THIS WEEK IN THE MUSIC BIZ
May 16, 2005 Edition
* iriver Turns Up The Heat On The Mini Jukebox Market H10
* Music Listeners Identify 50,000 Songs With 411-Song Since Launch
* Fortune Names IODA To List Of 25 Breakout Companies
* BMI Launches New Songwriter/Artist Podcast
* BMG Direct To Acquire The Columbia House Company
* iTunes Music Store Launches In Denmark, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland
* Guitar Virtuoso Produces Innovative New Guitars
* First International Multi-industry Standard For Interoperable Digital Rights Management
* Limewire Distributes Kufala Recordings Music As Weedshare Files
* Yahoo! Music Partners With MusicNet To Support Newly Anounced Music Subscription Service
iriver Turns Up The Heat On The Mini Jukebox Market H10
iriver, the leading provider of forward-looking portable audio and video solutions in the digital entertainment segment, has opened the summer season with the launch of the iriver H10 [6GB color]. The player, which is a variation of the extremely popular H10 microdrive player, offers users the same stylish aluminum design and high-contrast color display, coupled with valuable extra hours of listening during those balmy summer nights.
A vertical touchpad is the centerpiece of the H10 [6GB color]. Complemented by clearly arranged function keys and a colour display, it makes navigating through music, image and text files ingeniously simple. Since the razor-sharp display supports up to 260,000 colors, this multi pupose device can even serve as a digital photo album, with slide shows set to the user's personal choice of music. A built-in FM tuner also provides welcome relief when canned music no longer gets your foot tapping, or when the latest football results are a priority. Furthermore, thanks to its inbuilt timer record function, the H10 [6GB color] can keep up to date, even when you can't. Finally, a viewer contributes to a paperless environment, enabling users to read and save short text passages to round off their digital entertainment experience on the move.
Music Listeners Identify 50,000 Songs With 411-Song Since Launch
411-SONG, the leading mobile music search service, announced that its users have identified or "tagged" 50,000 songs since launch. In celebration of the achievement, 411-SONG is running a promotion giving all callers the one-time opportunity to identify five songs for only $0.99 throughout the month of May.
"We are thrilled that people all over the country are embracing the chance to identify music on-the-fly," said Sunjay Guleria, CEO of 411-SONG. "It is clear that music fans want the instant gratification of tagging songs anywhere, anytime. With 411-SONG, we are creating a whole new way for music lovers to act on impulse and buy the song or ringtone of almost any song they hear."
Starting on May 9, mobile users can dial (866) 411-SONG and will get five IDs for the price of one, with the first successful ID being charged and the next four song IDs free. A $0.99 charge will automatically appear on the user's phone bill, with no charge for unsuccessful IDs.
Fortune Names IODA To List Of 25 Breakout Companies
IODA the Independent Online Distribution Alliance was recognized today in FORTUNE magazine's list of 25 Breakout Companies for 2005.
IODA is the leading distributor of independent music online, aggregating content from a wide array of independent record labels for digital music retailers such as iTunes Music Store, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, MSN Music, Napster, eMusic, Yahoo! MusicMatch, and over 120 additional outlets. IODA's groundbreaking services enable online retailers to offer music fans the deep and varied catalog they demand, and provide the independent community with access to potent new sales channels.
"We're honored and excited to be included in this select group of innovators," said Kevin Arnold, IODA founder and CEO. "IODA's team of digital music industry veterans has worked tirelessly to build a compelling catalog of independent music and develop cutting-edge data management and media delivery systems to establish IODA as the premier distribution partner for labels, physical distributors, and digital retailers alike."
BMI Launches New Songwriter/Artist Podcast
BMI Senior Vice President Writer/Publisher Relations Phil Graham announced today that the company is launching a podcast series to bring promising new songwriter/artists to the attention of key industry executives including record company A&R staffers and creative executives at music publishing companies. The BMI podcast, entitled "See It Hear First," will also be available on BMI.com beginning Monday, May 9th.
Simultaneously, BMI Licensing Vice President Richard Conlon, who oversees the company's new media area, announced that BMI had been licensing podcasters for nearly a year covering the public performance rights to the BMI repertoire. BMI's licensing website has been expanded to provide a clear path for Podcasters to get more information on licensing music for their programs and to obtain BMI licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Podcasters including Coverville.com and Keener13.com have already signed on to the BMI agreement. BMI plans on rolling out additional licensing programs for this new medium as it grows.
BMI will select songwriter/artists for the podcast from its new signings each month. Repertoire for the first podcast, chosen from exceptional talent from January, 2005 through April, 2005 includes Jetpack, Astaire, somedaynew, and Brendan James. Biographical information and photographs on each of the songwriter/artists are also available on BMI.com/podcast.
BMG Direct To Acquire The Columbia House Company
BMG Direct, a division of DirectGroup Bertelsmann, announced that it has reached an agreement with The Blackstone Group to acquire The Columbia House Company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to certain government approvals and other customary conditions. Stuart Goldfarb, President and CEO of BMG Direct, will serve as President and CEO of the newly acquired company.
This move represents the coming together of two great brands with complementary operational structures and business models. BMG Direct is the largest direct to consumer retailer of recorded music in the U.S. while Columbia House is the largest specialized retailer of DVDs. The combined expertise of these two leading direct marketing companies will create broader product offerings for their members and a larger customer base for both brands.
