UndergroundMusic.fm is a new free streaming music platform for "underground" musicians designed to build community and spread music. Streaming is free but there's also a store aspect and an option to tip for each song. It's a nice idea that is ultimately dependent on who gets involved and whether or not an audience is drawn.
A seemingly inevitable cultural embrace of analog, or what we used to call "real world" products and experiences, is underway and the music industry is very much in the forefront with indie record stores, vinyl, merch and live shows. But to hear a rep from Google speak the music industry is fetishizing the past and vinyl is outdated. Nevertheless, a new report supports the music industry's leadership in analog realms.
Austin, Texas-based guitar-slinger Ian Moore had a problem that no company in the 2013 digital music ecosystem could solve: He simply wanted to sell a song each day for 30 days as a package deal, with fans naming their own price for that music. He suggests $30, but you can pay whatever you want for the music offered in this ongoing experiment, until June 22.
On Monday, the U.S. Senate approved new taxes on digital and physical goods sold on the internet, including apps and digital music. This probably comes too late to save your local record dealer, but it probably wouldn’t have saved him or her anyway. Still, when more of the economy is online these days, a tax of some kind makes sense. Why should Other Music pay a tax on vinyl, when massive public companies like Amazon do not?
Banana Stand, a project focused on recording live shows of Portland bands, is today announcing CD Baby's sponsorship of a series of live albums including digital distribution and production of limited edition CD's. I spoke to cofounders Aaron Colter and Louie Herr yesterday in an exclusive interview about the partnership that looks like an excellent development for Banana Stand and the artists they support as well as a smart promotional move by CD Baby.
I recently wrote about online outlets for crowdfunded products with a question about who would provide such services for digital music. Crowd Outlet founder Chris James responded with the news that they're very interested in selling musicians' crowdfunded products both physical and digital. Yesterday I spoke with him about the details including the fact that musicians who sign up in May can get a 50% reduction of Crowd Outlet's commission.
When marketing your music, it's ideal to have it available for sale when people find out about it. However, particularly if you're marketing an album, it's best to start putting out the word ahead of time even if you're taking a total DIY approach. A growing number of options are now available for offering pre-orders for both physical and digital releases.
Crowdfunding platforms are at the core of a growing ecosystem of services to support crowdfunding at every stage. One of the more interesting and potentially lucrative developments are online stores created to sell successfully crowdfunded products. Such stores tend to feature gadgets and other physical items that sometimes include DVDs and could certainly include CDs and vinyl but, once one considers the possibilities, it's surprising that an online store for digital goods such as music has yet to be unveiled.
The 6th Annual Record Store Day is just a few weeks away on April 20th and anticipation is rising with news of the full list of upcoming exclusive vinyl releases. There are also an interesting range of related book and DVD releases as well as a variety of contests.
Seemingly unable to compete in a sector dominated by iTunes and shifting towards Spotify and other music streamers, digital music pioneer eMusic quietly merged with e-book distributor K-NFB yesterday. A brief statement (full text below) to partner labels marked the shift, rather than a press release. Known best for its Blio e-reader software, K-NFB was founded by entrepreneur, “futurist” and now Google exec Ray Kurzweil.
Lightweight ecommerce services like Gumroad and Chirpify allow indie artists to go Direct-to-Fan and major label artists to provide a sales experience with a D2F vibe. By eliminating the now traditional virtual trek to an ecommerce store like iTunes, such services have allowed major label artists like Eminem and Bon Jovi to join major indie artists like Tim McGraw in connecting directly with their fans.
You’re interested in making a remix of a track you don’t own, and the original artist or record label is likely way too big to listen to a humble request to remix their track from a little indie producer like you. What do you do? How can you publish a remix, what exactly CAN you remix, how can you do it fully legally, how can you sell it, and what are the risks associated with going the bootleg route?
TheHub.fm is an ecommerce music merch startup featuring a mobile app that will be available in beta on March 8th. Bands can use the app to manage their merch inventory and create an ecommerce store for both web and mobile sales. However the most interesting aspect is the ability to offer fans the option of buying merch at a live show using the app which can then be picked up at the show via an expedited process or delivered to a physical address.
