Category Archives: Music

Slow and steady wins the race

When Apple released its first iPad back in 2010, majority considered it as a revolution. Well, yes and no. Actually, the first complete concept of a tablet computer was the DynaBook. Alan Kay presented it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Even Microsoft in early 00’s first defined the term “Tablet PC”. But only Apple managed to create genuinely user-friendly product, which infected the crowd, and delivered 3 million of the devices in 80 days.

And here we go again with streaming services. Purely philanthropic and non-profit starters such as Pandora, Grooveshark and Rhapsody passed the baton to more mature Spotify and MOG, who took a quite serious approach signing deals with all four major labels (first one has rights to operate only in Europe, second – only in U.S. market). In addition to this, MOG Investors include Menlo Ventures, Balderton Capital, Simon Equity Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music.

Finally, we got to the top: Google Cloud Music beta recently released and Amazon Cloud Player Lets You Play Your Music From Anywhere. Both of them did so without securing licensing rights from record labels but have maintained that their services are completely legal, as users can only upload own purchased music.

There are also rumours about Microsoft Ventura music cloud solution, and even HP confirms that it has acquired Melodeo, a company that provides cloud-based delivery systems for content.

But wait, where is Apple? While Amazon and Google have managed to win a short sprint outpacing Apple by few months, both of their cloud music services have already been heavily criticized, both by the unhappy music industry and from consumers, who have found the quality of the services to be lacking. Such approach could send music content providers rushing into Apple’s arms. And if recent reports are to be believed, Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing deal with EMI Music, and is close to similar deals with UMG and Sony Music Entertainment.

But lets not forget about Apple ability to make things easy to use. It is not only about applying recently emerged technology, but also analyzing current needs of society and improving user experience. And perfect timing of course.

Seems like Apple let rivals to launch their services with only one reason – watch and analyze them. It is a great ability – learn from other’s mistakes. Thumbs up, and lets hope that Google, Amazon or Microsoft can build or improve their own cloud music services in order to give us, users, a bigger choice.

Apple has already confirmed the schedule for WWDC 2011, one of the biggest tech events in the industry, which begins on June 6 till June 10, 2011. Apart from iPhone 5 and Mac OS X Lion Apple is expected to make an announcement regarding its cloud-music system.

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360°, but not deals

360° full motion interactive videos are finally taking off. Will.i.am recently launched his digital media company will.i.apps and it’s first application BEP360 featuring a video from Black Eyed Peas song “The Time (Dirty Bit)”. Once you download an app, you dive into a fully immersive experience. Moving a phone around user will be able to experience the world.

One of the current biggest players in 360° video production is Immersive Media Corp. from Dallas, Texas, USA. It offers “11-lens camera and full complement of production and post-production services are being used by prominent brands to deliver cutting edge live entertainment and advertising.” Check this amazing base jumping video and even more demos on the Immersive Media demo page.

And for all these with a low budget, Pittsburgh tech start-up EyeSee360 released a 360-degree lens for use on your iPhone. The device attaches to the lens of an iPhone 4 and catches everything visible within 360° view. Viewers of the footage are able to change their point of view using the phone’s touchscreen, looking in front of, behind, beside or above the camera. GoPano is expected to sell for about $80.

Now imagine if we could play this kind of video back through a pair of goggles equipped with motion sensing accelerometers. Turning your head to change a viewpoint, the effect of Virtual Reality might be achieved with the snap of a finger.

We’re looking forward to see how this technology being used for live concerts and fully immersive experience.


Dying of D.I.Y.'ing? Outsource!

What is behind the name of the artist? Obviously, his music and a bunch of different sales and marketing activities. A new trend called outsourcing has been on the rise as a way for record companies to cut costs and still produce a great product. Outsourcing is being used in a few different ways: music production, promotion and distribution.

Universal Music, the world’s largest music publisher and record label took advantage of the expertise, scale and resources of an experienced supply chain specialist called arvato. In result, the Company improved the next-day delivery service for UK and Ireland orders, which was done by implementing a new warehouse management solution.

“There was no specific ‘problem’ we were trying to fix – nothing was ‘broken,'” says supply chain manager Clive Smith. “But by outsourcing something non-core we’ve still been able to realise real benefits and improved our processes at the same time.”

Not only recording companies, but also start-up musicians and acts are looking towards new opportunities, outsourcing features and DIY culture. They are trying to do developing, marketing, sales and administration all at once on their own.  This group of artists decided to turn a back on the traditional record label model in search of a better way. Despite the internet makes do-it-yourself so easy, there are too many services, and so much change finding the way is expensive and quite difficult. D.I.Y. is making you crazy? Then outsourcing is for you!

There are quite a lot of things that can be outsourced:

  • Web-design, coding and logo design
  • Analytics and statistics
  • Video shooting and editing
  • Recording and mastering

And apart from technical stuff there are plenty work left for bookings research, search engine optimization, social media activities, content writing etc. Artist usually pays 10%-15% commission fee to a booking agency, but it is not a big deal to find a personal assistant that can perform a range of different tasks (including bookings) for $5/h. Do you feel that breeze of saved money coming back into your pocket?

Think about outsourcing as time (saved) and investment. It is important to find a good reason and possibly to start with a small budget assigning tasks to the army of freelancers. Overseas workers should be considered also as they might cost 3-4 times cheaper. Check Odesk.com where you can find contractors for any kind of tasks – from programming to business consulting and project management. ScriptLance.com is mostly focused on web-development and Guru.com is perfect for finding freelancers in technology, creative arts and business fields.

One more resource to mention – a blog by an outspoken member of Generation-Y, music marketer Greg Rollett. Gen-Y Rock Stars was a brand, developed as a blog and business for indie musicians to explore online tools and communication to develop their own brand. Sign-up on a web-site and get free pdf with all necessary resources + 2 mp3 podcasts, or just simply start with videos.

On this note we want to remind you, that Holly Blue is an integrated marketing communications firm or the Boutique Agency that offers PR services, product development and bookings. HB offer is:

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Music Analytics at IASPM2011: Spotify will vanish

The IASPM conference held on 14th and 15th of April rather surprised. Indeed, the differentiation between speakers was quite big. Disappointment, that many students speakers could not answer questions from audience. The most common phrase you could hear:”Oh, I didn’t complete any research on that”. But lets leave them and talk about speakers that brought a huge inspiration.

First to mention is Dr Lee Marshall from University of Bristol. He was talking about stars in the recording industry and changing dynamics. But before his talk, this respectable gentleman was hiding on a last row stinging every speaker with fair questions. Should I say that some of the presenters “capitulated”? And today he even came to us again and gave a perfect overview on music industry biggest players and 360 degree deals. Well done! Thank you and hopefully see you soon!

Other amazing speaker Michael Christianen shared his opinion on developing systems that help customers to optimize the music discovery, managing and sharing processes. This presentation highlighted those concepts together with the results of the research done by Michael in the past 15 years. He also represented his research on streaming business model, claiming that Spotify might disappear, but Goggle or even Amazon might catch up and become major providers of a streamed music and other cloud content. But these grands should consider several attributes, such as:

  • Discover
  • Acquire
  • Manage
  • Use
  • Share

These components must be considered, developed and modified in order to establish a competitive service that will hit the spot. Paradigm shift that started 10 years ago is not finished yet. As Michael said:

“For established parties, it is therefore important to act pro-actively, integrating new technologies, new business models and alliances in order to forge a solid position in the value chain to secure.”

We are here, to provide you with latest updates on music industry. Stay tuned.