BMI Unveils 2009 Mobile Music Predictions

Performing rights group BMI has released 2009 sales predictions for the mobile music market. The organization predicts ringback tones will amass more than $235 million in U.S. sales by the end of the year, representing 15% growth over the $205 million collected last year and 68% more than the 2007 figure of $140 million.

BMI also estimates about 10 million U.S. mobile phone users currently subscribe for a ringback tone service, with an industry-wide average market penetration of about 4%. On a per-carrier basis, BMI estimates penetration rates are between 2% and 9%, depending on the carrier.

After years of massive growth in the ringtone market, BMI has stopped predicting sales and revenue figures for the format after it posted negative results for the past two years.

Lady Gaga Tops UK Singles Chart for 2nd Week Running, But Does She Really Have Talent?

lady-gaga-lady-gaga-pictureLady Gaga’s “Poker Face” (Interscope/Universal) started a second week at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart yesterday.

I recently saw an indepth interview with Lady Gaga, who has previously written songs for Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls before actually getting signed for her talents. Lady Gaga has always been very outspoken even stating that: “I will be at the top of music for the next 10 years”.

Spotify and 7Digital Partner To Offer Direct Download Links

7digital_logo7Digital and Spotify have announced a new partnership that will see 7Digital purchasing links in the Spotify platform. This partnership is aimed to help Spotify increase revenues in this very difficult economic situation that is heavily affecting online advertising revenues.

Beginning with the UK, France, Spain and Germany, the deal enables Spotify users to purchase 320kbps MP3 downloads from 7Digital’s 6M track catalog along with a selection of FLAC downloads. Sweden, Norway and Finland will follow in a few weeks. In the future, users will be able to purchase playlists that have been created within Spotify at a discounted price. Future improvements will include closer integration including one click downloads.

The Spotify deal follows a similar 7Digital partnership with open source media player Songbird using 7digital’s API which allows integration with 7digital’s catalog and commissions on sales.

SpiralFrog Goes Under

There have been a lot of reports over the weekend about the demise of SpiralFrog. SpiralFrog was an ad supported music streaming and download service that never really took off.

Having raised as much as $12 million in VC and debt funding, the company made a splash in August 2006 (after 2 years in operations) when Universal Music made their entire music catalog available for free download through SpiralFrog, joined by EMI a month after. About a year after, SpiralFrog started handing out private beta invitations (what took them so long?)

Attorneys representing defunct music service SpiralFrog have notified investors not to expect any returns. Whatever money comes from liquidating assets will go to a group that loaned the company an “amount exceeding $34 million.”

Is this going to be the start of more ad supported music download and streaming services moving towards the deadpool? I can see Qtrax is going to now have a lot of trouble is this economic environment and Im sure they will be the next to be closing.

Digital Rights NZ/UK

Some news that might not seem immediately edifying, but might have far reaching implications. The Intellectual Property Office in the UK has issued a ‘Scoping Document‘ attempting to assess the potential role of a Digital Rights Agency. Given what’s currently happening between the PRS and Google, the rights of artists to benefit from the exploitation of their music online is quite a hot topic at the moment.

More rumblings in the same region of the law are sounding in New Zealand, where Google has deposited it’s two cents in a discussion being held by the Telecommunication Carrier’s Forum – a think-tank organised by the TeleComms and ISP comapnies in that region to decide how to monitor and deal with digital copyright violations. Google has come in on the side of the consumer, saying that the idea of banning users who are caught infringing three times from using the ISP’s services – in effect cutting them off access to the internet as a whole – was too heavy a penalty. They also chime in with approval of measures designed to protect ISP’s from the consequences of copyright infringement perpetrated by their customers. Google is in a pretty unique position to provide a balanced opinion, given that they are operating a service across every nation in the world, but their ultimate position is always going to be pro-internet and pro-traffic of information, including music, because that is essentially pro-Google. More pageviews, more ad revenue.

How then, to deal with copyright violation on the net? The RIAA is abandoning it’s programme of coming down heavy on individuals in the hope that it will act as a deterrent to other pirates, as sending threatening letters and scaring little old ladies seems to be generating more negative publicity for them than deterrent effect on the pirates. Perhaps prosecuting people like middle-aged Mavis from New Hampshire in their fearful absence is not quite the shining moralistic proof that pinching a devious little ferret of a computer scientist with a server-filled basement of porn and Michael Jackson albums might be, but then he’d have used proxies and covered his tracks, and would be much harder to catch.

Ultimately this blogger just hopes all the legislation and discussion and arguing and imprisoning of housewives helps us home in on the inevitable. It is inevitable that consumers on the net will find a way of quickly and conveniently getting hold of the music they want, through filesharing, paid downloads, ad supported models or whatever other method they can. It is inevitable that artists must profit from the consumption of their music, directly or indirectly, because otherwise they won’t be able to afford to make music, and we’ll all have to listen to U2 and the Beatles for evermore, and no-one wants that… So we must, eventually, inevitably arrive at a solution that bridges that gap; that provides a way for music consumers to get what they want cheaply, quickly and conveniently, and for artists to profit from it. Some sort of commercial, digital radio… I’m going to go and listen to Spotify while I think about what that perfect solution might be.

Coca-Cola’s Open Happiness Track Debuts Online

Coke first previewed a new album during Midem in January which collaborates members from Gnarls Barkley, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco and Gym Class Heroes. Now Coke has properly debuted tracks in TV ads, while also being heavily promoted online and sold through iTunes.

The Continuing Decline of the Music Industry

It can be a bit difficult to keep perspective when all you hear is bad news. The music industry may be in turmoil, but it always has been, and change breeds creativity rather than destruction. Here’s Frank Zappa more than 20 years ago, explaining just what was causing the decline of the music industry back then (and a bit about masturbation, for some reason). Given that so much great music has been made since then, and how diversity and innovation are flourishing more richly than ever before due to the internet, I have to raise an eyebrow when I hear about the industry’s decline.

Kutiman – Thru You

Now this is the kind of innovation I love to see, especially when it produces something as full of feeling and funk as these tracks from Israeli producer Kutiman. He’s gathered toghether a mass of miscellaneous ‘objets trouvee’ that others have uploaded on YouTube, and made some really varied and fantastic tunes with them. He explains it thus:

And here are the videos themselves, in handy playlist form. Please do watch them all: YouTube must need the traffic after removing all the commercial videos from their site…

Please also check out Kutiman’s own website and sent him some love if you like his work:

Memotone – Space Ritual

space-ritualWe’ve recently distributed a new offering from Memotone, one of the notables who’s kind enough to let us do his digital distribution for him. This new single is called ‘Space Ritual’, and seems to be a marked progression from his other work. It is more experimental and avant-garde, and perhaps some of the tracks on the four-song bundle, in particular the voice-jumble of Brelipomy are less approachable for that, but Memotone’s mission is to create impressionistic soundscapes from things taken from the world around him, and with that in mind, Space Ritual is an effective piece. There’s a depth and richness reminiscent of the Cinematic Orchestra in ‘Space Ritual’ and ‘The World Is Too Busy Ellen’. Listen to one of the tracks from this release here, but realise that the release has got much more to it and check out the rest of Memotone’s stuff!

If you like what you hear here – swing over to Memotone - Space Ritual 2009 - EP and show him the money, or drop a comment on Memotone’s myspace by clicking here.

Nokia Announces Their “Comes With Music” Service will be Opening in Mexico, Italy and Sweden

Nokia has announced that it will be launching it “Comes with Music” offering in Italy, Sweden and Mexico in the coming months. Nokia initially launched their Comes With Music service in the UK and Singapore and its already announced it will launch in Australia later this month.

The company has also announced three new music phones in its XpressMusic range: the 5730, 5330 and 5030. The first two of those will be Comes With Music handsets in selected markets.