Music Business News & Views From Around The Web
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Calling all DIY artists: Kyle Bylin brings us an essay by Jay Frank that gives us some brilliant insight into the modern music industry. Exploring the significant roles of YouTube, Live Touring, and Sync Placement, the focus is placed on the bigger picture. See for yourself as the world of DIY success become demystified on Music Think Tank."The new music business may look different, but it’s clear that a focus allows a greater chance towards DIY success."
(Read On)Related articles Divergent Streams: Reflections and Explorations of the Modern Music Industry The Successful DIY Indie Artist Project On Grizzly Bear And The Spotify Payment Confusion The 3 Most Profitable DIY Revenue Streams, And Why Many Artists Succeed At Only One Of Them Music Blogs Become New A&R, Run Niche Record Labels
Iteration is today's music tech news theme as multiple startups continue to take solid steps forward most of which involve DIY music tools. SoundCloud offers another space to post Songkick concert dates. Piki takes its mobile music app to the desktop. Topspin offers a Dropbox integration and Google+ Hangouts introduced numerous improvements.
SoundCloud x Songkick
Bonus: 4 Places You Should Be Entering All Of Your Concert Dates including Songkick
Piki Goes Desktop
Piki debuted last month as a mobile music app from the Turntable.fm team.
This month Piki launched a web app for desktop users.
And, yes, this was the one non-DIY note in the batch.
Topspin x Dropbox
Earlier this month Topspin introduced ‘Send to Dropbox’ with GoDirect to facilitate usage of Dropbox for music distribution and sharing. In the process they resolve some important issues for mobile access to streaming media.
Google+ Hangouts Iterates
Other tweaks followed but the improvement of live performance seems key for folks using Google+ Hangouts for performances, meet and greets and seminars.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.Related articles Webdoc Announces Deals With SoundCloud, Songkick & Topspin @ #Midem Turntable.fm's Billy Chasen Discusses Piki: Human-Powered Music Discovery App Now On iTunes Zoë Keating Crowdfunds London Concert Using Songkick Detour Songkick Unveils "Tourbox", Simplifies Tour Date Aggregation
Peter Gabriel co-founded CueSongs, a one-stop music licensing hub for online and digital media, today announced a partnership with Audiosocket. Audiosocket’s music catalog will now include CueSongs’ roster of established artists, and will be available in early June to its customers which include Vimeo, Associated Press, Monster Energy and others.
CueSongs signed agreements last year with all the major publishers, as well as working directly with a number of artists such as Groove Armada, Embrace, French Horn Rebellion, Dido, Ziggy Marley and Peter Gabriel.
Gabriel says: “Many of us want to add music to our videos, but have no idea how we might get the right permissions. Whether we be amateurs, semiprofessionals, small businesses or schools etc. there are millions of potential users, who currently have nowhere to go to license their music. CueSongs painlessly connects music licensing to the new world of social media, Youtube, and the web."
YouTube has launched Creator Academy offering free online courses to help serious users - which should probably include every musician trying to grow their audience - create better videos and improve channel performance. Their first offering is Maximize Your Channel. The two week course starts on June 3 and in a few hours over two weeks will teach how to:
- Build subscribers: "Find out how to draw new viewers to your channel and get them to subscribe."
- Make a channel a daily destination for viewers: "Curate and organize content so viewers will find what they’re looking for and keep coming back for more."
- Optimize the channel across every type of screen: TVs, laptops, tablets, mobile, gaming consoles.
Sign up for the course here.
Here's the YouTube intro reel:Related articles YouTube Adds Tools To Help Promote Your Videos YouTube Releases Free Guide For Musicians
Facebook adoption and use by teens is flattening off, according to a new Pew Research study. But Twitter uses is slowly but steadily growing. Eight in ten online teens use some kind of social media, says Pew. Twitter is still not in the same league as Facebook, which attracts 77% of online teens. Still, 24% of online teens now use Twitter, a figure that is up from 16% in 2011. 16% of online adults are Twitter users.
Pew data shows that a segment of teens think of Twitter differently. "When we ask a standalone question about Twitter use, there is consistently a group of users who say they are not users of social networking sites, but they do use Twitter," says Pew. Of the 24% of online teens who use Twitter, 3% say they do not use a social networking site like Facebook.
