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Spotify Not a Threat to Apple – More an Opportunity July 31, 2009

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Despite all the noise over the Spotify apps approval it may be that Apple actually sees ‘cloud’ music as a potential lever to sell even more intelligent devices, not a threat.

Much dust has been kicked up in a pre-emptive way in anticipation of Apple rejecting the iPhone app for Spotify, the cloud-based music streaming service . Apple has iTunes so it won’t want a model like Spotify disrupting the file download model.

According to digital music expert, Gerd Leonhard, it’s actually in Apple’s interest to boost models like Spotify for all they’re worth. The big money is in selling its high-margin music playing devices.

It’s all straight-forward according to Leonhard: “Apple sells hardware, not music, and anything that will sell more hardware, like Spotify, is welcome.

In fact streamed music might be a tablet’s killer application. According to Leonhard the financial model under which Spotify and others like it must operate is completely unsustainable. “There is no way that Spotify can survive this magnitude of popularity – it would kill them financially.

“Apple knows that streaming-on-demand at the current royalty rates and deals represents a death-wish,” he claims, “and that’s why they’ll be OK with Spotify getting burned rather then themselves.”

The answer, according to Leonhard is structural. The music industry must support a new, fair and equitable licensing approach to enable models like Spotifiy to flourish.

As things currently stand Spotify has absolutely no bargaining power and will be unable to develop. The problem lies, he says, with the music industry and its inability to see past its historic business models.

Get Your Music on the Radio–Until September 1, Radio Submit’s Rates Reduced July 31, 2009

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Online digital music distribution service and music discovery portal, Radio Submit, has reduced the price of their monthly fee for new artist accounts through Sept. 1, 2009.

The Utah and Texas-based company directly distributes digital music files and promotional tools for independent artists and labels to several thousand terrestrial and Internet radio stations, in addition to media outlets around the world.

“Radio Submit makes it possible for artists and labels to release their new album or single to radio stations around the globe simultaneously,” says Radio Submit founder Robert Bartosh. “With our service, an artist can upload their music in broadcast quality so that stations can start playing it on the airwaves the same day mastering is completed. Radio Submit is also very affordable and environmentally friendly, since no plastic or paper products are used.”

Unlike other similar distribution services, Radio Submit does not require special software to download files and is primarily targeted towards securing airplay for independent artists and labels.

Labels are allowed to upload an unlimited number of artists and songs for a monthly fee. Radio stations are given access to the Radio Submit database for free, which currently houses more than 1,000 artists.

Additionally, selected artists are featured each month in the Radio Submit newsletter, which is distributed electronically to radio stations and media outlets.

About Radio Submit:
Radio Submit was created in 2005 as a means for artists and labels to distribute music directly to radio stations and media outlets without the cost and issues associated with physical product and shipping. The company was the first Internet-only music distribution services for radio. For more information, visit http://www.RadioSubmit.com.

Wishful Thinking and MySpace Music Will Make Stars out of Independent Artists July 31, 2009

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“I build for the lazy and stupid,” said Courtney Holt, the president of MySpace Music.

He was on stage in a New York University auditorium at the New Music Seminar, discussing how the online music service formed by the world’s second largest social network and all four of the largest recording companies hopes to dominate the business.

Mr. Holt, who left MTV Networks as former executive vice president of digital music and media in November 2008, revealed his plan for the future of MySpace Music.

He plans to take advantage of MySpace Music’s edge over Apple’s iTunes and Amazon: social media metrics and user-generated content.

Mr. Holt plans to make the site a data goldmine for figuring out what’s going to be the next big thing in pop music–helpful not only to artists and users, but producers and agents, too. They’ll publish trends, track influencers and create lists of top-played and playlisted content of not only major bands and artists but also of all the independent work on millions of MySpace artist pages.

If done right, they could create a new kind of Top 40 hit list for online music. Mr. Holt said he also hopes MySpace Music will be the “most informed” how-to guide to transitioning from a dive bar band to the next big act at Madison Square Garden.

Mr. Holt keeps a list of what kind of bands and artists are going to break out based on MySpace Music’s behind-the-scenes metrics. And he doesn’t just pay attention to “play counts” of specific songs or artists, but the “playlists” made by users and shared on their profiles.

“It’s more interesting to know that the artist is being playlisted than played,” Mr. Holt explained. Mr. Holt said they’ll even be paying close attention to how many times a user plays a song or adds an artist to their playlist before they actually buy a CD or purchase a ticket to a show and support the band.

“Despite the fact that I think the iPod shuffle has changed the minds of the consumer, most radio stations don’t have permission, outside of maybe college radio stations, to play Miles Davis and Bad Brains back to back. So perhaps MySpace Music will take on a more Pandora-like approach to programming their featured playlists and own online radio station.

