Archive for March, 2010

WaTunes: EMI In Last Minute Talks With Universal

Source: Hypebot

image from sanctumla.comLast minute talks with Universal that would have the world's largest label group license EMI's vast catalog for as much as $300 million over the next 5 years have resumed in the last 24 hours according to a variety of sources. Completion of the deal could mean the shut down of virtually all of EMI's U.S. operations and hundreds of layoffs.

Wednesday is the deadline for EMI to submit numbers and a plan to lender CitiGroup showing solvency and that it has a plan to move forward. If the music company fails the test, Citi could take over in an attempt to protect its $2.5 billion position.

It is less clear if Sony is still in the bidding game and spokespersons from all parties involved refused to comment.

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March 31, 2010 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: 6 Rules To Make A Band Website That Rocks

Source: Hypebot

BandzoogleGUEST POST:

 

As the founder of music website generator and marketing platform Bandzoogle,Chris Vinson is no stranger to artist web sites. In the 90's, after his own band broke up, the record label they'd been signed to hired him as a web designer for their multi-platinum artists. As he became overloaded with requests to update their websites, he created a "control panel" to let managers make the changes themselves. Chris realized that the program could also help indie bands build and update their own websites, and Bandzoogle was born.

bandzoogle.comMore than ever, a band's website has become the "hub" of their online activity. The idea is to use social networks to grab a fan's interest and then direct them back to your website to make deeper connections. (More on that in a previous Hypebot post). By using this "hub" model, you're in control of your fan's experience, and most importantly, your fan list.

So, lets say you've got a new fan interested enough to click on a link or offer from your MySpace page. Is your website functional and compelling enough to keep their interest, and to get them to return?

Over the past 10 years, I've built hundreds of band websites for artists big and small. Whether they had 100,000 fans or 100, there has been a distinct trend in what works, and more importantly what doesn't. I've summarized them below:

Rule #1: No flash!

I'll admit it, in the past I've made all-Flash band sites. Dozens of them. They looked great — and fans hated them.

The fact is, Flash just gets in the way of your content. Because of this, I've found that the use of Flash and the amount of return visits is inversely proportional. Fans don't care about swoopy animations, they want to learn about you and make a connection.

Rule #2: Make a strong front page.

New visitors will give you around 2 seconds in deciding to leave or explore more. This means that your front page needs to be clear, and present a compelling reason to stay.

I've found the best formula is a front page that combines these four elements:

  • a one paragraph bio
  • a music player
  • summarized news/upcoming gigs
  • a compelling offer to join the mailing list (like a free track)

Rule #3: Keep it simple.

Your site's navigation isn't a good place to be artsy. Name your "store" page "store", and your contact page "contact". Save the creativity for your blog posts.

On a related note, aside from the front page, try to limit pages to one concept per page. Don't put your photo gallery on your bio page for example, add a separate page to make it easier to find.

Rule #4: Keep it updated

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If a returning visitor doesn't find anything new on your website, the chances of them coming back is pretty slim. Add new content weekly, or more frequently if possible. Content can be as simple as recent gig pics, a blog post, an acoustic version of a track. If your site isn't easy to update, consider changing to a service that is. There are tons of options that make updating websites painless.

Rule #5: Make it personal

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Don't leave it up to your manager or label to create content for your site. Fans are there to hear from you. The more personal you can make it, the better. Get fans behind the scenes in the writing process by posting works in progress, or photos from the road on the tour. Spend time responding to posts in your guestbook or forum. If fans see you contributing, they will too.

Rule #6: Create a community
If you can, adding features like a forum can get fans talking, and build a community around your site. The results can be amazing. I've seen fans create friendships, organize to request songs on the radio, and even meetup and carpool to get to out of town gigs, all from connections made on a band forum.

Though "New" music business and technology landscape changes fast, these six rules have been constants. Did I miss any? Let me know what you've found works on your website.

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March 30, 2010 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: As Deadline Nears, EMI Talks With Sony Falter

Source: Hypebot

image from rm64.comTalks to license EMI Music's vast catalog to Sony have apparently faltered. Warner Music Group never joined the talks and Universal Music Group ended its negotiations last week, according to the Wall Street Journal. EMI has been seeking as much as $150 million in and upfront payment and would likely shut down most of it's U.S. operation of the deal went through. 

EMI reportedly has until Wednesday to complete any deal that would help it convince creditor Citi that it has a plan and the money to move forward.

