Nokia Comes With Music Numbers. Nokia is Struggling!!

nokia comes with musicRouteNote has been passed on the details about the user numbers of Nokia’s Comes With Music service. As of July, Nokia was really struggling with only 107,000 active users in 9 countries. This is just terrible considering how many Nokia handsets are in the market and what high hopes Nokia had for the service.

That’s according to figures sent out by the company to record labels and distributors. In the UK specifically, Nokia had just shy of 33,000 active CWM users in July, up from 23,000 in April.

The full list of markets breaks down as follows (sorted by launch dates):

CWM ACTIVE VOUCHERS– JULY 2009

UK – 32,728  (launch date: Oct 08)
Singapore – 19,318  (Feb 09)
Australia – 23,003  (Mar 09)
Brazil – 10,809  (Apr 09)
Sweden – 1,101  (Apr 09)
Italy – 691  (Apr 09)
Mexico – 16,344  (May 09)
Germany – 2,673  (May 09)
Switzerland – 560  (Jun 09)

This could be a good reason why Nokia shares arent doing too well at the moment, plus the fact that the handset market is getting a lot more competitive.

The team over at MusicAlly put the figures to Nokia and a spokesperson responded with the following:

“Comes With Music has been a live service for 12 months in the UK and over the last 8 months, has also gone live in 11 other countries. This is a very fast rollout for a service of its kind, especially when you consider the music is a mix of global and local content for each location. In terms of innovation, Comes With Music is a significant shift for both consumers and the industry alike.

“Nokia will continue to bring new services to market and we will continue to add further countries and partners to our Comes With Music rollout. We look forward to being able to share more details on this over the coming weeks. With regard to the statistics presented in your article, as per our longstanding policy we do not comment on industry speculation or rumours.”

Digital Music Store Focus – Napster 2.0 <

File:Napster corporate logo.svgNapster originated as a peer-to-peer music service in 1999, one of the first that gained widespread popularity. Unlike modern bit-torrent services it provided a connection between users through a central server, and this direct involvement in the file-sharing process rendered it vulnerable to a slew of lawsuits brought by (to name but a few) Metallica, Dr. Dre, Madonna, A&M records and Bertelsmann Gruppe.

These lawsuits culminated in Napster’s bankruptcy, and its purchase at the bankruptcy auction by Roxio (of CD burning fame) – who have converted it into a subscription streaming service. Users can pay GBP£5 a month for unlimited streams from Napster’s 8 million strong catalogue, plus 5 tracks to download and keep as MP3s. There’s also the option to buy download tracks on an a-la-carte basis once you’re subscribed. In addition to this, Napster also provides a free streaming site, with limited functionality, and access to three quarters of its catalogue. Users can’t make playlists from this site, and it’s a lot slower and harder to use than the subscription platform.

The subscription service is cheaper than Spotify Premium or eMusic, its closest competitors in terms of service, and the fact that all of Napster’s members are subscribers makes it’s income much more reliable than the advertising based model that still makes up the bulk of Spotify’s trading, (the Economist reported that only 40,000 of the 6 million users who had downloaded the free platform have subscribed to the premium service) and thus better able to provide a steady income to it’s contributing artists, were it not for the odd addition of it’s free streaming service to the mix. Napster’s operations seem a little confused, different elements pulling in different directions from one another; a steady income from the subscription service, with a clunky ad supported option detracting from it; a limited MP3 download service clashing with both and yet failing to make it easy for users to take music away from their PC’s. If they could centralise all of these elements into a neat platform and make it easy to use, they’d have a model that looked a bit like Spotify’s, but it’s yet to be seen whether that can be turned into a profitable business in the long term.

Spotify Squeeze Out New Purchasing Feature

Spotify’s Co-founder, Daniel Ek, recently has admitted, that “Spotify has not made it easy for its users to buy music, that is where we need to improve.”

Their first step to making these improvements comes in the form of easier access to buying certain albums. From today you will be able to click on any song that appears on Spotify that’s also in 7digital catalogue, which should exclusively feature a “BUY NOW” button below the accompanying artwork.

Before you had to click on the track to first right click and check if it was available to buy, then carry on with the dirty gumpf that is your web browser and try to be as patient as possible while you buy it. As well as making it easier to identify the albums that are available to buy, you no longer are sent to an outside website any more, a tidy looking window appears within the app, your shown the quality of the music, (kbps) and then given a gentle prompt into where your details go. Once you’ve clicked the right boxes your music starts downloading.

spotify-buy2

You can also find everything you have ever bought through the service, which sits in the upper corner next to your Radio/Play Que tabs. From here you can move them around your computer as you wish, they’re MP3’s so you can import them around as you wish, stick em in your iTunes or just put them in another playlist.

