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Billy Bragg On Piracy: "A war that no one can win."

Billy Bragg has been one of the UK's most politically active and outspoken musicians for several decades. Now in an open letter first published in The Guardian, Bragg weighs in on the current three-strikes controversy and offers his own alternatives.  Like the talented songwriter that he is, Bragg starts with the hook:

image from 2fm.rte.ie

The only way to tackle illegal filesharing is not suppression, but to offer reliable, easy to use, fairly priced alternativesLast week the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) convened a meeting of artists at Air Studios in London with the intention of seeking common ground on the issue of what to do about illegal filesharing before the end of the government's consultation period, which has now closed.

The statement that we produced is the first real sign that artists are ready and willing to become involved in the debate about the shape of the new digital music industry. There were many views in the room, from those who wished to disconnect illegal downloaders, to those who believed that there was no technical solution to the loss of revenue that the recording industry is experiencing.

Continue reading "Billy Bragg On Piracy: "A war that no one can win."" »


Bandzoogle Hits A $1.5 Million Milestone

image from i.ehow.com

Self-service music web site builder and artist services site Bandzoogle has just hit $1.5 million market in commission free sales for artists using their services.

Founder Chris Vinson also tells me that last email Bandzoogle launched Twitter integratio and tomorrow they're adding Facebook sync.  MySpace sync is  just a few weeks away as wel. The goal is for Bandzoogle to become the hub for all a musician's content.


Trouble In The Orchard: CEO Scholl Exits, Staff Cut

image from 75.101.146.215image from www.mobilemarketer.comGreg Scholl, President and CEO of indie distribution powerhouse The Orchard is exiting the company amid overall staff reductions of 20%. Scholl is landing on his feat with a new undisclosed position already in place when he leaves the publicly traded company on November 1st. 

But 20% or about 20 of the 100 or so Orchard's staffers will not be so lucky. “Reducing staff is always a difficult decision, but in this case, the responsible one, and it better positions The Orchard for future growth and profitability,” Scholl said in a statement.  Other cost reductions are planned including taking advantage of technology efficiencies and aligning costs with "a slower-than-expected digital music market growth rate".

As of October 1st,  Danny Stein will become interim CEO, supported by an expanded role for current Orchard General Manager Brad Navin. Stein is also CEO of eMusic and both eMusic and The Orchard are controlled by investment firm Dimensional Associates. Board Chairman Michael Donahue will lead a search committee to evaluate candidates and identify a new leader for the company.

Scholl led The Orchard through a tumultuous period that included the transition from an also-ran digital channel for indie musicians to a top tier distributor for many signifigant indie labels.  Along the way, the company merged with a competitor, went public and bought the assets of bankrupt indie label TVT including its physical distribution arm.  Scholl positioned The Orchard as a company competing on service rather than price and built an infrastucture to back his claims. 

Continue reading "Trouble In The Orchard: CEO Scholl Exits, Staff Cut" »


Fanscape's CEO On The Value Of Online Fandom

image from jobs.searchenginejournal.com

Industry veteran Larry Weintraub's Fanscape has been a leading online music marketing agency since the earliest days of music and the internet 2.0.  The company has marked their 11th anniversary with a case study, "The Value Of Online Fandom".

A few highlights:

  • The #1 reason people buy or try something is because someone they trust told them to.
  • Before starting any maketing campaign first ask, "If I were the customer, why would I care?"
  • If you have a product or service,  the chance is that someone already loves it and is talking about it.  Find these people and empower them.
  • More


Online Video Views Climb. YouTube Dominates

comScore's Video Metrix reported that in the U.S. 161 million people watched more than 25 billion online videos viewed during August, an all time record.

