Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pussycat Dolls added new group members!

Robin Antin told MTV News today, that when the girls do return from their hiatus, there will be some "new faces" joining frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger. She didn't reveal who might be leaving, saying, "It's Nicole and a few ... a couple new faces. Some of the girls want to go and do their own thing. We're moving on. We're excited. We're looking at new girls. It's phase three of the Pussycat Dolls because we did our first album, our second album and now we're going on to our third. We're touring ... a lot is coming up."


As for the group's lineup, she said, "Nicole is going back in the studio. We're working on new music right now. There will be a few new faces in the Pussycat Dolls. I've been really putting that out there. I'm really excited about it. Inside every girl, inside every woman, is a Pussycat Doll and I always want to bring in new faces to really show there are so many Pussycat Dolls out there. It isn't about one forever. So I'm excited about that."

~Rachel August Millas

Susan Boyle's 'I Dreamed A Dream' the biggest album of the year

The UK native story is about a voice that captured the world's attention and a modern day success story where a rare talent has captured the imagination of music fans.  She showed that there is no need for gimmicks or controversy to make people want to hear your music- you just need to have a voice they want to hear! With that in mind, Susan Boyle continues her record setting ways this week.

 Her first album released by Columbia Records dominates the charts holding down the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for the third consecutive week with 581,966 copies sold. Also, YouTube announced today that Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed A Dream” from “Britain’s Got Talent” is their most watched video of 2009.

 In addition, 'I Dreamed A Dream' made history two weeks ago as the largest-ever debut for a female artist on the Billboard 200 in the Soundscan era, and marked the highest first, second and third-week sales for any album in 2009.

~Rachel August Millas

Leighton Meester...a music star!?!

Leighton Meester may be best know as the star of “Gossip Girl”, but her music’s about to take center stage.

The actress was recently cast as a country singer opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw in the upcoming movie, “Love Don’t Let Me Down”, and her still-untitled solo album is reportedly set for release in February or March.

Meester ’s first single, “Somebody To Love” hit the airwaves in October.

Fans can expect a mix of sounds. “I have a million influences,” she said. “There’s definitely faster, more rocked-out stuff, and then of course there’s slower stuff. It’s a variety for every taste.

~Rachel August Millas

ABBA to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

ABBA made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, reported Los Angeles Times. The group will join Genesis, the Hollies, the Stooges, which had been nominated to the Hall of Fame on seven occasions, and Jimmy Cliff in the New York induction ceremony on March 15. The group will also be playing at a reunion performance at a ceremony. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts artists who have released at least 25 years before being inducted into the Hall. ABBA had been nominated in previous years but failed making it into the final cut.

~Rachel August Millas

Apple Strikes Deal to Buy Music Start Up Lala

New York Times- December 4, 2009- Brad Stone- San Francisco

Apple bought LaLa (based in Palo Alto, CA) as an alternative means to attract new customers to buy their digital music. Lala lets people play music they own from the internet-commonly referred to as "cloud-based streaming". If Apple introduces this new form of streaming to itunes, it's consumers who buy digital music will never have to download music they purchase or synch up their music with portable computers and mobile devices. Bascically, Apple is out to rule the world, at least as long as EVERYONE in the world has a super speedy internet service if you want to listen to any of YOUR music. Lala on the otherhand seems to be an up and commer in the business world with this Apple business, the Google agreement to let "GoogleMusic" easier for consumers to find, and another with facebook to allow its users to give free songs to your friends as gifts. My internet is extremely shitty when its even working, so it would probably be a nightmare for someone like me to buy into this but, still....pretty cool.
By: Erik Anderson

DIY Houses Prove to be Savior for Smaller Music Acts

ChicagoTalks- by Nick Tallid - Feb 23, 2009

The article starts out by stating that before DIY houses started arising, the underground scene was looking pretty non-existent. Touring musicians referred to Chicago as a "Black Hole" of the midwestern circuit, causing many good bands to skip it altogether. Basically he contributes this to a lack of motivated action on the listeners part who in his words "were stuck at home with nothing to do but blog about it." This lack of musicians coming through Chicago has nothing to do with a lack of venues, there's plenty of top-dog rockstar venues where bigger bands can come make a fortune; but not a lot of room for the less known underground bands. At the very least these venues require an impressive full press-kit to even be considered. Playing live shows is the key to collecting a following, but if the "Big Venues" that Chicago often boasts about will only take bands with tracks on the Top 100 lists it leaves little or no room for the talented small timers.
DIY established venues are made with the help of the common people's basements, living rooms, and loft areas; for bands whose self-promotion is realistically limited to a Myspace pageand a trip to kinkos for CD covers. These spaces help to open doors between the average local underground music listener and the small time artist without the expensive drinks, bands that all sound like creed, and hundreds of screaming, jumping 12 year olds with their dads watching from the minivan across the street from the venue. The article goes on to mention the Go-Go Town, and Castaway House which are two of the main and most widely known spaces in Chicago. (Though I'm pretty sure niether of them are functioning today) All in all an interesting read about the less profitable, but no less talented bands who come through Chicago.
by: Erik Anderson

