The Orchard announced on Friday that it has signed a distribution deal with U.K.-based independent record label Fierce Panda Records. Under the terms, New York-based The Orchard will digitally distribute tracks from artists such as Coldplay, Bright Eyes and Death Cab For Cutie, who have released singles or albums on Fierce Panda. The Orchard delivers tracks to iTunes, Napster, eMusic, Musicmatch and other services on behalf of 2,500 labels.
From RAIN and Wired.com: "Hollywood -- always in search of hip, influential people who can get others to go see a film -- is spending an increasing portion of its collective marketing resources online, shifting budgets and attention from traditional media like television and print toward the Web... "Hollywood doesn't have a choice. Young men and other desirable audiences are not watching television, and they are relying less on newspapers to find reviews and movie times, according to industry research.
"For example, to advertise 'The Manchurian Candidate,' a political drama, Paramount Pictures has launched an advertising campaign on political blogs like Instapundit.com and The Truth Laid Bear... It shows that Hollywood is showing increasing sophistication in using the Internet to reach a specific potential audience with a tightly focused pitch -- something that's becoming nearly impossible with network television.
"47 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds prefer the Web to traditional media for information about movies, versus 33 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds and 24 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds... "For the film industry, finding new ways to reach young males in particular is crucial. That's because young men under 34 are watching less television than they have in the past, spending more of their free time doing other activities, like playing video games or surfing online... "
hypebot comments: Why isn't the music industry doing more of this? It's past due that they too reach out to target audiences via non-music online communities and publications.Read the entire article online here.
From RAIN and Vancouver's The Province: "Mark Weir, 16, doesn't listen to the radio as much as he used to. 'There are too many commercials,' he said. Instead, he listens to the computer. "'With the computer, you can download whatever you want, and you don't have to listen to what you don't want.'
"He's part of a national trend. Statistics Canada says the time teens spend listening to radio is plummeting. In 1999, teens listened to about 11.3 hours of radio a week. Last year, it dropped to 8.5 hours. That's less than half of the 19.5 hours a week adults devote to radio, which hasn't changed significantly in five years...
"Gisele Baxter, a University of B.C. professor who studies popular culture, said, 'radio culture has become largely irrelevant to teens.'.. She compared the fragmentation of TV's audience by cable to what is happening to radio when confronted with the huge choice the Internet offers... "She said listeners shouldn't expect Internet radio such as Yahoo! Launch to be ad free. 'It's not really offering them anything more than conventional radio. It's a glorified technical version of calling in a particular request.'
"It's through Internet music magazines such as epitonic.com and betterpropaganda.com that the Internet will become the savvy consumer's front line for finding and enjoying music, said Peter Gouzouasis, a UBC professor of music education."
Apple today released the following statement:
We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real's Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods.
SEE RELATED STORIES ON HARMONY BELOW.
FROM EMUSIC PRESS RELEASE: Since Their Introduction in 2001, iPods Have been Playing MP3s; eMusic Sets the Record Straight
In a news release issued yesterday announcing the launch of its Harmony Digital Rights Management system, RealNetworks asserts that, "Before Harmony, consumers buying digital music got locked into a specific kind of player" and that this new software is "key to bringing digital music to the masses." The release ignores the fact that portability and interoperability have existed for years for consumers and services that leverage the industry-standard MP3 format -- and that consumers have adopted the format in mass.
"Universal compatibility is critical to the growth of the digital music market," said David Pakman, Managing Director, Dimensional Associates, Inc. the private equity firm that owns eMusic.com, Inc. "The MP3 format is already the established standard providing universal portability and compatibility. When consumers buy digital music, they want to be sure it will play everywhere. Music sold through eMusic plays on any and every digital music device."
Scores of existing digital music services sell music in the MP3 format. The leading such service, eMusic, makes available a selection of more than 400,000 tracks as MP3s and has sold more than 21 million tracks since its inception, all of which are playable on every portable digital music player available on the market, including the iPod. Since the iPod's introduction in 2001, the device has been capable of playing music files in the universally compatible MP3 format.
From Digital Media Wire: Music jukebox software maker Musicmatch has announced the release of its latest upgrade, Musicmatch 9.0, which for the first time integrates unlimited access to the company's On Demand streaming service, which offers 650,000 tracks. Subscribers can now save any On Demand track to playlists and their music library, and mix and match with their own MP3s and purchased downloads. The Musicmatch On Demand service starts at $7.95 per month for a one-year subscription.
