« March 2009 | Main | May 2009 »

France Reintroduces 3 Strikes Bill. UK Says No.

UK flag Frenchflag A French bill that would shut off internet access to repeat file-swapping offenders has been reintroduced. The law suffered an unexpected defeat recently at the hands of the French Socialist Party,. But President Nicholas Sarkozy, who supports the bill, says he expects it to be adopted by May 14th. If passed, the law would put the French at odds with the European Union who have thus far rejected three strikes efforts. 

In Britain, however, IP Minister David Lammy stated that his government has ruled out disconnecting file-swappers.  "It is for the French to determine what is right for them," Lammy said, "but for us here we do not believe that would be the right road to go down."

Surprise! Study Shows Few Indies On Radio

Artist advocacy group The Future Of Music Coalition has released a new report "Same Old  Song" confirming that indie music is not getting its fair share of airplay on broadcast radio.

Same old song

In April 2007, the FCC found widespread payola and ordered the four largest U.S. radio groups (Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel and Entercom) to pay $12.5 million in fines and work with the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) to draft 8 “Rules of Engagement” and an “indie set-aside” including 4,200 hours of unsigned and indie label music.

But FMC's new survey of Mediaguide airplay data shows little has changed in the 2 years since the FCC decree. Indie music did make slight gains at AAA Non-comm. and Country radio. But at all 5 other dominant radio formats (AC, Urban AC, Active Rock, CHR Pop, and Triple A Comm.) the share of indie music played remained stagnant at 78-82% despite ndies comprising 30-40% of the marketplace.

Not surprisingly, the FMC also found that there were very few slots for any new music .There too, new major label songs typically receive more spins than indies. Finally, FMC looked at the indie labels...

Continue reading "Surprise! Study Shows Few Indies On Radio" »

Seeqpod Back Online...Sort Of

Seeqpod Seeqpod apparently has migrated to its promised new servers. The site os back online, but all of its popular former functionalities are gone. "We'll be back soon, stay tuned!" is the only explanation along with "Meanwhile, enjoy one of our featured artists" and an offer for indie band Arlo Hero's new EP plus a Seeqpod T-Shirt for just $4.  Whether this signals a new direction for an embattled Seeqpod or they are just cleaning out their swag closet is unclear.

Seeqpod went down on Friday and over the next few days company founder Kasian Franks stated emphatically that the mp3 search and play site would be back shortly. It was not the pending lawsuits that brought the site down, he said.  They were just "in the process of moving a few servers".  In fact, Seeqpod is in acquistion talks with "a large media company that was a competitor to Apple," claimed Franks.

Radical new directions seldom work well for sites like Seeqpod (When was the last time you visited Muxtape post melt-down?), and lawsuits scare away investors. Fickled fans are already finding Seeqpod substitutes which the labels can also pointlessly take to court.

Learn About Your Fans Using YouTube Insight

Who are all those people watching your videos?
Why do they seem to love one video and not another?

Youtube wide

YouTube Insight launched a year ago offering useful analytics. Whether you want to know how old your audience is, how many times your most viewed video was rated last week, or which minute of your clip is most engaging, YouTube Insight provides the answer.It's reached via a small link on your YouTube Account page and from there the interface is very intuitive.  A feature launched this week enables export of your data.

Where to start? Try comparing the view count for different videos side by side, mapping out where your viewers are coming from over time, or comparing discovery sources by country. Watch a video overview after the jump.

Continue reading "Learn About Your Fans Using YouTube Insight" »

Thursday's Music Brief: Indies On Radio, 3 Strikes, Lessig vs. WMG, HMV & More

Hypebot Favicon HYPEBOT FEATURES:Radio


  • Wmg Copyright reform advocate Lawrence Lessig had one of his presentations on YouTube hit with a takedown notice from Warner Music. Lessig intends to fight back. (ars)
  • Apple is under siege in digital music. (The Street)
  • HMV continued to fill the void on London's high streets after year on year sales volume increased by 11.7% last quarter. (London Daily News)
  • The mega-manager trend continues: CouNtry superstar Tim McGraw has signed with Coran Capshaw's Red Light Management (home to Dave Mathews, Phish and others) and co-owner of Music Today and indie ATO Records  (Billboard)
  • Your Facebook Profile Makes Marketers’ Dreams Come True (Epicenter)
  • 20 sentenced for selling pirated CD's on Ebay. (IFPI)Nokia comes with music logo phone
  • Clear Channel Radio has cut 590 staffers. (WSJ)
  •  Set the music free.  The case for dropping DRM from Nokia's Comes With Music. (FM) Comes with Music Expands to Mexico May 1st. (Fox)
  • 30 Seconds From Mars has re-signed with EMI.
  • Time Warner is considering spinning off a struggling AOL. (FT)
  • Venture capitalistS face broken system. (FT)

