All posts tagged Steve Jobs

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.

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: iTunes Song Samples Get Extended & MP3Tunes

The extending of the iTunes song-sample length to 90 seconds, which was expected to be revealed during Steve Jobs‘ September 1st ‘music related’ event, was finally announced yesterday in the form of a letter from Apple to labels. The past two months Apple has been negotiating primarily with music publishers and performing rights organizations, after the NMPA previously stepped in to block the sample extension. What’s being most discussed this morning however, is the way in which Apple has handed down the new decree, which essentially tells rights holders that by simply continuing to have their music in the iTunes store they are agreeing to license “gratis mechanical rights to 90 second ‘Clips’” – with some believing the harsh message is directed more towards indie labels who are presumed to have been left out of discussions Apple had with the four major music groups…. Meanwhile, according to CNET MP3tunes.com founder Michael Robertson‘s ongoing legal spat with EMI is nearing an end, the outcome of which, according to Robertson, will have major repercussions for other media companies like Apple and Google

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: NMPA Blocks Longer iTunes Song-Samples, Eminem’s Royalty Victory & Amazon Buys Amie St

Amazon Buys Amie Street

Among the new features that were not announced last week at Steve Jobs‘ big keynote event, was the lengthening of song sample time in the iTunes store. It was rumored that Jobs would be revealing an extended sample time from 30 seconds to 60 or 90, presumably to further entice a potential buyer.  While it appears that Apple had all the necessary agreements in place with the four major label groups, it had not made any such arrangement with the publishers.  When the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) caught wind of the new sample length, they notified Apple at the eleventh-hour of their legal objections, and the announcement was pulled according to CNET. Publishers don’t see any performance money from the iTunes store, and while the current 30-second sample clip is treated as “promotional,” a longer sample time would most likely result in publishers wanting to get paid… In more iTunes and publishing news, the Ninth Circuit court has ruled in favor of Eminem‘s former production company FBT Productions, reversing a 2009 decision from the original lawsuit brought against Universal Music Group. The latest ruling declares that downloads through the iTunes store are in fact “licenses” and not “sales” – entitling the plaintiff to a significantly higher percentage of revenue.  Though with such potential for precedent-setting in the ongoing debate over how downloads should be treated particularly for older artists with older contracts, most expect this case to remain in the legal system for awhile longer… And Amazon has purchased Amie Street, the online music store that it helped fund four years ago, and plans to shutter the service at the end of the month. Due to the unique nature of the digital retailer’s model, the service became mostly a haven for independent and unsigned artists, as negotiating with the larger labels proved difficult.  While certainly a blow to many who use the service, it appears both sides are happy with the deal, and the Amie Street team will now focus on their new project, Songza, a Pandora-like music streaming service…

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: Apple’s New iTunes, Sony’s iTunes Rival & Amazon Enters the Fray

As predicted Steve Jobs did not announce a new cloud-based version of iTunes this morning, however the rumored social features were announced in the form of Ping. In the words of Jobs, it’s “Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” … “But it’s not Facebook, it’s not Twitter,” adding “it’s a social network all about music.” There is also a new logo that replaces the CD, which Jobs remarked as fitting, as he expects that by next Spring Apple‘s music sales will surpass all CD sales in the United States… The update to iTunes 10 will be available today and will include Ping. If you missed the action this morning, head HERE to watch the keynote… In what cannot be coincidental timing, this morning Sony Corp announced Sony Qriocity (“curiosity,” get it), which is the company’s new subscription-based music and video streaming service, the backbone of which will be the Playstation 3 console. It’s expected to launch in the UK before the end of the year… And not to be left out of the race to streaming dominance, Amazon is reportedly gearing up to launch a service similar to Netflix, which will allow unlimited access to movies and TV shows for a monthly fee.

Apple’s Antennagate & Live Nation’s Slideshow

Become an Arena Act in the time it will take to get your free iPhone 4 Case

Lots of chatter continued over the weekend on the heels of two high profile presentations last week… Steve Jobs addressed the infamous antenna on Apple‘s new iPhone 4 with a range of figures and explanations, including a comparison of other popular smartphones that were shown to be equally or more deficient in the same area that is raising huge concerns over the new iPhone.  The other phones mentioned included the Blackberry Bold, made by Research in Motion, who following the presentation issued a statement declaring, ”Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation.”… Elsewhere Live Nation is facing increased derision, adding to an already highly publicized poor summer concert climate, after last week’s investor presentation from Michael Rapino and Irving Azoff.  The presentation included one slide in particular that is getting a lot of industry attention for its illustration of the company’s “new model,” which has an artist’s trajectory going from relative anonymity to arena sell-out in just 3 months…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Always Front & Center... This Week: Adobe, iAds & Lala

Last weekend saw the news that EMI Music chairman Charles Allen is reportedly pulling back from his strategy to sell-off parts of the music group in an effort to righten the company’s state of financial disorder… The New York Times published a lengthy piece focusing on the new Live Nation Entertainment and its leading duo Irving Azoff and Michael RapinoRhapsody beat out other mobile music services this week by being getting its new iPhone app approved by Apple, making it the first service in the U.S. market to allow users to store subscription music in the phone’s memory… A lot more Apple in the headlines this week as Steve Jobs publicly sounded-off on his company’s continued stance against supporting Adobe Flash on its mobile devices. Billboard takes a look at what that means for music, while questions remain on how it all could relate to Apple’s imminent iAds platform that will likely cost advertisers at least $1 million dollars to buy into the new ad network… UK-based streaming service We7 announced that during the month of March, and for the first time ever, it had covered all operating and royalty costs with advertising revenue, making it the first company in the the ad-funded space to do so… Elsewhere, David Letterman‘s Worldwide Pants Inc. has started a record label, and its first release will be Orange County’s Runner Runner… And many are wondering if the freshly posted notice from Lala that it will be shutting down on May 31st and is no longer accepting new users means an iTunes in the cloud is finally on the way…