When the gods dance...

Thursday, January 10, 2013


U.S. Music Sales Increased 3.1% In 2012


Ad IncreaseU.S. music sales grew 3.1% in 2012, with digital music purchases helping to balance a drop in demand for physical product. According to Nielsen SoundScan, purchases of albums, singles, music videos, and digital tracks rose to 1.66 billion last year. Purchases of digital albums jumped 14%, and digital music now accounts for 55.9% of all music sales in the U.S. Meanwhile, Nielsen SVP David Bakula said sales of physical music, including compact discs, cassettes, and even vinyl LPs dropped 13%, despite the fact that the CD remains the primary form in which Americans buy full-length albums. This means that a lot of today's digital music sales are in the form of tracks rather than albums; specifically, digital albums sold 117.7 million units last year, and digital tracks sold 1.34 billion units. "Overall music purchases surpassed 1.65 billion units in 2012, up 3.1% vs. the previous record high set in 2011," Bakula explained in a prepared statement. "These were driven by digital music sales, which continue be a key growth element within the market." The two top-selling single tracks were Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" (6.8 million downloads) and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" (6.5 million). The best-selling record of 2012 was Adele's "21," the first album to get the top ranking two years in a row. [Full story: Tech Crunch]

The Last Week Of December Was The Best Ever For Downloads


$$$ Anyone who thought the U.S. music industry was in a sales slump got a wake-up call the week after Christmas, with consumers buying 55.74 million digital songs in a frenzy fueled by the redemption of gift cards for such services as iTunes and Amazon. Nielsen SoundScan reports that the single week's digital haul helped bring 2012's overall digital and disc song sales to a record 1.336 billion, a 5% increase vs. 2011's final tally (which also was a record). According to Billboard's Digital Songs chart, a record 48 tracks sold more than 100,000 downloads last week, including Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble," with 582,000 sold - the fourth-largest sales week ever for a single song. Record companies are also collecting royalties from such "all-you-can eat" music streaming services as Spotify and internet radio stations like Pandora, plus the still-lucrative cellphone ringtone market. [Full story: National Business Review]

Internet Radio Fairness Act Is Hibernating, Not Dead


U.S. Capitol Despite a proclamation last week by Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow that the Internet Radio Fairness Act was dead, supporters of the legislators insist the proposed legislation is only in hibernation. "Congress listened to you...and we won," Portnow said, noting that "the 112th Congress just concluded and IRFA is officially defeated." Still, as Billboard points out, the IRFA - introduced late in the 112th do-nothing Congress and unlikely to be passed before it adjourned - really was killed by the calendar. Momentum also may have been stalled at a November 29th hearing in Washington when lawmakers criticized the National Association of Broadcasters representative for seeking lower online royalty rates even though terrestrial radio stations do not pay any performance royalties. The year ended without the bill going into markup or receiving a vote in committee. Still, sources told Billboard.biz the bill very likely will be re-introduced in 2013, possibly under a different name and with different language than the version seen last year. [Full story: Billboard.biz]
Broadcasters Foundation

Sprint To Bring FM Broadcasts To Android, Windows Phones


SprintThe big news for the radio industry this week was Sprint's announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it would be introducing technology that would let the company's wireless users listen to local FM radio stations on various Android and Windows smartphones. Radio broadcasters have worked for several years for this advancement, and they say the move will boost the medium's appeal to advertisers and give it a better chance of competing with streaming music services. Actually, smartphones already can stream radio station' signals via online applications, but the deal with Sprint allows them to listen directly to the broadcast, taking advantage of the devices' wireless chips. The service will be available through an application developed by Emmis Communications, and is expected to become available later this year. Under the terms of the three-year deal, Sprint gets a cut of advertising revenue generated through coupon-style advertisements and promotions that will be delivered to Sprint phones through the Nextradio application. [Full story: Wall Street Journal]