Changes At The Top For Buzz Media


Former TMZ GM lan Citron has been named president of Buzz Media (formerly Buzznet). He will oversee programming, marketing, engineering and product development at the company, whose portfolio of more than 30 sites includes Stereogum, Absolute Punk and a recently marginalized Idolator.

The move could signal a chain in the tone at Buzznet's online properties towards TMZ's more gossip and celebrity focused offering. Citron’s appointment also comes as part of an expansion of the Buzz Media management team. Anthony Batt, the company’s founder and former President, will become COO and Karina Kogan has been upped to EVP, Marketing.

Continue reading "Changes At The Top For Buzz Media" »

Top 10 Twitter Tools For Musicians

Twitter bird Great Tools For Fans Too
  1. SONG.LY - Type in a song title or mp3 link to tweeT and your followers get a short link to a page allowing them to play the song right in the browser without having to download it.
  2. TWITTERFEED - Use this free service to have your RSS feeds and blog posts automatically posted to your Twitter account
  3. TWI.BZ - Every letter counts and this url shortener has special features designed specifically for Twitter. Also: TinyUrl.
  4. FACEBOOK UPDATES - Link your account directly to your Facebook profile and you can update your status via Twitter from your cell. (here)
  5. TWEET LATER- Spread out your tweets using this post scheduling service. Bonus tip: Schedule a special Tweet to be sent to your fans in the middle of a show like asking for requests via Twitter
  6. TWIT PIC - Share photos including from your cell phone via Twitter. Great for "behind the scenes" pics.
  7. DORA - Share a bit of yourself with fans.  Automatically tweets what you're listening to on Pandora.
  8. THE MATTINATOR - Post to multiple Twitter accounts (like band or label and personal) at the same time. Watch a brief introductory video after the jump.
  9. PING.FM - Update your social networks and Twitter all with one post.
  10. TWITTER BUTTONS - Get great looking “follow me” buttons for Twitter, just add your id.

Twitter BONUS TIP: Follows Others - Social networking doesn't happen in a vacuum.  If you want to be followed you must also follow others.  Suggestions: Hypebot, Nettwerk's Terry McBride, The Byrd's Roger McGuinn, pundit Bob Lefsetz, Derek Sivers, Music Think Tank's Andrew Dubber, PR queen Ariel Hyatt and anyone else that you want to network with.


Continue reading "Top 10 Twitter Tools For Musicians" »

New CEO May Mean More Trouble For MySpace

Van Natta's Short And  Rocky Tenure At Project Playlist

Project playlist Former Facebook executive Own Van Natta was the CEO of Project Playlist for just 5 months before leaving this week to head MySpace. During his short tenure, traffic on the site tumbled by almost two thirds after labels upset with Van Natta for not taking their pending lawsuits seriousbly forced the service of MySpace and Facebook.

First Van Natta let rumors of inflated new investments fly. Then, reports TechCrunch, he told anyone who would listen that deals with the labels were imminent. Neither were true and now Project Playlist is left trying to recover with board member and ex-MTV exec John Sykes forced to jump in to save the service. he's also hoping protect a substantial investment that he made near the beginning of Van Natta's short and messy tenure.

Does It Matter When You Network Or Tweet?

Day On The Web
larger image here

To have maximum impact, does it matter what time of day you do your social networking or use Twitter? Apparently not much according to a new study by Wakoopa, a social network site for software.  Except when we're all sleeping, our activity on the net is a pretty much a round the clock thing. Two additional findings:
  • Facebook usage is consistent throughout working and non-working hours. Daily activity on social networks across all regions peaked on average between 9 and 10 PM. Daily activity across all web applications was highest between 4 and 5 PM probably because people are sick of working, but its too early to go home.
  • Twitter continued its growth spike throughout the entire first quarter of 2009 with a heavy increase in March.

Interview: Ali Partovi of iLike (Part Two)

Kyle Bylin, Associate Editorilike_logo

In part two of my interview with Ali Partovi, CEO of iLike, we talk about today's music, filtering, and dependence on delivery mechanisms. (Read Part One)

Q:  Do you think that today’s new music has less “staying power” than the hits of the “golden era?”

