The partnership will add relevant videos to each artist’s profile page, giving users a wider variety of content to ‘scrobble’ – the term coined by Last.fm to describe the act of recording a track as part of your ongoing listening habits.
The videos will be available to European users today, although the company says support for additional countries will “come very soon.”
Each artist page currently shows a short list of the top tracks scrobbled by users through the Last.fm service. Music videos supplied by MUZU.TV will be integrated into this chart – rather than being listed separately – and will also be available on the webpage assigned to each individual track.
On the flip side, support for automatic Last.fm scrobbling will be added to the MUZU.TV website so that videos will always be recorded as part of users’ listening habits, regardless of where they are on the Web.
Last.fm is one of the only services that provides a comprehensive and seamless way of recording everything that you listen to. This data was originally used to recommend new tracks and artists to listen to, using both the Last.fm website and its dedicated mobile apps.
The service has since been integrated into other music services, particularly on-demand streaming alternatives such as Rdio and Spotify. Last.fm has never offered users this sort of control – instead relying on automated playlists similar to Pandora – and has lost some attention as a result.
Last December, the service practically abandoned this service in almost all countries except the US, UK and Germany. Web-based radio listening remains free in these countries, but it’s now a paid-for option elsewhere, as it already is in its mobile apps.
Last.fm doubled its efforts, however, by launching a brand new iOS app called Last.fm Scrobbler, as well as a striking new Xbox 360 app just last month.
The addition of MUZU.TV music videos is significant, but Last.fm needs a serious overhaul if it’s to stay relevant in the ever-expanding and evolving range of Web-based music streaming services.
Source: TheNextWeb (by Nick Summers)
Google yesterday announced Play Music All Access, a music service with subscription features that competes with Spotify and Rdio — building on Google’s existing music store and cloud service that competes with iTunes and Amazon. That’s a compelling mix of features, but Google still faces plenty of challenges as it attempts to establish itself as a credible competitor in the rapidly changing music space.
“For now, we have a version 1.0 of what’s possible,” Google Play lead product manager Paul Joyce told The Verge. “We had a vision and it’s taken us time to build out that vision. We look at All Access as a complement to the locker, which we felt we had to build first.”
“WE HAD A VISION AND IT’S TAKEN US TIME TO BUILD OUT THAT VISION.”
But while the streaming service came second, it’s clear Google felt pressure to enter the subscription market as consumer music spending shifts. “Music subscriptions are the fastest growing segment of the music business,” said Joyce. “There are people who will always buy music, and people who will always rent. Increasingly there will be both.”
The combination of a store, cloud storage, and streaming service means that All Access is currently unique in allowing customers to browse, play, and manage both purchased tracks and subscription tracks in a single unified interface — something that no other service currently offers. “You can see how a subscription model works with your own personal collection, and if you like it, we would love for you to pay $9.99 a month,” said Joyce. “But if you decide you don’t need all that music, your going-away prize is a free level of service where all your music is safe in the cloud.”
That’s a pretty good deal, and it gets better if you sign up before June 30th — the price falls to $7.99, although Joyce wouldn’t say if it would ever go up again. “It’s $7.99 a month,” said Joyce. “Forever and promises are difficult. But people have the same question about our free music locker.”
But getting people to take advantage of that deal won’t be easy — especially since Google seems to be artificially limiting its potential market by keeping Play Music safely within the boundaries of its own ecosystem. There’s no iOS app, for example, and social integration is limited to Google+ — even though Spotify famously received a huge boost in users by integrating with Facebook. In an increasingly multiplatform world, a music service that only works in the US on a single platform and doesn’t allow for seamless sharing seems seems destined for niche status.
“I THINK WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED.”
But Joyce said his team is exploring all their options. “We’ll always evaluate other platforms and other opportunities,” said Joyce. “Our general goal is to have everyone use our service. I don’t think it should be a requirement that people have a specific piece of hardware to use our service — that’s not a strategic aim. I think we’re just getting started.”
