Posts Tagged ‘sony’

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Music and tech roundup (er, part 1*)

June 15, 2009

DS June 15 2009

Lots of stuff happening in the music and tech world this week.

Custom Facebook URLs for smaller fan pages coming soon. Facebook did a terrible job of communicating that only artists and other brands with more than 1000 fans could register custom URLs during the big land grab last week. But they did announce that they’ll open up registration to smaller bands on June 28th. Mark your calendar! [via Hypebot]

eMusic CEO on the Sony deal. There was a considerable outcry when eMusic raised its rates a few weeks ago, not helped by their terrible corporate communication (sensing a theme here…). In this Q&A with eMusic CEO Danny Stein, he reiterates that the indie labels they work with were agitating for higher fees, and the addition of Sony was the ‘catalyzing event’ they were looking for. He also addresses discontented indie music fans and talks about their Six Degrees feature.  [via Epicenter]

New model for musicians? Amanda Palmer held an online auction of random stuff from her apartment yesterday, including a (used, albeit not recently, one presumes) glass dildo, raising somewhere north of $4000. To be perfectly honest, I think you can only pull this one off if you are Amanda Fucking Palmer.

[Image: the inimitable Diesel Sweeties by rstevens. Click on the image for the full strip.]

*While writing this post, I got a text from a friend of mine that the band in the bar on 6th Street that she was in was really great. So I abandoned it to go listen to some live music. Stay tuned for part 2 of this roundup tomorrow.

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eMusic and Sony: a rocky start, a risky move?

June 2, 2009

bruce

As you may have heard, eMusic inked a contract with Sony to make the label’s back catalog available for download (with a moving wall of two years), including albums by Bruce Springsteen, Modest Mouse and, um, Michael Jackson. I don’t have an MBA from Harvard, and I’m not a self-described ‘Internet (insert buzzword) guru’. But I can’t imagine that any business strategy that starts by alienating your most loyal customers is the way to go, and that’s exactly what eMusic did. Not in the nebulous, ‘the cool kids won’t like it’ way (which they may also have done), but in the real, live ‘hits you in the wallet’ way, as long-term subscribers are losing their grandfathered-in plans at the end of July and getting fewer tracks for the same price; in my own case, dropping from 50 downloads a month to 30. Needless to say, people are unhappy.

So after that fairly shaky start, what’s going to happen? At this point, eMusic is the place to go to easily find obscure indie songs; it’s always my first stop when I hear about a band for the first time. While the pricing structure facilitates this – it’s easy to give new bands a chance – I’ve mostly just been happy that they have ever-increasing amounts of cool stuff (like my most recent find, the Haligonian band Plumtree, who wrote the song that was the inspiration for Scott Pilgrim). But if the idea is to attract a vast new audience by adding Sony’s back catalog, they are differentiating themself not on what they sell, but how much they sell it for; Amazon currently lists over 500 Bruce Springsteen MP3s, for example, which surely includes most of his releases. eMusic only makes economic sense if you are a very consistent downloader. If you are just an occasional purchaser, it makes more sense to just buy MP3s à la carte. This suggests that their shiny new subscriber base would be sensitive to anything that closes the gap between eMusic pricing and ‘regular’ pricing, such as iTunes dropping their prices further. As well, if streaming services continue to improve, casual listeners will have less incentive to download. I guess that’s a risk that eMusic decided was worth taking, and I hope it pays off, especially since they are probably going to start by losing customers.

MP3: Plumtree – Scott Pilgrim [buy]