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Twitter Redesigns Home Page, Shows Top Tweets

The second "new" Twitter home page in  just a few months adds top tweets that update every few seconds. It also highlights a random sampling of suggested sources. Hover over them to see a profile summary and their latest tweet. Trending topics scroll across the top of the page. Hovering over some of these trends will show a description explaining why the keyword is (or has recently been) popular.

Here's a 17 second tour via paidContent:

EMI Staffers Update Resumes As Rumors Swirl

image from www.hypebot.com (Updated) With today's deadline from lender CitiGroup looming and rumors of talks that could shutter its U.S. division swirling, many employees at EMI are spending as much time checking the internet for a scraps of news and updating their resumes as they are doing their jobs.

"We're being punished for past excesses."

Those inside the company paint picture of very low morale and a high level of frustration. "I feel passionately about the work I do, and it would appear that our efforts are literally paying off," said one staffer. "But I can't ignore that this will mean nothing to the bank, let alone whoever buys what's left after Citi gets its way".  "Just when we're showing positive results with Lady Antebellum, Gorillaz and the like, they are pulling the rug out from under us," said another. "We're being punished for past excesses in both the record and the financial industries," an EMI veteran told Hypebot. "It's like being in the middle of a perfect storm. What we do in our tiny portion of the ship doesn't matter at all."

Continue reading "EMI Staffers Update Resumes As Rumors Swirl" »

EMI In Last Minute Talks With Universal

image from sanctumla.com Last minute talks with Universal that would have the world's largest label group license EMI's vast catalog for as much as $300 million over the next 5 years have resumed in the last 24 hours according to a variety of sources. Completion of the deal could mean the shut down of virtually all of EMI's U.S. operations and hundreds of layoffs.

Wednesday is the deadline for EMI to submit numbers and a plan to lender CitiGroup showing solvency and that it has a plan to move forward. If the music company fails the test, Citi could take over in an attempt to protect its $2.5 billion position.

It is less clear if Sony is still in the bidding game and spokespersons from all parties involved refused to comment.

Hang In There. Music 2.0 Is Just Getting Started...

A Wine Guy Teaches Personal Branding Using 80's Hip Hop Stars

This video from web 2.0 maven Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV is a mini-lecture on both the  time required to create a personal (or artist's) brand and the signs that we are all only at the very beginning of a huge upward opportunity curve. It's aimed mostly at tech start ups and bloggers. But, in part because of his use of mid-80's hip hop stars as examples, as well as, the similar issues faced by almost anyone creating in the digital age, Vaynerchechuk's frenetically delivered message holds some important lessons for us all.

(via Digipendent)

More Music Industry News: iTunes 9.1 Is Live, Zune 4.5, Live Nation, Korn, Verizon iPhone & More

image from www.crunchgear.com

iTunes 9.1 is live, iPad syncing, modded Genius Mixes added. (CrunchGear)

  • Zune 4.5 - Microsoft is planning to release the free Zune 4.5 firmware update sometime in the next few weeks. The company confirmed four new features the update will include: Smart DJ on Zune HD, Picks on Zune HD, music browsing and streaming from Zune Marketplace on your TV, and expanded video codec support. (ars)
  • The Godfather of the iPod severs ties with Apple (NY Times)
  • Live Nation: DOJ Concessions Cost $118 Million In Annual Revenue. (Billboard)
  • Korn inks a deal with Roadrunner. (FMQB)
  • Apple is working on a Verizon iPhone. (WSJ)
  • Register Now for the Next “Online Music Marketing With Topspin” Course at BerkleeMusic.com, Starting Next Week. (Topspin) It looks like I'll be teaching the Future of Music online again as well.

6 Rules To Make A Band Website That Rocks

Bandzoogle GUEST POST: As the founder of music website generator and marketing platform Bandzoogle, Chris Vinson is no stranger to artist web sites. In the 90's, after his own band broke up, the record label they'd been signed to hired him as a web designer for their multi-platinum artists. As he became overloaded with requests to update their websites, he created a "control panel" to let managers make the changes themselves. Chris realized that the program could also help indie bands build and update their own websites, and Bandzoogle was born.

bandzoogle.com More than ever, a band's website has become the "hub" of their online activity. The idea is to use social networks to grab a fan's interest and then direct them back to your website to make deeper connections. (More on that in a previous Hypebot post). By using this "hub" model, you're in control of your fan's experience, and most importantly, your fan list.