Google sites surpassed 10 billion views, representing 40% of all videos viewed online. YouTube accounts for 99% percent of all views for Google. Microsoft sites ranked second with 547 million ( just 2.2%) followed by Viacom Digital with 539 million videos viewed (2.1%and Hulu had 488 million (1.9%).


image from i.dell.com

Other notable findings included:

  • 81.6 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The average online video viewer watched 582 minutes of video, or 9.7 hours.
  • 120.5 million viewers watched nearly 10 billion videos on YouTube.com (82.6 videos per viewer).
  • 44.9 million viewers watched 340 million videos on MySpace.com (7.6 videos per viewer).
  • The average Hulu viewer watched 12.7 videos, totaling 1 hour and 17 minutes of videos per viewer.
  • The duration of the average online video was 3.7 minutes.

More stats:

Continue reading "Online Video Views Climb. YouTube Dominates" »


INgrooves Adds 3 More International Retailers

INgrooves has added international retailers 24-7 Entertainment, Starzik and People's Music Store to its roster of of distribution partners.

image from www.africandope.co.za

White label service provider 24-7 Entertainment, powers a number of sites including MediaMarkt (Germany), CDOn (Scandinavia) and TDC Play (Denmark).  Starzik is the 5th ranked legal downloading service in France and works with multiple retail stores in other European markets such as ebaymusic (Spain) and fnacmusic (Belgium).  People's Music Store offers a "people powered" music download service for users to create their own individual stores.   

Continue reading "INgrooves Adds 3 More International Retailers" »


More Cuts At WMG

image from upload.wikimedia.org

Days after major staff reductions in it Rhino division, Warner Music Group has cut an additional 10-29 staffers.

Senior VP of Sales Dave Stein, who has been with Warner Brothers Records for more than 25 years was terminated according to Variety.  Longtime SVP of Business Affairs Susan Genco also left voluntarily.  The WEA distribution division and it's indie distribution channel Alternative Distribution Alliance also saw cuts.

WMG's current fiscal quarter ends today.


More Music News: Apple’s Hypocrisy, Zoe Keating, Virtual Composer, Jonathan Coulton & More

  • image from 1.bp.blogspot.com

    Free iTunes!
    Apple's hypocritical move to block competitors from accessing its software. (Slate)
  • NARM has started a group on business networking site Linkedin. Join it here.
  • More on WMG;s return to YouTube as a premium channel. (paidContent)
  • Zoe Keating: Web Fame that Actually Translated to a Career (TechCrunch)
  • Alex Maghen has been upped to Chief Technology Officer at MySpace. 
  • Would this advert stop you filesharing?  The decision by UK Music to reprint a blogpost from an indie band on the adverse effects of leaking albums to the internet marks an interesting turn in the filesharing debate. (Guardian)
  • Virtual composer makes beautiful music—and stirs controversy.  Can a computer program really generate musical compositions that are good enough to have been written by humans? Professor David Cope thinks so, and has dedicated decades of research to the topic of artificial intelligence in music, which has resulted in not one, but two controversial composing engines. (ars)
  • Record Stores: Out of Sight, Not Obsolete (NY Times)
  • Low Overhead + High Margin: An Interview with Jonathan Coulton. (Music Business & Trend Mongering)
  • Nettwerk Music Group Signs Deal With Digital Distribution Platform FUGA to use as the central database for its digital releases. (Alt Sounds)
  • Jeremy Banks appointed IFPI's Director, Anti-Piracy.
  • Mark Mulligan: "Why the ‘Music As Free’ Argument Just Doesn’t Hold Water"

YouTube Responds To Return Of WMG Videos

image from icar.gmu.edu


From the YouTube blog:

Warner Music Comes Back to YouTube

Music Licensing: It's complicated. Let's face it. But today all of that is beside the point: we are happy to announce that Warner Music Group (WMG)'s artists are returning home to YouTube. Under this new, multi-year global agreement, you will be able to discover, watch and share Warner music on the site. The partnership covers the full Warner catalog and includes user-generated content containing WMG acts.

With Warner on board, we now have artists from all four of the major music labels & publishers together with hundreds of indie labels and publishers on our platform. Warner will also be able to sell their own ad inventory and will...

