Friday, January 8, 2016

Universal Music Group To Present Virtual Reality Concerts

Virtual Reality ConcertsThere's no doubt that virtual reality will be a hot item this year, but so far most of the attention of VR content has been around games, and to a lesser extent, movies.

Universal Music Group (UMG) believes that VR extends to music as well, and has teamed with online radio giant iHeartMedia to create a series of of 4 virtual reality concerts in the upcoming year.

Indeed, VR and music seem like they're made for each other, especially when coupled with an immersive audio technology like binaural or 3D headphone surround. That said, UMG's shows are very much in the planning stage, and few firm details have been revealed except that the shows will be shot at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles later this year.

In addition to the 4 full-length shows, UMG will also shoot at least 6 short-form "experiences," presumably music videos, in VR throughout the year.

The first attempt at a VR showcase apparently will be the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3rd, but other events thought to be in contention include iHeartRadio's Country Festival, Summer Pool Part, Fiesta Latina, Music Festival and Jingle Ball Tour.

iHeartMedia is a perfect partner for UMG in that it has around 245 broadcast listeners and another 90 million online each month.

Although I predicted that virtual and augmented reality headsets would set Christmas on fire, it appears that projection was a little premature - but not by much. Look for VR to be the next killer app for both audio and picture this year.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

7 Tips For Publishing Facebook Videos

Facebook Video imageFacebook is becoming more and more a force when it comes to online videos, so it's important that you optimize your videos for the platform in order to get the most out of them.

Here are 7 tips from Facebook video product manager Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza for get the most out of your post.

1. Schedule your videos so the most fans see it and the content stays fresh.

2. Set expiration dates to help with any licensing restrictions.

3. Add captions to tell your story without sound, since many viewers watch the video with the audio turned off.

4. Edit and manage your videos with Facebook's video library tools.

5. Take advantage of Facebook's embedded video player to be able to embed them on other platforms.

6. Utilize secret videos that must be accessed through a dedicated URL so they're only available to fans.

7. Track your metrics, especially your top videos, engagement and retention graphs.

Facebook videos allow you to reach more of your audience without have to pay for the privilege, so they're a powerful way in extending your brand and growing your audience.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Physical Album Sales Actually Increased Last Year

After years of decline, physical album sales actually increased 1.1% in the U.S. in 2015, according to Nielsen.

There's a caveat there though. 3.6% of that came from Adele, and her 25 album was only available for 6 weeks. That album has sold over 7.4 million copies in the U.S. last year alone and is still going strong.

Digital album download sales fell by 1.1% last year, and according to BuzzAngle, song streams on audio platforms were up 99.2% to 137.5 billion. Song streams on video platforms like YouTube and Vevo were up almost as much at 97.9% to 168.6 billion.

And as we all expected, vinyl sales were up 56% to around $6 million in sales.

That's a pretty good year for music overall, and expect 2016 to be even better.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Top Amazon Holiday Audio Product - The Turntable

Jensen JTA-230 3-Speed Stereo TurntableOne of the more interesting aspects of the vinyl revival is the fact that so many buyers don't actually play them, instead considering the purchase more as a collectible.

That seems to be changing in that manufactures have reintroduced turntable models that had previously been discontinued, and it's pretty easy to find one to buy from a variety of retailers.

Even more evidence that vinyl is now being listened to is the announcement from Amazon that it's top selling electronic item over the holidays was a turntable.

The Jensen JTA-230 3-Speed Stereo Turntable was the model of choice, probably because it's an all in one unit with built-in speakers, a USB port for converting vinyl records, and aux input for a connect a digital media player. Of course, the price was right as well at $50.

While this is far from a high-end unit, the hot sales mean that at least some vinyl fans are finally listening to their round pieces of plastic.

What's the second best selling electronic item?  The Yamaha RX-V677 7.2-channel Wi-Fi Network AV Receiver, which features built-in support for Apple's wireless AirPlay protocol, allowing users to transmit music from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or Windows PC.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Manager/Producer Walter Turbitt On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Walter TurbittI'm pleased to be able to speak with my old friend Walter Turbitt on my latest podcast.

Walter is a gifted producer, engineer and musician, but now he's ventured into management and working with DJs and EDM artists. Walt will tell us all about that world from the eyes of former rock guy.

In the intro I'll discuss the significance of The Beatles coming to streaming, and why your drummer may actually be the smartest guy on stage according to some new studies.

Remember that you can find the podcast at, or either on iTunes, Stitcher and now on Mixcloud and Google Play.

5 Bold Music Business Predictions For 2016

2016 Predictions imageThe new year is upon us, which means it’s time to look into the crystal ball to foresee what might happen in the music business in 2016. Here are 5 predictions that may not be very popular, but might end coming to pass.

Prediction #1: Pandora goes global
One of the most significant and generally overlooked moves of 2015 was Pandora’s bid on some of Rdio’s streaming assets out of bankruptcy. While this move is still contingent on the court, acquiring this infrastructure will allow Pandora to become an interactive service like Spotify, and allow it to begin servicing other markets besides the United States as a result. With a solid 80 million user base in the US alone (which is what Spotify has globally), setting up shop worldwide will allow Pandora to become a true rival to Spotify.

Prediction #2: Vinyl shows its last big growth spurt
Vinyl sales have seen double digit growth for about 5 years and that will continue in 2016 as well, thanks to increased pressing plant capacity brought about by newly manufactured presses (the first in over 30 years) and widespread availability of turntables so buyers can actually listen to their purchases. Although sales will continue to increase beyond 2016, they’ll be much more modest as the number of new buyers diminishes due to saturation of the market. 2016 will be the last year of the true vinyl “revival.”

Prediction #3: Amazon Prime Music makes a move
Amazon Prime Music has been a minor add-on to a Prime subscription until now, but that doesn’t mean that Amazon isn’t taking music streaming seriously. The company has  all the infrastructure it needs to launch a mainstream music-only service, and 2016 will be the year it does so. Amazon has also been dipping its toe in the water of becoming a full-fledged record label with its occasional offerings from Amazon Acoustics, which could potentially signal what might be a major part of the service and could be a differentiator in a crowded market. Read more on Forbes.


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