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March 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Why Justin Bieber Is Such A Big Hit

Source: Hypebot


image from farm5.static.flickr.com
(UPDATED) GUEST POST: Jay Frank is the author ofFuturehit.DNA and SVP Music Strategy of CMT. You can download a free chapter of his great book on his blogFuturehitDNA.com and Hypebot's Kyle Bylin interviewed himearlier this year. In this guest post, Frank looks at the factors behind the meteoric success of teen idol Justin Bieber using the FuturehitDNA methodology.

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e20133ec4d0ab9970b " title="image from www.bsckids.com” src=”http://www.hypebot.com/.a/6a00d83451b36c69e20133ec4d0ab9970b-200wi&#8221; alt=”image from www.bsckids.com” style=”border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-color: initial; margin-top: 5px; margin-right: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px;” />Justin Bieber mania has arrived.  With the release of his new album, My World 2.0, and a sure thing #1 debut, many people are wondering how it happened.  Teen phenomenons can certainly happen fast, but rarely without the help of a Disney show in recent years.  By my rough calculations, after the first week sales of his new album are accounted for, Justin will havegrossed approximately $15 million in total recorded music sales, not including ringtones, streaming revenue, T-shirts or posters in less than 9 months.  And that’s just in the United States.  For a music business in “trouble” and an artist aimed clearly at teenagers and below, this is a success, especially because the train is really just leaving the station.

So the question is, how did this become so successful so quickly?  There’s been plenty of other artists who have been released in the same timeframe that can’t count this level of success in this short of a period.  What made it work?  There are a lot of specific elements in each song which I’ll detail shortly, but readers of Futurehit.DNA know the answer lies in Chapter 7 of the book.

RELEASE MORE SONGS MORE OFTEN

Look at this time frame of songs being released:

  • APRIL 2009 – Release of “One Time” single
  • JULY 2009 – Release of “One Time” video
  • AUGUST 2009 – Release of “Favorite Girl” YouTube Video w/Taylor Swift
  • OCTOBER 2009 – Release of “One Less Lonely Girl” single + video
  • NOVEMBER 2009 – Release of My World 8-song Album
  • JANUARY 2010 – Release of “Baby” single
  • FEBRUARY 2010 – Release of “Baby” video
  • MARCH 2010 – Release of My World 2.0 Album

Did you get all that?  In a world where many people are in the game of milking singles for all they’re worth, Justin just kept releasing content.  A new official video has been released every 3 months.  Two album releases.  18 total tracks have come out.  All within 9 months.  Considering that most artists are at a pace that’s nearly twice that, it’s not surprising that Justin runs rings around them.

And this all occurred by focusing on the fan and constantly feeding them content rather than just chart positions.  The first two singles didn’t crack the Top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.  And Justin’s biggest hit, “Baby”, reached #3.  Meanwhile, #1 songs are regularly engaging in much less commerce.

And Justin’s songs regularly engage in a Futurehit.DNA formula to engage his young audience:

SHORT INTROS 

(Chapter 1)

image from farm3.static.flickr.com“One Time” has a 7 second intro.  “One Less Lonely Girl” has no intro.  “Baby” has a positively long 14 second intro.  Yet both “One Time” and “Baby” make use of Justin utilizing an “ay” and “woah”  vocal during the intro.  Since Justin has a young higher pitched male voice, one could make the argument that he is creating a distinctive vocal right from the get-go so you know who’s singing.

LONGER SONGS (Chapter 2)

Justin Bieber’s songs are hardly epic with lengths of the singles ranging from 3:30 to 3:50.  However, considering that Ke$ha’s big hits don’t even reach 3:30, he’s definitely competitive in his category.  Regarding length, Justin’s songs actually fall right into the range of the majority of Top 100 songs at the moment.

CHORD CHANGES (Chapter 3)

There’s not a lot of chord changes going on in Bieber’s hits. However, he puts the dramatic changes where it counts.  I often talk about the need to change things up around the two minute mark, and Bieber does this regularly.  In “One Time”, the song drops all instruments except drums giving Justin a moment to sing acapella, which given his talent is very distinct.  In “One Less Lonely Girl”, a very distinct key change occurs.  And in “Baby”, there is a significant drop out towards the end of the 2nd verse that’s attention grabbing that then leads into the Ludacris verse.  Nothing earth-shattering, per se, but all effective in engaging the listener at a time that counts.

REPETITION (Chapter 10)

If there’s anything that occurs in Bieber’s songs, it’s repetition.   

And to hit the teen and tween market, it’s almost too obvious that this technique would be utilized.  The title of “One Time” is repeated 32 times in the song, with the word “one” used an additional 17 times.  A long song title doesn’t prevent “One Less Lonely Girl”  being repeated 39 times.  For “Baby”, they probably went for the world record with 55 mentions of the title.  Within the rest of the songs, there are numerous other instances of repetition to just add to the effectiveness of repetition.