Google Closes the Loop on Music Search - by Eliot Van Buskirk - October 29,2009

So, I guess Google announced its newest addition to its search engine that apparently makes the steps of searching for an artist and actually hearing the on the internet easier. The new "OneBox" search feature displays a pop-down box of streamable search results that will direct the user to whatever track they want. This new development was made possiblewith the help of other online music radios and DL sites like Lala, Myspace's new "iLike", Pandora, and Rhapsody.
Although this application seems somewhat useless (because anyone who knows how to work the internet can find the music they want, probably free), I feel that it will certainly prove as a useful marketing tool for the named download/stream subscription sites who feed off of the less internet savvy music listeners of the world. As a whole I'm sure it will make the more mainstream bands easier to get to through Google and will definetly help both the search engine and the music providers to develop more online hits/users.
By: Erik Anderson

"Every Band in the USA" by The Fold

Chicago band, The Fold, recorded a parody of the current hit song "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus. They rewrote the lyrics and titled it "Every Band in the U.S.A." The song is hilarious and makes fun of bands. To promote the song, the recorded a music video on an iPhone 3GS, and uploaded it to YouTube. After the video was posted, word spread and within 24 hours of releasing it to the public, the video had reached 100,000+ hits. Currently the video has almost reached 200,000 views, three weeks after its release. The strategy with this parody is to promote the band, as well as get people to purchase their actual music. At the end of video, there are instructions as to how to get the song for free. It tells viewers to visit their website.

Once viewers visit their site, in order to get the song for free they must first purchase The Fold's new album Dear Future, Come Get Me. This strategy is great because if the viewer took the time to go to their website they want the song bad enough. Since the album is priced low, it is reasonable that they will purchase the album to get the free song. This is an excellent way to increase album sales, and based on the number of YouTube hits, they should be getting a fair amount of exposure.

~Laurel Zevitz

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SellaBand Just Ain't Working For Public Enemy

SellaBand, a music website that allows artists to raise the money from their fans, was on the tip of everyone's tongue this October when Hip Hop greats Public Enemy announced that they'd be funding their upcoming album through the website. The group's goal of $250,000, which would go to recording, marketing, and promotion, would be achieved by offering incentives to those who gave to the cause.

...And then they fell flat.

To date, Public Enemy have raised just over $70,000, just 28% of its goal, and the new year is fast approaching.

What does this mean for Public Enemy and SellaBand? This certainly confirms that Public Enemy are no longer a relevant group. As time has passed since their heyday in the late '80s to early '90s, the group has faded as hypeman Flava Flav has experienced success as a reality TV star.

As far as SellaBand goes, this doesn't look great for them. However, I don't believe that Public Enemy's fanbase is that of the website's demographic. I see SellaBand as catering to much more "contemporary" acts.

Alex Katz

Green Day Join the Rock Band Family

As games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero continue to find success with each new release, a new trend of making games based around a single artist or group has become increasingly popular (and lucrative). The Beatles did it. Aerosmith did it. The latest to hop on the bandwagon? None other than Green Day.

Harmonix, who own the Rock Band franchise (and are owned themselves by MTV) announced at Spike TV's Video Game Awards that in 2010, Rock Band: Green Day will be released. This sounds like a great venture for Green Day, as they have a built-in audience of older fans, as well as those who have discovered their newer records by playing the songs in Rock Band.

Alex Katz

Tunecore Partners With Myspace

Third party aggregator TuneCore has been pretty busy these days. After a complete overhaul of their site, an a new partnership with eHealth, the company has now announced another partnership, this time with Myspace. As a result of the deal, TuneCore artists can now share in the ad revenue generated when their songs are streamed on MySpace Music.

This is great for artists like myself who release their music through digital retailers with TuneCore's help, because it opens up another revenue stream. The details, however, I a bit fuzzy at the moment. TuneCore has not fully explained how the revenues will be calculated, and for most artists, save for the biggest on TuneCore, royalties may be a long way down the road.

Alex Katz


I found an article discussing a new site called VEVO. Vevo is said to be like music's version of Hulu. You can go to vevo and find clips of videos by some of today's hottest artists.
"The sound quality is superior, the videos, even though they're not currently available in HD, look great, and Vevo comes with some music-specific features. The ability to make a play list and save one's favorite videos for repeated viewing is handy, especially if one wants to use the computer as a sort of virtual jukebox and key up a number of clips. Links to Amazon and iTunes are convenient, and the promise of embedded lyrics is a great one."

Vevo sounds to be an interesting addition to the music world, allowing fans to finally be able to go to one spot to find all their music video needs. I think it will once again allow artists to use videos to promote themselves better, since MTV barely plays videos now a days. It will be interesting to see if it stays free, or if a fee will be added later on.