Read the full Pew report.Related articles Is Facebook Passe'? YouTube Is #1 Social Network For Teens [CHARTS] Social Demographics: Who Uses Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram? [INFOGRAPHIC] How Do Users Spend Time Online? A Pew Study [HINT: Don't Ditch Your MySpace Page]
Urturn provides creative templates or "Expressions" for social media that shift the typical post and like exchange to an encouragement to take "your turn" and express yourself by combining audio and video elements in a shareable, postable form. It's been used for a number of music marketing campaigns since they started out in late 2011. Today they have two big announcements, the raising of a funding round of $13.4 million and the launch of their first mobile app.
Urturn launched in 2011 as Webdoc, a more complicated offering that provided graphics, audio and video options for the creation of an embeddable, shareable HTML5 widget. However there seems to be a real limit to most people's desire to start from a blank canvas and Urturn has gradually simplified the offering focusing on templates that allow you to take such simple actions as choosing a photo and a song to combine in a "music postcard," as shown below:
Apparently this focus, that led to the relaunch of Webdoc as Urturn in January, is working out well. Musicians continue to use Urturn for marketing campaigns with new projects in the works. And now Urturn has reached a major milestone.
$13.4 Million Funding Round
I spoke yesterday with Co-founder Vincent Borel who discussed today's announcement of a $13.4 million funding round, the first public round of investment in Urturn. He was quite excited about the news which includes $10.7 million from Balderton Capital.
When asked what he'd do with all that money, he said they would continue to do what they do which, though it includes marketing campaigns and an onsite network, primarily focuses on giving web users tool for quick self-expression.
Launch of iOS App
One way they're making that possible is with a new iOS app that should be a good match for their Expressions or template approach to combining creative elements. It might also be a more appealing entry way to using Urturn than a desktop environment.
Since a common approach used in Expressions is to take or upload a photo as part of the mix, the ability to take a mobile pic and create an Expression at that point should be a strong combo. With creation and sharing happening on the go, that will make Urturn more appealing to users as well as to those with marketing interests.
Next Up: An API
Borel said one of their next major launches is an API that will open up the creation of Expressions to third parties. For example, it will faciliate creating new templates that can then be shared, reused and become part of what will ideally be an ecosystem of interconnected platforms and parts from Urturn to social networks to websites.
But Borel reiterated that the focus of Urturn was on the users and their desire to create. He wants to see Urturn maintain its openness to all users and to combine self-expression with immediate action. And now Urturn has the funding to take their Expressions to another level.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.
Music Business News & Views From Around The Web
Updated Continuously Under Hypebot's More News Tab Above
Just a month after launch, Twitter's entry into the music space appears to have fallen flat. As if today, the app languishes as the 113th most popular free iOS music app. To provide perspective as to how poorly that means #Music is doing, several years after launch Spotify and Pandora remain #1 and #2; and something called Sing! Karaoke is the 9th most popular free music apps.
Perhaps even worse, none of the tastemakers and musicians that I follow appear to be using the #Music app. And if they are, they are not tweeting about it.
Even if #Music was a disappointment, it was a cheap one - a one-inch punch that Twitter could toss into the world and let succeed or fail on its own terms," writes Russell Brandom in The Verge. "It's the kind of thing giants like Google and Facebook do all the time, but Twitter has only recently come around to."
Perhaps. But it would be sad to see the interesting music discovery tech developed by We Are Hunted and bought by Twitter to power #Music, go to waste.Related articles Twitter Jumps Into Music: Acquires We Are Hunted, Develops App w/Soundcloud, iTunes & VEVO A Look At Spotify's Attempt To Become The 'OS of Music' Is Twitter #Music A Flop? Earl Dibbles Jr. Is Kicking It's Ass Review Of Twitter #Music App for iOS Twitter #Music Is Top Free Music App On iTunes Spotify Adds Most Viral & Played Charts, Track Counts
Pandora today announced the launch of Pandora Premieres, free stations that stream full upcoming album releases up to a week prior to going on sale. Pandora Premieres are updated weekly and will feature previews from both established and emerging artists across multiple genres.
