« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

Amazon To Launch Download Store In Mid-September

Amazon is set to launch its long awaited download store in mid-September according to the New York Post.

Amazon_2 All tracks on the new service will be DRM-free including tracks from EMI and Universal and hundreds of independent labels including several we hear that have never sold DRM free previously. Absent will be copy protected tracks from WMG or Sony/BMG.

Amazon will have at least two track prices - 99 cents for new and hits songs and 89 cents for music from emerging acts and back catalog. Full album downloads are expected to cost between $7.99 and $9.99.  The pricing strategy is rubbing some labels the wrong way leaving Amazon still negotiating with some labels.

COMMENTARY: While it is unfortunate and potentially confusing to consumers that some major label product will not be available as downloads, it is hard to Generic_headphone_computer overstate the potential of Amazon's new store to attract both adult and indie fans. 

By all measures, Amazon is one of the top five music retailers in the country. Their exclusive adoption of universally compatible DRM free mp3's at normal or discount prices should help expand the digital download market.  And the availability of downloads alongside physical product in a trusted and user-friendly environment is long overdue.

New Music Business Briefing: EMI Deals With Pirates, Amazon Pricing Pressure, Marleys Fight Verizon & Much More

Chinese_flag_2 >>> Internet music "piracy" is huge in China with many ISP's making it easy for people to grab tracks.  EMI and some labels have decided that since they can't stop them; they'll take a check. (BusinessWeek) Could unlimited streaming offered at the ISP level spread to other countries?

>>> Internet ad dollars are expected to surpass radio ad revenue this year. (FMQB) Yet I'll bet most music companies spend more money at radio.

Amazon >>> Will lower CD prices at Amazon lead to lower download prices at iTunes and elsewhere? (Digital Audio Insider) Wal-Mart is already selling tracks at $.88 to $.94 and pricing should get even more competitive if Amazon ever gets its digital store open.

>>> "The RIAA is fighting allegations that its identical tactics in over 25,000 file-sharing lawsuits demonstrate that it is an anticompetitive cartel, and therefore guilty of copyright misuse." (ars)

Clearchannel >>>IndieHQ points to another instance where Clear Channel is demanding that indie artists waive royalties. This time to participate in a talent contest. (IHQ) Why do bands subject themselves to these contests anyway?

Bob_marley >>> The family of Bob Marley has filed suit over the recent Verizon ringtone deal. (Billboard)

>>> Could Borders and Barnes & Noble merge? (NY Business) It's just speculation, but...

Sony To Shut Down Connect Music Service

Given that the service has been a  dud since launch, it should come as no surprise that Sony is shutting down its digital download service Connect.  Use of their own proprietary DRM kept buyers away; so now Sony is adopting Windows media for its new Walkman players.

Buried 17 paragraphs deep in a press release announcing new Walkman players was this:

Sony With these new Walkman players, Sony has widened its digital music environment to support Windows Media technology. This gives customers greater flexibility in their music software approach. As a result, Sony will be phasing out the CONNECT Music Services based on Sony's ATRAC audio format in North America and Europe. Specific timing will vary by region depending on market demand, but will not be before March 2008.  The CONNECT e-book service for the Reader will not be affected.

Top Indie Retailer Looney Tunes Destroyed In Fire

Looney_tunes_logo Respected independent music retailer Looney Tunes was destroyed by a devastating fire last night in West Babylon, NY. The cause, investigators say, was a faulty extension cord.

The decimated 4,000 square foot record store was considered by many to be a testimony to the continued viability of the independent music retail. The family owned business, first opened by Karl Groeger 35 years ago is now run by his sons Karl, Jr and Jaime boasted high profile in-store appearances such as Ice T, Ozzy Looneytunes_wall_of_sound_2Osbourne and Staind, whose 2001 rooftop in-store performance attracted 7,500 fans to the store.

The intention at press time is to rebuild Looney Tunes as soon as possible. Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise and memorabilia including 57 autographed guitars and countless Gold and Platinum records destroyed, owner Karl Groeger, asks customers and...