- Valerie South

Monday, December 14, 2009

Daytrotter is cool

This week I’d like to share with you one of my favorite websites to discover, listen to, and download new music. It’s called It’s a unique music blog that offers free mp3s. Daytrotter is based out of Horseshack Studio in Rock Island, IL. They invite touring bands to stop by the studio between shows and record alternative versions of old songs or unreleased tracks. These recordings are very casual and are all live with no overdubs. A different band records four to five songs each day, everyday since May of 2006. The website has a very attractive and artsy layout. The main feature on the home page is that day’s session along with the sessions from the previous three days. There is a column of recent sessions as well as top sessions. Each artist’s session is accompanied with an illustration, a short bio of the band and current news, and four to five free downloads. You can browse the session archives and come across amazing recordings of artists such as Andrew Bird, Grizzly Bear, Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, and Mew amongst thousands of others. This website serves as a wonderful promotional tool, especially for lesser known or newer bands because the website is perfect for discovering new music because the downloads are free!

by Erin Schwaba

Thursday, December 10, 2009

MySpace Sews Up Deal for Imeem Music Site

Just as Google has purchased Lala, Myspace has now taken advantage of the services that Imeem has to offer. Overtime, MySpace users will be able to stream music from the Imeem website. Imeem offers a mobile phone application that streams music to Apple's iPhones and other devices using Google's Android operating systems. Now, MySpace is working on migrating these aspects of Imeem with MySpace so that MySpace users can benefit from Imeems services. Imeem is a free music business that was trying to make money off of advertising. Although they have struggled in the past, creating a relationship with a large, well known site such as MySpace will probably benefit them in the future. Those who visit the Imeem website will be directed to the MySpace Music page, which is good marketing for MySpace. Both websites can use each other for further promotion and hopefully be able to adapt their services to provide more for their users.

--Lyndsie Klott

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FREE Download of New Single by EMPIRES

Empires has always taken the free approach in their careers. After finishing their first album, they released it as a free download for all. Their strategy is to acquire as many fans while they are local, just to build a name for themselves. The band announced recently on their website:

"We’ve got some exciting news so I’ll get straight to the point…

It’s been a great year touring and recording for Empires, and within this time I know many of you have patiently been waiting for the release of new material. Well, I’m happy to say that wait is finally over…and to say thanks we’ll be giving away our brand new single ‘Bang’ for free beginning next Tuesday, December 8th at (sound familiar?)

‘Bang’ is the title track to a series of digital singles we’re putting out in the new year. This January and February we’ll be releasing ‘Digital 45s’ - which are basically old school A Side / B Side singles. In March, all 5 tracks (plus additional songs and bonus content) will be available as BANG: Deluxe Edition (in both physical and digital formats).

More details coming shortly, but here are the scheduled release dates:

December 8th (Digital Release No.1)
January 12th (Digital Release No. 2)
February 9th (Digital Release No. 3)
March 9th (Bang Deluxe Edition)

Keeping it in usual EMPIRES’ fashion, everything was created by our own hands (writing, producing, mixing, artwork, and releasing). In these cases things take a bit longer than expected, so we hope the extra-fine tuning and wait will be worth it to you. We’re very excited to shed light on where we’ve been and where we’re headed. The thought was to ring in the New Year with a “bang”.

Onward and upward,
tom & empires"

By simply submitting your email address to join their mailing list, you instantly begin downloading their first new single. No waiting for it to be sent to your email or provide a link to another site, this one is instant and easy.

~Laurel Zevitz

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another Band Trying The "Pay What You Want" Option

The band Punchline recently released a b-sides album digitally through their website and chose to give the "pay what you want" idea a try, but with a little tweak. You can get the entire 20 song album for a donation of $6. Any donation less than that will get you the first six songs off of the album. You can also opt to get the first six songs off of the album for free. They have essentially eliminated any donation under $6 as you would have to be crazy to donate 3 dollars for only 6 songs. I think this might be a mistake on their part. Why not make the whole album 5 dollars. Better yet make it 4, the less the better. Your hardcore fans will pay the 6 dollars for the album, but anybody who has enjoyed just a couple of your songs will probably opt not to get the album. Lets say they have 1000 fans who will pay the $6, and 10,000 who will only opt for the free six songs. If the album were 3 dollars, maybe 3000 more people would buy the whole album. I'm very interested to see how this pans out. I think they just let some money slip away from them.
To donate and download the album go here:
Steve Smith

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Apple Purchasing Lala

So apparently Apple has purchased Lala. The deal is either done or "pretty much done", according to Hypebotm, The New York Times, and All Things Digital. Apple's main interest seems to be in Lala's "cloud" technology, which essentially refers to the use of the internet as a mass storage unit, as opposed to personal computers. An article on Wired speculates that this could lead to a cheaper experience with iTunes, consisting of both streaming and downloading capabilities.

The whole cloud idea is gaining more steam; we are frequently seeing products and services based on the internet as storage space. iTunes working with Lala suggests that users' libraries will be available through the service itself (Lala users who use iTunes already have this capability). With the heavy focus Apple has been placing on the iPhone and iTouch, this move makes sense. People will soon have access to their entire music library without having to actually have it stored on their units. This could possibly lead to a huge increase in digital forms of music, due to the constant increase in distance between a physical product and listeners' main source of music. We are seeing less and less steps and components necessary for people to have their music available. I'm sure there will be more to come!

Wired article
Hypebot article

-Bill Ross

As Labels Struggle, Is Artist Income On The Rise?

This article has valid points that most in the music industry are already aware of... but they still important to consider. Clearly, with digital downloads on the rise, CD sales have lowered, and the industry has recreated itself. Artists and labels have both adapted to the demand of digital music, and have been working on staying successful, especially with music being exposed to download illegally without purchase. But, it is important to remember there is still money to be made. Live performances and touring bring in the money, and with do-it-yourself marketing and promotion on the rise it cuts out many of the middle men. There are many bands out there that have a good local and even global following, and have achieved that without the label giving them large sums of money for marketing and promoting their performances, or even the band themselves.