Spotify has also just released a video of its new features:

Disclosure: RoueNote is a partner of Spotify.

Digital Music Store Focus – iTunes

No prizes for recognizing that logo, this is the biggest music store on the web. The store isn’t available using a normal web browser, only by installing Apple’s proprietory iTunes software, relentlessly updated to include more efficient ways of getting you to buy more content of different types, for every single one of your lovely Apple products.

Combined with the iPod, Apple’s online music store must be one of the biggest success stories on the net. They were surprisingly late on the scene; MP3’s were invented way back in 1991, eMusic’s first incarnation was born in 1998 , and the iTunes store didn’t go live until April 2003 (a year and a half after the iPod launched). Five years later, in April of ’08, iTunes overtook Wal-Mart to become the biggest music retailer in the USA, and was reported by Reuters as selling over 70% of all digital music worldwide. The IFPI calculated the global digital market as worth USD$3783.8 billion in 2008 – conflating these figures means the iTunes store turned over $2648.66 billion on music alone: by their own report, they sold 2 billion songs worldwide between January 15th 2008 and January 6th 2009 – OK, so the IFPI comparison gives them more than a dollar a track per sale, which isn’t the case, but the figures aren’t entirely disparate.

Here’s a breakdown (drawn from Apples published stats) of how music sales have accelerated for Apple over the last 6 and a bit years:

Billion songs

Days taken

Songs per day

1

1033

968,054

2

322

3,105,590

3

203

4,926,108

4

169

5,917,160

5

157

6,369,427

6

202

4,950,495

8

207

9,661,836

8.5

50

10,000,000

To save you the horror of another of my poorly structured Excel ’03 graphs – here’s one lifted from the very informative Wikipedia page that unfortunately only covers the trend up to 6billion tracks. (If anyone can recommend a better program for graphing, please tell me in the comments!)

ITunes Store Songs Sales

The success of their online proposition has been underpinned by the massive success of the iPod – over 218 million units have now been sold, meaning that the average iPod owner would only need to have bought 40 tracks from the iTunes store to account for all sales. That’s less than 4 albums worth each, and I think I probably have a few hundred albums in my collection.

iPod Sales by Quarter

Fiscal Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total

2002

125,000

57,000

54,000

140,000

376,000

2003

219,000

78,000

304,000

336,000

937,000

2004

733,000

807,000

860,000

2,016,000

4,416,000

2005

4,580,000

5,311,000

6,155,000

6,451,000

22,497,000

2006

14,043,000

8,526,000

8,111,000

8,729,000

39,409,000

2007

21,066,000

10,549,000

9,815,000

10,200,000

51,630,000

2008

22,121,000

10,644,000

11,011,000

11,052,000

54,828,000

2009

22,727,000

11,013,000

10,215,000

43,955,000

Fiscal Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

218,048,000

Unless you’re a pretty hardcore nerd, you’ll be forced to manage your iPod through iTunes, and that shop is just so conveniently placed within the same piece of software that it’s easy to see how those track sales figures come about. Even accounting for a decent percentage of hardware failures, obsolescences and droppings into a pint of beer for those iPods out there (yes, I have had all of these happen), the iTunes captive audience (don’t forget all those iMac and Macbook users) is still 150 million strong and buying hard.

Track prices are relatively high, with occasional offers and a regular set of free sample downloads from artists promoting themselves. Apple users don’t seem to mind this, and it translates into pretty good profitability for artists selling through iTunes, 65% of the revenue from each sale is piped on down to the provider of the tracks sold, and there’s no variability in per track income as with the ad-supported streaming services. RouteNote can get your music on itunes without you having to pay anything up front.

Digital Music Store Focus – Insound

insoundInsound is a minor player with a lot of heart involved in its operation. They essentially act as a blog and record label, picking up and supporting new acts that are to their taste, promoting them and selling their music through the site. They’re a smaller retailer that survives by taking an active interest in the bands they sell, keeping their margins high (read higher prices to the consumer – MP3 downloads $9.99-$10.49) and selling other trendy stuff, badges, bags, books etc. If you can convince them that you’re worth selling they’ll really make an effort to put you out in front of their indie audience, with promotional tools like free MP3 downloads and custom merch to drag people in to buy your music. RouteNote doesn’t currently do digital distribution to Insound – your best bet would be to approach them directly.

