All posts tagged Spotify

Post Austin News Round Up…

Another SXSW Music week has come and gone, and now you’ve had time to get all those BBQ stains out of your clothes and organize all those new biz cards you got, right? Good, neither have we… Here’s a recap of some recent goings on. Read more…

More from Dive Into Media: Vevo, Spotify & Neil Young

 

Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff, made the first public statements regarding the video site’s profitability at the digital media conference this week, putting it plainly, “We are making money, yes,” with a reported $150 million in revenue last year. Read more…

News Bytes: BigChampagne acquired by Live Nation, Rara-who?, Sony & Warner join Grooveshark fray & more

Read more…

Round Up: Grooveshark bites itself, Spotify announces apps, major label moves & more…

Catching up after a turkey hangover, some of what’s happening around the biz… Read more…

Digital Round Up: Spotify teases with press event invite ala Apple + Universal Music vs. Grooveshark again

Taking some cues from the Apple playbook, Spotify sent out media invitations yesterday for a global press conference next week in New York on November 30th, with plenty of intrigue including phrases like “major development” and “new direction for the company.” Read more…

And then there were 3… EMI split, where does it lead?

Universal Music Group and Sony Music continue to dominate the music biz storylines this year with the unpredictable conclusion of the EMI auction, Read 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 hereSpotify 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.]

Digital Round Up: New Music Economy, Steve Jobs Bio Reveals iTunes Dealings & more…

swimming upstream

An article on Rollingstone.com has been getting passed around this week, as magazine contributor and author of music biz treatise, Appetite for Self-Destruction, Steve Knopper, took a stab at outlining the “new economy” of music sales. Streaming-music services in particular are a hot topic recently among artists, record labels, music-tech start ups and those who observe and comment on all of their goings-on. Among the choice quotes from the piece includes one from Jeff Price, founder of TuneCore, who commented on the confusing nature of streaming royalty rates, saying “It is beyond complicated. It took me literally three months to understand this thing,” while MOG founder David Hyman chimed in on the record labels distribution of streaming royalties to artists, “Once they get that wad of money, how do they distribute it internally? I have no idea”… The biography of Steve Jobs and its contents has been another widely discussed subject recently, with various story lines that cross into the music industry sector as well, including the Jobs experiences dealing with major labels. A New York Post item today points to Apple‘s iTunes negotiation with former Sony Music boss Andy Lack, as particularly difficult, with Lack asking for royalties on each iPod sold, and Jobs criticizing him for not understanding his own business. Meanwhile, other more obvious iTunes related revelations are made, such as the reason that The Beatles only recently appeared in the digital marketplace was due to ongoing and unresolved contractual issues between the group and EMI… Elsewhere, Twitter has made its first specialized music hiring, in former Disney Music Group marketing manager Tatiana SimonianAOL SVP of business development Jared Grusd is reportedly heading to Spotify… In a surprising move, Coldplay has opted to not make their new album Mylo Xyloto (pronounced “@&*%^$”) available on streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody and others, in what could be seen as a stance similar to holdout artists whose material still isn’t available on iTunes and other digital retailers… And more clues about Google‘s upcoming launch of a music store comes this week with evidence of an expanded Android mobile landing page for the new Google Music service.

Digital Round Up: New Google Music plans revealed, Rhapsody stands up to Spotify & more…

