There is little doubt that digital is the future of music. The CD may not be dead, but it might as well be.
Its replacement for millions of consumers has been digital music services of various kinds, ranging iTunes and the Amazon MP3 Store to Pandora and Spotify.
Network execs, client-side reps, and ad folks crowded the Televisual Expo organized by the Collaborative Alliance in New York City’s financial district last week.
The small but crowded tradeshow featured 50 vendors of heavyweights, such as DirecTV and Comcast, and newbies such as Tapjoy, which FastCompany featured last month in its list of most innovative firms.
Spotify is one of the most popular streaming music services in the world, and since its July debut in the U.S. and the recent launch of a deep Facebook integration , it has gained 250,000 U.S. subscribers, bringing the company's worldwide paid subscriber total to "well north" of 2m.
But it's not all good news for the Swedish-based company: while revenue grew from just over £11m in 2009 to just over £63m in 2010, during the same period Spotify's after-tax loss jumped grew by nearly £10m to £26m.
Personalization vs. privacy. Behavioral targeting vs. big brother. When does it get creepy?
It's rare that I catch myself being a full-fledged
I'm not talking about the guy who has not spent the last 25 years in sales
marketing - the guy who has not spent studying and writing books and
about online marketing since 1993 - the guy who does not climb all over
random video to bask in the glory of the Old Spice Guy. But it happened
The road to online music streaming is littered with the bodies of startups with interesting ways of sharing music. And internet radio darling Pandora was almost one of them — multiple times. This weekend, The New York Times documented the various ways that Pandora almost went out of business over the 10 years of its existence.
Pandora is on track to earn $100 million this year. That turn around is due to a number of issues. Some of them are extenuating circumstances — like recently reduced royalty fees for streaming songs. But Pandora has also been paying attention to changes in consumer behavior and digital payment structures. Their new revenue streams — including online ads, new streaming deals and a paid streaming model — prove that there's not always one way to bring in a dollar.
Starbucks has invested a lot in social media. From Twitter to Facebook to its own MyStarbucksIdea.com, Starbucks has a highly-visible social media footprint. And highly-visible results: over half a million followers on Twitter and more than 5m fans on Facebook.
Given its social media prowess, if any brand is capable of turning away from traditional marketing channels and reaching out to consumers online, it's Starbucks. And that's exactly what it's doing this holiday season.
Google pretty much has its bases covered. Looking for an image? There's Google Images. Looking for a video? Video results appear in search. As do products.
But one thing has been noticeably absent: music. Which is not an insignificant fact given that two of the top 10 search queries in the United States are music-related. But Google being Google, it has a plan for music.
The iPhone App Store may have sold over 1.5 billion mobile applications since its launch last year, but Google’s isn’t going to waste much time on pesky downloaded apps. It sees bigger opportunities on the mobile horizon. Like tailoring its Chrome browser to the space. And while it may suit Google just fine to focus its efforts on mobile browsing, developers shouldn't abandon the native app space just yet.
After years of battling over royalty fees, internet radio station Pandora is finally moving its balance sheet into the black. Getting a boost of subscriptions from its iPhone app, Pandora is also learning that its users have a much higher tolerance for ads than it previously thought.
A beloved service with a host of financial problems stemming from record industry copyright fees, Pandora now intersperses ads into its free content and the company is finding that audiences don't seem to mind.
Pandora founder Tim Westergren spoke to Bloomberg News about the company's finances Tuesday:
"With budgets tightening in the recession, advertisers are becoming
more selective about where to spend money. That benefits Pandora
because it can deliver ads to targeted users, making sure commercials
aren’t “wasted” on the wrong demographic group, Westergren said."