI Music’s new President, A&R, North America, UK & Ireland.

It is a turnaround for Stevenson, who ousted as EVP of A&R at Universal’s Island Def Jam in December 2007. Rob has a  track record that includes signing Fall Out Boy, The Killers, The Bravery, Sum 41, Lady Sovereign, Saliva, Thrice and President of boutique label Stolen Transmission,a defunct joint venture label imprint with IDJMG.

Continue reading "Rob Stephenson To Head Virgin US" »

Scott Francis Now Pres. Warner/Chappell

Warner_chappell Scott Francis has been named to the newly created position of President, Warner/Chappell Music, and Chairman and CEO, Warner/Chappell Music U.S. Francis, a veteran music publishing executive who previously served as President of BMG Music Publishing's BMG Songs North America division, will run WMG's U.S. music publishing operations as well as play a role in Warner/Chappell's global strategy. (press release)

Universal Opens LostTunes Deep Catalog Site

Universal UK has launched LostTunes.com a deep catalog destination powered by 7Digital that according toLost_tunes the site focuses on "uncovering exclusives and hidden gems...Alongside the rarities, we've also picked what we think are unmissable albums for you to add to your collection, and we've pulled together articles and reviews to help you discover music that we know you'll love"

The initial offering is just 600 releases of which 130 are exclusive to the site. While the offering is not a deep as it could or hopefully will be, it is exactly the kind of low risk catalog monetization that every label should institute.

"Rock The Net" Release Supports Net Neutrality

Rock_the_net_2 Wilco, Bright Eyes, They Might Be Giants, Aimee Mann, DJ Spooky, Guster and others have contributed songs to benefit the Future Of Music Coalition's Rock the Net campaign to save net neutrality. According to the organization, "the current structure of the web lets the biggest companies and the smallest bedroom recording artist exist on an equal technological playing field. But big telecommunications and cable companies want to charge content providers (artists, labels - anyone who puts stuff on the web) a fee for the faster delivery of their sites. Those who couldn't afford - or didn't want to - pay a toll would be stuck in the slow lane."

"The Internet works because it belongs to everyone. All artists - big or small - have been able to use the web as a powerful tool to engage audiences. But if net neutrality goes away, musicians lose an important connection, and fans lose the freedom of choice." Support the campaign and purchase a copy via Amazon, iTunes and most retailers.

Dell Planning New Wi-Fi MP3 Player

Dell Others including Dell have tried before and failed to create an eco-system to compete with the iTunes/iPod juggernaut.  But Dell says they're going to take another crack at it with a new player that could be available by September.

This time Dell says its integration will be seamless. Thanks to software it aquired when it bought Zing, Dell says it sub- $100 Wi-Fi enabled player will let users download and organize music and movies from various online sources.

Columbia Records Prank Hits 9K Impressions

They apparently haven't gotten my message or don't care. Either way, I'm up to 9270 negative impressions for a whopping $4.17 with this rotating ad on ColumbiaRecords.com.

Major Labels Are Obsolete
R.I.P. or learn and thrive.
Music. Tech. The New Music Business

More details on the why I bought the ad here and a snapshot of my Google AdWords account for verification is after the jump.


Continue reading "Columbia Records Prank Hits 9K Impressions" »

Sony BMG Lost $42M Last Quarter

Sonybmg Sales at Sony BMG decreased 6% over the previous year "due to the continue decline in the physical music market worldwide not being fully offset by growth in digital product sales" according to Sony's latest earnings report.  The division lost $42 Downarrowgig million before taxes last quarter alone compared to a profit of  $31 million in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.   Best selling releases during the quarter included Usher's, Here I Stand, Leona Lewis' Spirit and Neil Diamond's Home Before Dark.

The decline left analysts scrambling to explain why Sony would still be in serious talks to purchase a controlling interest in the partnership from Bertlesmann. Does Sony really see future profits in recorded music or does it want to gut the operation to cut its losses more quickly?

Wednesday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Sirius XM, Pandora, Live Nation & More


> Newly merged Sirius XM is beginning the transition to s combined service. (FMQB)

> Pandora testifies before US Congress that new royalty rates will kill its business. (PC)

Livenation221205_2 > Producer Bob Ezrin and record executive Bill Hein have followed Michael Cohl out the door at Live Nation's Live Artists division. LN CEO Michael Rapino seems set to outsource all the label functions in their 360 deals with Madonna, Shakira, Nickleback and others including the major records labels. (NY Post) (Didn't these artists want out of the traditional label system?). Live Nation will also host a teleconference to  discuss  financial results  on  August  7  at  5PM  Eastern. To access dial 888-603-6873 or 973-321-1019. Passcode  57200043 or listen online via the company's web site.

