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Seth Godin: Watch The (Music) Money

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"If you're in the music business but you never buy tickets or downloads, can you really empathize with the people you're selling to?

...Money is more than a transfer of value. It's a statement of belief. An ad agency that won't buy ads, a consultant who won't buy consulting, and a waiter who doesn't tip big—it's a sign, and not a good one."

Georgia Wonder: Recording An Album With No Cash

Nevada Music Hands Over The Keys After Hours

image from (UPDATED) Indie rockers Georgia Wonder are a lot like other struggling musicians. They wanted to record, but had no cash. Not even enough for a decent home studio; much less professional mics or all the extra gear and instruments. But this band turned that obstacle into an opportunity and added a new page to the indie d.i.y. playbook.

image from www.vater.comGeorgia Wonder asked for and got the keys to Nevada Music, the largest music shop on the south coast of the UK (think Guitar Center USA).  Both during store hours and after the store closes each night, they'll be recording their next album dubbed "Made In Nevada" using all the gear the store has on sale.If they can raise the cash for an HD camera (donate here), they'll also shoot the whole thing and post it on and a week later on a special YouTube channel. "It will be part fly on the wall documentary, part product demo, and part watch us make stuff up as we go." says the band's Julian. Moore. "We really haven't a clue what's going to happen".

Any resulting media attention and buzz benefits both the band and the store, and costs each virtually nothing. "One thing I have learned about guerrilla marketing is if you can think of something virtually free to do and everyone wins then you have thought of something that will actually get done," says Moore. The band has just released their second EP "Destroy" with CD pressing funded by fan pre-sales. Check it out via Bandcamp.


As Music Industry Struggles, Artist Income Grows

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(Updated) The UK's Times Online called this "the chart that the music industry didn't want you to see;" and I've been hesitating publishing it without adding context and analysis. But the more I stare at it, the more it speaks for itself.

It tracks the three pillars of music industry revenue - recorded music, live music, and UK performance royalties collected by PRS over the last 5 year for both artists and the industry. Conclusion: while record labels are suffering, artist income is on the rise.  Join the debate.

Follow up Essay: As Record Labels Fall, Is Artist Income On The Rise?

MIDEM Announces Showcases & Twitter Contest

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MIDEM has launched a Twitter contest on for students and younger music industry professional. Now through December 9th you can win entry to the world largest gathering of the music industry. If you are between 18 and 26 years and not registered at MIDEM, add this message at the end of each of your tweet:

  • # RT & WIN I am under 26 and I want to win a MIDEM VIP access +

One winner will be picked in a random drawing on December 16th. The prize is 2 MIDEM VIP passes plus 2 car transfers, 2 nights hotel and 2 invitations to the NRJ Music Awards.

For the third year, MidemTalent is promoting developing artists with strong export potential. From January 24-26, thirteen diverse artists and will perform at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes for those attending MIDEM.

A full list of artists and what's new at MIDEM 2010:

Continue reading "MIDEM Announces Showcases & Twitter Contest" »

More Music Inudstry News: Billboard, Spotify, Pirate Bay, iTunes LP, Terry McBride & More

The music industry news should start to get more interesting this week as companies rush to make announcements and finish deals before the end of the year. Sadly more layoffs seem ahead and MOG launches $5 streaming this week. Stay tuned...
  • image from The sale of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter seems close with Lachlan Murdoch a lead investor. (Financial Times)
  • Borders has entered receivership in the UK according to Forrrester's Mark Mulligan who tweeted "The Media Meltdown claims another victim.
  • Can Spotify's free music pay off? Spotify's digital music service has been hailed as the future of online music. But can its business model hold up? (Guardian UK)
  • Pirate Bay Adapts To Stay Alive - Most other sites would have thrown in the towel by now, but despite unprecedented pressure, somehow The Pirate Bay remains alive and in pretty good health today. As one door closes, the site morphs and adapts to find ways to stay open and possibly even stay legal. Is the site becoming more and more difficult to shut down? (TorrentFreak)
  • Apple opens iTunes LP and iTunes Extra to indie artists, labels and developers.
  • Nettwerk Music CEO Terry McBride on imagination in business and cultivating wrongness. (video)
  • Ian Rogers comments on the new Black Keyes / Blakroc release being iTunes and CIMS indie stores only. (Fistfulayen)
  • RED Distribution has teamed up with SPIN, Best Buy and Napster for the premiere SPIN mini-magazine, available now at Best Buy locations nationwide. (press release)
  • Top 10 Spotify Spinoffs. (Music Ally)