As of this morning, only two albums were featured:
- "Wrote A Song For Everyone" is the 9th solo studio album from former Credence Clearwater Revival front-man John Fogerty. It will be released Tuesday, May 28th on Vanguard Records.
- "Once I Was An Eagle" is the 4th album from British singer-songwriter Laura Marling. It will be released Tuesday, May 28th on Virgin Records.
Wondering how to get connected in the live music scene? Not sure where you should be focusing your promotion efforts? Jesse Cannon lists and exposits four resources you should know about on Music Think Tank.
"Entering dates into the services we have outlined below increases the chance of getting both fans and potential fans to your shows."
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Yesterday's news that Yahoo is buying Tumblr is certainly big for musicians given the widespread usage of Tumblr for music blogs often as an adjunct to an official website. But it also overshadowed Yahoo's relaunch of Flickr, a fading giant making a comeback at a time that might be ideal for musicians who've taken to services like Instagram and/or who see the possiblities in content marketing via Creative Commons licensing.
Yahoo buying Tumblr is big news for those using quick content sharing to market their music and have a more personal, off-the-cuff presence on the web. It's a big music content purchase for Yahoo, in many ways, though its strength is in visual content, often purloined from the web.
This acquisition creates an interesting situation for Flickr which relaunched yesterday with a striking new design and a free TB of storage. Flickr has been considered one of those acquisitions Yahoo botched but has remained an active site including as a free source of photographs for reposting.
Network Effects of Tumblr x Flickr
Take a network of blogs popular among musicians, combine with a free photo-sharing site at a time when music marketing has become increasingly visual and you have the potential for a must-use social network for musicians.
If Flickr becomes a default option for Tumblr photo storage, for example, then more Tumblr users will be drawn to Flickr. That moves music blog audiences into that terrain and so creates a reason for musicians to become more active there as well especially if auto-posting from mobile devices works widely and easily.
Creative Commons Licensing and Content Marketing
Another fairly unique angle at Flickr is the option for content creators to choose among a variety of options including allowing for free usage for "content to use commercially" and "content to modify, adapt, or build upon." These options can be found via advanced search and are at the discretion of the creator.
If Flickr becomes more popular and fresh free content starts showing up that is available for legal reposting then not only can Tumblr networks be fed but blogging and media outlets can repost as well. Flickr's identity as a source for Creative Commons licensed content can help it regain prominence in that regard.
This status offers not only the chance for one's regular photo posts to be discovered via search but also the opportunity to create the equivalent of free stock photos tagged with common keywords. Reposting can include requiring a link back and so this approach would become a form of content marketing.
New Flickr Reviews:
- Flickr Shows Signs of Life With Slick Web Redesign, Killer Android App
- Flickr Gets A Huge Revamp With Hi-Res Image-Filled UI, New Android App, And 1TB Of Free Storage
- The New Flickr: What it Means for Flickr Pro Users
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.Related articles Hipset Shows You The Music Content Facebook's Been Hiding Instagram Users Continue Drop, Flickr On Rise. Does It Matter For Music Marketing?
A new free report from MIDiA Consulting by Mark Mulligan takes a look at some of the challenges facing freemium web services including Pandora, Spotify and Deezer. From "free being too good" to customer churn, "Making Freemium Add Up" is well worth a read to see how freemium businesses are responding to the challenge of making free pay. The report itself is available for free to subscribers of Mark Mulligan's Music Industry Blog.
Mulligan announced the report on his blog explaining that it:
"analyse[d] an intentionally diverse selection of consumer web services, looking at the distribution and scale of their user bases and the relationship of these with their business models...It also includes long term data trend analysis of Spotify, Deezer and Pandora."
The report initially notes that inactive users are a problem for all freemium services because:
"Freemium businesses depend upon harvesting large swathes of users with free tiers and converting sizeable portions of those users to paid products." [p. 2]
"Freemium services are below average [when comparing registered to active users]: all of the tracked freemium services have registered-to-active rates below the ‘industry’ average rate of 52%. All but two of the freemium services (Slacker and Deezer) have rates between 37% to 40%." [p. 3]
A primary concern with inactive users is customer churn, especially when they go away unimpressed. But "freemium inactive user bases are priceless qualified marketing lead databases" [p 4] and so a problem that represents an opportunity.
