When the gods dance...

Thursday, September 13, 2012


U.S. Smartphone Penetration Gateway To Digital Music Growth


"If the smartphone is the gateway to digital music growth, the United States has got a ton of potential." That's the conclusion of Billboard magazine, which this week reported that an analysis from mobile analytics company Flurry showed 165 million iOS and Android devices in the U.S. The country's 78% smartphone penetration rate for adults 15-64 was the fifth highest in the world (behind Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, and Australia). Smartphone penetration is important because music subscription services (think Spotify and Muve) charge more for mobility - $10/ €10 per month compared to $5/ €5 for PC access - and partner with mobile carriers to subsidize the cost of that most expensive tier of service. Interestingly, Japan - the second-largest digital market in the world - has yet to be affected by digital music services, as 75% of its revenues last year came from physical goods and 73% of its digital revenues came from downloads, according to the IFPI. Subscription models will find it tough going through mobile carriers in Japan since the country has only 22 million iOS and Android devices. [Full story: Billboard.biz]
Omnifone Finds Profit In The Cloud, Now Seeking Acquisitions


Cloud-based music service provider Omniphone, which powers Sony Music Unlimited and Blackberry's BBM Music, this week announced its first annual profit - and quickly stated it was looking for acquisition targets. The company reported operating cash flow of $6.1 million for the fiscal year ended April 30, while revenue rose 118% to $47.2 million. "Profitability and the increase in revenue are a result of the successful launch of three global services in just 12 months, including Sony Music Unlimited,rara.com, and RIM's BBM Music," the company said in a statement. "Omnifone continues to invest heavily in research and development to further enhance the MusicStation platform." Additionally, Omnifone CEO Jeff Hughes observed, "We have experienced fantastic momentum on all fronts over the past year and have achieved profitability as a result. The growth of smartphones and connected devices, and the availability of high-speed connectivity, has led to an increased demand for cloud-based music services, opening up a land grab opportunity for the digital music industry. Scale is important and having achieved profit at scale our aim is to focus on growth across all areas to take the business to the next level. Our sights are set on new market expansion, business development, and market consolidation." [Full story: Hollywood Reporter]
Spotify Set To Launch Browser-Based App For Desktops


Digital music service Spotify this week announced it is launching a new browser-based music player app for its streaming service, which previously was delivered via a desktop application. A company statement says the browser-based version is designed to be available to users on any PC, rather than just the one with the downloaded player installed. Also, according toTechCrunch, Spotify is working to improve the ways users can discover new music by suggesting various lists to follow and "may try to recruit big name celebrities, musicians, and DJs to share playlists." Additionally, the company may adjust its pricing schedule to encourage mobile use, with perhaps an $8-a-month plan for ad-free and mobile service. A free service supported by advertising currently is available on the desktop, while an ad-free version is available on the desktop for $5 a month and an ad-free version on both the desktop and on mobile apps - with offline listening possible - can be had for $10 a month. [Full story: CNET]
Kube 2 MP3 Player May Be World's Smallest


Billed as the world's smallest MP3 player, the new "Kube 2" device manufactured by Bluetree Electronics is a digital music pdevice constructed in the shape of a cube and about twice the size of a single die from a board game. The Kube 2 has no buttons or screens, meaning users must use a finger to touch the top of the device and either hold it or swipe it to the left, right, or diagonally in order to select songs, raise or lower the volume, or power the unit on or off. The Kube 2 has no internal memory, but it does come with a 4GB MicroSD card for music storage. It supports MP3, WMA, WAV, and MIDI files, and it also includes a USB adapter for the MicroSD card, a pair of ear bud headphones with flat cords designed not to tangle, and a USB charging cable. While Network World only gives it a 2.5 rating (out of 5), the magazine does credit the device as being smaller in height than the iPod Nano, although the cube shape makes it thicker. Each unit also comes with a unique wraparound sticker "skin" designed to personalize it, and additional skins can be purchased through the company's website. Several caveats: the touch interface requires a lot of trial-and-error to get the right feel, and there are only two options for listening: shuffle or listening to songs in their order on the memory card. [Full story:Network World]
Al Bell Presents American Soul Music ... And American Soul TV

If you're into classic and contemporary Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Hip-Hop Soul, Rap Soul, and Neo-Soul, we invite you to listen to Al Bell Presents American Soul Music. Former Stax Records owner and Motown Records Group President Al Bell personally has programmed this awesome radio station online, presenting your favorites from the 1960s and '70s [and some '80s], a lot of the best new music that's being released today, and some real gems you haven't heard in a long, long time. Come to www.AlBellPresents.Com
 and hear it for yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment