Top 20 Digital Music Promotions From Oct 2008, ACDC, Pink and More!

The team over at MusicAlley have put together an amazing list of music promotions that happened in October. This is the first time I have come across their lists and it seems as though they do them every month. Enjoy!

1. AC/DC Excel video (above). Sony BMG turned the new video from the Aussie rockers into an ASCII-art video, embedded into an Excel spreadsheet. The idea: fans would be able to email it round workplaces without fear of getting carpeted by bosses. Watch It

2. Pink branded iPhone application. Sony released a free branded iPhone app for Pink’s new Funhouse album, with 30-second previews of tracks, as well as photos, news and a discography. Cleverly, it had direct links to buy the songs on the iTunes Store. Download It

3. Ben Folds The Sounds Of Last Night. Another wizard-wheeze from Folds, who’s one of the more digitally-savvy artists around. He’s recording one track a night on his US tour, and releasing it the next day on iTunes as a digital download. It’s a distro deal, then, but also a great way of promoting his music. More Info

4. A Cursive Memory cameraphone codes. Cameraphone (or ‘QR’) codes are popular in Japan, but pretty much unknown in the rest of the world. However, US band A Cursive Memory is using the technology through an app called ScanLife. Codes are placed on posters for the band’s new album, and when photographed using a ScanLife-equipped mobile, the user is taken to a WAP site to get free wallpapers, watch a video and buy ringtones. More Info

5. Dido Nectar compo. UK loyalty scheme Nectar has recently launched its own digital music store, and to promote it they’re holding a competition to win a trip to the US to Dido’s album-launch party. What Dido gets out of it is an enormous mail-shot to Nectar’s UK customers – and prime placement on their music store too. More Info

6. Zune artist podcasts. Microsoft is launching a series of artist-focused podcasts for its Zune player, branded as ‘The Green Room’ (isn’t that also the name of Nokia’s music TV show?). It’s kicking off with Common, Oasis, T.I, Dierks Bentley and Seun Kuti. More Info

7. Asylum Records online games. Hip-hop label Asylum Records teamed up with web games firm PopJax to launch a series of online games based on its artists. They take the form of customised quiz games with video and trivia questions, to be hosted on both companies’ websites, as well as on MySpace. More Info

8. Nick Harrison in The Secret World of Sam King. Universal Music Group has been breaking new artists in Bebo’s online TV drama The Secret World of Sam King – for example, singer/songwriter Nick Harrison, whose video fans of the show were invited to appear in. The show was getting 100,000 people tuning in a day at the height of its run. More Info

9. Tool getting creative with Guitar Hero World Tour. Rock band Tool didn’t just want to license tracks to the new Guitar Hero game – they asked if they could be involved creatively, and ended up designing a virtual venue based on their artwork and videos. More Info

10. Britney Spears joined Twitter. In fact, Britney’s post-insanity comeback is pretty Web 2.0 savvy on all fronts, but Twitter is the one that’s got most publicity. It started badly, with pure promotional messages, but has since evolved into a more conversational feed. You can laugh at the idea of signing up to updates on what Spears has been up to with the kids, but Britney’s people are clearly getting the hang of this new fan interaction thingy. Read Her Tweets

11. John Legend Spotify exclusive. We’ve been hearing pretty universal praise for new streaming service Spotify in recent weeks, but the company isn’t resting on its laurels. It bagged an exclusive pre-release stream of John Legend’s new album Evolver for its Swedish paying users, who got to listen to the album the weekend before its release. More Info

12. E-postcards from Ricky Martin. Nowadays, Livin’ La Vida Loca means paying $3.99 to send a personalised Ricky Martin video greeting to your friends over the internetweb. No, really. Ricky is the first celeb on board Postcards From The Stars, a Puerto Rican venture. He recorded greetings for 100 Spanish and 100 English names, 100 city names and 50 special occasions – and these are then strung together for the e-vid-cards. More Info

13. Nokia’s Comes With Music benches. How to promote your new Comes With Music service (apart from splurging on radio and TV ads, obviously)? If you’re Nokia, you send some colourful benches travelling around the country, which when sat on, allow people to listen to some of the UK’s favourite tunes. Nifty, even if one of those tunes – Hey Jude – isn’t actually available on Comes With Music). More Info

14. REPO soundtrack on BitTorrent. Less of a marketing scheme, more of a hopeful piracy deterrent, this. Film director Darren Bousman (of Saw fame) urged fans to upload fake versions of the soundtrack to his new film REPO to BitTorrent, to foil pirates. It probably won’t work, but drums up awareness of the film nicely. More Info

