Will Independent Musicians Survive in Streaming Music Era?

In the era of online streaming music, many bands and musicians have formed their own labels in order to maintain control, resulting in both risks and benefits. As a result they may lose traditional industry support, but gain more artistic and business freedom. The Internet is seen as an equalizing force that provides musicians with new ways to engage with their fans and distribute their own music. However, it remains to be seen if this model is sustainable. Continue reading Will Independent Musicians Survive in Streaming Music Era?

Audiam Finds New Ways to Pay Indie Musicians via YouTube

“Love Doctor,” a two-minute acid jazz instrumental is used in about 1,500 YouTube videos that do not pay for the rights to do so. The composer, Scott Schreer, has been working with New York startup Audiam in an effort to share in the advertising revenue associated with the videos. While serving as the Audiam test case, “Love Doctor” and Schreer’s library of 1,700 songs are generating about $30,000 per month for their use on the video site. Continue reading Audiam Finds New Ways to Pay Indie Musicians via YouTube

WWDC: Apple Introduces Ad-Supported iTunes Radio Service

During yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple introduced its much anticipated streaming music service. The free, ad-supported iTunes Radio will feature a sizable music catalog, thanks to deals Apple has made with all the major record labels. The service features algorithmically programmed stations, more than 200 genre-based stations and a station that reflects music currently trending on Twitter. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Introduces Ad-Supported iTunes Radio Service

Pandora Timeline App Hopes to Leverage Mobile and Social

Pandora is launching a new Facebook application called the Pandora Timeline App that integrates its mobile applications and website so that users can easily share their favorite music and discover new artists that are popular with their friends. The app has been updated with the new Facebook feature for iPhone and Android users. Users can customize which music they opt to share and can specify which categories (listening activity, likes and follows) to share. Continue reading Pandora Timeline App Hopes to Leverage Mobile and Social

YouTube Opens Live Streaming to More Channels this Week

YouTube announced that it will now offer its live streaming to any channel owner with at least 1,000 subscribers. This is the next step in the site’s efforts to make live online video more robust and attractive. Last year, YouTube offered select publishers the ability to charge for live streams, and earlier this year it introduced a new live video platform that features DVR and real-time auto-transcoding functionality. Continue reading YouTube Opens Live Streaming to More Channels this Week

Google Signs Labels, Readies Subscription Music Services

According to inside sources, Google may unveil its rumored subscription music services today at the Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco. The company has reportedly signed separate licensing deals with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group that involve both YouTube and Google Play, the entertainment hub for the Android operating system. Earlier this year, Google signed similar agreements with Warner Music Group. Continue reading Google Signs Labels, Readies Subscription Music Services

After a Decade, iTunes Continues its Market Dominance

According to fourth quarter estimates released this week by the NPD Group, Apple’s iTunes continues its stronghold with a 63 percent unit share of the U.S. market for digital music downloads. Amazon.com’s MP3 store held second place at 22 percent. Notably, the NPD “Annual Music Study 2012” indicates that eight out of 10 consumers downloaded digital albums or tracks during the fourth quarter from iTunes. Continue reading After a Decade, iTunes Continues its Market Dominance

NPR Music Hits a High Note with Eclectic Music Programs

Public radio broadcaster NPR, which is primarily known for its news and interview programs, has been making a name for itself in the music world. NPR is expanding its horizons with its fifth year of NPR Music, which includes online streaming and podcasts. With a variety of programs like “Tiny Desk Concert” and “All Songs Considered,” the station is providing unique opportunities for lesser known artists and established acts. Continue reading NPR Music Hits a High Note with Eclectic Music Programs

Justin Timberlake Unveils New Myspace: Is it Worth the Time?

  • Fifteen months ago, Specific Media purchased MySpace, with Justin Timberlake taking an ownership stake in the flailing social network.
  • Following months of relative quiet — with the only major news being a new Panasonic partnership announced at CES 2012 — the new Myspace (now fashioned with lower case ‘s’) has finally been revealed in a Vimeo post.
  • Timberlake tweeted a link to a video that gives a sneak preview at the new service. Included in the Mashable post, the video makes the new Myspace look “clean and attractive.”
  • It shows a new login using Facebook or Twitter that allows users to bring photos or other information from the other networks. Status updates feature large photos with comments showing up below.
  • “There is a large music component to the service, which includes a way to browse albums, find popular songs and artists and more,” the post explains, noting that it is still uncertain whether Myspace is “building its own music service or if it has partnered with a provider such as Spotify, Rdio or Rhapsody.”
  • “The biggest question I have about the new Myspace is whether or not the brand is worth anything,” writes Christina Warren for Mashable. “I’ve argued in the past that the biggest asset of Myspace is also its biggest liability. What the new owners will have to do — celebrity investor or not — is prove to users why this Myspace is worth a user’s time.”