> Have reports of the music industry's decline been greatly exaggerated? (Industry Standard)

> Handleman has sold off its Canadian music operation to Anderson. A UK deal with Tesco gets closer. (press release)

> A look at the behind the scenes networking and wireless tech at Bonnaroo. (D-link)

Warner Music Group SVP Leaves For uPlayMe

Uplayme_2 Senior VP of Global Consumer Marketing at Warner Music Group Dan Pelson has left to become CEO of uPlayMe which bills itself as "a new way to connect with people who share the same taste in music and video". WMG previously made an investment in uPlayMe, one of many sites fighting for attention in a crowded music discovery space.

uPlayMe users download an application to play music and video. The application recognizes content from players like iTunes, Windows Media, Winamp and Real or browser-based sources via Internet Explorer and Firefox including YouTube, Hulu, Last.FM, Pandora, Metacafe, and CBS Streaming Radio.

What uPlayMe does:

Continue reading "Warner Music Group SVP Leaves For uPlayMe" »

Hypebot Infiltrates Columbia Records Site With Anti-Label Ad

There are many reasons why corporate and artist sites should not carry advertising. But the most obvious one is that outside ads change the conversation.  In one of the few places that a marketer can completely control their message; they're sharing the stage with outsiders who have a different agenda.

To prove the point,  I placed this ad via Google AdWords in rotation yesterday on the front page of the main Columbia Records web site columbiarecords.com:

Major Labels Are Obsolete
R.I.P. or learn and thrive.
Music. Tech. The New Music Business

As of this morning for a mere $3.37 in click thru fees, 6417 people visiting Columbia Records flagship site were delivered the message that this company is obsolete.  Could that have been worth the share of $3.37 that parent Sony BMG will receive?

  • Read a Day #3 update here.
  • Sony BMG Insider Responds
  • View a snapshot of my Google Adsense account page after the jump
  • NEWCOMERS: Check out Hypebot's daily music industry news and commentary here and consider bookmarking the sire or subscribing to our RSS feed or newsletter

Continue reading "Hypebot Infiltrates Columbia Records Site With Anti-Label Ad" »

RoyaltyShare Adds 7 Download Stores

Royaltyshare RoyaltyShare has added to seven new digital services to its Content Management system: AmieStreet, Hot Topic/ ShockHound, PassAlong Networks, Puretracks and SpiralFrog.  Record label customers and distributors using RoyaltyShare's Content Management Service can now deliver content directly to these and 72 other digital music retailers.

RoyaltyShare's offering is an alternative to the standard aggregation model...

Continue reading "RoyaltyShare Adds 7 Download Stores" »

trueAnthem Raises $2M For New Widget

True_anthem The widget wars continue. trueAnthem has completed its angel round of funding, raising $2 million. Their trueWidget delivers a combination of song streams and both ad supported and paid downloads. trueAnthem first launched in April and early metrics point to an impressive 500% increase in fan exposure for the 5,000 active brand-sponsored widgets in circulation.

Hootie & The Blowfish, Ultraviolet Sound, Nick Black, Celldweller, Ryan Huston and others have created viral widgets that generate millions of impressions for sponsors like Adidas.

Walkmen Tap AmieSt For $5 Pre-Release

Youmebythewalkmen_219269_thumb Creative pre-release strategies seem almost a requirement lately and The Walkmen's new album launch follows the pattern. Offered for $5 exclusively by variable price download leader AmieStreet, the album is also part of the website’s ongoing Download To Make A Difference campaign that launched earlier this month.

"You & Me" will be sold for three weeks at $5 and during that time AmieStreet will donate $5 for each purcahse to a cause of personal significance to The Walkmen.  “All donations go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, a friend to the band and a current patient who is seven months old and doing a great job fighting a very difficult disease,” said Peter Bauer of The Walkmen.

Atlantic Partners With imeem, YouTube, BrightCove & Meebo

Atlantic_2 Atlantic Records has launched an interactive desktop application powered by Adobe Air designed to connect artists and fans. Fanbase pulls content about bands from multiple sources into one central location. Fanbase includes a music player, video and chat, all design to encourage fan interaction. The application can be downloaded at AtlanticRecords.com, as well as the artists’ web sites.

To deliver Fanbase audio, Atlantic collaborated with imeem and through an integrated music player, Fanbase automatically captures the latest music from a given artist and delivers a streaming playlist. Video content is driven by YouTube and Brightcove and the chat feature is powered by an integrated Meebo chat window.

