Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lou Reed's New iPhone App

In a featured commercial on YouTube, Lou Reed's new iPhone App promises to make whatever you need to do "as fast and easy as possible." I don't know about making everything you need to do as fast and easy as possible, but this iPhone app will at least make it easier to read the names in your contact list..for the price of $1.99.
Rocker Lou Reed's iPhone app entitled "Lou Zoom" essentially just supersizes the names in your contact list. The commercial embedded in this article starts off by showing Lou complaining that he always has problems with his iPhone. It quickly shifts gears when Lou chucks his iPhone on the ground and claims that now with his Lou Zoom, "life is perfect." Each name in your contact list will expand to the full width of the screen making the names really easy to select.
I suppose this is being marketed to older fans of Lou who don't have great eyesight.

To me, this app is equal parts dumb and equal parts smart. $1.99 seems a little steep for something that merely expands the names in your contacts list, but perhaps there is a market for it. It's obviously not going to sell to kids and young adults because seriously, I know I would never drop 2 dollars on a "zooming" app.
However, I'm sure there are older, diehard Lou fans out there who are more willing to spend the 2 bucks on this kind of pointless app than I am. So all in all, maybe it will help Lou make more money or maybe it won't, but I guess there's no harm in having it out there.

You can check out the sort of-weird commercial for Lou Zoom here:


- Samantha Bruno

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Important Tips for Your Artist Website

Hard to navigate websites are the worst. It's as simple as that. Whether you're surfing the net for movie times, reading the news or checking up on your favorite artist difficulty finding what you're looking for is the easiest way to guarantee you won't be back to that site any time soon. For me, websites that don't have a logical layout rank high on my pet peeve list. So obviously I was thrilled to see an Chris Vinson, from Bandzoogle, had written an article on today called "6 Rules to Make a Band Website That Rocks."

Vinson's 6 rules are #1: No flash!, #2: Make a strong front page, #3: Keep it simple, #4: Keep it updated, #5: Keep it personal and #6: Create a community. While these tips seem obvious they're so often overlooked by bands (or their management) who think that their design is so creative that people will love it. Creative or not, if I can't find information about when your next show is because of your fancy formatting, I probably won't be coming.

To any artist working on a website, read this:

--Katherine Wood

New Profits from Lyrics

Sony/ATV music publishing is partnering with Zazzle's ARTSPROJEKT to make t-shirts and other merchandise inspired by song titles and lyrics. Zazzle allows artists and fans to create and customize original works. They already have partnerships with Disney, Hallmark, and Star Wars to name a few. Since Zazzle has a custom manufacturing process and a marketplace to monetize content, there is little up front cost or risk. If this works, it is a great way to make money off of old songs.


by Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, March 29, 2010

More News in MGMT's 'Congratulations'

I previously wrote about MGMT's new creative way of packaging their sophomore album "Congratulations" by way of scratch-off album artwork, but now there is another interesting twist with the release of this album. "Congratulations" was set for an April 13th release date in the US, but like many albums these days, it was recently leaked on the internet. In order to go with the flow, MGMT wanted to offer a free download of the album to their fans. Columbia, however, was against that and thought it a better idea to stream the album from the official MGMT website.
This is a good idea, because it will get more fans to the website. With more visits to the site there will probably be more purchases from their online merch store as well as other interactive actions on their site. It really works to their favor now to have a limited edition release of the scratch-off albums, because since fans can already listen to the album online for free, this will be incentive for major fans to go out and actually buy the album. All around, I don't think the leak was a terrible issue for the band, because bringing more traffic to the site now with the free streaming will still benefit the band.

Listen to the album at:

-Ashley Stokvis

Prince Charges Fans

Apparently, Prince has charged his fans for membership to his fan club after the have cancelled their subscription. This all came a year after the fan club opened, and the members had sent in requests that their accounts be cancelled. These fans have been charged $77, not a small price.

The article I saw was a blog post from a fan. The fan said that when he sent in his request to cancel his account, he never received at reply. Upon being charged, he visited the fan club's Web site, only to find that the site was down.

The fan who wrote this post was blaming Prince wholly for this situation. In reality, it was the sales team behind the fan club's fault. This brought up the idea that the people surrounding an artist directly reflect the image of the artist. Prince, although he may not have been aware of this problem, is ultimately being blamed for it by the angry fans such as this blog poster.

