It was a roller coaster week on Wall Street and music related stocks went along for the ride. Here is the price of the top 10 music, music technology and related stocks at the close of the U.S. exchanges on Friday:
Chromecast, Google's streaming media device, has added support for two new audio and music apps. Player FM for podcasts and the Rocket Music Player join Pandora, MTV, Rhapsody and Rdio and a handfull of other music and audio apps on platform.
Apparently we're in the midst of web awards season. The Shorty Awards for Social Media just wrapped up and Questlove dominated both the Music and Singer categories. Didn't know he had that big a reputation as a singer. Now all eyes turn to the Webby Awards which are currently in the voting stage. Though the Webby Awards' site navigation is totally fracked, I think I've figured out who the music nominees are.
A new report on the relationship of posting videos on YouTube and album sales claims that posting on YouTube reduces album sales. Taking the Warner Music YouTube blackout period in 2009, researchers apply advanced statistical methods to find causation and then total up losses using a "rough back-of-the-envelope calculation." This innovative use of mixed methods leads them to conclude that lots of sales of top-charting albums are being missed by labels who post on YouTube.
Some popular social media marketing tactics that have helped increase noise on the web are Facebook's newest target for elimination or downgrading in the news feed. The three tactics in question are "like-baiting," repetitive posting of content and links to offsite spam. The perpetrators? Much of this spam is "published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would." While most music marketers aren't guilty of offsite spam, like-baiting and repetitive content posting is another matter.
YouTube has earned itself a slot amongst premiere social networks. It creates a platform for users to create, learn, see, and share interactively with an infinite audience. YouTube upped it's game significantly by opening the door to user revenue opportunity - if you're not taking full advantage of this open ended resource, you're going to want to keep reading.
(UPDATED) PRS For Music has released its overall numbers for 2013. The U.K. Performing Rights Organization increased their annual revenue by collecting £596 million in 2013 to distribute to its collective estimated 100,000 members. Public performance royalties were the highest for the PRO with a total of £162.3 million. The majority of this was from U.K. television and radio broadcasts. A new law was also passed this week within the U.K. Government to ensure that U.K. collection societies comply with a regulated “Codes of Practice” when negotiating performance licenses with businesses.
Apple has banned UK based streaming music startup Bloom.fm from advertising to attract new users on Apple's iAd network. The ban reportedly came because the tech giant sees Bloom.fm, as "a competitive service to iTunes Radio and it is against Apple policy".
(UPDATED) The Agency Group and direct to fan platform PledgeMusic have announced the formation of a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the deal, TAG will refer select its 2000+ artists to PledgeMusic's direct-to-fan platform to create both fan-funded album and touring campaigns.
Just 14 months after launch, music marketing platform Zankme is shutting down. In an email to users the founder wrote, "Zankme is getting ready to shut its doors.. Zankme will stay open for the next 30 days, and on May 10th, 2014, be unavailable permanently."
Ideally you've already heard of Heartbleed and are acting accordingly. If not, you need to know that a "crypto bug" in OpenSSL has been identified that, if exploited, "allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users." Yeah, yeah, sounds scary but what's a musician to do? It's time to start changing passwords on such services as SoundCloud, Gmail, Tumblr and Facebook. Then be prepared to repeat the process.
Leading UK music video tv channel Box TV is bringing Spotify to what used to be the small screen aka the television. In what is apparently just the beginning of a partnership, the two are launching "The Official Box+ Streaming Chart" which is described as a "brand new music TV show." What's kind of weird is that they don't really tell you anything about the show leaving me to assume it's all music videos like what I imagine the rest of their channels to be. But that's just a guess.
You might think a two-time Grammy-nominee more than once named America’s Best DJ by DJ Times would be immune to label pressures. But as DJ and producer Kaskade explained in a series of tweets last month, that’s not the case. The frequent festival headliner (real name: Ryan Raddon) announced he is “in between labels,” leaving behind former label/publisher/mangement company Ultra Music (part owned by major label Sony):
In honor of the first weekend of Coachella, StubHub has released the top 16 music festivals on the ticket marketplace. Then using the top 16 and identifying which perform in the most lineups, StubHub ranked the acts that had the most year over year growth - the hottest acts.
So often we are met with laundry lists a mile long of what to do when embarking out on a new career move. Everyone has opinions, recommendations, and people they swear by, but what may prove to be most valuable are the warning signs you may not have seen otherwise. Choosing your manager may prove to be the most important decision of your entire career -- now would be a good time to do your homework.
Smule, the maker of popular social music apps including Sing! Karaoke, Ociana and Magic Piano has raised $16.6 million in new funding. The fuding was led by Roth Capital Partners along with Bessemer Venture, Shasta Ventures, and Granite Ventures. Smule has now raised a total of $42 million since launching in 2008.
Billboard has named its 2104 Music Awards nominees; and Imagine Dragons and Lorde each scored in 12 of the 40 categories. The nominees are chosen by some mystical analysis of “key fan interactions with music” between March 2013 and March 2014 along with chart status which includes record sales, broadcast radio airplay, ticket sales, streaming and social media.
Timbre, a local concert discovery app that has been a real leader in this area of tech activity, was acquired last week by Seatwave, a secondary ticketing marketplace based in London. Seatwave is not bringing on the team who will remain at Timbre parent company Intrepid Pursuits. The purchase price was not announced. Timbre will continue as an app while Intrepid Pursuits will turn to other mobile projects.
Deezer has expanded its free music offering and announced a new partnership with Samsung. Its the first time smartphone manufacturer has teamed with a music streaming service. EU based global music service Deezer has said it will launch in the U.S. this year. Along with free unlimited on-demand access on desktop and tablet, Deezer's new features include:
Yeah, the extra photos and tagging that Twitter recently introduced are definite boons to music marketers. But they're not stopping there. Things are getting all crazy, Facebook-ish, "media forward" some people call it. Lots of new marketing potential emerging on Twitter but writers invoking Facebook helped me realize how Twitter, too, may already be curtailing organic reach.
Living Indie is a live streaming service that works with indie bands to present live video streams of concerts for internet-connected devices. Until now they've been focused on shows in Spain. This weekend they live stream their first London show featuring Alaska Campus. It's a great deal for musicians since Living Indie provides their services for free, sending a video crew to the show, with the hopes of building a monetizable platform for viewing.
I first wrote about them in October 2012 on this blog, but the world now knows that a combination of strong, socially conscious messaging, a well-defined visual persona, an electrifying live show, and great music characterize the hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Amplified by impeccable marketing execution and excellent timing, they have become the poster child group for DIY indie artists around the world and put Seattle back on the map of music industry innovation.
YouTube’s global head of entertainment Alex Carloss is telling creators to move beyond building a large audience and focus on building a fanbase. “An audience tunes in when they're told to, a fanbase chooses when and what to watch,” Carloss told atendees of the MIPTV conference in Cannes. “An audience changes the channel when their show is over. A fanbase shares, it comments, it curates, it creates.”