Continue reading "Top Indie Retailer Looney Tunes Destroyed In Fire" »

Pocket Group Ads CD Baby And INgrooves For Mobile

CD Baby and INgrooves have been added to the UK's Pocket Group catalog of music for mobile distribution. The agreements brings PG’s total number of licensable tracks to 1.5 million. Pokcet_group

The catalog is 100% independent, allowing operators access to disparate repertoire from the US, Europe, and Asia. Other Pocket Group clients include Pinnacle, Grooveattack, Finetunes, Beggars Group, Domino and Bollywood powerhouses Saregama and Mauj. UK networks such as Vodafone and Orange have already expanded their searchable music stores, each of which now comprise one million tracks.

The mobile music sector has the potential for explosive growth. Analysts predict that total annual revenues generated by the global mobile music market will exceed $14 billion by 2011 and  GreeeeN’s ‘Aiuta’ recently became the first full-track mobile download anywhere to sell over one million copies.

We're Working On A New Design

We're working on a new design for Hypebot. Goals are to have it load faster, streamline the look and make it easier to navigate. 

Its a bit of a work in progress and along the way we'd love your comments and suggestions about how we can make Hypebot better.

Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 08-26-07

2 M.I.A.|KALA     Cims

Continue reading "Coalition of Independent Music Stores Top 200 for Week Ending 08-26-07" »

New Music Business Briefing: YouTube Deals, RIAA v. People, Labels Renew At eMusic & Much More

Youtube >>> YouTube has cut its first blanket deal ever with a music licencing organization in the UK. It covers 10 million tracks. (PaidContent)

>>> Nokia launches Ovi, a broad net to cell hub that later this year will expand to include a download store offering music both over the air and direct to PC.  (TechWeb)

Efflogo_2 >>> A new Electronic Freedom Foundation report "The RIAA v. People - Four Years Later" slams the RIAA;s ongoing camapign against filer-sharers and calls for flat rate P2P downloads. (pdf of report)

>>> Voting in the UK's BT Digital Music Awards has begun. (BT)


>>> eMusic has renewed contracts with a number of key labels including Beggars Group (4AD, XL and Rough Trade), Matador Records, Concord Music Group (Fantasy and Prestige) and ATO. (Playlist)

>>> Speculation is that Apple will be announcing a revamp of its iPod line at a press event early next week. (Reuters)

Myspace >>> MySpace is launching national concert tour series. (press release) Zune is on board for the upcoming Chemical Brothers tour.

>>> Ween inks with Rounder. (Billboard)

R.I.P - The Godfather of U.S, punk and founder of the legendary CBGB's, Hilly Kristal as 75. (more)

EMI's Nicoli Out As Terra Firma Restructures

UPDATED: CEO Eric Nicoli is stepping down as Terra Firma formalizes its acquisition of EMI. It has been rumored for several weeks that the investment firm was looking at new CEO candidates and might beEmi shaking up the executive suite.

Chris Roling and Ashley Unwin, both Managing Directors at Terra Firma, will join EMI on the company's board and as part of a new senior management team.  Roling has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of EMI Group and Chief Financial Officer of both EMI Group and EMI Music. Unwin will serve as Director of Business Transformation for EMI Group and EMI Music.

Ericnicoli_headshot Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group and EMI Music, has "agreed to step down in advance of the de-listing of the Group which is currently anticipated to take place on or around 18th September". Ironically Nicoli was said to have been a longtime champion of the Terra Firma buyout. His pain, however should be softened by a reported $5.64 million contract buyout.

Martin Stewart, CFO of EMI Group and EMI Music, has also resigned. Roger Faxon will continue as Chairman and CEO of the very profitable music publishing division and remain on the board.

Guy_hands The new structure also adds another layer to the the decision making process with the EMI board now reporting to a new supervisory board chaired by Guy Hands, Chief Executive of Terra Firma and including Julie Williamson, a Managing Director of TFCP who will focus on EMI's strategic business relationships along with other Terra Firms senior staff. (Official bios of the key Terra Firma players follow after the jump.)

More restructuring and cost cutting seems likely; and the fate of US EMI head Roger Ames and additions to the North American team including Jason Flom remain uncertain.