REWIND: The New Music Industry's Week In Review

Apple Opens iTunes LP And Extras To Developers

iTunes has opened its iTunes LP and Extras platforms to indie artists, labels and developers with a new set of instructions posted on their web site.

image from Automated electronic submission to iTunes LP and Extra will be added in the first quarter of 2010. Until then, the process is manual and limited. An existing iTunes contract is required, and all iTunes LP and Extras will be reviewed by the iTunes team "for appropriateness of content and for technical quality".  Apple is also offering templates for both formats, as well as, a developers guide.

After the early September launch, Apple was criticized for not taking the new LP format far enough to add  real value and consumer engagement.  Now with a more open platform, the full potential of iTunes LP and of all bonus content should get long overdue attention.

Watch an iTunes LP intro video plus links to more info:

Continue reading "Apple Opens iTunes LP And Extras To Developers" »

Is There A Dark Side To Wines That Rock?

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image from "You see a poster of The Dark Side of the Moon and 'Money' starts to play in your head…the iconic Rolling Stone’s Tongue and Lips on a t-shirt makes you think about Mick and Keith jamming on stage…Woodstock’s famous bird preached on the guitar neck brings back thoughts of 1969 and all the bands that made 3 Days of Peace and Music historic."

I love music and I love wine, but I can't decide if Wines That Rock is a good marketing and fun or a really dumb idea.

What do you think?

More Music Industry News: Mininova Goes Legit, Death Row, Open Mics Under Attack & More

  • image from Another One Bites The Dust: BitTorrent Giant Mininova Forced To Go Legal (paidContent) Think this will slow piracy? TorrentFreak offers 10 alternatives.
  • Death Row records standoff to continue in court. (Billboard)
  • image from Royalty Collecting Groups’ Fees Shutter Open Mic Venues - Demand fees to compensate musicians and songwriters “just in case” a musician plays a copyrighted song, but rather than pay these huge costs many owners, 50% in St Cloud, Minnesota alone, are deciding to get rid of live music altogether. (ZeroPaid)
  • iPhone users spend more money..and not just on Apple hardware. (Fast Company)
  • Metal Band Sybreed Asks Fans To Film An Ad For New Album (Dotted Music)
  • Mobile downloads a problem for proposed 3 strikes laws. (p2pnet)
  • Facebook swipes a users vanity url. (Register)
  • The Free Music Archive, another interesting way for new artists to spread their music, adds curated playlists. (ReadWriteWeb)
  • Is Apple not worried about unlicensed iPhone lyric apps? (Music Ally)
  • Are Entertainment Industry Tactics Working? (MikeMasnick on Techdirt)

No Thanksgiving At WMG

image from WMG Stock Falls Another 11.29%.

U[PDATE: WMG was down another 6.2% on Friday closing at $5.16.

Wall Street has another flat day rising just .29% on Wednesday, but that did stop investors from battering Warner Music Group stock once again. WMG fell another 11.29% in pre-turkey day trading to close at $5.50.

On Tuesday, just hours after Warner Music Group reported an $18 million quarterly loss, the company's stock had fallen 18% recovering slightly by the close of trading, ending at $6.20 down 12.8%. 

Stock Fall Could Put Edgar's Dream On Hold

image from It's no secret that despite improving sales, EMI is struggling under huge debt that Citi recently refused to restructure and that Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. has long coveted the major label group. But WMG is paying off a $1.1 billion debt of its own at 9.5%; and a 25% two day fall in share value reduces both the chances of a successful stock swap and investor willingness to take on more obligations.  