With the knowledge and new technology available today, many bands and musicians have been able to make a name for themselves on their own. The article points out that there is a good possibility that mid-level artists income may increase... and although there will always be those few stars that take the spot light... at least these other musicians are still getting their chance at making music and making money. With all the negativity going on through the music industry through the past few years, it's nice to know that these musicians are taking advantage of what's in front of them, and even though they might not be attached to a big label and have a platinum record on the wall, they can still perform their music, please their fans, and make some money at the same time.

--Lyndsie Klott

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Redeye Distribution D2F

Redeye Distribution has recently entered into a new type of marketing. Direct to fan marketing (or D2F) is being used in a service called 11spot. Through this service, a dedicated staff member will help their artists and labels target their fan. This service is supposedly very user friendly as well, allowing the customer to purchase physical, digital, and other merchandise products all in one stop.
The article also mentions an artist who used the service. For the artist, Redeye posted announcements to social media sites like Facebook and Myspace. That is all the article described about that story. Posting to social networking sites like that is pretty easy these days, so in my opinion I do not see how this service is very effective. Maybe I missed something in this article, or I am really tired. It seemed that this article was full of fluff to advertise a service rather than show what it could really do.

- Derek Jenkins

Friday, December 4, 2009

Myspace music UK launches

After months of Rumors, myspace music has officially launched for the United Kingdom. The commercial for the launch hails myspace music as "the definitive online music experience", but it seems half of the articles on hypebot, and similar sites have been about the death of myspace lately.
I think that the developers at myspace have developed the closest thing to the full package, when it comes to online presence for bands, but with are so many other social networking platforms out now, myspace has gotten lost in the shuffle. With a fresh launch in a huge music market, myspace could really improve its traffic, with the right marketing strategy. I thin the first ad does a real good job at promoting it, if they continue with strong marketing effort behind the launch, it could turn things around for myspace.

-Eric Hart

Thursday, December 3, 2009

30 Seconds To Mars Recruits Fans For 'War'

Wow, this article is a MUST read, especially since we are in the market we are in at this point.

Jared Leto and his band came up with a brilliant marketing idea in my eyes. For their new album, "This is War," the band took to actually recording the fans singing in the audience at live shows and using those recording on the final product. They had fans send in pictures to the band that they then used for the album artwork included with the CD. This seems like the perfect way to get consumers to actually want to purchase the album as opposed downloading it for free, but as I am writing this, I am realizing that almost all the pirated albums that you can download, actually come with the album art in the form of jpegs. This seems like yet ANOTHER attempt at overcoming dropping album sales that is probably going to fail. Let's keep out fingers crossed!

-Woody Ellis

Filmed Concerts Come To iTunes In Live Nation Deal

This is a really cool article I found about iTunes selling concert footage of live shows that they record. I love all the new ideas companies are coming up with to earn more money since CD sales have gone down so drastically. I myself love watching live concert footage, but the problem with a lot of the stuff on YouTube is that the quality is lacking. I am sure ITunes records the shows in HD, and to get to see the whole show from start to finish is a great way to make up for not having been able to be there. My only concern is that live shows are [almost] as easy to find online as albums are. What is going to stop consumers from doing that just as much as they download full albums for free?

Live Nation hopes to gain a new revenue stream on Tuesday when Apple Inc's iTunes begins to feature downloads of some of the live concerts it promotes.

Apple's iTunes will have a section featuring the concerts of about 20 artists ranging from Jesse McCartney to Ziggy Marley when the service begins, the companies said in a statement. They expect hundreds of more shows in the coming months. Prices will start at about $7.99.

Los Angeles-based Live Nation will produce most of the offerings from the more than 20,000 concerts it promotes each year. The company has reached licensing rights deals for live performances with major label owners and artists to enable a smooth launch of the service, it said.

Digital technology has made it significantly more cost-effective to produce and distribute concert recordings through online services like iTunes or

Live Nation did not disclose any financial terms of the agreement, nor did it estimate how much revenue it expects to gain from the venture. But the company's investment risk is expected to be relatively small as it already records many of the show it promotes.

-Woody Ellis

Major Label Messes With the Wrong Guy

According to a news article from, Tim Quirk, a senior vice president at Rhapsody, demonstrates it's "possible to build a big database that accounts for what each copyright holder is owed". Tim Quirk used to front a band that was signed to Warner Bros. Quirk estimated that his band should have earned between 2-5 times as much digital revenue as its four independently-released albums earned. In addition, his band only earned about $12,000 from the independent albums distributed digitally through IODA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance), but only $62.47 from Warner Bros. Overall, $395,214.71 of the band's advance remains not collectable, which means that it owes that amount against future royalties earned. Quirk believes that his band will ever receive that advance. Most importantly, he claims that major labels are letting all sorts of digital revenue slip through cracks and acquiring sizable upfront royalty advances. In addition, Tim is arguing that since major labels are refusing to update their accounting technology for dealing with revenue from digital streams and downloads. On the other hand, Warner Music Group issued a statement stating that the terms of artists agreements are kept classified due to policy and Quirk's implications to the contrary are flat out wrong. In addition, the comments made by Quirk don't reflect Rhapsody's views on this issue. Overall, there are efforts being made so that accounting is done justly. However, the with multiple parties involved, the issue will continue to be complex. Whats interesting to note about this article is that all music enthusiasts know that the majors are masters at hiding money from artists, but you would think honesty would work to their advantage in the long run.

