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MusicMetric Launches MuZoid Twitter Music App

Muzoid Music industry analysis firm MusicMetric has launched MuZoid, a Twitter music exploration application. Send a tweet with the name of a band or artist to twitter.com/muzoid and in seconds you receive a link to a web page with gigs, a discography with price comparisons between vendors, and a recommendation of similar artists that you might enjoy.

MuZoid uses MusicMetric’s text-mining technology to provide gig and album information for each artist. The company regularly sifts through data from a database of over 6 million artists.

Continue reading "MusicMetric Launches MuZoid Twitter Music App" »


"Free" Thinker: Tunecore's Jeff Price

Hypebot Favicon (UPDATED WITH STATS) As part of a week long exploration into the meaning and value of "free", Hypebot asked some of the music industry's most forward thinkers about the value and future of free music and it's place in helping the industry return to profitability. Here Jeff Price, the CEO and founder of discount flat free digital distributor Tunecore responds:

Tunecore "1) i don't believe "free is here to stay", as "free" was always here.

Labels always gave away music for free - either via mailing promo CDs, handing our free cassingles or CDs at gigs, giving away music for free to radio stations, retail stores or other outlets, giving away free music videos to MTV or other outlets, free master use placement, bundling giveaway CDs with cereal or other products etc.

Not to mention bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish.

Continue reading ""Free" Thinker: Tunecore's Jeff Price" »


Universal Republic Promotes Joel Klaiman

Universal republic UMG's Universal Republic Records has promoted Joel Klaiman to EVP of Promotion & Artist Development.

Previously, he was EVP Promotion for Epic Records and prior to that Klaiman held a number of executive positions including Sony 550, EastWest Records, Elektra and Savage Records.  Klaiman began his career in 1990 as a manager for Frank DiLeo Management.   

Continue reading "Universal Republic Promotes Joel Klaiman" »


Redeye To Distribute Indie Kill Rock Stars

Kill_Rock_Stars_logo Redeye Distribution has added independent label Kill Rock Stars to its roster. KRS will move its entire catalog, including records by Elliott Smith, The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, and The Gossip to Redeye.  KRS' next release is the new record  from The Thermals, "Now We Can See", due in stores April 7th. 

Redeye The label had previously utilized both WMG owned ADA and the now defunct distribution arm of Touch & Go. Kill Rock Stars' President Portia Sabin says he is excited to now be partnering with a fully independent distributor. "I think it's really in keeping with the history and ethos of KRS to have an indie distributor," says Sabin a former board member of A2IM and a current VP of WIN, the World Independent Network.  "There are a lot of challenges in the music industry right now, but also a lot of opportunities, and independents need to stick together to be able to seize those opportunities: labels, distributors, and record stores alike. "

Continue reading "Redeye To Distribute Indie Kill Rock Stars" »


"Free" Thinker: INgroove's Robb McDaniels

Hypebot Favicon As part of a week long exploration into the meaning and value of "free", Hypebot asked some of the music industry's most forward thinkers the value and future of free music.  Here Robb McDaniels, the CEO and founder of digital music distributor INgrooves responds:

Ingrooves "You asked for my opinion on “free music and how it can help the industry return the profitability”.  I think you asked for my “free” opinion.  So I have to decide whether it is worth my time to give you a piece of my intellectual property for free.

Of course, I am pretending/assuming for a second that people actually care enough about my opinion to prescribe a value to it.  At the very least, my time is money and I value my own time. 
So then I am creating something (my opinion and thought process) and evaluating whether or not...