Prince has yet to comment, and it will be interesting to see if he does. Having a massive fan base, I wonder if he sees this potential loss of some fans as an issue.

--Ashley Snider


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ben Folds uses Chatroulette for live inspiration

In case you haven’t seen this Chatroulette video of Ben Folds live, now you have. If you haven’t heard of Chatroulette yet, then kill two birds with one stone and watch the video. WARNING -- Video drops the F bomb.

Ben Folds connects with random people around world with webcams. As you can imagine, a good half of the people he runs into are lonely men looking for human interaction (though there is no nudity in this video).

As bands around the world try to break ground via texted song requests or streaming live feeds of their concert, Ben Folds pulls a 180 and uses the consumer for song material -- on the spot.

With a ton a views, he is getting publicity at the same time. As the digital marketplace continues to gain market share, everybody is looking to be the next online phenomena (even seasoned pros like Ben Folds).

- Ian Gollahon

Immitter: Pandora Wannabe

Immitter debuted alongside 65 other starups at this year’s VentureBeat Spring DEMO event touting their “Pandora-style discovery of great new indie and d.i.y. music.” The founders of Immitter think that people enjoy discovering new music, but most don’t have the time to wade through millions of MySpace profiles and mp3 blogs.

Basically, Immitter works by having artists upload their original content that will be played according to specific parameters, much like Pandora. The founders think that artists will be willing to pay for this service because it connects them with a target audience. The big question is whether artists will be willing to pay to have their music on Immitter and that will largely depend on how many active listeners the site can deliver.

I highly doubt that there will be many artists who are willing to pay to be played on Immitter. To get played on Pandora, the only thing the artist has to do is have their music for sale on Amazon. I don’t think that Immitter has differentiated itself enough from Pandora or Jango to make it seem like a worthwhile investment for indie artists.


~Emilia Segatti

Monday, March 22, 2010

Michael Jackson's Estate Signs Biggest Recording Deal In History

Yep, that's right. Michael Jackson has a brand new $200 million contract with Sony Music Entertainment for 10 projects over 7 years. How is this possible? Jackson actually has loads of unreleased recordings and we will likely hear some of them as soon as November. The deal also includes various DVDs, and even a re-release of "Off the Wall". What will make the re-release so special? Previously recorded tracks that were never released. Michael Jackson has already sold at least 31 million albu$s since his death not even a year ago, so this sounds like a pretty great idea to me. Rob Stringer, the chairman of the label group states, "we're dedicated to protecting this icon's legacy and we're thrilled that we can continue to bring his music to the world for the foreseeable future."

I wouldn't doubt it! If "certain conditions are met," the contract could be worth up to $250 million. That's quite an accomplishment for a deceased artist. With all of the hype still around Michael Jackson and his death, I think this is a great idea. These days if you slap MJ's name on anything, it will sell. Die-hard fans will appreciate the new material and the label banking on it will too.

-Ashley Stokvis

Pandora is Huge Source of Internet Royalty Income

Pandora, the Internet streaming radio system we are all familiar with, has been able to survive legally by paying a royalty rate to be distributed to artists. The numbers that have been released show just how much they are contributing to the music industry.

In 2009, Pandora's revenue topped off at $50 million. SoundExchange, the group that collects internet radio royalties, took a portion of that to cover their fees and this topped at $28 million. SoundExchange has reported that Pandora's royalty payments account for 45% of their total royalties from non-interactive streaming online radio. Even though the company is still only 1% of the the overall radio marketplace, they still provide a substantial source of income for the music industry. And, unlike broadcast radio, internet radio royalties also go to the artists themselves.

This shows that online radio is a valid source of income for the music industry, especially something that gains as much popularity as Pandora. I think Pandora will only continue to grow, and the money getting paid to SoundExchange will increase. Broadcast radio may not be as popular as it used to be, but online radio seems to be a good source of income that can hopefully be capitalized on and grow to keep the music industry afloat.

--Ashley Snider


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Text Initiated Email List Sign Up

One of the most difficult and crucial things for an artist to accomplish is expanding their email list. There are a lot of challenges associated with trolling for email addresses with a clipboard and pen. An artist doesn’t want to seem completely desperate by going around and begging people to sign up, but it can also be tricky to let fans at the show know where they can sign up. Finally, if some fans do manage to make it back to your merch table and sign up, there can be problems with illegible handwriting.

