Beats Music: A New Way To Listen

January 21, 2014 Featured News, Marketing No Comments

beats_music_logomark_color_800 copyCongratulations to our friends at Beats Music, who today have just launched their first streaming music application! Similar to many other services in the market, Beats Music is an all-you-can-eat streaming music service available for $9.99 a month. What makes Beats stand out from the rest, you might ask? Simple… human curation!

Combining both human-curated editorial content with the use of algorithms, Beats Music gives the end user a unique and comprehensive experience unlike any other streaming platform on the market. By liking, disliking or following artists and curators in the service, you begin to establish your own profile. This information is then used to serve you with content curated by Beats’ well-versed editorial staff.

With over 300 years of experience between them, Beats Music editors program a variety of playlists and content to fit any genre, mood, or situation you may run into while listening. This team has worked among the likes of Pitchfork, XXL, WRIF, Rhino Records, Power 106, Country Weekly and a variety of other music-loving outlets. If that doesn’t showcase their music knowledge enough, I challenge you to get in the service and check out their playlists for yourself.

In the platform you will find a variety of other fun ways to discover music. My personal favorite is “The Sentence.” This part of the service generates a playlist for you based on a mad lib sentence describing your current situation. For example I entered, “I’m at a Party & feel like BBQ’ing with Your Mom to Old School Hip Hop” …and Beats Music gave me “It’s A Shame” by Kriss Kross. Hah — well played, Beats!

Within Beats Music you can also browse curated playlists by genre, situation and even curators. This gives users the ability to find the perfect playlist when they want to hear “The Roots of Reggae,” something to cook to, or even something they heard in their last Soul Cycle class (yes… Soul Cycle is a curator).

As a paid-only service, you will never hear any advertisements on Beats Music — simply the tunes you love. For the normal user, this service costs $9.99 per month. For those of you with AT&T as your mobile carrier, Beats has a partnership that allows you to bundle the service right into your mobile plan. AT&T users also have the option to enroll in a $14.99 Beats Music Family Plan, which allows access to Beats on up to five devices.

Upon sign up, every user is given a 7-day free trial, and some AT&T subscribers will get up to 90-days free. If you’re not quite ready to jump right in and play around, check out the Beats website for screenshots and more information about the app. Billboard also ran a great run-through of the application last week.

Once again, a shout out to our friends at Beats Music for creating a stellar streaming music app. And to those of you at home, let us know what you think!

Ladies and Gents, iTunes 11 Has Arrived

November 30, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

iTunes 11 is here! With a complete redesign of both the iTunes player and the iTunes store, we wanted to point out some great new features that you can use to optimize your listening and shopping experience.

First, let’s start with the player itself. You will notice when you first open iTunes 11 that there is no longer a sidebar, which has been replaced with either more browsing space on an album level or has been turned into a browse by artist/genre area. Now — if you weren’t quite ready to give up that sidebar, DO NOT FRET! You can still access it by clicking on the “View” drop-down and selecting “Show Sidebar.”

A few more big changes you will notice with the player are focused around the album view. Apple’s new album artwork layout offers a great way to quickly browse through your albums while still being able to enjoy all of your colorful album artwork. When clicking on any album, an ‘expanded view’ will appear. Not only does this expanded view show you the tracks of that specific album, but if you click the ‘In the Store’ button on the upper-right corner it will also show you Top Songs, Top Albums, and Recommended Songs [from other artists], all of which you can purchase right from your music library. How’s that for some intuitive up-sell!

Gone are the days of the unknown queue when using iTunes ‘Up Next’ feature. This functionality allows you to access a full list of upcoming and previously played tracks by clicking this button  in the Now Playing window. You can also click the arrow button next to any track and either place the track at the front of your queue by selecting ‘Play Next,’ or simply add it to your queue by selecting ‘Add to Up Next.’

Check out the new design of the Mini Player by clicking the button on the upper-right of your player. You will notice that the player is much sleeker in design, only displaying the track name, artist name, and album artwork. Hover your mouse for Play/Pause, Forward, Back, and Volume Control. And notice that you can now also access ‘Up Next’ and search your library right from the Mini Player.