Continue reading "YouTube Responds To Return Of WMG Videos" »


It's Official: Warner Music Group Back On YouTube

A statement from Warner Music Group regarding YouTube:

image from i.realone.com

"We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached a new and expanded agreement with Google and its YouTube subsidiary that will bring WMG content back to the service as early as the end of the year. Under the agreement, members of the YouTube community will not only be able to access videos and other music-related content from Warner Music Group recording artists and songwriters, but will also gain access to an enhanced user experience on YouTube with a feature-rich, high-quality premium player and enhanced channels."

MTV Makes Me An Offer I Can Refuse

image from www.moonbattery.com

Avoiding The "More Must Be Better" Marketing Trap

Those of us who write about marketing and the music industry  often  preach the importance of reaching out to fans, connecting with them and encouraging them to spread the word.  It's an essential concept of modern marketing, and if what we're spreading is quality and the campaign is executed properly, it can have spectacular results.

But increasingly campaigns mistakenly take the "more must is better" approach.  They begin by  blasting the widest imaginable audience rather than targeting the most receptive one.  Next  come too many superlatives ("the hottest", "the world's best").  Then, because deep down they  probably know that what they're schilling isn't any good, they demand action from anyone who might be listening. ("Tell all your friends today!"). And just in case you're still not motivated, they'll add a prize or incentive.

The campaign that motivated this diatribe arrived in my inbox from a marketing firm hired by MTV Networks.  The email offered me the chance to compete to be a member of MTVN's Elite Influencer Network because I must "live to be in the know about the hottest new comedians, music, fashion, reality TV, pop culture, movies and people".

Of course, the person that sent this tripe had never bothered to even glance at Hypebot.  Some badly instructed intern had run some stats and decided that I was a top music blogger.  Never mind that  I'm not Perez Hilton and that I write about marketing, tech and music business news  and not about fashion, reality TV, pop culture or even the music itself.  I could be an Elite Influencer.  Here's the pitch:

image from cdnrsrc.flixwagon.com

Do you live to be in the know about the hottest new comedians, music, fashion, reality TV, pop culture, movies and people? Share your passion with MTV Networks and you could join their “Elite Influencer Network.”   Located at http://www.brickfish.com/MTVN, the “Elite Influencer Network” program aims to create a network of some of the most influential people on the Web.  From Comedy Central to VH1, Spike TV to MTV, the MTV Networks encompass entertainment for all appetites, which is why they are looking for an array of individuals to produce the ultimate “Elite Influencer Network.”

Continue reading "MTV Makes Me An Offer I Can Refuse" »


A Look Inside The ReverbNation Audiolife Store

A week ago ReverbNation and Audiolife announced a partnership dubbed the Reverb Store. Currently in private beta, the free offering, which goes public in October, enables artists to design physical and digital goods online and sell them without upfront expense. Products are produced on-demand and delivered to the fan. This video offers a graphic walk through the Reverb Store:

Reverb Store Walkthrough from Ferol Vernon on Vimeo.


More Music Industry News: RIAA $'s, Apps Pass 2B, EMI Debt, Who Networks? & More

  • image from i283.photobucket.com

    Ignoring RIAA lawsuits cheaper than going to trial -
    The same federal judge who oversaw the Joel Tenenbaum file-sharing trial earlier this year passed out default judgments this week against other file-swappers who never bothered to show up—and they now owe far less than Tenenbaum. (ars)
  • Apple's App Store surpasses 2 billion downloads. (DMW) Who needs to sell downloads when your pushing our 2 billion apps?
  • Citi may not forgive debt by EMI. (NY Post)
  • The More Affluent and More Urban are More Likely to use Social Networks. (Nielson)
  • Keith Jopling of Juggernaut Brew asks, "Why doesn’t the music industry have answers to the big questions?"
  • Palm ends iTunes sync cat-and-mouse game.
  • Spotify Connection Disqualifies Pirate Bay Appeal Judge - The Pirate Bay appeal is coming up in November and just as with the initial trial there is a lot of controversy surrounding the background of the various judges. Today the Appeal Court has decided to disqualify one of its lay judges because of his involvement with the music industry.(TorrentFreak)
  • The Making of TAPE: setting up a label - "We'll be going back to the start for the next few weeks to discover what it really takes."  (Independent

