Labbler is a relatively new music industry social network that is now in public beta. It plans to connects "Artists, Labels, Booking Agencies, Venues, Media and Fans as well as providing tools for all business needs of these groups." But though the sites looks nice and these groups of people all do need to connect in various ways, it's unclear why they would use Labbler to do so.
As a music industry network the biggest problem facing Labbler is that artists and business people are already networking through a variety of services including LinkedIn and Twitter. But music industry specific networks have failed to break through and no one has been able to become the LinkedIn or Twitter of the music industry.
That means the challenge of giving people a reason to use Labbler looms much larger than effective design and operation of such a website.
“You watch an old film and see how people would dance together in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. You’d go out and people would switch partners and it was a way of social interaction,” Hansen said. “It’s something that was part of what brought people together. Playing music in the home is another aspect of that that’s been lost. Again, I’m not on a campaign to get people to take up songs and play music in their home or anything. But it is interesting to me, the loss of that, what it means.”
In a streaming environment, album purchasers who were just casual listeners (and never became fans) will likely generate less revenue. But if the artist can ultimately reach many more listeners, convert more fans, and do so with significantly less capital and more autonomy than would otherwise have been required, I’d consider that an opportunity worth pursuing.
Howdy folks, and interesting infographic detailing the competitive strengths and weaknesses of iTunes, Amazon and Google Music provided to us by the folks at Neo Mammalian Studios. It is a bit biased towards Google Music but does display some interesting facts folks. Enjoy!
It's been a while since we heard new user numbers from the "YouTube of audio" startup Soundcloud (though not much of a startup these days), so Le Web in Paris was as good a time as any to announce new user numbers.
Rumors of the death of the digital music industry are greatly exaggerated, says former Last.fm executive Matthew Hawn. While there may not be much room for profiting from recorded music any more, an entire generation of companies are building a different, more exciting future.
Via Yvan Boudillet
Music technology company BandPage, which was previously focused on Facebook tab development, today announced BandPage Everywhere to bring Facebook integration and other key features to all of an artist’s sites across the web.
BandPage Everywhere allows musicians to update their bio, music tracks, photo gallery, tour dates and videos from one central place and then have it update on a number of other sites. Additionally, the app integrates Facebook Open Graph so users can RSVP to events and favorite certain songs, and those actions will be shared back to the social network, even if they are taken on off-Facebook. This adds a social layer that many musicians would be unlikely to implement on their own.
BandPage was one of the first page app developers to integrate Open Graph and allow automatic sharing to Timeline. We thought this might help the app maintain engagement after the default landing tab option was removed from pages, but it turns out it wasn’t enough. As we wrote about earlier this week, page owners and developers who do not actively promote their page tabs have seen an extreme drop-off in monthly active users. BandPage in particular lost more than 90 percent of its traffic, according to our AppData tracking service. This left the developer in a vulnerable position following a $16 million Series B round of funding last August that had been primarily driven by the massive reach the company seemed to have.
Now BandPage hopes to recover by expanding beyond Facebook and providing musicians with an easy way to maintain their presence across different sites. We’d like to see the company introduce more custom Open Graph actions to allow users to share what songs they listen to, videos they watch and other activity back to Facebook. BandPage should also consider making more mobile-optimized experiences.
More about the new BandPage Everywhere extensions is available here.
Could streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Last.fm and Grooveshark live entirely on advertising alone?
Seems like a seriously speculative bet, but not to Alexis van de Wyer, president at Adswizz. He thinks that Spotify and its streaming peers have been so focused on audience growth that they haven't really wrapped their heads around sophisticated ad-based monetization. "What this industry has seen is a huge amount of audience growth," van de Wyer told Digital Music News. "But so far we haven't necessarily seen the monetization. Or when there is monetization, the costs are growing faster than the revenues." Which has led to van de Wyer's theory that ad-based companies like Spotify and Pandora could totally survive on advertising alone - and be profitable - if they successfully dedicated the resources and brainpower to making this happen. "I've seen it, I know that it's possible," van de Wyer told us.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced on Wednesday during an Ad Age Digital conference in New York City that it is partnering with companies such Coca-Cola and will build branded apps for them within the music platform. The music-streaming service held its own press event hours later to further discuss the partnership with Coca-Cola.