15. Christina Aguilera iLike video exclusive. Christina is the latest star to sign up for some exclusive marketing on music site iLike. In her case, she debuted the video for her new Keeps Gettin’ Better single on the site – and iLike said she was the first major artist to do so. We would say iLike is the new MTV, if there weren’t 18 other music sites also claiming to be the new MTV… More Info

16. Snow Patrol also get a branded iPhone app. It came out the same week as Pink’s, which in our book makes a HOT TREND. Anyway, Snow Patrol’s took a more arty approach, getting users to unfold coloured paper to discover lyrics and videos. It was free, and has apparently been going great guns on the App Store. Download It

17. Nokia’s N-Gage Dance Fabulous game. Okay, this doesn’t come out until next year, but it was announced in October, so counts. It’s a mobile game for phones with Nokia’s N-Gage platform on, and is a music rhythm game. However, the marketing angle is that it’ll feature a new artist, Cindy Gomez, whose songs will be in the game, as well as her avatar. Ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart brokered the deal, as part of his ambassadorial role with Nokia. More Info

18. Queen + Paul Rodgers’ virtual world listening party. You might think that artists doing stuff in virtual worlds is so 2007, but that didn’t stop Queen from commissioning a warehouse-themed virtual world to hold a listening party for their new album. Visiting fans could stream the album, watch archive videos and buy merchandise. More Info

19. Pepsi Maxcast on MySpace. Pepsi has rounded up a bunch of ‘tastemakers’ to curate collections of their favourite music, to be streamed to users via embedded players on MySpace. Among the initial batch of curators are indie frontman Carl Barat and dancebloke Sam Sparro. The site will also include interviews and video profiles of the curators, as well as a section for unsigned bands. Have A Look

20. Tap Tap Revenge: Nine Inch Nails version. iPhone game Tap Tap Revenge has been around for a while now as a free download, but there’s now a premium version featuring songs from the last two Nine Inch Nails albums for users to tap along to. It costs $4.99 in the US, and ties in with a competition for NIN gig tickets and a signed guitar. Download It

MTV Executive Tells His Friends He Is The New Myspace Music CEO

Courtney Holt, MTV’s chief of digital music, has told friends he will accept the job as MySpace Music’s new CEO, according to a source close to Holt.

His name is not yet on the dotted line, but Holt has given a verbal commitment to MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, said a music industry source. MySpace Music is the newly launched digital music service formed by News Corp. and the four largest recording companies. The service will sell downloads of unprotected Mp3s and offer ad-supported streaming music.

“Anything can happen when there isn’t a signature, but it looks like he’s the new CEO,” said the music industry insider.

Spiral Frog: Ad Supported Startup Has Three Million Tracks in their Catalogue

Spiralfrogfinallogojpg_2 A lot of people are talking about how a weak economy is affecting advertising revenues and from my experiences this is definitely the case. However, because advertising is suffering some journalists also expect that to have an effect on ad-supported music startups, such as Spiral Frog.This is definitely not the case, mainly because they provide royalties as a percentage of their revenues.

For Spiral Frog that have now reached a new milestone in terms of their catalog size, over three million songs are now available through their service.Music videos for download also increased to almost 5000 and registered users have grown to 2.3 million according to the company.

SprialFrog believes this is the largest total number of registered users on any legal, free music download site, but offered no details as to how active the users are.

According to Joe Mohen, founder and chairman, “With the current economic turmoil and the potential threat of a recession looming, the offering of free music is very attractive to budget conscious consumers.” SpiralFrog’s biggest competition isn’t paid downloads, however, it’s free pirated mp3’s via P2P. It is also unclear how the economic downturn will effect the advertising revenue that all ad-supported sites require.

Walmart Updates Their Mp3 Music Download Store

Walmart_logoA revamped MP3 store launched today with aggressive pricing and new features that take full advantage of Walmart’s reach, clout and the chain’s brick and mortar locations:

  • 3 million MP3‘s from all four major labels and some independents
  • Top 25 songs from artists start at $.74. Standard pricing is $.94
  • Free Track Of The Week
  • Free mp3 of the customer’s choice with every CD purchase in stores or online beginning mid-November
  • Exclusive Soundcheck performances including upcoming shows with Beyonce, Nickelback and current American Idol, David Cook

The new download store also includes social features to display albums on social networking sites and blogs, as well as, enhanced search and discovery features.

EMI Lose $1.2 billion in the Last Financial Year

It has just been finalised that EMI lost a huge $1.2 billion in their financial year ending March 31st. This figure dwarfed the prio year’s $455 million in the red.

