Sunday, January 31, 2010

A New Approach

Tom DeLonge (of blink-182) is “redefining the music business.” His other band, Angels & Airwaves is set to release their third studio album, entitled “Love,” as a free digital download on (fittingly) February 14. So how are they going to make any money? The plan is to partner with corporations (Live Nation, Fuel TV, and Hurley in addition to others) that will feature a link to download the album and send e-mail blasts to their customers. These measures will reach approximately 55 million people, 20 million of which DeLonge hopes will download the album. The idea is that fans who downloaded the album will go the band’s website and buy merchandise or sign up for a membership (at $6.95 per month) that gives them access to advance tickets and exclusive content. DeLonge says that “if only 5 percent of that 20 million came back and interacted with the Modlife platform that powers our website, the revenue would far exceed anything we’d make from a major label.”

I read an op-ed in Alternative Press a couple years ago that said that the future would see musicians using corporations to reach more people and offer music for free. I think this plan, while it’s not going to entirely redefine the music business, is a step in that direction.

It would change how a band is marketed because they would have to partner with corporations that fit their image and are able to reach their target audience. For this to work, since the music is given away for free, the focus would be turned to compelling fans to buy their merchandise and subscribe to their website.

Angels & Airwaves’ last album, “I-Empire,” sold 268,000 copies in the U.S. so the question is whether there are 20 million people who would download the album even if it’s free and then whether 1 million people would buy memberships to the website or merchandise. I’m sure that Angels & Airwaves got a boost in their fan base because of the blink-182 reunion tour, but I really don’t know if there are 1 million people willing to spend money on them.


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Music Now Has DNA

The creators of the MP3 (Bach Technology) are ready to once again change the way consumers obtain and experience music as they plan to create a successor to the MP3 with “MusicDNA”. The unveiling of this new technology was announced at MIDEM, a major music business trade show that addresses key issues and trends that are affecting all aspects of the music industry. According to Bach Technology’s CEO Stefan Kohlmeyer: “The MP3 was great for its time, but it did not support multimedia”, and now with MusicDNA they are able to do that by adding: lyrics, artwork, tour dates, merchandise, videos, and twitter feeds into this new format. Another good thing about MusicDNA is that it serves as a competitor towards illegal file-sharing because you can only receive this extra content if you obtain a legitimate format of MusicDNA.

I personally think this is a good idea because it gives record labels an innovative way to market music to consumers over the internet. They now have a stronger reason to entice consumers to buy music by making certain content (unreleased songs, ringtones, etc.) only available if you buy the MusicDNA format. I find this technology similar to the downloadable content game developers offer consumers through gaming platforms like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3, which adds extra content to a videogame for more hours of game play. MusicDNA will do the same thing as they keep consumers intrigued in a song or album longer than a few months as extra content becomes available with each update.

The only bad thing I see is that it may cost more to buy this format than the original MP3. I think this format would most definitely spike up prices for entire albums, and consumers may find themselves spending $15-18 dollars (again) for albums. Only time will tell where Bach Technology will go from here, but if all goes well with their beta testing phase we can expect to see MusicDNA hit the digital-sphere by this summer.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith

1. Music Week

2. RollingStone

MusicDNA Website

Friday, January 29, 2010

Free Cypress Hill Song

Cypress Hill is giving away a free song to download. This song can be downloaded at this website. It's a great marketing strategy for artists to do this for several reasons.

1) It gets the artist's music out there for free. Often times consumers are skeptical of purchasing an artists music without prior knowledge of their music. By giving away the song for free, it gives the consumer the opportunity to obtain the artist's music and decide whether they are a fan or not. If the consumer enjoys the song, chances are they may enjoy the entire album. This will then lead to purchasing the entire album. Therefore, by giving away one song for free, there is a potential for selling 9-12 more songs (from the album).

2) Upon visiting the site where consumers are directed to download the free song, you must first sign up for the mailing list. In order to receive the free song, this is a mandatory request by the artist. Consumers are often willing to sign up, in the exchange of free music. The artist then has captured the consumers e-mail information, where they can send further information to consumers pertaining to the artist.

3) Another request prior to downloading the song, is the zip code. This is also an important information for the artist to have as statistical knowledge of their consumer base. Knowing the consumers zip code informs the artist of their strongest markets. Knowing where your strongest markets are will assist when planning tours, and also help focus on where the weaker markets are.

~Abby Goldstein

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Universal Music Group expands direct-to-consumer mobile efforts

Universal Music Group made a deal with music publishing company Netbiscuits to help them launch mobile websites and services. UMG is going to offer fan-to-fan interaction and the ability to make purchases directly from smartphones across the iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile platforms. This will be made possible through artist-branded mobile websites.

From UMG's press release:

“Thanks to the support we are getting from Netbiscuits, we’ll be in an even better position to extend these artist opportunities and products across the widest array of available wireless devices. Through their exclusive technology, we’ll be able to offer consumers truly engaging mobile music experiences, that include the chance to generate their own content, leaving comments, uploading pictures, and chatting with each other via these mobile sites. UMG will continue to lead the way in adopting the latest technology to offer fans the most dynamic interactive musical experiences possible.”

Ran Farmer, Managing Director of Netbuscuits Inc. says, "We’re very excited to help Universal Music mobilizing so many of the world’s most famous music artists. All these artists going mobile means to me that the mobile web today really is a mass market phenomenon. Adding the right mobile commerce strategies and technologies to the mix finally paves the way for real revenues coming from the mobile channel."

This seems like a pretty smart move to me. It reminds me of what I said about a mobile trend in my 15 page research paper about the future of the music industry. In short, I guessed that cell phones would soon play a role in making more money in the music industry. I think the biggest challenge the industry is always dealing with is how to effectively compete with free music [that people illegally download]. Pretty much everyone uses a cell phone in today's world and this could be new technology that people will be interested in checking out and even buying into, thus generating more income for artists and the business.

- Samantha Bruno

What does the iPad mean for the music business?

With Wednesday's announcement of Apple's new iPad, many are left wondering about it's effect on the music industry.

Billboard argues that the iPad will not be as successful as the iPod or iPhone for portable music because of sheer portability, and seem pessimistic about it's potential success. They argue that not everything created by Apple succeeds, using the struggling AppleTV as an example.

P.C. Magazine notes that besides superior speakers to that of the iPhone or iPod, they do not see how it will be a superior vehicle for the enjoyment of music. They do note that the larger screen creates a more user friendly userface (easier to select music, create playlists, etc.) but they still give the nod to the iPod for portability.

I personally feel that the iPad targets book and newspaper readers. The success of the iPod and iPhone for music application has been because of the sheer portability. While the iPad's book, video, and photo applications seem very practical, I believe that the current iPad lacks the same potential for a portable music device that we've seen with the iPod and iPhone. Since this is new technology, only time will tell.

-Scott Schaffer


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Hope in Haiti" shatters digital only records

Is it currently possible to sell 600,000 digital albums in only one week? What about 600,000 sales of an album that is a download only release.

"Hope in Haiti" sold 175,000 digital downloads in its first two days on the market. Although it may not sell 600,000 in 7 days, if it continues to average 87,500 sales per day it will sell 612,500 in one week (although that probably won't happen).

In case you aren't keen on opening weeks, 175,000 digital sales alone is a record breaker. 600,000 would be unheard of for the gloomy music business of 2010.

Apparently George Clooney saw to it that 100% of the income for "Hope in Haiti" goes to help (obviously) victims in Haiti.

If I wanted any of the tracks on the album, I would actually buy this one. Buying musiProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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.. imagine that.

- Ian Gollahon (