Steve Jobs, Apple, And Music
September 23, 2011
"It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can't overestimate it!"-- Steve Jobs talking about the iTunes Music Store, Fortune, May 12, 2003
CNET's audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg writes in his article, "'Did Steve Jobs Help or Hurt Music" -- "Perhaps the question should be, 'Did Steve Jobs help or hurt the sound of music?'" He did not invent digital music or MP3 players, but that didn't stop him from redefining the way people buy and listen to music.
Rather than reprint all the reasons I've written about for years on why I think Mr. Jobs helped the music industry, Guttenberg's article is a must-read for all this week, and so are the reader comments. As of this minute there are 118 comments, but it seems the number keeps increasing.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
PANDORA'S WEB REDESIGN
Pandora has always had a generally simple and clean online look. Your playlists were in a right-nav menu and the music tracks streamed across the center of the screen.
But in a major relaunch of the site, the users of the streaming music service on iPad may find something very familiar about this look and feel. Yup, it seems to be the spitting image of the iPad app in portrait mode.
Read the rest here on Media Post Blog by Steve Smith: http://tiny.cc/sjt5i
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
RHAPSODY GETS SOCIAL
Digital music service pioneer Rhapsody has been rather quiet of late, especially compared to the relative newcomers' current jostling for position, and today it revealed what it's been working on since being spun off from RealNetworks.
Having switched its operations from web-based over to a dedicated online platform earlier this year, Rhapsody has now opened up a wealth of social engagement and sharing options that should help attract notice to a service that reports having more than 800,000 subscribers who pay for Rhapsody every month in actual cash money.
Read more on Billboard Biz here: http://tiny.cc/qnecp
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
TURNTABLES IN CARS? HUH?
Believe it or not, turntables in cars looked like the next big thing in 1956.
See what they looked like and check out this interesting article and by CNET's audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg here: http://tiny.cc/s84y4
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
FACEBOOK DOES MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
At long last, Facebook debuted a spanning media platform, which will let users share music, TV shows and movies. (This announcement comes as many Facebook users started posting their dislike for the look of their new Facebook pages)
The move -- "effectively making the basic profile page a primary entertainment hub" -- came at Facebook's F8 developers' conference on Thursday. To read what Facebook announced go here: http://tiny.cc/3k9wx
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
NETFLIX: LIKE THE SONG SEZ, "IT'S TOO LATE TO APOLOGIZE"
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings published a blog post Sunday evening, apologizing for how the company handled its recent price increase. (Read it here: http://tiny.cc/sxuqc )
His thoughts undoubtedly were concentrated by the precipitous drop in Netflix's share price late last week. Hastings also took the opportunity to announce that Andy Rendich has been promoted to CEO of the physical disc rental operations, however, and that this service will be rebranded as Qwikster within the next few weeks. Additionally, Qwikster will begin to offer video game rentals alongside movies and TV shows.
Subscribers got hit in their wallets by the recent Netflix price increase, but they weren't the only ones. The company had to revise its domestic subscriber estimates downward by 1 million customers and its share price nosedived by nearly a fifth. Even so, Netflix confirmed its international subscriber guidance and its financial guidance for the quarter.
Read more on Bloomberg Business Week here: http://tiny.cc/348m0
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
FACEBOOK & SOCIAL MEDIA APPS CREATE 182,00 U.S. JOBS
Despite a bleak overall U.S. jobs outlook, a new study by the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business finds that a new industry focused around the creation of Facebook apps has added at least 182,000 new jobs and contributed more than $12.2 billion in wages and benefits to the U.S. economy this year.
Read more here on Industry Week: http://tiny.cc/10zor
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
UNIVERSAL AND LIVE NATION FORM JOINT VENTURE TO MANAGE ARTISTS AND MORE
Universal Music Group, the largest music company in the world, is forming a joint venture to manage musicians with Live Nation Entertainment, the world's biggest ticketing, concerts promotions and artist management company.
The deal puts together Universal's small cluster of four management companies under Live Nation's Front Line Management Group, whose 90 executives manage 250 artists, including the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and Christina Aguilera. Under the agreement, Front Line will oversee the joint venture.
