All posts tagged Facebook
Digital Round Up: Grooveshark legal spat takes interesting turns; Will Vevo swap YouTube for Facebook?; Megaupload action & more
Quick Bytes: (Give It To Me Baby) Digital Royalties Lawsuit Against Universal Music to Proceed, Tunecore Launches Publishing Admin Service & More…
A federal judge is permitting a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group to move forward that involves a group led by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James. The issue at hand is digital royalties and the difference between treating downloads purchased at digital retailers like iTunes as a “sale” or a “license” as is relates to the artits’ split. This case follows similar litigation involving UMG and Eminem recordings, which was settled last year… Tunecore has launched a new songwriter publishing administration service that will register copyrights, collect royalties and issue licenses for users. The new service is among other recent entrants to the previously absent sector of expanded publishing admin for independent artists. More info can be found here… Spotify user numbers might be skyrocketing with the new Facebook integration, but it isn’t the only one – monthly users at MOG have quadrupled following the pairing up with the social network… Meanwhile, some are asking where the native Facebook music player app has gone, and what this means (if anything), for future music apps after it disappeared from the site this week… RIM will be launching its new BlackBerry Messenger music service this week… And Apple missed the ‘late October’ launch for its new iTunes Match service that was announced back in June, with no word from the company as to when it can be expected. [UPDATE: It appears that iTunes Match is still in the 'testing' phase.]
Indie labels Anti-, Sub Pop, Century Media, Daptone, SideOneDummy & more get behind TheNewRecord.com
Independent record labels have traditionally served as a kind of filter or barometer of new music for fans of the artists on their roster – a trusted source for discovering new music. That relationship is part of what inspired the creation of the TheNewRecord.com, a new digital music service created and launched by SideOneDummy Records co-founder Bill Armstrong along with 30 indie record labels including Anti-, Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars, Century Media, Daptone Records, SideOneDummy and many others… The site acts as a digital newsstand of sorts, where users are offered a free filtered environment to play and download new songs weeks in advance of release. Membership is free, and users can stream and download unlimited free MP3s, use a built-in widget to embed songs or playlists, create and swap customizable playlists with other users, and share new finds over Facebook, Twitter, email, or other social networks. Using the “Follow” feature, TheNewRecord users will have new music delivered to them directly from the record labels or artists of their choice before release date, and they can also follow each other, filtering new music through their friend’s tastes. For more details and to sign-up go to TheNewRecord.com
There seems to be quite a bit of optimism lately in the realm of digital music and what the future holds for subscription services. So far 2011′s album sales are already up from the previous year, with a big bump from digital, and at least one major label is claiming that they’ve finally figured out “free”. Glassnote artist Mumford & Sons became the third artist ever to sell 1 million digital albums, and even MTV has announced a second O Music Awards show, celebrating music and technology, which is set for October 31st… Spotify was quick to release new user data within only a couple months of launching its service in the U.S., and while they are clearing unclear in terms of paying versus free and how many are U.S.-only as opposed the world-wide, the overall statement is that a lot of people are trying out the service. The announcements in the music arena made during Facebook‘s recent f8 conference also helped boost the outlook of not only Spotify, but a number of other digital music services including MOG, Rdio and iHeartRadio that were also included in the social networks big changes. And while most eyes remain on the Swedish-start up, the competition continues to counter with new moves of their own. Rdio announced this week that it will be launching a free on-demand streaming service, that has no ads, and an unspecified limit on free-listening, which follows a similar move by MOG… Meanwhile, Rhapsody has acquired Napster from Best Buy, in a purchase that will raise the longtime streaming service’s plateauing numbers… Elsewhere, Apple revealed during their press event on Tuesday that its new iCloud service will be extended to Europe, following recent reports that the company was seeking worldwide music rights from labels and publishers… And after only a few months as the new owners of MySpace, Specific Media held presentations for top-level advertisers at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, trying to generate excitement for the site, which will be focused primarily on music and video content. Creative partner and investor, Justin Timberlake (who has also been tapped to play Neil Bogart in an upcoming biopic of the Casablanca Records co-founder) was on hand for the presentations as well.
