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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.

Xbox Music Saves People from Playing Games in Silence

October 16, 2012 Industry Trends 2 Comments

Xbox Music LogoWe know. When you see streaming, your eyes scan to the right of the screen expecting to see green or blue… which you are trained to understand means either Spotify or Rdio. This time however, you can expect a sleek grey visually stimulating streaming service that doesn’t start with an S or an R. We’ll give you a hint… it’s no longer pink and you are probably already playing video games on it.

Xbox Music will start breaking onto the scene today on Xbox 360 consoles, and October 26th on tablets and PCs. Mobile phones will have to wait until October 29. No longer toting the name Zune or the bright desktop app, this sleek updated service loses the spreadsheet look and will be available to a pretty massive audience.

Below are some of the reasons Xbox Music could surpass expectations we have for a new service moving into a saturated market:

  • A free, ad-supported version of Xbox Music will come with every Windows 8 desktop and laptop… every time a Windows 8 owner (fill in massive number of people here) opens an MP3, Xbox Music will fulfill that request. Oh, and there are 18 million other tracks available here as well.
  • Forty MILLION people already have Xbox Live accounts and Xbox Music is launching its free service in 15 countries and its paid service in 22 countries. These people can use the credit cards they already have on file. That’s a lot of people. I’ll let you do the math.
  • Microsoft is BIG and can afford to support a free music service as a loss-leader.
  • The same ad sales team selling ad space for Bing will sell ad space for Xbox Music’s ad supported version. You might say they have some experience.
  • People already use an Xbox for more than games — something like half of Xbox usage is for non- gaming. Again, take out your calculators — time for more math.
  • You get just about everything you could possibly need with this service — radio (although not free on your mobile just yet), on-demand streaming, à la carte track downloads, a visually stimulating interface (no more spreadsheets!), a cloud, and a free pony. Ok, maybe you don’t get a pony, but you get a cloud and all that other stuff; let’s not be greedy.

Check out this video to get a peek at the platform and click here for the full press release.

The Orchard’s Catalogue Cuts: Beyond Legend

June 27, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

The Orchard Catalogue Cuts: Beyond LegendEveryone has an album that they fall in love with and play on repeat from start to finish, time and time again. Those albums become the soundtrack to our lives and capture special moments in time, but those albums can also have a tendency to define entire genres of music in our minds.

“Beyond Legend” takes listeners past the album that most cite as their introduction to reggae music: Bob Marley’s Legend. With a rich history based in Funk and R&B, Reggae music has evolved to create a vast array of subgenres like Rocksteady, Dub and Dancehall, that continue to resonate with and influence fans today.

From classic cuts to newer hits, this playlist explores many of the different vibes and sounds that Reggae has to offer and shows listeners what this genre is made up of, Beyond Legend.

Enjoy the playlist on your favorite streaming services: Spotify, Rdio and ShareMyPlaylists, or play it right here:

Treat Your Ears to Frenchkiss Label Group’s First Batch of Artists

frenchkiss label groupFrenchkiss Label Group, the boutique distributor that Frenchkiss Records launched earlier this year in partnership with The Orchard, just released a list of the first nine labels to sign on: ATP Recordings, Cavity Search Records, Cult Records, God Mode, Holiday Friends Recording Co., JAXART, Pendu Sound, Underwater Peoples and White Iris.

In honor of this exciting announcement, FKLG released a label sampler highlighting the music of these fresh, up-and-coming labels. You can download it on Amazon or stream it on SoundCloud, Spotify and Rdio.

The “We are FKLG” Compilation includes the following tracks:

  1. Do It Again (Extended Version) – Guards (White Iris)
  2. Bliss Brain – Slow Animal (JAXART)
  3. If Only We Remain – Two Wounded Birds (Holiday Friends)
  4. Kid Domino – Pete Krebs and the Gossamer Wings (Cavity Search)
  5. Oh – FIDLAR (White Iris)
  6. Lose Your Mind – So Many Wizards (JAXART)
  7. Softly – The Memories (Underwater Peoples)
  8. Louie, Louie, Louie – Eric Copeland (Underwater Peoples)
  9. 4 AM – aTelecine (Pendu)
  10. Olympians – Fuck Buttons (ATP Recordings)
  11. Tracks (Tall Bodies) – Chelsea Wolfe (Pendu)
  12. LYNY – La Big Vic – (Underwater Peoples)
  13. Cold Sweat – YVETTE (God Mode)
  14. Anywhere – Anywhere (ATP Recordings)
  15. Crooked Smiles – Tall Firs (ATP Recordings)
  16. Messin’ Up My Mind – Fletcher C. Johnson (White Iris)
  17. Call From Paris – Starred (Pendu)
  18. Cathedral – Travelogue (Holiday Friends)
  19. Unkind – Matty Fasano (God Mode)
  20. Scarred For Life – Mr. Dream (God Mode)
  21. His Love Is Fine- Von Haze (Pendu)
  22. The Red Runs Free – Steffaloo (JAXART)
  23. Boy Toy – Gentlemen of Leisure (Cavity Search)
  24. Bong Hit – Snow Bud and the Flower People (Cavity Search)

Happy listening!

What’s New, UK?

itunes rdio we7 emusicLots of services are looking to start in the UK — and others are undergoing some interesting changes. Consider this your quick and dirty update:

The US streaming store Rdio has (finally) launched in the UK and several other EU territories. We will have more news for you in the coming weeks but we are looking forward to working with the team at Rdio and helping them make their store a success in the EU.

iTunes GB & IE now have a New Artist page which showcases debut releases from new artists. We are seeing some great successes for UK and Irish artists with several features for our content.

Napster has now launched its new store (powered by Rhapsody) and has a spanking new layout for you to play with. eMusic is about to launch its Android app and will be updating the service to a HTML5 mobile-optimized site. Sony Music Unlimited is now available pre-loaded on Sony Vita Handheld devices globally. 7Digital has refreshed its platform and has added an updated app (Android and iPhone only initially), and figures released recently show over 2 million mobile customers among which 800,000 are Android alone. Beatport has launched DJ pages allowing artists to coordinate their DJ charts and releases on a single page.

The UK streaming music service we7 has launched a new iPhone app: we7 Free Music Radio. It’s another move towards its personal radio service, streaming people’s stations to their phone and allowing them to download tracks and stations for offline play, while sharing details to Facebook, Twitter and email. we7 says it will be adding exclusive radio stations and audio content from artists and festivals, starting with Metronomy.

That’s it for this month. I told you it’d be quick and dirty…

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