But now there’s a new idea for email list sign up that works via text message. Bands could, for example, create flyers announcing that each person who texts their email address to the phone number will be entered to win a meet ‘n greet, merch bundle, free tickets, etc.

I think this is an idea that could be invaluable to up-and-coming bands because it allows them to grow their fan base with minimal effort.


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, March 20, 2010

YouTube Wants Your Music!

YouTube has now decided to set its aim on the independent musicians by offering them a piece of the ad revenue with a new program called “Musicians Wanted". The goal is to lure musicians into using YouTube’s new program and compete with music rival MySpace Music. Yes, even though the site is not as popular as it uses to be, its music service continues to reach new heights with a monthly total of 30 million unique page visitors. YouTube is trying to get that same momentum going for their site with “Musicians Wanted”, and become an entertainment network on the same level as MySpace Music.

I think “Musicians Wanted” is great because YouTube is acknowledging the people who helped make their platform popular (artists), and rewarding them for their original content. Also, this is a good way for YouTube to continue to grow because it’s providing musicians with more opportunities to gain exposure for their work, which in result will lure more musicians into using YouTube than ever before. Overall, I see this new program being a major move for independent artists because they have another outlet to distribute their music through without being supported by a label (major or indie).

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Friday, March 19, 2010

ReverbNation Expands Music Distribution Service

ReverbNation launched an expanded digital music distribution platform this morning. In addition to iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic, and Napster, they've added 29 more including Spotify,, MySpace Music, Zune, Wal-Mart, Lala, iLike, MOG, and Pandora and bundled them into two packages: Essentials and the Pro. Each package is priced as a flat annual fee of $34.95 to $59.95 per year. The best part about this expansion is that artist continue to keep 100% of the royalties from sales and, where applicable, streams of their music. The deal is still non exclusive and they will continue to take no ownership rights over the artists' music. All of the existing distribution customers who want it receive a free upgrade to the "Essentials" package as well. GREAT IDEA!!!! This expansion benefits both the artist and the consumer. The artist will receive a wider range of distribution, 100% royalties (with sales automatically reported to SoundScan), and a larger and more diverse fan base, whereas the consumer will have access to wider range of purchasing/music for a wonderful deal!

-Angelique Moore-

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Enter Shikari, from the U.K. are trying to expand their U.S. street teams by offering free tickets to their upcoming tour with A Day to Remember. This is great because who doesn't love free things for a few minutes of your time promoting a cool band? This will get fans excited not 0nly about the fact that Enter Shikari are doing a U.S. tour, but they also have the opportunity to get tickets to see a tour with a great line-up! You can't lose in a situation where tickets are being given away for free by working hard as a street teamer.

-Abby Goldstein

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Digital Growth Offsets CD Decline for the First Time in the UK

For the first time in the UK, growth in digital music sales in 2009Check Spelling offset the decline in CD sales. As platforms such as Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and MySpace Music expanded, digital revenue grew 73% (£12.8m to £30.4m) in 2009. This is in comparison to to an £8.7m drop in physical revenues throughout the year.

Robert Ashcroft, CEO of PRS For Music (UK collection society), explains, "Last year was the first in which the growth in revenues from the legal digital market compensated for the decline in revenues from traditional CDs and DVDs, although we remain cautious as to whether this represents a true turning point." He elaborates, "The next decade does, however, promise further growth in earnings from the legal digital market as well as the use of British music overseas."

This sounds like great news for digital music, and hopefully these figures will soon transfer to the U.S. as well. The only thing is..are these digital sales translating to money for the artist or is most of it going to the platforms like Spotify? I'm not sure, but either way if this data continues to remain true and sales continue to grow throughout 2010, this could be a cause for celebration for artists and their record labels.

- Samantha Bruno



I remember when I was younger and would record my favorite music off the radio onto a tape, but it has been at least a decade since I have done that. Now radio recording could be making a comeback through a Mac application called Snowtape. Snowtape allows you to record radio stations digitally and is so much better than the tapes we used to record onto because now you can edit your recordings. Each track recorded is automatically cut separately and saved to your database. People are also able to program when to record by using iCal, so no one has to miss their favorite broadcastings. It's almost like TVO for radio! Also through Snowtape, users are able to apply album artwork, making the mixes look like everything else in your iTunes library. If that isn't enough to get you interested, Snowtape also has a compatible iPhone app.


