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Keep an Ear Out for Earbits

Earbits LogoAccording to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) Digital Music Report 2013, the music industry’s global revenues increased by 0.3 percent in 2012. Though this may seem negligible, this was the first time that the industry’s global revenues increased since over a decade ago in 1999.

A major contributor to this growth is said to be the burgeoning popularity of subscription-based, music streaming services such as Spotify. Nevertheless, with the growing number of both free and premium users joining these platforms, many critics of this business model as well as rights owners of songs have condemned these services for paying out minimal royalties.

In the midst of these issues, Joey Flores, CEO of Earbits, has found an opportunity in which artists can generate more value for themselves with this new music consumption model. Earbits initially began as an Internet radio platform for SFGate Radio. Artists who were touring in and/or near San Francisco would actually pay the service in exchange for being exposed to fans located in the area. However, through some bouts of trial and error, Flores developed a new foundation for Earbits in which artists receive promotion and fan data in exchange for users being allowed to stream their songs.

Furthermore, there’s another layer to this model, whereby user streams are powered by a point system called “Groovies” (each song costs 10 Groovies to stream), which fans earn in a myriad of ways. These include creating an account on Earbits (500 Groovies), sharing music with friends on Facebook or Twitter (100 Groovies), and Liking an artist’s Facebook page or joining their email list (50 Groovies). Earbits is also planning to attribute points to attending live shows, buying merchandise, as well as joining Google Hangouts with artists. This type of system makes the foundation of payment a matter of social currency as opposed to a monetary one, which is the basis for other streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, and Deezer.

Though Earbits has moved toward the streaming model, it still has radio-style channels on the service that are curated by the team. Users can blend channels together to form their own, but like all Internet radio, it doesn’t allow for the freedom of interactive streaming. However, it costs no Groovies to listen to the channels, which makes it a viable option for those wanting to listen to music but not have to earn any points. It can also be a useful tool to discover music, and then earn/use Groovies to freely listen to the music that you discover and love.

With this innovative model, it appears that both artists and music listeners can benefit. Artists obtain more data on their music listeners as well as drive traffic to their social media outlets, which can lead to listeners spending money on their merchandise. Music listeners consume the music they want by simply engaging with the artist and the artist’s music via social media. Though only time will tell if this model is sustainable, Earbits offers a refreshing, new look on how artists and fans can obtain value from music consumption.

So Much Music… Have We All Blown Our Attention Spans?

January 10, 2013 Industry Trends 1 Comment

jude not listeningFirstly, I would like to “publish” a short essay that recently struck a chord with me. It was written by my brother Emmanuel Rizzi, a contributor to Cornell University’s The Diplomacist blog.

Here goes:

Why the Music-Artist envies the Literature-Artist

What luck has the Literature-Artist to have an individual spectatorship! The form of literature precludes reading en masse – it is an isolating form that requires the undistracted focus of its reader. It thus takes for granted the reader’s attention and is delivered to the reader’s most vulnerable state. Though the average reader may certainly not be attuned to the author’s subtleties of artistry, he is nonetheless reached at his most vulnerable, his most open — the medium gets the best out of each reader.

What difference with music! The free-flowing, amorphous and drifting form of the medium means that it may — and usually is (prior to 20th century advent of recording, must) — be heard and experienced en masse; the form imposes no barrier: it will reach the enlightened listener as readily as the benighted one. In fact, it has a tendency to often reach the unwilling listener! Music requires no singular focus of the listener, who is free to attend to any and all mental or physical activities while hearing the music. It is the rare listener who makes himself vulnerable — for this reason the medium seldom gets the best out of each listener.

It is serious music’s curse (but the blessing of popular music).

In my mind, Emmanuel’s words ring oh so true. It would be hard, even foolish, to argue otherwise. The appreciation of music has always depended on a reliable attention span, one that is being challenged more than ever in today’s musical landscape.

As of late, I seem to have hit a crisis… I am listening to less and less music, sometimes none at all for weeks at a time. I am inspired by less and less music, and when a song does get my attention, it is rarely for its whole duration. How can this be? I have always had a voracious appetite for music discovery, a boundless open mind for all sounds regardless of genre, and an enthusiasm for active listening rarely matched by my peers. Could this be the “old” me?

