The Ocarina. Turn Your iPhone or iPod Touch Into A Wind Instrument

The Ocarina from Smule synthesizes sound in real-time based on your “wind input” (fancy talk for you blow on it), tilt, and finger placement over four graphic “holes” overlaid on the multi-touch pad.  Unlike some iPhone audio apps, the sound is not pre-compiled but is generated by the individual performer.  As a result, “it allows an iPhone user to explore and master the musical sounds of an entirely iPhone-native version of an ancient flute-like instrument.” Its available for $.99 at Apple’s AppStore. Here’s a demo and be sure to check out “Starway To Heaven” after the jump. You can purchase the Ocarina Application on iTunes here. Ocarina

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.

Techcrunch UK Feature RouteNote

RouteNote received some great press this morning by the UK version of the worlds largest technology weblog, Techcrunch.

Mike Butcher was nice enough to provide some great insights

I think this model generally works – unsigned or independent labels don’t want to pay money up front with no guarantees of selling anything, but they do want a route to market.

RouteNote is a great way for unsigned bands to get themselves to market, then it is all about promotion, promotion, promotion.

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 the DailyBits Blog

We’ve been featured on the DailyBits blog – here’s what they said: Online Music Distribution Service

The Internet has changed a large number of industries and market segments, and music distribution is no exception. Album sales are dropping year after year, and online music sharing or market places like iTunes are prospering.

For a normal band or independent artist, however, it could become cumbersome to discover all the right places and strategies to promote and sell music online. In order to solve this problem, there are some companies appearing to bridge the gap between not so tech-savvy music artists and the myriad of online opportunities available for them.

RouteNote is one of them. The promise is to promote and sell the music of independent artists through online partnerships. What they want in return? 10% of the sales revenues. Here is a quote from the about page:

Onsite, artists can upload tracks to the RouteNote catalogue and enter into a non exclusive agreement permitting us to distribute their music to a worldwide audience in a matter of moments. They then select partnered retail outlets that they wish their music to be available through (e.g. Napster, Snocap, Samsung Mobile) and within moments their songs are earning money as part of a world wide, web wide, distribution network. Our rates for providing a distribution service are currently the best in the market, and our ever expanding catalogue gives us increasing muscle with which to negotiate deals from which everyone, artists, clients and distribution partners included will all benefit.

Should the idea work, it would be pretty compelling to music artists that wants to get started online.


Tech News Source blog about RouteNote

RouteNote is an online music distribution site that gives music artists a way to promote their work online to a large worldwide audience in a matter of moments. This is a great service for music artists looking to get exposure to their work on the web.

There is a very popular shift to buying music online, as well as having music artists promote themselves independently through online and mobile music outlets. RouteNote was created to take advantage of this shift by offering music artists a way to easily promote their work. Also, considering that RouteNote is partnered with some of the largest retailers on the web, music artists will get “massive and immediate availability for their tracks.”

Here is a little bit about RouteNote and how their service works:

Onsite, artists can upload tracks to the RouteNote catalogue and enter into a non exclusive agreement permitting us to distribute their music to a worldwide audience in a matter of moments. They then select partnered retail outlets that they wish their music to be available through (e.g. Napster, Snocap, Samsung Mobile) and within moments their songs are earning money as part of a world wide, web wide, distribution network.

RouteNote- Music Distribution Service Helping Artists with Self-Publication

After you sign-up with RouteNote, which is absolutely free, you will be offered the following:

  1. Worldwide Exposure
  2. Receive 90% from All Download Sale
  3. Signing Up Wont Stop You From Signing With a Record Label
  4. Forward Looking Partnerships and Marketing Expertise

So, if you are an artist that is looking for a way to get your music out to the ever growing online market, then you should go check out RouteNote and see what all they have to offer. If you have used RouteNote please post a comment letting us know what you think about their service.