So, lets say you've got a new fan interested enough to click on a link or offer from your MySpace page. Is your website functional and compelling enough to keep their interest, and to get them to return?

Over the past 10 years, I've built hundreds of band websites for artists big and small. Whether they had 100,000 fans or 100, there has been a distinct trend in what works, and more importantly what doesn't. I've summarized them below:

Rule #1: No flash!
I'll admit it, in the past I've made all-Flash band sites. Dozens of them. They looked great -- and fans hated them.

The fact is, Flash just gets in the way of your content. Because of this, I've found that the use of Flash and the amount of return visits is inversely proportional. Fans don't care about swoopy animations, they want to learn about you and make a connection.

Rule #2: Make a strong front page.

Continue reading "6 Rules To Make A Band Website That Rocks" »

In U.S. 44% Own MP3 Players, 54% Use Them Cars

image from static.howstuffworks.com 24% of all Americans over age 12 have listened to an iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player while connected to a car stereo according to the new Infinite Dial 2010 national survey from Arbitron and Edison Research. The new national study showed that 44% of Americans 12+ own an iPod or MP3 player. Among that group, 54% have connected their players for listening in the car.

"The car is clearly a crucial battleground for people's attention," said Larry Rosin, Edison Research President, "and our study shows that most of those who do listen in this fashion do so more than once a week."

Continue reading "In U.S. 44% Own MP3 Players, 54% Use Them Cars " »

As Deadline Nears, EMI Talks With Sony Falter

image from rm64.com Talks to license EMI Music's vast catalog to Sony have apparently faltered. Warner Music Group never joined the talks and Universal Music Group ended its negotiations last week, according to the Wall Street Journal. EMI has been seeking as much as $150 million in and upfront payment and would likely shut down most of it's U.S. operation of the deal went through. 

EMI reportedly has until Wednesday to complete any deal that would help it convince creditor Citi that it has a plan and the money to move forward.

Amanda Palmer On Why Social Networking Works

image from intrsctn.com "i use it to connect and to peel my brain and emotional landscapes inside out in public during the touring process (and last month, during the recording process). as if my followers are there in the room with me..."

"this is not a style for everybody, but since i’m built to over share, it works for me. you cannot create a formula for why your fans with emotionally relate to you (and therefore bring you income, when you do present them with product), but you can pretty much rest assured that if you’re open and honest, they will come."

Continue reading "Amanda Palmer On Why Social Networking Works" »

The Orchard Announces Executive Promotions And Hires VP Of Engineering

image from 2.bp.blogspot.com Following the recent appointment of Brad Navin to Chief Executive Officer, The Orchard today announced the promotions of four senior executives, as well as the addition of a Vice President of Engineering.
  • Tom Lorenc joins as Vice President, Engineering. Tom oversees the development of new technology to support The Orchard’s Product Development strategy, as well as technology upgrades and maintenance to keep The Orchard’s current infrastructure working as effectively and efficiently as possible.  Prior to joining The Orchard, Tom served as Director of Technology for RDAI, where he was responsible for technical architecture, third party integration, and off shore management.  Before that, he served in various technology roles for companies including Visible World, Maxim Online, C2 Creative, Zingy, Razorfish Inc, and IBM.
  • Prashant Bahadur has been appointed to General Manager. Prashant is responsible for the execution and supervision of the company’s global business strategy.  He joined The Orchard in 2004 as Director of Retail Marketing. Prashant began his career with PepsiCo in marketing, and later moved to EMI where he worked across the sales, marketing, and new media areas.

Continue reading "The Orchard Announces Executive Promotions And Hires VP Of Engineering" »

Bootsy Collins Launches Funk U. Online School

"Because a groove is a terrible thing to waste."

image from forgottenjournal.com Parliment Funkadelic founder and bassplayer extraordinaire Bootsy Collins is launching his own Funk University. Construction of his online campus will conclude in June, with the first semester beginning on July 1st.

"This sonic learning institution will be unlike anything before," according the the new web site, "as Professor Collins and the finest bassists in music will unleash an intense curriculum, on the web, for intermediate to advanced funk disciples within the program.

Enrollment is limited for the first year. Sign up the receive more information here.

