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Microsoft's 30G Zune Suffers Massive "2K9" Failure

Zune_logo UPDATED: New Year's Eve morning almost a million 30G Zune owners found their mp3 players frozen at the start up screen. Dubbed by some online "Zune 2K9" and "Z2K" in reference to the feared Y2K turn of the century computer programming flaw, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem but offered no immediate fix.

Zune_frozen I first noticed that my own Zune, which normally sits docked in a charging cradle with speakers on our kitchen counter, had turned itself on, but was not responding to my repeated attempts to operate or turn off the device.

"Customers with 30-GB Zune devices may experience issues when booting their Zune hardware," admits Microsoft said on its Zune support site. "We're aware of the problem and are working to correct it. The Zune Social might be slow or inaccessible." An emailed statement also acknowledged the problem, "We are actively working now to isolate the issue and develop a solution to address it. We will keep customers informed on next steps via the support page on zune.net."

The massive freeze up on a holiday weekend will only hurt Microsoft Zune's efforts to overcome the dominance of Apple's iPod which controls 70% of the portable player market. Message boards are buzzing with thousands of disgruntled customers posting message like this one on Micorsoft's forum, "Zune 30 white line of death, more like in a coma I guess." More than a dozen YouTube videos chronicle and make fun of the meltdown. Watch two of the most popular broken Zune videos including the wonderfully titled "The Day the 30G Zune Stood Still" after the jump below.

UPDATES:

Continue reading "Microsoft's 30G Zune Suffers Massive "2K9" Failure" »


Wednesday's Music Briefing: Thumbs Down For Choruss, Digital Demo Gets Older, Projected Growth & Much More

Champagne Have a great New Year's Eve and onward to what should be a very interesting 2009!

I will be posting throughout the rest of the holiday break as news warrants it.

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE NEWS:

  • Thumbsdown_3 A harsh thumbs down for the proposed Choruss unlimited music service for colleges. (Content Agenda) The post rather convincingly makes the point that Choruss will/should fail because too many rights holders will not/should not sign on because payments are based on estimates rather than solid usage.
  • A new generation of older digital music fans is emerging as teenagers upgrade their old iPods and mp3 players and give them to their parents. (Telegraph UK)
  • Digital music sales are projected to grow 17% annually according to a new Forrester study. (Internet Retailer)
  • Some music and media predictions for 2009. (Inside Music Media)
  • Fans: Curatorial Masters Of The Web (Online Fandom)
  • An indie musicians finds a following on the web. The story of Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver. (WSJ)
  • Music looks to internet for a rivival. (FT) Little new here for regular Hypebot readers, but a good overview.
  • Knowthemusicbiz_logo Thanks to David Rose and readers of his KnowTheMusicBiz.com for naming my post Top 10 Indie Music Marketing Tools one their most read articles of 2008.

3 Trends Driving The Music Industry In 2009

Predictions are easy. Being good at them is much harder. As I've been working on my predictions fo3r the music industry for 2009, however, three recurring themes seem to be dominating the industry conversation as we begin the new year.

  • DEMOCRATIZATION -  Giving entrepreneurs, artists and even fans the tools to compete with the major labels and mass media.
  • DATA -  Gathering and crunching actionable date. As you explore all of these new avenues for music discovery, what is working?  How do you break a band in 2009?
  • MONETIZATION - If you can't make money at it, you probably can't keep doing it. But how do you monetize music in a down economy?

I explore these trends a bit further and name trendsetting companies to keep an eye on the MidemNet blog with a post 3 Trends, 12 Companies & 1 Wild Card To Watch in 2009.


Major Labels Explore Competing Music Video Site

Tv Dissatisfied with the lack of revenue they are getting at YouTube and elsewhere, the four major label groups are exploring the launch of their joint video music site.

"Plans under discussion include a partnership with Hulu, the online television and film joint venture between News Corp and NBC Universal; the creation of a premium service on YouTube, Google's video-sharing site; or a standalone venture between some or all of the four largest recorded music groups," reports the Financial Times.

Does another video site? It's doubtful. But the major's attitude appears to to be "If you can't beat them, we better compete with them."


Tuesday's Music Briefing: Friendstar Joins Ban, Dresdon Dall Disses WMG, RIAA Denied & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES: 3_2

MORE NEWS:Friendster_logo

  • Friendster has joined MySpace and Facebook in banning Project Playlist.
  • Artist Amanda Palmer expresses displeasure with having all her Dresden Dolls and solo videos pulled from YouTube by WMG on her blog.
  • Music Saves Lives: The light from an MP3 player saved two lost tourists from a chilly night stuck out in the snowy Swiss mountains. (Reuters)Walmart_logo
  • The RIAA appeal in the Jamie Thomas case has been refused. (ars)
  • The iPhone has landed at WalMart but without the rumored discount pricing. (Seeking Alpha)
  • Minimum Noise facilitates crowdsourced music production. (TechCrunch)
  • The Orchard has given the exclusive pre-release of Monk by the Peter Bernstein Trio on the freshly relaunched Xanadu to eMusic. (Jazz News)
  • A list of prominent musicians who Twitter. (Listenerd)
  • R.I.P. - Jazz great Freddie Hubbard.

RockMoto Matches Music With Motorcycles

Motorcycles and rock and roll - it seems like a pretty obvious connection. But no one's been helping to make it, until now. The Motorcycle Industry Council has launched RockMoto.com, a music centered social networking site to foster the connection that includes Features include:

  • Motorcycle Pandora-enhanced music player: A partnership with Pandora allows community users to submit their own rockin' playlists to the site and duplicate it on their online profile.
  • Videos: .RockMoto publishes fresh videos every week featuring moto-enthusiast celebrities like Jason Freese of Green Day and music artists such as Angels & Airwaves. The also encourages users to upload their own videos, post messages about them, comment or rank other's videos, and share them with friends.

Harvard Class Tries To Raise Curtain On RIAA Trial

Riaa_2 The RIAA claims its taking new approach in it's fight to stop illegal file sharing by working with ISP's. But thus far it is continuing to persue the dozens of lawsuits that it filed prior to the announced strategy shift.

Harvard_logo One such case involves the parents of a Boston University graduate student who are being dragged into the litigation which accuses their son of sharing 7 songs on Kazaa seeking up to $1 million in damages.   Harvard Law School Professor Charles Nesson and his students are helping to defend Arthur and Judie Tenenbaum and late last week filed a motion to admit the Internet into the courtroom, which is traditionally prohibited.

Nesson and his students are hoping to allow audio-visual coverage of the motion and trial proceedings. “The judicial process is essentially an exercise in civil discourse,” said Nesson. “Given the keen interest of

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Monday's Music Briefing: Ad Supported Slump, Playlists, Facebook Music, EMI.com & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE NEWS:Down_arrow_red

  • Bad News For Ad Supported Music: A look inside the ad sales slump at a MySpace and Facebook. (paidContent)
  • Satellite radio is still looking for its pay day. (NY Times) With internet broadcasts going wireless I wonder if it will ever come.
  • UK retails chain Zavvi falls into administration. (Reuters)
  • An op-ed on Project Playlist and how it might be a boon to the record labels that are suing it. (LA Times) "The record companies too need to join entrepreneurs in the Facebook_musicmarketplace, not the courtroom." I agree.
  • LaLa appears may be in the lead to power Facebook Music, but big questions remain. (Venture Beat)
  • "What happens to the music itself when the way to build a career shifts from recording songs that ordinary listeners want to buy to making music that marketers can use?" asks Jon Pareles in the New York Times.
  • Scott Cave of Red Velvet/Rook Interactive writes convincingly that the new EMI.com is in part an affirmation that its a fertile climate for indie music on his Red Velvet blog.
  • Book publishers face the same challenges in the new marketplace that the record labels do, but this author believes it may weather the digital storm much differently. (Motley Fool)
  • The Year In Music & Branding. (Soundcheck)

Music's Week In Review: Project Playlist Banned, CD's Shunned, Long Tail Questioned, RIAA Shifts & Much More

It was a holiday week in most of the news, but that didn't stop the music industry from making news:


Tuneroom Finds Then Sends Songs To Mobile

Tuneroom MP3.com founder and serial entrepreneur Michael Robertson is at it again; this time helping to further his belief that mobile phones are the next MP3 players. Tuneroom is a music search engine designed to send songs wirelessly to any mobile phone and serve as a compliment to his previously launched Load2Mobile which wirelessly loads song collection to mobiles.

Users can browse Tuneroom from a PC and locate songs to send a phone or visit Tuneroom via any mobile phone browser and select songs to load to the phone. In both cases, songs are optimized for phone playback; then they are sent to the mobile wirelessly. There arecurrently more than 150,000 songs searchable at Tuneroom.


Friday's Music Briefing: YouTube Dispute, Live Nation Ticketing, Obama & More

I hope you're enjoying your holiday break.  Here's a little news and extra credit reading.

