June 6th, 2011

Dave Kusek :: iCloud – Amnesty for Music Pirates?

Dave Kusek :: iCloud – Amnesty for Music Pirates?

[By Dave Kusek]
For slightly more than $2/mo everybody will soon have access to all the music they can find, steal, share, rip, produce, morph or buy using iTunes Match. Is this amnesty for all the music pirates? I hope so.

As we predicted in The Future of Music, the future is about access to music rather than ownership. With Apple iCloud and iTunes Match, Apple has once again set the bar for all music distributors, while again lining up all the major record labels for yet another lunch. The twist to all of this is – does iCloud grant you immunity from prosecution for copyright infringement for sharing or downloading music however you wish to? We shall see.

Fantasize with me as we did in 2005…

Dave Kusek :: iCloud – Amnesty for Music Pirates?

It’s the year 2015 and you wake to a familiar tune playing softly. It gets you out of bed and makes you feel good. As you walk into the bathroom, your Personal Media Minder activates the video display in the mirror, and you watch a bit of personalized news while you get ready for the day. You step into the shower and your personalized music program is ready for you, cued up with a new live version of a track that you downloaded the other day. It is even better than the original recording, so while you dress, you tell your “TasteMate” program to include the new track in your playlist rotation.

You put on your new eyeglasses, which contain a networked audio headset, letting tiny earbuds slip into your ears. You switch on the power, and the mix that your friend made for you starts to play. Music pours into your consciousness. It becomes yours. Continue Reading

Related Posts:
Rollo & Grady Interview with Dave Kusek (click here)
Rollo & Grady Interview with Gerd Leonhard (click here)

May 4th, 2011

Spotify :: Adds iPod Sync and MP3 Downloads to Service

Spotify :: Adds iPod Sync and MP3 Downloads to Service

[via- Kelly Hodgkins - Tuaw]
“Spotify expanded its online music streaming service to include MP3 downloads, iPod playlist sync and more. The music service will now let free and premium users sync their iPod classic, nano or shuffle with the service. Simply connect your iPod and Spotify will add the portable media player to your list of available devices. In a matter of minutes, all the paid MP3 files in your Spotify playlist will automatically sync to your iPod. Continue Reading

April 23rd, 2011

Billboard :: Apple to Beat Google to the Cloud

Billboard :: Apple to Beat Google to the Cloud

[By Antony Bruno]
Watching the race between Apple and Google to see who launches a cloud-based music service first is kind of like the children’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Except they’re both Tortoises.

But there are signs that the finish line is in sight.

First, Reuters has a piece saying that Apple has “completed work” on its online music locker service and will beat Google to market, even though label sources have not been told when that might be.

Additionally, Peter Kafka at AllThingsD says Apple actually has deals with two of the four major labels. He also says that Apple is planning a “scan and match” locker service, which means it would store one copy of each song in a central server, and let anyone who purchased that song on iTunes stream it to any device. This is the model that Lala championed, the company Apple bought in late 2009.

Still no details on pricing or time. And we’ve not yet been able to independently confirm any of this. But it sounds reasonable and in line with what we’ve been expecting from Apple all along.

As for Google, the Reuters story speculates that the company keeps changing its plans and that complicates the licensing talks. Google also has completed work on its music service, as reports surfaced a few weeks ago that employees are already testing it internally and there have been leaks of the app in various outlets. So it’s fair to say both Google and Apple have completed work on their music locker services, and all that remains is the licensing element. Continue Reading…

March 28th, 2011

Amazon Service Lets You Store Your Music In The Clouds

Amazon Service Lets You Store Your Music In The Clouds

Via — Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY
“The outlook for music retailers not named Apple has been cloudy at best. Amazon.com hopes to brighten the forecast today with the introduction of new digital services the online retail giant hopes will bolster market share it concedes is “insignificant” compared with Apple.

Amazon launches Amazon Cloud Drive, an external hard drive in the sky you can use to store music — or for that matter, pictures, videos and documents — that you can access from any Web browser on a computer. Amazon claims it is secure.
Amazon Service Lets You Store Your Music In The Clouds

March 15th, 2011

Music Supervisor Profile :: Gary Calamar

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Gary Calamar hails from the Bronx, NY, and grew up a constant presence in local record stores. When he moved to LA in the early 80s, he got himself behind the counter, managing stores and nourishing the flourishing culture of the record store. In April 2010, he released the book “Record Store Days,” inspired by both his life and tastes as a consumer and connoisseur of vinyl.