iPhone Growth Reshaping Mobile Landscape

Just in case you were holding back on developing an iPhone app while you waited to see how this whole handheld device thing ended up.  These sobering stats might encourage you to click over to Guru.com to find a developer or create your own basic app using iLike's self service platform.

Eu handheld sales

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In the crucial Western European market which tech expert Om Malick says is a harbinger of things to come worldwide, the mighty Nokia and other traditional cell phone manufacturers losing sales to Apple which experienced 600% growth last year.  Here's the breakdown of sales of smart phones only in the same territories:
  • Nokia 57.5%
  • Apple 15.5%
  • Research in Motion 13.2%
  • HTC 8.1%
  • Samsung 3.0%

Sellaband Shifts Gears, Drops $50K Minimum

GUEST POST: Indie singer songwriter Mathew Ebel  is carving out a living with a mixture of live performances, CD sales, subscriptions and more.  But he caught my eye with his weekly series of live net performances via Ustream.

One of the keys  to Ebel's survival has been his ability to embrace new ideas and technologies that might connect him to fans and move his carreer forward. Fan funding enabler Sellaband was just that kind of concept, except for one thing; he couldn't imagine raising the $50,000 minimum required. Then he got a phone call  that could change everything.

Sellaband Title

Earlier this week I received a call (yes, a voice from the Netherlands) about the future of Sellaband. If you’re not already aware, Sellaband was set up to help independent artists (like me) finance albums with real producers, real studios, and real promotion. I posted a more detailed explanation back in February, but the major drawback was the budget goal: $50,000 USD. Crikey.

That’s all changing. Sellaband is becoming less like a make-your-own record deal and more like a straight-up micro-financing site for musicians. I’m excited about this and more convinced that this is how I want to finance my next album. Read on for details…

Major Changes at Sellaband

They finally posted their plans on The Sellaband Site, but I’ll give you a breakdown of how this will affect you (my fans and investors) and me (the guy making all the noises in the studio)…

The Goal Is Now $10,000

Actually, the goal can be anything from $10k to $100k, it’s up to me (and you). I made Goodbye Planet Earth for about $5,000 including duplication, so two or three times the budget would mean I could hire a real engineer, more than one other musician, and maybe even a producer to help me improve my sound.

I Can Set My Own Incentives

Continue reading "Sellaband Shifts Gears, Drops $50K Minimum" »


Sources: WMG Inks New YouTube Deal

Several sources are confirming rumors that the Warner Music Group has finalized a new relationship with YouTube that will see their artists return to the top rated video channel.  The deal will be announced as soon as WMG's new videos are delivered and encoded for play.

WMG is also back in talks with Vevo, the new Universal, Sony and YouTube sponsored music channel currently in development.  Both moves are part of a broader Warner Music strategy to increase income from videos by using non-exclusive deals to spread their artists across a wide variety of ad supported channels.


UK's Dan Bull Sings An Open Letter To Lily Allen

You are probably sick of hearing about Lily Allen's on again, off again, on again fight against the evil forces of music piracy. I know that I am. Hopefully, there will be a reprieve of print worthy news this week on the subject.  But to be certain that your not left with the impression that every artist in the UK is lining up behind Ms. Allen and her call to throttle back offender's internet service after a couple of warnings, UK singer songwriter Dan Bull has written a song, "Dear Lily (An Open Letter To Lily Allen)".  I shall, as has been written, let the music do the talkin'...


