Archive for April, 2011

WaTunes: Sony Passes UMG As Top Label Group

Source: Hypebot

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e201538e32635d970b" title="image from” src=”; alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /> Sony Music Entertainment has passed the Universal Music Group in year-to-date U.S. music market share for the first time since 2005. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Sony's overall album market share is 29.35%, just above Universal T 29.26%. That means when Doug Morris takes the helm of Sony un June, he will once again top the most successful label group in the country. But an aggressive release schedule could tip the scales towards UMG later this year.

April 30, 2011 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Facebook Adds Send Button, Improves Groups

Source: Hypebot

Since Facebook introduced its Groups feature in October, 50 million Groups have been formed.  But until today, there has been no good way to message a small number of people.  Yesterday with the launch of a Send button, Facebook has changed all that. In addition to Send details below) new improvements include integration with Questions, the ability to upload photo albums and additional membership controls.

"A year ago, we launched the Like button, which gives you a quick way to share the things you find on the web with all your friends," Elliot Lynde, a Facebook Groups engineer, wrote in a blog post. "But there are times when you find something that you only want to share with a few specific people."

How Send Works:

It you are in a site with Send buttons installed and want to tell your roommates about a great  article that you only want to share with them, hit the new Send button and decide who to send it to: friends, groups or any email address. You can then add a message and send the page to friends’ inboxes or post it to a Group wall.

Starting today, the Send button will be available on over 50 high traffic websites including WSJ, HuffPo and Orbitz. Expect many more sites to add it in the coming days.

April 27, 2011 at 1:23 am Leave a comment

WaTunes: Live Nation Senior Exec Calls Bob Lefsetz An “Asshole With A Computer”

Source: Hypebot

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e201538e0a071e970b" title="image from” src=”; alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /> (UPDATED) After it was reported that former Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino had gotten a 137% pay hike, music industry commentator Bob Lefsetz joined the chorus wondering how a company that's losing money and laying off staff can pay each of its top executives millions of dollars in bonuses. That drew an angry response from Live Nation's CEO of Global Music, Jason Garner, who in 2008 was #15 on Forbes Higherst Paid Under 40 list. Full text of Garner's emai to Lefsetz:

From: Jason Garner
Subject: Re: Live Nation Compensation

Pls print this – if you have the balls

You are an asshole with a computer.  I can finally say what every relevant member of our industry thinks.  I dare you to sit in michael rapino’s chair for one week – and then write your column.  I dare you to do one thing, just one, that takes a risk to move our industry forward the way michael and irving have for their entire careers versus whining about the glory of the past and criticizing those who pour their hearts into our business today.  I dare you, just once, to be on the other side of your cowardly, late night computer jabs and feel the way I’m sure nathan does right now after working 20 hours a day for the last five years.  Until then you are a coward and a cynic and a man who never spent a day in the ring and is so bitter in his irrelevance that he takes shots at the guys who are actually doing something.

Ineptly yours,
Jason Garner

April 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Do You Really Want A Major Label Deal?

Source: Hypebot

This guest post comes from Robin Davey, a musician, artist and Head of Music and Film Development at GROWVision Media.

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e201538e06de3c970b" title="image from” src=”; height=”200″ alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” width=”188″ /> A recent survey suggested that 75% of artists are still chasing that ever-elusive major deal. This shows the credulity of bands, rather than the shimmering prospects that a major can offer.

At this stage of my career I have signed to two major labels and a bevy of independents, and I can tell you this from experience – you are a long way from “making it” at the time of inking a deal. Even when the advances used to be respectable, it would only set you up for a few months at best. After that you better be earning money independently of the record label, because it’s a long wait until that next advance is available.

When you take into account the cost of recording an album, paying a producer, giving your manager 20%, and splitting what remains of the advance between your band members, you can kiss goodbye those aspirations of putting an Escalade in the drive way. In fact you will be lucky to be able to afford to fix the oil leak in your Ford Focus.

The 360 deal further exemplifies this notion. If the majors take a piece of everything, the artist loses an even bigger portion of their lifeline when it comes to everyday survival.


In the current climate, the only way you will gain any major label attention is if you are already achieving a level of independent success. This is the catch 22 that the 75% of bands – who are still eager to pursue the major route – just don’t get.

If you already have independent success, why would you want to go to a major?

This is also what is weighing down the majors; they can no longer take the risk of signing every act with potential, and they cannot offer a lucrative incentive for those who are already proving themselves in the independent market.

With services like Topspin and Bandcamp, it is now easy to sell direct to your fan base. High visibility in the marketplace and accessibility to new followers are also far more obtainable without the need of industry muscle. As a result you have the prospect of earning substantially more independently, than the royalties filtered down through the corporate system.

It is the quandary of the industry which has deepened the us and them divide between musicians and labels. But this is really only the majors problem. Because they are the ones with plummeting profits, and it is the independent musician who is gaining a foothold.