-Ryan Dolan

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Knowing Your Audience....

It was stated Monday, November 30, 2009 that since the sexually charged performance by Adam Lambert at the American Music Awards, Walt Disney Company which owns ABC-TV will now screen all live broadcasts of performers. This aggressively pansexual performance of the title track from his major-label debut, For Your Entertainment  made big headlines. In addition to drawing more than 1,500 complaints from viewers who took issue with the man-on-man kissing, girl dragging and S&M play, Lambert’s award-show coming out party lost him at least one gig when ABC's "Good Morning America" announced Tuesday (November 24) that it had canceled due to the controversy kicked up by the AMAs.

Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney told Reuters that in reaction to the Lambert performance, Disney was reviewing the steps it takes to vet live performances by getting assurances from artists that their stage shows will resemble their rehearsals, and using contractual obligations to hold them to that. "We certainly don't want to suppress artistry at any level, but we also have to be very cognizant of who our audience is," Sweeney said at the Reuters Media Summit on Monday.

Lambert’s response to this new set of rules for live performances is that he feels as though there is a double standard when it comes to risqué performances by men and women in music, said he felt no need to apologize for his AMA debut.

~Rachel August Millas

Glee Marketing

While watching Glee the other night, I noticed some marketing within the show. This show is overall incorporates a lot of marketing for popular contemporary music, covering songs throughout the series. However, I noticed something else. In one of the scenes when main character Finn was singing in his rooms, there were band posters strategically placed in the screenshot. Such artists are: Dashboard Confessional, Thrice, A Cursive Memory, and Kings of Leon.

Product placement in TV shows, films, etc. are also an effective marketing tool. Viewers of the show will see these posters and want to check them out to further connect with the character, Finn. (If Finn likes these artists, maybe his fans will too.) This is a great way to target new markets for these artists. Millions watch Glee, so it increases the exposure for these artists.

~Laurel Zevitz

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Remix Phenomenon

I’ve noticed a trend popular with indie musicians recently. It is what I’d like to call “the remix phenomenon”. Remix albums have been around for quite some time, but I’ve been noticing this trend resurfacing lately. The way this works is a band will release an album, then they will have other artists remix tracks from that album, then they will release an album of remixes of that previous album. For example, Phoenix released Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix May 26th and less than five months later they released the remix collection on October 13th. This collection of remixes features artists including Passion Pit, Yacht, and Devendra Banhart. Bloc Party did this with their album Intimacy earlier this year and Kings of Leon is reportedly releasing a remix album to follow their latest Only By Night sometime in the near future. I can see some potential marketing benefits in doing a remix album. It gets people excited about the album again. What I mean is that it stirs up they hype again. Phoenix got a lot of attention with their Wolfgang album. After a few months, the storm settled, and the release of their remix album got people talking Phoenix again. Also, there is the benefit of expanding their fan base. The artists who remixed Phoenix’s songs weren’t just some Joe Blows, and therefore fans of say Devendra Banhart may not know Phoenix and may buy the album because of the Devendra remix. Both parties in this case have the opportunity of sharing their fan base.
Another example of a remix project is Chicago’s Hey Champ who just released a remix album of remixes they did other artist’s songs. This is the reverse of what Phoenix did but equally as beneficial for an artist that isn’t as widely known. I’m assuming that we will see more of these types of remix projects in the future because the music consumers are getting harder to please as time goes by, therefore exclusivities and rarities such as these remixes will be sought out by music lovers.

Erin Schwaba

Chicago Music

I found this pretty cool article through the Chicago Tribune that discussed Chicago artists and traveling. Songs are handpicked and played through Chicago terminals.

"A project dubbed Terminal Tunes puts music exclusively by Chicago-area artists, as well as artists on Chicago labels, on a continuous loop through the terminals at O'Hare and Midway airports."

The playlists are also put online so that if people hear a song they enjoy, they can go a step further and discover what the song actually was. I think this is a unique and cool idea, and something that can be done in other states and countries. I think it promotes music from Chicago in a great way, and help to flourish our large music scene. It also promotes the city. It also gives smaller local bands a chance to get some airplay.,0,6104510.story

- Valerie South

Artists Making More Money

This article I found off of graphs out music industry revenue in London over the last few years since 2004. What is shocking is that in the state the music industry is in, artists are actually seeing an increase in profitability. Revenue from both live performance and recordings has gone up dramatically in the last five years. Not surprisingly the labels profits have diminished pretty rapidly, but as the last year shows it looks as if it is leveling off. Hopefully this is a sign that labels will be able to continue to stay afloat and that artists will finally be better compensated as a whole for their work.
The article can be found here:
Steve Smith

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Xbox Live Music

I found an article explaining Xbox Live's recent decision to integrate Zune, Twitter, Facebook, and into its platform. Users are now able to create playlists on through their Xbox consoles. This opens up a slightly wider audience for bands, and also offers an opportunity to give users the unique experience of enjoying a particular song while playing a video game. Having the connection between a band's music and a separate form of enjoyment from a user is a good way to build loyalty in a fanbase.