Watch Bootsy teaching his basic funk formula:

Continue reading "Bootsy Collins Launches Funk U. Online School" »

More Music Industry News: Apple iAds, New Charts, Choruss, Spotify Q3?, Foursquare & More

  • image from weblogs.baltimoresun.com Even as the buzz builds toward the April 3rd ship date of the iPad, Apple is preparing to announce its "next big thing" -- a new personalized, mobile advertising system that could well be called the "iAd" - Online Media Daily
  • Billboard is launching a bunch of genre specific digital charts. Of course, you have to be a subscriber to see them. (Billboard) I politely refrain from comment...
  • Warner Bros Pictures is hiring students to spy on online pirates. Are you studying for a degree in computing? Fancy a job monitoring internet forums for illegal filesharers? You're in luck ... (Guardian)
  • Choruss Changes Its Tune; Splitting With Warner, But Many Questions Remain. (Techdirt)
  • Spotify says Q3 US launch claims are wide of the mark. (Music Ally)
  • Foursquare’s Growth Not Slowing Down: 725,000 Users, 22 Million Checkins (Mashable)
  • image from thevinylvillage.files.wordpress.com A fairly in depth look at how various countries support music and the arts with indirect (health care) and direct subsidies. (Pitchfork)
  • What U.S. Health Care Reform Means For Working Musicians. Future of Music Coalition via Billboard.

Prince Charges Fans For Closed Fan Club

From Our Artist/Fan Relationship Dept.

image from themusictionary.com To Prince, His Purple Majesty, His Royal Badness, The Dick Formerly Known As Prince:

Today, a year after opening your LotusFlow3r club, you charged fans who had requested to cancel their annual memberships another $77. How do I know? Because I am one of them.

Prince, you’ve gotta cut this shit out. I’m a big fan, I drove 15 hours to see you last year. I own all of your albums, movies, and lots of other memorabilia. Yeah, I’m a fan. But would it kill you to treat your fans correctly for once?

Continue reading "Prince Charges Fans For Closed Fan Club" »

Why Justin Bieber Is Such A Big Hit

image from farm5.static.flickr.com (UPDATED) GUEST POST: Jay Frank is the author of Futurehit.DNA and SVP Music Strategy of CMT. You can download a free chapter of his great book on his blog FuturehitDNA.com and Hypebot's Kyle Bylin interviewed him earlier this year. In this guest post, Frank looks at the factors behind the meteoric success of teen idol Justin Bieber using the FuturehitDNA methodology.

image from www.bsckids.com Justin Bieber mania has arrived.  With the release of his new album, My World 2.0, and a sure thing #1 debut, many people are wondering how it happened.  Teen phenomenons can certainly happen fast, but rarely without the help of a Disney show in recent years.  By my rough calculations, after the first week sales of his new album are accounted for, Justin will have grossed approximately $15 million in total recorded music sales, not including ringtones, streaming revenue, T-shirts or posters in less than 9 months.  And that’s just in the United States.  For a music business in “trouble” and an artist aimed clearly at teenagers and below, this is a success, especially because the train is really just leaving the station.

So the question is, how did this become so successful so quickly?  There’s been plenty of other artists who have been released in the same timeframe that can’t count this level of success in this short of a period.  What made it work?  There are a lot of specific elements in each song which I’ll detail shortly, but readers of Futurehit.DNA know the answer lies in Chapter 7 of the book.


Continue reading "Why Justin Bieber Is Such A Big Hit" »

New Profits From Lyrics?

 Sony/ATV Partners With Zazzle's ArtsProject For Lyric Inspired Merchandise Initiative

image from media.marketwire.com Can music publishers find new profits from old song lyrics? On demand merchandise provider Zazzle is partnering with Sony/ATV Music Publishing to find out. Zazzle via its ARTSPROJEKT brand will power a "Lyrical Inspirations Fan Merch" initiative which allows artists and fans to create and customize original works inspired by song titles and lyrics.

With the new deal Sony/ATV joins Disney, Hallmark and Star Wars other major entertainment brands that utilize Zazzle's on-demand custom manufacturing and marketplace to monetize libraries of content with little upfront cost cost or risk.

YouTube Continues Page Upgrades

YouTube has been testing page design upgrades and last week added a highlights view for comments that summarizes top rated comments, uploader comments and responses that can be drilled into for more detail.  YouTube also made some improvements to their new like/dislike ratings system. You'll need to opt-in to be part of the test of these new features.

