Planned downtime for our mailing list provider means we’re making our Daily Bulletin public and free for two days only, to ensure subscribers can read it, but also letting a wider audience in on what we do.
Below is today’s Bulletin: this is the email that Music Ally subscribers get in their inboxes every morning by 8am UK-time, summarising and analysing the last 24 hours’ digital music developments.
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Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn team up for internet radio research
Streaming services Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn are different beasts: personal radio, on-demand streaming and radio-aggregation respectively. But with a combined 136.1m active listeners, the sight of these three companies working together is notable, to say the least. The trio are describing themselves as the ‘Streaming Audio Task Force’, kicking off their collaboration by commissioning Edison Research to survey just over 3,000 Americans about their radio listening habits.
Key findings were presented yesterday during an event in New York’s Advertising Week. They include the claim that 53% of online Americans are now using internet radio: 39% to personal radio, 27% streaming live radio and 18% listening to on-demand music – yes, “radio” has a broad meaning in this context. 67% of internet radio listeners say they’re listening to more of it than they were a year ago, with 44% saying it’s mostly replacing traditional AM/FM listening, 30% saying it’s replacing CD and MP3s, and 26% saying it’s “new time”.
There’s a nugget to show the importance of mobile devices, with 83% of smartphone owners saying they listen to some form of internet radio (again, this includes on-demand streaming as well as personal radio and streams of traditional stations). “The data clearly shows that Internet radio is not only a mainstream activity for the majority of online Americans, it’s also essentially expanding the pie for audio media,” said Edison president Larry Rosin in a statement. “The advent of mobile listening, and the proliferation of choices for the types of Internet audio have transformed the medium from niche activity to major media channel in under ten years.”
You can probably see his next sentence coming a mile off: “As such, advertisers should be putting more money into the audio category – because people are filling more of their days with more and more audio.” Spotify aligning itself so closely with “radio” – even if that’s an increasingly elastic term – is interesting. So, too, is the idea of a streaming audio “Task Force” if Spotify and Pandora plan to work together on other issues, such as the ongoing debate about artist royalties. Expect their fiercer critics to howl at the prospect of two wrong ‘uns teaming up over rights, if that happens.
Join the discussion – http://tinyurl.com/nhbctsw
MORE MUSIC NEWS
Google has ‘unbanned’ BitTorrent from its autocomplete blocks
When Google first started removing piracy-related terms from the autocomplete feature on its search engine, ‘BitTorrent’ was one of those terms. That meant that it wouldn’t be suggested to autocomplete search queries – for example for artists. Now the search term has been ‘unbanned’ according to TorrentFreak, along with related term ‘uTorrent’. Google hasn’t commented, but BitTorrent has confirmed the news: “This is almost certainly a result of that improving understanding helped by products like BitTorrent Bundle and BitTorrent Sync. They help those who are confused about BitTorrent understand that it is not a piracy website,” says a spokesperson. The net result appears to be a spike in the number of Google searches including the word “BitTorrent”. Expect rightsholders to be banging on Google’s door about the change, even if in other ways – the recent addition of “Grooveshark” to the autocomplete block, for example – Google has been adapting to their demands.
Source: TorrentFreak – http://tinyurl.com/pjhatso
Getting smarter about iTunes Radio’s early success
It’s fair to say some news outlets are getting over-excited about Apple’s announcement of 11m people using its iTunes Radio service in its first five days. Witness CNET’s ‘At this pace, iTunes Radio beats Pandora in a month’ headline – logic that could just as much be applied to the 9m sales of new iPhones over the weekend to suggest that Apple will shift 90m of them in the next month. “If Apple can keep up its momentum, it will have 66 million unique listeners in 30 days post-launch,” suggests CNET. But Apple has a rapid early-adoption cycle for its new iOS software, with 200m people globally already having upgraded to iOS 7. The 11m first-week listeners are trying out a highly-touted new service: we shouldn’t be thinking of them as monthly active listeners until we know whether they’ve stuck with it. Which is not to pooh-pooh iTunes Radio’s threat to Pandora in the longer term, but rather to question the rush to judgement based on 11m people trying a new service that’s part of their smartphone, tablet and/or desktop music software.