Some losses stem from restructuring after Terra Firma’s takeover. But EMI underperformed its competitors using most benchmarks. CD sales at EMI fell 45% from 2005 to 2007 compared to an average market decline of 19%. EMI projected 51% revenue growth in digital saled and delivered 29% growth despite being the first to drop DRM.

“There should be no false expectations,” the report stated. “EMI cannot be turned around overnight.” I dont see how EMI can get out of this current situation, and im sure in the current global economy situation there is no chance anyone will acquire what is left of the EMI assets.

RouteNote on HypeBot

Steve does a little Q&A session on HypeBot – repeated here:

We continue our ongoing 4QFor (Four Questions For) series with Steven Finch, the CEO of Insomnia Ltd, which owns music 2.0 start-ups,,, and a record label and recording studio. You can learn more about Steve’s companies here. (Read more 4QFor interviews with the heads of OurStage, Sonicbids, imeem, We7, ReverbNation, New Music Strategies and Nimbit here.)

Q1.  What major changes in the music industry do you foresee over the next year?
2008 will be a very interesting year for the music industry. We will continue to see the major labels complaining about the music industry declining, when in fact it is only CD sales that are heading downwards. The distance between the major labels and independent labels will continue to get closer, thus proving in this day and age that artists don’t need a major label to succeed!

Q2.  How are you and your company preparing to benefit from these changes?
We strongly believe in independent artists and labels being able to promote their music to the widest possible audience, without having to worry about barriers to market. RouteNote wants to eliminate these barriers for independent or unsigned artists, and allow good artists to stand out from the crowd.

Q3.  What excites you?
The music industry as a whole really excites me. It is changing and twisting all the time and with so many emerging business models in the marketplace at present, who knows which ones will actually succeed or fail. Lots of people are talking about music heading towards ‘free’, I think this might be the case…

however I still believe users are willing to pay for something that is actually worth something. Im willing to pay for music as long as I know I can transfer it from computer to iPod to CD and back, whenever I want to and as many times as I want. A revolutionary watermarking service which tracks DRM free music is the way forward.

Q4. What’s next?
The music industry has always been based around old practices, and now it seems that it is time for new beginnings. RouteNote will enter the music market with the aim of providing artists what they want. Artists want ease of use, with the ability to profit from their achievements. RouteNote will provide this and more.


KillerStartups blogs about RouteNote

Newcomer to the social music scene RouteNote, is designed for independent musicians who are seeking to distribute their music. The service is partnered with a handful of today’s most successful online music stores/outlets including Napster, Snocap, and Samsung Mobile. Artists get instant access to worldwide distribution, plus they retain full ownership of their songs. There are no sign up fees, and artists receive a full 90% of their sales. RouteNote’s service is non-exclusive and they also provide other venues for artists to distribute their music including, film, TV and radio. Free self promotional tools include widgets, and banners among other things. More partnerships with other music outlets are in the works.

“RouteNote is an online music distribution service providing artists instant access to a large proportion of the online market. Designed and built to take advantage of the shift towards independent and self-publication through online and mobile music outlets, and the consumer switch to online purchasing as outlined by the success of iTunes, Myspace and Pump Audio, RouteNote is partnered with some of the biggest retailers on the web to give artists massive and immediate availability for their tracks.”

RouteNote offers musicians a much easier way to distribute their music to a worldwide audience. Wading through copyright and licensing laws is difficult and possibly prohibitive. For independent artists RouteNote’s service takes care of all their needs, plus they get to keep most of their profits.


CDBaby Sale Seems To Have Been Way To Cheap. $22m Is Crazy!!

Derek Sivers earned $22 million from the sale of CD Baby, according to an interview surfacing Thursday.  Sivers sold the company to Disc Makers in early August of this year after breaking ground in the do-it-yourself, or DIY, artist space in the late 90s.  “I knew that was about the right price,” Sivers disclosed to Venture Voice.  “We actually didn’t bicker or negotiate over the price one bit, I just set a price and they said okay.”

According to Sivers, CD Baby pulled revenues of roughly $100 million at the beginning of this year, a fourfold increase over a three-year period.  The company employed 85 people at that point, though Sivers rarely visited the office.  “I really started letting go in 2002,” Sivers shared.

A lot of people are talking about a good winfall for Sivers, but Im really too sure what numbers they are looking at. CdBaby published a report stating their sales from January to July 07, which made up of $21m in revenues, thus by the end of the year Im sure they would have around $50m in revenues. From what I have seen of web based enterprise acquisitions lately, they are normally around 5x revenues, thus placing Cd Baby around the $250m mark. Therefore selling at $22m is just a crazy cheap price and not a winfall!

Other sites who have shared their opinions include,,, Silicon Alley Insider, and Digital Music News.