The only thing that may be an issue is the fact that artists can be "featured" during a game without licensing their music to the game companies. Publishers may be wary of this new idea, but otherwise, this could open up many opportunities to creatively market music for gamers.


-Bill Ross

Rihanna: Fiercely Introspective

I read an article written in the New York times today that discusses Rihanna's new Album "Rated R". For those who stay in tuned with music gossip (who doesn't these days), Rihanna went through a traumatic experience with her boyfriend at the time, Chris Brown. The perfect, young, hip hop couple's image was destroyed after Chris Brown violently turned on Rihanna. That event was followed by a brief, but not lasting, rekindling of their romance. "Rated R" is a reflection of Rihanna's feelings and emotions at that dark time in her life, and her feelings on how she feels as a person today. The album is much edgier, and it is clear that Rihanna has taken a step in a different direction when it comes to her image.

This brings me to the main point. Image. I think it is very important to remember how powerful of a marketing tool image is for a musician or band. Their image can define who they are. Just their look can send numerous messages to their audience. Rihanna started out as a young teen singing pop music. With her in shape body and exotic look, it was easy for her to be the sweet pop star who was breaking into american music. Now, several years after making her presence known, she has gone from sweet innocent pop star, to a fashion setter with attitude, to a edgier "badass" who isn't afraid to push musical boundaries based off her personal life. Stars like Rihanna have a strong following, and for the most part, very loyal fans. It is risky for someone in the spotlight to change their image, because there is always that risk of losing a group of fans, but there is also the possibility of reaching out to new ones. However, the reasoning behind the change is what can really make or break your fan base. Rihanna's story is well known, and most people saw her as a victim. Her change is more accepted than someone like Britney Spears. Rihanna is using her experiences as a reflection off her image, which is going to help her sell herself as well as her music to the public.

Lyndsie Klott

Saturday, November 28, 2009

iTunes Music Prices

iTunes may be lowering their prices according to an article I came across. A new service called "TunesPro" has launched, and it offers single songs for $0.19 and albums for as low as $2.00. With the current prices on iTunes, many hit songs are $1.29, that is over 2/3 the price of an entire album for TunesPro.
While this new service might make Apple investigate as to whether or not they need to modify their business structure in any way, I highly doubt it will result in more than a slight reduction in their prices. Their market share is not likely to dwindle in the digital downloads market. They already have a dedicated following from average music listeners, Apple fanboys (and girls), and other consumers.
Similar services like TunesPro seem to pop up ever few months and then fall apart quickly. It will be interesting to see how long they stay in business. To see what the level of quality is in their services that they offer will be another thing to watch as well.

- Derek Jenkins

Friday, November 27, 2009

Live Nation & iTunes To Offer Concert Downloads

The article that I'll be discussing is about Live Nation making some of their concerts available for download on iTunes. It's described as a smart piece of brand extension & it debuted this past Tuesday. So far exclusive performances from OK Go, Jesse McCartney, Saving Abel, A Fine Frenzy, Duffy, Ziggy Marley & Plain White T's have been released this week, with more to follow.

Personally, I think this is a GREAT idea. This is something that I think should of been done quite some time ago. As a fan of live shows, I may use this feature to catch a preview of upcoming shows that are coming to my town or shows that aren't coming to my town or if I happen to miss a local show, hopefully it'll be there on iTunes for me to catch. I really see this being a success for both parties. Live Nation is really showing that they're on top of their game this year.

-Marcus Hall

Fair Play? A Million Spotify Streams Earned Gaga $167

Many believe that Spotify is the solution when it comes to online music streaming services. However, there has been speculation surrounding Spotify's business operations. According to Swedish paper Expressen, Lady Gaga (arguably one of the most listened artists in the world) and her songwriter Redone made just $166.56 in songwriting royalties from one million plays of her hit Poker Face. Spotify stresses that it pays "not only collecting societies, but also publishers and record companies". They also stressed that the $167 is from "way before we'd established ourselves as a music service and built up a large user base". Some believe that digital platforms should give artists the same ratio of rights revenue they get for CD sales. However, the main issue that is prevalent in the news, is the labels stake in the service which is rumoured to be that they are getting paid twice. Overall, there is still fear even with Spotify, which has received alot of spotlight for its business model. Spotify's freemium model is down to a mistrust of free music and has failed to establish a significant number of paid accounts. These services are doing a great job of bring exposure to main stream artists but we are slowly seeing that these services have no effect on P2P piracy, and are not helping indie/underground artists like we all thought they would.

-Ryan Dolan

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tommy Lee "Crowdsourcing"

The article I read is about Tommy Lee's new album "Public Mayhem". Tommy Lee reached out to fans all over the world, and made it possible for them to download a number of tracks from the album, and submit their own parts to the songs. He says that at first he was worried that this would not work, but has quickly come to realize that there are many talented people in the world.

Lee notes. "These days you've got to have some way to involve their fans so it's an experience, not just another record, and involve your fans. This just seemed like a perfect way; you can download the tracks for free, get involved, take some ownership, tell your friends about it, maybe be in an album. And the enthusiasm is overwhelming. I've never experienced anything like this."

