Google has launched its Play Music All Access subscription service in six new countries: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Ukraine.
As usual, new members will receive 30 days free when they sign up and have access to a catalog of 20 million songs, including offline support from their Android devices.
Yesterday’s launch follows expansions to Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and Mexico last year. Here’s the complete list of countries that support the All Access subscription:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States.
ARTISTS / LABELS: Distribute your music catalog directly to Google Play Music with ONErpm! Get started HERE!
Google has acquired music streaming service Songza after weeks of speculation around a potential buyout.
Songza uses information about the user and context to determine the best playlists for you at any given time, all of which are curated by music experts (DJs, Rolling Stone writers, etc.).
Very few services look to human curation to enhance the music experience — Pandora, Spotify, and other big players rely heavily on algorithms — making this one of the key selling points of the service. Plus, Songza has tons of data around what people like to listen to based on the time of day, the weather, location, and activity, which can be immensely valuable to a company like Google who is looking to seamlessly integrate technology into every corner of your life.
Originally, Google was reported to be targeting the $15 million mark for this acquisition, though the company has not officially disclosed the terms of the deal. However, we’ve heard that there was also a possibility that Songza was being approached by other suitors, raising the price tag considerably.
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)
Music videos are no small potatoes for YouTube, and Google’s looking at making them bigger in Google Search results — literally.
As part of Google’s quest to more tightly integrate its different services, the company appears to be experimenting with how music videos appear in Google Search results, according to the blog Google Operating System. The top search result for a music video would be significantly larger preview of the video itself, in the style of a Google Now card, with additional information such as the artist name, song title, album name, and year released.
It’s not clear if the preview will let you play the video directly from the search results list, or if you’ll have to click through to YouTube. It’s also unclear whether Google will be opening this test out to more people.
ARTISTS / LABELS: Monetize your videos on YouTube through ONErpm’s Premium Network and earn more revenue! Get started by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Source: CNET (by Seth Rosenblatt)
Musician Zoë Keating earned $808 from 201,412 Spotify streams of tracks from two of her older releases in the first half of 2013, according to figures published by the cellist as a Google Doc.
The spreadsheet was Keating’s latest attempt to shed more light on the issue of streaming music payouts to artists, as part of the wider debate on whether Spotify and its rivals can generate a sustainable income for musicians.
"This is streaming revenue reported from January to June 2013 for my 2 old recordings distributed by CDBaby," explained Keating in the notes section on her spreadsheet.
The 201,412 Spotify plays of songs from her One Cello x 16 EP and One Cello x 16: Natoma album earned Keating 0.4 cents per stream (just under 0.3p in UK terms), after digital distributor CDBaby’s 9% cut is factored in.
How do other streaming music services compare to Keating’s Spotify payouts? She earned $54.40 from 7,908 plays on US service Rhapsody at 0.69 cents per stream, although that included mechanical royalties payments for writing the songs as well as performing them.
Keating earned a mere $13.38 from 387 plays of these songs on Microsoft’s Xbox Music service, although the per-stream rate there was a startling 3.5 cents.
The spreadsheet includes payments from Apple’s iTunes Match and Amazon’s Cloud Drive – 0.2 and 0.05 cents per stream respectively, although as services that let people stream music they already own from cloud lockers, these represent different licensing deals to Spotify, Rhapsody and Xbox Music.
Keating’s EP and album earned $1,617 from SoundExchange – the US company that collects royalties from services including Pandora, iHeartRadio and Sirius XM – and $930.26 from YouTube, although data on the number of plays in these cases is not available.
Her total streaming payments for these two releases were $3,454.28 in the first half of 2013. Keating’s last album, 2010’s Into the Trees, is available to buy, but not to stream.
Keating has a history of releasing this kind of raw data, as the debate about how much artists get paid from streams as opposed to sales of their music has grown in volume.
"If we are going to discuss the ideal structure of the new music industry, we need to know how recording artists make a living today or we’re just spouting hyperbole," she wrote in a previous Google Doc, released to share details of her digital earnings between October 2011 and March 2012.
"So, in the interest of evolving the discussion, I am making myself into a data point. I encourage other artists, if they are able, to do the same."
That first Google Doc revealed that nearly 97% of Keating’s income came from sales of her music on iTunes, Amazon and her own Bandcamp website. During that six-month period, Keating earned just under $47k from iTunes, $25k from Bandcamp and nearly $11.2k from Amazon, but less than $300 from Spotify.
Google has today launched a pan-European ad campaign for its first music-streaming service, Google Music All Access, as it seeks to take on rivals such as Spotify.
The campaign, by Isobar UK, introduces All Access, the new subscription service from Google Play Music, Google’s digital distribution platform for music.
The service went live in Europe last week and includes access to Google’s music catalogue, free storage of up to 20,000 tracks and a personalised “radio” option, which streams tracks based on a user’s music taste.
The radio function is similar to the service introduced by Google Play’s primary rival Spotify in 2011 and pioneered by Last.fm.
Isobar created the marketing campaign, which spans OOH, print and digital. The agency, recently renamed from Glue Isobar, worked with Essence on the digital media and OMD UK on print and OOH.
The campaign imagery aims to reflect Google’s simple aesthetic, with plain ads featuring plenty of white space around the product. The six videos in the digital campaign tell personal stories about people’s relationship with music.
The activity will run in France, Italy, Spain and the UK. Further video content is planned for the autumn.
Isobar’s UK office works with Google on a project basis and was appointed to the international Google Play account in May, after a competitive pitch.
Nick Bailey, the executive creative director at Isobar, said the work was “a conversation-starting campaign, which perfectly reflects the popular, human essence of the Google brand”.
Adam King was the creative director for the campaign and Mark Light art directed it.
