Digital Media News

May 2016

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League posts a monthly digest of relevant news and information regarding changes, trends, and developments that may affect the digital media activities that orchestras use to achieve their institutional missions. For each monthly digest, the League’s digital media consultants, Michael Bronson and Joe Kluger, draw from a variety of websites and publications to provide excerpts or summaries of articles. (These do not necessarily represent the views of the League.)

League members with questions about the information in this digest or about other digital media topics – e.g., planning, strategy, and production – may contact Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Facebook Live, annoying and intrusive, seems to be paying off

Media companies and amateurs have found validation in surprisingly large audiences by posting on Facebook’s new video product, Live.  Facebook Live — the product — is working.  But not for everyone. Mention Facebook Live on Facebook and a chorus of slightly peeved voices emerge from people who find the notifications annoying. Facebook is mostly mum about how — or when — money might flow from the videos.  Facebook users have their own guesses, of course. Said one: “They’ll get more people using it, then hide the alerts because we’re already complaining and then charge companies to get the alerts back.” Is this just pessimism?  Or is it just that access to an audience is sometimes worth paying for? (Source: New York Times)


The fight for the future of NPR

A slow-moving bureaucracy. An antiquated business model. A horde of upstart competitors. An article in Slate analyzes National Public Radio’s prospects for survival in a rapidly changing world of media aggregating, delivery, and consumption.  (Source: Slate)


How Dropbox is changing the music business

Dropbox will be joining the ranks of Universal Music Group, Nielsen Music, Pandora, United Talent Agency and other influential entertainment companies as a sponsor and participant at upcoming music conferences. Their participation, along with partnerships they are setting up with new media companies, is reflective both of Dropbox’s mission to expand its reach in creative industries and of the music industry’s recruitment of technology companies to help brainstorm innovative solutions for its own future. Like music conferences themselves, Dropbox has served as a key convergence point for music professionals in recent history, from artists and producers to publishers and curators. Online lifestyle publication NEST HQ releases its weekly curation of free downloads via Dropbox, while music podcasters and producers like Hrishikesh Hirway and Ducky use the service to exchange stems for collaborations and remixes. Other common use cases of Dropbox in music include sending contest submissions and storing press shots, promo links, and other assets. (Source: Forbes)


Anthony Horowitz drama New Blood to premiere on iPlayer

In a nod to changing patterns in the way consumers are using technology to view entertainment, Anthony Horowitz's new crime series New Blood is to become the first prime time drama to premiere on BBC iPlayer ahead of transmission on BBC One. (Source: BBC News)


Challenge to Google Books Is declined by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has refused to revive a challenge to Google’s digital library of millions of books, turning down an appeal from authors who said the project amounted to copyright infringement on a mass scale.  The Supreme Court’s brief order left in place an appeals court decision that the project was a “fair use” of the authors’ work, ending a legal saga that had lasted more than a decade.  In 2004, Google started building a vast digital library, scanning and digitizing more than 20 million books from the collections of major research libraries. Readers can search the resulting database, Google Books, for keywords or phrases and read some snippets of text.  The Authors Guild and several writers sued Google in 2005, saying the digital library was a commercial venture that drove down sales of their work.  The Authors Guild said that the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the case would leave writers vulnerable to copyright infringement. It also suggested the case would have broader impact beyond the book industry. (Source: New York Times)


Is YouTube a music industry devil or buzz-making deity?

YouTube said in late 2015 that its parent company, Google, had generated more than $3bn (£2bn) for the music industry since its launch in 2005. The point here is that YouTube does pay, but not enough for artists, managers, labels, and publishers. This formed the basis of last week’s IFPI’s global music report, which argued that after 15 years of decline the record business is only starting to recover from a “value gap” that has threatened to sink it. IFPI said that last year an estimated 900 million users of ad-supported services such as YouTube generated only $643m in royalty payments for record labels, whereas 68 million paying subscribers to services including Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer collectively generated $2bn. (Facebook, which is heavily promoting its role as a channel for music videos, currently pays no royalties.)  YouTube responded to these criticisms by claiming that 80% of people who consume music online would never pay £10 a month for a subscription service and so the service has to be “monetized” through ads. (Source: The Guardian)


MPBN to launch separate classical music radio service in May

After years of trying to meet the competing demands of its radio listeners, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network plans to launch a separate classical music service on May 9. The new service will offer more classical music, nearly 24 hours a day, but for many MPBN listeners, including those in Portland, it may be harder to find.  Maine Public Classical will be available over the air from new MPBN radio stations in Waterville, Bangor, and Fryeburg, as well as online and on HD radios statewide, and hopes to launch a Portland-area classical station soon.  (Source: Portland Press Herald)


Charleston Symphony Orchestra to stream performance online Saturday for first time

For the first time in its history, the orchestra’s performance will be streamed live online, so anyone anywhere can watch Saturday’s performance inside the Gaillard Center. It’s an effort by the orchestra to spread its reach beyond the peninsula and the Lowcountry — to show anyone willing to tune in that even though Charleston’s a small city, its orchestra can play on a bigger stage. (Source: The Post and Courier)


Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s video on-demand streaming video service selected as a 2016 MITX Awards finalist

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) Replay campaign, an on-demand streaming service offering an online library of concert footage on Brightcove’s Gallery platform, has been selected as a finalist in the B2C Integrated Marketing and Cause and Nonprofit & Government Marketing categories for the 20th Annual MITX Awards.  DSO sought to offer its patrons an on-demand library of archived webcasts to drive donor donations. Launched in August 2015, DSO Replay, powered by Brightcove Gallery, leverages the archives to inspire giving; as a benefit for giving to DSO’s annual fund, donors are able to access and enjoy more than 150 high definition videos of past performances. DSO provides a two-minute Replay preview to new site visitors and offers complimentary full access to those who make a $50 donation. At launch, more than 5,000 annual fund donors had full access to DSO Replay.  (Source: Business Wire)


Facebook will stream the SF Symphony live on Wednesday

People around the world were able to get a taste of San Francisco recently, when Facebook streamed a live webcast of the San Francisco Symphony.  The broadcast, which kicked off at 8:15 pm PST on April 27, was the first time a major symphony orchestra has used Facebook Live to premiere a new work. The webcast was free to watch, and available for music lovers around the world to enjoy live, as well as archived for audiences to enjoy in the future.  (Source: SFGate)


Survey to examine fallout from live to digital streaming

A new piece of research into the impact of ‘live to digital’ streaming on live theatre, touring, and new audiences has been launched to fill in “knowledge gaps” in the U.K. marketplace and “inform policy and investment”.  The intention is to look across the spectrum of streamed theatre – from event cinema to on-demand TV broadcasts and screenings in ‘alternate venues’ -- and work out, in the context of changing patterns of leisure time and a tighter economic climate:

  • How to support smaller players entering the market
  • If there is displacement from attending live theatre or independent cinema
  • If ‘Live to Digital’ is having an impact on touring patterns
  • Strategies for developing new audiences
  • What support – if any – distribution needs.

(Source: Arts Professional)