Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Physical CDs are still selling well, although the U.S. has seen sales down by 18.5 percent. But Best Buy and Target have just taken steps that may hasten the demise of physical media. Best Buy, which was once the biggest music seller in the U.S., has told its music suppliers that it plans to pull CDs from its stores on July 1. The company will continue to carry vinyl records for two years, fulfilling a promise made to vendors. Meanwhile, Target is now telling music suppliers it will sell CDs on a consignment basis. The move would also impact sales of movies, TV shows and other video content on DVD. Continue reading Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Paid Subs for Streaming Music Services Top 30 Million in U.S.

The music business is experiencing significant growth, thanks in large part to the increasing popularity of streaming services. According to RIAA’s midyear report, leading services such as Spotify and Apple Music currently have 30.4 million paid subscribers in the U.S. (up from 20.2 million the previous year). Streaming services are now responsible for 62 percent of total industry revenue, followed by 19 percent for digital downloads, 16 percent for physical sales, and 3 percent for synch rights. Continue reading Paid Subs for Streaming Music Services Top 30 Million in U.S.

Artists, RIAA Target YouTube in Latest Round of Royalty War

In the latest battle between musicians and streaming outlets, the music industry has united to fight YouTube for higher royalties. Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Billy Joel signed letters requesting changes to copyright laws; high-profile manager Irving Azoff criticized YouTube in an interview and a Grammy Awards speech. Recently released annual sales statistics buttress the musicians’ point of view: statistics show that, despite huge audiences, YouTube pays less direct income to musicians than vinyl record sales. Continue reading Artists, RIAA Target YouTube in Latest Round of Royalty War

HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat’s long-time programmer, engineer and author Mark Schubin, opened the event with his annual “Technology Year in Review,” composed of all the interesting, obscure and wacky news items he’s aggregated over the previous year. One question he asks every year — have we finished the transition to HD? — had the same answer as every previous year: nope. Even as some companies are talking up 8K as the next TV resolution, the nation’s media infrastructure as a whole is still working on completing the evolution to HD. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

During the Sony keynote at CES, CEO Kazuo Hirai announced that the PlayStation 4 console system — which he suggests, “sets the benchmark in collaboration, artistry, imagery and design” — sold more than 5.7 million units over the holidays for a total of 35.9 million units since the console’s launch. PlayStation VR goggles will ship the first half of 2016, reportedly in the $300 range. Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo took the stage to announce “Ultra,” the company’s new video app that enables users to purchase and stream 4K movies on Sony’s Android TVs. Sony also unveiled a range of new cameras, 4K TVs, audio products and more. Continue reading Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

Kodak Shoots for Filmmakers, Students with Super 8 Camera

Eastman Kodak went retro this week at CES with a film camera based on the Super 8 design from 50 years ago. Kodak ceased production of Super 8 cameras in 1982, once video had become more popular for recording home movies. Today, most consumers use their mobile phones or small action cams for shooting personal video. Citing the preference of some Hollywood directors to produce their movies in 35mm or 70mm, Kodak chief exec Jeff Clarke believes there are professional as well as amateur filmmakers who would appreciate the opportunity to work with film rather than video. Continue reading Kodak Shoots for Filmmakers, Students with Super 8 Camera

CD and Download Sales Drop as Music Fans Turn to Streaming

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, less than $3.2 billion in music sales was recorded for the first half of 2014, a 4.9 percent drop from the same period last year. While the growth of online streaming services continues to generate revenue for artists and record companies, it may not be enough to offset the reduction in sales of CDs and downloads. While downloads and streaming together totaled $2.2 billion (a similar total to last year), downloads dropped by 9 percent. Continue reading CD and Download Sales Drop as Music Fans Turn to Streaming