June 2nd, 2009

Fix Your Face

The marketing potential of Twitter and the feels-like-free music paradigm converge in a collaborative effort by Blink-182’s drummer, Travis Barker, and turntablist, DJ-AM, Techcrunch’s Robin Wauters posted yesterday.  “Fix Your Face Vol. 2 – Coachella ‘09″ is available for free download in exchange for a Twitter message.  Ah, but wait!  The transaction involves granting access to a third-party application via this website, allowing the app administrators to access and update your data on Twitter.  Okay, okay, this is still a good deal and an honest attempt at making music available without charging for it, although it’s more of a ‘barter’ than a ‘giveaway’ in my mind.  The almost daily emergence of new and creative methods to distribute music is testament to how difficult it has become to get music out there, let alone charge for it.  God forbid.

Source: http://www.wearelistening.org/blog/fix-your-face/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg


Spotify is kicking off a new campaign to persuade users of its free version to upgrade to a premium subscription, with the campaign involving giving away free MP3 downloads by The Third Degree and Empire Of The Sun.

Anyone signing up for a premium package in the next two weeks – we think this is for UK users as it came on a mailout from the company – will be sent the two downloads. One is a reworking of 60s soul song Mercy by The Third Degree, while the other is an exclusive remix of Empire Of The Sun’s debut single Walking On A Dream.

It’s slightly underwhelming if we’re honest – two free remixes effectively – but it shows Spotify’s determination to start converting more free users to its premium package. If, as it claimed recently, its soon-to-launch mobile applications are only usable by premium customers, we sense that may have more of an impact.

Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/04/spotify-offering-free-mp3-downloads-to-premium-sign-ups/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg

On the eve of the annual NARM music sales convention,  Nielsen Soundscan delivered the sobering news that the decline in album sales accelerated to 17.8% in May compared to the same month in 2008.  Last month’s sales were 37.7% lower than in May 2007.

The drop compares to declines in recent month of 11-13.5% and suggested a even sharper sales fall off then most had predicted. However, the figures do not reflect most direct to fan sales from indie and d.i.y. artists via their own sites and at shows.  While not nearly enough to counter the overall decline, this direct artist to fan relationship is one of the bright spots in an often bleak music sales landscape.

Posted By: Thomas v/d Zouwe

Source: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2009/06/album-sales-drop-accelerated-to-18-in-may.html

YouTube is to make a push into the living room with something called YouTube XL – a redesigned version of its site designed to look good on television screens.

TechCrunch reports that a lot of the elements have been stripped out to keep it uncluttered, and its core audience for now appears to be owners of games consoles like PS3 and the Wii, which have web browsers. Meanwhile, there’s a tie-in application called Gmote which, when downloaded to phones running Google’s Android OS, can be used as a remote control for the site.

With YouTube moving more into long-form programming, this could just be the start of the site’s push into living rooms. One intriguing aspect is that here in the UK at least, some TV providers are charging for on-demand access to music videos (for example, Virgin Media). Now, if you have a console, those services will be undercut…

Posted By: Thomas v/d Zouwe

Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/03/youtube-xl-is-targeting-your-television/

A report to be published in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising says that longer, higher quality free music samples engage more listeners and reduce the number of “free riders”.

Ask any food manufacturer, free product samples give consumers the opportunity to try before they buy. This marketing model works well for products as diverse as shampoo and washing powder, instant coffee and bubble gum. But in the digital age these free offerings to often aren’t provided at full quality. Music files are usually compressed or shortened to 30 seconds, for example.

Yanbin Tu in the Department of Marketing at Robert Morris University and Min Lu in the Department of Finance and Economics, have studied digital music samples.

They explored the determinants of the five effectiveness dimensions: evaluation, Willingness-to-Pay (WTP), perceived sample usefulness, sample cost and the likelihood of a consumer being a “free rider”, of online digital music samples.

Their survey analysis suggests that for music samples, the most effective sample is high quality and is a longer rather than a shorter sample. “Digital music samples with a higher quality and longer segments were found to increase the sampler’s music evaluation and make the evaluation process more useful,” the researchers say. Higher music evaluation then led to fewer consumers taking the music sample as a substitute for the original music. The lesson for the industry is that the current practice of offering only short, low quality samples is not ideal.

According to the researchers, an effective digital music free sample strategy should involve high-quality, long samples of the music being marketed. This makes it more likely that the fan will buy the full product, whether that’s a CD or a track download.

Source: Inderscience Publishers (2009, June 1). Free Music, Sampled: Longer, Higher Quality Free Music Samples Engage More Listeners, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 2, 2009.

Posyed By: Thomas v/d Zouwe

Source: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2009/06/longer-higher-quality-music-samples-lead-to-more-sales-study-finds.html

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr turned up onstage at Microsoft’s E3 press conference last night to plug the upcoming music game The Beatles: Rock Band – and more details of the game were also announced.