U.S. Visa Restrictions Could Hurt Touring Acts

image from (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) Members of the touring industry warn that stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration regulations could interfere with the U.S. touring plans of international artists.

According to Billboard, no new regulations have been enacted, but the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service has begun using a much more restrictive reading of current regulations in approving visas. Formerly, artists wishing to work and tour in the U.S. needed to apply for a work visa (type "O" for solo artists or "P" for groups). The visa would then cover the artist for a period of time; up to three years for a solo artist and up to one year for a group. Additionally, a U.S.-based sponsor such as a label, manager or tour promoter was needed to apply for the visa.

Under the new, stricter interpretation, artists now are required to provide a detailed itinerary, including ...

Continue reading "U.S. Visa Restrictions Could Hurt Touring Acts" »

More Music Industry News: 30K Piracy Letters, The Biz Of Lady Gaga, Spotify & More

Happy Thanksgiving to those Hypebot readers that celebrate it!  Don't miss my just-for-fun list of 10 Songs For A Modern Thanksgiving and to introduce yourself and get to know others in the Hypebot community via our online networking party.

  • image from 30,000 Internet Users to Receive File-Sharing Cash Demands - As many as 25,000 BT and 5,000 customers of other ISPs will be receiving shock letters demanding big payments during the coming weeks. Lawyers in the UK have been granted more court orders which force ISPs to hand over the details of individuals who they say have been monitored sharing hardcore pornography. (TorrentFreak)
  • The Business Of Lady Gaga: She isn't the music industry's new Madonna. She's its new business model. (Forbes)
  • Spotify plans to rock the U.S. digital music landscape early next year. (LA Times) I've had a Spotify press account for a year and it rocks. But the article seems to ignore that before the service comes to the U.S. skeptical rights holders have to approve it.
  • Hulu U.S. video streams soar almost 50% in October, Google’s YouTube flat. (VentureBeat)
  • Ted Cohen on Midem: "Sixty Days Out, So Much To Think About". (MidemNet)
  • Rock Band songs now top 1000 from 390 bands. (

Introduce Yourself To The Hypebot Community

It's become a tradition for Hypebot to host online networking party.  For those readers outside the U.S., this time it's pre-Thanksgiving and the music business here shuts down here for four days. (F.Y.I. Hypebot will be publishing, though on a bit lighter schedule.)

This is one of those days when many of us are tied to our desks, but have no desire to do any real work.  So as a constructive solution to the pre-holiday work day blahs...


In the comments section below, tell us a little about yourself, what you're working on and what excites you (PG-13 only).  Include links that you think might be of interest to others and I suggest adding your name and email or some way that other Hypebot readers interested in collaborating can find you. Shameless plugs are allowed.

Don't be shy. Tell us about yourself... Adds 1M Listeners In A Week Via Xbox Live

image from image from Just a week ago the Xbox Live announced they were integrating Zune, Twitter, Facebook and into its gaming platform. One million fans responded by creating custom radio stations on  That's a million new users for, and as Mashable points out it's almost 300 new users a minute during last week; which is according to, is the biggest growth spurt they’ve had since launching 2002.

This success certainly offers a boost to, as well as, to XBox Live's efforts to extend itself beyond gaming. But just as importantly, its a strong statement that fans want to hear the music they want, when they want delivered on the device of their choice. Mr. Record Exec, are you listening.?

Music Festivals Offer Unique Marketing Opportunity

image from www.2camels.comHow to get part of that crowd to join your team.

This guest post comes from Scott Perry. With his great free email newsletter and web site, the New Music Tipsheet keeps the industry informed of new releases as well as commenting on trends and sharing industry news.

While all you managers (and artists) out there are fielding offers for next year's festivals, start thinking NOW about what you can do to maximize your outreach to these massive audiences.

One of the biggest problems for every act is building your base from 0-5000. And it used to be, you'd be all alone (or have to spend an arm & a leg) to build a following.

But think about this -- a festival isn't just another gig, it's a marketing opportunity, a huge vehicle you can use to build your following. As festival season approaches, get your strategy together to figure out how to get part of that crowd to join your team. Used to be, if you're slated on the small tent at noon, you were screwed, but at least you were happy to be invited to the party. These days, there's no reason for  attendees to miss you if they didn't catch your official performance.