Source: CNET – http://tinyurl.com/kyqehtd
Music app Discovr gets a major relaunch after 3m iOS downloads
Australian startup Filter Squad’s Discovr apps have been downloaded more than 3m times on iOS since Discovr Music launched in October 2011. Now that flagship app has relaunched as an iPhone and iOS 7-only affair. It’s a big change, too. The old navigation has been pushed into the background, replaced by a system that involves following your favourite artists, then seeing a feed of their new music, photos, videos, news updates and gig listings. You can also connect up streaming music services: Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and Last.fm at launch, as well as SoundCloud and YouTube. Social features include the ability to share specific music with followers, who can then play it using whatever streaming service they’ve connected to Discovr. The app will provide alerts about new releases on iTunes, Spotify and Rdio, and recommends artists that it thinks you’ll like, based on those that you’re following – it’s tapping The Echo Nest’s technology for this. The obvious competitor is Soundwave, although Seenth.is, Twitter #Music and the discovery efforts of the streaming services themselves all play in this space too.
Source: Music Ally – http://tinyurl.com/p6437cv
DJ app Edjing raises $2.5m after 10m downloads
We’ve seen several innovative apps for DJing released over the past year, including Traktor DJ and djay 2. Now one of their rivals, French startup Edjing, has raised $2.5m of funding and announced a milestone of 10m downloads. Tech site Rude Baguette reports that this is up from 3.5m in April this year, and that Deezer co-founder Daniel Marhely has chipped in to the funding round and joined Edjing’s board. Unlike most of its rivals, Edjing isn’t an iOS-only app: it’s also available on Android and Microsoft’s Windows Store. The app also enables people to mix songs from SoundCloud and Deezer as well as from their iTunes music libraries – most competitors focus purely on the latter. Mixes can be recorded and shared on social networks, and the business model is interesting: the Edjing app is free, and funded by in-app purchases of additional features.
Source: Rude Baguette – http://tinyurl.com/opk3zs2
UK’s Radioplayer catch-up radio service launches tablet apps
Radioplayer is a partnership in the UK between broadcasters the BBC, Global Radio, Absolute Radio and Real/Smooth Radio, together with trade body RadioCentre, aggregating live and catch-up radio streams. Its website launched in 2011, iPhone and Android smartphone apps last year, and now it’s got tablet apps for Apple and Google’s platforms too. They launched today, offering similar features to the smartphone versions: live streams, catch-up shows, and recommendations of stations based on users’ music tastes. A new feature is series-linking for catch-up listening: users can now add individual radio shows to their favourites to ensure they don’t miss an episode. In a recent blog post, Radioplayer said it attracts 6-7m unique monthly users across its website and apps, helping online’s share of UK radio listening grow to 6% over the past two years.
Link (iOS) – http://tinyurl.com/oeoq3sy
Link (Android) – http://tinyurl.com/now7m39
Source: Radioplayer – http://tinyurl.com/qxtdrpx
Deezer inks global deal with social radio service EQuala
US social radio service EQuala has struck a deal with streaming firm Deezer that promises to take the former company global. Users will be able to connect their accounts and listen to streams of music shared by friends on various social networks “by creating genres out of people”. Deezer says the benefits for listeners include unlimited skips and no ads. The key point here, though, is the way the deal will enable EQuala to take a service that relies in the US on the DMCA’s radio licence global. That’s something Pandora has struggled with over recent years, only recently expanding back out to Australia and New Zealand from its US base. While it’s currently far-fetched to imagine Pandora jumping into a similar deal with Deezer, Spotify or Rdio, the EQuala partnership does suggest a quicker route to global expansion for smaller US services. The announcement also has an update on Deezer’s stats: 10m monthly active users, 4m subscribers and more than 100m playlists.