Continue reading ""Free" Thinker: INgroove's Robb McDaniels" »


Tuesday Music Brief: More Free, lala, RIAA Apeals Royalties. Jonas, Britney, Last.fm & More

Hypebot Favicon HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS:

  • Lala Lala gets (another) makeover. (TechCrunch)
  • RIAA appeals the Copyright Boards royalty decision. (Billboard)
  • Todd Moscowitz joins Warner Brothers Records as EVP. Moscowitz  is currently the CEO of WMG’s Independent Label Group which includes Asylum and East West.
  • Jonas Brothers Sell a Staggering 800,000 Tickets to North American Leg of Their World Tour (pdf)
  • Britney Spears' Dad Using Copyright Claim To Stop Critical Fansite (Techdirt)
  • Last.fm postpones switch to subscription pricing. (MusicAlly)
  • Top 5 Dream Digital Music Partnerships. (Tech Digest) Because 7Digital & Spotify is good, but not great.
  • Sound Ethics: What To Do With Music CDs After Ripping Them? (Washington Post)
  • Streamzy Music site is for sale on eBay. (Epicenter)

Hypebot's Last Free Week

Free sign oh yes No, I'm not going to start charging for Hypebot. I'm calling this The Last FREE Week On Hypebot because I want this to be the last time that we debate whether or not music should sometimes, in fact quite often, should be free.

A post I wrote "Understanding The Value Of Free" reminding musicians to utilize the power of free started the heated discussion.  And a follow-up post "Why Are We Still Debating Free?" continued the debate. I encourage you to join in.

But in actuality, the debate is over. As someone who has worked in this business all of my life, I appreciate fully the sweat that goes into making and marketing music.  I can even say that I mostly align myself with folks that believe that it downright sucks that people stopped paying for music.  But as  Wired's Chris Anderson said at SXSW:
Apple  
"I'm not telling the apple to fall -
I'm just telling that the apple will fall.
That is what the laws of digital economics require
...you either compete with free or use free...".


Like it or not, most of the apples have already fallen off the music industry tree. And all this week on Hypebot, we'll explore various theories of free and how artists and labels can use free to make money.

Kevin Kelly: "Sell things that can't be copied."

Like it or not, free music is here. But how does a business survive when its primary product is available for free?  In a must read post on his Technium blog, "Better Than Free", Kevin Kelly suggests a new way of thinking about free, as well as, a way forward.

Free man "The internet is a copy machine...Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.

If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?

Continue reading "Kevin Kelly: "Sell things that can't be copied."" »


Google Starts Music Service In China With WMG, Sony & Universal

Google TOP100.CN In conjunction with Chinese music site Top100.cn, Google has launched an online music service in China. Users can download and save free songs from Warner Music Group, Sony, Universal Music Group and 140 independent labels

Google’s moves counters Baidu.com, which has more than double the search market share in China . The labels share of  ad revenue generating at least some income in a market where 99% of all downloads are illegal according to the IFPI.  “It’s really a case of innovate or die for the music companies in China,” Duncan Clark of Beijing research company BDA China told Bloomberg. “It’s hard to get the younger generation to pay for music.”

Spotify Adds Downloads From 7Digital

7d_logo_newsletter  Spotify  7d_logo_newsletter

Under a deal announced this morning, links to 7Digital will be integrated into Spotify's popular ad supported streaming music service. The partnership is designed to help Spotify reach profitability in the current difficult ad sales environment. 

Beginning with the UK, France, Spain and Germany, the deal enables Spotify users to purchase 320kbps MP3 downloads from 7Digital's 6M track catalog along with a selection of FLAC downloads. Sweden, Norway and Finland will follow in a few weeks. In the future, users will be able to purchase playlists that have been created within Spotify at a discounted price. Future improvements will include closer integration including one click downloads.

The Spotify deal follows a similar 7Digital partnership with open source media player Songbird using 7digital’s API which allows integration with 7digital's catalog and commissions on sales. 

Continue reading "Spotify Adds Downloads From 7Digital" »


"The Death of the CD-Release Complex"

tower[2]_2

Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor

Introduction

In his seminal release Purple Cow, marketer Seth Godin declared, “The Death of the TV-Industrial Complex.”  Explaining that, over the past fifty years ever-growing companies had built huge economic engines around the idea of a system that’s going away, because the symbiotic relationship between consumer demand and TV advertising could no longer be relied upon to churn out seemingly endless profits.  This process of spreading ideas through interrupting people with ads to get more distribution, to sell more products, which makes you enough profit to interrupt that same person again, was over. 