Mr. Holt said it is one of his priorities for MySpace Music to make money for the broader music industry and plans to offer more opportunities for users to buy products. He said this after New Music Seminar director Tom Silverman kicked off the event by displaying dismal charts–with plummetting graph lines–denoting music sales.

According to his numbers, 105,575 albums were released in 2008, and just 110 artists sold more than 250,000 albums that year.

News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch recently said MySpace needs to be refocused “as an entertainment portal” and a place where “people are looking for common interests,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

But MySpace is only one partner in MySpace Music, and all those record companies who invested in the new venture are banking on musicians selling more than a couple hundred thousand albums.

Fight Climate Change, Plant a Tree July 31, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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Although this is a good cause, this is proof that it takes more to make a viral video than simply asking people to view it, or offering to plant a tree. If this video achieves 10,000 views, I’ll break ground for the first tree.

Seeking to inspire ordinary people to act on behalf of the environment, mokugift released its first video compilation featuring music fans on the Blazed and Confused concert tour responding to the question: “If you could make one wish to help fight climate change, what would you wish for?”

As a guest of Slightly Stoopid, mokugift—a social venture that makes it easy and rewarding to plant real trees for $1 apiece—is attending six stops on the tour: Portland, OR – July, 17; George, WA – July, 18; Mountain View, CA – July 24; San Diego, CA – July 25; Orlando, FL – July 31; and Boston, MA – August 8.

For every video that exceeds 10,000 views, mokugift will plant a tree for each person in the video and send them a T-shirt to commemorate that they “planted a tree with Slightly Stoopid.”

“Planting trees is an easy way to do that.”

Slightly Stoopid invited mokugift to join the Blazed and Confused tour to encourage fans to plant trees through mokugift’s Artists &and Athletes Program, in support of the United Nations Environment Programme’s “Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign.”

Launched at the Climate Convention meeting in Nairobi in 2006, the campaign originally set a goal of planting one billion trees but has since issued a new target of seven billion trees—roughly one tree for every living person on the planet.

By visiting mokugift.com Artist and Athlete Web pages, known as Tree Islands—which track the number of trees planted and can be easily promoted through blog posts, Twitter, e-mail and social networks—fans can plant trees and send a message to the artist or athlete receiving the tree gift.

Anyone planting a tree with Slightly Stoopid can see their message posted on Slightly Stoopid’s Tree Island, along with the number of trees planted. For every tree they receive as a gift, Slightly Stoopid will plant an additional tree.

Mokugift fosters environmental solidarity by letting everyone see how their actions inspire their friends, and friends of friends. Anyone can register on mokugift.com and receive a Tree Island. Friends can plant trees for you, or you can plant trees for yourself or for friends. Watch as mokugift tracks how friends become inspired to join with you and UNEP in helping to fight climate change and restore tree cover to lands that have been degraded by logging, slash-and-burn farming and chemical-based agricultural methods.

You can see the total number of people you’ve inspired and the total number of trees planted by them. These achievements are shown on your Tree Island page. To celebrate the friends that join you, for the first tree that each of your inspired friends plants, you receive a free tree. For every 10 trees planted by people inspired by you (3 degrees of friends), you’ll get a free tree.

Mokugift also offers a convenient widget—an online icon that automatically tallies the total number of trees planted by you and by the people you’ve inspired. The planting of real mokugift trees is administered by two award-winning nonprofit agroforestry organizations: Trees For The Future (TFTF) and Sustainable Harvest International (SHI).

Agroforestry integrates agriculture, trees, people and animals in ways that restore ecological balance. Mokugift lets you plant real trees in any one of 12 tropical countries that are fighting deforestation.

About UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign
Launched in November 2006 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “Plant for the Planet: The Billion Tree Campaign” is now recognized as one of the UN’s most successful environmental campaigns. To date, UNEP has tracked the planting of more than three billion trees in 166 countries. Every tree counts, and UNEP counts every tree.

About mokugift
A social venture focused on customer experience, profit and tangible, positive benefit to the environment and society, Mokugift makes it easy and rewarding to plant real trees, for $1 apiece, through online “gifting.”

About Slightly Stoopid
Slightly Stoopid is fronted by childhood chums Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty (who share lead vocal, guitar and bass duties).

For more information on the UNEP’s billion tree campaign, please visit http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/

For more information on Slightly Stoopid, please visit http://slightlystoopid.com.

To view the youtube video or to subscribe to mokugift’s youtube channel, please visit http://www.youtube.com/mokugift

To view the youtube video or to subscribe to mokugift’s vimeo channel, please visit http://vimeo.com/mokugift/

To view the myspace video or to subscribe to mokugift’s myspace channel, please visit http://www.myspace.com/mokugift

For more information on mokugift, please visit http://www.mokugift.com
Or contact Hans Chung
hans@mokugift.com
office: +1.650.692.2384
mobile: +1.650.224.1277

Ownership Does Not Mean Forever–Ownership Cessation by Design July 31, 2009

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When you buy a copyright work of art, whether a piece of music, a book, a video, ot a painting, etc, you would normally expect to enjoy that item as long as it was in your possession, correct?

