Turntable.fm, a rival music service to Pandora and Spotify, is negotiating with the four major music labels to license content. Turntable.fm is a social media site that allows people to share songs with friends and other online users.
The New York-based startup is looking to create a deal that would be unique and allow users to legally stream music internationally, but CEO Billy Chasen has not disclosed the details of the proposal.
“Both sides are super eager to get this done, and we’re getting closer,” Chasen said. “We take very seriously the music labels and publishers, and we want to make sure they’re with us.”
Turntable.fm, which launched earlier this year and requires users to log in via Facebook, currently has about 600,000 users. The startup recently raised $7 million from investors including Union Square Ventures, First Round Capital, Polaris Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital, Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter, and Maverick Records co-founder Guy Oseary.
TV industry insiders can start monitoring buzz around TV shows through Trendrr’s real-time dashboard, launched this week.
It measures buzz on Facebook, Twitter, GetGlue, and Miso and allows users to compare the show’s performance on the various platforms.
The dashboard can tell users how effective the social networking sites are in building up anticipation for upcoming episodes and how long the buzz lasts the moment the show airs.
It can also tell which show is garnering the most buzz, show top markets and hash tags, and explore Twitter users tweeting about the show.
“Trendrr and its parent company Wiredset have been tracking how well TV shows fare in social media for quite some time, and the company claims to count half of the top 25 cable networks as its customers,” reports GigaOM. “Its most ambitious project so far has been the Weather Channel’s new social media initiative, which incorporates curated tweets into the network’s website and on-air programming.”
Facebook is expected to unveil a new service at its F8 developers conference in San Francisco on Thursday that allows users to share their music, TV shows and movies (for example, a user’s Facebook profile page would display the music being consumed to friends).
The New York Times suggests that Facebook has reportedly signed deals with Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Deezer and Vevo that may bring millions of new users to their sites. Some are responding by introducing new ad-supported services to lessen the “friction” for new users (however, Rhapsody will reportedly continue with its subscription-only service).
Related news has been reported via ETCentric in recent days…
More information is emerging about Facebook’s new music service (which may be called Vibes). TechCrunch reports that “MOG, Spotify and Rdio have of course already been widely reported as launch partners for ‘Facebook Music,’ but notably, Deezer, SoundCloud and Rhapsody are new names.” This is based on “interesting references” found in the HTML code of the various streaming services.
In addition to an anticipated new music service, reports are circulating that the social networker may announce plans for bringing Hulu and possibly Netflix into the fold. We’ll see what shakes out this week, but until then the news media is in rumor mode: “Real-time viewing parties? It’s possible. Just not confirmed,” reports Gizmodo. “But the deal keeps things interesting for Hulu pre-buyout, its backing providers having all but jumped ship and offering their own streaming services.”
ETCentric will have more later in the week following the conference. Stay tuned…
Google is working on a social and news reader designed to rival Flipboard, according to numerous sources close to the project. Dubbed “Propeller,” the “souped-up version of similar reader apps” will reportedly allow users to navigate multiple social media feeds through a polished interface.
“I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad,” posted Robert Scoble on his Google + social feed. “My source says that the versions he’s seen so far are mind-blowing good.”
Flipboard is currently the most prominent company offering this type of service, and even turned down an offer from Google last year to buy the company. (Flipboard is available only for the iPad, although an iPhone version is in development.) Similar apps include AOL’s Editions, Yahoo’s Livestand, Zite and Pulse. Facebook is also creating social versions of publications that enable personalized, reformatted content when users access a pub’s page through Facebook.
“All these apps are part of the drastically changing habits of media consumers, helping them better navigate numerous social and media feeds — such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as news sites and more — using handsome interfaces and touch technologies,” reports Kara Swisher in All Things D.
Ooyala Social, a new HD-quality Social TV platform (and additional entry point for Ooyala Everywhere) allows Facebook users to “share video with their friends and family, live chat while viewing, discover new content and watch video across multiple screens and devices,” according to the company’s press release.
It supports several business models including rentals, subscriptions, purchases and advertising.