“We are taking the music agenda to the next level with Coca-Cola,” Ek told attendees. “This is a huge milestone for us. This will bring awareness to more people around the world about Spotify and enable them to share music with family and friends.”
Although some expected a Spotify iPad app launch at the press event, Ek said it wouldn’t debut today.
“It’s in the works,” Ek said. “Today’s focus is on our partnership with Coca-Cola.”
Coca-Cola will not only use Spotify as the key underlying technology to support its music strategy, it will integrate the service into its Facebook presence and Timeline. The team will also be dedicated global partners in 2013 for a new campaign to be unveiled later in the year.
Emmanuel Seuge, head of global sports and entertainment marketing at Coca-Cola, noted that the move is a strategic partnership more than an advertising deal.
“This is not an advertising deal and we don’t disclose the amount of investment anyway,” Seuge said. “This is more of a strategic partnership. Our logo is important, but we want to be a part of the conversation with music fans. We are going to push our content more than our logo.”
Today Facebook co-opts the best thing about Myspace pages — rapid music discovery — by prominently adding a “Listen” button to musician Pages right next to the Like button. When clicked, the artist’s jams will start to play in your most frequently used Facebook music streaming app such as Spotify or MOG. If you haven’t authenticated any music apps, Facebook will prompt you to set up the one that’s most popular with your friends, or around the world.
Now with just a single click of an immediately visible button, visitors to Facebook Pages can sample an musician’s sound and decide if they want to “Like” them. The button will help artists get more people to fall in love with their recorded music, and while streaming royalties are small, it could get inspire people to buy high margin t-shirts and concert tickets.
The Listen button has just been rolled out to all musician Pages (try it here on Radiohead’s Page), but will only be available from the web for now. Hopefully a mobile version that fires up your native streaming apps is on the way. Down the line, Facebook could even add a similar “Watch” button to TV show and movie Pages that would launch Hulu or Netflix. While most engagement with Pages happens in the news feed, these buttons could make sure Page visits to media entities actually turn into media consumption.
Depending on what streaming service you use you’ll hear a slightly different playlist. Spotify plays through the five most popular songs of an artist in a row, whereas Rdio starts playing a mix of songs through an artist’s “radio station”. Other apps like Slacker, Earbits, and Deezer are all compatible. I think Spotify has the right idea playing the most popular tracks first, and other apps might do well to put an artist’s best foot forward as well.
Some developers might not be singing along with the latest feature, though. Musician profile apps like BandPage, ReverbNation, and FanRx have classically been the way you listen to music on a artist’s Facebook Page. But those apps are buried under one more click deep through app tiles located directly under the Listen button. In fact, BandPage’s app often labels itself “listen”. Facebook downplayed the threat when I asked, but if someone wants to hear a band right away, they’re likely to click the new Listen buttons and traffic to musician profile apps could suffer.
Overall, this is a smart build-out of Facebook’s music partnerships from f8, and the synchronous “Listen With” feature it added in January. This could make Facebook Pages your first stop when you want to check out a new band. It’s a great experience because now it doesn’t matter what app you or a band prefers. You just go to their Facebook Page, find the Listen button that’s in the same place every time, and crank it up.
Deezer has seen a growth of 114% from December 2011 to December 2012, versus Spotify’s 86% growth. This is surprising, given Spotify’s positioning as the #1 paid subscription music service; however, it’s important to remember what has happened in the past year.
Anyone who thinks investment in music is 'drying up' clearly hasn't looked at the numbers. Because with less than two weeks left in 2012, investment in music-related startups and companies has reached $619.3 million, a near-34 percent gain over 2011.
Spotify wasn't the biggest catch, either. Deezer claimed a monstrous $130 million round, while Sonos received a handsome $135 million in financing. Those rounds, coupled with Spotify's $100 million, accounted for roughly half the total pot.
Here's the rundown of every financing round that we reported in 2012, typically confirmed by the participants (company, investors, or both), or filed publicly. Other times, figures were reaffirmed by publications like the Wall Street Journal.