Twenty-seven years ago, a similar system was built when the CD was introduced into the market. Promoted as “perfect sound forever,” music fans were told to trade in their tapes and records for the robustness, durability, and quality that the new format offered.  In droves, people would go onto replace their collections. Demand was at an all time high and the Recording Industry boomed.  Born into a different world than its predecessors, the great success of the CD would forever change the role that record labels played in people’s lives and how future releases would be promoted.

"These mediums, when utilized together, formed an abstract system
that record labels used influence people..."

Continue reading ""The Death of the CD-Release Complex"" »


DIY: Free Can Build Your Email List

DailyDIY Free music is here to stay, but how do you use free to make money? Free music We'll be exploring that issue all week on the Daily DIY as well as other daily posts during Hypebot's Last Free Week

As Kevin Kelly wrote "When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied."  Live performances are one of the things that the net can't reproduce, and the most proven way to to mobilize your audience to come to a show is your email list.

Continue reading "DIY: Free Can Build Your Email List" »


Monday's Music Brief: Free Week, Google China, 7Digital, Ad Sales, 3 Strikes & More

Hypebot Favicon HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS:

  •  Ads and labels deal double blow to music sites. (FT) As I wrote last week, even as the poor economy hurts advertising sales, the major labels are making more expensive demands on struggling ad-supported services like imeem.
  • Did the Klaxons sell out over commercial pressure? (UK Times) "When Klaxons bowed to pressure from their label to rerecord their album with more hits, they were only following a well-worn path."
  • Q&A: INgrooves CEO on digital distribution, Dolly Parton and Spotify. (CNet)
  • Little Steven: 7 Years In The Underground Garage
  • Gavin DeGraw premiers new album FREE today exclusively on iLike one day prior to its commercial release. (iLike)
  • The European Parliment voted against a three strikes P2P policy by  a vote of 48 in favor, 25 against and 21 abstentions. (statement)
  • Two co-founders of anti-piracy company MediaDefender resign. (TorrentFreak)
  • UMG has partnered with The Axis Agency to develop Hispanic marketing strategies and license UMG entertainment properties to companies looking to reach the U.S. Hispanic market. (press release)

Why Are We Still Debating Free?

On Friday morning I dashed off a Daily DIY "Understanding The Value Of Free" which Freeurged indie artists to remember the power of sometimes giving their music away and included a year old clip of Wired's Chris Andersen whose book on "Free" comes out in July.  Almost instantly, a flurry of comments began that keep on coming.
 
Why are we still debating free? 

I invite you to join the debate, but I'm actually amazed that we're still having this conversation.  Free has happened. I suppose that you could wish that it didn't happen, but it did. Fighting it is pointless. Just look at the damaging whack-a-mole strategy of the major labels.

As one of my favorite music industry thinker's Andrew Dubber of New Music Strategies commented, "Yes, Google gives their consumer-facing stuff away, and they are a massively successful company. That doesn't mean that if you give your consumer-facing stuff away you will also necessarily be as successful as Google. But if you try and charge by the transaction in that environment, you will necessarily fail, because this is just how things are now."

Let's stop debating free and start debating how to do free right.

REWIND: Music's Last Week In Review


Will Labels Use Or Abuse iTunes Variable Pricing?

Hypebot 002

Following months of lobbying by the major labels, the iTunes store will add variable pricing on April 7th.  Tracks will be priced at $.69, $.99 and $1.29.  There''s been no official word as to which downloads will be sold as various price points, but presumably some older catalog will be reduced in price; while some hit product will be cost 30% more than before.

But will the major labels use this opportunity to lower overall prices or abuse it by trying to ring a few extra pennies from the few paying customers that have left? TAG's Ted Cohen wrote on the MidemNet blog, "As we continue to try to wean a whole generation off of 'free,' it's critical that we don't 'jump the shark' at this juncture."  Jim Guerinot, who manages Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt and Offspring told the LA Times, "Wouldn't it make sense to try to price it cheaper instead of squeezing the handful of people who are still willing to pay for music?"