Joyce also hinted at future integration with YouTube, which has turned into a dominant music service in its own right. “YouTube’s hugely successful and we’re all part of one company,” he said. “Can Google build something better that involves aspects of YouTube with things that Play is doing? I think that’s something we’re all aware of, and directionally that’s likely.”
Source: The Verge (by Nilay Patel)
In an uncommon move to tinker with the formula used to certify Gold and Platinum awards, the Recording Industry Association of America on Thursday announced it has started to incorporate on-demand streams towards its calculations for certifying the prestigious awards.
The change, only the fifth major alteration in the methodology since the inception of the program in 1958, is meant to recognize how important digital distribution has become and how technology has permanently altered the way people access music.
The last time the RIAA altered its methodology was in 2006, when it added master ringtones. Two years before that, the organization began counting digital downloads. And prior to that, CDs and cassette tapes were added to the mix. Otherwise, the formula for Gold and Platinum certifications remained largely untouched — 500,000 unit sales for Gold, 1 million for Platinum and 10 million for Diamond.
Among the on-demand streaming services the RIAA will accept are MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music and others. In addition, video streams from MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music and YouTube will also count. Under the new formula, the RIAA will distribute awards to 56 new titles, including 30 Seconds To Mars’s “This Is War,” Emeli Sandé’s “Next To Me,” and Cher Lloyd’s “Oath,” Thursday night at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ annual Musiz Biz conference in Los Angeles.
For the RIAA, deciding that on-demand streams should be recognized was the easy part. The hard part was in figuring out how many streams should be equivalent of a single sale. The group agonized for more than a year over that question, said RIAA Chairman and Chief Executive Cary Sherman.
If it looked at, for any single song, how many on-demand streams would generate as much revenue for rightsholders as a download sale, the answer would be somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. The RIAA rejected that path because it would be “impossible” to arrive at a number, given that on-demand streaming contracts are confidential and can vary considerably, Sherman said. In addition, such contracts expire and change continually, rendering any formula based on current contracts obsolete in a short period of time.
“We also felt that pure economics should not be the basis for acknowledging artistic achivement,” Sherman said.
Instead, the group opted to rely on average consumption patterns — for every download of any particular song sold, how often is it also being streamed on demand? The answer: 100.
Eleven new songs, including 30 Seconds To Mars’ “This Is War,” Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games,” earned awards because streams tipped them over the marks.
Source: Billboard (by Alex Pham)
Well, this partnership has now been expanded beyond the US, and is available to anyone in the UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.
Just to recap, Shazam is one of the most well-known media discovery and tagging services, letting users identify the name of a song or artist that’s playing simply by activating the app on their smartphone. These tags are stored on a user’s device, and lets them go and stream or download the song elsewhere when they find the time.
With the Rdio integration, however, this makes it easier for someone to play the song directly on their phone. The user must, of course, have the Rdio app installed too. While Rdio Unlimited subscribers can listen to the full song, new users can sign-up to a 14-day trial to hear the complete track, after which they’ll need to commit to the monthly $9.99 fee to continue to use this feature on their mobile.
So now, if you tag a song in Shazam and the song is available on Rdio, you will see a “Listen Now on Rdio” tab below the main artwork. If Rdio isn’t installed on your device, you’ll be taken to the relevant page on Google Play.
Users don’t have to install any app update, as the feature has been pushed live automatically already. This works in addition to the existing Spotify (since January 2011) and YouTube integration, though as you’ll note, Rdio takes precedent at the top.
“Working together in six major countries across the globe, we are now providing more than 120 million users of the free version of Shazam the ability to instantly listen to an entire song they just identified exclusively on Rdio,” said Jason Titus, CTO of Shazam.
Launched in 2010, Rdio gives on-demand access to more than 20 million songs, and is currently available in 24 countries.
Source: TNW (by Paul Sawers)
During Disrupt, Lady Gaga’s manager and Atom Factory founder, Troy Carter, suggested that the area ripe for disruption in the music industry by technology is terrestrial radio.
