Pollack Media Group is an international media consultancy with unparalleled expertise in all things music, from global trends to niche markets. We specialize in helping TV networks, media sites, recording artists, radio stations, film companies, and consumer brands grow their audience and revenue by leveraging their content across multiple platforms.
Apple’s big announcement, as predicted, was about the iPad (and a new version of Apple TV). As usual, most of the details came out ahead of time, whether due to leaks, or just good guesses on the part of observers. We previously reported on most of the upgrades to the new iPad (faster processor, improved display, etc.), but Apple always has a few surprises. Perhaps the biggest one is that it won’t be called iPad 3, iPad 2S or iPad HD; it’s just “iPad.”
Owners of the original iPad who never upgraded to iPad 2 might find reasons to do so now. The jump from iPad to iPad 2 was a larger one than the jump forward this time. iPad 2 owners may be hard-pressed to justify the step up to the new one, given the relatively incremental upgrades. Here’s our take on some of the most important new features, beyond the faster processor and the retina display:
New playlist for this week features:
- Alabama Shakes
- Walk The Moon
- Jana Kramer
- Black Box Revelation
Check us out on Spotify and Songza!
Great interview with Ethan Kaplan, the new VP of Product Development at LiveNation.com, on Tech Crunch this week. In addition to talking about what’s going to work for artists and the industry in the digital age, as well as the live experience and what the team is up to at LiveNation.com, Kaplan draws a parallel between the music industry 10 years ago and the film industry today. He explains that windowing strategies long used in the film industry (in short: staggering a product release, in this case films to theatres, then dvd, then Netflix, then premium cable, etc.) are now being introduced in the music industry as well. The problem, Kaplan explains, is that these models “work as a marketing tool to a degree, but they don’t work as a way of curbing piracy or increasing the value of your product.”
There was an interesting article in Gigaom last week about a trend towards the “boring” at the MusicTech Summit in San Francisco, an event which features some of the newest and coolest companies in the music/digital world with sessions like Music Hack Day and Music StartUp Academy. The point was that conversation leaned much more towards numbers discussions, ecommerce, and B2B solutions rather than “cooler” topics like new DJs, festivals, and Spotify playlists.
Interesting article in Tech Dirt this week arguing that music is not a product and why that’s a good thing. The reasoning behind the piece is that people don’t BUY music. They are purchasing storage devices or platforms that let them access a copy of music, this includes CDs, music files, Spotify, etc. Customers also pay for concert tickets and merchandise, but rarely, if ever, do people actually pay for music, says TD. This is valid when one considers that the customers are not commissioning a performance nor do they have the right to do whatever they would like with the content after purchase. Just because you bought a download of the new Rihanna track doesn’t mean you can legally post it online for others to download or use it in your TV show.
The idea is that music is what gives the actual products value – it’s not the product itself. The CD is the product, the reason you’re willing to pay for it is because it has music by Lady Gaga, or Madonna, or M83 on it. Same with a downloaded file from iTunes. This distinction would have been pointless to make 20 years ago because there was no alternative to the act of purchasing; whether people thought of themselves as paying for a CD or paying for the music, they were ultimately paying either way. The distinction is key now because the customer has ways to access the music without the product – and therefore the number of people willing to pay for the product is dropping.
Last week Shazam announced that it would be tagging not only the halftime show, but the entire SuperBowl and many of the ads during the game with prizes ranging from gift cards to cars. Shazam, previously known as a song ID app that allowed users to identify music by simply holding their phone towards the source, has expanded to be a multipurpose audio recognition app. What’s the difference? It’s not just for music anymore.
When is a sale not really a sale? When a third party decides you've paid too little for something. That's the perplexing situation that the music community is in thanks to Billboard's new policy on counting album sales. In brief, Billboard has arbitrarily decided that any album sold for less than $3.49 will not count as a sale -- during the album's first 4 weeks of release -- for the purpose of creating Billboard's Top 200 Albums sales chart.
You can read all the details about it in this L.A. Times article. This ill advised decision has far reaching impact because, for much of the industry up till now, what has charted on Billboard has been the most accurate gauge of how a song or album is doing. This reliance may very well change now, as Billboard finds itself on the wrong side of history, trying to cling to the remnants of a traditional business that relied on a middleman to dictate what is a hit.
Read the full article on The Huffington Post.
After many visits to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I’ve finally realized why I enjoy it so much. Despite the annoyance of the heavy crowds, it’s like going to a huge electronics store where the sales people are actually experts on their products! There was plenty to see at the 2012 CES, so here’s my overview of the most interesting & significant products on display, with TV dominating the show...