If recent major label behavior is any indication, the labels search for revenue will almost certainly trump reason and the demands of the consumer.


PirateBay To Help Users Cover Their Tracks

 Pirate bay   Ipredator   Pirate bay

On April 1st, PirateBay is scheduled to launch a service that will help users cover their internet tracks.  IPREDator is a network service that makes online users more anonymous using a virtual private network (VPN). It will costs about 5 EUR a month and store no traffic data is ever stored.

Ipredator comes in response to the introduction of IPRED in Sweden, which empowers law enforcement officials and copyright holders to request the personal data of suspected copyright infringers.  Frnace, The UK and other countries are also considering similar ani-piracy programs.


RockBand Passes $1B In Sales, 40M Songs

The Rock Band game franchise has surpassed $1 billion in North American retail sales in just 15 months, according to the NPD Group. 40 million songs have been through the Rock Band platform.  Originally launched in November 2007, Rock Band is the multi-million unit selling, genre-defining music game published by MTV. The game has had a strong impact on both music promotion and sales.

 Rock Band Music Stats:Rock Band

  • 614 songs offered via on-disc and in-game music store
  • 269 different artists
  • Over 40 million paid songs have sold since Rock Band launch
  • 11 albums released to via Rock Band including AC/DC Live, The Cars, Judas Priest, Pixies, Motley Crue, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Megadeth, Rush, No Doubt and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as special compilations from The Who, Nirvana, The Grateful Dead and Boston

ISPs Prove Smarter Than Labels & RIAA

A few months ago, The RIAA announced that it was going to stop suing individuals and start working with the ISP's to warn and then shut off those engaged in illegal file sharing.  In recent days,  AT&T, COX and several other ISP providers have gone public with their TIAA backed efforts and then just as quickly  clarified them.No internet

As predicted months ago,  ISP's will support that RIAA with warning letters, But except for perhaps the token takedowns that Cox is promisng, the ISP's have stated consistently that they are not in the business of denying customers service. "We are treating this as a customer education and deterrence program,”  said an AT&T spokesman.

Continue reading "ISPs Prove Smarter Than Labels & RIAA" »


Rockzimity Takes Nickleback Interactive

Nickleback Kansas City fans need to leave their Bluetooth and WiFi enabled phones when they go see Nickelback in concert.  Thanks to Sprint, they'll have access to Ace Marketing's Rockzimity - a mobile content delivery system - delivering exclusive Nickleback content..

Upon entering areas in and around The Sprint Center in Kansas City, fans will get a message via Bluetooth asking "Would You Like A Free Video From Nickelback?". Say "yes" and a download begins that is stored in in the phone. From there the content can be virally spread via email or Bluetooth. Fans with Wi-Fi can connect to the Nickelback via a localized network. Rockzimity was also tested successfully at Madison Square Garden and several Def Leppard shows.


Daily DIY: Understanding The Value Of Free

DailyDIY When you're struggling to get a career in music going, its often hard to remember that giving your music away free may well be the most important tool you have to gather and retain fans.  In this short video WIRED's Chris Anderson, who has written a new book "Free" that will be released free on July 7th explains the current "free" revolution.

Continue reading "Daily DIY: Understanding The Value Of Free" »


Friday Music Brief: Variable iTunes, Hide The Pirates, LT/TM Merger, eMusic & More

HYPEBOT FEATURES:

MORE MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS:

  • Live nation ticketmaster large Experts: Live Nation Ticketmaster merger has a chance. (Reuters)
  • Radionomy Doubles Funding For Custom Internet Radio Platform. (TechCrunch)
  • eMusic now offers quarterly subscriptions: 60 tracks per quarter for $19.99 and 100 tracks per quarter for $24.99. There was no great rush of support from subscribers. (via Digital Audio Insider)
  • How will The Cloud change the way we think about music ownership? (CrunchGear)
  • Facebook seeking $100 million in new funding. (paidContent)
  • Massive April 18th Record Store Day Goodies List (Blurt) Dylan, Springsteen, Guided By Voices, Slayer, Flaming Lips, Wilco...
  • Nettwerk CEO, Terry McBride, Shares Insight on the Future of the Digital Music Business with Berklee Students (Ariel PR)

Blender Magazine Shuts Down

Blender cover A few years ago Blender vaulted to into position as one of the top music magazine in the United States.  Today it is out of business though it will publish a more limited online edition.