By: Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Kings Of Leon App For iPhone

Although Kings of Leon are currently taking a bit of a break, their fans are being treated with a new iPhone app. Tapulous, who made the "Tap Tap Revenge" app, is pairing up with KoL to create an app that will feature their hit songs including "Use Somebody" and "Notion". Not only will fans be able to play the Guitar Hero-style game on their iPhone or iPod touch, but they can enable their bluetooth for a battle mode to play against other fans. In addition to the game, the app offers an exclusive chatroom for fans. The app will be sold for $4.99.

I think this is a great idea. If one of my favorite bands released an app like this that featured a sizable amount of their music on it, I would definitely buy it. I do think that $4.99 is a little expensive for an app, but again, big fans of the band would definitely be willing to pay the price. One thing I like in particular about this app is that it's interactive. The apps that feature pictures and videos are getting really old and dry, because those are things that are very easy to find on the internet for free. A game like this, however, is a great idea for an app.

Here's an ad for the app:

-Ashley Stokvis


Wireless Music System

A company called Sonos has developed a wireless music system. This system requires little installation, and can allow users to play music throughout their home. There are houses that have the technology to play iPods throughout the house already, but what makes the product Sonos has developed interesting is that it allows you to not only play music from your collection through it, but it also lets you play music from the internet through the house.

How can it do that? Well, the way this product is operated is through an iPhone app. Yes, the entire system is all controlled by the means of an app. That’s pretty cool, especially considering the picture I get in my head of streaming Pandora on your iPhone and being able to hear it coming through speakers throughout your house. While I currently live in an apartment where I can hear my Pandora music throughout it from my laptop since it’s small, I can see the appeal it might hold for someone with maybe an upstairs and a basement. However, they also sell a single system that is good for one room if you want a better sound on your Internet streamed music.

It would appear this product is being marketed to people with a little bit more money than me, though, since that one room bundle is going to be sold for $399.00 and asking for two rooms bumps it all the way up to $999.00. But other than that, I think it is a pretty cool system simply for the fact that it is controlled by an app. Maybe with a little competition, this Sonos product will come down in price in the future.

-- Ashley Snider


Sunday, March 14, 2010

American Association Of Independent Music boycotts Limewire party

Article excerpt:

Indies Boycott Limewire Party At Digital Music East

American Association Of Independent Music (A2IM) President Rich Bengloff is encouraging his members attending this week’s Digital Music Forum East to boycott at Limewire sponsored reception on Thursday evening.
“…Services like LimeWire, Myxer and many more that, by the nature of their services, make it too easy for consumers to violate copyright and/or compensate independents in a sub-standard fashion or not at all,” Bengloff wrote in an open letter to his members and shared with Hypebot. “LimeStore uses the LimeWire illegal hits to drive traffic to their legal site,” he added.

My usual sarcastic rant:

What’s wrong A2IM, too indie for Limewire (or a reasonable acronym for that matter)? Last time I checked, second-generation P2P companies like Limewire and Soulseek pretty much birthed indie rock as it is today. Besides that, who uses Limewire anymore? These guys are so out of touch- not only are they acknowledging Limewire as something worth boycotting, they are giving it free press.

Their argument, and I quote, “Services like LimeWire, Myxer and many more that, by the nature of their services, make it too easy for consumers to violate copyright and/or compensate independents in a sub-standard fashion or not at all”


It’s freaking Limewire. Not only is it entirely out of date, it was never meant to pay royalties to anyone. It’s freaking P2P. Was this guy born yesterday? He’s the “President” of something called “American Association Of Independent Music”. WTF? How can this guy claim to represent Independent Music? Apparently he doesn’t even know what Limewire is.

- Ian Gollahon

Like Hansel from Zoolander, fighting the iTunes man is “… so hot right now”.

While iTunes faces opposition with Amazon, a new seed of opposition has been sown from within: Pink Floyd is suing EMI over unlawful selling of singles on iTunes instead of selling the album as a whole. (Of course, that would never be a problem on Amazon.)

Apparently, Pink Floyd’s contract with EMI specifically prohibits EMI from “unbundling” the album and selling it in pieces. Although, the time of the contract was 1998 and most certainly not referring specifically to iTunes, it may still prove valid.