For those who still get in their car to listen to music, Carter feels like there are openings for startups to build on top of the platform to bring people what they really want to hear. He shared: “I think the opening right is figuring out terrestrial radio, that’s the one space that Sirius could have done it with subscription radio, but you look at Clear Channel and CBS, it’s not what people want. People just get in a car and turn on a local station. It’s going to be interesting when you get in your car and you’re listening to a 17-year-old kid in Russia.”
While calling out Sirius as somewhat of a failure in disrupting radio the way that we thought it would, it comes as a bit of a shock that a music mogul like Carter wants to re-focus on radio.
If you’re able to empower DJs all over the world to share the music that they love, and tie it with the power of broadcasting it over the airwaves, more bands and artists can get the attention that they deserve. Currently, big radio stations control what people hear, so democratizing that system could be a massive opportunity.
A company like Slacker Radio has the type of product that could play a role in what Carter suggests.
In regards to the state of the music industry, Carter thinks that technology has always pushed things forward and is an essential part of selling albums and concert tickets: “I don’t think tech has screwed the music industry, the music industry has to adjust to change. When people in remote villages throughout the world can access music, it’s a good thing.” he said.
Source: TechCrunch (by Drew Olanoff)
Now that Twitter Music is finally out, we know what it is and what it isn’t.
It’s not a music streaming service, and Twitter isn’t (directly) selling music with it. It’s a music discovery service, similar in a way to Pandora, but leveraging the vast Twitter community that, as we all know, often takes to Twitter to discuss music or interact with favorite musicians.
And while it may turn out to be a useful service for users — it’s too early to tell, but I like the look and feel of it — it might turn out to be an even more important service for musicians.
The thing is, Twitter Music is practically making you follow musicians on Twitter. The more you follow, the better Twitter’s musical suggestions for you will be, and then, going through the “Suggested” section, you’ll follow some more.
I don’t follow many musicians on Twitter, but in the first hour of using the service, I followed several dozen new ones. And I reckon most people who will be flocking to the service in the coming days will do the same.
If that premise is true, and if Twitter Music turns out to be successful, we’ll see a major rise in the number of people following musicians on Twitter. Those in the “Popular” section will benefit the most (Psy is currently topping it; it’ll be interesting to see how many new followers he’ll gain over the next few days), but even less popular artists will likely get a boost from the “Emerging” section, as well as the “#NowPlaying” section, which shows songs tweeted by your followers.
Will it turn into revenue? It could. Twitter is currently offering only iTunes previews of songs, with a link to buy the song on iTunes. Alternatively, you can listen to entire songs if you have a Spotify or Rdio subscriptions, both of which could ultimately have a positive impact on music sales — though it’s been said several times that musicians don’t make much money off Spotify.
But the simple fact that Twitter buzz about music is now directly tuned into music purchases is good news for artists. Plus, artists make money of concerts, and even if those Spotify or Rdio subscriptions bring pennies, the buzz around a band will bring more people to concerts.
Most importantly, though, if Twitter Music is successful, it will turn Twitter into a place for music — similar to what MySpace once was, and what it based its plan for resurgence on in early 2013.
That’s a big IF, though. The lack of a visual component remains an issue. YouTube has long been the place for music discovery (even though its discovery engine is rudimentary at best) simply because the music is accompanied by moving images. Twitter Music doesn’t have that, and it might turn into a bore, especially for younger generations.
Source: Mashable (by Stan Schroeder)
The past week has seen a flurry of activity around Twitter’s purported new music streaming service, #music. As previously reported, Ryan Seacrest told his followers last Thursday that Twitter #music was real, and he was already playing with it. Over the last two days, a number of prominent musicians have also tweeted about the service, which reportedly pulls in tracks from a number of services including Rdio, Spotify, YouTube, Vevo, SoundCloud, and iTunes.
In one tweet, Nikki Sixx calls #music revolutionary, while Moby, Alt-J, and Ne-Yo all appear impressed with it as well. Moby, after listening to a James Blake track through the service, called it “a really interesting music resource,” Ne-Yo said that “Twitter has some insane things in the pipeline,” and Alt-J called it “rad.” As AllThingsD points out, Ryan Seacrest has been known to engage in “faux-stealth marketing” in the past, so it’s a little tricky to take these new, overwhelmingly positive comments at face value.
