Technology News of Note

July 2013

1.    Apple Is Said to Be Pressing for Internet Radio Deals

Apple is pushing to complete licensing deals with music companies so it can reveal its “iRadio” service, a Pandora-like feature that would tailor streams of music to each user’s taste.  The service is expected to be free to users and supported by advertising and would represent a relatively late arrival by the company into what has become a fast-growing — if low-margin — sector of the music business.  Pandora has more than 70 million regular users, the vast majority of whom do not pay, and similar features have been introduced by Google, Spotify and the radio company Clear Channel Communications.   But, until recently, Apple has made little progress with record labels and music publishers, which have been seeking higher royalty rates and guaranteed minimum payments.  (Source: New York Times)

2.    Why iTunes Radio could be worth a small fortune for Apple

iTunes Radio is the new Apple streaming radio service that superficially resembles the US-based Pandora (200 million registered users), Sweden's worldwide hit Spotify (6 million paying users, 24 million active worldwide), and any of a dozen similar "music streaming" services. You don't own or buy the songs, you listen to them in a stream, which can be tailored to your existing tastes. For each play, a little money is handed over (officially, 0.085p per track in the UK, and over 10 times higher, around 0.96c per track, in the US, at least for Spotify).  What the other streaming services have discovered repeatedly is that it's hard to make such a service profitable, because the music costs don't fall as they grow – in web terms, it doesn't "scale".  Apple, on the other hand, could make a large amount of money, as its streaming music system could strengthen its relationships with its users, support iPhone and iPad sales and likely lead to more music buying.   (Source: The Guardian)

3.    How to Setup a Social Media Business Strategy

Here are seven steps to a social media strategy for your business.

#1: Determine Your Business Objectives for Social Media

#2: Know Your Audience

#3: Choose Your “Hot Buttons” (the primary areas for which you want your business to be known)

#4: Stake Your Social Media Turf

#5: Be Strategic in Setting Your Social Media Engagement

#6: Plan Your Resource Use

#7: Measure Your Social Media Results

(Source: Social Media Examiner)

4.    15 Techniques Used by Nonprofits to Boost Online Fundraising

Online fundraising isn’t a fad, but accounts for seven-percent of total fundraising and has seen double-digit growth over the past four years. Online fundraising has also proven to be an extremely effective donor acquisition vehicle.   Whether you’re using powerful online fundraising and marketing software or keeping it simple, it’s imperative that you take online fundraising seriously. This article takes a look at the fifteen most effective donor acquisition and online fundraising techniques used by top nonprofits.   (Source: NP Engage)

5.    Cord cutters alert: 60 million Americans now use an antenna to watch free TV

Antennas aren’t just for grandma’s old TV anymore: 19.3 percent of all US TV households get their TV fix from free over-the-air broadcasts, rather than from pay cable or satellite distributors.  This means that 22.4 million households representing 59.7 million Americans get their TV for free.   (Source: GIGAOM)

6.    Could ‘streaming artist subscriptions’ be the next big thing?

Industry analyst Mark Mulligan’s upcoming book ‘Meltdown’ aims to use the lessons from digital music’s past to make its future more profitable for artists, rights holders and digital services alike by creating “streaming artist subscriptions.”  The concept is that users would pay a small monthly fee – say $/€1 – for a month’s worth of artist content on top of the regular monthly subscription fee.  “The idea being that for each artist someone subscribes to, they (sic) get their entire back catalogue with editorial features like musical influences and making-of-the-album content; exclusive and rare tracks (“this might require some rarer content being withdrawn from the main service”); acoustic sessions, gig livestreams and music videos; and non-music content like photo shoots, artwork, interviews, backstage footage and webchats.”   (Source: BBC)

7.    Google changes their business and changes ours

Google has announced that they’re adding an auto-filtering tool to everyone’s e-mail inbox.  Gmail, which is the primary e-mail application for 60% of consumers, will now auto sort your incoming email into four main tabs:

  • Primary (your main feed)
  • Social (your Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. messages)
  • Updates (confirmations and receipts) and
  • Promotions

“Promotions” is for discount offers which, unless the consumer agrees otherwise, will include Telecharge, Ticketmaster, and every other e-direct response initiative our industry uses. What’s the problem?  Well, all of those lovely emails that we pay big bucks for won’t be visible in 60% of consumer’s primary feeds.  In other words . . . open rates are gonna go down . . . and sales are going to go down.   (Source: The Producers Perspective)