Ewald Walgenbach, CEO of DirectGroup Bertelsmann said, "Today is an important and exciting day for both companies and this transaction is consistent with DirectGroup's commitment to grow our worldwide businesses. We are bringing together two of the U.S.'s most respected and knowledgeable direct marketing media companies. The combined BMG Direct and Columbia House entity will offer a broader selection of products to a larger customer base, while at the same time creating cost efficiencies."
iTunes Music Store Launches In Denmark, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland
Apple launched four new iTunes Music Stores in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland featuring songs from all four major music companies and over 1,000 independent record labels. The four new iTunes Music Stores offer the same innovative features, breakthrough pricing and seamless integration with iPod that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world. Since its launch just two years ago, the iTunes Music Store has extended its reach to more than 70 percent of the global music market with stores in 19 countries and more than 400 million songs purchased and downloaded worldwide.
"The iTunes Music Store has revolutionized the way we discover and enjoy music, and is now selling more than half a billion songs per year," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Applications. "With iTunes Music Stores now in 19 countries, music fans around the world can enjoy the number one online music service in the world."
In conjunction with the iTunes Music Store launch in Switzerland, Apple and UBS announced a promotion to give every Swiss citizen a free song on the iTunes Music Store as part of their new "UBS Generation" and "UBS Campus" packages. UBS is offering song cards for music downloads in all of their branches, which can be used instead of a credit card to purchase tracks from the iTunes Music Store.
Guitar Virtuoso Produces Innovative New Guitars
After 7 years of development, and the approval of four patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Byrd Super Avianti Balance Compensated Wing Guitars are now in production in the USA and available to the general public.
The Super Avianti guitar is being produced as an entirely USA made custom instrument; Body fabrication, Necks, pick-guards, electronics and wiring, finishing, and final assembly, are all being made and done in the Seattle area. The instrument has some very original features heretofore unseen in other commercially available guitars; It features a unique precision machined Acrylite pick-guard assembly which is precisely inset into the face of the instrument like an inlay. The neck heel is fully sculpted to fit the players inner palm, and blended into the neck which is attached with 5 recessed bolts. The unique patented Equapul headstock features a straight pull reversed 2+4 tuner array for optimal string tension balance and tuning stability.
The instrument also features 7 way pickup switching for the 3 DiMarzio hum-canceling single coil pickups. The guitar bodies are made from highly select light weight swamp ash for the two-piece bodies which feature an off-set glue seam for maximum tone. The grain angle of the wood is uniquely angled to gain maximum grain length to increase bass response. Exotically figured maple is used for the necks. Despite the expensive woods and advanced features, and the additional expense they cost the company to offer, the designer Super Avianti is actually priced competitively with many 'off the rack' assembly line instruments.
First International Multi-industry Standard For Interoperable Digital Rights Management Is Approved By Digital Media Project
The international Digital Media Project (DMP) has achieved its first milestone by publishing its Phase I set of specifications. The documents, posted on the DMP's web page, contain a comprehensive technology specification for interoperable digital rights management (DRM) as well as applications within and across media value chains. The documents address Use Cases, DRM Architecture, Interoperable DRM Platform, Value-Chains, Registration Authorities and Terminology.
DMP is now working to complement the Phase I specifications with reference software and conformance guidelines. DMP intends to provide a license to use the reference software, ideally based on Open Source principles and which will at least permit private individuals, public institutions and commercial entities to improve and exploit the software. A conformance document will provide users with specifications to test the implementation.
The Phase I specifications target Portable Audio and Video applications. DMP is working to extend the specifications to support a broader range of applications based on interoperable DRM technologies, specifically Stationary Audio and Video applications. DMP plans to approve the Phase II set of specifications at its 8th General Assembly in Seoul (5-7 October 2005).
DMP recognises that Interoperable DRM, as the main digital media-enabling technology, has the potential to change many of the traditional usage rules and conventions prevalent in the pre-digital society, and issued a Call for Contributions on "Mapping of Traditional Rights and Usages to the Digital Space".
Limewire Distributes Kufala Recordings Music As Weedshare Files
Peer to peer file sharing leader Lime Wire and independent label KUFALA Recordings will partner up to distribute KUFALA music via the LimeWire network and the LimeWire-owned MagnetMix site. For the first time, famed artists in the jam band circuit including Soul Coughing, The Slip, and New Riders of the Purple Sage can be downloaded and shared using LimeWire software and Weedshare's unique DRM technology.
WeedShare files offer users an opportunity to download a song and listen to it three times free of charge before deciding to buy. Weedshare files typically cost between $.50 and $1.25 per track. Lime Wire's 20 million users can download and share KUFALA Recordings music and thousands of other Weedshare files freely with LimeWire software.
"This is how things should work," said Lime Wire COO Greg Bildson. "It is a new way for record companies and artists to market themselves as opposed to traditional radio promotion. Artists connect to an audience of literally millions‹what record store or radio station can do that?"
Yahoo! Music Partners With MusicNet To Support Newly Anounced Music Subscription Service
Yahoo! Inc. announced that digital music service provider MusicNet will support and power its new music subscription service, Yahoo! Music Unlimited, and its free music management application, Yahoo! Music Engine. The service will be available on May 11, 2005.
"We believe that MusicNet enables Yahoo! with the industry's best music licensing B2B services, music catalog, and backend platforms" said David Goldberg, vice president and general manager, Yahoo! Music. "With MusicNet's support, Yahoo! Music Unlimited will offer users a massive music catalog as well as the power to choose between unlimited subscription uses and paid permanent downloads at the most affordable prices."
Delivering its catalog of over one million licensed tracks that represents all the major record labels, more than 25,000 independent labels, tens-of-thousands of artists and 23 genres of music, MusicNet will provide several key technological and programming components of the Yahoo! Music Engine, the free music management application accompanying the Yahoo! Music Unlimited.
Through the services provided by MusicNet, users will be able to enjoy their music in a variety of ways, including streaming of 30-second samples and full songs, downloading of songs for purchase on an a-la-carte basis, and downloading of songs as part of Yahoo! Music Unlimited. MusicNet is also providing the artwork and metadata to enhance the users' overall experience.
Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission
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