For Blender, music was a Hollywood-style celebrity gossip contact sport, and they pushed the entire music magazine genre in that direction with their success. But for those who like that kind of journalism, Blender was the bible. The glossy rag also carried more - albeit very brief - record reviews than anyone, and it will live on in the press kits of hundreds of bands who never got ink anywhere else outside of their hometowns.

R.I.P. Blender. I won't miss you, but others will.


The Orchard Reports Stronger Financials

(UPDATED) Digital distributor The Orchard ((NASDAQ: ORCD) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ending December 31, 2008. The results include both the merger with the Digital Music Group in November and the acquisition of TVT Records.

Orchard large logo
For the fourth quarter of 2008, revenues for the publicly traded company were $16.2 million compared to $9.9 million for Q4 of '07, an increase of 64%. Net loss for the quarter was $0.3 million compared to a loss of $2.4 million in the same quarter of '07. During the quarter 6% of revenue came from TVT. The company had $4.5 million cash on hand at the end of the year and no debt.

For the full year, revenues doubled to $57.4 million from $28.5 million in '07. This compares to overall digital music industry growth in 2008 of approximately 25% as reported by the IFPI. Net loss for 2008 was $2.3 million, compared with a loss of $7.6 million in '07. During the full year 2008, about 3% of revenue was derived from the TVT.

WHERE THE MONEY CAME FROM

Combined revenue from digital downloads and subscriptions comprised  78% of revenue in both 2008 and 2007. Approximately 11% of 2008 revenue was derived from sales to mobile devices, as compared to 10% in '07. iTunes represented 55% of total revenue in 2008 compared to 54% in '07.

Continue reading "The Orchard Reports Stronger Financials" »


Are The Major Labels Killing Imeem?

Imeem Late last year, rumors began circulating that imeem was in trouble. Ad revenue simply wasn't meeting the projections needed to pay labels the per stream rates agreed to.  It was said that imeem was burning through the cash that Sequoia and Warner Music had given them at a rapid rate. Then the company began openly searching for a buyer. Along the way, the global economic meltdown hit, further slowing both the flow of online ad dollars and capital investments.

Money grab Now comes word from a variety of sources that imeem is in real trouble.  Not the $30 million behind in payments to labels that one source told TechCrunch, but enough trouble that the future of the service that delivers in excess of 1 billion song plays each month is in serious doubt. In addition to dwindling cash reserves, a tough ad market and with few investors in sight, imeem faces both a major label community that appears unwilling to re-negotiate terms and the potential of competition from Spotify, Project Playlist and others.

"in a desperate search for new revenue"

The major labels and other rights holders are in a desperate search for new revenue sources and have focused in recent months on wringing bigger payments out of ad-supported music services from YouTube on down. In doing so, they run the risk of destroying the sources of music discovery that are most popular with consumers and run driving fan behavior further underground to platforms that may never be monetized.

"the labels need to act like partners"

For now, the labels seem content with constantly shifting their support from new service to new service in search of a better mousetrap - or perhaps a new advance payment.  Spotify might even me that better mouse trap.  But sooner or later the labels need to act like partners interested in win-wn  relationships rather than command and control. - Bruce Houghton


Interview Series: Nancy Baym of Online Fandom

"The dynamics amongst fans and between fans, bands, and industry that happen online are reshaping the industry and will continue to do so. We are already at a point where the internet is in the middle of music culture, but where it will all end up is still unclear and wide open… 

The biggest critical juncture will be an attitude shift in which the industry stops operating out of the fear of lost control and starts operating out of a recognition that online fans are the best promotional team bands can have, that they can build you audiences you never imagined possible, and that they deserve respect and collaboration even when you don’t like what they have to say.” - Nancy Baym

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The Interview:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three