Archive for October, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Venzo Digital Selected by AlwaysOn as one of the OnHollywood 100 Companies to Watch

Venzo Digital Selected by AlwaysOn as one

of the OnHollywood 100 Companies to Watch

Recognized for creating technology innovations in digital entertainment.

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October 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

Layoffs Begin As Universal Music Takes Over EMI

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Source: Hypebot

As expected, layoffs have begun as Universal Music Group begins it's takeover of EMI  10 staffers were let go late last week in EMI's Nashville label offices along with another 50 in distribution.  Other staffers were warned they will lose their jobs in the next 30 to 120 days, according to multiple sources.  But this is likely just the start of deeper cuts.

At the time of the purchase, UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said that he anticipated cost savings of $162 million from a combined UMG and EMI.

Most top executives at both companies are apparently safe for now. Analysts speculate that, for now at least, the cuts at EMI may not be massive.  EMI staffing is already lean by major label standards. Terra Firma implemented wholesale layoffs of 1500 from a 5500 global workforce after it's 2007 takeover. Most expect the deepest cuts to come from sales and distribution. Additional layoffs in UMG's EU distribution operations are already being planned for the spring or summer of 2013, according to Billboard

Several EMI distribution executives have reportedly been offered new positions at Universal Music Group Distribution. The included SVP Sales John Nicholas, who has been offered a senior catalogue position, and Joan Kan,  who will become label liaison for Capitol.

October 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

Apple To Launch Free Music Streaming In Q1 2013, Pandora Stock Drops 12%

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Source: Hypebot

Apple is planning to launch a free ad supported Pandora-like online music service in the first three months of 2013. Current negotiations with labels are focusing on differentiating features and how to share ad revenue. The talks could be completed next month according to Bloomberg.

Pandora and other online radio services operate under a compulsory license that governs how many times per hour an artist can be played, as well as, how often they can skip tracks. Apple is negotiating direct<img class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451b36c69e2017d3cfcbb8e970c" title="image from www.google.com” src=”http://www.hypebot.com/.a/6a00d83451b36c69e2017d3cfcbb8e970c-100wi&#8221; alt=”image from www.google.com” style=”margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;” /> licensing deals with labels that would allow more flexibility and additional features including offline caching and earlier availability of new releases. 

Pandora stock, already battered by previous rumors of Apple's plans, fell another 111.73% on Thursday, down $1.09 to $8.20, off a 52 week high of $15,97.

While neither company would comment on today's report, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been beefing also up the company's mobile advertising group and exploring opportunities beyond radio to integrate ads within other Apple services.

October 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

Trent Reznor: And Then I Realized, I Needed My Major Label Back…

Source: Digital Music News

Grizzly Bear thinks they need traditional radio to break big. And only a major label can really deliver that, at least right now.  Meanwhile, even major label refugees like Trent Reznor are crawling back to the machine.  Here's the moment when Reznor realized that his post-major, DIY audience was ultimately insular and limiting.  He recently inked a deal with Columbia (Sony Music Entertainment).     

October 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

What The New Myspace Will Offer Musicians & Fans

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Source: Hypebot

By Knar Bedian of Evolver.fm.

Yes, we all know, the new Myspace redesign is beautiful. The obvious emphasis on aesthetics is even present in its choice of video platform: Rather than use YouTube, it seems the partially-Justin Timberlake-backed company created an account with designer-friendly Vimeo just to release its preview video (above), as if to make a statement about its boutique nature.

Myspace was a lot of things: the place to connect with friends, the site to stream free music, and the platform that gave unknown artists like Lily Allen their big break and a musical career. But what is Myspace now? The new Myspace is no simple visual redesign. Its new features will provide artists with opportunities to communicate with, and direct content towards, their most devoted fans… assuming they see any point in visiting the site.

You can read about Myspace’s gorgeous new look elsewhere; here, we’ll focus on what it will offer musicians and listeners. Myspace has us on the list for early access to the new version, but hasn’t granted that yet, so we did some light investigation by hitting pause on its introductory video to see the new look.