Going beyond beta

Back as a hot topic in the music + tech arena this week is Google Music, which follows the company’s halfhearted initial step into the cloud-music sector earlier this year with Music Beta. Now it appears that Google will be launching a digital music store in the coming weeks, but with a “twist,” as it is being reported, following Android chief Andy Rubin‘s appearance at the AsiaD conference this week. Cnet reports that the twist will likely be social features, which will enable sharing capabilities among users – social enhancements are being touted as a big driver behind Spotify and similar services recent rapid growth. According to multiple reports, the only major label close to an agreement with Google right now for the new music service is EMI, while a number of independent labels are apparently already onboard. Other bits concerning the new Google Music talk include whether or not it will have a ‘mirroring’ component or ‘scan and match’ that finds music already on a users’ computer – a feature that Apple‘s upcoming new iCloud music offering will feature. Or as noted by Evolver.fm – if Google follows up their digital store by offering their own streaming-music subscription service, it could achieve the same outcome. Currently users of Music Beta have to upload their music to Google’s cloud-based music locker. While seemingly late to the game in all this, some observers are noting what a huge advantage and launching pad Google-owned YouTube will be for any new music service they bring, as the video site continues to reign as the largest free music site around… Following the recent acquisition of Napster, veteran music-subscription service Rhapsody continues on the publicity trail, with executives recently interviewed by Business Insider among others and speaking at this week’s CMJ Music Marathon conference. The biggest question has been about sustainability and relevance in light of all the new similar services, mainly Spotify, and how they plan to compete. But Rhapsody maintains that their business is healthy, they received a boost from all the press surrounding the aforementioned European startup’s launch in the U.S., and with the new Napster customer-base and planned wireless and cable provider deals, they’re doing just fine, and without a free offering to entice new users, for now… And how much of all the optimistic talk surrounding the bourgeoning on-demand and streaming music territory is hype vs. substance? A new report from the NPD Group, studying music listening habits, does show that in America at least, newer ways of accessing music are gaining real ground on traditional radio and CD listeners, with possibly the most revelatory statement being that “a tipping point is approaching when vehicles and portable devices move from a tethered connection to a more integrated one” – read more in the press release… In other quick items… Pandora has named its first chief marketing office in Simon Fleming-Wood… New music service Beyond Oblivion Inc., also known as Boinc and partially owned by News Corp., is reportedly close to finalizing licensing agreements with the four major label groups… Jimmy Iovine isn’t the only Universal Music exec with a penchant for high-end audio, as music industry veteran and co-CEO of Sanctuary 5B Artist Management, Carl Stubner, has been named to the advisory board of high-definition audio company Max Sound… And the popular music curating and aggregating site The Hype Machine has reached 1 million users.

Digital Round Up: More Spotify, Rhapsody + Napster, Rdio goes free & more…

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 MOGRdio 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.

Bits & Pieces: Live Nation + UMG, Facebook’s f8 Conference & more…

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…

MOG launches free music service

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 Bits & Pieces: Warner Music gets new CEO, Blackberry Messenger music?, new Spotify numbers & more…

'chairman of the bored'

Today came the announcement that Edgar Bronfman Jr. will be exiting his role as CEO of Warner Music, a post he has held since 2004. He’ll remain on as chairman of the board at Warner Music Group, while Stephen Cooper will take up the reins as new CEO. Cooper’s track record, primarily as an interim CEO with a focus on turning around troubled companies, includes stints at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Enron, among others. It’s expected that Bronfman’s focus will transition to the current bid for EMI Group, continuing his long-desired goal of combining the two companies. If merger efforts fail, his continued involvement at Warners is questionable…  Research In Motion is reportedly working on a new music service that will utilize the popular BlackBerry Messenger service, with some major labels supposedly already onboard, though it’s unclear exactly which ones. The service as it’s being described, though not by RIM, would be far from robust, but it’s being characterized as possible positive note for the struggling smartphone maker… A legal fray that has the Village People‘s original lead-singer attempting to regain copyright control over his share of a number of works including “Y.M.C.A.” may prove to be telling in the coming battle over “termination rights,” that will pit many big-name artists against labels – a storyline that hit the mainstream media this week… Music and imagery from The Beatles are featured in a new anti-piracy video as a part of the UK-based Why Music Matters campaign. There’s a bit of irony here, as pointed out by Peter Kafka on AllThingsD, in that the Fab-Four’s music is still only (legally) accessible digitally in one place, that being iTunes, where it was first made exclusively available 10 months ago. With a plethora of other new digital music services out there, one can wonder how long it will be before the group’s music will be more widely available… Elsewhere, Music Ally has obtained a report that provides insight into Spotify‘s subscriber numbers, particularly for the period following new restrictions on free accounts that were in acted earlier this year. Get the details HERE, but essentially with the changes, the number of free user accounts dropped by over 1.5 million, while the paying user base increased by roughly 1/3 of that amount. The conversion of users from free to paying isn’t insignificant, and that’s good news for Spotify, who has to pay royatlies regardless of whether a user pays for the service or not, but losing over 1 million potential listeners is not exactly good news for artists… And a group music publishers who joined a class-action lawsuit against YouTube-owner Google in 2007, came to a settlement this week, a resolution that in part will see pubcos given the opportunity to enter into a licensing agreement to receive royalties for musical works included in videos on the site. According to at least one person familiar with the situation, artists should expect to start receiving accounting for YouTube royalties from publishers right around the time they start receiving it from the record labels.