Discovering new shows is based on user’s social circles. Viewers can share videos they “like” with their friends, or “loan” a show for later viewing.
Users can watch from tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs. They can purchase, rent, or subscribe to content by using Facebook Credits, PayPal, a credit card or a mobile phone number.
“Broadcasters, distributors and Hollywood studios can capitalize on the Social TV trend by using Ooyala Social to make premium on-demand and live video widely and easily available on Facebook,” suggests the press release. “The solution offers built-in social features and other tools that enable media companies to grow audiences, boost viewer engagement and realize new revenue streams.”
Facebook has unveiled improvements to its “friends” lists with a new feature dubbed “Smart Lists” that automatically generates friend groups so that users no longer need to manage their own lists.
The improvement — which follows the lead of popular Google+ features — is currently based on categories that create lists based on workplace, school, family and city. “For example, if a user lists their college on their profile, Smart Lists will automatically find all their friends that did the same, and group them together for easier sharing of content between them,” reports CNET.
While the social networker has previously made list creation available, the company explains that users complained about “how time-consuming it is to organize lists for different parts of your life and keep them up to date.” These improvements should address this concern. Facebook also points out that users can still manually add or remove friends from their lists.
Additionally, a new “Close Friends and Acquaintances Lists” component has been added. The option allows users to categorize friends into either their “Close Friends” list or mere “Acquaintances.” The distinction will help funnel updates through the news feeds; users will see all updates from close friends and just important updates from acquaintances.
Americans currently spend more than 22 percent of their online time engaged with some form of social media, indicates a new report from Nielsen.
According to the research company’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report,” these networkers spent 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook in May of this year (following Facebook was Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn).
With 70 percent of users now shopping online, social media has become a crucial tool for many companies, says Nielsen executive Radha Subramanyam. “Social media is becoming increasingly mainstream,” she notes, and as a result, “there’s a need for companies to engage even more strategically in the space” than they already do.
It is interesting to point out that in regards to the Facebook tracking, 62 percent of the visitors were females. Additionally, while more women than men were reported to watch video clips on blogs and social networks, men streamed more videos and spent more time actively watching them.
Facebook’s revenues have doubled the first half of 2011 to $1.6 billion, putting the social network on course to possibly earn $4 billion this year.
“It’s simply too late for anyone, perhaps even Google, to create a social network that can compete with Facebook,” writes Robert Hof in a related story.
Reuters suggests this news underscores the social networker’s appeal to advertisers. “We really see Facebook as becoming like the operating system for delivering ads on the Internet,” said Dave Williams, CEO of Blinq Media.
Williams added that Facebook’s “like” feature, that now helps endorse products and companies, provides valuable data that other online services can’t match.
“Companies like Yahoo are relying on third party user behavioral data based on things like cookies. On Facebook that’s data that users have revealed about themselves,” he said.
“The price that companies pay for every consumer that clicks on a Facebook ad increased 62 percent between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011, according to Efficient Frontier, another firm that helps companies deliver ad campaigns on Facebook,” reports Reuters.
Facebook has informed media executives that it will begin allowing online music services such as Spotify and Rdio to publish user activity on Facebook pages and could allow music playback without leaving the site.
The announcement is part of Facebook’s efforts to become a social center for media including music, games and movies.
According to The Wall Street Journal: “CNBC reported Wednesday that Facebook was working to create a music platform. In response, Facebook said: ‘Many of the most popular music services around the world are integrated with Facebook and we’re constantly talking to our partners about ways to improve these integrations.'”
Facebook was reportedly encouraged to pursue the music plan following success with social games such as “FarmVille” by Zynga Inc. The social media site is also integrating movies through deals with the likes of Warner Bros.
Facebook has already paid out $40,000 to hackers for identifying flaws in its website, just three weeks after the social networker launched its “Bug Bounty” program that offers compensation for finding vulnerabilities in the site’s code.
“Schemes such as Facebook’s illustrate the push towards greater disclosure of security weaknesses and hacking incidents, as the technology industry strives to pool its resources to protect itself better,” reports The Financial Times. “The approach has won praise from digital advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”
“The program has also been great because it has made our site more secure — by surfacing issues large and small, introducing us to novel attack vectors, and helping us improve lots of corners in our code,” explained Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s chief security officer.