FROM FMQB: "BMG North America President/COO Charles Goldstuck spoke to the Jupiter Media Research Plug-In conference yesterday about the state of the digital music business. According to Billboard, Goldstuck believes that the traditional, tangible CD will determine what structure the music industry takes. "As goes the CD, so goes the industry," Goldstuck said in his speech at the keynote session.
Jupiter senior analyst David Card told the audience that he didn't believe digital music would lead to a format shift for the entire industry over the next five years, and advised that digital distribution should be thought of as more of an incremental source of revenue.
Billboard reports that executives from digital music companies such as Loudeye, MusicMatch, MusicNet, RealNetworks, and Sony Connect were in attendance, and warned that the sales of 99-cent songs is not the only way to make money in the digital music world. They spoke of subscription services as a more profitable method.
Goldstuck added that Microsoft's expected entry into the digital music world will be a "threshold event" for the industry. He said, "This development will really be a shot in the arm for the subscription service model vs. the à la carte model."
FROM THE "IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEBODY DID THIS" DEPARTMENT:
RealNetworks today announced Harmony Technology, the world's first digital rights management translation system to enable consumers to securely transfer purchased music to every popular secure music device including the iPod.
Harmony Technology frees consumers from the limitation of being locked into a specific portable device when they buy digital music. Now consumers can build their library of downloads secure in the knowledge that it will play on virtually whatever device they choose.
"Compatibility is key to bringing digital music to the masses," said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO, RealNetworks, Inc. "Before Harmony, consumers buying digital music got locked into a specific kind of portable player. Harmony changes all that. Thanks to Harmony, consumers don't have to worry about technology when buying music. Now anyone can buy music, move it to their favorite portable device, and it will just work, just like the way DVD and CDs work."
Billboard, the world's leading music and entertainment trade publication, today announced that it has partnered with CelebrityAccess, the leading provider of real-time news and information to the live performance industry. The alliance will strengthen both firm’s respective brands and entertainment information assets, specifically Billboard’s weekly concert box office score data and CelebrityAccess’ daily concert tour date data.
Billboard and CelebrityAccess are launching a co-branded concert tour database product with 40,000 - 50,000 concert tour dates across North America and Europe available at all times, which will be published on CelebrityAccess.com, Billboard.com and Billboard.biz. Billboard will be the exclusive licensor of the tour data product. In addition, Billboard’s concert box office score data will be published on CelebrityAccess.com
From The Hollywood Reporter: "Apple Computer Inc. will make a slimmed-down version of its iTunes jukebox software that No. 2 cell phone maker Motorola Inc. will install on some wireless phones it will start selling in the first half of 2005, the companies said on Monday....Apple chief executive Steve Jobs made the announcement via video conference at an event the night before Motorola's annual analyst meeting in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill. "Wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you on your phone," Jobs said. "We thought it would be great if together Motorola and Apple could give them (consumers) a small taste of what this digital music revolution is about."
FROM THE HOLLWOOD REPORTER: Online music company Musicmatch unveiled its latest release, which allows people to e-mail their favorite music to friends without breaking any laws. The new feature is part of Musicmatch on Demand and comes integrated into the company's Musicmatch Jukebox 9.0. Bob Ohlweiler, Musicmatch's senior vp business development, said subscribers can now compile a playlist that can be e-mailed to friends. If the recipient is not a subscriber, he or she can then listen to each song three times at no charge, after which the track converts to a 30-second clip. If the recipient is a subscriber, the playlist does not time out. "People discover music either by listening to the radio or when somebody recommends it," Ohlweiler said. "We offer great radio, and with this new feature we have both of the primary music discovery methods."
hypeblog: friends sharing music with friends...this has huge promotional potential.
FROM WIRED.COM Irish rock band U2 told the London Daily Telegraph that, should an unfinished advance copy of its new album that was stolen during a photo shoot in France turn up on the Internet, it plans to immediately release the finished version on iTunes and get it into stores within a week. The record is not due for official release until November. "If it is on the Internet this week, we will release it immediately as a legal download on iTunes, and get hard copies into the shops by the end of the month," U2 singer Bono told the paper. "It would be a real pity. It would screw up years of work and months of planning, not to mention fucking up our holidays. But once it's out, it's out."
From FMQB "The good news: Maybe this will create more radio jobs. Tha bad news: You may wake up one day to discover that your second adjacent channel protection is gone, and there are a bunch of low power FMs bangin' away up and down the dial. The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a measure that would spur the licensing of more LPFM stations -- primarily in larger markets -- by eliminating the third adjacent channel protection standard that is now afforded full power stations. The decision to eliminate the protection is based on a study commissioned by the FCC that showed that full power stations would suffer no significant interference from LPFMs if the standards were relaxed.
