The Echo Nest - which seems to have partnered to provide some kind of underlying tech for just about very player in the digital music space - today added Rhapsody to it’s client list. Rhapsody subscribers in the U.S. and Napster subscribers in Europe and Latin America can now create and curate artist and song-based stations powered by The Echo Nest.
The new Rhapsody Radio will give users as much or as little influence on the station as they want. By leveraging Listeners can access editorial, genre and mood-based stations curated by the Rhapsody team or create and save their own personalized stations for later.
The service is available now on Android and iOS apps as well as on the web. Other Rhapsody Radio features include:
An upgraded Rhapsody app for iOS 7 users was also launched today that includes a “swipe to reveal” menu that provides a simple, quick way to navigate through the app.
Source: Hypebot (by Bruce Houghton)
Search is going social in a variety of ways as search engines look to social proof to make search results more relevant and users turn to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook for more of their information needs. Google’s dominant role in search and web video, through YouTube, allows them to shape this process by pushing Google+ to the center of the Googlesphere to the degree that Google+ is now an inescapable tool for music marketing.
Google+ has been a growing factor in Google search results since 2011 with mostly confirming studies since though conflicting studies are starting to emerge.
However even conflicting studies can’t cancel out the fact that if Google is now using social proof as part of its results rankings, then Google+ participation would affect those rankings. Even if that were not the case, Google is introducing multiple reasons to convince or even force your participation.
YouTube Comments Will Soon Require Google+ Accounts
Last week YouTube began to introduce comments “powered by Google+” with full rollout by the end of the year. The new system means that comments about videos on Google+ can show up on YouTube, comments can have privacy settings and new moderation tools are available.
Based on additional details, this new system should be an improvement for videomakers and marketers:
"comments from the video creator will be ranked very highly and surfaced more regularly…The system will also push comments from popular personalities on YouTube and people in your Google+ circles higher up the comment chain, as well as highly engaged discussion about the video. Just like before, you will be able to vote comments up or down, too, and those votes will also influence the ranking…"
"YouTube will now also aggregate public comments about a video from Google+ and display them on YouTube….users on YouTube itself will now also be able to have private conversations on the site by leaving comments that can only be seen by people in their Google+ circles or individual users."
Google Authorship Now Requires Google+ Accounts
I’ve been remiss is not discussing the benefits of the Google Authorship program for solo musicians and individuals building their music industry brands but both Roo Raymond and Bob Baker recently addressed the topic.
In the latest version of Google Authorship you connect Google+ to your web content, in particular blog posts and website articles, and then your Google+ avatar appears with a byline next to your first content-related search result.
Google is partnering with multiple platforms including Wordpress (.com I assume) and Typepad which will further simplify the process for many bloggers.
For Wordpress.org users, various plugins are addressing the issue including Jetpack 2.5.
But the biggest recent change in Authorship is that you no longer have to be signed into Google+ to see those avatars in search results.
See Search Engine Land for more on Google Authorship.
What About the Death of Keywords?
So keywords aren’t really dying, they’re just becoming a bit less key to the Googleverse and that means, in the tech world, that they’re dying.
Hyperbole aside, the role of keywords in SEO is changing as search changes. As Google moves to encrypt all searches, analytics results for keywords used on Google will no longer be available. Though other tools can help take up the slack, this is a major step in undermining the gaming of keywords by SEO practitioners.
But if you take a look at these suggestions for post-Penguin SEO, you’ll start to see that the way forward is a move away from tricks and towards engagement, quality content and honest navigation.
Both earlier seo changes at Google and newsfeed changes at Facebook suggest the same thing, doing what’s best for your readers and site visitors will ultimately improve your presence on Google and Facebook.
Key Points for Musicians and Music Marketers
Emphasis is shifting towards engagement and high quality content in search results and on social media and away from tricks and techniques for higher rankings.
Current changes involving Google+, especially Authorship, privilege individuals over groups. Keep an eye on those changes and make sure you have a Google+ page for your band in the interim.