Source: Campaign Live (by Louise Ridley)
Last October, Google shut down Google Music in China, and today, some nine months later, the company appears to have cut the cord on a similar experimental service that it ran in India.
Though the service is offline, the company has not officially communicated its closure. We’ve reached out to Google to get more details. Medianama reports that the catalog had gotten old of late, showing signs that the service was gathering mothballs and suggesting that this is an all-out switch off rather than an outage.
Google launched Music in India in October 2010. Like the Chinese offering, users could search out and stream tracks from a range of partner sites right from the Web-based Google service.
In a world in which music is often licensed to a limited number of streaming services, multi-platform offerings like Google’s are something different in that users can play music from multiple services from just one spot. Ultimately, it looks like there was not enough potential in the business for Google to keep the service — a product of its experimental Labs division — going.
The apparent closure of Google Music India follows the shuttering of Flipkart’s Flyte digital music store in May. Unlike Google Music, Flyte was not free and it charged customers to download DRM-free tracks. However, both may have suffered from increased competition as freemium streaming startups Dhingana, Saavn and Gaana continue to grow both on the Web and via mobile apps.
All three of the aforementioned services offer a free-to-use ad-supported service, alongside a Spotify-style premium monthly subscription that includes offline support and storage on mobile.
Source: TNW (by Jon Russell)
In a continuation of YouTube’s focus on user-generated content, the Google-owned video site is launching a video series to provide guidance for users that want to turn their channel from a hobby into a full-time gig.
‘YouTube Pro’ will give advice on a range of issues, such as crowdfunding, attracting and managing advertisers, using a manager, recording content series and more.
The videos will feature input from YouTube and video content pros who have been there, done that and lived the scenarios, as YouTube’s blog explains:
The first topic we’ll cover is “Working with Advertisers”. In these four videos, learn from Dane Boedigheimer, Spencer Griffin of College Humor, Kurt Hugo Schneider and Elle Walker about all aspects of effectively pitching and executing branded content deals. They give advice on pitching an idea, what to include in a contract, how to price a deal, as well as to stay true to your audience through the process.
In addition, the company is also announcing live events that will take place in New York, Los Angeles and London soon.
YouTube recently passed its eight-year anniversary, and it revealed that users now upload 100 hours of video per hour on average. But the site has spent the last two years aiming to go beyond simply being the Web’s largest repository of video content, as it has taken steps to encourage original content and programming on its service.
This year, Google is taking the service into new territory with the recent launch of paid-for channels that are aimed at rivaling streaming services like Hulu and Netflix.
That isn’t YouTube’s first foray into original content. It kicked off its Channels program in 2011, which provides selected content partners with an undisclosed sum of funding to create content for YouTube channels. The money is not free, but instead is an up-front payment of future advertising earnings over the next year. But it does give partners a lump-sum that can be invested in equipment and talent to produce compelling shows — that’s the aim, at least.
The video series doesn’t complement Channels — such selected partners are usually at a fairly advanced stage already — it is aimed at helping those aiming to take their living from YouTube to take their first step…Channels would be a program they might later aspire to be part of.
Source: TNW (by Jon Russell)
Cantankerous critics gripe that nothing is new in music anymore, except ways of melding and repackaging what has come before.
Rhapsody’s new app does just that, and the company is hoping the combination will hit the right notes to win new subscribers and distinguish it in a crowded field of competitors
The company, one of the oldest Web subscription music services, is launching a concert tickets app on Tuesday.
It’s the second of Rhapsody’s companion apps to its namesake one for streaming music, following up Songmatch, a Shazam-like offering that plugs tunes into playlists. Rhapsody has more apps on the way, as it turns greater focus to mobile.
It launches Tuesday for iOS, with an Android version to follow.
Other apps already exist to find shows and purchase tickets. Live Nation, the huge concert promoter and world’s largest ticket seller via its Ticketmaster merger, has an app to sell tickets — and is nearing the launch of a new platform that will give it more flexibility. Ticket reseller StubHub, a unit of eBay, dominates the secondary ticket market and has an app as well.
But Rhapsody Concerts is setting itself apart by marrying ticketing with its on-demand streaming capabilities. To find live events, users can search by artist, venue, or what is nearby, either by a search or with GPS. Ticket purchases occur in the app itself, powered by SeatGeek. SeatGeek’s program shares revenue of the ticket sales with partners like Rhapsody.
Unlike other ticket apps, the Rhapsody offering can take users into an on-demand choices — subscribers can listen to the performer’s full albums right away, get to know the music of opening acts, or find similar artists.
Digital music is one of the few corners of the music industry that is flourishing, which has attracted a diverse and crowded field of competitors. In addition to other streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, giants like Google and Apple are throwing their weight behind their own challengers.
As consumer spending on concert tickets recovers after the economic downturn, another company with its model threatened by new entrants has turned to live events as a new pillar of support. Redbox’s DVD rental kiosks are the main profit engine under the hood of parent company Coinstar, still named for the coin-counting kiosks it was founded on.
But online video streaming outfits like Netflix and other forms of video on demand have the days of the DVD format numbered. Redbox has partnered with Verizon for its own streaming video offering, but it also is testing live-event ticketing at kiosks as a way to leverage its machinery into a new way to make money, still linked to entertainment.
Having expanded the foray to a second market earlier this year, Redbox has found the strategy offers inventory owners and venues a way to promote their events to entertainment-conscious consumers at the nearly ubiquitous kiosks and immediately sell tickets to them in a simple way.
Rhapsody’s new app is aiming for the same behavior, and it’s putting it in the palm of your hand.
"Our members are huge music fans and we have always understood that fans want to ‘do more than listen,’" said Paul Springer, Rhapsody’s senior vice president of product and design. "We wanted to go another step forward for fans by helping them discover great live events."
Source: CNet (by Joan Solsman)