Continue reading "EMI's Nicoli Out As Terra Firma Restructures" »

New Music Business Briefing: Verizon Rings Marley, UK Music Press Decline & Much More

>>> The Burn to Shine series of documentaries features prominent indie bands playing one songCell_marley apiece just before bulldozers and wrecking balls take down a house. (Wired)

>>> Verizon Wireless grabs a Bob Marley ringtones exclusive. (press release)

>>> The Boston Globe looks a the rise of Hip-Hop mp3 blogging. (Boston Globe via ProHipHop)

Emusic >>> eMusic CEO David Pakman sits down with the Hollywood Reporter declaring DRM dead and extolling the virtues of the post-teen music buyer as well as the international market.  Part 1 and 2.

>>> BitTorrent search engine Torrentspy is blocking US users. (DMW)

Uk_flag >>> Top UK music magazine readership slid as much as 17%. (Press Gazette via Daily Swarm) Q remains #1.

>>> Rounder Records. tween band Girl Authority, and publisher Beacon Street Girls have created a  partnership that will focus on providing entertainment with a positive message for pre-teen girls. (Billboard)

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Speakerheart CEO Jozef Nuyens

Recently PassAlong Networks spun off its Speakerheart division which enables download transactions for indie and D.I.Y. artists.  From Snocap to Sonific to Musicane and beyond, Speakerheart has plenty of competition, so we asked CEO Jozef Nuyens what sets his offering apart.

Hypebot: How do you differ from snocap and other sales widgets? 

Our Shelf provides the artist with a functional embed that blends a static banner ad withSpeaker a complete sales widget.  Designed to seamlessly complement the artist's branded network pages, the Shelf consists of 1-5 Album minis, in the order of the artist's choice, to provide fans the opportunity to preview, bookmark and share music, and a direct link to the artist's storefront on Speakerheart.com.  The commerce within Speakerheart takes place within our site rather than the actual widget, with the Shelf being the "window display" of the artist's store to browse and click through to purchase.

What are the basics of your revenue sharing model? 

There are two types of Artist accounts, Basic and Pro.  The Basic account is free and allows artists to upload and sell up to 10 tracks spread across 3 albums.  The Pro account is $25 annually and allows artists to upload and sell up to 100 tracks spread across 10 albums.  Speakerheart charges a flat fee of .25 cents on all sales regardless of price unless the song is marked for free.  Artists can mark their tracks either free or anywhere in between 25 cents and $3.00.Heart

Hypebot: The press release alludes to promotional tools. Can you elaborate?

Speakerheart:  We are a functional brand built upon two icons, the Speaker and the Heart.  The Speaker provides listeners the chance to quickly sample music throughout the site while the Heart provides listeners the opportunity to bookmark and share music with the click of a button.  The Shelf provides artists the opportunity to promote their albums and tracks in social networks with direct links back to their storefronts, hosted at a dedicated URL such as Speakerheart.com/bandname.  The Speaker and Heart are found both on the shelves and within the site, extending our brand to encourage the previewing and bookmarking of independent artists everywhere.

INgrooves' One Digital Adds Film & Video

Digital distributor INgrooves has launched a film & ideo division and signed several high profile content and  Ingroovesjpgretailer relationships.  The new division, to be headed by President & COO Adam Hiles, will leverage the distribution capabilities of INgrooves’ ONE Digital software platform to automate all administration functions for its film & video clients.

At launch the service represents over 2,000 films and videos from IndiePix, Media Vision Entertainment Group, Pistol Digital and Capistrano Films. These inaugural clients bring award winning titles like CocaineIngrooves Angel, Red Without Blue, Perils in Nude Modeling, Queen: “We Will Rock You” Live in Concert and Musical Visions For The Flatscreen Generation to the digital market.  Additionally, INgrooves has signed with several video digital retailers including Akimbo, IndiePix.net, Brightcove, Ruckus and VidZone.  INgrooves anticipates signing many more content and retailer deals over the next six months as video gains traction in the digital world.

INgrooves Film & Video will also distribute content to several of its current music retail partners who are beginning to sell video including iTunes, Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, AOL Music and MediaNet.  Additionally, INgrooves will distribute through multiple mobile outlets including, Mobile Streams, Zingy, Jamster, and Moderati.

New Music Business Briefing: Allofmp3 Promises Comeback, RIAA Wins P2P Battle, CDBaby Adds MP3's & Much More

Allofmp3 >>> Following a recent Russian court ruing that cleared the site's founder of any wrong doing allofmp3.com is again promising a comeback.

