Omid Kordestani, who us the acting chief business officer at Google is joining the Board of Spotify, according to reports today. And a former executive, Shishir Mehrotra, will reportedly become a special adviser to Spotify and CEO Daniel Ek. YouTube execs have said that they'd love to buy Sporify, if they could. But do these moves, first posted by re/code, point to a Google purchase of Spotify?
Neil Patel freely shares his "Complete Guide To Building Your Personal Brand" which mixes notions of business image and personal identity in a manner that's quite relevant to musicians. Though some musicians would prefer to take a haphazardly organic approach to brand building that just leaves it up to others to decide who you are. But building your brand doesn't have to be a superficial process and Patel advocates the perspective that, "your personal brand is what separates you from everyone else in the world."
Sparkplug is a new site and service that facilitates musicians renting gear and space from each other. But they go beyond just a Craiglist-like listing to add a system with such features as clear procedures, deposits and id verification. It's potentially a great service but, in what I think is a simple oversight, you can't figure out who the people running the site might be which kind of contradicts their trust-building features.
Seems like every six months or so I have friends forward me an article or interview with a manager or agent extolling the virtues of streaming (and sometimes even piracy.) Usually this comes with some note that reads something like this “Agent/Manager X thinks streaming/piracy is a good thing, Why don’t you?” I am always perplexed by this. Of course some managers and agents love streaming and piracy! Less revenue from recorded music means their artists must play more and more live shows to make up the difference. I thought everyone knew this.
Cinncinnati's The Brandery is considered one of the top tech startup accelerators. They help startups in the early stages to further develop and seek funding. The Brandery just took in a new batch of startups including two in the music tech space. LuckyPennie combines music and event discovery with social elements in an interesting mix. MusicPlay Analytics wants to track music played in business so that licensing fees can be distributed to the actual musicians whose music is played.
Spotify is planning to expand its music streaming service to many other countries in Asia and globally in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a top Spotify international executive. Currently Deezer is ahead globally with 182 countries worldwide and plans to add the U.S. and others this year. Spotify is only available in 57 countries. But that may be about to change.
To some degree album apps are being treated as novelty items with marketing appeal even when there's a lot of new art involved from remastered music to photos and video. That means pricing is treated differently than it would for a new album in an established format. With Paul McCartney's release of back catalog album apps for the iPad at $7.99 with remastered tracks and lots of extra content, I'm wondering if we're getting close to the point where an artifically low price range will become the fair price in consumers' minds.
Chris Maples, Spotify's Vice-President of Europe has exited after three years. No reason for the change was given and Maples only says he's looking for his "next adventure". Maples was the music streamer's most visible representative in the EU; and comes at a time when a planned IPO and expansion in to Russia and other countires seem to be gaining steam.
LA's Annenberg Space For Photography is throwing a day long photo and music festival called Photosynthesis. The outdoor event features country and blues bands as well as photographers onstage, video wall displays of their photos and a variety of booths, activities and refreshments. The event ties into Country: Portraits of an American Sound, a photo exhibit with portraits of country musicians. Overall it sounds like a creatively themed festival that could provide inspiration for other fresh combinations.
As an art form, Hip Hop has always been a champion of open source creative processes. From DJs extending breakbeats from classic funk and soul records, to repurposing pieces of multiple works through digital sampling.
Today the Wu-Tang Clan as always is taking that idea one step further, putting the raw music files of a new song on Blend for anyone to re-imagine as they see fit.
Website building platform Squarespace has partnered with Bandsintown to make it easier to post gigs. Users can now just add a new Squarespace Bandsintown "Block" to their website that displays tour dates within a specified range and it is automatically updated . Blocks are the modules which make up a Squarespace site.
I often round up music videos using new tech but today's examples from OK Go and Tweedy focus more on the process of making the videos than on anything radically new. OK Go released a behind the scenes video for "The Writing On The Wall" and Shutterstock's Doug Levy chatted with them about the process. Allison House, who's never worked on music videos, shares the process of applying her design skills to directing and animating the first single from Tweedy.
Sony/ATV's Martin Bandier is threatening to withdraw all rights from ASCAP and BMI. Most major music publishers are looking to withdraw digital rights from the PROs and negotiate direct deals with digital services due to low royalty rates for publishers from digital services. Withdrawing digital rights from the PROs presents challenges to publishers like licensing to small businesses. Martin Bandier, the CEO of Sony/ATV has made it clear that if the Decrees are not amended he will “explore other options”.
The other day I wrote a post on why creating the proper metadata for a song or album is so important. A number of readers wrote in asking for suggestions for some metadata editors, since many DAWs don't provide extensive access to many of the metatags that are needed. Here's a list of 10.
MTV has announced the 2014 nominees for its MTV Video Music Awards. Beyoncé leads this year’s field with 8 nominations, including Video of the Year, Best Female and Best Collaboration. In the list announced Thursday via SnapChat, Eminem and Iggy Azalea had 7 noms each. Also receiving multiple nominations were Jay Z, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Lorde, Sam Smith, Zedd, Avicii, Pitbull, Jason Derulo and Hayley Williams. Full list of MTV Video Music Awards 2014 Nominees:
Ain’t no party like an afterparty, ‘cause an afterparty gets you a bunch of new fans.
How many times after seeing one of your favorite bands were you so jacked up that you wanted to stay out the whole night? Wouldn’t it be great if there was more live music to see? Even better, wouldn’t it be great if it was your band?
Microsoft is spinning off it's Nokia MixRadio streaming music app into a standalone company. The announcement is of deep cuts at the parent company. If the free Pandora like service can survive the move financially the split might be good for MixRadio. The app will still be preloaded on smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone software, but can now also have expand to Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
New Jersey's WFMU.FM is a legendary freeform non-commercial radio station that embodies community from its supportive listeners to its wide-ranging programming. WFMU recently embarked on a new community adventure with their decision to develop an open source version of their currently proprietary CMS (content management system). The new CMS is called Audience Engine and its designed not only to manage content and build community, but to support fundraising.
Music messaging is kind of a weird space since people rarely send music as a message. Two mobile startups are taking what I think are the two main routes for music messaging, sharing music while chatting about it in the same feed and picking out snippets of music that can function as messages. Soundwave has added a form of group music messaging to its mobile app that takes the former route while La-La recently debuted an iOS app that sends music snippets as messages.
UK-based STHoldings launched in 1998 and grew to be an important electronic and related music distributor, both physical and digital, though noted in particular for vinyl distribution. In May they announced the end of services for around 150 labels with the intent to continue working with a group of 30 labels. This is likely good news for those in the 30 but certainly not for those who are losing a unique specialty distribution service at the end of the month.
[Update: Supposedly they announced that they closed entirely. Coverage is ambiguous. I don't know where people are getting this information. Would it be too much to ask for STHoldings to post on their FB page or website? Or for someone to tell us where they got the information?]
Facebook's Creative Labs today launched Mentions, a new app designed to encourage musicians and other public figures to discover and join conversations on Facebook. Mentions lets you see what fans are saying via a new mentions feed, post updates, start a mobile Q&A, find out what’s trending and get streamlined notifications. Austin Mahone, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey (pictured), Big Boi and Prince Royce are among the musicians already using the new app.