But that’s not quite how the movie/record industry sees things. The same yahoos who argue for perpetual copyright (implying that copyrighted works have value forever) are also arguing for time-limited ownership (implying that people who buy copyrighted works should be content to enjoy them for a few weeks or years until the DRM stops working).

Steven Metalitz, the Washington DC lawyer who represents the MPAA, RIAA, and other rightsholders before the Copyright Office. Because the Copyright Office is in the thick of its triennial DMCA review process, in which it will decide to allow certain exemptions to the rules against cracking DRM, Metalitz has been doing plenty of representation of late

Responding to a host of questions from the Copyright Office following up on live hearings held earlier this year, Metalitz strongly opposes any exemption that would allow users to legally strip DRM from content if a store goes dark and takes down its authentication servers.

“We reject the view,” he writes in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office, “that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so.”

What are your thoughts? For more on this matter:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/big-content-ridiculous-to-expect-drmed-music-to-work-forever.ars

Remember: when you buy DRM, you really rent, until such time as the DRM company goes bust or changes its mind. When you buy DRM-free, you get something your great-grandkids can enjoy.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/big-content-ridiculous-to-expect-drmed-music-to-work-forever.ars

Be a Rock Star For a Year–Fuse, Comcast and Live Nation Will Make it Possible July 31, 2009

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Fuse, the only national network dedicated to music, Live Nation, and Comcast announced today the launch of a cross promotional sweepstakes, “Rock Star for a Year.” This one-of-a-kind promotion will give consumers a chance to win two tickets to 20 concerts at Live Nation’s Comcast Theatre in Hartford, CT during the 2010 season.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Comcast and Live Nation on this partnership,” said Mike Bair, president, MSG Media. “Given Comcast’s role as Connecticut’s leading communications and entertainment provider, Live Nation’s expertise in the live concert industry and knowledge of what excites concert goers, coupled with Fuse’s ability to offer cable providers and concert promoters the opportunity to connect with viewers in a way no one else can through our national reach and Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s assets, makes this unique collaboration the perfect partnership.”

“This partnership is a natural fit for Comcast, as we are committed to delivering an unparalleled entertainment experience to our Connecticut customers,” said Doug Guthrie, senior vice president of Comcast’s Western New England Region, which includes Connecticut. “Our job at Live Nation is to connect artists and fans, and Fuse is a direct conduit to some of the most active music fans in the country,” said Joey Scoleri, senior vice president of tour marketing/promotion at Live Nation. Fuse will collaborate with Comcast to promote the sweepstakes on various cable television networks and online. About Fuse
Fuse is a part of MSG Media, which includes television networks MSG and MSG Plus and MSG Interactive, which oversees all company wireless and online initiatives. Additional information about Fuse can be found at http://press.fuse.tv/

About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (www.comcast.com) is the nation’s leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products and services. With 24.1 million cable customers, 15.3 million high-speed Internet customers, and 6.8 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast’s content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, ten sports networks operated by Comcast Sports Group and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast’s Internet businesses, including Comcast.net (www.comcast.net). Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.
Comcast serves nearly 550,000 customers and employs over 1,300 employees throughout 128 communities in Connecticut.

About Live Nation
Live Nation’s mission is to maximize the live concert experience. Our core business is producing, marketing and selling live concerts for artists via our global concert pipe. Live Nation is the largest producer of live concerts in the world, annually producing over 22,000 concerts for 1,600 artists in 33 countries. Live Nation is transforming the concert business by expanding its concert platform into ticketing and building the industry’s first artist-to-fan vertically integrated concert platform.

http://pr-usa.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=243319&Itemid=28

Global Online Population To Hit 2.2 Billion By 2013 July 28, 2009

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The number of people online around the world will grow more than 45 percent to 2.2 billion users over the next five years, according to a new report by Forrester Research, Inc.z

Asia remains the biggest global Internet growth engine: 43 percent of the world’s online population will reside in Asia by 2013, with 17 percent of the global online population in China.

Growth rates in the US, Western Europe, and the major industrialized nations in Asia Pacific such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea will slow to between 1 percent and 3 percent.

Online penetration in the US is set to rise from 73 percent to 82 percent over the next five years, representing about a 3 percent annual growth rate.

Europe. Europe’s Internet growth will be fueled by the continent’s emerging markets.

Internet usage in Russia and Turkey will grow by almost 8 percent annually, while growth in Spain’s online population will increase by an average of more than 5 percent each year.