>>> Judge sides with RIAA, file sharing applications do lead to piracy. (ARS)

>>> Former Warner Bros. VP of Promo Dale Connone has teamed up with Pop2Life to launch in2une Music to offer music promotion and marketing services and an expert field staff. (FMQB)
>>> CD Baby has added full album mp3 downloads to its offerings.(DAI)

Myspace >>> Following the Facebook lead, MySpace may let users start selling directly from their pages. (PaidContent) The site is also selling more targeted ads and getting an 85% better response rate.

>>> SanDisk goes after the iPod Shuffle with the tiny Sansa Clip. (PC)

Deezer >>> Free music sharing site Deezer.com is attracting the wrath of the major labels for operating without licencing deals. The French based site offers versions in 16 languages. (InfoWorld)

Future of Music Coalition Seeks Communications Director

Hypebot published music industry job listings at no cost. Please email us yours. You can also find more listings here.
Future Of Music Coalition

  • Job Title: Communications Director
  • Reports to: Executive Director and Deputy Director
  • Supervises: Web Design Consultants, Printers, Graphic Designers, Intern Start Date: October 1, 2007
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Salary: full-time position, range of 48k plus health insurance

Continue reading "Future of Music Coalition Seeks Communications Director" »

New Gold & Platinum Album Certifications

Gold Album Certifications

  • Fabolous   From Nothin’ To Somethin’ 06/07Gold_album
  • Hank Williams, Jr.   That’s How They Do It…  06/06
  • Hilary Duff   Dignity   04/07
  • Killswitch Engage   The End Of Heartache   05/04
  • Plain White T’s   Every Second Counts   09/06
  • Rodney Carrington   Morning Wood   08/00
  • The White Stripes   Icky Thump   06/07

Platinum Album Certifications

  • Amy Winehouse   Back To Black   03/07
  • Fergie   2M   The Dutchess    09/06
  • Jimi Hendrix   The Jimi Hendrix Experience   09/00
  • Michael Bubl?   Call Me Irresponsible   05/07
  • R. Kelly   Double Up   05/07

As Download Services Go DRM Free Where Are The Indies?

As the major download services add DRM-free tracks from EMI and Universal, where is music fromDrm_anti_wall the indies?

Indie music after all makes up 70-80% of all new releases by volume and 30% of sales. And it's not that indie labels don't want to sell DRM-free to iTunes, Walmart.com, Rhapsody and others. Most indies already sell DRM-free at bargain prices via eMusic.  And even a Walmart_2 usually selective Wal-Mart has virtually unlimited shelf space in their digital storefront. 

 It can't be that the programming is too difficult. After, all these sites just added thousands of tracks from EMI and Universal with just a few weeks notice.  Is it the cost?  Most already sellRhapsody hundreds of thousands of indie tracks with DRM.  Why not at least experiment selectively with key indie tracks or labels DRM-free?

Itunesunlock Most consumers don't shop labels. They look for songs and artists.  Not until these downloads stores sell DRM-free tracks from both indie and major labels will the industry see the effects of untethered tracks on both sales and innovation.

Popkomm Nominates 8 Innovative Music 2.0 Companies

Popkomm has chosen eight of the most innovative music business 2.0 companies as nominees for it's 2007 Popkomm IMEA award.

  • Popkomm_imea2007 BMAT (Spain) – a music recommendation system
  • GD Worldwide’s Usync Backstage (Australia) - an audience relationship management application
  • Kazzong (Germany) – a decentralised Web 2.0 music distribution system
  • MOG.com (USA) – a music recommendation community
  • mSpot/Remix (USA), a music streaming service on mobile phones
  • Playtime’s MusicMakesFriends (Luxembourg) – a complex, multilingual music community platform
  • Trivid’s Clipgenerator (Germany) – a do-it-yourself video creation application
  • YouLicense (Israel) - an international B2B music licensing         platform

Full company descriptions and links after the jump.

The panel of judges for this award is made up of industry experts, investors and venture capitalists as well as music industry journalists from all over the world. The winner of this year’s Popkomm-IMEA will be chosen on September 19th and will receive 5,000 euros and a free stand at Popkomm 2008.   