Here's a good video overview of the upgrades recorded by someone who appears to either be on speed or trying to finish really quickly so he can take a bathroom break.  

YouTube also recently added features so users can share videos to Twitter, Facebook or Google Reader., as well as, Facebook Connect.

More Music Industry News: Rhapsody Goes Dolby, Doobies Sue EMI, HMV, UMG vs. Pirates & More

  • image from www.kenverheecke.com Rhapsody is working with Dolby to upgrade audio quality of its 9 million track catalog for mobile delivery. (press release)
  • EMI sued over failure to pay royalties on songs by Doobie Brothers. - News of the action comes after Pink Floyd won a claim against EMI blocking sales of downloads of the band's concept albums. (Guardian)
  • A look at YouTube's new indie music video payment program. (Future Of Music)
  • HMV Targets New Products, Live Music Market. (Billboard)
  • NASDAQ schedules the Sirius XM de-listing hearing for April 29th.
  • Project Playlist talks with AOL about investing. (CNet)
  • Universal Music Funds Yet Another 'Educational' Propaganda Campaign Against File Sharing. (Techdirt)
  • Facebook says new program to automatically share data ‘has nothing to do’ with ads. (DigitalBeat)
  • Rapidshare Aims To Convert Pirates Into Customers - The file-hosting service is seeking major entertainment industry partners for an online store where links to infringing material will redirect to. The plan is an attempt to bridge the gap between copyright holders and users of the site who distribute image from www.topnews.in infringing material. (TorrentFreak)
  • WORTHY CLICK: Radio Tuna - search internet radio stations by genre, artist or name. Currently the site is in beta.

REWIND: The Music Industry's Week In Review

Spotify Targets 3rd Quarter For U.S. Launch

image from routenote.com
Online music service Spotify is targeting the 3rd quarter of 2010 for a U.S. launch.  “We’re buying server space in random parts of the states and there are licensing discussions too,” Spotify Senior VP Paul Brown told Bloomberg. “But they are going fine because we’re in a long-term partnership with the labels and publishers.”

The company is also in talks with several U.S. mobile providers and ISP's according to Brown. Blackberry and Palm apps are also being discussed.

Sony Music Trims 20 (50?) More Staffers

image from www.fevermedia.co.uk (UPDATED) Sony Music Entertainment has been slowly trimming label staff in recent months.  This week 20 more employees were let go according to Billboard. The cuts come were spread across Columbia, Epic and a shared services department.

Previous cuts of about 100 staffers included RCA and other SME divisions.  Sources tell Hypebot that the cuts will continue as SME attempts to bring staffing in line with current economic realities.

UPDATE: An informed source told Hypebot this morning that the actual number cut in this round is closer to 50.

Twitter Music Service Song.ly For Sale For $50,000

Popular Twitter song sharing service Song.ly is for sale on Flippa for just $50,000. In fact the minimum bid is Just $15,000.  That seem really low for a site had a great domains name and "a PageRank of 5, 175,000 monthly pageviews (not counting API access – total monthly pageviews number is around 370,000.)" according to the site's founder. "We have never performed any serious attempts to monetize it. In addition, all of the traffic to Song.ly is organic".

Here's a short sales pitch:

The Orchard Reports Continued Revenue Growth

iTunes Sales Grew To 60% Of Total 2009 Revenue

Mobile Music Sales Off

image from media.corporate-ir.net Despite increasing downward price pressure in the sector, The Orchard reported strong revenue growth for the quarter ending December 31st 2009 as well as the entire year.

The Orchard's board recently announced that that it had accepted an offer from majority owner Dimensional to buy out stockholders and take the company private. Whether or not the strong numbers will cause shareholders to reject the buyout will play out over the next several weeks.

Highlights for the 4th Quarter:

  • Revenue increased 3% to $16.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 from $16.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.
  • The Orchard's gross profit margin was 26% as compared to 33% in the fourth quarter of 2008.
  • Operating expenses for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $4.5 million, compared to $5.7 million in the corresponding period of 2008. This decrease in operating expenses is primarily a result of a reduction in workforce.
  • The net loss for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $0.3 million or $0.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $0.3 million or $0.05 per share corresponding period of 2008.
  • As of December 31, 2009, cash and cash equivalents were $4.5 million and the Company had no debt. Net cash provided by operations for the year ended December 31, 2009 was $1.2 million, as compared to $2.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.