Cell_marley HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE NEWS:

  • The YouTube dispute underscores music labels weak hand according to Information Week.
  • Livenation221205 Live Nation is starting to unveil its "elegant" new ticketing system that competes directly with Ticketmaster. (TicketNews).  Live Nation stock has been battered lately trading around $4, well below a 52-week high of $18.75.
  • Timing is everything: The story of the man who invented Guitar Hero 11 years too early. (Boston Globe)
  • Obama's economic stimulus package may include money for faster, cheaper and more ubiquitous broadband. That's good news for a music industry that increasingly relies on the net to facilitate music and video discovery and delivery.(Epicenter)
  • Laurence Lessig says Obama should scrap the FCC. (Newsweek)
  • Bug Music signs Scott Weiland. (Billboard.biz)

Happy Holidays From Hypebot

Happy_holidays

I'm afraid that I have very little new to add to all the eloquent holiday wishes I'm sure you've received from others except to say thank-you for being part of the Hypebot community. I know how many things tug at your attention and time every day and the fact that a growing number of you from executives to interns give me a few minutes each day is an honor that I don't take lightly.

I will be publishing throughout the holidays particularly as news warrants it. I also have some great things planned for 2009 including live coverage of MidemNet and Midem in mid-January. I hope to meet some of you in person there as well.

Have a happy, safe and restful holiday break before what I'm sure will be the wild ride of 2009 begins!


Kill The CD To Save The Industry, Study Advises

Cd_broken_2 The music industry must move away from the retail CD as its primary revenue generator before Christmas 2009, according to a new Gartner study which says the reliance on revenue from the sale of CD's is hindering the music industry from fully embracing online distribution opportunities.

“By propping up the CD business, rather than fully investing in online distribution alternatives, the major labels and the larger music industry have neither succeeded in stamping out piracy nor done much to recreate the business models of the old ‘record business,’” said Mike McGuire, research vice president at Gartner. “Music labels should instead emphasize 'digital first,' making all new releases and catalog issues via digital services and moving CDs to an on-demand publishing mode.” 

McGuire is not clear what "online distribution alternatives" record labels are failing to fully invest in. But if it followed his advice and embraced the inevitable digital future today, the music industry would be sidelining a format that still generates 75% of its revenue.

That fact does not deter McGuire. “The industry's comfort with past marketing and promotional practices centered on CD launches is ingrained...

Continue reading "Kill The CD To Save The Industry, Study Advises" »


Facebook Joins MySpace In Project Playlist Ban

Late last week MySpace responded to notices from the RIAA by banning all ProjectPlaylist widgets from its site. Yesterday Facebook followed suit.

Facebook "The RIAA initially contacted Facebook last summer requesting the removal of the Project Playlist application for copyright violation, and recently reopened those communications. We have forwarded the RIAA’s letters to Project Playlist so it can work directly with that organization and music labels on a resolution. In the meantime, the application must be removed to comply with the Facebook Platform Terms of Service...

Continue reading "Facebook Joins MySpace In Project Playlist Ban" »


A Little Holiday Music Fun

  • Santa_hat_2 14 Devastatingly bad Christmas songs. (Music Radar)
  • Sing a Christmas duet with Elvis at Sony BMG's Sing With The King.
  • iBreath - a fully functioning iPod FM Transmitter add-on that doubles as a digital alcohol breathalyzer. That’s right, folks- this little gizmo not only transmits your music wirelessly to your car stereo, it also tells you whether or not you’re “cool to drive.” (PC World)

Wednesday's Music Briefing: Major Label Hulu, SonyBMG De-Merger, Death Of The CD & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE NEWS:

  • Three of the major labels are in talks to create their own Hulu-like music video site. (Silicon Ally Indsider)
  • Even though as of 2009 it will be known only as Sony, the EU parliament is still looking hard at the de-merger of SonyBMG. (Billboard) I think somebody is still suing of the original merger, too.
  • The court has dismissed a case against Edgar Bronfman Jr, CEO of Warner Music, filed by a legal a former associate who had claimed that he was owed more than $100 million for helping arrange the music group’s private equity buyout in 2004. (FT) Happy Holidays, Edgar!
  • Sandisk_slot_player An article by Rachel Swan in the East Bay Express quotes me extensively on the viability of the new Slot music format. (East Bay Express). I'm sorry, I just don't see the point of these little things.
  • Pandora now has 20 million registered users. 8 million are active. (TechCrunch) Impressive numbers.
  • Some ISP's are telling the RIAA to write a check if they want help fighting piracy. (ars)
  • David Rose has a great overview of artist royalties at KnowTheMusicBiz.com
  • R.I.P. - Veteran manager Bud Prager who is best known for his work with Foreigner.

Hypebot_favicon Hypebot will be publishing and covering breaking music industry news throughout the holidays.


EU Prefers iTunes 2 to 1 But Amazon Gaining Share

ApplelogoAmazon_2 European broadband consumers who regularly listen to music on computers and MP3 players are twice as likely to purchase music from iTunes than from any other online store according to research from Strategy Analytics.

The new report which is based on online interviews with broadband users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK, also notes that there is a significant difference between casual users and heavy users. “Heavy users show a much stronger preference for buying digital music from iTunes or directly from a record label, while casual users demonstrate a relatively higher preference for buying digital music from big Internet brands, such as Amazon, or directly from their broadband service provider,”  says analyst Jia Wu.