An amendment to the bill that would have commissioned an economic impact study was proposed by Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), a former broadcaster, but the amendment was voted down. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration."
From Wired.Com "The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill Thursday that would hold technology companies liable for any product they make that encourages people to steal copyright materials.
Today's the Day. Critics say the bill would effectively outlaw peer-to-peer networks and prohibit the development of new technologies, including devices like the iPod. The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act was introduced last month by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation would hold a company liable that "intentionally induces" a person to infringe copyright.
"We think this is a recipe for disaster for the Internet," said Markham Erickson, general counsel for NetCoalition, a public policy group that represents Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Internet service providers. "The bill as it is currently drafted is extremely broad and not entirely clear. It would, at a minimum, undermine the Sony Betamax decision."
READ THE FULL STORY @ WIRED.COMhttp://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,64297,00.html?tw=rss.TOP
Independent music distributor The Orchard announced on Friday that it has signed a distribution deal with U.K.-based independent record label Fierce Panda Records. Under the terms, New York-based The Orchard will digitally distribute tracks from artists such as Coldplay, Bright Eyes and Death Cab For Cutie, who have released singles or albums on Fierce Panda. The Orchard delivers tracks to iTunes, Napster, eMusic, Musicmatch and other services on behalf of 2,500 labels.
DiscLive who records and distributes live concert CDs, said on Friday that it will release a double CD recorded at upcoming sold-out concerts in New York City's Central Park by 80's new-wave band Devo. A limited edition of 1,000 copies will be sold; and purchasers will also be given a link to burn their own copy of the discs immediately following the show, while waiting for the official discs in the mail.
From Digital Maedia Wire - Wired News on Friday provided coverage of Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the "Induce Act," a controversial bill that could outlaw peer-to-peer networks and other technologies that "induce" copyright infringement. Four of the five witnesses at the hearing argued against the bill, save for Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) CEO Mitch Bainwol. The Induce Act would reverse a landmark court ruling that said peer-to-peer services like Grokster do not infringe copyrights -- a decision that is also currently on appeal. "I think the Grokster decision is wrong as a matter of copyright law," testified U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters. Bill sponsor Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he would work with opponents to address their concerns, but added that, "We're going to do this, we're going to get this done… We have to give a damn about copyright."
From two stories on MusicBiz.com:"A little over a week ago, MusicBiz reported on what is shaping up to be a largely disastrous summer concert touring season. More evidence of that continues to mount, most recently in the form of a CNN.com story. Running with the same basic news angle, CNN.com cites Clear Channel Entertainment's one-day fire sale of lawn seats, which according to Pollstar, sold upwards of 60,000 tickets. CCE put its best face forward; Co-CEO Donald Law (pictured) admitted that while prices are high, "We have provided $10 and $20 tickets to many of our amphitheater shows in many of our markets over the last couple of years and we do this in an effort to make tickets accessible for fans." Yet a Pollstar spokesman wondered, "Was it a good move? In the short term, yes. But in the long term it trains your audience to anticipate deals at the last minute and not buy tickets in advance." The House of Blues has just followed suit with its own discount ticket sale, but that may not be enough to salvage what should be the biggest touring season of the year."
"In a related story, the heat is on at Clear Channel Entertainment. The far-and away leader of the live concert entertainment industry seems to be taking the brunt of the beating. Heavy rumors are swirling around, being passed from bookers to talent buyers, that the woeful touring climate has created considerable internal dissention within CCE. Was one contemplated executive shuffle thwarted at the last minute because of a concert conflict with a major artist? Insiders tell MusicBiz that although Clear Channel has nearly all of the former independent promoters under one roof, individual ties with artists and managers run deep. Clear Channel wants to avoid what happened in San Francisco with Another Planet Productions becoming a major rival when executives left the CC fold. Will this tumult lead to a different personnel move from within? Likely. Has the tumult impacted CCE to the point were it's extremely wary of promoting anything new for the remainder of the summer? Keep your eyes peeled for some major action."
From Digital Media Wire: "The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), a trade group of peer-to-peer file-sharing software distributors, said on Thursday that download sales of songs from female rock band Heart's new album "Jupiters Darling," through the Weed format on Kazaa and Grokster, have outpaced sales on Apple's iTunes over the past week. The Weed format allows recipients to listen to a song in its entirety several times before being asked to purchase the track. The DCIA said that Heart has generated sales of 2,000 digital tracks and 30,000 albums to date for the new release."
LISTEN BEFORE YOU BUY....WHAT A CONCEPT !