BMI collects record collections as digital rises 65%
Collecting society Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) reported record collections for its latest financial year, which ended on 30 June. BMI said revenues grew 5% year-on-year to $944m, with payouts to songwriters, composers and publishers up 9% to $814m for the year. Both figures are records for BMI in its 74 years of operation. Digital remains a relatively small proportion of BMI’s collections: $57m in that last financial year, just over 6% of the total. However, those digital revenues were up 65% year-on-year, with BMI putting the growth down to deals with the likes of Netflix and Hulu in the streaming TV world. “Music is more pervasive in our lifestyle and across more platforms than ever before,” said president Del Bryant. “We are alert to the challenges. But we also firmly believe that BMI has an unprecedented opportunity to serve the industry and public in an expanding marketplace in new and innovative ways.”
YouTube comments upgrade promises chance to ‘banish unwelcome voices’
Forget bridges: the most popular modern-day habitat for trolls is the comments section on YouTube videos. Google’s video service is infamous for the bearpit nature of the conversation around much of its content, but the company is finally taking action. “In the coming days and months, you’ll get better moderation tools and your fans will get a better viewing experience because comments are turning into conversations that matter to them,” explains its Creators blog. “Comments from you and people your fans care about will rise to the top of the conversation, and you’ll also be able to block specific key words, banish unwelcome voices and pre-approve people who contribute to meaningful discussions.” The update will roll out over the coming months, powered by Google+, and is being pitched to fans on the separate YouTube blog thus: “Let’s say you’re watching a video from Justin Timberlake. What type of video comment would be awesome to see: one from JT himself, one from people you care about who love the video…or one from just the last random person to stop by?”
Source: YouTube Creators Blog – http://tinyurl.com/o39rbsz
Source: YouTube Blog – http://tinyurl.com/nmb5hhp
– JoyTunes’ Piano Dust Buster gets a major 2.0 update – http://tinyurl.com/o3ab7hg
– RealNetworks bounces back with RealPlayer Cloud video app – http://tinyurl.com/nd9dyfe
– Amazon’s Cloud Player is now available through Sonos hi-fis – http://tinyurl.com/opofl29
– Pod Wrangler promises ‘podcasts made easy’ for iPhone – http://tinyurl.com/qhddhoa
– Using Echofon for Twitter? It’s just got its iOS 7 revamp – http://tinyurl.com/nt35dmp
IN THIS WEEK’S MUSIC ALLY PODCAST
This Charming Charlie, Ian Rogers, iTunes Radio and more
Strewn in gladioli and wearing NHS specs, Stuart Dredge and Eamonn Forde are back in a Rita Tushingham-inspired kitchen sink podcast in which they discuss: the copyright rows surrounding Tumblr blog This Charming Charlie, which is mashing up The Smiths with Peanuts, and vowing to fight takedown requests from Universal Music’s publishing division; whether Beats Music boss Ian Rogers was right to windmill into frictionless Facebook sharing of music; why iTunes Radio isn’t quite a Pandora-killer yet; the debate around YouTube’s upcoming offline-videos feature and Vevo’s decision not to support it; and 2 Chainz’ #MealTime food-snapping app. Bonus content: tortuous puns. As ever.
Listen now – http://tinyurl.com/pbxdsqh
Amazon unveils its next-gen Kindle HDX tables
How many Kindle Fire tablets has Amazon sold? The company has characteristically never said, although we’ve seen analyst predictions of 8m units in 2013. Now Amazon is adding a pair of new models to its range: the Kindle HDX in seven and 8.9-inch versions. They’re thinner and more powerful than the existing Kindle Fires, with updated software that includes musical features: the ability to identify and buy songs playing on TV, and view lyrics for downloaded tracks. There’s also a feature called Mayday, which connects HDX users to an Amazon customer-support staffer for a video chat whenever they like to solve problems. Also interesting: Amazon is improving its Prime Instant Video service, allowing people to download some films and TV shows for offline viewing – a shot across the bows of rivals like Netflix and Hulu. The seven-inch model will cost $229, and the 8.9-inch model $329, shipping over the next three months depending which model and whether it’s Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus 4G.
Source: TechCrunch – http://tinyurl.com/k4df5gf
Source: All Things Digital – http://tinyurl.com/lzb3oay
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA
Twitter – The Musical. Possibly a bit too perky for this early in the morning…
Link – http://tinyurl.com/o9zuebe