Pull a few pages out of the Phish playbook

Check with the promoter to see what is & is not allowed, but tap into that crowd to make them aware of you, to sign up to your email list, your Facebook fan page, your Twitter feed. Offer content for the festival's site, leading up to the event – videos, live chats, contest goodies, which all help get your name out there.

Continue reading "Music Festivals Offer Unique Marketing Opportunity " »

10 Songs For A Modern Thanksgiving

My annual bit of  holiday musical fun to celebrate our annual U.S. day of thanks.

  1. Turkeyj "Alice's Restaurant" - Arlo Guthrie
  2. "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" - Sly & The Family Stone
  3. "Thank You" - Dido
  4. "The Thanksgiving Song" - Adam Sandler
  5. "Thank You For The Music"- Abba
  6. "Thank You Lord" - Bob Marley
  7. "Thank You" - Led Zeppelin
  8. "We Are Family" - Sister Sledge
  9. "Thank U" Alanis Morissette
  10. "Thank You Girl" - The Beatles

More Music Industry News: Anti-P2P Working?, We7 iPhone, Ultra Fans, SXSW Showcas Picks & More

  • image from Swedes start buying music; are anti-P2P laws working? Digital music sales in piracy-loving Sweden have soared this year. The music industry says that it's all about tough new laws and court prosecutions, but some major labels are seeing worldwide increases. (ars)
  • Yesterday was a bad day for Warner Music Group (Hypebot)
  • Shazaam debuts a (RED) app to raise funds and awareness for the global fund to fight fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malari. (press release)
  • We7 delays iPhone app, and says Spotify can’t scale in the US. (TechCrunch EU)
  • Phil Hardy: The music industry in five years' time. (MidemNet)
  • WMG's Bronfman Still Disappointed By Video Game Income (paidContent)
  • Take Forrester's Digital Music Executive Survey.  Forrester's Mark Mulligan tweets that they want to here from artists too.  
  • December 3 Online Seminar To Highlight “The Ultra Fan” - NARM and SoundThinkingNY are teaming up to bring a look at key highlights from FanboyFAQ, an in-depth quantitative study of 5,200 fans. Find out how these Ultra Fans make or break movies, TV series, games, music and books, and how they become the most influential drivers of new media, new platforms, new devices and hardware. (NARM)
image from audiolife.comSXSW announces 200 of the 2010 official showcase acts:

Continue reading "More Music Industry News: Anti-P2P Working?, We7 iPhone, Ultra Fans, SXSW Showcas Picks & More" »

It Was A Bad Day For Warner Music Group

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Just hours after Warner Music Group reported an $18 million quarterly loss, the company's stock had fallen 18% or $1.25 to $5.81. WMG recovered slightly by the close of trading, ending the day at $6.20 down 12.8%. It was major label group's biggest single day drop in more than two years. Overall, the DOW was flat down just 0.16% for the day.

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Chris White downgraded Warner Music to “neutral” from “outperform” today after the company missed his estimate of a 6 cents per share profit.  “The stock’s appreciation of recent months has raised the operational bar for the company, and we’re not sure recent results meet this elevated standard,” said White.

More: Warner Music Group Reports Continuing Losses

Live Nation & iTunes To Offer Concert Downloads

image from from (UPDATED) In a smart piece of brand extension, concert promoters Live Nation has joined forces with iTunes for live music and video offering debuting today. A new section of iTunes dedicated to live recordings will offer exclusive recorded and filmed concerts from Live Nation's network of wired concert venues.

Exclusive live recordings from OK Go, Jesse McCartney, Saving Abel, A Fine Frenzy, Duffy, Plain White T's and Ziggy Marley and others have been released this week, with more to follow.

Continue reading "Live Nation & iTunes To Offer Concert Downloads" »

Amanda Palmer Shares Her Secrets

Hypebot readers had a special opportunity to ask indie artist Amanda Palmer questions about her unique approach to d.i.y promotion. Digital music marketer Jim McDermott (a former major label digital and artist development guy who consults for The State Theatre in Falls Church, VA and a variety of other music clients) hosted this special event and shares what happened.