Again, all of these elements and more contribute to the phenomenal success of Justin Bieber.  Towering above them all, however, is the super serving of the audience thru constant releases.  This is an element that can occur on any scale with any style of artist.  The more you keep momentum within your audience and the more you keep them engaged, the more likely you will succeed.  If more artists followed this formula, a $15 million US gross for recorded music would be a more regular occurrence.

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March 29, 2010 at 7:32 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Sony Music Trims 20 (50?) More Staffers

Source: Hypebot


<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e20133ec3b99ec970b " src="http://www.hypebot.com/.a/6a00d83451b36c69e20133ec3b99ec970b-250wi" alt="image from
www.fevermedia.co.uk” style=”border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-color: initial; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px;” />(UPDATED) Sony Music Entertainment has been slowly trimming label staff in recent months.  This week 20 more employees were let go according toBillboard. The cuts come were spread across Columbia, Epic and a shared services department.

Previous cuts of about 100 staffers included RCA and other SME divisions.  Sources tell Hypebot that the cuts will continue as SME attempts to bring staffing in line with current economic realities.

UPDATE: An informed source told Hypebot this morning that the actual number cut in this round is closer to 50.

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March 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Omarion On WaTunes Marketplace

Omarion On WaTunes Marketplace.

March 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Donny Ienner’s IMHO Launches Social Player

Source: Hypebot

image from imo-production.s3.amazonaws.comFormer Sony head Donny Ienner's startup today launched its IMHO Player in alpha on Melodeo's nuTsie.com and OurStage.com. The player lets users communicate with friends, make recommendations, share experiences and purchase merchandise. Depending on a fan's preference, content can be paid for or supported by advertisers.

During its initial launch targeting Facebook users, IMHO will conduct scalability tests with music, video, game and radio content before launching a full open Beta test in the Spring.

The Orchard is providing all of the music downloads.  (Recent rumors point to The Orchard's sister company eMusic also getting more involved with IHMO)  ReaNetworks is adding casual gaming and nuTsie is powering online radio to the player. 1,600 films to IMHO from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Lions Gate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and many others through a distribution partnership with Film Fresh will be added when IHMO moves to Beta.   

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March 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Guy Hands Wins Bid To Keep EMI Citi Trial In NYC

Source: Hypebot

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e20120a97556f8970b " title="image from www.hypebot.com” src=”http://www.hypebot.com/.a/6a00d83451b36c69e20120a97556f8970b-100wi&#8221; alt=”image from www.hypebot.com” style=”border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-color: initial; margin-top: 4px; margin-right: 4px; margin-bottom: 4px; margin-left: 4px;” />A federal judge yesterday denied Citigroup's request to move its battle over Terra Firma's purchase of EMI from NY to the UK. The ruling means that a jury full will hear the case if it goes to trial.

image from wjcollier3.files.wordpress.comThe suit filed by Guy Hand's Terra Firma alleges that Citi failed to inform the investment group that other bidders had dropped out prior to their purchase of EMI. It's all part of a bigger battle that could see the struggling taken over by Citi if it fails to meet its loan obligations. Warner Music is also preparing a bid for EMI's assets.

"Citi is based in New York, not England, and will have to answer to a group of New York jurors," said Chris Duffy, a lawyer at Boies, Schiller & Flexner who represents Terra Firma told reporters. "We are disappointed with the court's procedural ruling. We look forward to defending ourselves in this case, which we believe is entirely without merit," replied Citi in a statement.

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March 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

Our Response To Phasing Out Digital Distribution

Hey guys,

As you all know, today we've issued a press to inform that by June 1st, 2010, we will no longer offer digital distribution to independent artist and record labels. We've had a great run, offering the world's first truly free distribution service, more stores, all for less prices. However, due to our high cost in maintaining these services and with little conversion rate, it was a unanimous decision that we withdraw from the distribution race. We've decided that we would be more effective in this space should we focus more on our social platform and the WaTunes Marketplace. Starting today, users are no longer able to upload or view any albums, upgrade to VIP, Pay-As-You-Go, and Music Video distribution. We have enabled the "Trend" icon for you to view your available trending data for projectional purposes.

This decision was a very difficult and heartfelt decision as we've worked extremely hard to provide a honest, secure, free, and simple way to sell your music. Starting on April 1st, 2010, we will begin to pull down all of your contents from all our digital music store services. During the period of April 1st – June 1st, we have establish smooth procedures to see that you're content is pulled down and released with another digital distributor. In regards to royalties, we have also establish a safeguard system to ensure that everyone will receive all royalties generated for every month concurrent by June 1st, 2010. 