Music is now more readily available, more accessible, more plentiful, and on top of that, cheaper than it has ever been. Recording and self-releasing music have greatly profited from the advent of modern technology making it easier than ever to get one’s music “out there.” So why is it I am struggling so much to feel enthusiastic about music today? Could it be that my precious attention span has been eroded by an over-saturation of music? Am I suffering from option anxiety? Perhaps.

Music is everywhere. It’s stored on my phone. It’s on Spotify on my phone. It’s on YouTube on my phone. It’s on Shazam on my phone. It’s on Deezer on my phone. Between all of them I can listen to pretty much every single piece of music I ever want to, and at any given time. And I can connect this to various sound systems wherever I may be, at home, in the office, in my studio… but the sad thing is, I don’t. And I blame the mass availability of music for the sad state of affairs that my music appreciation has become.

I am not going to go on about how the rise of digital has killed off the culture behind owning a physical piece of music and the pleasures associated with it. Too much has already been said on the topic, and in fact I am not one to dwell on the past. The decline of physical as the leading format has always just been a matter of time. The future is now here, technology and hence the music business continue to evolve, and I am happy to be an active part of these changes, both as an artist and as a professional within the industry. But going back to Emmanuel’s essay — there are very few filters left. We get bombarded by an onslaught of music left and right on a daily basis and picking and choosing (i.e. focusing) has become increasingly difficult. Not to mention the competition created by our daily lives’ distractions. Our attention spans have spun out of control. Too much information, too little time.

As is rather clear, this has taken its toll on me personally. I haven’t dealt with it as well as some. But I remain optimistic. The music world is in a constant state of flux and I am sure that my listening habits of old will come back, somehow some way, either through further changes in our industry or perhaps through some further adaptation on my part. Either way, I am excited to find out.

Let’s Make A Deezer Playlist Out Of It!

SpotizrAre you a Deezer addict but some of your best playlist-making friends are using Spotify? Do you wish you could listen to the thousands of great Spotify playlists featured on on Deezer? Do you want to have the best of worlds? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, we have found the right solution for you:

All you need to do is copy and paste a Spotify playlist HTTP link that looks like this… or go to ShareMyPlaylists and find the link on the embed player icon that looks like this: </>. Let Spotizr do the rest as it generates an identical Deezer playlist for you.

Of course, keep in mind this app only works for countries where both Spotify and Deezer are available.


15 Services That Have Changed The Way We Discover And Consume Music And Video

the orchard 15 anniversaryIf we could take a snapshot of the state of the digital music industry when The Orchard was first born in 1997, it would hardly be recognizable.

With the foresight of industry veterans and young, tech savvy entrepreneurs alike, digital music innovations were a-brewin’ back then and slowly making their way to the fingertips of consumers.

We’ve put together 15 companies, services and products that we feel have changed the way we discover and consume both music and video.


  1. Napster (the unlicensed version)
  2. iTunes
  3. YouTube
  5. Pandora
  6. Winamp
  7. Rhapsody
  8. CDNow
  9. MySpace
  10. Netflix
  11. eMusic
  12. Spotify
  13. Hulu
  14. RioPort + Rio PMP300
  15. Deezer

Honorable Mentions

  • Shazam
  • Facebook

… Continue Reading

The Orchard in the Running for a Music Week Award!

March 8, 2012 Orchard News No Comments

On this eighth day of the month of March 2012, the UK’s Music Week Awards released their list of final contenders for the 23 categories included in this year’s awards. We’re proud to see The Orchard was among them!

Indeed, in great company with other nominees including Spotify, Deezer, VEVO and We7, The Orchard is being considered for the Non-Retail Digital Music Service category.

It’s a privilege and an honor, and we will be pulling for our team when the Music Week Awards take place on April 26. This very big night for the UK music industry will be hosted by The Brewery venue in central London and winners will be selected through a vote by more than 300 industry connaisseurs.

Looks like it’s good news for us all around this week!

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About The Orchard

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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