Ali Partovi:  I think the problem with the new generation of up-and-coming music is that the labels are becoming short-sighted and gravitating towards one-hit-wonders with formulaic appeal rather than trying to develop a new artist over a period of years. This is understandable if you’re hoping to recoup your investment on record sales alone. 

ali_closeupBut it leaves an opportunity for somebody who is willing to invest in talent with a longer-term view to fill the traditional role of record labels in nurturing, investing, and developing artists – presumably to recoup that investment not just on record sales but also touring, merch, publishing, etc. I think we’re going to see new entities emerge – whether you call them labels, promoters, managers, or something new – who see this opportunity and invest in it. Until then, today’s new hits will have trouble rivaling the longevity of the U2s and Rolling Stones of the world.

Continue reading "Interview: Ali Partovi of iLike (Part Two)" »

INgrooves Adds Telarc & Headsup Overseas

Ingrooves INgrooves has inked Telarc and Heads Up International, both divisions of Concord Music Group for digital distribution worldwide excluding the US and Canada.  The wide ranging Telarc and Heads Up catalogs include jazz icons like Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner and Stanley Clarke, the blues of Taj Mahal and Tab Benoit, contemporary jazz from the likes Candy Dulfer and  Victor Wooten and world music from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Zap Mama. Current artists include bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding, Hiromi, Take 6, and guitarist Mike Stern.

Continue reading "INgrooves Adds Telarc & Headsup Overseas" »

Indie Musician Josh Freese On DIY, Variable Pricing, Promo & More

Drummer Josh Freese is a permanent member of A Perfect Circle, The Vandals, and Devo, and was the drummer for Nine Inch Nails from late 2005 until late 2008. Now he's self-releasing a new solo album and getting some attention with some unusual variable pricing and promotion.

Part 2 of the Indie 101.3 interview with Joe Escala after the jump

Continue reading "Indie Musician Josh Freese On DIY, Variable Pricing, Promo & More" »

MySpace Adds Two More Top Execs From Tech

Myspace new As part of the shakeup that ousted co-founder Chris DeWolfe and  ushered in former Project Playlist and Facebook's Owen Van Natta as the new CEO, MySpace has expanded its management team with two key hires. Michael Jones who comes from Userplane and AOL has been named Chief Operating Officer and Jason Hirschhorn joins as Chief Product Officer after a stints at Sling Media and MTV Networks.

From the press release:

Continue reading "MySpace Adds Two More Top Execs From Tech" »

Interview: Ali Partovi of iLike (Part One)

Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ali Partovi, who is the CEO of iLike.  In this interview, Ali talks about the future he imagines for his company, pay-for-play business models, social discovery, and what’s working for artists on the site. 

(Read Part Two)

In a perfect world, where innovation isn’t stifled and prolonged by a room full of lawyers…

Q:  What does the future you’re trying to build for fans and artists look like?
ali_closeupAli Partovi:  In an ideal world, talented new artists should get discovered based on merit. And not just the mass-appeal stars: a talented artist with narrow appeal should be able to reach fans within a niche genre.  Fans want more diversity; they want the mass-appeal stuff, but they also want more variety that fits their tastes.

Growing up, the first medium that I developed a relationship with was radio, because it was free and it was the first personal electronic device that owned...

Continue reading "Interview: Ali Partovi of iLike (Part One)" »

People's Music Store Adds 300K Universal Tracks To Fan Retail Offering

Universal has become the first major label to embrace fan powered download retailer People’s Music Store. Using the UK based site, fans in set up online stores, choose music, write reviews, and market via their blogs and social pages. But People's is not another multi-level marketing scheme. Fans-turned -storekeepers earn 10% of each sale in points which can be used to buy music.

Peoples music store

I met two of the People's Music Store team at the meetup that Hypebot co-sponsored with Tospin at Midem earlier this year. and was struck then by the potential of this simple concept.  Bloggers get rewarded because people bought what they wrote about, and bands can place their music next to the  artists that influence them. Labels Rough Trade, Lex and Ninja Tunes, and acts including Nightmares on Wax and Various Production have already set up shops. It is possible to do something like this with an Amazon affiliate account, but People's is only about music and adds review and other personalization tools.