Below are some of the basic questions you may most likely ask us and we'll ensure that we've answered them the best way possible:

Q: Why the change? Why get rid of digital distribution?

We believe that it is the best interest to dissolve our digital distribution services in order for us to put more emphasis and focus into our social platform and the WaTunes Marketplace. Due to high cost, it was evident that we could no longer provide the service.

Q: You guys are getting rid of distribution. How can I collect my royalties for the stores? What's going to happen?

We request that every account remain active during the transition period. This will ensure that your royalties are reported and issued to you. We will pull down your contents from all the digital store services. Once June 1st has taken affect, you can request us to close your account or we can downgrade your account to enable you to still participate in WaTunes activities and functions. PLEASE make sure that you've updated your profile with the following required fields immediately:

Artists (Artist Name/Name of Label Owner)

Label (Label Name – This must be the label that you've used to upload your music)

PayPal E-mail (Please make sure the correct PayPal E-mail address is entered to ensure your royalties are issued swiftly)

Q: You guys have helped me out so much. I'd still like to sell my music on the WaTunes Marketplace. How can I make this possible?

WaTunes is powered by MediaNet. We recommend that you go through a digital distributor who handles content delivery to MediaNet to ensure that your album contents becomes available on the WaTunes Marketplace. Click here to see the list of distributors that service content to MediaNet.

Q: Do I have to fully close my WaTunes Account?

No. Fortunately, you can still keep and maintain your WaTunes account for other purposes including promoting your profile, selling your music on the WaTunes Marketplace, and try out other unique services we will roll out in the future. If you do decide that you want us to fully close down your account (and also remove your profile), simply contact us around June 1st, 2010 and we'll see that we can fully remove your account.

Q: So how does the new Transition Period work?

Starting today, we're giving everyone the opportunity to find a new home to sell music on iTunes and other various services. On April 1st, we will begin to takedown all contents from our digital services and will begin to issue royalties from all previous and concurrent months to ensure that your transition with us is smooth, quick, and easy. By June 1st, your albums should be fully removed, royalties issued, and you should already have a new distributor to call home.

Q: Will you guys offer any artist services?

We will continue to offer ringtones, licensing, and cover song licensing services for everyone. We will also be providing you the ability to get airplay through Jango.

Q: Are you guys going out of business?

No. WaTunes is not going out of business or going anywhere, anytime soon. We're merely exiting this sector and focus more on our consumer services like the WaTunes Marketplace.

Q: Are there any services you guys will keep?

Yes. WaTunes will still offer its Mobile App service (sell unlimited iPhone Apps) and ringtones (via Thumbplay). 

Q: What if I have an iPhone App with WaTunes? Will that be affected with this transition?

No. We will retain the mobile app services, enabling you to sell unlimited mobile apps into iTunes. Any mobile apps you have delivered to us will not be affected.

Q: What are some other distributors where I can sell my music?

Click here to see a list of distributors that service content to MediaNet. These distributors can also place your music into WaTunes.

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns regarding our exit from digital distribution and press information, please feel free to contact us.

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March 22, 2010 at 4:22 am Leave a comment

PR: WaTunes Phases Out Digital Distribution

WaTunes Phases Out Digital Distribution
 
DETROIT – March 22nd, 2010 –WaTunes, the revolutionary social music service that enables users to discover millions of songs instantly has announced that it will phase out its digital distribution services for independent artists and record labels.

This big move is to position WaTunes to focus solely on its social platform and the WaTunes Marketplace, a music store service that enables users to buy millions of songs from artists like Drake, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Lil Wayne, and Fall Out Boys.  

This decision was truly a heartfelt one. We believed that our distribution services were becoming so appealing that we could no longer sustain it. It took thorough and critical thinking to come up with such a decision. We thank all the artists and labels that have participated and utilized our distribution services for their needs. Our support for their music will always be with them. ” Says Kevin Rivers, CEO of WaTunes.

WaTunes will retain certain artist services including selling unlimited mobile apps, ringtones, and licensing. WaTunes social platform enables artists to create their profile, embed widgets, and share music with their fans. 

About WaTunes

WaTunes is a social music service that enables fans to discover new music in a complete social environment. Users can purchase millions songs, ringtones, share information, make instant calls via Skype, embed any widget from any platform including YouTube, MySpace, VEVO, Dijit, and more!

 

Contact: press@watunes.com

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March 22, 2010 at 4:19 am Leave a comment

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