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.
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:
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.
Greg 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.
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.
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%).
- 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.
INgrooves has added international retailers 24-7 Entertainment, Starzik and People's Music Store to its roster of of distribution partners.
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.
- 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"
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...
A statement from Warner Music Group regarding YouTube:
"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."
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:
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.”
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:
- 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
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.
click on image to enlarge
- Nokia 57.5%
- Apple 15.5%
- Research in Motion 13.2%
- HTC 8.1%
- Samsung 3.0%
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.
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
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.
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, 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)
- 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)
- Rhino Records lays off 30-40.
- Kyle Bylin's The Digital Dilemma: Finding a Path to Salvation
- The Music Industry Pays The Price Of Negativity - It's Time For A New Conversation.
- Marketer Seth Godin says "Win the fight, lose the customer."
- Sony trys AmieStreet's variable pricing but adds major restrictions.
- Lilly Allen speaks out on piracy, quits her campaign after facing nasty backlash, and then shows up at a meeting of other artists called The Featured Artists Coalition and wins their support for a modified 3 strikes plan. VOTE: Do You Support Lilly Allen and FAC's Anti-P2P Plan?
- Social Networking: 6 Ways To Make The Most Of Twitter's 140 Characters, MySpace beats Facebook with Twitter synch and Robo.to adds microvideos to social networking.
- Video: Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons briefly reminisce.
- Ringtones Continue Decline
- Video: Black Eyed Peas And Oprah Orchestrate A 21,000 Strong Flash Mob Dance
- Who Says CD Sales Are Dead? Remastered Beatles Sell 2.25 Million In 2 Weeks.
- Sony trys AmieStreet's variable pricing but adds some big restrictions.
- Just 9% of users are willing to pay for Spotify Premium.
- RIAA chief says the Music industry has "5 Reasons for Optimism".
- Guest essay: Lefsetz Is Wrong.
- Study: Illegal downloaders also buy and stream music.
- Lawsuit claims Guitar Center, NAMM fixed prices.
- New Music Seminar comes to Chicago Oct. 6th
- The Smashing Pumpkins will use the freemium model to release their new album.
- New Music Tech: Mobile video so far: promise vs. progress, Genro.tv encourages fan created "official" videos with contests and community and the Georgia Tech Edison Fund invests in Band Metrics.
- Midem adds a music tech showcase and 2 major keynotes.
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.
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.
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:
Despite 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.
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
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.
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
On the way to VH1's 2009 Hip Hop Honors show, The Global Grind captured these industry vets sharing a story about the earliy days of Def Jam.
- 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.
- 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)