As much as its great news for iTunes, Amazon should also be pleased with the findings since its digital store just launched a few week ago in the UK and is not available in all EU markets.

Eu_digital_music_sales_2

Continue reading "EU Prefers iTunes 2 to 1 But Amazon Gaining Share" »


10 Musicians I Want To Invite To My Holiday Party

Officeparty3

  1. Leonard Cohen - Talk about intelligent cocktail conversation
  2. Ozzy Osbourne - Is it really a party without Ozzy?
  3. Ziggy Marley - Somebody has to bring the....
  4. Ray Lamontagne - I just want to try to make this guy smile
  5. Dr. John - To add a little New Orleans spice to the party gumbo
  6. Willie Nelson - Because he's so dang cool
  7. Prince - To get the dancing started
  8. Ringo Star - Every rock party should have a Beatle and Ringo seems like a lot more fun than Paul
  9. Robert Plant - Just so I can find out if Zep is really gonna tour or not
  10. Polyphonic Spree - There are like 30 people in this band so at least it'll make the room look full.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (as in I wish they were still around to invite...) TO: Janis Joplin,  Rick Danko of The Band (I knew this gentle soul and I miss him) and John Lennon.

WHAT MUSICIANS WOULD YOU INVITE TO YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY AND WHY?


Tuesday's Music Briefing: Philly Rocks, Gaming $'s, MOG Struggles & More

  • Future_of_music The Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer newspapers have launched a local music site prequency.
  • A look at how video games are providing significant income streams for artists and much smaller ones for record labels. (Billboard)
  • The RIAA's switch from litigation to working with ISP's (which as we reported is thus far more talk then reality) follows a strategy right out of the UK music industry's playbook. (paidContent UK)
  • MOG Music Network Pushes Back Affiliate Payments, Are They In Trouble? (TechCrunch)
  • Honda, FOX and MySpace Collaborate to Offer Two Student Musicians the Ultimate Hollywood Internship Experience. (press release)

SonyBMG Signs On With Project Playlist

Project_playlist_2Sonybmg_2 Project Playlist, who late last week had its widget banned from MySpace at the request of "major music companies", today announced an agreement with SONY BMG for both audio and video. A least one other label is rumored to be close to deals as well.

Prior to the MySpace takedown, Project Playlist's web site and widgets had more than 40 million users according to ComScore. The service provides music fans with the ability to easily discover digital music, build custom playlists, and share them anywhere on the Web...other than MySpace. Facebook thus far has ignored the labrl take down notices.

Continue reading "SonyBMG Signs On With Project Playlist" »


Music's Long Tail Just Got A Lot Shorter

  • Long_tail_cash 173,000 of the 1.23M albums available sold at least 1 copy last year
  • That means 85% of albums did not move a single copy all year.
  • 80% of of all single track sales revenue came from 52,000 tracks

All this is according to a new study by Will Page, chief economist of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, the UK based not-for-profit royalty collection society.

Does this meanthat we should all be back to chasing hits? No, but if correct, the study should remind us that making music available for sale is the beginning and not the end.


What The RIAA Doesn't Want You To Know...

Riaa_toiletpaper_2 The RIAA is telling us they're going to stop suing and get internet service providers to help them stop illegal file sharing. The RIAA says that it's worked for the movie industry (sort of) and they're talks with ISP's have been going well.

Here's what they're not telling you: While a few ISP's have said they'll send warning notices to RIAA identified abusers, not one has yet agreed to actually cut anyone off. Shut off without due process leads to lawsuits. More importantly, ISP's know that attacking customers is bad for business. Just look at how well punishing people has worked for the record business.


Labels Force Content Off YouTube And MySpace

DEVELOPING STORIES:

UPDATED: Over what should have been a slow pre-holiday weekend two stories broke that again put the major labels at odds with several major Music 2.0 companies. Here are links to our updated coverage:

All four major labels are in the middle of re-negotiations with Google owned YouTube who are warning them to expect small payouts.

The RIAA filed a lawsuit on behalf of its label members against Project Playlist in April claiming copyright infringement.

  • Sony BMG signed on with Project Playlist on Monday.

Will I See You At MidemNet Or Midem?

Midem09_logo I'll be attending my first Midem and MidemNet in quite awhile both to do business and help host MidemNet as member of its Visionary Char Committee. (I didn't choose the lofty title.)

I'll be blogging daily and experimenting with video blogging. I'll even be posting special updates via Hypebot's Twitter feed. I already have a number of meetings scheduled for our Skyline Music booking agency, Hypebot and Skyline Consultancy, my newly formalized consulting practice.

If you're going to be at MidemNet or Midem too and think we should meet, please send me an email. I may not able to hang out with everyone, but I am sincerely looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.