When the gods dance...

Monday, January 7, 2013





December 20, 2012


Warner CEO Sees Downloads, Subs As Key To Digital Revenue Growth

"All signs continue to indicate digital is fueling a return to growth in the music industry, [and] the download business, which was the first wave of the digital music business, continues to expand." That's the word from Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper, who last week said sales of single downloads were up 5.8% and digital albums are up 14.6% in the U.S. through Dec. 9 vs. 2011, an increase in 20.5 million track-equivalent digital albums. As reported by Billboard, Warner finally joined Google Play in its fourth quarter, and Cooper is enthusiastic about the service because the strong global adoption of the Android mobile operation system means "it is particularly important to have another strong retail player focused on this platform." Additionally, subscriptions are growing at an even faster rate than downloads, said Cooper, who admitted to being bullish about Microsoft's Xbox Music service and mentioned the progress being made by subscription services Spotify and Deezer. He also said the overall framework being provided by such companies as Apple, Google, and Amazon is leading to ease of use, convenience, and synchronization with multiple devices and affordability. This provides tremendous value to consumers, Cooper observed, and hopefully will have an impact on piracy. [Full story: Billboard.biz]

Music Industry Topped $600 Million In Investment Funding In 2012


Think investment in the music business has begun to tank? Better think again, since - with less than two weeks to go in 2012 - investment in music-related startups and companies has reached $619.3 million, a 34% increase over 2011. As reported by Digital Music News (no relation to this publication), the big draw this year was Sonos, which received $135 million in total funding, followed by Deezer ($130 million), Spotify ($100 million), Soundcloud ($50 million), and Roku ($45 million). Rounding out the top 10 are Ticketfly ($22 million), The Echo Nest ($17.5 million) TuneIn ($16 million), and Rap Genius ($15 million), and WhoSay ($12 million). Note that this list is confirmed by the participants (company, investors, or both) and publicly filed documents, and/or through such publications as the Wall Street Journal. [Full story: Digital Music News]

Olive Launches "All-In-One" HD Music Player

San Francisco-based audio manufacturer Olive has launched The One, a touchscreen-based music player describes as by the company as "a one-stop source for digital music of all forms" and "the world's first all-in-one HD music player." The One plays music from a listener's personal collection, Bluetooth-equipped smartphone, or MP3 player, as well as such online radio services as Pandora and Spotify. With integrated Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct support, The One is completely wireless and never requires a hard-line connection. It connects to a home network or computer at the push of a button, and automatically recognizes music shared through the UPnP of a Mac, PC, or network-attached storage (NAS) device. Users who prefer not to be at the mercy of wireless technology can opt for the available hard drives, which provide up to 2 TB of storage space for up to 6,000 CD-quality albums or 20,000 HD tracks. The device includes a 7-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen that listeners can use to swipe and tap sources and tracks. While a bit steep, The One's $399 retail price is less than half the price of other Olive HD music servers, which extend well into the four-figure range. The model equipped with a 1 TB hard drive will retail for $499 and the 2 TB model for $599, and will be available in mid-2013. [Full story: Giz Mag]


AK100 Digital Music Player Offers Portable 24-Bit Audio


In the post-vinyl music era most listeners have become satisfied with low-resolution MP3 files that actually play just a small fraction of the actual sound that was laid down by artists in the studio. Enter Astell & Kern, whose new portable music player - the AK100 - boasts the ability to play music files with more than six times the information contained on a standard CD, and several times beyond that of a standard MP3 track. (At $699, it's also nearly five times the price of an iPod Nano.) The AK100's "magic" is found in its Wolfsen 24-bit digital-to-analog-convertor (DAC), which changes the binary code of a digital music file into an analog signal that is lossless, meaning no shortcuts are taken for the sake of file size. So how does it sound? One reviewer at PhysOrg put it this way: "The AK100 delivers the type of quality typically reserved for custom listening rooms filled with high-end audio components and expensive speakers. [All] genres benefited from the 24-bit recordings that the AK100 can play." The screen offers touch control for basic playback and music library duties, and three buttons along the left side allow users to play, pause, and advance tracks forward and backward. Beyond the hefty price tag, the audiophile-grade album downloads are also more expensive than their iTunes counterparts. For instance, Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" costs $17.98 for the full 24-bit album download at HDtracks.com. The same "low-grade" album costs $11.99 at iTunes. [Full story: PhysOrg]

New Turnplay App Gives Digital Files "The Feel Of Vinyl"


Miss the pops and clicks of your old vinyl records as they spun on your first turntable? Well, you're in luck: just in time for Christmas, Ramotion has launched a new 99-cent iPhone app that brings the sound and feel of a vinyl disc to digital music files. According to a company statement, Turnplay is billed as "the most realistic vinyl turntable for iPad." The app, available now in the iTunes App Store, allows users to take control of their music with a full reproduction of all primary turntable functions, combined with realistic design and style, "bringing the turntable into the 21st century." Turnplay gives the user full control of the music without having to spend money on expensive, and sometimes hard to find, equipment. The app can take any songs available in a users' iTunes library and instantly create a virtual vinyl record of the song, so that they can slow down and speed up playback, control the record and perform any action as if using a real high-end turntable. As noted above, Turnplay is available in the App Store for a limited time for 99 cents. Shortly after launch, the price of Turnplay will go to the normal price of $1.99. [Full story: Sonic Scoop]

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!

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