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Rdio Gaga: How Spotify’s Inferior Rival Is Playing America Like A Violin. Poor old Spotify. Less than a week after Billboard magazine reported that the music-on-demand service had “rebooted” its negotiations with US labels, rival service Rdio has just opened its doors in both the US and Canada, proudly boasting deals with many of those same labels.

So what gives? What does Rdio – another European startup boasting unlimited music, anywhere – have that Spotify doesn’t? Two words: faux humility. But I’ll get to that in a second. First there is a convention – so widely adhered to that it might as well be a law – that if you’re going to write anything critical about Spotity, you have to first acknowledge the amazing slickness of its product. So here we go: Spotify is amazingly slick as a product. But here’s what would also be a thing of beauty: a magic ATM that, using a slick point and click interface, handed out free dollar bills, printed with tiny ads. Like that magic ATM, Spotify’s app is writing checks its business model can’t cash. Oh, yes, Rdio. Daniel, You Are On Pandora: Service Hits 60 Million Listeners, Adding Users Faster Than Ever.

Yesterday at the New Music Seminar in New York, the streaming music recommendation service Pandora announced that they now have 60 million listeners registered. This is up from 50 million in April, and 40 million in December. Before that, it took them all over 2009 to double in size from 20 million to 40 million. In other words, the service is now adding users faster than ever. And that shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone who has used the service. While it’s great on the desktop, it’s even better on mobile devices. And now that they’re on iPhone, Android, and several other mobile devices, it is becoming sort of the de-facto new version of radio. And with the release of iOS 4 for the iPhone, Pandora finally got another killer feature: the ability to stream music in the background. And Pandora is spreading to other devices as well. Pandora currently has hundreds of thousands of songs in its catalog from over 90,000 different artists.

What’s Wrong With Music Biz, per Ultimate Insider | Epicenter  Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records and board member of just about every prominent record label organization. The basic recording contract upon which most of the popular music business has been based for the past 50 years is fundamentally broken. This is not the sentiment of one of the countless critics who throw stones at the music industry from afar, usually for vague philosophical reasons, but rather the pragmatic opinion of a true insider: Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records, which sold millions of records by hip-hop artists including Club Nouveau, Coolio, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Everlast, House of Pain and Naughty By Nature.

In a song called “Labels,” The Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA rapped in 1995 about Silverman, “Tommy ain’t my mothafuckin’ boy,” as part of a general criticism of the same label system that Silverman advocates ending in the below interview with The problem, as he sees it, is that if nobody invests in music, we’re all the poorer for it. We7 delays iPhone app, and says Spotify can’t scale in the US. E. [UK] Ad-supported music streaming service We7 and Spotify competitor has big plans to go mobile. That much was already known – an iPhone and Android app has been in the works for sometime. Earlier this month, however, CEO Steve Purdham surprised attendees at an event in Manchester by telling them that while the We7 iPhone app was ready, its release was purposely being held back. The reason, he explained, is that it could drive too many new users to the service before the advertising side of the business can afford to support them.

In other words, the economics of ad-supported music don’t yet make sense, forcing We7 to focus on ‘sustainable growth’ or acquiring users at a rate somewhere inline with any increase in ad-revenue. On that note, TechCrunch Europe has learned that We7′s mobile offering will in fact be launched in Q1 2010 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, will be part of a new premium subscription offering. In We7′s case, sustainable growth doesn’t mean no growth at all. Top Internet Trends of 2000-2009: Online Music.

It's November 2009 and we're nearing the end of a decade. It's been a tumultuous time of change for many industries, much of it driven by the Internet. With that in mind, over the coming weeks ReadWriteWeb will look back on the defining Web trends of the past 10 years. From the dot com boom, to the nuclear winter after, to the passion and enthusiasm of the pre-Web 2.0 innovations (such as RSS and podcasting), to the highs and hype of Web 2.0, to the current era of the real-time Web, to the near future of the Internet of Things. We'll explore all of this and more.

We're starting with online music. No industry, except arguably the newspaper one, has been rocked (pardon the pun) more by the Internet than the music industry. Napster & Kazaa: Online File Sharing The online music decade started with Napster, a music file sharing service created by Shawn Fanning that operated between June 1999 and July 2001. Curiously, both Napster and Kazaa were recently reincarnated as law-abiding services. The Orchard Goes Private In Deal Valuing It At $13 Million. How much is a music distribution company worth these days?

The Orchard, one of the largest independent music distributors, is going private in a deal valuing the company at about $13 million. Its largest shareholder, private equity firm Dimensional Associates, is buying the 58 percent of shares it does not already own. Dimensional is paying $2.05 a share, which is more than a 20 percent premium over yesterday’s closing price. With 6.228 million shares outstanding, that values the business at $12.8 million—not a hell of a lot, considering that it is less than one quarter’s revenues. The Orchard has yet to file an annual report for last year, but for the first nine months of 2009, it has lost $17.5 million on revenues of $45.5 million. The Orchard specializes in digital distribution. Musique : Spotify consommerait plus de bande passante que la Suè. C’est une information étonnante révélée par le dirigeant de Spotify, ce jukebox numérique qui fonctionne selon un modèle freemium (mi-gratuit, mi-payant). En marge de son discours au South by Southwest, un festival de musique se tenant chaque année à Austin au Texas (États-Unis), Daniel Ek a indiqué que sa plate-forme consommait « certains jours [...] plus de bande passante qu’un pays comme la Suède [pays dont est originaire le service, ndlr]« .