From The Hollywood Reporter:"Global sales of pirated music added up to an estimated $4.5 billion by the end of last year, according to figures released Thursday by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The IFPI also said global sales of pirated music last year reached 1.1 billion discs. The effect of piracy was further highlighted as the IFPI also unveiled figures that showed that total legitimate world sales for 2003 fell 7.6% to $32 billion. Illegal music disc sales worldwide rose 4% last year, and the ratio of illegal to legal CDs sold also increased, the IFPI noted. During 2000, the ratio stood at one-in-five CDs sold being pirated. But last year, that ratio hit one-in-three and "is rising," the IFPI said. IFPI's "Commercial Piracy Report 2004" singled out 10 countries where urgent government action is needed to combat music piracy -- Brazil, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine"
From Wired.com - Josh Koenig has outsized, outlandish political ambitions: to use the Internet to create a new civic movement for disengaged younger Americans, whose first act would be to vote the Bush administration out of office in November. As head of technology for Music for America, which is trying to register 1 million young voters on the Web and at rock concerts, Koenig wants to build a loose political alliance on the Web through a new venture called Involver.
Music for America and Knitting Factory Entertainment formed Involver, a loose affiliation of music venues, musicians, artists and political groups. Involver launched its newsletter last week and plans to start posting a national calendar of cultural events soon. Koenig, 25, expects Involver to encourage younger Americans to meet, discuss issues and form their own political agenda.
Other groups: Rock the Vote, Declare Yourself and Redeem the Vote -- are also mobilizing young voters in this election. Since 1972, when 18-year-olds first got the right to vote, participation among 18- to 24-year-olds has steadily fallen. In 2000, 37 percent of this group voted, compared with 52 percent in 1972, according to the University of Maryland's Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement.
We're a huge fan of bands producing and using EPK's (Electronic Press Kits) as promotional tools. Not only do EPK's save a lot of wasted paper and trees, but they tell an artist's story much more effectively than a bunch of static pages can.
One of our favorite ways to produce and receive EPK's is via Sonicbids which for $50 a year allows artists to easily produce a nice emailable piece with links back to a server holding music samples, etc.
But increasingly bands and labels are producing even fancier presentations that use power-point style slide shows and even mini-movies to introduce a new artist. One indy label EPK that particularly caught our eye was by our friends L.A. based new school funksters THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK.
From The Hollwood Reporter: "Media Rights Technologies has unveiled a new product intended to raise Internet radio to higher levels of quality and security. The content software company's subsidiary Bluebeat.com launched its free digital radio offering Wednesday with more than 320 channels of near-CD quality music. The channels include more than 100 genres covering the past century of recorded music, but they are not interactive because of the standard RIAA and compulsory ASCAP/BMI licenses under which Bluebeat.com operates. The service will be free until Sept. 30, after which the company is considering having listeners pay less than 15 cents a day with no subscription required."
Why aren't record labels using the growing number of great net broadcasters more aggressively to promote new releases?
FROM DIGITAL MEDIA WIRE
London - Global sales of MP3 players are expected to double in 2004, to more than 20 million units, according to London-based market research firm Informa Media Group. Sales are also projected to grow at an average annual rate of almost 45% for the next six years, with sales of 194 million units predicted for 2010. "As legal downloading is in an early stage of development, incompatibility with some portable players is not an issue" said Informa senior research analyst Simon Dyson. "However, if recent forecasts for digital sales growth are accurate, incompatibility between some downloads and the most popular portable players could become an issue in the very near future." Currently, tracks purchased from Napster and other Microsoft-powered services are not compatible with Apple's iPod, and songs from Apple's iTunes Store aren't compatible with a number of portable devices.
New service MPee3.com (yes we cringe reading the name too) takes the most basic Internet service, a search engine, and applies it to MP3 (MPEG2-Layer3 Audio) files. The result is a search engine dedicated exclusively to searching MP3 files, allowing end users to locate and download MP3s quickly and efficiently.
The site also has directories of MP3-related content such as bands, shopping sites, online radio, tutorials, portable media players, encoders, and software for every major operating system. However, the engine prohibits listings for hacking, porn and gambling sites, which are commonly found on many "underground" MP3 download directories.
"Our search engine draws from a database of millions of legally downloadable MP3 files," says Stephen M. Noton, President of the MPee3 Corporation. "Unlike many other MP3 services that charge a membership fee and collect personal information which could be used to trace your online activity, at the MPee3.com MP3 Search you can download MP3 files without providing any personal details, preserving your privacy."
