This week in digital music

Photo by: Brandi Korte

FaceSpot? Facebook and Spotify partner up – rumours say

The story that caused the most buzz this week was the rumour that Spotify and Facebook are to launch a music service together. The origin of the rumour was a piece in Forbes written by Parmy Olsen.

Olsen writes that the service “could be launched in as little as two weeks”. Well, the rumoured “service” is described as a deeper integration, making it possible to search the Spotify library from within Facebook and set up “listening rooms” where you can enjoy the music together.

Music Ally asked Spotify spokesperson Jim Butcher about the rumours:

“We have a good relationship with Facebook in that we have an integration on Facebook Platform that has been valuable in terms of driving engagement with the Spotify service,” says Butcher.

“We’re continuously working together to make the social experience on Spotify the best it can be and welcome relationships with any company looking to innovate by building more social value into the user experience.”

Now that’s how you reply without replying.

According to Forbes, “It has yet to be decided if the new service will be called ‘Facebook Music’ or ‘Spotify on Facebook’” (I guess the name  FaceSpot was never considered. Too bad.)

Even though one has to admit that the reporting has been bloated (Facebook & Spotify To Launch Streaming Music Service), perhaps the rather US centric Techcrunch takes it a bit far by basically calling the rumours hogwash:

“It is far more likely that Spotify would first launch its US service – probably still several weeks or even months away – and only well after their traction data was gathered think about partnerships with the likes of Facebook or others”.

Meanwhile, Spotify board member Sean Parker was quoted this week to have said that Spotify could launch in the US this summer. The quote came flying from the e-G8 internet conference. A closer inspection reveals that Parker “hopes” that Spotify can launch in the US “some time this summer”. Hope is fine, but it’s not a strategy.

No matter what the rumours say, everything points towards this development so we can expect it to happen sooner or later. Facebook wants to keep people within their platform and Spotify wants to reach people where they are. It’s a no-brainer.

Thunder in the Cloud – Amazon Lady Gaga campaign backfires

This Monday, Amazon decided to offer the new Lady Gaga album “Born This Way” for a mere $0.99. We can assume that Amazon pays the label normal retail price, so this is a rather expensive marketing campaign constructed to draw people in to the new Amazon Cloud Service. The results were a bit (ok, very) disappointing as technical problems set in and downloads were delayed. In the reviews, disgruntled Amazon users stated that they will turn to iTunes in the future.

One would think that if anyone would be able to swing a large scale campaign like this – from a technical perspective, it would be Amazon. Wonder what Werner Wogels thinks of this…

Indie on the rise – but no indie deals yet for Apple

Merlin announced some interesting statistics this week, reports Music Ally. Perhaps the most interesting figure is that according to these stats “the US album market share for independents is 57% greater for digital than physical”

Merlin’s Charles Caldas had this to say:

“Our data clearly indicates that consumers demonstrate higher levels of demand for this repertoire on digital services than in the physical world and higher levels of demand on paid for-tiers than on free,”  “More than ever, these facts emphasise the vital importance of this repertoire to any service with serious ambitions in the digital realm.”

No surprise there I think. Indie music is harder to discover due to smaller marketing budgets, which means you have to look for it to find it. The people who are so engaged in new music are very likely younger, and thus more tech-savvy. But indie-kids grow up, you know. And don’t they grow up so fast.

But yet…

According to Digital Music News, Apple still hasn’t secured any significant indie deals for their upcoming cloud service.

One should not be surprised to find mass market thinking at Apple. But for a more sustainable future, wouldn’t it be nice to start showing a little more respect for indie acts and their audiences? They are the game changers, both in regards to the art they produce, and how they choose to discover it, consume it and share it.

A case against the cloud?

Consider this recent study from mobile music firm Music WithMe which says that 81 percent of personal iTunes collections never get played.

“The average iTunes library has 5,409 songs of which 4,195 have never been played. Put another way: we listen to about 19% of the music we own”, wrote Music WithMe community manager Michelle Jones.

The rhetorical question posed by Jones, who wrote the : 4,195 Reasons You’re Wasting Your Time With Google Music piece:

“Why upload your entire library when you only listen to 19% of your music? Ever?”

The answer to that is probably: “Eh, OK,  I’ll just go a head and upload 19 percent then”.

Hardly a case against cloud services…is it?


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