The independent mentality is to do everything in house in order to keep costs down and productivity up. The corporate mentality has always been to get outside entities to do the job when needed. Although the majors would have departments to handle tasks like promotion, design and radio, it seemed they were only there to fulfill contractual obligations for the artists that did not show the prospects of real success. Any manager with experience would negotiate the use of an outside company to initiate a prolonged campaign, as opposed to the week or so the in-house department could dedicate to individual releases.

I do see the latest job hiring at major labels reflecting a more independent mindset. They are on the look out for multimedia creators to handle a plethora of tasks, and this is certainly a step in the right direction. However, if they want to survive they don’t need to be tentative about this, they need to be bold, because it is the boldness of independent bands that is winning the day. Musicians who unabashedly embrace new ideas, and create innovative and accessible content are making the break through. As yet this is something that the majors haven’t been able to compete with, or indeed, fully comprehend.


So aspiring bands and artists, I am afraid there is no easy route, the majors will certainly not provide it, and they never did. It comes down to hard work and offering up something different and innovative. And when the majors do come knocking, you will realize that the 25% who were not interested, are probably the ones who can actually pay their rent.

April 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: How To Get Your Music Into Video Games!

Source: Hypebot

SDC11999 The National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP) held a professional’s panel in downtown San Francisco last Wednesday where top minds in the video game industry discussed ways that independent musicians could increase their chances of getting their music placed into video games.

The worldwide video game industry is poised to exceed $70 billion by 2015, thanks to the combined growth of console, portable, PC, and online video games, according to market researcher DFC Intelligence. As the industry grows, the opportunity for musicians to have their music licensed becomes increasingly more competitive.

Follow these tips to increase your chances of landing a placement:

Do Your Homework

Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) Music Director Chuck Doud recommends learning everything you can about the video game industry before knocking on the doors of supervisors.

“Find out what they need and what they’re looking for,” Doud said. “Seek out the developers who are doing the types of games that would be a good fit for your music. Think of the developers first, and don’t take the ‘hire me’ approach – you won’t get anywhere.”

SCEA Music Supervisor Matt Levine concurs: “Once we have a sense for how the game will shape out artistically, we’ll then set a list of potential candidates. We all talk to each other and we’ll ask around. We don’t hold any favoritism towards the indies nor the majors. The bottom line is this: if you’re good, and you have the sound we’re looking for, your chances of a placement increase.”

Note: and are excellent resources for staying up to date on the business end of video games! 

Start Small

Former Director of Music Relations for Electronic Arts/EA Sports, and current CEO of Eckhardt Consulting Randy Eckhardt:

“Don’t bother trying to meet with top-level people right away,” he suggests. “Seek out smaller developers first, as it certainly helps to show that you’ve had placement before. The current expansion into online social games that are using not as rich and deep content has expanded opportunities to score smaller games.”

2011 is predicted to be the year when mobile social games see a significant increase. Interestingly enough, the 2nd most highly valued company in the video game industry today is not just social, but also only four years old (Zynga – makers of FarmVille). 

“The emergence of casual games is huge,” added Chuck Doud. “There are more developers popping up and therefore many more contacts for independents to approach.”

Make Their Job Easier

Music supervisors and licensors are flooded with hundreds of submissions on a daily basis, and there are only so many hours in a day. To increase your chances of being heard, make it easy for them to access and listen to your music.

“I’d much rather stream tracks," said Matt Levine. "I’d rather not download anything. I’m also more likely to listen to your music if your website is clean and very clear.”

“Don’t be sending out demos,” Chuck Doud suggests. “Send us your highest quality work that's ready to be licensed. Also, make sure you distinguish who owns what before submitting a track. All paperwork should be in place and your tracks should be ready to be licensed tomorrow if they had to be.”

Remember to Be of Service

The role of your music is to enhance the gamer's experience while they interact with the art on screen; it’s not supposed to take center stage. The more your intention lay in assisting the overall artistic vision of the project, and not so much on just landing a placement, the more likely music supervisors will want to work with you.

Getting your music in video games should be just one part of your strategy as a musician. While it can certainly lead to generous returns for larger-scale projects, it should ultimately be part of the marketing plan and not the primary desired source of income. With that, the more front-end research you do, the more rapport you build up, and the easier you make it on the people behind the scenes, the more likely you’ll earn a placement.

For more information on the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals, head to

April 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: MySpace Faces Data Sharing Class Action Lawsuit, CT0 Dimitry Shapiro Exits

Source: Hypebot

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e2014e87d0ce52970d" title="image from” src=”; alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /> In a legal action filed in New York City, MySpace has been accused of sharing data without the user's consent.with advertisers that associates members with their browsing history.  The social network allegedly shares data despite telling members they can restrict access. This lawsuit, which hits as owner News Corp's is negotiating to turn a troubled MySpace over to VEVO or another buyer, is seeking full class-action status and unspecified damages.