Continue reading "Atlantic Partners With imeem, YouTube, BrightCove & Meebo" »

Katz & ClearChannel Form Online Radio Net

Radio_tower Clear Channel Radio and Katz Media Group have launched an online radio advertising network that outpaces its nearest competitor by 300%. It is also perhaps the first network to incorporate independent net radio stations with the online and mobile streams of AM, FM stations as well as syndicated content. Immediately, the Katz Online Network delivers 79 million sessions per month and a unique audience of nearly five million listeners per week. Online properties include Radioio, Accuradio and SmoothJazz.com. (More)

Tuesday Music Briefing: Yahoo!, Rock Games, MicroPay & More


Sonybmg > Sony is in serious talks to purchase the BMG half of Sony BMG. (Reuters)

> Yahoo! Music will refund money for downloads bought that may not work after the service is shut down. But you have to ask.  (PC)

> A look at the competition between games Rock Band and Guitar Hero's battle for better bands.Best_buy (ars)

> Best Buy is adding a major musical instruments section to make up for declining music sales. (AP)

> Here's a clever viral campaign that someone emailed me: WhereDidRockNRollGo.com. Check it out. Can any tell me who its for? Where is the easy way to share it with friends?  What is the next action?

> Cost effective micro-payments for 25 to 99 cents downloads and other small transactions is a real problem holding back musical e-commerce.  Online label BETA Records thinks they've found a solution via a new deal with payment processor Javian. (press release)

RAWRIP Pays 100% Download Royalty

Generic_headphone_computer RAWRIP, a new ad-supported music site and distribution service is paying indie artists 100% of royalties earned from downloaded tracks. Fans can stream music free and store songs in personal music libraries.

Beyond the site, artists can also sell their tracks via a 'Raw Store' widget that pays 100% from sales on websites, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, etc. 'The Rippler'  is a proprietary exploration engine that analyzes each track by a number of characteristics that are indexed and cross-referenced with RAWRIP's catalogue of over 1 million songs. Through this, independent artists get recommended (Rippled) via major acts and may acquire new fans. This site appears to have real potential for indie artists and labels who want to spread their tracks virally. I'd love to hear from anyone using it.

XM Sirius Merge. Does it Matter?

COMMENTARY:  Is it possible to be angry and not really care at the same time?  That's how I feel about the XM and Sirius merger.

It is finally official. The FCC has approved the merger of XM and Sirius. This despite that fact that the approval create a monopoly in US satellite radio.  Supporters counter that they needed it to survive. There may be truth to that, but I suspect the new combined company needs to do more than merge to fend of a rising plethora of competition. 

Continue reading "XM Sirius Merge. Does it Matter?" »

Hypebot On Twitter, Tumblr, FriendFeed

Twitter I'm beta testing Hypebot's RSS up on Twitter, FriendFeed  and Tumblr thanks to reader Matt Albiniak. You can find it under username hypebot or email address hypebot (at) skylineonline (dot) com.
Sign up and tell us how things are working. Plus also let me know in the comments Tumblr_logosection here how you think I might use each service in ways that would be fun and serve our readers.

Continue reading "Hypebot On Twitter, Tumblr, FriendFeed" »

Google AdSense On ColumbiaRecords.com

Columbia This one comes courtesy of Bob Lefsetz and should he filed under "What Were They Thinking?". Columbia Records is running ads from Vonage and Google's AdSense on their from page and throughout their flagship site. Don't believe me? Go to Columbia.com now....but be sure to come back and tell us what you think. 

Even if it's somehow OK to put ads on a corporate web site, is this really the best Columbia can do?  Couldn't they at least attract some hip fashion or lifestyleGoogle_adsense_2 companies?  Or why not trade ads with someone like Last.fm that they're paying good money to be on? Of course, who I am I to get all uppity?  Yesterday one of our ad providers Adify was running dating ad on Hypebot.  But this blog has no income other than ads and Columbia has all that money they're making companies like YouTube and "forgetting" to pass along to the artist. I wonder if I can sneak an add for a Universal act onto the Columbia site?

Do you think a band or label should put unrelated ads on their web site?

Monday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Yahoo! Reverses, Stones Leave EMI & More


Yahoo_music > As we reported last week Yahoo! Music is shutting down. The company now says it will compensate customers who bought soon to be unplayable tracks from its music store. (InfoWeek) Smart move, but I reserve judgement until they release details.

> Amazon is the leader in a race that includes Rhapsody and iTunes to be do download fulfilment for the new MySpace Music store. (TechCrunch)

Rollingstones > The Rolling Stones stuck their famous tongue out at EMI and are leaving for Universal. Their catalog also goes with them. (UK Times) Not a happy day at EMI, but I'll bet Univerxal paid too much.

> Joe Kennedy, CEO of DiMA member company Pandora and singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson (see our recill testify on Tuesday July 29 as the Senate Judiciary Committee considers royalty rates and programming rules for “Music and Radio in the 21st Century" as well as an issues briefing on Monday evening.