It’s not clear when Twitter will make #music available publicly, nor do we know exactly how it will work. Earlier rumors pointed to a launch to coincide with the Coachella festival, but that’s now come and gone. In the meantime, you can console yourself with the fact that more important people than you are having the time of lives using the service.
Source: The Verge (by Aaron Souppouris)
Spotify’s quest for world domination is continuing.
The top on-demand, streaming-music service is set to launch in eight new markets, including Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Baltics, and Iceland, according to a person familiar with the situation. The rollouts could come as soon as tomorrow.
Adding territories has been a top priority for Spotify, which is racing to boost its user base. Spotify, which launched in the U.S. just over a year and a half ago, now has 24 million active users, 6 million of whom are paying subscribers. It’s become the fastest-growing digital music company ever, and is second in reach only to Internet radio company Pandora. With the additional markets, Spotify will be in 28 territories in all.
Growth is key for a number of reasons. The company is trying to negotiate better terms with the music labels, which earn the bulk of every dollar — roughly 70 percent — that Spotify brings in. The more Spotify is paying to the music labels and publishers, the better its position at the negotiating table. Spotify is already the label’s No. 2 source of digital revenue behind Apple, and CEO Daniel Ek has said his company is on track to pay rights holders $500 million this year alone — the same amount the company paid out in total since launching in 2008.
Yet competition is growing — and fast. The big tech titans — including Google, Apple, and Amazon — are all gearing up soon to add streaming-music services of various sorts. So the quicker Ek and his team can open new markets and build the brand, the better.
Adding new markets requires its own set of negotiations. Each new territory requires new deals with music rights holders, something that Ek has said is Spotify’s biggest limiter to growth. In addition, these new services — both for mobile devices and PCs — will be in local languages.
Spotify has amped up its marketing efforts in recent weeks as it seeks to build its name among mainstream music fans. The company last month launched its first-ever TV campaign, and last week it rolled out an ad across the top of YouTube, which has become the go-to site for young people to listen to music.
Source: CNet (by Paul Sloan)
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Here’s another data-point for the mobile-first digital music services bandwagon, from Scott Bagby, head of strategic partnerships at Rdio: “Mobile is key for us. Over 80% of our users are mobile.”
Bagby was speaking to Music Ally as Rdio launched the free tier of its service in the UK, offering people up to six months of free, metered web listening.
Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden in Europe and Australia, Canada and New Zealand elsewhere are also getting the free tier, which debuted in the US last year.
It’s an attempt to widen Rdio’s funnel to attract people who can then be upsold to its monthly subscriptions for web-only and web+mobile access.
“The seven-day trials weren’t enough to get people to really understand the product and get into it,” says Bagby. “Education is what needs to happen. Some people get it right away, but at the end of the seven days, others are still trying to figure out what streaming services are, and why they should pay the extra £5 or £10.”
Rdio hasn’t published figures for its free and/or paying users, leading to a perception within the industry – probably accurate thus far – that it’s still small compared to rivals like Spotify and Deezer.
Even so, Rdio has won warm praise for the design of its service, particularly its mobile and tablet apps. Hence the mobile emphasis, which was the focus of Rdio’s advertising campaign in the US in the fourth quarter of 2012. Bagby talks about “significant onboarding” as a result of that.
Marketing is a key challenge for any streaming music service: how do you raise awareness that you even exist, let alone explain the ins and outs of the streaming music model? What are Rdio’s plans outside the US?
Expect a mixture of physical billboards, traditional advertising, digital campaigns and FM radio partnerships, with the latter having been encouraging in the US according to Bagby – even though on-demand streaming theoretically competes with radio.
“The radio partners seem to be a good line of attack, as that’s where people go to learn about music and hear discussions around music,” says Bagby. “It’s where labels traditionally go to break bands, so it seems like a good place to go to break services.”