Considering an album is arguably an artistic statement and taking a song out of that album might be taking that song out of context, it’s a fairly consistent argument. Also, the legal precedent seems to side with Pink Floyd. For example, a synchronization license is required to put a song in the context of a moving picture. In this synch license, it is imperative that the rights holder approves the context that the song will be put in. In fact, sync licenses usually include a vivid description of the scene or commercial being used and a background of that context so as to avoid any contextual doubt.

It’s a fairly important concept when you consider a porno could be phrased as “a love scene”.

Similarly, a prog-rock album might have six one-minute songs and two twelve-minute songs. Making twenty-four minutes of the album two dollars and the other six minutes of the album six dollars.

So really, it is an issue.

In London (where the lawsuit is taking place), there is a set of Copyright Laws known as “Moral Rights”. Moral Rights put artists’ (be they copyright holder or not) on a pedestal much higher than any American court ever would. I’m no lawyer, but it looks like Pink Floyd might have a pretty serious case against EMI.

A version of the story exists at:

-Ian Gollahon

Apple vs. Amazon

Apparently iTune’s 65-75% share of the download market is not enough. Apple has been aggressively discouraging record labels from participating in Amazon MP3’s Daily Deal and they have backed up those warnings by withdrawing marketing support for releases featured as Daily Deals.

For those not familiar with the Daily Deal, it’s basically a free promotion subsidized by Amazon. Artists and labels are asked to give a one day exclusive before the street date if they are participating in the program. During that 24 hour period, Amazon discounts the album to between $1.99 and $3.99 and the album is featured on its web pages and on the Daily Deal’s Twitter feed which is followed by 1.4 million people. Amazon does not charge labels for these promotions, but it does ask that them to promote the release through their websites, e-mail lists, and social networks. One major label group recently told its labels that its own studies had shown that “as much as 95% of all Daily Deal sales would never have happened without the discount.”

To combat Amazon’s Daily Deal, iTunes staffers used both “threats and actions to make it clear to almost every major and indie record label that participation in Amazon’s Daily Deal would cost them dearly at iTunes.” Since iTunes is threatening indie labels as well, it means that these smaller record labels will have to choose between having their content promoted on iTunes or receiving the boost in sales that can come from the Daily Deal. Neither Apple nor any record labels have commented on this battle, Apple’s power over the music industry is clear - the Daily Deals now feature only a fraction of what was offered a month ago and the albums that are featured are rarely new hit makers.

I’ve always thought Apple was a little evil and more than a little hypocritical but this clash with Amazon might finally show that to people other than PC and Zune lovers. Amazon MP3 was really iTunes first worthy competitor and their most effective tactic was the Daily Deal. Apple could have come up with their own exclusives to compete with the Daily Deal, but instead they threatened the labels. The Daily Deal is a tool that helps smaller labels sell more music and since Apple is trying to crush that, I really don’t see how they can keep claiming to be the saviors of music.


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, March 13, 2010

People Lie. Statics Don’t.

According to the Guardian the demise of the music industry is evident in just about every aspect of music expect for one place………. statics. The author Mr. Keegan explains how sales from digital singles rocketed to a record breaking 152.7 million units in 2009. He also pointed out how many people who were downloading music illegally still spent money on concerts and ringtones ranging up to £3 ($4 dollars in U.S. currency) for the same song they downloaded for free. The main point he was making was that the statics of revenue are not as bad as the industry makes us believe.

Personally I think the industry is viewing the shift of music consumption wrong, and just because consumers aren’t buying music in the traditional way doesn’t mean they don’t want music. People are still going to concerts, buying merchandise, single songs, and ringtones as well as consuming music from other outlets (advertising and streaming services). In short, I think the industry needs to get over this argument, and start moving on to new ways to distribute music and monetize revenue. If anything is going to “kill” the industry it will be the lack of innovation from the record companies and artists.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gaelic Storm's "Modem Marketing"

Gaelic Storm may not be a household name, but they've managed to make the shift from playing pubs to selling out theaters without a label and almost no radio play. So the question is, how were they able to achieve so much success?