There have also been some big changes to the iTunes Store. Toggle from your iTunes Library to the store by clicking the ‘iTunes Store’ button on the upper-right of your player. This will take you to a fresh new redesign with bigger showcases, sliding bricks and all around bigger album artwork.

One functionality that iTunes has added to the store is each artist now has a dedicated page. This will contain a Collection page, which showcases all of that artist’s Albums, Songs, Music Videos and Movies along with other artists that listeners have bought. The Artist Info section allows you to browse through the artist’s biography, influencers, followers and contemporaries. Some artists also have a Gallery option, which allow you to view a variety of high-resolution photos from their career.

All of these features make for a robust new store and player. I am sure there is more in store for iTunes in 2013. What do you surmise is coming?

Check out the Apple website for a demo video and more information on these new features.

Help “Fill The Bag” with Bumpy Knuckles This Thanksgiving

November 19, 2012 Artist News No Comments

The Orchard’s own Bumpy Knuckles is seeking volunteers in the New York area. Together with Big Kev The Millionaire, Krupt Mob, Mid Island Collision and The Book Bank Foundation, he will be hosting a “Fill The Bag” event to create 10,000 meals for Long Island’s hungry and the families in need from Super Storm Sandy.

Over $100,000 in non-perishable groceries have been purchased to provide over 10,000 Thanksgiving meals to Long Island’s needy. Volunteers are needed between 12PM on November 20th through 2PM on November 21st to assist in filling bags of meals to be delivered to and picked up by families in need.

If you (or your church, community organization, school, etc.) would like to volunteer, please contact Nicole Tirino ASAP to schedule your time at volunteerheremic@gmail.com or log onto www.midislandcollision.com and follow the links for more information.

Start time: November 20 @ noon (12PM EST)
End time: November 21 @ 2PM EST
Location: Mid Island Collision // 20 Lakeview Avenue, Rockville Centre // Long Island, NY

Get more details on the Facebook Event page here.

How to Post Buy Links and Not Alienate Fans

September 17, 2012 Marketing No Comments

Social Media IconsSocial media has become a very useful tool for delivering information to an artist’s fans. This is especially true around release date of a new album… and all digital retailers know it! Posting retailer-specific buy links on street week for a new product has become one of the most common asks when pitching for placement. But how can an artist or label make these retailer-specific posts without being too redundant or over messaging buy links to fans?

Tagging retailers on an artist’s social properties typically means better positioning and more committed promotional support across that retailer’s social channels and their storefront. That said, tagging should always be utilized to gain the most optimal placement for any release. Believe it or not, you can make these posts “less commercial” and still appease your retail partners.

Here are some basic rules to follow when posting buy links…

Conversational vs. Commercial – Refrain from telling your followers to buy your record. Rather, try to converse with them and get them excited about the product. Try pulling a notable quote from the lyrics, use a unique hashtag or theme from the album, ask fans their thoughts on the album, or talk about the recording process. You can include a buy link onto just about any post, so make it interesting!

Always link to the product using a short URL – This is pretty basic, but remember to use bit.ly or another short URL service so the majority of your post isn’t taken up by a web address.

Cater to all territories – See article: Because Your Affiliation Matters: How to Make Money with GeoRiot

Tag only one retailer per post – A retailer will never be enthusiastic about a post or tweet placing them alongside of their competition. If you need to tag multiple retailers over street week, separate each tag into multiple posts.

Space out posts when tagging multiple retailers – In line with the last rule, you want to make sure to spread out posts when tagging a variety of retailers. There is no hard ruling on this, but gauge your fan base and what they expect from you on a daily basis in terms of posts. Most artists should post only one buy link per day in order to alleviate fan frustration with over posting.

Keep it clean – Stay away from any mention of profanity, sex, alcohol and any illegal substances in your posts. (I’m serious.)

Detail price only when it’s a special offer – If there isn’t a special promotional price, there is no reason to call out pricing. This information is only exciting to the consumer when they find it to be a great value and/or a limited time offering.

Happy posting! And feel free to shout out any questions in the comments.

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The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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