Kyle Bylin's Q&A Session at Next Big Nashville

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Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor

I’m particularly proud to announce that not only will I be attending Next Big Nashville, a nationally recognized music festival and conference, but that they’ve asked me to be a part of the event as well.  Are there any Hypebot readers who are going and would like to connect?  See bottom.

   Next Big Nashville: October 7-11, 2009
4 Days of Music, Parties, Pannels, & More

Topic: "A Conversation with Hypebot's Kyle Bylin on Digital Natives" - a Q&A session about Bylin's recent thought-leadership piece "Cradle to Grave: The Untold Story of Digital Natives" in which he explores the population of 1 billion youth born after 1980, and the unique combination of psychological and technological obsolescence that has played in their daily lives.

Details:  Wednesday, Oct. 7 --  3pm - 4pm
Moderator:  Lucas Hendrickson

(More Details After The Jump)

Continue reading "Kyle Bylin's Q&A Session at Next Big Nashville" »


More Music Industry News: MP3 Volume Laws, Twitter Slows, ISP Inaction, Mobile Bright Spot & More

  • Pump down the volume, EU to tell MP3 makers - Tens of millions of people will be forced to listen to portable music at permanently reduced volume under European Commission proposals to be unveiled next week. (AFP)
  • Razor & Tie drops Limewire lawsuit. (Billboard)
  • Time for Digital Music to Get a Reality Check. (GigaOM) A reality check is overdue.
  • Is Facebook speeding up while Twitter slows? On the heels of Twitter’s latest fundraising round valuing it at a reported $1 billion, data suggests the site’s growth may be slowing. Twitter.com’s market share of visits peaked in June then declined into this month, according to analytics service HitWise. (Digital Beat)
  • BPI Decries ISP Inaction Against 100K Music Pirates - A UK music industry group claims that it has given an ISP evidence that thousands of its customers are pirating music but it has done nothing to stop them. Since February the BPI has harvested the IP addresses of 100,000 BT Broadband customers but is now labeling the ISP’s lack of action against them as “shameful.” (TorrentFreak)
  • The last pre-Sony payments have been sent to rights holders from eMusic. (Digital Audio Insider)
  • Twitter confirms new funding. (NY Times)
  • Zune HD: The best portable media player you may never buy. (Beta News) Finally a worthy competitor.
  • Colorado's Finest Records is closing. (Coloradoan)
  • Mobile usage is a rare bright spot for the music industry. (Reuters)
  • The growing success of tiny NY indie label Woodsist. (NY Magazine) They release cassettes! 
  • Music Industry Copies Language Of Copyright Reformers In Pushing For Three Strikes. (Techdirt)

REWIND: The Music Industry's Week In Review


Rhino Records Lays Off 30-40

Rhino

Are More Cuts Ahead?

WMG's catalog arm Rhino has pink slipped 30-40 staffers with cuts across all departments. 

A statement from Rhino blamed "fundamental transformation of the physical new release and catalog business" for the cuts.  Rhino will evolve into a leaner division that "handles WMG's global digital catalog initiatives, film, TV, videogame and commercial licensing, and name and likeness representation for legendary artists."

ANALYSIS: Catalog departments are generally among the most profitable divisions at most label groups, and Rhino has has often been viewed as a market leader. But declining CD sales and fewer newer titles worthy of a full re-release push are extending the pressure to cut staff into this once sacred and profitable sector.

The rumor mill is working overtime, as well, pointing to more layoffs at major labels, talent agents and elsewhere within the new music industry as the fourth quarter of a difficult year approaches.


Mobile Video's Mixed Bag: Promise vs. Progress

A new Nielson study "The State of Mobile Video: Promise vs. Progress" concludes that at its current 6.5% penetration level, it’s easy be pessimistic about mobile video. But with 70% year over year growth, it may be wiser to be a cautious optimist. 

Mobile video

According to the analysis, mobile video is a transformational technology that will require real shifts in consumer behavior.  So while mobile video may have a long way to go before having a dramatic impact,  when it does - "when mobile video adoption further dissolves barriers of video’s time and place" – the beneficiaries will be those who participated in its evolution, concludes the study.