45 songs will be bundled with the game, with others available to download from a dedicated online store. One – All You Need Is Love – will have all royalties from sales donated to the Doctors Without Borders charity. There’s a trailer too – the first sight of how the game will look. Watch it above and let us know what you think.

Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/02/the-beatles-rock-band-takes-centre-stage-at-e3/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg


Twitter is many things to many people, but we have to admit we never had it pegged down as a new file-sharing tool. However, two new services make it just that: FileTwt and SongTwit.

Both are as simple to use as Twitter itself. FileTwt lets you upload any file of up to 20MB in size, then share it with your entire Twitter network or individual followers. It’s not just for music, of course – it can be used to share photos, documents or any file-type you like. When people click on the link in your Twitter feed, they’re directed to a FileTwt page to download the file. Here’s a sample tweet from a file we uploaded.

SongTwit works slightly differently, in that it’s built for music. You can choose tunes from the service’s own library, by pasting in a specific web address, or by uploading your own MP3 (or various other formats). When people click on the link in your tweet (here’s another sample from us), they don’t get to download the file, but instead get to listen to it in a player powered by Imeem.

Annoyingly, ten minutes after we uploaded our 30-second fragment of a song (which we made ourselves, copyright lawyers!), it’s still “processing, please check back soon”. Maybe by the time you read this, it’ll have finished.

Quick, simple, and the latest Big Threat To The Music Industry? Well, not quite. Yes, people will be able to share copyrighted music using both services. But the 20MB limit on FileTwt, and the streaming structure of SongTwit, mean that this isn’t a problem on the scale of P2P or the new breed of file-hosting sites like RapidShare.

In fact, these Twitter file-sharing services could actually help artists to promote their music. It’s a quick and easy way to upload a new song (or demo, for that matter) and get it out to their fanbase. You can imagine a popular artist working in the studio and posting fragments to keep fans informed, for example. And while some labels will prefer to do this through their own sites and content management system, many more artists will be pleased at the chance to do it without that investment.

So, Twitter file-sharing isn’t going to kill recorded music, and it’s not going to revolutionise digital distribution either. It’s just another neat thing for the toolbox of digital-savvy artists looking for ways to connect with their fans.

Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/01/analysis-twitter-is-the-latest-music-file-sharing-platform/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg

We talk about governments reaching agreement with ISPs and the music industry over what to do about online piracy, but perhaps we should make sure governments agree with themselves first. German minister for culture Bernd Neumann has criticised his own ministry of justice for not doing enough to combat illegal file-sharing.

“Other countries in Europe, such as Sweden and France, have now shown how to put a stop to Internet piracy,” he said. “We will see how successful the French model proves to be in investigating and prosecuting copyright infringements. Of course, this model cannot be copied exactly due to the different legal situations in the two countries, but it is unacceptable that nothing is being done here in Germany.”

German lawmakers have previously ruled out introducing a three-strikes style graduated response scheme to boot persistent file-sharers off the internet.


Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/01/german-culture-minister-slams-own-government-for-inaction-over-piracy/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg

kiss-iphone-lighterWhere there’s money, there’s Gene Simmons looking to hoover up as much of it as possible. Such is the case with iPhone applications, and specifically virtual lighters, which let you hold up your iPhone and show off a virtual flame to show potential muggers your exact location devotion to a band.

Anyway, Kiss is jumping on board the virtual lighter bandwagon, through a deal with US firm Spark of Blue. The app will cost $0.99 in the US, and its blurb promises that the “realistic flame sways and moves as you move your hand”, with a selection of riffs playing in the background.

What’s more, Kiss isn’t the only artist working with Spark of Blue – apparently virtual lighters for The Who, Lil Wayne and Poison will be hitting the App Store soon. Want the Kiss app? You know you do! Fire up its page on the App Store by clicking here.


Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/01/kiss-launches-iphone-virtual-lighter-app-the-who-and-poison-to-follow/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg

emusic-sonyDespite all the major labels signing up to DRM-free distribution on iTunes, Amazon and other stores, they still haven’t agreed deals with eMusic. That’s about to change according to the New York Times, which says Sony Music Entertainment will announce a deal with eMusic later today.

However, the article says it will only cover tracks that are more than two years old, and that eMusic will “slightly raise prices and reduce the number of downloads for some of its monthly plans” in return. eMusic boss Danny Stein says the price hike is supported by its existing indie labels. “We have been looking for a catalyzing event to do it, and we think introducing this vast, quality catalogue from Sony is that event,” he says.

Meanwhile, Sony’s digital boss Thomas Hesse has made optimistic noises about the deal. “We think the model of buying a set amount of music each month under an MP3 allowance is an attractive subscription option for consumers. We are supportive of offerings that encourage fans to dig deep into the repertoire of our artists and discover the richness of our catalog.”


Source: http://musically.com/blog/2009/06/01/emusic-signs-first-major-label-but-strings-attached/

Posted by: Annechien Hardenberg