Keywords have never been the biggest issue for musicians beyond making sure you’re found when they search for your name though they have been of use for particular marketing tactics.
Focus on getting your name out there. Make sure you have a broad but manageable social media presence. And be sure your official website’s homepage has your name in the title and in relevant text on the page and you’ll be found.
When in doubt, serve your fans.
Source: Hypebot (by Clyde Smith)
Muve Music, the on-demand music subscription service of Cricket Wireless, has surpassed two million subscribers in the United States. The figure covers only the United States and does not include any subscribers acquired by the Muve-powered subscription service of Brazilian mobile carrier TIM.
“This is the leading carrier model,” said Tyler Wallis, Muve Music senior vice president and general manager, in a statement. Wallis replaced Jeff Toig, the executive who oversaw the development of Muve, which launched in January 2011. Toig recently took the newly created position of Chief Business Officer at SoundCloud. “We’re growing with Cricket and are excited about the prospect of adding additional carriers in the future.”
Muve claims to be the most popular — in terms of subscriptions — on-demand subscription service in the United States. Spotify is the only service that could rival Muve’s two million subscriptions, but the company has not publicly updated its figure of one million U.S. subscribers in nearly two years. Worldwide, Spotify has over six million subscribers, although that number is also long overdue for an update. Rhapsody has not updated its last figure of one million subscribers in nearly two years.
Cricket Wireless, whose acquisition by AT&T this past July is awaiting regulatory approval, developed Muve Music to improve average revenue per user (ARPU) and help retain subscribers. It’s an innovative approach: the service comes free and is bundled with unlimited voice, text and data plans. Consumers pay one price and get a mobile plan with unlimited music.
While Muve Music has been a bright spot for both Cricket Wireless and digital music in general, it has not succeeded in helping Cricket Wireless grow its subscriber base. During the ten quarters Muve Music has been available, Cricket Wireless has lost more subscribers than it has gained.
In the first five quarters Muve Music was available to Cricket subscribers, Cricket Wireless had a net gain of 775,000 mobile subscribers. But it had a net loss of 790,000 subscribers in the successive five quarters, resulting in a net loss of 15,000 subscribers lost over the last ten quarters. Of course, mobile subscribers leave for a variety of reasons, and the net loss could have been worse without the help of Muve Music.
However, Muve can share the credit in growing ARPU from $38.14 per month in the quarter before launch to $44.89 per month in the most recent quarter.
Subscriber usage is also a mix of good and bad. Cricket subscribers who use Muve Music appear to enjoy the service. On average, active users listen to the service for 30 hours per month. But not all Muve Music subscribers actively use the service. As noted in a recent Billboard magazine article, just 55% of Muve Music subscribers used the service in May, the latest period for which Billboard was given a figure.
ARTISTS / LABELS: Distribute your music to Muve Music with ONErpm! Click HERE to get started…
Source: Billboard (by Glenn Peoples)
It’s official! Rdio has launched a free music streaming in the U.S., Canada and Australia today. Called Stations, the free streams will be based on the user’s favorite genres, artists, songs and albums. The ad free streams will be available on iOS and Android. A web version will include ads sold by new Rdio partner Cumulus Media.
The free service, first reported by the Associated Press, is designed to keep Rdio competitive with Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, iTunes Radio and others. The music streamer also hopes that users will upgrade to a $10 per month subscription.
"We don’t need you to subscribe right away," says Chris Becherer, VP For Product told The Verge. "You can live inside Stations for a long time. We think that over time, you’ll start building up your collection, building up your favorites. And whenever you do subscribe, all that stuff is ready to go."
Here is the full text of the official announcement:
For the longest time my older brothers would ask what music they should be listening to. They’re all ten years older than me and seem to think I’m clued up on what’s hip and happening do people still say hip and happening?) but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve done my best to avoid asking nephews and cousins about what I should be listening to and have aimed to find my own way.