Bits & Pieces: Bug Music For Sale Again, First Round Deadline for EMI Bids Set & more…

The owners of Bug Music are once again shopping for a buyer according to a report by Bloomberg this morning, with a target price of between $330 and $400 million for the publishing company. Acquired by a group of investors led by Spectrum Equity in 2006, the pubco was on the block as recently as last year, and while a sale was never completed, presumably due to lack of a high enough bid, insiders share that BMG Rights Management came close to completing a deal. It’s likely that they’ll be among bidders again this time, along with the 30 interested companies, according to the report, including Sony/ATV, which signed NDA’s to receive an offering book for Bug… Of course a higher profile auction is Citigroup‘s unloading of EMI, which has an early August deadline for first round bids now expected, according to reports today. Warner Music has been the front-runner in early EMI sale talks, along with the KKR/Bertelsmann-backed BMG (read our pt.1 and pt.2 posts on that scenario), though a New York Post piece yesterday has Warner’s debt impeding a successful acquisition, and in speaking with the Financial Times over the weekend, Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski cautioned his company wouldn’t get involved in a bidding war for EMI and is only interested in offering a reasonable price. Those in the know still expect both companies to be on the shortlist over the coming weeks… In related news, it was announced today that Access Industries officially completed their acquisition of WMG… And elsewhere, charter sponsors for the U.S. unveiling of Spotify, including Chrysler, Coke, and News Corp’s The Dailyreportedly paid $1 million each to be included in the launch, with their branding prominently displayed in the service, and each getting 10,000 membership codes to giveaway as well.

Spotify’s Success in U.S. a Priority for Record Labels [UPDATED]

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.]

Bits & Pieces: Spotify Closing Final Deals for U.S. + New Funding, NMPA Wants Piece of the Cloud & more…

There have been many past reports of Spotify launching in the U.S. “soon,” but is it really happening this time? After recent news that the service signed on Universal Music Group, the company’s European general manager told an audience in London this week that the “remaining deals” (Warner Music Group) are being signed right now. While there still hasn’t been any official or unofficial reports that a WMG is in the bag, those comments as well as a confirmed new funding round of $100 million from DST, Kleiner Perkins and Accel, lead many to believe a launch is really happening, and soon. Whether or not the timing lends credence to previous rumors of the labels stalling Spotify in order to let Apple to get their new iTunes Match service out of the gate, the landscape is now slightly altered after Amazon, Google and Apple have all unleashed new services… President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, David Israelite, is urging members to create a more streamlined solution for digital music companies to license rights, so as to not miss out on new opportunities. That might come in the form of new agencies which act in the interest of all publishers for sync and mechanical rights – the process of tracking down various writers, composers and publishers that have interests in a tracks, has proved to be time consuming and frustrating to new music services seeking rights… Elsewhere, I.R.S. Records is being relaunched as a frontline label by EMI Music in partnership with Crush Management… After an initial pop for Pandora when shares first started trading earlier this week, the price settled back down, and continues to fall… And congrats to Jon Pikus, who has been named the Creative Director for Imagem Music in the U.S., Pikus comes to Imagem after previous A&R positions at MySpace Records, Columbia Records and Interscope

More Bits & Pieces: BMG sizing up Warner/Chappell deal, Spotify inks Universal Music for U.S., eMusic & HP have sights set on the Cloud & more…