People's supports commerce in multiple countries includinig the UK and US. But the problem I saw with the site back in January was lack of selection, and the Universal deal goes a long way towards solving that...

Continue reading "People's Music Store Adds 300K Universal Tracks To Fan Retail Offering" »

Harmonia Mundi - An Indie Classical Label That's Thriving In Tough Times

Classical Record Industry Down 30% In '09, Harmonia Mundi Up 9%

All this week on Hypebot, we're exploring how the double whammy of falling sales and the global economic downturn is effecting the music industry. This guest post by Charlie Dahan, which first appeared on his Center Of The Indie Label Universe blog, shows how one indie label is using old fashion A&R to thrive in tough times.

Harmonia_mundi You think the pop record industry is having a hard time of it - look at the classical music industry. Product has been devalued by labels like Naxos to be a budget line item, stores are closing, radio is disappearing, funding from the private and public sector is drying up and the audience is graying. Most labels have closed their classical division and sales are down over 30% for 2009.

Not for French indie, Harmonia Mundi. They have seen an increase in their sales in 2009 of nearly 10% by recording new music, signing new artists and getting the hell out of their way and letting them develop over several records - sounds like a winning formula. They have also developed a loyal customer base, who trusts the brand and is willing to give anything with a Harmonia Mundi stamp on it.

Read about them and listen to their NPR interview here. Even if you don’t like Classical music, you can learn a lot from their business model and practices.

Tuesday's Music Brief: More MySpace Execs, Verizon iPhones, Bookers Merge, Spotify Soars & More



  • Applelogo Apple is in high level talks with Verizon to expand its exclusive relationship with AT&T and add the carrier to its iPhone sales network. (USA Today)
  • Apple sued for stifling iPod tricks. (AFP)
  • Uber-agencies William Morris and Endeavor have agreed to merge. (Billboard)
  • Spotify Ad supported music streamer Spotify has more than 1 million users in the UK and is adding 40K more per day throughout the EU. (Music Ally) I've used Spotify and despite some minor holes in its catalog its a fabulous music service with an iTunes like interface. The company plans to come to the US and the labels are foolish if they don't encourage the move.
  • VINYL ALERT: Best Buy is considering devoting 1020 square feet in all its stores to vinyl records (NY Post) and three new vinyl only shops have opened in LA. (LA Times) Best Buy adding vinyl is not good news for indie stores.
  • Taiwan is boosting intellectual property protection laws and cracking down on file sharing networks. (Voice Of America)
  • MTV's "$5 Cover" mixes music, indie film, tv and new media in what could be a compelling new franchise. (LA Times)
  • 3 Entertaining Tips for iTunes, iPods, and Other Digital Music Players. Love the iPod but hate iTunes? Want iTunes on an non-Apple player? Want lyrics to show up in iTunes? (PC World)
  • The complete Pirate Bay court decision in English. (pdf via IFPI)
  • A suburban NYC family settled their RIAA lawsuit for $7,000 (AP)

Trouble At BuzzNet? Idolator Staff Slashed To 1

Blog network BuzzNet (renamed Buzz Media earlier this month) admitted to laying off 20% recently including staffers at Stereogum and Idolator. But when part-time and outside contributors are included, the cuts may go far deeper

Idolator "As you might have noticed, this is a bittersweet week around here; because of budget cuts, we’ve had to say goodbye to pretty much all the Idolator contributing writers, from columnists to daily bloggers. The site is going to go on as a solo project of sorts,"  editor Maura Johnston posted on Idolator.

She went to name 15 contributors no longer associated with the long standing music blog which Buzz purchased just last year. BuzzNet changed is name to Buzz Media in March after receiving $12.5 million in new funding.

Music & The State Of The Economy

Down arrow red The music industry has been hit with a double whammy. Sales continue their decline and the global economy is in the midst of the the deepest recession since World War II.  Layoffs, consolidation and  much less venture funding are just a few of the obvious signs.  But from adversity can also come opportunity. Waste is trimmed. New companies emerge where market leaders falter.

Revv 2 In addition to our regular coverage and commentary, this week Hypebot will explore how this dual downturn is effecting the music industry. Today the series starts from the artist's point of view: one who lives and sings about it and another who sees her fan's troubles and is making a small gesture in return.
Plus we want to hear from you.  What effect is the economy having on you and your business? What opportunties do you see?  Some Hypebot readers got the discussion going here. Leave your stories and comments there or anywhere you see a Music & The State Of The Economy story.  We'll share some of them in a full post later this week.

