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
Spotify is to open its doors in Germany this week in the digital music service’s biggest launch since coming to the US last year.
It is the latest example of a digital music firm growing its global footprint as record labels become increasingly bullish on subscription services. Read more
Tech news from around the web:
A survey from Nielsen that tracks music sales across real and digital sources shows that album sales actually increased in the first half of this year, Techcrunch reports. The increase – albeit one of just 1% – was the first time album sales had risen since 2004.
In an apparent move to take on Apple’s iCloud, Amazon has made a series of enhancements to its Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services, says bgr.com. For a limited time, anyone who signs up will get unlimited space for music while Cloud Drive customers can now store all MP3s purchased from the Amazon MP3 music store for free. On top of this, the Cloud Player for Web is now available on the iPad. Read more
Spotify has just launched a new download service and integration with non-touchscreen iPods, capabilities that have been more than a year in the making.
But Spotify is insisting this lengthy timescale is not another symptom of its tensions with record labels – rather it shows just how difficult it is to create a rival to iTunes for managing music on the go. Read more
Virgin Media’s head of music, Richard Wheeler, gave a brief update on the media group’s planned music service at the FT’s digital media conference in central London on Wednesday.
Back in June 2009, Virgin Media and Universal Music announced a ground-breaking partnership to launch an unlimited music downloads service, on the proviso that Virgin would help Universal to catch people pirating its music on its broadband network.
But since then, the most revolutionary thing about the service has been how long it’s taken to launch. Mr Wheeler hinted that the long negotiations may finally be coming to fruition – but perhaps without the downloading element. Read more
Spotify knows how to brand a music service.
Last year, the ad-supported streaming service introduced “offline listening” to its mobile and desktop music applications for premium subscribers without ever mentioning the dreaded phrase “DRM” – in spite of the fact that access to the songs disappears as soon as you stop paying.
Today, it has announced a couple of new ways to access its extensive library in the cloud, whose limitations are so cleverly branded that you’d hardly notice. Read more
Excitement about Spotify, and more recently MOG, has remained at boiling point for months now, as the music streaming sites raise new funds and gear up for international expansion.
But although Spotify and MOG have attracted the most hype, new rivals – from start-ups Deezer and Grooveshark, to Sky Songs and Virgin Media’s long-awaited MusicFish – are emerging all the time.
In the UK, We7 has been quietly building its offering after launching here around the same time as Spotify in late 2008.
Some 3m people now use its free, ad-supported site. Last month saw a new £4.99-a-month ad-free service, followed today by the release of a £9.99 monthly “Premium+” offering that adds mobile access to its library of millions of tracks. Read more
The music industry has taken another beating in the blogosphere over the last 24 hours after the head of Warner Music lashed out against online music streaming services such as Spotify and We7.
“Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry, and, as far as Warner Music is concerned, will not be licensed,” Edgar Bronfman Jr, Warner Music’s chairman, said on the major label’s analyst call yesterday.
“The sort of ‘Get all of the music you want for free and then, with a few bells and whistles, maybe we can move you to a premium price’ strategy is not the kind of approach to business we’ll be supporting in the future.” Read more
It is one of the most hotly anticipated apps yet to appear on the iPhone.
From today, Spotify – the digital music application credited by some for finally luring listeners away from online piracy – can sit alongside iTunes on Apple’s mobile, as well as on phones running Google’s Android software.
On the PC, Spotify allows its users to listen to any of its millions of tracks for free, supported by advertising. On a mobile, users must upgrade to its premium subscription, which costs £9.99 a month or £119.88 a year (and also provides ad-free listening on the PC). Read more
“It’s a bummer.”
That’s how Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive, described the departure of Last.fm’s three founders, Martin Stiksel, Felix Miller and Richard Jones.
CBS paid $280m in 2007 for Last.fm, an online music service and community now used by over 37m people a month. It remains one of the UK’s biggest buyouts in the web 2.0 era and Last.fm is still a fixture of London’s Silicon Roundabout.
Yet Mr Smith was magnanimous as three darlings of the web scene left CBS Interactive, which as a whole generated revenues of over $600m last year. Read more
The digital music industry went into “shuffle” mode again on Wednesday, when Metro, the German retailer, said its Media-Saturn unit had acquired a controlling stake in 24-7 Entertainment, a UK-based distributor of digital music. Digital music, like social networking sites and internet operations, are being subsumed into more traditional businesses.
24-7 is a rival to Apple’s iTunes, and runs 41 download stores in 13 countries, including running the music stores for mobile operators like TDC of Denmark and supporting Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow service. Read more
News that Apple is in talks with record labels about a possible ‘all-you-can-eat’ model for iTunes is making the rounds on the blogs this morning following last night’s story in the FT.
Over at TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld asks whether music companies would be willing to go along with a subscription model. We think the answer is clearly yes. Read more