> EMI Music Publishing has signed a long-term worldwide publishing agreement with Eddy Grant. The deal covers the Guyana-born musician’s new music as well as his extensive catalog including hits like “Electric Avenue”, “Gimme Hope Jo’Anna”, “I Don’t Wanna Dance”, "Living On The Frontline" and “Baby Come Back”.

> Did you miss anything? Hypebot's Music Industry Week In Review.

Music's Week In Review: UK Crack Down, Universal, eMusic, Napster & More

Uk_flag > UK ISPs and labels make a deal to warn users who share unauthorized files. But there are already cracks in the coalition

> Universal Music posts a slightly down 2nd quarter, but fares better than other major label groups

> Sonicbids_logo Hypebot Series on Artist Services Sites: 

> eMusic upgrades its site and disses its competitorsMusic_phone_nokia_n_series

> iLike hits 300 million users and adds major features

> Mobile Revenues Offer A Bright Spot

> Napster is a possible tackeover target

> Aritst Profile: Matt Nathanson - Success Takes Time

> Four Pillars Of The Band & Fan Relationship

> Yahoo Music is closing and not supporting tracks bought on the service

Music_note_2 SHORT TAKES: Paul Westerberg releases a 49 min.song for 49 cents, The Pretenders Go 2.0 for new release, MySpace Adds Eventful Data Sharing and OpenID, Mercury Prize 2008 Nominees, Songness tests a song's hit potential, LA Times pink slips many muisc writers

Coming: Hypebot's Open Source Week


I'm getting married on August 8th. So from 10 days from 8/8 - 8/16/08 I'll be taking a brief break from both Hypebot and Skyline Music. I probably can't help myself from checking the RSS reader from time to time and writing about some breaking story, but for the most part I'm going to turn Hypebot over to you the readers.

I'm already lining up some great guest bloggers with interesting things to share and will repost a few Hypebot greatest hits. I'm also working on what may be a fun way for you to keep up with breaking news as well as get a look at the resources I use to keep on top of industry news.

But I want you to contribute.  Do you have a piece you've posted on your blog or have been itching to write that Hypebot readers would find interesting?  If so, send me an email with Open Source Week in the subject line.  Have an idea of how you all can have some fun with Hypebot while I'm gone? Leave it in the comments section.

Weekend Briefing: Amazon & MySpace, Stones To Universal & Sirius XM Merge

Newspaper_boy_2 I don't always post new news on weekends, but three stories broke late yesterday that I wanted share now :

> TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon is the leader in a race that includes Rhapsody and iTunes to be do download fulfilment for the new MySpace Music store. (TechCrunch)

> The Rolling Stones are leaving EMI for Universal and taking their catalog with them. (UK Times)

> Its not a surprise but the XM and Sirius merger has been formally approved by the FCC. (Billboard)

Nimbit: Commerce & Data Capture

This is Part 2 in our series looking at the leading companies offering indie and d.i.y artists the services that help them capture, communicate with and monetize their relationship with fans. You can read PART 1: INSIDE SONICBIDS: EPKs & OPPORTUNITES.  Next week: OurStage, ReverbNation, Topspin.

Nimbitlogosquare_2Nimbit was among the first to create a platform for monetizing the band to fan relationship. According to CEO Patrick Faucher, the company's mission is "to enable the artist team (band, manager, label, agent, fan) to collaborate and sell virtually any product from anywhere online".

Patrick_faucher Unlike many services that offer a single solution, Nimbit users can sell CDs, DVDs, downloads, merchandise and electronic tickets directly from their own storefront; and with the use of provided widgets spread their storefront across their own or fans' social profiles, blogs and web sites. Nimbit also offers fulfillment for physical good orders.

Bundling and information capture is also part of the Nimbit offering...

Continue reading "Nimbit: Commerce & Data Capture" »

2nd Q Results: UMG Does Better Than Most

Universal In the first half of the year, Universal  Music  Group’s revenues  of  € 2,044  million  grew  4.9%  at  constant  currency which meant a 2.4%  decline  in  actual currency compared to the same period last year. This reflects a 33% increase in digital  sales, growth in music publishing and merchandising following the 2007 acquisitions of BMG  Music Publishing and of Sanctuary all of which offset lower physical sales.

Taken separately, second quarter UMG’s revenues of €1,011 million grew 3% at constant currency or( a 5.3% decline in actual currency) compared to the  same period last year. Best sellers included the debut release from Duffy, new albums from Mariah Carey, Jack Johnson and Lil’ Wayne and very strong carryover sales of Amy Winehouse’s 2006 release Back to Black. (pdf of results)