This week in digital music

Photo by: Fabio Pani

iTunes in the cloud this spring?

Both The Music Void and Hypebot report that Apple is hoping to have their long awaited locker service in place in the same release package as the advertised MobileMe re-launch this April. Warner is supposed to be onboard, and UMG and EMI is expected to follow. Observers say that Sony might be harder to convince.

The service is described as a MobileMe / iTunes hybrid, and would allow users to store their music in the cloud and access it from any mobile device. The price tag for the consumer is rumoured to be around $20 per year.

Google Music in the cloud this spring?

Meanwhile, as reports come in about Apples locker service, MusicAlly reports that Google has reached the next level in the development of their competing service. Apparently the “dog-fooding” process has commenced, which means that Google employees now have access to the system and are trying it out. This usually happens close to release. Still, as far as anyone seems to know, Google still haven’t managed to score the licensing deals necessary to launch.

But the cloud race is on. Who do you think will come out on top?

The “did you pay – would you pay” puzzle

PaidContent published a piece from the hand of Nick Thomas senior analyst for Consumer Product Strategy at Forrester. The researchers at Forrester tried to find out which types of digital content European customer had actually bought versus which kind of digital content they would be willing to pay for in the future. Forrester did this in 2009 and 2010.

The trend seems to be that people are buying less, but their willingness to pay has increased. The conclusion from Forrester: “The paid content market, then, is simply failing to meet consumer demand”. “Where are the compellingly priced and convenient paid-content services to meet the demand from legitimate fans willing to pay? For most consumers, they are simply not there”.

I remain – as always – sceptical when it comes to this kind of research and the conclusions that can be drawn. What I find most interesting, simply because it actually tells me something I can work with, is the relationship between media types. Especially when it comes to “what would you pay for in the future”.

eBooks are obviously on the rise. Can the explanation be the tablets? Navigation / maps are on the rise. Can the explanation be that more consumers carry smart phones or own a GPS?

What do you think?

What is this “streaming” of which you speak?

Digital Music News quoted a fresh report from Nielsen this week. The report indicates that most consumers are “either unaware or disinterested in audio streaming services, whether paid or free.” And, as Digital Music News points out, the real problem can be found in the fact that in every single age group under 50, awareness is up, but so is disinterest.

As always, be cautious with what you make of this. But if you put together all the reports I’ve come across that support evidence that the gap between the tech bubble and “real people” is wide indeed, you would have enough intel to say with some confidence, that consumer behaviour lags behind notably.

A well known fact that seems to take people by surprise about once every week.

Two quotes come to mind:

Marketing and advertising people always overestimate the impact of new things and always underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.

And of course, there’s Amara’s law:

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

Fredrik Zmuda named WiMP Country Manager Sweden

Fredrik Zmuda, with a long history from the music industry (A&R, PR, Scouting) has been named Country Manager for WiMP Sweden. His role, among other things, will be to oversee “curation” of the editorial content that is thought to position WiMP against closest competitor Spotify.

If the word “curation” is new to you, do some Googling and chose sides. Or pick up a copy of Steve Rosenbaums new book Curation Nation

If you read Swedish, check out why Journalist Andreas Ekström thinks that “Curation is bullshit” here and for a second opinion check out Jerry Silfwers response here, also in Swedish.

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