Watch the video after the jump.

THE SETUP: Last Thursday, November 19, Amanda Palmer played a show at The State Theatre, an 800-capacity independent venue in Fall's Church Virginia, ten minutes from downtown D.C. I provide marketing and digital business development consulting for The State.

The State aims to offer a great live music experience, affordable tickets, food and beverages to concertgoers. Parking is free. Some venues pursue an alternate event revenue model where the customer is charged high prices and/ or service fees for all of the above; this approach increases margins and funds aggressive radio, TV and print advertising. Because of The State's fan-friendly approach to doing business, we have to be creative in generating awareness for events. The first step in this is always motivating the artist's fan base via their email list, website & social network presences. We work ideas thru their management and/or label, although nine out of ten times, the label does not get substantially involved in marketing a show. This is somewhat understandable, as labels usually don't make money directly from an artist touring. So we either get artist management on board with an idea, or it doesn't happen. Often, artists and management express surprise that a venue is driving these kinds of marketing efforts.

The ideas we present are fairly simple, and usually involve some kind of fan-artist interaction that is internet driven. Once we settle on the idea, we ask the artist/management to tell their fans about it via their various web presences - Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and their official site. 

Continue reading "Amanda Palmer Shares Her Secrets" »

Spotify Fights Back: "We Paid More Than That!"

Yesterday I reported that Lady Gaga got just $167 from Spotify for 1 million plays. Our smart readers commented that this was probably only part of the story. Yesterday Spotify issued a retort:

image from “Firstly, any payment to STIM would only represent a fraction of the payments rights holders receive and only for music played in one country (in this case Sweden) as we pay not only collecting societies, but also publishers and the record company to play their music,” says a spokesperson.

“Secondly, the figure (unrepresentative as it is) is from a short period just after our launch last year, way before we’d established ourselves as a music service and built up a large user base. Specific payments are of course confidential, but this is certainly wide of the mark.”

How much did Spotify pay Lady Gaga?  They can't release numbers for a specific artist without permission, but Spotify could end the controversy by releasing a single example by an unnamed artist. Or Lady Gaga could make her first-ever positive contribution to the music industry by releasing the size of her payments. I'd be happy to print either.

More: Spotify Reportedly Paid Lady Gaga $167 For 1 Million Plays

MOG $5 Music Subscriptions To Launch Dec 2

MOG’s premium music service, MOG All Access, will go live at 7 AM PST December 2nd. MOG promises a deep on-demand library for $5 a month with free trials offered at launch. Having grown skeptical that real revenue can be generated by free ad supported music services like Spotify, all four major label groups have signed on.

image from All Access builds on the network of music blogs and its 10 million monthly visitors. CEO David Hyman has worked at Gracenote, SonicNet, Addicted to Noise and MTV; and Rick Rubin sits on the board. But experienced execs do not guarantee success and paid subscription music has failed to gain traction with consumers before. 

MOG's $5 price is a major selling point, but struggling Napster matches MOG's price with a 3 month commitment and adds in free mp3's. What could set MOG apart is its interface; and a sneak preview shows a design that borrows heavily from iTunes and Spoitfy with strong playlist and music discovery features.

Watch the MOG intro video:

Continue reading "MOG $5 Music Subscriptions To Launch Dec 2" »

Warner Music Group Reports Continuing Losses

image from morning Warner Music Group reported:

  • Revenue of $861M for the fourth quarter of 2009 increased 1% from the prior-year quarter. Full-year 2009 revenue declined 9% to $3,176 million.
  • Digital revenue was $184 million or 21% of revenue; up 5% from the previous quarter. Full-year 2009 digital revenue rose 10% to $703 million or 22% of total revenue.
  • Income from continuing operations for the quarter declined 18% to $54 million. Fourth-quarter 2009 operating income included $14 million in severance charges. For the full-year 2009, operating income from continuing operations was $135 million, a 35% decline from $207 million in fiscal year 2008.