Highlights all of 2009:

Continue reading "The Orchard Reports Continued Revenue Growth" »

CIMS Indie Store Debut Chart

Coalition Of Independent Music Store for the week ending March 21

          1 image from www.thetop22.com SHE & HIM VOL. 2 MERGE










Continue reading "CIMS Indie Store Debut Chart" »

Report Shows Big Jump in Smartphone Web Usage

Mobile ad delivery platform AdMob has released a report that shows that smartphones accounted for 48% of its worldwide traffic. That's up from 35% in February '09 fueled by heavy app usage on iPhone and Android devices. Mobile internet devices experienced the strongest growth, increasing to account for 17% of traffic on AdMob’s network.  Although the vast majority of traffic in this category comes from the iPod touch, it also includes devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DSi.worldwide traffic.

image from metrics.admob.com


Labels Fight For #1: Hits' Q1 Market Share Report

Record industry trade Hits Daily Double dug through the Q1 major label sales numbers and found some major shifts in the label landscape. For the first time in recent memory, Sony essentially tied Universal for #1. Also striking is how much just a few releases dominate each label's overall sales. In fact, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" seems to have been almost entirely responsible for EMI's placement anywhere close to the other three label groups. Hits has more analysis.  (registration is required)

Hits Marketshare

How Did I Miss This Derek Sivers Created Site?

I guess MusicThoughts has been around for awhile. But somehow I missed it; and I'm a person that loves music and loves quotes. It took a tweet of a post on The Indie Connect Social Network to click through and discover it.

"If you're going to sweep the floor, sweep it better than anybody in town.  And if you're going to play the guitar, really, really, really get in it, and don't be jivin'."  - Carlos Santana

image from a1.twimg.com CD Baby founder and new music business big thinker Derek Sivers is the creator of MusicThoughts. "In 1999, I made the MusicThoughts email list as a quiet non-commercial place for musicians to talk about music," wrote Sivers on his blog  "It's still active today, and you can sign up there at Yahoo. In 2000, I made the first version of musicthoughts.com  - an online database of inspiring quotes.  A new version in 10 languages launched in 2009."

"It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts."  - Ella Fitzgerald

More Music Industry News: Axel vs. Azoff, Facebook Rules, Ultimate Guitar, Cash For Culture & More

  • image from i.realone.com Iriving Azoff's Front Line Management claims Guns N' Roses frontman Axel Rose owes $1.87 million in unpaid fees and is taking him to court. (MTV.com)
  • Facebook tightens developer rules for publishing into user streams. (VentureBeat)
  • Protecting The Art Of The Album - How Pink Floyd may have saved the LP from digital extinction. (Epoch Times)
  • Seattle's classical music station will become listener-supported. (Seattle PI)
  • Ultimate Guitar has launched a mobile app that lets musicians access its database of over 300,000 guitar and base tabs from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.   While the app is "launching" today, it's actually been on the iTunes App Store for a week and is already #1 among paid music downloads  image from static.guim.co.uk and in the top 50 overall.  #2 seller is "Whiter Shade of Pale".
  • Cash for culture can boost UK economy, says arts alliance. Cultural Capital arts manifesto calls for a small but 'crucial' public investment. (Guardian)
  • WORTHY CLICK: Musician and music industry networking site Musicolio.com. It's smartly organized both by category and location.

Donny Ienner's IMHO Launches Social Player

image from imo-production.s3.amazonaws.com Former Sony head Donny Ienner's startup today launched its IMHO Player in alpha on Melodeo's nuTsie.com and OurStage.com. The player lets users communicate with friends, make recommendations, share experiences and purchase merchandise. Depending on a fan's preference, content can be paid for or supported by advertisers.

During its initial launch targeting Facebook users, IMHO will conduct scalability tests with music, video, game and radio content before launching a full open Beta test in the Spring.

The Orchard is providing all of the music downloads.  (Recent rumors point to The Orchard's sister company eMusic also getting more involved with IHMO)  ReaNetworks is adding casual gaming and nuTsie is powering online radio to the player. 1,600 films to IMHO from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Lions Gate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and many others through a distribution partnership with Film Fresh will be added when IHMO moves to Beta.       

Watch a preview here.