Some highlights from the report:

Continue reading "Mobile Video's Mixed Bag: Promise vs. Progress" »


Lily Rejoins P2 Debate, Artists Coalition Backs Her

Lily Allen right big

FacDespite statements on her Twitter page that she was dropping out of the anti-piracy debate, Lilly Allen did attend a meeting of the Featured Artists Coalition yesterday in London.  Allen is not a member of the group, but her speech drew cheers from the audience of artists, many of whom then signed a statement of support.

VOTE: DO YOU SUPPORT FAC'S ANTI-P2P PLAN?

FAC's artists members are advocating for a less stringent  three strikes approach that warns a the heavy offender twice and then throttles back their internet access to make p2p use difficult. Here is the complete text of the statement issued yesterday and a complete list of the artists who signed on:

We the undersigned wish to express our support for Lily Allen in her campaign to alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry and to condemn the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days.

Our meeting also voted overwhelmingly to support a three-strike sanction on

Continue reading "Lily Rejoins P2 Debate, Artists Coalition Backs Her" »


CIMS Indie Store Charts 9.20.09

The Coalition Of Independent Music Stores publishes weekly charts of sales in its independent retail members. Click here for an excel of this weeks complete charts.Cims

Top 25 Debuts

1 PEARL JAM BACKSPACER MONKEYWRENCH 

2 MONSTERS OF FOLK MONSTERS OF FOLK SHANGRI-LA MUSIC 

3 BRAND NEW DAISY UMGD/INTERSCOPE

4 BROTHER ALI US RHYMESAYERS ENT

5 LANGHORNE SLIM BE SET FREE KEMADO

6 GRAY,DAVID DRAW THE LINE DOWNTOWN RECORDS

7 VOLCANO CHOIR UNMAP JAGJAGUWAR

8 CLARK,GUY SOMEDAYS THE SONG WRITES YOU DUALTONE

9 BIG PINK BRIEF HISTORY OF LOVE 4AD

10 WHY? ESKIMO SNOW ANTICON

Continue reading "CIMS Indie Store Charts 9.20.09" »


More Music Industry News: Cost Of Fighting P2P, LyricWiki,, Fanzines, iTunes Pricing & More

  • Pirate

    Music piracy costs money; does fighting it cost more?
      The major music labels say that they stand to lose £200 million this year in the UK alone thanks to Internet file-sharing. But one of the country's biggest ISPs is now slinging around some huge numbers of its own, saying it will actually cost ISPs £365 million a year to adopt "three strikes" rules meant to stem piracy. (ars)
  • Music Publishers push LyricWiki into Wikia's arms (Techdirt)
  • MTV Bump? A little more than a week after making their American television debut performing  at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards,  British band Muse debuted at #3 on the Billboard chart with 128,000 copies sold.  The "Uprising" single saw a week-over-week growth of 341% after the performance, jumping from 12,040 to 53,039 units sold this week.
  • Fanzines - The scene that smells of zine spirit.  It should have died out with flexi discs and VHS, but now a new generation is embracing the DIY world of the fanzine. (Independent)
  • Study: Twitterers More Receptive To Ads Than Other Social Net Users (paidContent)
  • Eminem publisher takes Apple to court over rights. (AP)
  • Nokia extends music contracts in Britain. (Reuters) Poor sales are almost certainly the reason. 
  • Itunes logo

    Music industry dynamics suggest iTunes price hike. -
      Online music consumers likely to pay more if ASCAP and BMI succeed in download revenues grab. (MN Daily) The inane fight by publishers to try to get a performance royalty for downloads continues...
  • A big Hypebot thank-you to the Studio Manifesto blog for the kind words about my post The Music Industry Pays The Price Of Negativity. I agree wholeheartedly that , as they wrote, it is "innovation we need to fix the industry. Nothing promotes innovation more than tearing down walls and monopolies...". (SM)