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.
Soundrop announced last week that it’s streamed 35 million tracks through its Spotify app thus far and is about to close its first round of funding with “leading VCs.” Tech Crunch calls Soundrop the Turntable.FM rival, and for obvious reasons. Both are based on creating or joining “rooms” and having the users select the songs to be played. Some of the differences include that Soundrop is based on votes from the users in a majority rules environment, rather than rotating which DJ gets to pick the song , and there are no points for users in Soundrop as there are in Turntable, simply voting on which songs you want to hear.
The largest difference between Soundrop and Turntable,FM, however, is their approach to their concept. The two platforms make a glaring distinction between a product and a feature, a key difference which increasingly pops up in the digital space with sites and apps. Is the concept something that can stand alone as a product or a destination, or is it a service or element that should be incorporated into a larger business? With proper strategizing, a company can take an idea in either direction of course. It’s simply a matter of deciding who you want to be competing with and who you want to be working with (and being able to make those relationships work).
New playlist for this week features some of the best acts to catch at Coachella:
- Gary Clark Jr.
- WU LYF
- Kendrick Lamar
- Wolf Gang
Check us out on Spotify and Songza!
Arbitron, the radio ratings company, is branching out into mobile. The company announced this week the launch of Arbitron Mobile Trends Panels. They say that it, “utilizes a proprietary on-device software meter to provide marketers, content providers, app developers and wireless access suppliers with information on how mobile consumers use apps, surf the web, engage in social media, participate in e-commerce, are exposed to and act on advertising, and employ their device to communicate.”
For this new mobile service Arbitron will use a system similar to its Portable People Meter (PPM), the device used to track radio ratings in larger markets. In this case, users who agree to participate will install software on their mobile device to track the use of various apps and functions. It’s important to note that this covers all mobile behavior, not just online. In other words, any activities that users participate in while offline will be monitored as well. This software will connect to the Arbitron website and upload information on the users mobile usage.
An interesting interview was posted on Evolver.FM last week between Evolver's Eliot Van Buskirk and music blogger/creator of Drowned in Sound, Sean Adams. The article discusses how streaming services are slowly destroying the art of MP3 blogging. The idea is that these blogs are no longer the source of music recommendations in the era of Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora, who “turn every listener into a ‘channel’.” I understand the sentiment. Why use a blog when you can see what your friends are listening to without leaving your music player or social network of choice? But the article misses some key differences between blogs and friends, as well as the benefits of streaming services to music and bloggers.
How much is content worth to you? If you saw that your friend had read an article about Snooki’s pregnancy on Facebook or saw a post about the new features the next iPhone is going to have on Twitter, would you be willing to pay a small fee to access the story?
Paycento, a Belgium startup, is banking on the idea that people will be willing to pay for content through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The users’ credit card information will be stored through their profiles on these sites, so paying for a song download or access to an article will only be a click away. In an era with so many news sources and media outlets, choosing one or two to pay annual subscriptions to seems like too much of a blind commitment to avid social networkers. Why not be able to pay a small fee for access to content you definitely want on-demand? Paycento has it set up so companies and publishers can set their price point at any amount, even as little as 5 or 10 cents to read an article. You can check out more on Paycento on Reuters.
Business Insider‘s article, entitled “Actually, 3.5 Billion For Spotify Isn’t COMPLETELY Insane” compares the growth of Spotify this past year to the growth of iTunes… this past year. The Insider explains “But Spotify seems to be growing revenue at about 200% (3x) per year, which means that it could reach $1 billion a year in revenue by 2013 if all things remain stable. Apple's download revenue is growing only about 40% per year.” If all things remain stable? They are comparing iTunes, a business launched over a decade ago that is part of the most valuable company in the world, a brand that marries software and hardware unlike any other, to a music streaming service that hasn’t had the same model for more than a year and launched in the US less than a year ago. It’s not fair to either company.!--[if>!--[if>!--[if>
Last week, we talked about Jay-Z, AmEx, and the future of the music biz. While their event at SXSW got tons of buzz, it wasn’t the only unique partnership between artists, content, and brands going on in Austin. One documentary that created a huge splash, and not only during the film week, was the “Re:Generation Music Project,” a documentary that follows award winning DJs and electronic artists remixing classic rock, R&B, jazz, country, and classical tracks. The film was the product of Hyundai, The Grammys, and Greenlight Media and features artists Skrillex, Mark Ronson, The Crystal Method, DJ Premiere, and Pretty Lights. The producers have partnered with Hulu, where Re:Generation will be featured as the documentary of the month for the next two months and will be available to stream on the site for the next two years.
There has been so much written about SXSX these past couple of weeks that I wasn't sure if there was anything left to add. Most of the blogs amply covered the new films being showcased, the exciting start-ups, the debut of cool new apps and the buzz surrounding various new bands like Alabama Shakes, Imagine Dragons, Kids These Days and others. If you haven't gone to SXSW in recent years, it has grown into a must-attend event not only for music but also for its film and interactive showcases. It is a place where business gets done and new companies hawk their wares, hoping to emulate the momentum and success of Twitter, Foursquare and others that came bursting out of Austin.
But SXSW is still at its heart a music dominated event, where trends begin, careers are launched, and everyone reflects on what really matters when it comes to the future of music. Two keynote speeches given last Thursday really resonated with me and ended up being my chief takeaway from this year (notwithstanding some memorable performances) because of their powerful themes and similarity of tone. This year's speeches were given by two people who represent very different ends of the music business, and who have been wildly successful in pursuing their dreams. Both Bruce Springsteen and Van Toffler (President of MTV's Music Group) underscored in their speeches the debt we owe to the original reason so many of us in the music world got started in our careers in the first place: a common passion for music and the escape it provided.
Check out the full article here.
When people say to give up record sales and give away your music, this is what they’re talking about. They’re not saying “don’t get paid for your work,” they’re simply saying the big money isn’t necessarily in album sales anymore. While this was a good promotion for Jay-Z, he definitely didn’t need it. You can bet American Express was paying him some big dollars to be the face of their promotion. This brought big attention to the AmEx’s YouTube Channel, Twitter account, and to the brand in general- and largely from an under 30 demographic, a largely untapped demo for the company.
It seems like every year the SXSW film, digital, and music conference in Austin, TX gets bigger and bigger. 2012 is possibly the biggest year yet, especially when it comes to the final week -- the music week-- of the conference. Hundreds of bands descend upon Austin to play multiple shows in venues of all sizes. It's truly a must-attend event for the industry and any up-and-coming artist. With so many important music biz folks and tastemakers around, it's no longer just for underground acts. Some of the biggest names in music now put on shows and make guest appearances at SXSW; this year acts ranging from Bruce Springsteen to A-Trak will be playing sets. With so much excitement around the parties and showcases, many producers are opting to broadcast and stream their shows, so even if you can't be in Austin, you can check out the performances. Check out my recommendations for some of the best shows going on next week.