Read more on the Los Angeles Times here: http://tiny.cc/q0lg0
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
THE ONGOING BAD NEWS FOR BLACKBERRY
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion isn't too healthy. While no surprise to market watchers, the severity of RIM's illness is now gasp inducing. The Canadian tech company reported profits of $419 million, or 80 cents a share, for the three months ended Aug. 27th, compared with $796.7 million, or $1.46, in the same period last year. "Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a more modest drop to 88 cents," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Worse still, RIM reported that revenue fell 10% to $4.2 billion, compared with $4.6 billion a year earlier. "Analysts say that the company is continuing to struggle against rivals Google and Apple, which are eating up market share from the once wildly popular maker of smartphones and tablet computers," writes the LA Times.
"Credibility sinks further as it's apparent to us that visibility remains very low and investor risks remain elevated," Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a research note Thursday. Holding out a sliver of hope, analysts say RIM's health depends heavily on the release of new BlackBerry phones that run on RIM's new QNX operating system.
Read more here: http://tiny.cc/q8fwr
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
TABLETS TO QUINTUPLE IN JUST FOUR YEARS
Tablet computers' expanding market share should be considered as a new era in computing, according to a new report by Juniper Research. The analysts forecast that 55.2 million units will be shipped by the end of 2011, almost quintupling to 253 million in five years. Besides the sheer volume of tablets getting into users' hands, Juniper predicts a significant shift from the currently predominant Wi-Fi network access to an environment in which over half of annual tablet shipments will have cellular connections by 2016.
Read more at Juniper Research here: http://tiny.cc/7h0iw
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
SEAN FANNING & SEAN PARKER ARE UP TO SOMETHING
From Forbes comes news that Facebook founding president Sean Parker and Napster co-founder Sean Fanning are busy at work on some top-secret start-up, Forbes reports. Dubbed Airtime, Parker tells Forbes that it's a live video site that will meet the need for real-time sharing and communication by allowing users to post videos and react to them live. Airtime's working mission statement? Only to "eliminate loneliness," according to Parker.
"Parker has been coy about the platform's specifics, but says it will offer communication and sharing in real time -- something he thinks is underserved on the Web," Forbes writes. "Airtime will likely be a site where friends can post videos and react to them -- and each other -- live."
There's also a video chat function a la Chatroulette. In April, TechCrunch reported Parker and Fanning were working on a video-focused product called SupYo, which sounds a lot like Airtime. Whether the partners rebranded their pet project, or someone has their wires crossed remains to be seen. As previously reported Techcrunch, founder and ex-editor Michael Arrington is also an investor.
Read the article on Forbes here: http://tiny.cc/jtyfv
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 12
NYC HOSTS FREE MUSIC SUMMIT WITH MUSIC TECH PEOPLE AND MORE
Create Digital Music (CDM) is a presenting sponsor of the IMSTA FESTA in New York this Saturday. It's a completely free event, but registration is required. What's notable about this sort of event is that it tends to be more directly musician-focused than big conferences like AES or the truly trade-only NAMM.
You can read about some of the highlights worth taking note on CDM here: http://tiny.cc/2nyz7
The Create Digital Music website is also worth navigating for great articles and resources: http://tiny.cc/wwvzz
MAYER THROAT PROBLEM:
John Mayer has been diagnosed with granuloma, a serious throat condition that has forced him to cancel all plans to sing in the near future. In a post on his blog, the guitarist explained that he has spent several months monitoring his condition, but has been advised by doctors to bow out of planned appearances at the iHeartradio Music Festival in Las Vegas and an appearance with Tony Bennett in Los Angeles.
R.E.M NO MORE:
R.E.M. called it quits Wednesday after 31 years and 15 albums together. In a simple statement on their website, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers behind landmark albums including "Document" and "Automatic for the People" give thanks to fans for sticking with them through a career that saw its share of highs and lows.
NOW YOU CAN USE ABBEY ROAD:
Abbey Road Studios in London has launched an online service in which users can pay to upload tracks to be mixed by engineers at the studio made famous by the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Prices for mixing will start around $800 for recordings with up to 24 tracks and $1,200 for up to 48 tracks. The studio will also offer mastering services for $140 per track.
BIG BUCKS BOOST BMI:
BMI announced its revenues collected topped $931 million for the year ended June 30th, a 1.5% increase over the $917 million it pocketed last year. The total revenue reported is an historic high and continues an unbroken record of year-over-year increases stretching back more than 20 years. BMI said its distribution to songwriters and music publishers totaled $796 million, up from the $789 million it handed out in the previous year.