Monday afternoon saw the official news of a major deal that has been in the works for months that unites Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group in a new pact joining UMG’s management properties, including Sanctuary, Twenty First Artist (and presumably the new producer management arm Twenty First Republic that was formed earlier this year with World’s End) and 5B Artist Management, all under LN’s Front Line Management… Apprehension by banks to finance private-equity firms in buyouts and mergers is growing, according to an WSJ article this week, and that might mean the stable of bidders for EMI is shrinking. It might also mean the likelihood of the music group being sold intact is also lessening… Tomorrow is Facebook‘s big f8 conference, where they will announce many new features and major redesigns, and music fans are looking forward to the expected integration of new streaming services like Spotify, MOG and Rdio. Some are expecting Pandora to be added to that list as well, given the redesigned and relaunched player from the web radio service today, which includes among other things increased sharing capabilities and the removal of the cap on free-listening hours. Exactly how seamless the integration of media services into the social network is unclear, as MediaMemo points out, FB was originally planing on allowing users to access music and video services without ever leaving the site, however now that has changed. Announced speakers and panelists at the conference will include CEO’s from Spotify and Turntable.fm along with Clear Channel Chairman‘s Bob Pittman who has been busy promoting iHeartRadio and manager Troy Carter among many others… Elsewhere, video site Vimeo has launched a Music Store in a new partnership with Audiosocket, that will help video creators easily find and license music… R.E.M. is calling it quits after three decades… Van Halen is reportedly ending their longtime relationship with Warner Bros. Records and heading to Columbia Records… And Jeremy Summers has been named EVP/Chief Marketing Officer at Interscope Geffen A&M.
Digital Music Round Up: Turntable.fm seeks label deals, MOG & Rdio go free, iHeartRadio vs. Pandora & more…
In addition to revealing more details about investors in the recent funding round, Turntable.fm has also announced that the company is indeed seeking licensing deal with the four major label groups as well as indie labels. This would help the service grow internationally according to CEO Billy Chasen, presumably in addition to offering new and more robust features that licenses would allow for. It appears Turntable is attempting to forge a new kind of licensing deal with labels, something that would fall in between the low-rates that web radio services like Pandora pay and higher ones paid by on-demand services like Spotify… Music streaming service MOG launched a new free ad-supported version of the service called FreePlay yesterday, in a what can be seen as a direct move against Spotify. The concept puts a twist on the freemium model, by giving free-users a “gas tank” of music, which they can refill in perpetuity through various actions like listening, sharing with friends, making playlists, and exploring MOG. A possible leg-up for the new service, will be utilizing its large blog-directory, MOG Music Network, with integrated blogs now able to share songs and playlists with readers via FreePlay tools… Rdio is also releasing a free version of their music service, though details are still few. It’s expected that more information will be disclosed when Facebook reveals its new music-plans next week at its f8 conference; Rdio along with MOG and Spotify are all expected to be partners in the new FB music features – Deezer is also expected to be announced as a Facebook Music partner in Europe… On the heels of all the streaming-music announcements this week, the results of a new study commissioned by mp3-retailer eMusic were released, and they show that 91% of those polled still prefer to own their music, while 76% use streaming services to discover music before buying. More details from the study are here… Meanwhile, Clear Channel has seriously bolstered its online radio service iHeartRadio after recently acquiring Thumbplay, and the company is quickly taking shots at Pandora, who until now has not faced any serious competition in the non-interactive web-radio space. Clear Channel media chief Bob Pittman told Forbes that he doesn’t see Pandora’s business as a “free-standing platform,” and that more functionality will continually be added to iHeartRadio, including possible features similar to Turntable.fm.
More changes emerged at Sony Music this week under new CEO Doug Morris, who appears to be positioning all operations to fall under four main groups – Epic Records, Columbia Records, RCA Records and the yet-to-be-named Dr. Luke-helmed label. The new executive team under RCA was announced, and includes Joe Riccitelli as the head of pop/rock promotion while Keith Naftaly, Rani Hancock and David Wolter will hold senior A&R posts – more details and names of new promotion and marketing executives can be found here. Along with the good comes the bad for some, as various reports today have layoffs in the double digits coming from within previous Jive/RCA aligned marketing, promotion and A&R departments. Meanwhile, it appears that other executives have left the Sony fold on their own accord recently, with the new direction being taken and company atmosphere cited among reasons… A judge’s decision this week in the EMI vs. MP3Tunes case left no clear winner and it is being seen as a mixed result for both sides. While MP3Tunes’ protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was upheld, the ruling claims that the service is responsible for acting on ‘take down’ notices and that users who upload copyrighted material can be held liable, including founder Michael Robertson. CNET has more on what is left up in the air with the ruling… A newly appointed marketing executive at the Specific Media-owned MySpace, talks to AdAge about the site’s new direction and claims that iTunes, Vevo and Spotify will be more appropriate competitors for the network rather than Facebook… Elsewhere, AEG has entered the ticketing arena with the launch of axs.com – a result of a new partnership with Outbox Enterprises – the new service is presided over by former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen… Facebook and Ticketmaster have announced a new partnership that will provide added connectivity via the social network for interactive seating maps, Fast Company has all the details… And the L.A. Times examines the results so far of Arbitron‘s latest research gizmo, the Portable People Meter - (we wear short shorts).
Multiple reports have Spotify launching in the U.S. this week, with the most recent scuttlebutt claiming the release will be invite-only initially, with members allowed to distribute invites as well – a strategy that has been employed by other notable services such as Gmail. A splash-page that went up last week allows people in the U.S. to signup to receive an invite to use Spotify “soon,” and while there has been no official announcement about a Warner Music licensing deal, it is believed to be as good as done… More details as to what the startup is planning for the U.S. were summarized on AllThingsD from ad pitch materials obtained, which include a target figure of 50 million users in the first year, with an estimated 150 million Facebook users that “will start to see music on their feeds” exposing them to the new service. That is far from an official (or exclusive) deal between the two companies though, and details about how the service will actually integrate with Facebook are still sketchy at best. Meanwhile it appears that other similar services like Rdio and Rhapsody are looking to incorporate functionality with the social network as well. Spotify’s deck also mentions the massive amount of free publicity the startup has already received – now over two years of speculation and coverage about a U.S. version – and will continue to get when the launch is official. Even with all that, and presumably more up their sleeve, many are questioning the lofty first year objective. Using the service’s existing European numbers as the only available measurement, it is indeed difficult to conceive of the target user-base being reached so quickly… However, in addition to Facebook, significant publicity and even telecom carrier tie-ups being rumored, an important aspect being overlooked by many is the record labels themselves. Speaking with label folks familiar with the situation, the once reticent labels are now heavily getting behind the service. While the licensing agreements are the sticking point in just getting off the ground, it’s the additional marketing and promotional programs that can become a major factor in succeeding. There are other new music startups already operating that offer essentially the same major functionality as Spotify, but according to those in the know, there has not been another digital music service that the labels have lined-up behind this much since iTunes…
[UPDATE: The service officially launched the morning of Thursday, July 14, and the invites are for access to the 'free' ad-version only, the 'premium' and 'unlimited' subscription levels are now active.]
Last week saw reports that Apple has signed licensing agreements with EMI Music and Sony Music for its imminent cloud-music service, leaving Universal Music Group the sole holdout, though word seems to be that a deal is on the cusp. While many of those watching are predicting an announcement of the new service at Apple’s annual WWDC event in June, the other remaining issue is having deals in place with the major music publishing companies, which right now they don’t appear to have. According to a report on CNET, despite Apple’s previous stepping out with increased iTunes song-sample lengths without the approval of publishers that created a contentious situation, there isn’t much keeping the two sides apart on a cloud-streaming agreement… Most are already hailing Apple as the fait-accompli winner of the cloud music ‘wars’, though Amazon made a big wave this week by offering Lady Gaga‘s new album Born This Way at a deeply discounted price, a move that the WSJ paints as an offensive on the iTunes digital music dominance, though Amazon is still a long way from making a dent in iTunes stranglehold. According to the article’s sources, Born This Way sold between 250,000 – 350,000 across both online marketplaces in its first day… Over the weekend news surfaced that Access Industries and Len Blavatnik‘s offer for Warner Music was not the highest, a group including Sony Corp., Guggenheim Partners and Ron Perelman offered 3% more at $8.50 a share, though the deal would have been contingent on Sony board and partner approval. How this will effect the multiple shareholder lawsuits Warner is currently facing is yet to be seen… Speaking at e-G8 in Paris this week, Sean Parker made comments, as MediaMemo notes, that may explain his interest in the recent bidding on Warner Music, and could also portend future involvement in bidding on recorded music companies, an excerpt: I think that there is a pretty dramatic change in the way music is monetized that is on the cusp of happening. Back catalogues of record labels are going to become extremely valuable…If you believe this transformation is occurring, if you believe the broken distribution systems are on the verge of being fixed, those recordings are dramatically undervalued… And speaking of labels for sale, Forbes has a profile of EMI group CEO Roger Faxon, framing him as the key in the label’s recent turnaround, including major digital breakthroughs with Beatles and Pink Floyd catalogs, though his future at the company may depend solely on who the new owners will be… And is Facebook Music launching soon and on the back of Spotify?