I think this is a great marketing tool. There is nothing like getting fans involved one on one in a way with the artist. It really gives them a chance to try and experience what it is really like to be a rock star. If they are even talented enough they may end up being apart of the song on the album. I think artists and marketing teams need to realize that just putting an album out there isnt going to sell itself anymore, you have to be unique and creative and form your own strategy to draw fans in again and again.

- Valerie South

Legally Downloaded Music Cheaper Than Dirt!

The site is making some waves in the music community. They are selling music at a fraction of the cost of other sites like iTunes and Amazon. Individual songs are being sold for only 19 cents. There is a price break for buying entire albums which start at only $1.88. The site was taken down over the weekend with speculation that the site was not authorized to sell music by many of the labels. Apparently they do indeed have permission from the labels to sell music at that price and they were back up and running after only a short time.
This is a limited time promotion though since the site actually loses 39 cents a song. The promotion is expected to last the next 2 or 3 months but no absolute date has been set yet. They are hoping that they can get customers by practically giving away music rather than spend millions on promotion and advertising. I personally have signed up for this site and searched their catalog. So far I have found everything I have been looking for. My one complaint is that the file is downloaded in a compressed zip file that has to be extracted and then added to iTunes or whatever player you are using, but saving about 8 dollars an album I can live with the extra two minutes of work.
Steve Smith

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Band =/= Brand

I was intrigued by something that I read on Hypebot concerning the "band as brand" idea. The article, aimed at up-and-coming bands, urges bands to focus their attention not on getting sponsorships but on word-of-mouth style marketing. The author constantly compares music to religion in this sense. The first major word of advice put forth is to "[q]uit running your band like it's a Proctor & Gamble product, and start running your band more like a church". Essentially, the article advises bands to spend time building relationships with fans and less on building a brand out of themselves. As the author puts it, "Give your fans what they want – a message, a community, a reason to support you, believe in you, and come back to you over & over – and they will." It is a very interesting article, and I recommend reading it.


-Bill Ross

MySpace Music Overhauls Charts

With Facebook adding a music application, it would seem that MySpace would be worried over the competition that they are now going to face. However, they have added more to their site in order to keep them in the game. MySpace music has been around for much longer and already had a solid reputation, and probably a good number of loyal users. Although the popularity of Facebook in social networking compares to Google as a search engine, there are still many people who are more comfortable using familiar technology instead of having to learn something new. Facebook music will definitely attract many users, but I don't think that MySpace has counted themselves out yet.

One of the new features that the new MySpace music has is a new "movers" section that highlights fastest rising artists contents across the network. Alike iTunes, they are offering something more to the users other than a library full of music. It order to stay in the competition, these websites have to keep on growing with their users to keep the attraction, and thus far, MySpace has made a pretty good attempt.

-Lyndsie Klott

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Music Videos and Concerts Coming to Hulu

Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. has reached an agreement with Hulu to begin offering concerts and music videos on the media streaming site. Some artists have already had their own sections or channels added on Hulu. Hulu seems to be taking off as of late, and they seem to offer higher quality streams over YouTube in my opinion. I wonder how long this will last, as they obviously do not receive the same volume of users as YouTube does at the moment. Either way, this seems like a great move for marketing artists. Not only can people view their artist videos on YouTube and a bunch of clone-YouTube sites (sites that "leech" YouTube streams), but they can now view them on Hulu. To me, the added bonus is that they will be offering concerts on Hulu. Of course, you can find concerts on YouTube at the moment, but so many of those videos are of terrible quality or are taken from cell phones.
Anyway, if you are an even remotely interested reader, I suggest that you head on to Hulu and take a look for yourself.

- Derek Jenkins

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr. Dre To Anchor Best Buy 'Club Beats' Sections

Best Buy has teamed up with Monster Cable and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones to launch its new in-store "Club Beats" area. The giant retailer is adding a new section in all its stores where customers can sample the latest audio, music, entertainment and technology products including DJ equipment, mixing software, turntables, headphones and laptops.

To help promote the new Club Beats, Best Buy will host a series of events featuring appearances from top music artists including Lady Gaga, and Dr. Dre. It will promote the events through local radio and newspaper advertisements. According to the Nielsen Company, the retailer spent $213 million on advertising in 2008 and $142 million in the first eight months of 2009.

It seems like Best Buy is starting to notice the new trend of in DJing, and also with the concern for the sound quality of music. Beats by Dr. Dre was selected because of its commitment to giving the average listener a professional-quality listening experience through their headphones.

Best Buy sees this DJ-focused offering as something brand new for mainstream retail. "It may not be simple to find these products in a mainstream environment-either you have to know what you need, or you have to talk to someone who is in the industry," said Wendy Fritz, svp of merchandising for mobility for Best Buy. "What we're trying to say is 'hey you can do this,' and when they come into the store our Blue Shirts can say 'these are the three or four products you need to get started.'"

Seven stores will feature a full "experiential" Club Beats area, with a spectrum of products while 300 stores will features an "interactive" area, with similar options but slightly fewer products to try out. All remaining stores will include a "core" Club Beats area, with a product selection, merchandising signage and customer service assistance but less of a focus on interactivity.