8.    Vine Withers as New Instagram Video Shares Take Lead on Twitter

It has been only about 10 days since video on Instagram debuted, and Twitter-owned competitor Vine is already losing ground.  Marketing Land used analytics tool Topsy to compare Instagram versus Vine link shares on Twitter. It found that Vine shares on Twitter dropped almost 40 percent between June 19 and June 20 — the day Instagram video launched.   (Source: Mashable)

9.    New York Philharmonic to Beam Stravinsky Production to Movie Theaters

The New York Philharmonic said that it will package its season-ending production, "A Dancer's Dream," featuring two Stravinsky ballets, for international cinema distribution this September.  The concerts, which will take place June 27-29, are to feature fantastical stagings of Stravinsky's Petrushka and A Fairy's Kiss with puppets, dancers and video projection. The transmissions will come through a deal with Specticast, a company that distributes scores of concerts, ballets, rock shows and other events to movie theaters and other venues.  This is the New York Philharmonic's second cinema venture, following on a 2011 production of Stephen Sondheim's Company. The orchestra says the screenings will take place in movie theaters, arts venues, retirement homes, libraries and schools across the U.S. Internationally, the concert will be seen in the UK, Canada, Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. The orchestra said about 100 theaters have signed on, with more expected. Ticket prices are expected to be around $15.   (Source: WQXR)

10.    Pandora Quadruples In-Car Listeners

Pandora, the biggest online radio service, said the number of U.S. listeners in cars topped 2.5 million, more than four times the number it reported a year earlier.  About half of all listening takes place in autos, making it a crucial battleground for the $15 billion local radio advertising market -- but also for the efforts of digital newcomers such as Pandora. Traditional radio broadcasters, meanwhile, are urgently debating their fear that some automakers may eventually stop equipping cars and trucks with AM/FM tuners at all.   (Source: Ad Age)

11.    Broadcast Music Inc sues Pandora over license fees

Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) is suing Pandora Media after the Internet radio company rejected a request to pay a higher license fee for playing songs across various devices, including mobile phones. In a lawsuit filed with the Manhattan federal court, BMI said it had proposed an increase in Pandora's fees "consistent with market rates to reflect the explosive growth of the Internet music streaming marketplace."

BMI collects license fees on behalf of over 600,000 affiliated songwriters, composers and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed.  One of the main challenges facing the decade-old Pandora is the rising cost of licensing music, which grows as more people tune in. The company had about 70.8 million active listeners at the end of May.   (Source: Reuters)

12.    Through platform, fans commit to fund Youtube artists’ every upload

Since the advent of file sharing, musicians have come up with a multitude of novel ways to fund their work, such as Pikup, the app that tracks users’ music listening habits and remunerates artists accordingly. Using the crowdfunding model, new startup Patreon enables fans to automatically donate money each time online content creators upload a new piece of work.   (Source: Springwise)

13.    YouTube: the un-destruction of classical music

The pianist Krystian Zimerman recently marched off stage at a recital given at the Ruhr Piano Festival in Essen, after discovering an audience member was recording his performance. He left only to return and “lambast the destruction of music by YouTube.”  In an essay in Limelight Magazine, Henry Norman questions whether Zimerman’s criticism of YouTube’s impact on classical music is misplaced. Norman says YouTube is “the primary medium through which I access the genre. This, I believe, is not an uncommon state of affairs, representing reality amongst many of my fellow 20-something student colleagues.” He highlights the economic success of Valentina Lisitsa, the so-called “Justin Bieber of Classical Piano”, who found that offering her performances on YouTube for free led to an increase in DVD sales and a Decca contract, Norman suggests that YouTube is anything but a destructive force. It can, in fact, pay dividends.   (Source: Limelight Magazine)

14.    Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war

Closing arguments for the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Apple concluded recently, although U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is not expected to reach a decision for another couple of months. If you’ve found the case difficult to follow, you’re not alone. Still it’s worth getting a handle on the basics from this article in Salon, because the suit — or, more precisely, the business deals behind it — have changed book publishing in significant ways. Furthermore, Judge Cote’s decision could have impact well beyond the book industry.  (Source: Salon)