“MySpace knowingly serves as and profits handsomely from being a conduit through which details of the most intimate aspects of its members’ lives, as reflected in their Internet browsing history and otherwise, are transmitted to data aggregators, who package the information into profiles and sell it like any other commodity to advertisers,” according to the complaint filed as Virtue v. MySpace Inc., 11-cv-1800, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn.

To further add to the confusion, Chief Technical officer Dimitry Shapiro is leaving MySpace. "Today is my last day at MySpace. Forming a new company on Monday, in LA. Hiring developers: Ruby/Node.js/JavaScript/CSS/UX/UI," read his Thursday afternoon message.

April 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Google Sick Of Dealing With Labels, May Drop Portions of Music Service

Source: Hypebot

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e2014e87c4ec48970d" title="image from” src=”; alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /> Google is so tired of negotiating with record labels about licensing that they may drop part of their planned Google Music service in frustration. WMG is apparently the worst offender with the label’s head of digital, Michael Nash, reportedly telling Google that they should charge users least $30 a year for a robust cloud music locker.

Google is said to want users to be able to try the service for free with the first 500 tracks stored by users at no charge.  WMG and perhaps others are unwilling to budge. "Google is just about at the end of their rope with the major label licensing process,” according to industry veteran Wayne Russo.

Google's logical move may be to launch a more limited product without licences much as Amazon did recently.  Despite public condemnations, no labels or publishers have challenged Amazon Cloud with litigation.

April 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: How To Increase Engagement In Facebook Wall Posts, A Statistical Review

Source: Hypebot

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e2014e60b2c161970c" title="image from” src=”; alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /> Buddy Media, a company that provides a "social media platform" for Facebook marketing, recently released a free white paper titled Strategies for Effective Facebook Wall Posts: A Statistical Review. The report is based on Facebook posts made over a two week period by 200 users of the Buddy Media Platform described as the "world's largest brands" in industries including entertainment, media, retail and fashion. See also their client list.

April 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes Signs Warner Music, Opens Store Inside Facebook Walls (Archived)

Source: TechCrunch

Detroit-based digital music company WaTunes has come to a licensing agreement with Warner Music Group, the third major record label to sign a deal with the startup after Universal and EMI.

Warner has licensed its full catalog of music for use in WaTunes’ brand new Facebook application, which essentially lets people purchase digital music through a full-fledged storefront without the need to leave the popular social networking site.

Thanks to the deal with Warner, WaTunes can now provide Facebook users with music from artists like The White Stripes, Seal, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Diddy, Ray Charles, and a lot more.

With the Music Store Facebook app, users can discover and purchase millions of songs in high-quality MP3 format thanks to a partnership with MediaNet. It’s far from the only Facebook application to enable users to do that (Lala springs to mind), but notably, you don’t even need to sign up for a WaTunes account to be able to stream 30-second versions of songs or buy and download full tracks and albums.

In addition, users can talk to friends while browsing the music store and share albums on their Facebook Wall of on MySpace, Twitter and other social networks.

We should note the WaTunes Music Store is U.S. only for now, and only accepts credit card payments through Facebook.

WaTunes recently announced that it aims to phase out its digital distribution services for independent artists and record labels. The company at the time said it would retain services for mobile applications, ringtones and licensing, but focus solely on its social platform and online marketplace going forward.

April 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

WaTunes: Labels Could Owe Artists More Than $2 Billion In Unpaid Royalites

Source: Hypebot

This guest post by Dave Kusek, a VP at Berklee College of Music and CEO of Berkleemusic was experpted with permission from his Future Of Music blog.

<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e2014e874db91a970d" title="image from” src=”; alt=”image from” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /> If you are a recording artist or a manager and have been distributing music on iTunes under a deal with one of the big record labels, pay attention.

…the producers who helped Eminem achieve his success are paving the way via a lawsuit against Universal Music and others, to larger payouts for digital music sales via iTunes and other digital services both past and future. This effort could unleash literally billions of dollars in unpaid royalties for recording artists. (Click on image to enlarge.)

How Much Labels Could Owe Artists:


I want to be very conservative and so will assume that half the music distributed on iTunes is from catalog sales of artists with older label contracts, and the other half is from music distributed from sales of more newer artists.  SoundScan numbers from last year show 648.5 million downloads of “catalog” singles in the US, meaning songs more than 18 months old, compared with 523 million for current tracks, so this seems like a very safe assumption.

Using this quick and dirty math, the potential unpaid royalties to artists from just iTunes sales would be around $2.15 billion.  Admittedly some of this money has already been paid to music publishers, so the number may be overstated somewhat, and could benefit from a finer accounting.  But then again, existing iTunes downloads could be 80% based on catalog sales which would make the number much higher.  So the amount is significant.  Really significant. (more)

Dave Kusek is a digital music pioneer, author, businessman and entrepreneur. Kusek is Vice President at Berklee College of Music and CEO of Berkleemusic, the world's largest online music school. Kusek helped develop the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), was co-inventor of the first electronic drums "Synare", and founder of Passport Designs, the first music software company. In 2005 he co-authored the best selling music business book "The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution".

April 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

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