-Woody Ellis

Music: Too Expensive to Be Free, Too Free to Be Expensive

Recently, a rumor has been released in the music business regarding MySpace business operations. According to the article I read, MySpace is on the verge of purchasing the free music streaming site imeem, which has been struggling to stay on top with payments with music copyright holders. However, this problem is spreading to similar licensed free music services, according to a top News Corp executive. There has been speculation that advertising revenue is a poor business solution to cover costs of licensing music, which has lead to illegitimate free music sources continuing to prosper. MySpace has been losing money and could soon add a subscription option due to payments obligated to music companies. On the other hand, YouTube remains the only licensed, free, on-demand music service that promises to break even. This is mostly due to the visual nature of the services which makes users more likely to encounter advertisements on the site. Furthermore, when the labels launch their Vevo (YouTube spin-off) they expect to bring in more money in ads than YouTube does. An interesting perspective that I found interesting was geared towards Googles' new music search service. This music search service allows to users to listen to a song once for free through LaLa or MySpace's iLike service. As mentioned in the article, "If Google can't figure out a way to support something with ads, it arguably cannot be done." In conclusion, advertising was suppose to be the golden opportunity for music fans to get free music while at the same time contribute to copyright holders. This vision seems to be gone, and music enthusiasts will likely head back to file sharing networks.

-Ryan Dolan

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Words With Friends...and album advertisements

One of my favorite games on my iPhone recently is "Words With Friends." It's an app that allows you to play scrabble against your friends either on one phone while passing back and forth, or from different phones, anywhere in the world. And if you dont have a friend to play against, you can select to play a random opponent. Anyways, this app is extremely popular. There is a free version (which of course has all the advertisements) and a version with no advertising for a small fee. Well, most people don't mind the occasional ad pop up, so they go with the free version. Since this app is very popular, bigger companies (toyota, axe, netflix) are placing there ads in the rotation.

While playing recently, I noticed there were several advertisements for newly released albums. What made this advertisement different than the ones i've seen in the past, is there is the option to be directed to your iTunes on your iPhone to download the album if you are interested. The ads pop up quite frequently while playing. So the player sees them often. Even if they dont purchase the album, it raises awareness that the album is available.

The market surrounding this app is also very broad. People from all ages, locations, and backgrounds play. Advertisement placement throughout this app is brilliant.

~Laurel Zevitz

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lady Gaga on Gossip Girl

None other than Lady Gaga will be performing on tonight's episode of Gossip Girl. Although her fan base probably already connects with the viewers of the show, she still has an opportunity to attract new fans. She is also being associated with a very popular show for teens and young adults. This is also a chance for Lady Gaga to expand her market, and show people if she can act or not. Which in the future could be something she benefits from if the taping goes over well. It will be interesting to see if this appearance strengthens her fan base.

- Val South

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Beatles Merchandise

The Beatles seem to be the only band that can continue to sell records in a large quantity. 9/9/09 which was what can only be called "Beatles Day" marked the release of their entire remastered catalog as well as Rock Band Beatles edition. Both the game and the albums sold incredibly well. With that in mind EMI has opted to release more another piece of merchandise that is sure to send Beatle geeks scrambling for their wallets. Set for a December 8th release date, a Beatles apple logo with removable USB features the bands entire catalog as well as documentary's album art and some other goodies. The initial pre-order was set for thirty thousand units priced at $279 but it looks as if they have already increased the number of units. I'm not a huge Beatles fan and I find myself desperately wanting one of these. I can only imagine that the Beatle freaks will buy these up every time they are released. More info on the apples can be found here:
Steve Smith

iTunes Variable Pricing selling fewer songs, but still making more money?

Earlier in the semester I posted on a story stating that iTunes raised the price by 30 cents of some of their hottest singles. While sales have dropped 6%, some of the more popular songs are still selling at a normal rate. Because of this news, Apple can more than likely declare this as a victory.

To me, this shows that Apple can probably get away with raising single prices in the future if marketed right. They didn't raise the prices of every song, just the hot sellers. I would assume that they know that people are going to get the song they want given that the price isn't ridiculous. Raising the price 30 cents shouldn't ruffle the feathers of too many people. I know they don't ruffle mine.

-Marcus Hall

Downloading Vs. Music-Streaming

Despite the popularity of music-streaming a recent survey of 10,000 students showed that 75 percent of students prefer downloading music. These students would rather use sites like iTunes for example to download and keep music on hard drives or MP3 players. There is a growing demand for cheaper downloads. seems to be the front runner in meeting this demand. They have already lowered prices when they launched 3 months ago. The price was lowered and hopes of attracting younger customers. Those hopes were met TunesPro said “We have seen a huge surge of younger people using our site as more and more of torrents and P2P files contain viruses, so our pricing must be competitive enough for the younger students with perhaps less disposable income than professionals. We keep our prices low and concentrate of making money through volume sales. Currently we charge 19c per song and offer a further 10% when a whole album is purchased. We believe this will attract the younger users away from iTunes, which charge almost 6 times more than we do."

This sounds great for music lovers I. My question to you guys is do you think that sites like TunesPro will bring an end to iTunes or at least make them change how they operate as far as pricing goes. Also, I would like to know if you guys preferred either music-streaming or downloading.

Trevion Martin