Seeqpod Down But Vows To Return

Seeqpod MP3 search and play site Seeqpod has been down since Friday, but vows to return.  "SeeqPod is in the process of moving a few servers... We'll be back up shortly", said SeeqPod CEO Kasian Franks on Sunday.

Seeqpod is in acquistion talks with "a large media company that was a competitor to Apple" according to MP3 Newswire. Any suitor would have to be willing to get involved with several pending rights holder lawsuits against the company.

COMMENTARY: Sadly, it's probably over for Seeqpod; or soon will be. If true, the major labels will have scored another victory that will prove pointless as imitator after imitator goes online.  Seeqpod hosted no content, but proved immensely popular despite a very limited marleting budget because it struck a chord with fans. Once again, instead of monetizing that consumer interest; the labels have tried to control it. And once again, they will fail.

Lucinda Williams: High Ticket Fees And Tough Times Just Don't Mix

Lucinda Williams car Lucinda Williams says she knows how tough it is out there. She also knows that the fees attached to her concert tickets are making things even tougher for fans. Since Williams cannot control ticketing fees, she wanted to do something to offer some kind of relief to her fans.

"I cannot, in good conscience, sit back and watch my fans get blatantly gouged." says Williams. "As an attempt to offset these fees, we are going to offer a standing credit at our merchandise table to everyone attending our upcoming US shows in 2009."  Each fan who attends a Williams show this year will get a credit on merchandise. The discount of about $7 on clothing and $5 on CDs will also be valid online through July for fans who went to a show earlier in the year.

"I understand that this may only be a small gesture and in no way solves the problem long term, but I feel that it is important to try and do something to make it a little easier during this time," Williams adds.

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band: Rough Music For Rough Times

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band and the growing audience that comes to see them could care less about the stock market crashing. But they do know what it's like to loose a job or worry about paying the doctor bills. This recent CNN interview and concert footage gives a glimpse of The Reverend's unique blend of rough music for rough times.

Judge Denies New Request To Broadcast RIAA Trial. Harvard Team Fights On

A request by Harvard law professor Charles Nesson and his student team for an expedited decision overturning the court's denial to broadcast the upcoming RIAA file-sharing trial against Joel Tenenbaum was denied.on Friday.
Joel fights back
 “I have circulated your request to my colleagues and received their responses,” wrote Chief Judge Mark Wolf in an e-mail to Nesson. “The District Court has decided not to take any action on the expedited basis that you request."  It is unclear if the judges will rule later, but with the trial scheduled for April 30th, Nesson is now asking the court to reschedule. "It is in this hearing that Joel’s Constitutional claims will be considered, and it is only right that the public have a right ‘to see and to hear’ as per its own Constitutional right,” Nesson wrote to the court.

Continue reading "Judge Denies New Request To Broadcast RIAA Trial. Harvard Team Fights On" »

A Meat Puppet On "The State Of The Album"

As part of our ongoing look at the future of the album, Curt Kirkwood of The Meat Puppets shares his....unique point of view:

Meatpuppets "The artist is the goose, the songs are the golden egg. The album is the ovation process for the clutch.

Let's allow a closer quicker way to the yolk...who cares if it kills the goose. I've heard that even the feathers are tasty. After the pesky creature has been slain it should be placed in the bathtub to drain and be rendered so the eggs are easily removed. Fire up the toilet-cam and let the fun begin."

The Meat Puppet's new album "Sewn Together" comes out May 12th

Monday's Music Brief: Seeqpod Down, BuzzNet Cuts, EU 70, Twitter's Impact, Pirate Fund & More



  • Twitter European Parliament approves 70 year copyright for sound recordings.
  • Numbers can’t begin to describe Twitter’s impact. (Epicenter)
  • A sentenced Pirate Bay defendant and two politicians from Sweden's Green party are launching a fund to help people accused of copyright violations under the country's new antipiracy law. (CNet)
  • Facebook Makes It Easier For Developers To Play With Its Data. (paidContent)
  • An analysis of YouTube's content fingerprinting system (TechDirt)
  • Novelist Rick Moody shares a playlist that is "somewhat against the grain as far as 'indie' music goes these days, the obscure, the experimental, the ancient, each devoted to the project and the vision instead of the results" on his Swinging Modern Sounds blog.
  • Homeland Security Cranks Up The ‘Brain Music’ (Pollstar)