With the help of their management team, the band have consistently used "modem marketing" to stay connected with the many fans they've made through their fun live shows. It's really basic: within a single email, the band includes a free mp3 teasing their new album, tour dates, a contest for a trip sponsored by Southwest Airlines, an invite to an after-party where fans are asked to wear Gaelic Storm t-shirts for a group photo, a few trips that fans can go on and a link to buy merchandise. So essentially the fan is being gifted with a free mp3 at the top of the e-mail and then provided with a number of ways to stay engaged with the band through the e-mail and their active web site.
The concept is simple, but all of this done with repetition is a recipe for great success.

This is really what it's all about. It's so smart to offer something for free (the mp3 in this case) while simultaneously providing links to the fan to pay for merchandise and special trips. The fact that the band is so active with their fans offering them trips, after-party invites and a free song is what's going to make the fan more loyal. If the fan knows this is going to keep happening, they're going to stick with this band to see what other benefits they'll get from following them. And they're eventually going to be willing to spend money to get the extra stuff (the full album, merch, concert tickets).
Other unsigned, touring artists should take a page from Gaelic's book and follow their method.

- Samantha Bruno


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's Next For Pandora?

With 48 million users listening 11.6 hours a month, Pandora can say they are a success. However, it wasn't always that way. It was in 2009 that Pandora had their first profitable quarter and before that, the music streaming site was struggling to exist. In 1999, creator Tim Westergren started the company through donations of angel investors. It began as Savage Beast Technologies and sold music recommendation services to larger companies such as Best Buy. By the end of 2001 he was broke and begging workers to stay for no pay. In 2004, Westergren made his lucky 348th pitch and landed a $9 million investment from venture capitalist Larry Marcus.

From there, the focus shifted from the business to the consumer, which was when Savage Beast Technologies became Pandora. In 2005, Pandora sold its first ad and things were looking up, until 2007 when a federal royalty board had increased the fee that online radio stations had to pay for individual songs from record labels. With a lobbyist in Washington D.C., Pandora managed a lower rate and were able to maintain their business.

In 2008, the iPhone app allowing streamed music from your phone set the company ahead with 35,000 new subscriptions a day. What's next you wonder? Well, it has been announced that Pandora has a deal with Ford and their voice-activated system, where drivers can simply say "Launch my Lady GaGa radio" and your Pandora playlist will begin. Samsung, Vizio, and Sonos are also integrating Pandora in their electronics.

"Think about what made AM/FM radio so accessible,” said Mr. Kennedy, Pandora’s chief. “You get into the car or buy a clock for your nightstand and push a button and radio comes out,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping to match.”


By: Rebecca Weyhrauch

No One Knows: Facts & Figures About Legal Music Online

As a student of this business we call music, I often find myself assuming everybody knows about new online services (your Pandoras and last.fms). Well, apparently I was super wrong. Consumer Focus, an advocacy group in the UK whose goal is to "be the voice of the consumer, and work to secure a fair deal on their behalf," has discovered some alarming statistics. First of all, only 60% of consumers are aware that online music services exist. As a marketer of any of the more than 20 services (Spotify, 7 Digital, et. al.) this automatically means they are leaving nearly half of the market untapped. Furthermore, and this is the part that upsets me, of the people who are aware of legal online music sources, 85% of them have only heard of &/or iTunes. That's like 85% of consumers not knowing they could shop anywhere other than WalMart and Target. Even more offensive, though, is governments and major record labels are going after consumers for being vicious music pirates without even making sure that these consumers know about the plethora of legal avenues that exist to satisfy their music needs. As Jill Johnstone of Consumer Focus said, "If file sharing is causing the damage the music industry claims, why aren't they putting more effort into promoting the legal alternatives? Before we go down the enforcement road, it is only fair to ask the music industry to do more to make people aware of the legal options."

--Katherine Wood &

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Study Shows Big Money for ISPs with Bundled Music Services

The industry analyst group Ovum was commissioned by the UK and Universal Music Group to conduct a study answering this question: Is there a commercial argument for ISP (internet service provider) music services?

What they found showed that ISPs using bundled digital music services could generate massive amounts of money - $155 million to as much as $306 million of direct revenue by 2013 to be exact. This is shown to be equal to 41% of the retail value of the digital music market in the UK.