Until recently, after various attempts, I settled on a great Spotify App called Tunigo to find great new music. It’s very good. So good in fact that Spotify ended up acquiring the app for itself. Its primary benefit wasn’t truly discovering new music however, but rather manually compiling music for different tastes, moods and experiences – old music and new.
I still needed a way to find out which new tracks were being listened to by the mainstream AND those in the know, released by popular artists, up & coming artists AND new artists. Tracks that weren’t being played on the radio and backed my millions of dollars, but were being listened to by a passionate group of music aficionados and perhaps slowly but surely gaining popularity in the mainstream. Essentially, I wanted a way to discover great new music, irrespective of whether the artists were signed to a big label, small label or were completely independent.
Hello Twitter #Music.
Late yesterday, Deezer sent out a press release announcing the expansion of their services into Turkey. Read more about the launch below:
Today we are thrilled to announce that we have officially launched in Turkey! Now Turkish music fans will be able to enjoy unlimited music on Deezer, along with expert recommendations of the best local and international music from the Deezer Editors.
CEO of Deezer, Axel Dauchez, said: “Turkey has an exceptionally interesting music market, and the evolving digital infrastructures and mobile uptake in the region offer hugely exciting growth potential for our service. Music should transcend political and geographical boundaries in its ability to bring people together. Deezer is about bringing music to the whole world; music for everyone, everywhere regardless of the old distribution networks. This is why I am delighted to finally announce that as of today, Turkish music lovers from around the world will be able to enjoy and share a huge catalogue of international and local songs and artists they love – at home and abroad.
Deezer is a legal service that has secured rights from more than 2,000 labels and rights management companies from all over the world. This is something we take incredibly seriously, which is why we have spent time and resources in Turkey to do things the right way. Today we have finalized the necessary agreements with the right-holders associations. Now we are happy to be operational in a total of 182 countries. I welcome Turkey to the heart of music.”
Selen Zorlu, Deezer General Manager for Turkey, underlined the importance of providing Turkish music fans with a brand new musical experience: “We have been working towards launching in the Turkish market for the past 9 months. Today, following the agreements we signed with MSG and MESAM, we are immensely happy to officially present Deezer Turkey to all music fans in Turkey. We will be serving our ever-growing local catalogue and the music content curated and constantly updated by our large team of editors through our reasonably priced subscription offers. In addition, we are delivering the works of all new artists that are added to our local catalogue into our worldwide catalogue of over 25 million songs, therefore helping them to reach a much wider global audience, without any barriers.”
MSG Board Chairman Garo Mafyan published a statement wishing success for Deezer and added: “As MSG – the biggest representative of popular Turkish catalogue – we are very happy to see Deezer in the Turkish digital music market. We are confident that Deezer will dearly value the catalogue that MSG represents and will pay all royalties. Being sure that the local music market will benefit greatly by this venture, I would like to say welcome once again.”
In his statement, the MESAM Board Chairman Arif Sağ said: “We congratulate the legal digital music service provider Deezer with regards to its launch of service in compliance with Turkish royalties, and hope that this initiative proves beneficial to the music industry.”
ARTISTS / LABELS: Distribute your music directly to Deezer through ONErpm for FREE! Click HERE to get started!
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the day I quit my software job. There was nothing wrong with my job; it was rewarding and I liked it, but “information architect” was not my calling. I didn’t want to sit at a computer all day. I wanted to make music.
I’d played the cello since I was 8, but my fears — of rejection, of performing in front of an audience, of poverty — had stymied my attempts at making a living from music. Then I turned 31, and I was suddenly more afraid of the regrets I’d have if I didn’t try.
The first couple of years I did the usual pay-your-dues hustle. I paid the bills by playing with the cello-rock band Rasputina, and I performed my own music for free, touring in a VW camper and selling a home-recorded CD at shows and on my website.
In previous decades, this unsigned, DIY approach was considered a temporary steppingstone on the way to a record contract. If an artist wanted to grow beyond her hometown, she needed the resources, relationships and reputation of a label. That’s how an artist got on the radio, got press coverage and got albums into stores. Record labels were the gatekeepers, and without a contract, an artist couldn’t get very far.