Mossberg on iTunes Match: Store Your Songs without Slow Uploads

  • Walt Mossberg favorably reviews Apple’s iTunes Match service. For $25/year, you can create a music locker in the Cloud that allows you to play your music collection on up to 10 devices.
  • In contrast to similar locker services from Google and Amazon, you do not have to upload your entire collection — iTunes Match scans your iTunes library and matches it with its 20 million song library.
  • The service only works for digital music currently, and not for movies, TV shows or audiobooks.
  • Your locker can include up to 25,000 songs. It’s worth noting that, “Match is an optional addition to an existing free service called iTunes in the Cloud, which covers only songs you bought from Apple’s iTunes store.”
  • “In all, I like iTunes Match, and can recommend it to digital music lovers who want all their tunes on all their devices,” writes Mossberg. “It’s another nice feature of iCloud, priced reasonably.”

Beta Release: Cinefy App Provides Video Editing and Effects for the iPhone

  • Chairseven and App Creation Network recently announced the beta availability of Cinefy, “a mobile video editing and effects platform for iPhone where users create and share videos mixed with high quality visual effects,” according to the press release. “Cinefy empowers users with no editing skills to quickly insert footage, add music and apply visually stunning effects with its intuitive and simple interface.”
  • The app offers branded effects packs which opens a marketing opportunity for TV and game studios to promote in an engaging way and possibly draw “massive viral exposure.”
  • Users can export their videos to their device’s camera roll in addition to Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. Cinefy will eventually be available for iPads and Android devices.
  • To help create soundtracks, Friendly Music has teamed up to provide a catalog of songs, “offering 100 percent legal and all rights-cleared music for personal and custom online media creations.”

Pandora Targets the Vast Majority Who Pay Little or Nothing for Music

  • Speaking at the GigaOM RoadMap conference this week, Pandora CTO Tom Conrad suggested that more than half of Americans do not pay for music each year, while 40 percent only pay about $15 annually.
  • “Conrad revealed that his company aims to monetize the vast majority of listeners who pay little or nothing per year for music,” reports TechCrunch.
  • “While there are opportunities to build businesses on the 10 percent who are willing to pay more, Pandora plans to focus on monetizing the majority via advertisements. Other music companies might be wise to target the non-paying segment as well.”
  • Pandora is working to expand across multiple areas, including “in the home, the television, the living room, the bedroom, even embedded above the ice maker on your refrigerator,” and in your car.
  • Conrad doesn’t feel threatened by Spotify’s success. “I see Spotify as largely complementary to what Pandora does,” he said. “Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek says he thinks Spotify is the future of the record store, and that Pandora is the future of radio.”

Media Consumption: Redefining Content Ownership in a Digital World

  • An increasing number of consumers are switching to digital content for movies, music and books. The approach has benefits, including convenience and cost, but may also be leading to a loss of rights and abilities we’re accustomed to as consumers.
  • Fortune writer J.P. Mangalindan expressed concerns that systems such as Amazon’s new lending library would change the meaning of ownership since users would be relinquishing actual ownership of content in favor of a rental model.
  • The ability to stream digital content online has led to the same kind of transformation. Services such as Spotify and Netflix have allowed users the freedom of streaming content anywhere, and have made subscribing to such a model affordable and convenient.
  • GigaOM raises an interesting concern: “Apart from our simple human need to own and collect physical objects, however, there’s also the way that renting changes our legal relationship to the content we are consuming. Amazon has shown the downsides of this in the past by actually deleting copies of e-books from people’s Kindles remotely after a complaint by the rightsholder — and those were copies that people had actually bought, not rented.”
  • If we move closer to a streaming, rental-style model for all content then perhaps consumers would eventually prefer a short-term license to use content over actually owning it. But what if Netflix or Amazon decide to change their terms of service? “What if companies decide you no longer have the right to watch certain TV shows or read certain books?”

Fun App Design: 80s Music Fans Rejoice, the Mix Tape is Back

  • AirCassette is a $1.99 iPhone app that mimics the look of an audio cassette tape while playing (including the handwritten script of a label sticker).
  • “The reels actually spin and you can create and share mix tapes with your friends via e-mail or Facebook, just as we used to do back in 1986,” reports The New York Times.
  • The AirPlay-compatible app is from Finnish programmer Majasalmi, known for its “Russian Roulette” iPhone game, and features its own iTunes music interface.
  • The app includes multiple cassette designs that resemble popular blank tapes of the audio cassette era.
  • “Watching a cassette tape spin on the iPhone’s high-resolution display is oddly calming and, thanks to digital compression, the audio is far superior in AirCassette than it ever was on my Sony Walkman,” comments John Biggs in Gadgetwise.

Google to Link New Music Download Store with its Social Network

  • Google’s music download store is expected to link with Google+ within the next two weeks. However, the service may prove disappointing if the company cannot secure deals with the four major music labels.
  • Tentatively named Google Music, the service would follow in the footsteps of Spotify, which earlier this fall linked with Facebook to promote its music service.
  • The Google+ integration would allow users to recommend songs to Google+ contacts, who could then listen to those songs once for free. MP3 downloads would then be available, most likely for 99 cents each.
  • Music labels have shown hesitation about the service’s propensity to allow piracy, in addition to the lack of revenue for record companies, as the music locker is free.