Many of the UK's biggest ISPs, including Virgin Media, think that offering a digital music service makes a lot of sense for them, as it would potentially combat piracy and offer a legal way for users to get a lot of music. They also believe that having a digital music service included in their subscription packages would lower subscription costs because digital music would cover a lot of costs with the revenue they would bring in. It would also add a lot of value to different ISPs, creating some competition amongst them all.

What many people are arguing is that the music industry is not doing enough to make people aware of music bundling services. This survey of people in UK was pretty amazing to me: out of the variety of people surveyed, 40% could not name a digital music service, and out of those who could, 85% could only name iTunes or Amazon. This seems pretty crazy to me, but I guess it shows that if ISPs offer a music service with their subscription, more people may find they like the idea.

--Ashley Snider


MGMT Promotes New Album In An Intersting Way

Musical duo MGMT has just released their second full length album Congratulations, and they've thought of an interesting way to sell more physical copies. They are releasing a "Limited Edition Scratch-Off" cover of their album. Wait...what? Yes, you heard it right...these limited edition copies include a "scratch off" album cover and it also includes a "custom metal coin" to satisfy your scratching needs.
I have mixed feelings about this. I think it is a good way to package their album because it's unique. Huge fans will feel like they have a special piece of MGMT history when they get this. Also, they've used the ever-popular buzz phrase "Limited Edition." People like knowing they they have a product that won't be made forever...something that not everyone will have. On the other hand, however, I think it's sort of bizarre. I personally wouldn't run out and buy a CD just because the album cover was a scratch off, but to each their own. I give them a lot of credit for coming up with an original idea. It's a way for them to promote Congratulations successfully, because this idea is certainly making people notice the album.
Oh yeah! They also made this tacky video to make sure everyone hears about it:

-Ashley Stokvis

Sunday, March 7, 2010

MTV Partners with OurStage

Van Toffler, the President of MTV Networks Music Group, announced during his keynote speech at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium that MTV has partnered with to develop an array of promotional initiatives for emerging talent. OurStage’s fan voting platform will be used to discover artists for showcasing across on air and online MTV properties. The plan is “Needle in the Haystack” where each week MTV will spotlight an emerging artist from OurStage. The artists will be interviewed by MTV Music bloggers and promoted as an “artist to watch” across MTV’s sites and social network channels.

OurStage works by having fans compare one song or video to another and then choosing which song they liked more and by how much. The judging system randomizes all entries so that fans have no way of knowing or controlling who they judge. This system eliminates cheaters and the best performers are driven to the top by fans.

By partnering with MTV, each vote on OurStage becomes significantly more powerful and the opportunities for the artists that are voted the best are greater than ever. MTV averages 150-200 music cues daily in their current programming and has 600 music video hours on TV each week not to mention online music video programming, mobile music apps, and music video games like Rock Band. With MTV’s scope combined with OurStage’s unique voting platform, unknown artists from every genre could quickly become household names.


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, March 6, 2010

SXSW gets a new SPIN with the help of Four-squares

South by Southwest is just around the corner and as fans, bands, and industry players get ready to head to the south, SPIN Magazine is teaming up with social network Foursquare to create a musical adventure like no other. What Spin and Foursquare plan on doing is creating a musical scavenger hunt that people must do in to do in order to collect special badges SPIN will offer. One scavenger hunt they have requires people to check out three bands with an animal related stage name to gain the “Animal Collector” badge. With each badge a person collects they will get a reward.

I think this scavenger hunt is interesting because it’s a creative way for SPIN to gain more readers to their magazine. I have no doubt that one of those rewards will be a year subscription to their magazine, and few other products/events they’re sponsoring. Also, this is good for Foursquare because they could get more people to use their service after using it during SXSW. Overall, I think this type of fan engagement and partnership between companies needs to occur more often because it provides new ways to enhance the way music can be marketed via mobile phones. I can only imagine how this type of interactivity would work for a band releasing an album.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Friday, March 5, 2010

Dum Dum Girls Release Cassette Tapes!