***EDIT***

Just to respond to that comment: a totally unfair comparison of someone who happened to be on Insound’s MP3 download front page when I looked, The Castanets, shows their album ‘Texas Rose…’ as being $1.50 cheaper on Amazon ($8.99) than on Insound ($10.49). Please feel free to refute me with your own research. I think Insound might deserve the extra money for taking an active interest in the bands they promote, and I hope they pass on more $ to their artists, but as a straight comparison, Amazon is cheaper (admittedly this is only one example).

insound castanets

amazon castanets

Digital Music Store Focus – iMesh

iMeshiMesh is a peer-to-peer platform that has survived the legal harrow of the recording industry. The RIAA brought a copyright infringement case against them, which they settled out of court, and after which they changed their business model to be based on subscriptions within North America. Those of us lucky enough to live in Europe can still use the file sharing service without paying a $29.99 annual fee, and even the hapless Americans can use the iMesh ‘to go’ service, paying for tracks individually.

The music they offer up through their search is based on results from youtube, which streams quite smoothly in a little window on their GUI (the program window), and on the hard drives of the various iMesh users logged on at a given time (you all know how peer to peer works, right?). They have agreements with the RIAA (and thus the labels and artists listed with them) to pay royalties on streams and downloads, but they also have a vast amount of content that has not had copyright claimed. This doesn’t mean that copyright doesn’t exist in those tracks, just that the people the tracks belong to haven’t objected to their being used on iMesh’s service, which doesn’t seem particularly equitable if they don’t know its happening. RouteNote doesn’t currently do digital distribution to iMesh, but if you’re a user, you can put your own tracks in your iMesh folder to be shared. You won’t recieve any revenue thereby unless you’re registered with one of their partner mechanical copyright agencies like the RIAA or MCPS though.

The Self-Indulgent Friday Playlist – Girls, Boys, Alcohol and Dancing

Boys, Girls, Alcohol and DancingThis is inexcusable, I know. But here is a poorly conceived, badly executed playlist for all of my Spotify loving comrades. However, in preparation for your weekend I have prepared you slightly more than an hour’s worth of music on the theme described in the title. It starts off slow, plumbs the depths of cheese, and pretty much stays there. May your Saturday nights be forever fevered.

Digital Music Store Focus – HMV.com

HMV.com

HMV’s online store is an extension of their high street business, and as such caters mainly to the mainstream. The prices are high but the catalogue is pretty varied; they’ve got deals with all the majors, and they do carry a lot of offers that cheapen their products, two-for-one deals etc. Another plus is that they provide a one stop shop for digital, physical and merchandise products in a more coherent, music oriented way than Amazon do (unless you visit their subsidiary, Play.com). There’s no subscription option or anything, it’s just a nice simple version of their bricks and mortar operation without you having to traipse those weary miles to the town centre, or possibly wheel down there on your special fat guy scooter. RouteNote doesn’t currently distribute to HMV, but we can get you onto Amazon, who’ll make physical CD’s for you (soon).

GrooveShark At The Future Of Music Summit

Grooveshark are  now firmly cemented as members of the free music for music fans fraternity along with others including We7, Deezer and obviously new giants Spotify. (we know there not all completely free!) With these guys being directly involved in the way music is changing, and likely being involved in someway with the big four record labels that everyone is quickly getting fed up with eventually go under, its only natural that they’d be knocking around The Future Of Music Summit.

Some interviews, be they amateur ones, are leaking its way to the net. Jack DeYoun (VP of label relations at Grooveshark) was mauled outside the summit by Scott Stead. The interview goes well until Jack reveals his favourite band…… so close.

disclosure: RouteNote is partners with Grooveshark.

Digital Music Store Focus – eMusic

eMusic.comeMusic.com launched back in the misty past of September of 1995, initially as a CD retailer in September 1995. They didn’t move over to their current subscription based model until 2000, but they’ve since sold more than 300 million music downloads from catalogue of 6 million tracks, from 60,000 record labels. They deal with Sony, but not any other of the other majors. They make up for this by a strong focus on new and independent music – a policy of obvious benefit to RouteNote users – actively promoting artists from labels like Warp, Domino, Beggars group etc. They also have a very active and trend-conscious blog, written by people who are keeping an eye on music that comes in to eMusic’s electronic fold, going some way to proving that they genuinely care about the music they sell.

RouteNote can distribute your music to eMusic; artist revenues are based on dividing a proportion of their total subscription fees between the artists that were downloaded, 1 download equaling 1 share of the divided dinero. Subscription costs are variable, but in the UK you’re looking at somewhere under £10 for a month, which buys you 40 tracks (25p each for those who hate maths as much as me). eMusic will then take their share, and pass on a cut to the artist. Good for the consumer who’s prepared to commit to a monthly outlay, not necessarily as good for an independent artist, who is looking at significantly less per track income than on iTunes, but then there is more chance of an indie-loving audience hearing and buying your music, and more chance of getting exposure on an indie based blog than on one where you have to compete with artists from all the majors with a huge budget behind them.