Friday, March 11, 2016

Sony's Red Label Services Expands To The UK

Red Label Services graphicMajor labels have learned that many of their services are very valuable to smaller indie labels or directly by artists. Where once upon a time, if you wanted a label's distribution, promotion and marketing, you had to sign to the label, that's no longer required.

Labels now take advantage of their unique expertise and excess capacity by making these services available on an a la carte basis called "Label Services."

In other words, if you can afford to pay for radio promotion from Sony or Warner Music, they'll be happy to make those services available to you.

One of the biggest at this is Sony's Red Music, which has made major label distribution, and more recently, marketing available to indie labels everywhere. Now Red has expanded into the UK with its acquisition of Essential Music to form Red Essential.

Essential has recently worked records by The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, Passenger and Lucinda Williams, among many others. Of course, one of the biggest acts to take advantage of label services was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, which launched the concept to a new level, and later 50 Cent (check out the links for specific info).

Keep in mind that while using label services is a great idea, it's never free. You pay for everything if you're an indie regardless of your sales or engagement, and you pay for a portion of it even if you're signed to the label, only not up front.

The major labels have built marketing and distribution infrastructure over the last 50+ years that can't be matched by a startup or indie, so why not take advantage if it if you can?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Samsung To Close Milk Music Service

Samsung Milk Music imageDon't feel bad if you haven't heard of Samsung's Milk Music service - not many people have. Even though the company launched Milk Music to great fanfare a couple of years ago, the service managed to gain little traction since.

That's why Samsung has decided to shutter the service, according to various reports.

Milk Music was originally meant to be a competitor to Pandora that would play exclusively on Samsung mobile phones. When phone users mostly ignored it, Samsung then opened it up online, then brought it to their smart televisions as well.

In 2014 the company launched the Milk Video version of the service specializing in short form videos as part of a greater media strategy that included sports and an advertising platform. Needless to say, that failed to gain traction as well.

Actually Milk Music did gain some users on the free tier, but the company wasn't able to upsell them to the paid premium tier, which is a continuing problem with many other platforms as well.

This just goes to show that just having deep pockets doesn't guarantee success of a music streaming service. Look for more smaller services to either shutter or be acquired soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Facebook Integrates Spotify Into Messenger

Spotify button in Facebook Messenger imageFacebook and Spotify are trying to make it easier for fans to share your songs. The latest version of Facebook Messenger now incorporates a button so you can quickly jump to Spotify to choose a song and then share it in the message.

While on the surface this seems like a great idea, the problem is that the integration isn't as seamless as expected.

It's a bit clunky to get to Spotify, although once there it's pretty easy to select the song you want. The real problem is for the person receiving the message, since the tiny "Open" button beneath the image isn't totally obvious. Once clicked, it then sends you to the Spotify app so you can listen to the song there.

Both companies are quick to point out that this is only an early version and the implementation will be refined over time.

Any time a social platform can be combined with streaming music distribution it's a good thing for both consumers and artists. Word of mouth is still one of the most popular music discovery methods, and anything that extends that is most welcome when it comes to social media.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sony Develops Real-Time Streaming Royalty Reports

Sony Music Logo imageIn what may be a real breakthrough for artists, Sony Music has developed an app that shows exactly what their daily streaming royalty earnings are. The app also includes information about how these earnings impact their label advances as well.

Other features include other key information in real time, such as streaming volume across all platforms, airplay data, profiles by age, gender and location of listeners, and a heat map of areas of the world where the artist is currently popular. It also offers insight to the artist's popularity on social networks as well, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The app is only available to Sony artists in Sweden (where the app was developed) at the moment, but is expected to be rolled out to Sony artists globally later in the year.

This is a first for a major label, since it makes earnings a lot more transparent than in the past. Artist royalty statements have always been viewed with some suspicion as labels have traditionally used a variety of accounting tricks to limit the royalties owed, but the new Sony app gives at least some hope that this position may change in the future.

Although the Sony real-time app is a revolution for a major label, it's not the first of its kind. Kobalt has offered these features to artists and songwriters for some time.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Facebook Encourages Ads With No Audio

FacebookThere are a lot of videos on Facebook and many of those are ads. Facebook has now decided that your ad begin without audio so that you don't annoy the viewer or those around her, so it now encourages that you design your ads with the sound off.

It's been found that 80% of people react negatively when a video ad pops up and blasts the sound, and that reflects not only on the ad, but Facebook as well. That's why it's now incorporated new tools to help advertisers out with their silent ads.

It now offers a new automated caption tool for videos to help give context to an ad that's scrolling in your feed without sound. What's more, the caption tool learns and becomes more accurate over time, although the advertiser has the ability to review and edit the captions before posting.

The problem is that a study found that 41% of the video ads on Facebook were meaningless without sound, that's why it's now encouraging advertisers to rethink their ads to work minus the audio.

You may be advertising a gig or a new release, so keep this in mind before you post.

Here's more from Facebook that explains how the new capturing feature works.


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