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ReverbNation Survey: How is the Economic Downturn Affecting Artists?

ReverbNation conducted a survey of artists in an attempt to learn how the downturn was affecting their everyday lives across a variety of factors.

There was a general perception among respondents that the economic downturn was affecting them in a negative way, overall.  Specifically, artists cited that they were touring less, receiving less money for gigs that have become harder to get, taking fewer lessons and turning to more DIY ways of recording their music:


much more after the jump...

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Pirate Bay Sold To Global Gaming Factory

Pirate bay (UPDATED) News began to trickle out in the wee hours this morning that The Pirate Bay has been sold to Global Gaming Factory X AB for $4 US million in cash plus an equal amount in stock. GGF develops gaming software and operates internet cafes and gaming centers in Scandinavia.  Details are vague, but the original team will still stay involved and promise to keep the site much the same.

Ownership of the Pirate Bay had been transferred away from the individuals being sued in 2006 according to an interview (translation via Techdirt) with co-founder Peter Sunde conducted on Twitter. Neither Sunde or his fellow pirates are the beneficiaries of the sale according to a PirateBay blog post, but rather  "into a foundation that is going to help with projects about freedom of speech, freedom of information and the openness of the nets."

Also: Pirate Bay Readies Launch Of The Video Bay

Pandora Forces $29.95 Payments From Indie Bands

Pandora poster (UPDATED) Until recently, Pandora accepted music from indie artists at no cost in almost any form including home burned CD-R's. But now, in part because of a deal to display album cover art via Amazon's servers,  submissions must be available as a physical CD for sale on Amazon and include cover art and a UPC code to even be considered for airplay.

Compliance with the new rules will cost artists in several ways. According to its FAQ page, to get play on Pandora you now need:

  • Cd many a CD of your music
  • a unique UPC code for that CD
  • your CD to be available through Amazon (must be a physical CD, not just MP3s for download)
  • the legal rights to your music
  • MP3 files for two of the songs from your CD
  • free Pandora account, based on a valid email address, which can be associated with your music

In addition to art and packaging costs, Pandora explains that to comply with the new "available through Amazon" rule, indie artists should join the Amazon Advantage Program. Membership costs $29.95 each year plus Amazon takes 55% of the list price of every CD sold.

Established artists and labels already comply with Pandora's new rules. But for an indie artist trying to win new fans with a little help from Pandora and to keep his hard earned cash by selling direct, the new threshold may shut off an important avenue for exposure.


Band Shoots Free Video With Surveillance Cameras

Unsigned Manchester UK band The Get Out Clause performed in front of a number of surveillance cameras on buses and streets and other public places around the country. They then used The Data Protection Act (the UK's version of US' Freedom Of Information Act) to get copies of the tapes and edited them into a video that's become a viral hit.

Garagespin suggests that it's the patriotic thing for US artists to follow suit this 4th of July and have the federal government help produce their next video.

The Music Industry, Michael Jackson & The Zombieconomy

Consultant and big thinker Umair Haque took a look at some of the dollar figures being thrown around in the wake of Michael Jackson's death including reports that sales of his recordings have "generated more than $300 million in royalties...since the early 1980's". Haque did  little math and asked:

Umair-haque "If the world's biggest pop star only made $12 million a year from his recordings, why would anyone make serious music? Where did the rest of the money go? Why, straight into record labels' pockets. Did they make better music with it? Nope — they made Britney and Lady GaGa. And that's how they killed themselves: by underinvesting in quality, to rake in the take....

The world's top hedge fund "managers" regularly pull in hundreds of millions. That's an order of magnitude difference...

That's the big problem behind the zombieconomy. We don't reward people for creating, growing, nurturing, or even remixing assets. We just reward them for allocating the same old assets. That 's not an economy: it's just a game of musical chairs."

Video: How To Fight Zombies -

Continue reading "The Music Industry, Michael Jackson & The Zombieconomy" »

Pirate Bay Readies Launch Of The Video Bay


Those tiring of the growing restrictions put by rightsholders on video on You Tube and elsewhere may eventually find a home at The Video Bay.  Currently in "beta extreme", the site is the latest brainchild of the folks behind the Pirate Bay; and if their mounting problems in Swedish courts weren't already enough, this is sure to add to their legal bills.

"Both Live And Drunk Coding"

"Don't expect anything to work at all". reads the simple front page, and a test drive shows that almost nothing does. But the plans are ambitious.