The Dum Dum Girls, a garage-rock band, are having a release of their special compilations by distributing no more than 400 cassette tapes consisting of 11 tracks. This is being done in hopes to promote their new LP entitled I Will Be. This is a great idea to try to sell something really special and different that will get the fans buzzing about the return of the cassette tape. As we've talked about in class, I believe cassette tapes will follow what vinyls have done by becoming almost a collectors item and a hot commodity. It will be cool to see if the cassette craze will carry through and what other artists will decide to release their music on cassettes as well.
-Abby Goldstein

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

OK GO Goes Viral Again

Everyone remembers OK GO's famous treadmill video for their song, "Here It Goes Again". They were one of the first bands to experience major success due to their self-made viral video that was put on YouTube. A new OK GO clip was released in January, but bloggers were not pleased to see that the viral embedding was turned off this time, the blame for this being placed upon EMI.
With an open letter to fans, OK GO let their fans know that they were not happy about the disabled embedding. Luckily for them, State Farm Insurance came to the rescue. State Farm offered them a sponsorship deal so that they could come out with a new embeddable video for the same song. In exchange, State Farm's logo would get exposure within the video.
Just 72 hours after it was posted, the new viral video had over 800,000 plays on YouTube alone!

OK GO wouldn't be where they are today if it weren't for their first viral video. It's smart to continue on with what worked for them the first time by doing the same thing with another new, innovative video. What surprises me is that EMI would try to disable the embedding of the video this time around. Obviously, the embedding was a great thing for OK GO the first time: it gave them a huge amount of exposure and notoriety that they probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Didn't it even land them that performance on the MTV VMA's that one year?
I just don't get when labels are going to realize that "free" exposure over the Internet is helpful in the grand scheme of things.

P.S.- Check out OK GO's new video above. I like it, but I think I still prefer the treadmills.

- Samantha Bruno


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thumbplay on the Cloud

Thumbplay, a music subscription service, has hired Apple's Pablo Calamera as it's Chief Technological Officer. Calamera oversaw technology development for MobileMe, Apple's cloud service. It's not coincidence that Thumbplay is launching their program on the cloud through a Blackberry application on Thursday. Thumbplay will provide access to millions of songs through unlimited, on-demand access.

Thumbplay has created the CTO position just for Calamera. Sounds like Thumbplay needed someone who knew what they were doing and had experience to get them where they want to be on the cloud, and Calamera was there man.


- Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rage Against the Machine Vs. Simon Cowell

At the beginning of the 2009 Christmas season, a fight for the number 1 Christmas song began between Rage Against the Machine and Simon Cowell. RATM claimed that it was tired of Cowell's "karaoke acts" taking the no. 1 spot, and urged their fans to make their 1992 hit, "Killing in the Name" the best seller. Although RATM is one of the biggest (and in my opinion greatest) rock bands of all time, MANY were expecting one of Cowell's X Factor acts to take the top spot. This is because as we all know, in recent years, Cowell has been one of the biggest influences in the music industry with his roles at American Idol, X Factor, and Sony. RATM, however, managed to beat Cowell, and many people were surprised by this feat.

So, how did RATM manage to beat Cowell for the no. 1 Christmas song? They reached out to their fans by using social networking sites like Facebook. A group named "RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS NO.1" emerged on Facebook, and within 2 weeks, had over 450,000 members. Not only Facebook helped, but also their websites, various blogs, and many other media outlets. It's surprising to me, yet really really awesome that RATM found a way to make a song from 1992 a bestseller in 2009. It just goes to show how artists can use the internet to spread the word about their product to the consumer.

The funniest part about this feud though has to be the fact that Sony is behind both of the acts. Yes, that's right...RATM is under Cowell's Sony deal, so even though Cowell "lost," he still gets that money in his pocket at the end of the day.

-Ashley Stokvis


Are Apps The New Music Model?

According to the article I read, sales of iPods are slowing. However, iPhone sales are growing, and this means the use of apps are also growing. This article takes the stance that Apple needs to develop a new platform for the sale of albums that make apps "a key channel for music sales." This is because the younger generations are much more interested in throwing their money at an app than at digital music sales. Three-quarters of digital music buyers are 25 and older, which means the young teens right now might need something different to capture their attention and keep music sales afloat.

Although iTunes music sales are still growing, it is coming from "the increasing average number of downloads per buyer." This means that once the CD generation gets older and we're left with the young kids today in their 20s, they may not be interested in using iTunes and spending money on music in this way.

The author of this article believes that if Apple can come up with a music product innovation by taking apps to a platform for sales, it will appeal to the youth more than putting songs on their iPod will. It's an interesting thought, and I'm sure we're heading for new innovations no matter what.

-- Ashley Snider