Optional membership programs allow users access to the MPee3.com forum, newsletter, and the ability to add MP3 sites to the search engine. The basic membership is free, while the premium membership is about $20 per year.
Featured site sponsored listing programs are an ideal way for new bands, independent labels, and Internet radio stations to increase traffic and visibility according to the company's web site.
Just in case you had any illusions about where the power in the music industry is, check out this from the Associated Press:
"The Sony-BMG merger leaves four music "majors" with about 80 percent of the $32 billion global music market...
--Universal Music Group: Artists include Sting, Sheryl Crow, Marvin Gaye, Vince Gill and Diana Krall on labels including A&M Records, Motown, MCA, GRP and Impulse labels.
--Sony-BMG: Artists include Aerosmith, George Michael, Barbra Streisand, Avril Lavigne and Elvis Presley on labels including Columbia, Epic, Arista and RCA.
--Warner Music Group: Artists include Madonna, Craig David, Alanis Morrisette, Bjork, The Corrs, Cher, David Gray and Linkin Park on labels including Atlantic, Elektra, Maverick, Rhino, and Warner Bros. Records.
--EMI Group: Artists include David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Robbie Williams and Radiohead on labels like Capitol Records, Chrysalis and Virgin."
"DURHAM, N.C. (AP)--Duke University will soon give its freshmen a trendy item it hopes will be a cutting-edge learning tool.
The university has announced a deal with Apple to distribute 1,650 iPod digital music players to its first-year students. Duke will get a discount from the computer manufacturer, then give the players free to freshmen.
The iPods generally are used to store and play music. The 20 gigabyte model, which the students will get, can hold about 5,000 songs.
But the ones Duke will give out come stocked with school-related information, including information for freshman orientation, the academic calendar, campus tours and even the school's fight song.
The university also will create a Web site modeled on the Apple iTunes site from which students can download music and course content from faculty, including language lessons, lectures and audio books. The iTunes site allows users to download music legally.
The program is a one-year experiment, but could be renewed. Although it is limited to freshmen, underclassmen enrolled in a class where the devices are being used will receive a loaner. The school ordered 150 additional iPods that can be loaned to those students or faculty members.
In the "old" days, labels had to develop lists of radio stations, separate them by genre, then mail promotional copies of recordings in an effort to get the music out to the public. It required a huge investment and infrastructure. Consider the fact that there are some 85,000 traditional, internet, satellite, commercial, noncommercial and college radio stations. Add to the mix around 10,000 club DJ's who have become a force to be reckoned with in terms of promotion and you have a formidable task and expense. It's estimated there are some 12 million new CD titles produced annually.
Enter Sounds 24-7 with a proprietary distribution system that may revolutionize the industry. Now authorized radio stations and DJ's can access promotional copies of music through the Sounds 24-7 Internet site. Along with the music, pictures, promotional materials, biographies, concert calendars submitted by the artists or labels.
Major labels are being offered access to the Sounds 24-7 system at no cost for a period of 24 months. The only charge, if the label opts for it, would be for playtime reporting. Independent artists and labels will pay a nominal fee for this invaluable exposure, Radio stations and club DJ's will be able to access the system for periods varying from 6 months to 2 years, depending on their category.
From MacWorld (UK): "New research suggests the iPod -- rather than the Internet, 3G or media fragmentation -- will have the greatest impact on the future of radio.
"The research, undertaken by The Knowledge Agency found interest in the iPod among 18-30 year-olds to be 'phenomenal.'
"According to the Knowledge Agency: 'Two consumer trends have contributed to the popularity of MP3 players and the growth of music downloading, and both present the radio industry with a knock-on effect. The first is the shift towards personalization. The second is a growing demand from younger consumers to have greater control over their media. As a result, 18 to 30 year-old radio listeners now want content that is more personalised and more directly relevant to their own tastes and needs.'..
"'While MP3 players pose an obvious threat to radio, they present opportunities, too, which the radio industry must now tackle,' (the Guardian's Meg Carter says)...
FROM THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:
Apple rolls out cheaper iPods
NEW YORK -Apple Computer Inc. on Monday introduced lower-priced versions of its iPod digital music player with longer battery life, positioning itself against rivals trying to use lower prices to undercut iPod sales. Apple said the new model iPod has up to 12 hours of battery life, compared with eight hours in previous models. Poor battery performance in some iPods has drawn criticism. The 20-gigabyte model, which can hold about 5,000 songs, has a list price of $299, lower than the previous price of $399 for a 20-gigabyte iPod. The 40-gigabyte model costs $399. (Reuters)