Continue reading "Warner Music Group Reports Continuing Losses" »

More Music Industry News: Lilly Allen, EMI $'s, Topsin Adds, Fontana Deals, Swedish Sales Soar

  • Are economics dooming free streaming sites? (CNet)
  • image from Lily Allen: Sell bootlegs of my CDs, don’t share for free - UK recording artist, and vocal anti-file-sharing critic, remarks that she’s fine with people selling bootleg copies of her CDs rather than share it for free with others since the person selling it is at least placing “some kind of value on my music.” (ZeroPaid) UH??
  • South Koreans to get Apple's iPhone this week. (AP)
  • EMI manages to compete with free after all - Can labels still make money from selling recorded music, or is the future nothing but TV show soundtracks and Rock Band? EMI shows that even recorded music can still see revenue growth. (ars analysis, Hypebot coverage)
  • Former Interscope staffer Andrew Mains has joined Topspin as VP Artist Relations & Services. (Topspin)
  • UMG’s Fontana Distribution has signed with Downtown Music Services to seek sync licensing opportunities for its artists and labels. (press release)
  • Sweden sees music sales soar after crackdown on filesharing - UK music executives are looking to the home of Abba for signs that declining sales can be stemmed by new filesharing laws. (Guardian)
  • WaTunes launches new trending service & VIP tier. (press release)
  • Playlists Could Be Free Music’s Killer App (Epicenter)

Ian Rogers: The Get Busy Committee On Acid, Home Recording & The D.I.Y. Attitude

In this gues post Topspin's Ian Rogers continues to make good on his promise to blog about his experiences as the manager of Get Busy Committee. In this post, he goes back to before the new album's release and takes a look at how it was recorded.

image from As I’ve mentioned, by the time I came into the Get Busy Committee project the record was finished, so I was and will be mostly be talking about the marketing and distribution of the record, not the recording process. But it was occurring to me that this was an interesting part of the story and worth including. It’s not news that you can record on your computer these days, but personally I was surprised when they told me they made the record on Acid, and at the end of the project Apathy saved us some money by mastering it himself instead of sending it off to a third party to do the mastering. So I thought I’d ask the band a few questions about how, technically, they recorded the album. I grabbed them for a few minutes last weekend before a photo shoot, and just before I became a feverish, useless lump. The results are below, transcribed dutifully by Aidan Nulman. Thanks, Aidan!

Ian: So how did you record this album, technically? Did you guys spend a million dollars, book a month at the Record Plant

Continue reading "Ian Rogers: The Get Busy Committee On Acid, Home Recording & The D.I.Y. Attitude" »

Despite Debt EMI Reports Improvement

image from Last week Citi refused to re-write EMI's massive debt forcing owner Terra Firma to write off 90% of its original investment (a bit of a tax trick, but still...). Despite all the debt and turmoil, EMI managed to report improved sales figures for late 2008 and the early part of 2009. And that's before adding most of the sales from the recent Beatles re-masters. In fact, EMI may have been the only major label to grow sales in the period.

  • Full-year earnings to March 31, 2009 up 7.4% to £1.563 billion ($2.58 billion)...
  • Recorded music sales up 4.% to £1.095 billion ($1.81 billion)
  • EMI Music Publishing sales up 14.6% to £468 million ($773.83 million)
Read a pdf chart from EMI of its 2009 fiscal year performance here.

Report: Spotify Paid Lady Gaga $167 For 1M Plays

image from

(UPDATED) Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” was one of the most popular tracks for 5 months on Spotify; being played more than 1 million times. But according to reports this weekend, the Swedish Performing Rights Society only paid her $167. If true, it confirms other complaints from other artists like those of Swedish musican Magnus Uggla who pulled his music off Spotify declaring, "I'd prefer to be raped by Pirate Bay than played on Spotify".

Many in the music industry have been quick to declare that streaming, which appears to be a substitute for illegal downloading for some, will be their savior. But serious questions remain how long rights holders and artists should wait for a reasonable pay day.

UPDATE: Spotify Fights Back: "We Paid More Than That!"