Selon TechCrunch qui était présent à cette conférence, Daniel Ek a donné quelques précisions sur son choix d’utiliser un modèle P2P (peer-to-peer ou pair à pair) plutôt que de centraliser l’ensemble de son catalogue de musique dans un seul centre de données et de le diffuser en continu à partir de ce seul point comme le font d’autres services. Daniel Ek aurait répondu que si les fichiers étaient diffusés depuis un centre de données du Royaume-Uni, « ils [les utilisateurs de Spotify, ndlr] consommeraient toute la bande passante ». Spotify is Getting Ready for U.S. Launch in Q3. While Spotify CEO Daniel Ek didn't say much about his company's timeline for launching in the U.S. during his SXSW keynote interview, it definitely looks like the popular streaming music services is putting all the pieces for a U.S. launch together.

In an interview with Bloomberg earlier today, Spotify's senior vice president Paul Brown noted that the company is "buying server space in random parts of the states and there are licensing discussions too. " According to Bloomberg, Spotify its planning to launch in Q3 2010. Judging from the fact that Spotify is starting to set up an infrastructure for its U.S. launch, it looks like the company has cleared most of the hurdles for a U.S. launch or at least feels very confident that the last roadblocks for the U.S. launch can be cleared out of the way easily.

Spotify, which currently has about 7 million users in Europe, allows anybody to stream the company's music library for free (with ads) to their desktops. Too Little, Too Late? Untitled.

Shazam getting traction

The Economics Of The Music Industry: A Band Has To Work Hard To. Richw alerts us to a fascinating essay from a member of the band Fucked Up (different, apparently, than the band we recently wrote about going by the name Holy Fuck) explaining the economics of SXSW for bands. Actually, though, it's much more than that. It explains the economics of the music industry, with a single point underlined: as a band, you need to figure out how to get money, and stop waiting for others to just give it to you.

The key point is made somewhere in the middle: You may have heard that the music industry is sort of falling apart. It isn't really a matter of there being less money in the pool - just that the money people have to spend on entertainment (which will always be somewhat of a constant) is just being diverted away from where it historically has gone (record labels and managers). This is such a succinct and accurate example of what we've been talking about for over a decade, it's worth repeating. Sxsw should be an example of where some of that money is going. The fight in the music industry is about where the money flows,

How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online? | Information Is Beautifu. The Sad State of the Old Music Business « Pakman’s Blog: Disrupt. I read with sadness this New York Times profile of Irving Azoff and Live Nation. As my friend Andy Weissman asked, “How divorced is this world from reality?” The article reminds us of the way the music industry worked for many decades: a world of power by those who manage artists and run record companies. This power was derived by getting artists to agree to allow these moguls to negotiate and navigate their career decisions. Of course, the fans only cared about the artists and their music, but someone had to make business decisions, negotiate contracts and approve marketing plans. In surveying the state of the business now, however, many of the decisions made by these very same executives over the past 12 years have resulted in nothing less than complete failure.

The story of this decline has been well-chronicled. I agree with Azoff that tickets were underpriced for many years. I think, like many others, that we have been witnessing the atomization of artistic culture.

Pandora going public?

Universal Music Group Reports 8.4% Growth In Digital Sales For 2. French media conglomerate Vivendi this morning reported financial results, posting a decline in full-year profit but beating estimates because the net loss was much narrower than expected. You can read more analysis of the media and entertainment giant’s performance elsewhere, but there was a particular passage in the press release regarding Vivendi’s music subsidiary, Universal Music Group, that caught my eye.

UMG, the world’s largest music company with artists like U2, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Eminem, Lil Wayne under contract, as expected finds its revenue from physical product sales (CDs) in a seemingly unstoppable decline. Last year, the company’s revenues were €4,363 million, a 6.2% decrease compared to 2008.

Still, Universal Music Group’s digital sales grew 8.4% in 2009, which the company attributed to strong growth in online sales yet “tempered by softening demand for mobile products in the United States and Japan”. Music Revolution Forces Major Label EMI to Evolve | Epicenter | EMI CEO Roger Faxon, pictured here, takes over for Charles Allen, who had only led EMI's recorded music business for about three months (photo courtesy of EMI). Back in the nineties, when CDs were selling strong, we called the major labels the Big Six. After the music business’s major transformation over the past decade, we’re down to the Big Three — officially speaking anyway. EMI, one of the so-called Big Four major record labels, no longer considers itself a “label” per se, but a “comprehensive rights management company” under the new leadership of Roger Faxon, formerly the head of its robust publishing division.

EMI’s new strategy was undertaken after months of soul searching by its relatively new owner, private equity firm Terra Firma. EMI’s theory: Music surrounds people more than ever, in online videos, interactive streams, advertisements, feature-length films, television shows, mobile apps, and so on. They just don’t buy it as much as they used to.