Myspace-search-313x193The new search is simple, presenting songs, albums, artists, mixes and people simultaneously, bringing up the results side-by-side. Myspace’s social emphasis is fairly evident, in that you’re not just searching for music, but people who like it.

As for the actual listening features, the persistent music player bar at the bottom lets you keep listening as you explore. It should be easy to queue up songs, as dragging a song will make the fixed navigation bar expand so you can play the song next, last, or add it to your mixes.

The mix feature itself is notable too; users will be able to discover new music by exploring the mixes of friends and artists, giving Myspace a bit of an 8tracks feel. And, similar to Facebook’s little built-in play button (which launches the song your friend is currently listening to via Spotify) you’ll be able to click on the recently-played songs on your friend’s stream and listen in or add it to a mix, although unlike Facebook, it only appears to draw from Myspace activity.

Myspace is clearly making an effort to strengthen the connection between our identity and our music tastes. It has incorporated a feature similar to This Is My Jam by introducing the “Profile Song.” In a sense, Myspace is asking the user, “What song best defines you at this moment?” Your song selection could — whether you intend it to or not — communicate a lot of information to friends and anyone else browsing your profile. It might hint at your current mood, display your sophistication in musical taste, and or even convey messages about your personality. By including a “Profile Song” Myspace is providing us with another tool for constructing an image of ourselves.

For artists, the new site offers a stats section to help bands better understand their audience. The map visuals may help artists determine where to tour next, as it will show the number of fans concentrated in each city. Artists can also post only to their top fans, so perhaps we will see promotional methods that mimic the one used by the xx for their recent album, Coexist.

Some artists will provide two ways to listen to their albums: through the album listing on their profile page, or through album mixes, which can include photos (Justin Timberlake’s example mix included behind-the-scenes photos). It will be interesting to see the ways artists utilize this visual aspect of the mix feature; I see some potential here for creating a new type of popular media. Perhaps artists will use mixes to tell a story about the album through a flipbook-like succession of photos, or simply attract attention and listeners through a mix’s creative collages. Regardless of how this feature will be used, it’s interesting to note that there will be more user interactions that involve both image and audio together.

To those who critique Myspace’s facelift when it debuts, I suggest moving past the aesthetics, and taking a deeper look at its new features. Don’t get me wrong — the new interface will certainly contribute to a more pleasant overall experience. But the other aspects of the new Myspace could, against all odds, push the former number-one social network to become a popular place for listeners to check out bands and share music with friends, while offering artists new ways to to attract attention and communicate with fans, all in one place.

So, when will it launch? Earlier this month, Myspace COO Chris Vanderhook told ABC it would become available on a rolling basis, first to artists and super-users, and then to the general community. (Also a copyedit note to ABC… it’s called Myspace now, not MySpace.)

October 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

Coca-Cola Eyes $10 Million Spotify Invesment

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Source: Hypebot

Coca-Cola is in serious discussions to invest $10 million in Spotify, according to both Bloomberg Business and Sky News, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the talks.  The deal, while not yet done, could be inked within the next two weeks. Coke's $10 million investment would represent a fraction of the $100 – $200 million funding on a reported $4 billion valuation that Spotify has been shopping for months.

Coca-Cola has increased its entertainment footprint in recent years to market to younger consumers. The company announced a deal in April to add Spotify to its Internet marketing, following another successful musical collaboration that netted the 2010 World Cup anthem “Wavin’ Flag.”

January Japan Launch For Spotify

The Coke news comes on top of new reports that Spotify is planning to launch in Japan in January The music streamer reportedly has aggressive plans to grab market share in the only top 5 global music market in which it currently has no footprint.

October 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

American Idol Simon Fuller to Bid on EMI Assets

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Source: Billboard

Simon Fuller, the Spice Girls svengali and creator of the TV format behind American Idol, is looking to submit a bid for all the EMI businesses that Universal Music Group must sell.

Vivendi-owned UMG recently won regulatory approval of its $1.9 billion EMI Recorded Music acquisition by promising EU regulators a range of divestitures.

Sources confirmed a report by the Independent that Fuller is lining up a bid in partnership with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

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