Continue reading "Popkomm Nominates 8 Innovative Music 2.0 Companies" »

New Music Business Briefing: New iPod, iPhone Hacked, How Old School Rules Still Apply & More

>>> Just so you make sure that you didn't miss anything life changing, there's Hypebot's New Music Business Week In Review. Applelogo

>>> At lease one new model of iPod will be released on September 5. (Wired)

>>> A NJ teen has hacked the iPhone making it usable on other phone networks. He's also posted the hack on his blog Jtag.

>>> An overview of MTV/Real, WalMart.com and Yahoo!'s efforts to compete with iTunes. (Reuters)

Andrew_dubber >>> New Music Strategy's Andrew Dubber begins a series on how some of the old industry rules still apply in the digital music age. (NMS) Rule 1: More Distribution Is Better Than Less Distribution

>>> Sony has developed an environmentally friendly battery that runs on sugar. (TechWeb)

>>> A delegation of California lawmakers met with the RIAA and representatives of the movie industry last week and are proposing new ways to strengthen anti-piracy efforts. (press release)

>>> Net, Blogs & Rock "n Roll takes an in depth look at online fan communities: "Fans As Creators" (NBRR)

Continue reading "New Music Business Briefing: New iPod, iPhone Hacked, How Old School Rules Still Apply & More" »

New Music Business Week In Review

Ticketmaster >>> Concert giant Live Nation appears unlikely to renew its deal with Ticketmaster which could mean big changes for fans of live music.

>>> MTV is dropping its URGE download store deal with Microsoft and partnering with Real's Rhapsody and Verizon in a new multifacted music venture dubbed Rhapsody America. Hypebot live blogged the event.

>>> An exclusive interview with international indie trade group Merlin's CEO Charles Caldas.

Walmart>>> Wal-Mart has added DRM-free mp3's from Universal and EMI.

>>> Talks on internet broadcast royalty rates are finally making progress.

>>> Rhino killed free music downloads for fans of the Grateful Dead on officialFuture_of_music Dead.net

>>> The Future Of Music Coalition seeks a DC based intern.

>>> A French internet company is offering a free Universal Music subscription service along with its broadband service.

>>> Music widget creator Sonific is opening up its Songspot service for free to all indie labels.

>>> A hack which turned every song streamed on MySpace into a free download was shut down. Now the programmer is offering the code free on the net.

>>> TheRockDose offers a daily dose of music wisdom.

A New Music Business Reading List For The Dog Days Of Summer

Books >>> The 2007 Digital Music Survey, a UK study by Entertainment Media Research showed that illegal downloads are at an all time high just as paid download growth is slowing and chronicles a shift in 13-60 year olds towards social networking sites for socialization, information and music discovery. You can read the entire study or download the entire 89 page PDF for free here. It's not good news for DR.

>>> On a similar note read "Drop DRM Or Become Irrelevant - Why the music industry needs to drop DRM, and sell unprotected digital music, NOW" by Gerd Leonhard. It was written back in March and it still rings true.

>>> Andrew Dubber's free e-book "20 Things You Must Know About Music Online"

>>> From the Shameless Plug Department - check out out new sister blogs:

4_hour_work_wee >>> The #1 NY Times business book bestseller by Tim Ferris - '"The 4-Hour Workweek". OK, this isn't a music industry book and when I got the review copy and started browsing I almost dismissed it as over-blown hype.  But I keep coming back to it; if not not for the perhaps unrealistic dream of working only 4 hours a week then for techniques like outsourcing mundane tasks, batching tasks like answering email and cutting down on information clutter.  There's a story here that I need to write based on this book for all of us overwhelmed by work, email and RSS feeds and some lessons for the music industry. If you've read this book I'd love to hear from you.

Hip Hop Business News From ProHipHop

>>> Kenny Chesney reminds Kanye West and 50 Cent they have some serious competition on September 11th.

>>> Hip hop startpage Global Grind gets a $4.5 million venture capital round while still in alpha.

>>> Though beef may not be one of the basic elements of hip hop, Beef IV is hear to remind us that it ain't going away anytime soon.

>>> Forbes finds more ways to capitalize on the fact that famous rappers get rich.