In many ways the foundation of the potential success of Xbox Music is built on the fact that music has long permeated the Xbox experience. Even as Microsoft has developed Xbox Music, they've been extending the Xbox brand to not only connect Microsoft entertainment offerings but to tie together hardware via Xbox Live. As Tyler Hayes notes, "Who would have thought a few years ago that the Xbox would be a trojan horse for music, or that it could actually pull it off?"
Tyler Hayes asked "Why Is No One Talking About The New Xbox Music?" back in June when Microsoft first announced the new music streaming service that launched in October. It reminded me that I often wonder why more people don't talk about the Xbox and music. Music is a huge part of the Xbox experience due to its presence in games and movies as well as the Kinect's growing use in both music creation and in dance with music.
At an event in New York City today, Spotify announced a new Discover section to help users find new music on the service, a Collection section for holding all your music, and Follow, a place to keep up to date on celebrities. Spotify CEO and Founder Daniel Ek admitted that users say Spotify is great when you know what you want to listen to, but not so good when you don't — the genesis of the company's new features. Some examples of content boxes on the new Discover page are "You listen to David Guetta and Skrillex.
You might like Avicii," and "Since you follow The Knife, we recommend Deep Cuts for your collection." Ek said, "Tiles of cover art may not mean much... We wanted to give users the context that's missing." There also appears to be a recommendation engine for showing you artists that are touring near you.
The first artist to get this multiple-instance listening room treatment is world-famous DJ David Guetta, whose “PlayGuetta” room exists as its own Spotify app and also as a room within the Soundrop Spotify app. And according to what Soundrop CEO Inge Sandvik told Evolver.fm, these rooms could also appear on the artists’, labels’ and any other website, although that was not the case with PlayGuetta.
“The room in the PlayGuetta app is also the room in our app,” said Soundrop spokesman Thomas Ford. “From our perspective, it’s really about what you can do with this room concept. And of course it gives fans more ways to access David’s music and really connect with such a seminal artist.”
It's a tricky ATM for artists, but major labels claim they're still spending massive amounts to break new acts. That is, between $750,000 and $1.4 million, depending on the artist in question. Here's the typical breakdown, as supplied this morning by global label trade group IFPI.
In a recent study conducted by Recommend.ly, Facebook Pages for musicians and bands have led the way in collecting the most fans compared to any other personal brand Page (celebrities, public figures, etc) throughout the past 3-4 years.
Number of minutes played in Zynga’s games over the last three years: 1.8 trillion. [Zynga]
GamesBeat numbers show 145 companies raised $1.5 billion in 2011.
Free-to-play reality: More than 80 percent of revenue comes from less than 10 percent of users. [Digi-Capital]
Games as a percentage of all apps in the top-25 ranks in the U.S. Apple App Store in May 2012: 88 percent. [Flurry]
The average game industry acquisition was $30 million in 2011. [Digi-Capital]
Percentage of surveyed adults who played at least one mobile game in the last month: 44 percent. [PopCap]
Year-to-date sales drop for U.S. physical retail games: 25 percent. [NPD]
Microsoft stats: 67 million Xbox 360 consoles sold since 2005, 19 million Kinects sold since 2010, and $56 billion in revenue generated from its game business. [Microsoft]
Games are expected to grow from $52 billion in revenue in 2011 to $70 billion in 2017. [DFC Intelligence]
The average investment in a game startup is $7 million. [Digi-Capital]
Social games generate $1 per user per month. Real-money online gambling generates $300 per month. [Betable]
Social games are a $7.3 billion business. Online gambling generates $32 billion in revenue per year. Casinos report revenues of $426 billion. [Betable]
Percentage of Zynga’s revenue that comes from advertising: 8.7 percent.
Price Sony paid for cloud gaming startup Gaikai: $380 million.
Price Zynga paid for OMGPOP: $183 million plus bonus.
Price Nexon paid for 14 percent of NCSoft: $688 million.
Games EA’s branded online game service published in fiscal year 2012: 25.
Zynga’s monthly active users: 244.0 million. [AppData]
World’s most popular social game: Zynga Poker, with 33.5 million monthly active users. [AppData]
Gamers spent $3.4 billion on all types of games in the first quarter of 2012 in the U.S. About $1.5 billion was spent on physical retail games, and $1.38 billion was spent on digitally distributed games. Gamers spent $525 million on used and rental games.