A different but related issue is that "free can be too good" and thus active users never move up to become paying customers.
In some cases, the freemium approach is supported with advertising which can offset the free being too good problem:
"The four freemium services with the lowest rates of active-to-paid user rates – Soundcloud, (0.1%), Pandora (2%), Skype (3%) and Hulu (8%) – have free tiers that are quite simply good enough for the majority of users, thus reducing the need for many to pay."
"This is a challenge YouTube will have to address as it introduces premium channels. In the case of Soundcloud the premium tiers are aimed mostly at content creators rather than the much larger base of consumers."
"For the other three though, it is simply that the free product is so good that the majority of users do not see a reason to upgrade and all three companies have robust business rationale for maintaining this status quo: Pandora and Hulu depend on advertising revenue, while achieving scale and platform reach is key for Skype owners Microsoft."
A key conclusion is that "social and communication services are well embedded" and have become a daily part of users' lives.
However content services, such as subscription music services, face numerous challenges in becoming a daily choice due to an array of free competing products and the tendency for music services to present a commoditized selection of music making differentiation difficult.
Another important conclusion is that:
"The free-to-paid divide needs narrowing: zero to $9.99 for streaming music on a phone is too great a leap. More needs to be done to bridge the divide."
Possibilities include third-party subsidies, e.g. bundling music with other services, and pricing and packaging experiments including shorter subscription periods.
While the report overall is in no way drawing a bleak picture, the closing line perhaps best sums up the situation facing subscription music services:
"Questions about the commercial sustainability of the freemium model remain but as long as the key players retain the cash commitment and strategic willingness to experiment with the model, the paid content sector will continue to edge further forwards to sustainability."
Lots to consider here as we "edge further forwards" to a deeper understanding!
The rollout began several days ago, but now it's official: Spotify has added song play counts to every artist's top tracks, showing their total number of global plays since October 2008. Initially rolling out for the desktop client, play counts will be added for all Spotify users in the coming weeks. Alongside the track counts, the music streamer has also launched two Spotify Charts.
The Spotify Top 50 is the top 50 most-streamed songs of the previous week, market-by-market. The Social 50 is the top 50 most-shared songs of the previous week. These are the songs that have been most actively shared to other Spotify users, including via Facebook and Twitter.
Updated every Monday, Spotify Charts is is an embeddable widget that can be set to show the most played or most ciral tracks in any of the 28 markets where Spotify is available
Launching today, concert recording and sales app Lively offers a simple way to record and sell live recordings immediately after the show. Available for Android and iOS, Lively is led by startup veteran Dean Graziano.
Graziano's previous ventures include Visible Technologies, which has raised $50 million for reputation management and social media software, and Reach Machines, which merged to create Meteor Solutions and was acquired late last year by Covario.
How Lively Works
Designed to be used with the Apogee Duet audio interface, Lively’s Audio Manager provides the software and online purchase and download tools required for an artist to capture and sell quality audio (and with other gear, video) of their shows.
The Apple and Android app stores take about 30% and Lively splits the remaining revenue 70% artist and 30% to the company. Lively also provides analytics
Concert-goers download the free Lively app onto their Android and iOS devices which allows them to purchase the performance immediately after the concert for $4.99 for audio or $9.99 for both audio and video.
“The Lively concept came about in response to the overwhelming number of fans we observed at concerts who were attempting to use their phones to capture the experience and memory of a live show and share it with their friends,” said Graziano. "Lively has introduced a new way to deliver a high quality experience for the fans and help drive new incremental revenue and exposure for the bands.”
Here's a a video demo:Related articles Apple Is Pulling YouTube From iOS & It's Bad News For Music, Apps Soundhalo Turns Live Concert Videos Into Impulse Buys During The Show Songkick Concerts Upgrades iPhone App, Adds In-App Ticket Sales
NEWS BRIEF: Yahoo! Buys Tumblr + Reaction, iRadio Stalls, Bloom.fm Innovates, Kobalt Inks Prince & More
Music Business News & Views From Around The Web
Updated Continuously Under Hypebot's More News Tab Above
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