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.
Clear Channel has just announced the lineup for its 2nd annual iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas. This year’s show will take place on September 21st and 22nd. The headliners will include Taylor Swift, Linkin Park, Rihanna, Green Day, Brad Paisley, No Doubt, Usher and more. Last year’s initial festival helped Clear Channel re-launch iHeartRadio. The company now says that it has 10 million registered users, and registered users are just a subset of the regular users.
YouTube has long been a popular site for watching and listening to music on the Internet. But now YouTube users around the world have been fighting back against the website after Google (who owns YouTube) and the RIAA threatened to sue YouTube-MP3.org, the leading YouTube/Mp3 conversion site, last week. That independently run site allows users to extract and download Mp3 files from YouTube videos. Users need to do little more than copy and paste a YouTube link into the site to retrieve a quality mp3 of the video.
As of this week, Google has blocked the offending site’s servers from accessing YouTube, and is threatening legal action unless it shuts down operations within 7 days. It’s obvious why YouTube wants to take down this site – it violates their Terms of Service and takes away from potential revenue. This lost revenue is not necessarily from the record labels, but from missed view counts and ad streams. These are 2 factors key in YouTube’s ongoing efforts to monetize content.
Deadmou5 is a button pusher, and he’s not happy about it. In a flurry of recent tweets and Tumblr rants, the world famous producer denounces the EDM culture as a mainstream cash-cow that encourages countless numbers of untalented wannabes to jump behind the mixer in hopes of stardom. And while this is a gross oversimplification of the movement, it does have merit. Sold out festivals, appearances on Top 40 radio, and the rise of the celebrity DJ have solidified the once underground EDM movement as mainstream. And, unlike like the years of practice and perfection it takes to achieve this level of success as a traditional musician, a million dollar DJ nowadays needs to possess little more than a basic knowledge of music tech.
If you follow music or even just popular culture in general, you've likely noticed the rise of electronic dance music, or EDM. The scene has been bubbling under for years and has recently exploded into pop culture. Today kicks off the biggest EDM festival in the country, possibly the world, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's a three day event called EDC, Electric Daisy Carnival. With 300,000 attendees and official hours of 7:00pm-5:30am daily, it's fair to say it's quite a party. For those not well-versed in the artists and the music, the lineup, featuring well over 100 acts, seems like a blur of references to music, space, drugs, lights, and robots. But talk to an EDM fan and they can tell you which acts are their favorites, which ones "suck," and which ones put on the best shows. Here are three acts that are definitely worth catching.
Check out the full article here.
The talk of the music and radio industries for the last week has been Clear Channel’s unprecedented new deal with Big Machine Music to pay performance royalties. Many in the radio industry were taken aback by the move, which breaks the previously united front of broadcasters opposing performance royalty payments for over-the-air broadcasts. Many in the music industry, on the other hand, are cautiously optimistic about the precedent set with this deal. However, some criticisms from the music side are starting to emerge. Some don’t trust having the labels be responsible for compensating the artists.
US radio stations, in a unique arrangement, are exempt from paying music performance royalties for over-the-air broadcasts. In virtually every other country, radio stations do pay this royalty. Also, US radio stations pay the royalty for online and in-app streaming. The radio industry, represented by the NAB had serious negotiations with the RIAA over the topic of over-the-air performance royalties a couple of years ago, but no agreement could be reached.
The Future of Music Coalition put out an article recently on why the possible merger between Universal Music Group and EMI is bad for artists and fans. The downside (or potential downside) for fans is somewhat obvious: fewer content owners leads to decreased competition in the marketplaces, etc. According to TheFutureofMusic.com, the labels argue that “this merger is necessary given their relatively weakened position in the digital era.UMG asserts that unauthorized distribution and even legal services like Amazon and iTunes are damaging the larger music landscape, and that this merger will help them compete in an ever more difficult music market.”
There is no doubt that the digital age has hurt the major labels and their old model of business. You can argue, and with strong support, that the digital age has also increased music exposure, music discovery, ticket sales, and the variety of music in an individual’s collection, but there is no denying that the drastic drop in physical CD sales has hurt the labels’ bottom lines. UMG views this 1.9 billion investment in EMI (and combined ownership of approximately 40% of the US recorded music marketplace) as a way to gain an amazing roster of artists as well as a little more control in this constantly shifting business.
Former financial analyst and current partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers Mary Meeker is known for her annual report on Internet trends. She recently presented her findings that, not surprisingly, focused largely on the mobile space, including mobile growth, mobile monetization, and mobile impact worldwide. All Things Digital has her 100-slide presentation up here.
Meeker's discussion includes:
Thefuture.FM launched an app last week that’s designed to make mixes and sets from over 5000 DJs available to fans. David Stein, Thefuture.FM’s CEO and co-founder explained to Gigaom that the “key to these plans is Thefuture’s own music recognition technology, which was developed with DJs and live events in mind.” Through a combination of the non-interactive music service model (used by sites like Pandora) and advanced audio recognition software developed by the team at Thefuture called Mixscan, they are able to identify samples used within a single song and pay the rights holders when they’re music is played.
While the app and technology are cool in and of themselves, they also speak volumes to the future of the industry and the tried and true sentiment that necessity is the mother of invention. For years, companies ranging from live streaming platforms to VCs to labels have tried to steer clear of DJs, and EDM in general, due to the sample-rich nature of the music. The number of tracks, or pieces of tracks, that can exist in a single mix from a DJ/producer is astounding (just listen to a three minute GirlTalk song), which makes rights and licensing a nightmare. However, the popularity of the music and its rapid rise in popular culture is undeniable.
It seems Mastercard and American Express are taking different approaches to the digital age. Mastercard and Visa are embracing advancements in technology and their buzz is surrounding mobile wallets. American Express has been going after social media and branding, working with companies like LiveNation and Twitter. So who’s focused on the right thing?
Mastercard is fine-tuning an application that would allow users a secure place to store virtual credit cards, tickets, etc. They’re banking on the idea that eventually, mobile phones (if they can still be called phones) will be the source and home for all of our information. It can already be seen as the internet moves from the web to applications and as our email migrates from our computer screen to our smartphone. One day it will seem absurd to need your wallet on your person to make a payment.
Marketers learned a long time ago that you don’t have to talk about the product to have a successful marketing campaign. Brand image is just as important, and possibly more so, in today’s market. Look at Red Bull. They’re selling an energy drink, yet they create some of the most interesting and engaging content on and off the web, including sporting events, concerts, and an entire magazine. Look at the Jay-Z concert hosted by AmEx at SXSW. It’s about selling a lifestyle, a culture association to the target demographic, especially when it comes to the under 34 year olds. Converse built an entire recording studio in Brooklyn based on “the cool factor.” The artists don't share their publishing or royalties or even have to wear Converse shoes if they record their demos there. Converse figures the association just works for them on a grander scale and word of mouth.
What is new in this world of brand marketing is companies doing it right. Pepsi’s “Live For Now” campaign, set to launch next week, has a real shot at nailing it. Pepsi has always associated itself with what’s current and what’s next, including their Generation X and Generation NeXt campaigns. After a year of research, the brand is launching its first global marketing campaign, centered around entertainment and pop culture, with a special focus on music.