Capitol Records Now Seeks Summary Judgment Against Vimeo


VimeoCapitol Records, through parent company Universal Music Group, has just filed paperwork demanding a summary judgment against Vimeo (owned by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp) on the grounds that the company knew, encouraged, and facilitated widespread infringement of musical copyright on a recurring basis. The lawsuit known as Capitol v. Vimeo actually dates back to 2009, and focuses on whether the video website did all it could to take down user-posted content that infringed on the rights of record labels and other companies and organizations. Following several delays related to interpretation of various Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA] issues, Capitol Records claims Vimeo failed a series of newly defined safe harbor litmus tests. "Vimeo has actual and 'red flag' knowledge of infringing works on its system but refuses to remove them," Capitol maintains in its filing. "It has constructed a system to remain willfully blind to infringement... it induces users to infringe music copyrights; and it fails to communicate or properly implement a repeat infringer policy or expeditiously remove infringing works. Thus, Vimeo is far from the 'innocent' service provider eligible for DMCA 'immunity.'" [Full story: Digital Music News]

Pandora's U.S. Audience Grew 41% Last Year


PandoraDespite ongoing revenue and share price issues, Pandora last year experienced a 41% increase in its U.S. audience. Earlier this week the company announced it had 67.1 million active listeners at the end of December, and claimed its service accounted for 7.2% of all U.S. radio listening during the month, up from 4.7% last year. Of course, with this huge increase in listeners, its performance fees also increased, which is why Pandora remains an active force in trying to modify existing music royalty rules used to help determine the rates paid by internet radio services for streaming songs. While the 112th Congress last week permanently left the Capitol building without acting on the Internet Radio Fairness Act, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren last night (Jan. 10) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas said he intends to get the proposed legislation kick-started again in the new 113th version. Noting that the IRFA would put internet radio stations on a level playing field with cable and satellite radio stations, Westergren said, "We're asking for a standard parity, which we think will lead to a lower rate. Hopefully it will." [Full story: The Hill]

Chrysler Adds UConnect Access Via Mobile To New Vehicles


Chrysler UConnect Chrysler this week announced it is bringing web-connected apps to its line of vehicles through a 3G-enabled UConnect Access via Mobile suite. The UConnect system includes apps from Aha by Harman, iHeartRadio, Slacker, and Pandora and gives users a nearly limitless number of listening options. Users simply navigate through the Media Apps menu to choose from one of the four currently available apps, which either tap into a Sprint 3G connection or an existing smartphone connection. To help cut down on distractions, a driver can pair his/her phone with the system, then put the device away without ever having to interact with it. Chrysler says this will help ensure that users keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones. The UConnect Access system also offers a full 3D map feature that not only provides directions but also 3D images of surrounding buildings. While many of the Chrysler apps already are available on other automaker's systems, Laptop magazine notes the UConnect Access via Mobile is a major step forward in enhancing the company's competitiveness in an increasingly crowded connected-car market. [Full story: Laptop]

GM Adds TuneIn Internet Radio To MyLink In-Dash Systems


Chevy MyLink At the Consumer Electronics Show this week General Motors announced it was adding TuneIn app connectivity to its fleet of new cars and trucks. As reported by Automobile magazine, TuneIn works in much the same way as other systems by pulling streaming online stations through a smartphone connected to the GM in-dash infotainment system. While users were already able to stream TuneIn through a Bluetooth audio or AUX cable connection, the new app connection allows drivers to use such features as touchscreens and steering-wheel controls to control the service. GM says TuneIn will be available later this year for select MyLink systems using both the "down-market" system built into the Chevy Sonic and Spark, as well as the "up-market" system built into such vehicles as the Malibu, Traverse, and Equinox. TuneIn complements two other MyLink applications, including BringGoGPS Navigation, a $50 smartphone app that displays a full navigation program on-screen; and Siri Eyes Free, which links with iPhones (4S and later) to let users question/listen to Siri. Chevrolet promises even more as-yet-unnamed technical tweaks later this year. [Full story: Automobile]
Al Bell Presents American Soul Music ... And American Soul TV

Al BellIf 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