ARCADE FIRE WIN:
Arcade Fire won the 2011 Polaris Music Prize for their third album, The Suburbs, this week. The honor, is given to one Canadian act selected from a shortlist each year.
ROBBIE MIXES MUSIC AND ART:
Robbie Robertson recently issued a special limited-edition collector's set of his new album, How to Become Clairvoyant - a lavish LP-size box that includes an art book, an individually numbered set of five lithographs (including pieces by artist Richard Prince and photographer Anton Corbijn), a set of original tarot cards and the original album plus 10 bonus tracks. Surrounded by some of the original artwork including Prince's variations on a photo of a 17-year-old Robertson - Robertson signed copies of the box at a one-night event at New York's Gagosian Gallery.
VAN HALEN TO COLUMBIA?
Several reports are indicating that Van Halen have either signed with Columbia Records or are coming close to sealing a deal with the label. According to the Hollywood Reporter, no deal has been signed just yet, but the Sony-owned company is "in the lead" in the race to release the band's first album with original frontman David Lee Roth since 1984. That record is expected to hit stores sometime next year.
BEATLES CONTRACT FROM 1965 SELLS; SAYS THEY WOULDN'T PLAY IN FRONT OF SEGREGATED CROWD:
A contract revealing that the Beatles refused to perform in front of segregated audiences in the U.S. has sold for $23,033 at an auction in Los Angeles, well over the $3,000 to $5,000 expected by the auction house. The document, which was signed by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, stipulated that they would "not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience" for their gig at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California on August 31st, 1965.
ANOTHER REASON WHY APPLE STOCK IS STILL A GOOD BET EVEN IN THESE BAD ECONOMIC TIMES:
Gartner Research projects the Apple iPad will account for nearly three-quarters of tablet sales this year and more than half through 2014. It's also lowered its estimate for Android tablets this year, citing slower-than-expected demand. Besides Apple's iOS, no other tablet platform will claim more than 5% of the tablet sales in 2011, per the research firm.
AND HERE COMES iPHONE 5:
If this latest rumor is true, as All Things Digital is reporting, then Apple's flagship smartphone should appear 12 days from now and go on sale a few weeks after.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"You're going to turn around and walk out of here, and we're going to pretend like we never met you."
-- Jon Hamm as his "Mad Men" Ad Exec Don Draper, reacting to the news Jane Lynch told his group that someday folks will be able to fast-forward through commercials. (In the pre-Emmy film montage) Crashing the set of "Mad Men" during her opening number, host Jane Lynch also tells the cast what's in TV's future: watching shows on the phone. John Slattery (as Roger Sterling)'s befuddled look as he picks up the receiver of a 1960s-era phone and holds it up to his eyes is priceless.
"It's like a fairy tale. It is, it really is. I'm very happy, very happy after waiting for her for 15 years. Now I want to get beyond all this media hype that Tareq has put out there. It's really quite embarrassing."
-- Journey guitarist Neil Schon in the Daily Beast.
"Yeah, that's sweet ... It's just unfortunate that my name rhymes with sh--."
-- Brad Pitt, on getting a shout-out in Travie McCoy's hit song "Billionaire," to EW
"You doing this dance is about as scary as you making the 'change.'"
-- Cher, joking with son Chaz about his Dancing with the Stars quickstep, on Ellen
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation
RENTON, WA-Local man Paul Campbell confirmed Saturday he was raising his daughter Emma on a variety of media carefully selected to help her cultivate an appreciation for artistic quality, a move that will reportedly put the 12-year-old girl hopelessly out of touch with her generation.
Perusing his music and film collections and showing reporters distinctive, well-regarded works that will thoroughly alienate Emma from her sixth-grade classmates, Campbell said he wanted to make sure his daughter enjoyed the benefits of a cultural education he never received at her age.
"Back then, I listened to junk like Journey and watched crappy movies like Iron Eagle," the 41-year-old said in reference to popular music and films of the 1980s that allowed him to have something to talk about with friends. "I wish my own dad had turned me on to the good stuff, so I wouldn't have had to wait until I was in my 20s before I started digging anything halfway decent."
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
The BlogsCheck out Jerry Del Colliano's (the founder of INSIDE RADIO) daily blog, by clicking here: http://www.insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com
Check out attorney Ray Beckerman's website at: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com where he prints news about the RIAA's ongoing activities
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