By the time I came along, the Internet was already changing the power dynamics of the music industry, but the most fundamental shift for me came in 2003, when iTunes opened its doors to unsigned artists. Any artist could sell music and get the same percentage deal from Apple as the record labels. CD distribution was still difficult and the old problem of how to get anyone to pay attention wasn’t solved, but an unsigned artist could now sell music alongside bestselling artists in the largest digital music store in the world.
As soon as my first album was ready, I submitted it to iTunes. It took five months to appear (in part because an upload script had rejected my submission because of the umlaut over the “e” in my name), but during that frustrating waiting period, I got some nice national media attention and, when the album finally went live, sales were immediately good. It went to No. 1 in iTunes Classical and stayed in the Top 20 for so long I stopped paying attention.
Shazam, the music discovery and tagging service, has rolled out an update to its iOS app that means whenever you tweet a song you’ve tagged to your followers, they’ll be able to play previews directly inside the message. This is thanks to Twitter’s Player Card, and works similar to how YouTube clips can be viewed without leaving the tweet.
In related news, the iOS app has also been updated with faster recognition, with claims that it can now recognize a song in as little as one second. The company says the speedier song identification will be more noticeable on the iPhone 4 and 3GS.
In addition to this, Shazam’s charts now display the most popular tracks of the past week, and some new “TV experiences” have been introduced for US users, though Shazam hasn’t specified what exactly this is.
Artists / Labels can get their music distributed to Shazam through ONErpm! Click HERE to get started!
Every week the antiquated record industry trumpets its sales figures and the even more ancient media industry repeats them. And to say they’re unimpressive is to say you took the family goat to prom.
Let’s look at Imagine Dragons.
They’re a top 10 act selling 25,000 records a week.
25k a week? That’s positively anemic in a country of 300 million. That’s like asking us to be impressed that you made $2.50 at the lemonade stand. In a county where movies debut in the double digit millions every week, it appears the music industry is a joke.
But it’s not.
Oh, you can point to the 1.25 million records Imagine Dragons has sold in nearly a year, but how impressive is that? There used to be a diamond award given for 10 million sales on a regular basis at the tail end of the last century.
Have people just given up listening to music?
No! It’s just that the industry keeps pointing people to lame metrics.
On Spotify, the supposedly rip-off system with no traction, Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” has been spun 122,988,750 times. Put that number in the paper, it’ll wow people! It’s almost unfathomable — it’s got too many commas for most people to be able to interpret. And the band has another track at over 50 million and two in the 30 million play range.
These numbers are spectacular!
This is not your daddy’s record business. Only it is. Everyone’s pointing to the wrong number, and the acts are complicit.
Let’s take a wild guess at how many music groups (or stand alone musicians) are vying for attention. I’ll put the number at 100 gazillion, give or take whatever number you want to suggest. In reality, we all know there are enough to satisfy entertainment demands of the public.
On the other side, that which we call the online radio industry, we won’t guess at any number of music outlets because it doesn’t matter. Reality here says the biggest get mentioned, and the rest just exist. You know Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, Live365, and a few more which round out the top 10. But what of the lower-level players, the one-person-run radio station or music service in the long-tail of online audio? When a consumer is listening to them, they are not listening to the big company names - which makes not pursuing airplay with smaller audio sites a mistake. In aggregate, they reach a huge number of ears.
You’ve probably heard of Rdio, but what about Indie 100? The former has investor money to ring its bell. The latter successfully struggles to pull in a much smaller audience (but it’s joined by tens-of-thousands of similar small operators, each with an audience of 10-10,000). As a single player Indie 100 is very small potatoes. If conjoined with peers, though, Indie 100 controls millions of ears - and all seem to disappear off the radar screen of most artists and groups.
For the independent artist, the internet brings a new world of music distribution that you need to understand; or adjust your definition of success to accommodate a much smaller fan base. The people you want to reach are online. It’s how you reach the online people that matters more today than any time in music’s history.