Calamar is of course much more than a consumer and author. A KCRW volunteer and DJ since the mid ‘90s, Gary hosts a Sunday night show (9p-12m) on the station that not only showcases emerging music, but looks deeply into the roots of Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues, and Soul.

In 1998, Calamar got his break into the world of music supervision, placing music with Marq Roswell for the movie, Slums of Beverly Hills and in 1999, again with Roswell, for Varsity Blues; this latter soundtrack earned him a gold record. His work with partner Thomas Golubic on Six Feet Under (HBO) became strongly influential, making a case for placing indie music in television. Gary went on to found Go Music with Alyson Vidoli. He currently places music on True Blood (HBO), House (Fox), and Dexter (Showtime), and was recently nominated for a Grammy for the True Blood II Soundtrack.

In all aspects of the music business, Gary Calamar’s focus is broad and considerate; he remains abreast of all new movements and grounded in the history that makes them compelling, meaningful, and fun.
Music Supervisor Profile :: Gary Calamar

February 11th, 2011

Music Supervisor Profile :: Scott Vener

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Most music supervisors pay their dues working for record labels or publishing companies, or interning for established supervisors. It also doesn’t hurt to work for KCRW. Although he did work previously as an exec at MTV in New York, Scott Vener skipped most of the conventional rungs of the ladder and landed a job without any previous experience as a supervisor on Entourage, one of coolest shows on television. Scott’s music selections play a major role in the success of the program, especially his unique skill for finding the perfect song for the end credits of each episode.

One of the most exciting things about the music that airs on Entourage is that Scott consistently breaks tracks before they’re released anywhere else. That’s included Tame Impala’s “Half Full Glass Of Wine”, Jamie T’s “Salvador”, Gnarls Barkley’s “Gone Daddy Gone” and many other mainstream songs that have gone on to become very big. An LA native, Scott Vener (aka Broke Mogul) is now the music supervisor on How to Make it in America and on Beverly Hills 90210. He’s the first to admit that he’s got a great job and a great life.
Music Supervisor Profile :: Scott Vener

February 4th, 2011

Rdio :: Raises $17.5 Million

Rdio :: Raises $17.5 Million

Rdio, a music subscription service for the United States and Canada, announced Thursday that it has raised a $17.5 million round of financing from new investor Mangrove Capital Partners with participation from existing investors Janus Friis (Rdio co-founder), Atomico and Skype.

Warner Bros. Records Chairman Rob Cavallo has joined Rdio’s board, which already included Mark Dyne (CEO of Europlay Capital Advisors), co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom (the original founders of Skype), and CEO Drew Larner.

Despite what the name might suggest, Rdio is not another Internet radio service like Pandora or Last.fm, where you can’t choose exactly what you want to hear. On Rdio, users pay a monthly subscription fee ($5 for basic or $10 for premium) to gain complete, on-demand access to the service’s library of 100 percent licensed music. All four major labels are on board: EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. (Continue Reading)

January 28th, 2011

Digital Music News :: Is This Working?

Digital Music News :: Is This Working?

[Via - DMN]
Is this strategy screaming for change? We just took a look at the top 100 singles on the iTunes Store (for Friday afternoon), and found that 95 of them were priced at $1.29. The remaining 5 were $0.99, and none were $0.69. Meanwhile, paid downloads are flattening (up just 1% in the US in 2010 last year according to Nielsen Soundscan).

So what happens when you expand the list? Apple actually posts the top 200 singles, so we expanded the count. But even among the top 200, 93.5 percent were $1.29, with just one 69-cent track available.


This is all part of a hard-fought victory by the majors, who wrestled with Apple for years to achieve ‘variable pricing.’ But this obviously isn’t working, and the trajectory suggests that iTunes singles will decline in 2011. “The price increase probably couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. even admitted during a financial review at about this time last year. That implementation happened in 2008, or as Bronfman noted, in “the teeth of the worst recession since the Depression.”

So, why not change the pricing strategy, and save this format? The idea as initially proposed was to hike the price on more popular tracks, while matching lower pricing tiers with catalog songs. Sounds reasonable enough, though it looks that even this game plan has changed. Sources to Digital Music News recently noted that EMI has decided to price everything at $1.29 – new, old, whatever. We called EMI about this, and they declined to answer the question, though an initial examination validates the claims.

The results of our deeper dive are ahead. (Continue Reading)