More than a song
The Internet and microchip-powered consumer electronics have created a new set of opportunities to capitalize on the public's demand for music. At the same time, however, file-sharing networks, blogs and other sources of free music have thrown into question the value of music online. So instead of embracing the new opportunities together, labels, artists and entrepreneurs have often scrapped over the licensing fees and royalties that online businesses must pay for the music they distribute.
The Orchard Gets Physical; Launches TVT Distribution
The Orchard is now moving into physical distribution, a move that closely follows its acquisition of the distressed TVT Records. The Orchard, best known for its digital distribution and online marketing campaigns, has tapped Michael Bull to helm the expansion.
The newly-minted TVT Distribution will initially service a select group of independent label partners, according to the company. Describing the diversification, Orchard chief executive Greg Scholl pointed to the acquisition of a "respected physical distribution operation," one that will give label clients the ability to execute more coordinated distribution strategies.
Disc Makers Launches Elite Artist Services
Disc Makers has launched Elite Artist Services, a new division geared towards major artists who want to go independent. Elite Artist Services will make it easy for artists with expiring deals to leave their labels and sell CDs and downloads directly. Elite offers major artists virtually all of the manufacturing, distribution, download, marketing and ecommerce infrastructure services required to release their projects.
Elite offers today’s major artist a complete team and infrastructure to make going independent a turnkey process. The company offers a comprehensive suite of services that used to be offered by the record label, including graphic design, mastering, disc manufacturing and packaging, download sales through the artist’s web site and major sites like iTunes, Rhapsody and Amazon.com, CD distribution through Sony RED, custom merch production, product warehousing, ecommerce processing, web site development, digital and print marketing, and more.
Songbird Releases Beta of Web-Integrated Media Player
Songbird is looking to provide users an alternative to the closed, DRM-laden music stores offered by Apple and a number of other companies. The software behaves like a mix between iTunes (it now features nearly identical icons) and Mozilla’s Firefox (it uses the same engine as the web browser). The software also supports plugins for portable devices like the iPod, and even slightly modified Firefox extensions. The result may be a bit confusing at first, but the interface is familiar enough that it only takes a few moments to adjust to combination.
Songbird allows web developers to integrate a very professional music store on their sites by tapping into the application’s API. After browsing to a supported site, Songbird will display a list of available songs at the bottom of the application in a manner that is strongly reminiscent of iTunes. While we’ve seen other interfaces that look equally professional, replicating the iTunes UI which users are already familiar with is likely to help boost sales.
Mozilla preparing to push Firefox 3 update on all Firefox 2 users
Ready or not, here it comes. And it is Firefox 3.0.1. Mozilla has been issuing automatic updates for Firefox for ages. If you're running Firefox 3, you were probably prompted to install version 3.0.1 a few weeks ago. But if you've been running an older version of Firefox, you might still be at version 220.127.116.11. Now Mozilla plans to push out an update to all Firefox 2 users that will prompt them to update to version 3.0.1.
Apple to pimp MobileMe via an “iTunes Unlimited”?
Rumors that Apple could unveil a subscription-based iTunes are nothing new, the Financial Times reported it back in March, but two tips today to two separate sites are reigniting it. Both MacDailyNews and TUAW, two Apple-focused blogs, received word that an announcement would be made in September with a launch of the service in October alongside iTunes 7.8. The main details of both rumors align, which seems to indicate either the news is true or the tip is from the same incorrect source. I’m gonna go with the latter but you can decide for yourself.
Unfortunately, this is my last snapshot for a while as higher priorities have eaten up the time I allotted for this work. Hopefully, that will change and I will bring the snapshot back.