Continue reading "Pirate Bay Readies Launch Of The Video Bay" »

Tuesday's Music Brief: Pirate Bay Sold, Pandora Problems, Spotify's Future, Limewire Exec & More

Hypebot Favicon Lot's of great stuff today and a few things already on deck for tomorrow.  So much for a holiday/summer slowdown.  And be sure to vote in the Pandora indie poll.



  • Spotify Spotify founder hints at video, P2P sharing, world domination. (Register)
  • Big music label foe LimeWire’s newest executive is Jason Hersowitz, a big label veteran. (MediaMemo)
  • Licensing Issues Shut Down Pandora Outside US. (Slashdot)
  • The Bandwidth Music | Technology Conference 2009 to be held August 27-28 in San Francisco has added Cory Ondrejka, EVP of Digital Marketing at EMI Music for a keynote conversation. (press release)
  • See how the Michael Jackson phenomena continues to dominate the sales charts with this up to these up to the minute iTunes single and album charts.
  • Study: Radio Is Still Top Teen Source For Music (FMQB)
  • imeem and eMusic: If You're Taking Away Features From Users, Don't Tell Them It's For Their Own Benefit (Techdirt)
  • ubroadcast Details Cooperation Agreement With PurePlayMusic.com(press release)

Overloaded With Data? Trendrr Launches Pro

 A First Look & How It Compares

Trendrr_logo Information and trends spread across the global net with lightening speed. Bloggers and fans love a show, hate a single, publish a photo, share an impression.  Each of these "events", whether they are on the riseArrow up and down red or decline and where they are coming from all come together to create buzz.

Digital marketing agency Wiredset, who works with Last.FM, Capital, Sony BMG and Universal, as well as, tv networks, book publishers and brands, created a tool to track this activity and shared a piece of it with a free public service dubbed Trendrr that I've written about previously.

Today the company launched Trendrr Pro, a more sophisticated paid version which tracks and graphs consumption trends and activity across the digital spectrum, including social networks, blogs, torrents, Amazon, Craigslist, Twitter, Google, MySpace, and leading video sites.

I got an advance look under the hood of last week and saw the improvements:

Continue reading "Overloaded With Data? Trendrr Launches Pro" »

Will The Browser & Mobile Apps Replace The iPod?

Broswer is the new iPod

Could the growing popularity and sophistication of streaming services from Spotify to Last.fm and mobile apps from Pandora to Sirius unseat the dominance of the iPod? Gerd Leonard thinks so, and he's got some data to back it up. 

Most importantly Leonard warns the music industry to get ready for the shift: sell access not (just) copies, learn to bundle and package. As Kevin Kelly wrote, "When copies are free you need to sell things that can't be copied". More on the MidemNet blog.

The Michael Jackson Effect: An Unprecedented Spike In Sales

Michael_jackson Once again new media trumped old with AOL's TMZ breaking the Michael Jackson story an hour before other news and gossip gatherers. But in addition to the predictable spike in online interest, Friday's death also led to an unprecedented spike in sale.

As of Monday morning,  Michael Jackson held 8 of the top 10 slots on iTunes with 20+ more tracks sprinkled throughout the top 100. At Amazon wait times for most of his CD's and DVD's had jumped to 11-14 days for the usually instant-ship retailer. See real time iTunes singles sales data above and the iTunes album chart after the jump.

Continue reading "The Michael Jackson Effect: An Unprecedented Spike In Sales" »

Monday's Music Brief: Trendrr Pro, MJ Fever, Apple Sued, Tunecore, Canada & More

Hypebot Favicon Friday is a holiday in the US, but I'll be covering the news as it breaks all week and adding the usual commentary.  And on Thursday we'll continue a Hypebot holiday tradition that gives readers a chance to introduce themselves and network. So stay tuned and inward to a great week! Musexpo begins inthe UK...- Bruce Houghton



  • Apple sued over iTunes gift cards (cNet)
  • Google mistakes Michael Jackson’s death for an “automated attack”. (Media Memo)
  • Napster 10 Years Of Turmoil: "1999 saw the debut of Napster...it started a storm of change in the music industry and here Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, reflects on what has happened in the last 10 years." (BBC)
  • Tunecore has added Limewire to the list of online retailers it supplies. (Tunecore)
  • Live Nation has extended its No Service Fee Wednesdays again by dropping the service fee on all 4-Packs and 6-Packs this Wednesday, July 1 0nly at LiveNation.com. (press release)
  • Canadian Liberal Party wants to ‘combat’ piracy and ratify the WIPO. (ZeroPaid)
  • Pirate parties parade through Prague, Paris (ars)
  • VIZIO Unveils Rhapsody Digital Music Service for VIZIO Internet Apps
Video: Michael Jackson, James Brown and Prince on stage together:

Continue reading "Monday's Music Brief: Trendrr Pro, MJ Fever, Apple Sued, Tunecore, Canada & More" »

REWIND: New Music Industry's Week In Review

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Some Fast Thoughts On Michael Jackson

Michael_jackson Just in case you're not totally sick of reading about MJ:

  • I have to admit that my own reaction is best summed up by this from @nealbrennan via @iancr: "As a tribute to Michael, I am going to carry Emmanuel Lewis around my house for the next hour." 
  • But apparently interest was so high that Google thought it was being attacked and Twitter crashed briefly.
  • Be on the lookout for at least two major pieces of fallout:
    • Promoter AEG had been forced to self-insure the upcoming London shows and face a huge liability
    • Many fans bought tickets via secondary sources and may find it near to impossible to get refunds.
  • Two memorable videos via The Daily Swarm after the jump: Jackson's attack on Tommy Matolla and his record label and his best dance moves.

Continue reading "Some Fast Thoughts On Michael Jackson" »

Email Poll Do Over


Dog homework Almost a month ago, I asked readers, "What program do you use to collect email addressees and stay connected with your fans?". After getting a couple of dozen great responses, I was ready to turn them into a poll and they we're gone!  Every single comment was missing.  I contacted my blog provider TypeEmailpad, but so far they have not been able to help.

So I'm apologetically asking for a do over.  Email programs to connect with fans come in all shapes and sizes, and cost anything from free to hundreds of dollars a month.  Which email program works best for you?

Continue reading "Email Poll Do Over" »

YouTube Reports 1700% Jump In Mobile Video

Youtube wide YouTube is reporting that in the last six month uploads from mobile phones have jump 1700%; and since the iPhone 3GS with video came out last Friday uploads have increased by 400% every day.

YouTube reports that the growth is being driven by three overlapping developments:

  • new video-enabled phones
  • improvements in upload flow when posting from a phone
  • a new feature that allows videos to be easily shared on social networks.

Continue reading "YouTube Reports 1700% Jump In Mobile Video" »

Post Music To Twitter Using Soundcloud

The guest post is by Dave Haynes, OpenMusicMedia founder and UK manager for SoundCloud. You can also follow him on Twitter @haynes_dave.

There have been a number of services crop up recently to allow you to post music to Twitter. But did you know there's three different ways to do exactly the same using SoundCloud? A few people told us they didn't realize just how simple it was so here's a little "how to".

1) Click Share, hit Twitter

The easiest way to share one of your tracks is to go to where you've uploaded on SoundCloud, click the share button and select Twitter from the dropdown.


If you're logged into Twitter it will simply send a message straight to your Twitter Home page with the track name and link back to stream and/or download. And you can always edit the message before posting.

2) Post to Twitter automagically

Continue reading "Post Music To Twitter Using Soundcloud" »

Friday's Music Brief: YouTube Mobile Jump, FriendFeed, Spotify Pennies, Pirate Bay Troubles

Hypebot Favicon Lots of social networking news and a touch of Michael Jackson today. Have a great weekend! And thanks everyone for the #FollowFriday plugs.  Keep 'em comin'.



  • Leaked ad revenue statements appear to show that Spotify collected a mere 14P (23 cents) per user for the Month of May in ad revenue. (Guardian)  Give it time fellas
  • Pirate Bay retrial denied and judge declared "unbiased" (ars)
  • eMusic Also Took Away Right To Download Songs Already Purchased (Techdirt)
  • Danny Goldberg on the Digital Music Revolution (truthdig)
  • National Music Publishers’ Association has named a new Board of Directors. Officers include: Chairman - Irwin Robinson, Paramount Allegra Music; Vice President - Martin Bandier, Sony/ATV Music Publishing; Vice President - Bob Doyle, Major Bob Music; Vice President - John Eastman, MPL Communications, Inc.; Vice President - Ralph Peer II, peermusic; Secretary - Leeds Levy, One Four Three Music; Treasurer - Evan Medow, Secret Sauce Music Group.(press release)
  • Peter Jenner: Delayed thoughts on the latest Digital Britain P2P consultation. (MidemNet Blog)
  • Mouse WORTHY CLICK:  Orba Squara (who you may remember from his 2007 debut which included "Perfect Timing (This Morning)" that Apple used as the theme to the iPhone TV ads) has created an intriguing graphic documentary to help promote his new "The Trouble With Flying" release.  View it here.