Merchbox is a monthly subscription box of music and related goodies curated with your particular interests in mind. Mike Frankel of FreeIndie wants to use it as a vehicle to introduce subscribers to new music. With a thousand subscribers he's off to a good start and seems likely to benefit, as Brenna Ehrlich puts it, from "focusing on the tangible."
Recent music ticketing news includes the launch of a ticket selling module on Limited Run's D2F ecommerce platform. Eventbrite quickly integrated their services with Facebook's newly launched "Buy Tickets" button and also partnered with TapCanvas to add a ticket sales widget to their mobile app builder. And Ticketmaster is preparing an onsite secondary ticket sales option in addition to adding free digital ticket transfers.
Limited Run Adds Ticket Selling Module to D2F Platform
A lot of tech writers still can't wrap their heads around what a varied terrain the phrase "music tech" indicates. Yesterday Kickstarter launched its first native iOS app and CD Baby introduced download wristbands with special Valentine's Day pricing. In late January, Amazon was granted a patent for Redigi-style digital content resales. Such data points, aka news items, help indicate the extensive features of music tech's terrain.
Tea for Tyrants is a project from Andy Angelos and Phil Lomac, the duo also known as Lovely Tyrants. To promote a new EP they decided to offer their own branded bags of green tea along with download instructions for the digital release. They were so inspired by the experience that they launched a tea and music company starting with 5 brands of green tea and 5 emerging acts. Turning to Kickstarter for funding, they reached their goal with days to spare.
Great news for musicians is not always good for incumbent services for artists. In the case of iTunes music sales, musicians' network Fandalism is introducing the lowest distribution fees now available for iTunes. Once your music is up, you can increase your revenue through GeoRiot's global iTunes affiliate links. Today GeoRiot relaunched their site and introduced new tools that simplify the process making Fandalism and GeoRiot a solid tag team for indie musicians.
Ashton Kutcher recently launched a monthly subscription box full of interesting items via Fancy. Though Fancy is said to be opening up their program for others to create subscription boxes, a monthly release is probably a bit over the top for most musicians. Instead, you could create a one-off box of goodies inspired by crowdfunding rewards to feed your superfans.
Private equity investor Hilco Consumer Capital has bought the debt of British music retailer HMV, which went into administration last week. As of the end of October 2012, HMV had outstanding debts of approximately $279 million and Hilco was reported to have paid about $190 million to acquire that debt from a group of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Lloyds Banking Group, according to the New York Times.
Lots of interesting and creative vinyl news has come out over the last month or so. Highlights include an upcoming exhibition of David Bowie singles covers in England, reissues of important blues recordings via Third Man Records, memories of when the UK's HMV was more than a corporate retail chain and the now well-publicized release of a single on ice from the Shout Out Louds. Despite the fact that some only value vinyl cause it offers another revenue stream, however minor, the creative energy being spent on vinyl is a great example of what people are talking about when they say it's not just a matter of business.
Top music retail chain HMV has appointed administrators, the UK equivalent of bankruptcy protection. HMV has 239 stores and approximately 4,350 employees in the U.K., Singapore, and Hong Kong. It went public in 2002, but has been struggling in recent years.
Recent singles and album releases have nicely illustrated some of the reasons a musician might release music at a seemingly outrageous price. From Mike Doughty's $543.09 song to the £3000 single from Gaggle to a Bob Dylan release with only 100 physical copies, each of these choices has different reasoning behind it from art to politics to exclusivity to copyright.
Amazon's new AutoRip service sounds pretty cool though there are some limitations. When you buy an eligible CD you get a free MP3 version that's stored in Amazon's Cloud Player. Given that most CD's aren't copy protected, this is a smart move one can see the labels going for that could boost sales of CDs as well as awareness and usage of Cloud Player.
If you asked most people what a single track is worth, most would answer with the going market price, which ranges from ~$0.79-$1.29. This is what the market has shown, for the most part, that it will bear. You veer too far away from the high end of that range and you'll find most people will opt for other music, cheaper music, or your music, fully detached from the high-end price tag.