Other Asian countries with substantial online growth rates include India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Countries With The Most Internet Users: 2008

1. China
3. Japan
4. Brazil
5. China
2. India
4. Japan
5. Brazil

Countries With The Most Internet Users: 2013

1. China
2. US
3. India
4. Japan
5. Brazil

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Get It in Writing–GigPay Launches Online Contracts Tool July 28, 2009

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GigPay, the event payments start-up, has developed an online tool with the ability to generate and manage live performance contracts for it’s users.

The service, operated from GigPay.com, allows a musician or anyone hiring them, to draw up a customised professional live performance contract, by providing information relevant to their event or gig. The result is a contract that is tailored to the user’s specification. Users can also manage and track the status of any contract drawn up by the system.

After agreement the contract is indefinitely available online, allowing both parties the benefit of an unchanged, centrally stored contract.

In addition, GigPay’s contract has an easy to read format that displays a contract’s key facts and then the detail following that. GigPay are offering the service for a per-contract fee of $1.80/£0.80 or a soon to be determined annual fee (allowing unlimited use of the system for no extra cost).

GigPay is a UK payment processing company for the live events industry. Somewhat like PayPal for live events.

For more information:
http://www.gigpay.com/

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Digital Promo Pack Helps Retailers Harness Power of Internet & Digital Entertainment to Boost Sales July 28, 2009

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Online promotions are soaring and are expected to triple in the next five years. The reason. They work?

To help retailers drive traffic and boost sales this fall shopping season, Digital Promotions and e-Marketing Firm RC Strategies Group has launched Digital Promo Pack™, a suite of customizable, turnkey digital incentives that offers something for every demographic.

Digital Promo Pack™, which includes digital promotions ranging from music downloads and audiobooks, to personalized cell phone and laptop covers, provides both online and brick and mortar retailers with powerful, easy-to-implement promotions that harness the power of the Internet and the universal appeal of digital entertainment to incent customers and motivate them to act.

“In today’s tough economy, engaging customers in a personalized way and rewarding them for their business is key to any successful sales strategy,” notes Ingrid Ricks, Principal of RC Strategies Group. “With our Digital Promo Pack™, retailers can select the digital incentive that best targets their unique customer base and we do the rest – from issuing promo codes, to branding and card printing, to fulfillment and support.”

About RC Strategies Group
Since 2003, RC Strategies Group has helped businesses increase sales and build customer relationships through digital promotions and e-marketing strategies. RC Strategies Group, a digital promotions and e-marketing firm headquartered in Seattle, combines digital promotions, online marketing, public relations and social media strategies to provide clients with the complete solution they need to drive the results they want. Contact:
Ingrid Ricks, Principal
Call: 425-281-0415
Email: ingrid@rcstrategiesgroup.com
Visit: http://www.rcstrategiesgroup.com

Broadband Connection: Are You Getting What You Have Paid For? July 28, 2009

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When downloading music, video, pages and other material from the internet, do your downloads slow to a crawl? Do you think that with the internet connection you are suppose to have your downloads would be faster?

If your broadband speed is not what you thought you were paying for, this is more than simply a perception.

Broadband customers receive only half the speed they pay for when downloading music, pages, films and other material from the internet, Ofcom discloses in a definitive survey which confirms suspicions that services are far slower than advertised.

While most customers in the UK subscribe to packages offering “up to 8 Mbit/s” (mega bits per second) nine major broadband companies delivered only 4.1 Mbit/s, 57 per cent of the “headline rate”. No customers achieved the top speed; the maximum was 7.1 Mbit/s.

Ofcom found significant differences between internet service providers (ISPs). Tiscali 8 Mbit/s customers received on average 3.2 to 3.7, while AOL and BT struggled to deliver much more than 4 Mbit/s. By contrast, Virgin Media’s “up to 10 Mbit/s” cable package delivered 8.1 Mbit/s, far superior to the other packages.

The report UK Broadband Speeds 2009 said the major factor determining speed was distance between homes and broadband exchanges; homes more than 2km away were much slower.
To check current speeds, Ofcom commissioned the specialist company SamKnows to check the rates delivered by the nine biggest providers – AOL; BT; O2; Orange; Plusnet; Sky; TalkTalk; Tiscali; and Virgin Media, which account for 90 per cent of all broadband connections. Ofcom found that speeds were significantly lower in the evening; average speeds between 8pm and 10pm were 3.7 Mbit/s. Rural homes received significantly slower speeds (3.3Mbit/s), than city homes (4.6Mbit/s).

Ofcom said 83 per cent of customers were satisfied with their broadband service, but of the 9 per cent that were dissatisfied, speed was their biggest complaint.

It said advertising was a matter for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Steve Weller, marketing director at price comparison service uSwitch.com, said the report was “damning” of the broadband companies.

“They obviously get away with misleading customers with their ‘up to 8 meg’ – customers either never receive 8 meg and most customers get much lower than the advertised speeds,” he said.

People in rural areas in particular are being treated like second-rate customers.”