Number of new games submitted to Apple App Store per day: 62. [148apps.biz]
Number of active games on the Apple App Store: 119,408. [148apps.biz]
Number of active apps on the Apple App Store: 679,348. [148apps.biz]
The most popular category for game investments: mobile games. [Digi-Capital]
Market value for key game companies: Tencent Holdings $55.6 billion Facebook $57.7 billion Activision Blizzard $13.3 billion Zynga $3.95 billion Electronic Arts $3.8 billion THQ $35.7 million
Like a combination of Name That Tune and Draw Something, Let’s Sing is a fun, social game that’s good — for those who aren’t tone deaf. The app will give you three songs of varying difficulties to sing for your friends, or to strangers, with the understanding that you’ll only warble “doos” and “dahs” or something similar. If you need a refresher, you can hear a preview of the song. On the guessing side, stumped players can buy the vowels to a song or take a pass. You can also buy the songs you sing from iTunes straight from the app. While this may be a game you only want to play in private, it’s a whole lot of fun to pass tunes back and forth. Strangers can reach out to you for a match as well, but you’re well within your rights to delete a game. Free, for iOS devices.
Former rapper Troy Carter's career is an unlikely and serendipitous success story.
Funded by, among others, Google Ventures, Founders Fund, Menlo Ventures and TomorrowVentures, the Backplane aims to transform how the entertainment industry interacts with consumers. Currently, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the other outposts of a celebrity's digital career are separate. The Backplane aims to gather content and interaction into one hub, which could completely alter the economics of Hollywood: revenue that once flowed to corporations will flow to artists. "Up until this point, we've been data dumb," Carter says. "If a kid goes and buys a CD at Best Buy, we have no idea who the person is, how many times they listen to it, or anything like that. But we're building to the point where one day we're going to have access to all of the data. There will be a time where we'll be able to release music through the Backplane, where we'll be able to release music videos through there, we're going to be able to sell all our tickets through there. Over a period of time, we'll be able to build that audience so they'll know exactly where to come."
Traditional structures aren't set up to challenge an artist with the resources and tech savvy of a Lady Gaga. "It's a classic innovator's dilemma," says Miles Beckett, co-creator and producer of hit YouTube series lonelygirl15 and now the CEO of EQAL, a company that "builds influencer networks around celebrities and brands". "If you have a huge organisation, even if the leaders want to change, it's very challenging to move in a different direction. There aren't open incentive structures to fund little business units. They're set up to take a couple of years developing a TV show. Every single component of that process, from the development team to the content team to the ad team, exists to make a product slowly, rather than, 'We're going to post a video Monday, and change it Wednesday, and the marketing department is going to have to respond quickly.'"
Songza is a non-interactice music streaming (ie. internet radio) site that is seamlessly integrated with Facebook; but rather than some fancy computer algorithm determining song selection, they have actual music fans, writers, and musicians create and share playlists to fit specific moods or themes.
Artists who’ve created and posted Songza playlists have seen significant spikes in engagement on their Facebook pages– and since Songza can access the MediaNet catalog, CD Baby artists’ music can be added to the mix (if you’re opted into the “anything that pays” distribution level). Plus, they pay you through SoundExchange for plays. It’s all pretty simple.
You get to share something personal with fans right on Facebook, a playlist of your favorite music! (And they won’t mind if you slip one of your tracks into the mix). If they like the mix, they’ll comment, give their opinions, and share with friends.
Here are Songza’s recommend steps:
1. Think of a great playlist idea. It could be a playlist of your favorite songs, songs from artists you admire, songs from bands in your hometown, or great workout songs. Whatever. Just make it something you think your fans will enjoy.
2. Create the playlist on Songza. Go to http://songza.com/contribute and choose from a catalog of 15mm songs, including songs distributed through CD Baby. Feel free to include your own songs, if you want.
3. “Release” the playlist, grab the URL, and post it to your Facebook page with a very brief message.
Pretty simple. Try it out and let us know how it goes!