BMG eyeing WMG's pubco

As Citigroup readies EMI for auction, as soon as this month according to reports, KKR-backed BMG Rights Management is already kicking the tires on Warner/Chappell Music according to the New York Post. While a number of suitors are expected to submit bids for all or part of EMI when the music group is taken to auction, if Len Blavatnik‘s Access Industries comes out on top again, most expect that regulatory obstacles would see Warner Music‘s pubco being sold, though some observers have Citi more likely to favor other interested parties due to fear of such regulatory scrutiny… A Digital Music News story this week revealed that digital music retailer eMusic has had little to no subscriber growth since 2007, even with the addition of catalogs from major labels. The service however, can point to an increase in revenue from its current subscribers, who are opting for higher-paying levels of membership. Also apparently on the horizon for eMusic is a cloud-based service – with CEO Adam Klein telling Billboard that they hope to launch it by the fourth quarter of this year… How many more companies will join those already in the cloud like Apple, Amazon and Google? Apparently Hewlett Packard is in the early stage of discussions with content owners, including major labels, for a service similar to iCloud, offering music, movies and TV shows… Meanwhile, MediaMemo reported today that Universal Music Group has signed on with Spotify in America, and while a deal with Warner Music Group is yet to be reached, sources have the two sides close to a deal as well… Elsewhere, Irving Azoff and Liberty Media boss John Malone are said to be considering taking Live Nation private, in an effort to restructure the company… And while News Corp.‘s prospect of completely unloading MySpace don’t look good, according to a new report, the frontrunner among those in talks for a strategic partnership that would leave News Corp. with partial ownership, is an investment group which includes Activision Chairman and CEO Bobby Kotick.

Bits & Pieces: Apple’s Looming Cloud, Amazon Goes Gaga, Facebook Music & more…

Spotify & Facebook Joining Forces?

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?

More Bits & Pieces: Apple Inks EMI Deal For Cloud Service; Close to Landing Sony & Universal

Apple reaches agreement with EMI for cloud-music service

The news of Apple inking a cloud-music deal with EMI Music was first reported late yesterday on CNET, and according to the industry sources the report is based on, the company is close to reaching similar agreements with both Sony Music and Universal Music Group – a deal with Warner Music was reported to have been reached last month. By now having licensing agreements with two of the four major label groups, the implications are numerous, but mainly it’s that Apple will likely once again be the driving force behind the latest shift in the digital music arena, and that Amazon and Google jumped too soon by releasing services without label deals in place… While lately the tech and music industries have been hot on the cloud-music future and closely watching developments unfold, it remains to be seen how much consumer demand there is, and on a large scale, what are people willing to pay. A new survey from Nielsen that targeted people with ‘connected devices’ (smartphones, iPads, etc), asked how much they would be willing to pay for a monthly subscription for various types of content (music, TV, movies, news, etc), and the average seems to come in right around $10/month. That falls in line with some current services that are available, and isn’t a bad number, but of course that is all in theory, and an important point to keep in mind is that an overwhelming majority of people still do not use smartphones or other high-priced ‘connected’ devices… Some attention has also turned to Apple’s patent-pending pre-buffering technology that is supposed to make its streaming experience better than other current services, though as Evolver.fm points out, Pandora and Spotify have been using similar technology for some time already… And in related news, which is receiving less excitment than the Apple-EMI deal, is that EMI Music has now also reached an agreement with digital music subscription service eMusic.

More Bits & Pieces: Initial Shots Fired in Lime Wire Damages Trial; Spotify Takes Aim at iTunes with New App

LimeWire's founder could face $1billion in damages

The trial to determine damages owed by Lime Wire founder Mark Gorton to the top record labels represented by the RIAA (a separate settlement with the National Music Publisher’s Association was previously reached back in March of this year), began this week in New York. The maximum statutory damages that could be awarded is more than $1billion, from a $150,000 fine for each of the 9,715 albums released through the P2P network. Notable claims made by both sides as reported on CNET and Bloomberg, included the RIAA’s claim that Lime Wire alone holds significant blame for the 52% decline in music sales during the years 2000 to 2010, as part of the overall accusation that Gorton’s service financially devastated the record labels. Meanwhile the attorneys representing Gorton called into question the notion of financial devastation for the labels, citing revenue from the likes of Internet radio, royalties from video games, and ad dollars from YouTube – even calling attention to high-level executive salaries and compensation still in the 7-figure range and higher. They also produced past notes and referenced comments from prominent music group CEO’s such as Doug Morris and Edgar Bronfman Jr., which seem to indicate the labels are aware that piracy is a consumer problem more than anything, likewise adding that recent history shows any time a file-sharing service has gone offline, the public just shifts to the next best option…. Elsewhere, Spotify has released a new and improved app that has many seeing it as an aggressive move on Apple‘s iTunes store and a clear indication that the start up’s aims remain high (and possibly that a U.S. launch is even closer). The new version allows users to directly sync music on iPods, and in a further affront, the service has also introduced the selling of downloads, coming in the form of bundles enabling users to purchase playlists. Said CEO Daniel Ek, “From today, Spotify really is the only music player you’ll ever need”…

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