Why Would Microsoft Want To Give Away Songs From 1000 Unknown Artists?

Microsoft reverb promo Why would a major brand like Microsoft decide to partner with a music startup like ReverbNation to give away songs from a thousand mostly unknown bands, as was announced yesterday?  "It lends itself to the idea of the internet connecting people across borders as well as celebrity," wrote Group Marketing Manager Marty Collins on the Windows Social Media Team blog. "I love the idea of spotlighting new, upcoming artists and together combining our social networks to promote each other. Two networks is by multiply more powerful than one."

The ReverbNation program places ads next to the artwork that is displayed on media player or portable device when a song plays. The ad revenue is then split with the artists and the songs are downloaded via MySpace.

Continue reading "Why Would Microsoft Want To Give Away Songs From 1000 Unknown Artists?" »

Success Begins In The Niche


a specialized market
;  a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted;   a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species

In the new music industry, success begins in the niche.  Start where you are wanted. Use that base to build a bigger and broader audience. Then repeat the process.

Whether its Irish partiers, thoughtful thirty-somethings, redneck blues loving punks or you're church in South Florida, begin you're efforts wherever and with whomever you're most likely to find a receptive audience. If they like what they see and hear, they'll tell their friends. Their friends have friends and some of them are bloggers or DJ's; or at least they have other friends.

It can take longer to become successful this way and your definition of  success may need to be  adjusted. But the good news is that success built from the niches lasts a longer than the mass media, big hype, big hit success that barely exists any more.

Your niche is the foundation upon which your house is built; and if you're any good at maintenance, you can live there happily for a long time.

YouTube Upgrades Channels But Fix Yours Before They Fix It For You

If you don't have a channel on YouTube for your band or label you should. It's a great way to gather your videos in a single place. (Here's a basic channel Kyle Bylin is building for us at Skyline Music.)

Now YouTube is upgrading Channels with some strong customization and search features.  The only hitch is that if you don't go online and upgrade your channel now, they will do it for you between now and July 15th and some of the customization and features you added to your old design mey not automatically transfer over.  Watch the video above for details.

Killing Itself to Live: Further Discussion

Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor

6a00d83451b36c69e20115715056f8970bFirst and foremost, I wanted to thank everyone who took their time to read, comment, Digg, and tweet my latest essay:  Killing Itself to Live: How the Record Industry Conceived It’s Own Demise.  I was completely humbled by the resounding response of 60 tweets and 25 comments (and counting), making this my most highly shared and commented on essay to date. 

More importantly though, I believe this raises the question:  

In this “digital age,” where no path can guarantee success and all routes, from a major label deal to signing to an independent, or, going completely DIY, tend to have their fallbackshow do you sustain your career as an artist without killing yourself to live?

Amanda Palmer Made $19K In 10 Hours On Twitter

Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls and solo fame is definitely a self-promoter.  But what sets her apart and makes her efforts effective is that she seemingly does it effortlessly.  By letting the world into her life via blog posts, Twitter, web casts, etc and doing it with playful and rebellious tone, she has made herself worth paying attention to and supporting.  The music's not half bad either.

Palmer has been very vocal about wanting out of her label deal with Warner Music Group's Roadrunner, and why shouldn't she since she's her own marketing juggernaut and has even figured out how to make money doing it. Here, from her blog, is how she made $19,000 in 10 hours by connecting with her fans on Twitter.

UPDATE: Video of Amanda on the Friday Freaks phenomenon.

Amanda Palmer

From: Amanda Palmer
Subject: twitter power, or “how an indie musician can make $19,000 in 10 hours using twitter”

this story has just been blowing people’s minds so i figures i should write it down.

about a month ago, i was at home on a friday night (loser that i often am when i’m not touring, i almost never go out) and was, of course, on my mac, shifting between emails, links and occasionally doing some dishes and packing for a trip the next day. just a usual friday-night-rock-star-multi-tasking extravaganza.

i twitter whenever i’m online, i love the way it gives me a direct line of communication with my fans and friends. i had already seen the power of twitter while touring…

Continue reading "Amanda Palmer Made $19K In 10 Hours On Twitter" »