Hold the Sean Parker jokes about $1bn.
It was Justin Timberlake, playing Mr Parker in The Social Network, who delivered the famous line: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool?”
Founders Fund has just raised its first $1bn fund – but Mr Parker has now officially cut his ties with the firm. Read more
Technological utopians have been predicting for years that the internet will weaken the dominance of superstar artists in the music industry and enrich the teeming masses of smaller, niche creators.
But new research suggests that this “long tail” theory is wrong: superstars are capturing the vast majority of music revenues and their share is increasing – not decreasing – because of the rise of digital services like iTunes and Spotify.
The top 1 per cent of artists – the likes of Rihanna and Adele – accounted for a whopping 77 per cent of recorded music income in 2013, according to research by Mark Mulligan of Midia Consulting. Read more
It was one of the feel good business stories of last year: a 17-year-old self taught software prodigy from South London makes millions selling his massively popular app to a struggling internet giant.
Yahoo’s $30m acquisition of Nick D’Aloisio’s Summly – an app that summarises news stories into bitesized nuggets designed to fit perfectly onto a smartphone screen – was part of the company’s strategy to put mobile technology at the heart of its attempt to turnaround its fortunes. Read more
Sunday night’s US finale of Emmy award-winning TV series Breaking Bad sent viewers flocking to their laptops to hear a song played on the programme, boosting downloads of the 1970s British rock band Badfinger’s hit “Baby Blue” by almost 3000 per cent this week. In the last hours of Sunday night, the track was bought 5,300 times, compared to 200 the week before.
As TV viewers got ready to wean themselves off their addiction to the Crystal Meth fest, they found comfort in being able to instantly hear the song featured on the show, as well as other Badfinger songs. Sales of those tunes increased their sales by up to 260 per cent.
But according to the data from research firm Nielsen, the real story is in the streaming. Read more
Pandora has just appointed a veteran of Microsoft’s advertising technology business as its new chairman, president and chief executive.
Brian McAndrews left his role at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, once a seed investor in Amazon.com, to join the internet radio service as it braces for new competition from Apple’s iTunes Radio. He replaces Joe Kennedy, who is retiring after leading Pandora since 2004. Read more
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has pulled the music of his latest band Atoms for Peace from Spotify, accusing the streaming service paying musicians too little.
New artists “will no[t] get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it,” Yorke told his 400,000-odd Twitter followers.
That’s unwelcome PR for Spotify, the Swedish start-up that seemed to be getting the music industry onside with streaming, rather than downloads, as a viable model for serving up music to fans. Given that the service fails to make a profit even at current royalty rates, is its model in question? Read more
By Richard Waters and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
By showing that it is prepared to play by the music industry’s rules with its new All Access subscription service, Google has won itself new friends among the music labels.
The main questions now: Can it overcome a patchy past track record in the music business, take advantage of its early lead in subscriptions over Apple and show that it can carve an audience of paying punters out of its massive user base? Read more
Google shares rose past the $900 mark on Wednesday as it announced 900m Android activations at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco. Google also launched a new subscription music streaming service, Google Play All Access, and a bunch of new services for developers, including improved gaming capabilities, mapping services and voice-controlled search tools.
Here’s a transcript of the liveblog by Chris Nuttall and Tim Bradshaw, who were reporting from the Moscone Center.
Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.
The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. Read more
Small, square, sub-$100 black boxes dominate streaming internet-television devices in the US, in the shape of Apple TV and Roku’s LT, XS, XD and HD boxes.
There’s no shame then in Western Digital imitating this successful formula in launching today the WD TV Play - the latest variation of its WD TV lineup of content-streaming set-top boxes. Read more
The so-called PayPal mafia is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley: Max Levchin joining the Yahoo board is just the latest example of a network that spans Facebook, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Square and – with Elon Musk’s SpaceX – the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.
In the British start-up world, the closest analogy is Lovefilm. The DVDs-by-post turned video-on-demand service was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, but even before that, had started the careers of many London tech-scene notables.
Now, Adam Valkin – a co-founder and sometime chief executive of Lovefilm, who went on to join TV producer Endemol and, three years ago, Accel Partners’ London office – is helping to take the Lovefilm mafia abroad. Read more
Interesting commentary from around the Web on a tech story that made headlines last week.
Despite an unexpected delay, the release of Apple’s updated iTunes on Thursday was generally well-reviewed by tech bloggers. Its simple interface and speedy performance was seen as a major upgrade. However, questions lingered over whether it would keep iTunes at the forefront in a new world of music subscription services like Spotify and Rdio. Read more
Logitech, the computer peripherals maker that has seen keyboards and mice sales hit by the advent of the smartphone and tablet, is expanding its premium Ultimate Ears (UE) brand to become a mass-market name for products that meet the musical needs of the Apple-led mobile crowd.
This necessary shift – Logitech admitted last year it had missed opportunities in this newer market – begins with the launch today of Logitech UE headphones, speakers and even an internet radio. Read more
Spotify’s international expansion after launching in the US last year is reflected in big leaps in both revenues and losses for 2011. The digital music service’s annual report, recently filed in Luxembourg, showed its revenues more than doubled from €73.9m in 2010 to €187.8m. But at the same time, losses grew by 59 per cent to €45.4m last year. Read more