Facebook joins others such as Google, Mozilla and HP that have programs in place to offer payments to outsiders who identify vulnerabilities.
Samsung is poised to release its own free mobile messaging service.
ChatON is designed to simplify mobile communication by connecting users on all major smartphones. It will support Bada, Android, BlackBerry, iOS and PCs.
“The idea is to enable users to communicate instantly with each other using any mobile phone, along with sharing hand-written notes, images, and video,” reports Digital Trends.
“Samsung has vastly simplified mobile communication by allowing users to connect to our upcoming feature phones and all major smartphones in the market,”said Samsung’s media solution center chief Ho Soo Lee. “Users around the world can now enjoy easier and richer interactivity with whoever they want, in the format they want — this is mobile communication reinvented and democratized.”
ChatOn will have an aggressive launch, initially available in more than 120 countries in 62 languages. Digital Trends reports that it will boast a wide range of social services including interaction with Facebook and support for conversation windows, photos and videos.
Palo Alto-based Flipboard plans to add film and TV to its social media magazine platform. Flipboard is currently available only on the iPad, but an iPhone version is expected to launch in a few weeks.
Reuters reports that the company “hopes to cut deals with studios to carry movies and episodes of TV shows, getting into territory staked out by Netflix, Hulu and Facebook.”
Mike McCue, chairman and chief executive of Flipboard, explained he will begin the video project at the end of this year and also hopes to sell electronic books.
Flipboard’s service takes a cut of the revenue from advertising. “We’re trying to create the largest company possible,” said Danny Rimer, general partner at Index Ventures, a Flipboard investor. Reuters points out: “Rimer believes display advertising revenue’s migration online is ‘a very big opportunity.'”
Miramax is following in the footsteps of Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal by making its films available on Facebook.
The Miramax eXperience will initially offer 20 titles in the U.S. and 10 each in Great Britain and Turkey (available films include “Good Will Hunting,” “Spy Kids,” “Chicago” and “Cold Mountain”).
Movies will be made available for 30 Facebook credits (equivalent to $3) and can be viewed on Facebook, the iPad and Google TV.
Miramax hopes to build its reach to 150 million+ Facebook friends in the next 18 months.
“The iTunes-like nature of Miramax’s Facebook movie rentals (i.e. per-movie charge, rather than a subscription fee) could prove very effective,” reports Social Times. “A lot of online movie watchers aren’t ready to commit to a subscription service like Netflix or Hulu Plus. Renting a single movie from Facebook may be more their style, and a $3 movie rental sounds like a pretty good deal, if you ask me.”
Flingo, a new San Francisco-based startup, says its technology can watch what you are viewing on TV and with your permission present you with relevant Web content.
“Any mobile app or Web page being used in front of your TV can ask our servers what is on right now,” says David Harrison, cofounder and CTO of Flingo. “For example, you could go to Google or IMDb and the page would already know what’s on the screen. Retailers like Amazon or Walmart might want to show you things to buy related to a show, like DVDs, or what people are wearing in it.”
Additionally, social sites such as Facebook or Twitter would be able to connect viewers to a TV show’s official page or stream.
A major TV manufacturer will build Flingo’s Sync Apps into their TVs, which will reportedly retail for less than $500.
Andrew Losowsky, books editor for The Huffington Post, has released “Reading in Four Dimensions” (available as a 99-cent Kindle Single) — a fascinating essay on the future of publishing and how the Internet has impacted the reading experience.
Many of us are publishing in new ways via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more. Readers are interacting with these “works” in a kind of social reading environment, which changes the way stories are written and read.
Physical books will get better, but there will be fewer of them. Books do not change like Web entries that become features and can travel with you like a time machine that catalogues the thinking of that time.
The TechCrunch post includes a video interview with Losowsky that addresses key points from his essay, including “how print brings permanence to digital publishing, how the concept of ‘publishing’ has translated online and the value of paper books in our increasingly digital world.”