>> Zwinky recruits Lil Mama and Jason Fox for a Zwinky Party commercial.

>>> Jermaine Dupri's autobiography Young, Rich, and Dangerous, coauthored by Samantha Marshall, is due October 16th.

>>> Lee Resnick promotes music via his Urban Barbershop DVD network.

>>> Ice Cube is releasing a collection of his songs featured in movies on September 4th titled Ice Cube: In The Movies.

>>> Timberland is planning a line of Hyphy boots inspired by the Bay Area's Hyphy movement.

>>> DrJays.com blog is profiled as an example of Better Business Through Blogging.

>>> ProHipHop's Clyde Smith has a panel proposal posted on the SXSW Interactive Panel Picker.

From ProHipHop

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Merlin CE0 Charles Caldas

HYPEBOT: Who are the members of Merlin and can they join directly or must it be via a regional trade group like A2IM?

MERLIN: Up until now we have been operating on a conceptual mandate that has been granted by a number of major independent trade associations around the world, including Europe, Brazil, Australia, Johncaldas_2 South Africa, Japan and many key US labels.

We will soon be issuing membership agreements to allow us to be more specific in regards to membership. Membership of Merlin is open to all Independent Master Rights Holders and representatives. Where there are local trade bodies it would of course be far more efficient to join via their local body, but there are many countries that have no local trade body, so we have allowed labels to join whether they are members of their local trade body or not and regardless of the “tier” of membership within the organization.

HYPEBOT: Who should join Merlin?

MERLIN: I believe that all independent labels, distributors and aggregators should join Merlin. The broadest possible membership will not only maximise the impact of Merlin but also allow us to enhance t he ability for our members to compete in the market. Through their participation in Merlin,Cd_many_2 independents can for the first time ever have the unique interests of their sector represented on a truly global scale, by a non-profit, member owned body focused totally on their sector.

HYPEBOT: Blanket indie deals with  digital services like YouTube is a major goal for Merlin. Are members expected to abide by the group deal or can they opt out?

MERLIN: The Merlin Mandate will operate as a non-exclusive, Opt-Out agreement, allowing companies to participate in Merlin in a manner that is designed to ensure maximum participation but also allow each member to run their business in the way they see fit. 

HYPEBOT:  What kind of deals are you focusing on?

MERLIN: We are going to concentrate on instances where independents are being discriminated against, where services are using market fragmentation to their advantage...

Continue reading "EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Merlin CE0 Charles Caldas" »

Internet Broadcast Talks Make Progress

The fight over internet broadcast royalty rates seems to finally reaching a conclusion. 
Yesterday, SoundExchange agreed to cap "per channel" fees for larger internet radio companies at $50,000 a year thus saving Pandora and others who offer tens of thousands of streams. In return the DiMA says broadcasters will begin better recording practices within 6 months.

Pandora250w “That $500 per channel minimum was kind of absurd and the truth is everybody knew that. But the real meat of this is the (royalty) rate, which has not been figured out yet," said Pandora Founder Tim Westergren.
Earlier this week SoundExchange dropped a demand to end mp3 streaming and offered smaller broadcasters a percentage of profits royalty rate deal through 2010. Some stations expressed dissatisfaction with the rate increase and a provision that would seemingly "double tax" a broadcaster who grew above a $1.25 million cap within a reporting period.  But at least both sides appear to be getting closer to a resolution.

New Music Business Briefing: UMG #1 On YouTube, Transworld Trumbles, Hendrix Tribute & Much More

Youtube >>> UMG's video channel is the most watched on YouTube.

>>> Limelight and Microsoft have stuck a deal that should improve the delivery of the company's online music ans entertainment offerings (Reuters)

>>> Digital jukebox maker Ecast has added content from The Orchard. (DMW)

>>> TransWorld Entertainment announced financial results showing another 10% drop in sales and $10Hendrix million loss. (press release)

>>> A five city Jim Hendrix tribute tour featuring contemporary blues artists has been announced. (press release)

>>> New IBM study looks at global media viewing habits. (IBM)  Summary the web is winning the war. Mobile media adoption slower than expected.

Mouse >>> WORTHY CLICK: Deezer - song search and full song streaming. Lifehacker: "Full song streaming". Hypebot: "Still a bit buggy but huge potential."