Here’s the mid-summer edition of the Music+Tech Recap where two companies (Spotify and Turntable.FM) dominated the blog/news spotlight for most of the past month. A lot of words have been written about both companies, so there really isn’t much more to add or share. However, there is lots of other stuff happening in the world of music technology which I spotlight below.
Investments and Mergers/Acquisitions:
2011 Investment/Acquisition Activity (US$) as of June 30th, 2011
2011 total to-date: $426,240,700m
Latest investment activity: Turntable.FM, Dubset, Soundout, Scratch Music, CHNL
- Turntable.fm Raises $7.5 Million From Union Square Ventures, Valued at $37.5 Million
- Music Startup Dubset raises $500,000 To Bring DJ Mixes Online>
- Music insight provider SoundOut secures $2 million funding
- DJ Solutions Company Scratch Music Group Raises $3.3 Million
- Direct-To-Fan CHNL Grabs $1.2 Million Investment
Music Services and Apps:
Most-Wanted Music Apps - Evolver.fm is running a series of polls called Untapped Apps where people have been submitting new music app ideas. Interesting ideas… some quite useful sounding and others, well… a bit silly (Charlie Brown voice?).
Digster - Universal Music Group backed Spotify curated playlist service lets you pick a genre, mood or situation.
Tunecrank - This web based service finds, ranks and streams independent music as submitted by artists. Ranking is based on song votes and number of plays.
OneSheet - Onesheet allows musicians to set up a web presence using content from other websites/social networks they’re already updating.
Twusic - Twitter generated radio station powered by #nowplaying hashtag.
Songpier - A content & media management system for musicians that lets you build, manage and distribute an HTML5 universal mobile Web App.
AudioSocket - launches Music as a Service (MaaS) giving content producers across vertical markets a way to search, discover and icense music from Audiosocket’s catalog of over 33,000 songs.
Breakoutband - Online social music game that lets you create original music, share with friends and acquire fans.
Gobbler - A backup, transfer, and organizational tool for managing audio project files and assets. Integrates with most DAWs and SoundCloud.
38 Amazingly Awesome Music Sites… from 2008 - Some like Pandora, LastFM, Hype MAchine are still alive and kicking while many others have bit the dust.
TableTop Audio Mixer - new iPad app iPad featuring audio devices that users can mix and match. With fifteen available devices, including instruments, effects, mixers, and controllers. Users can build complex musical compositions from scratch or expand one of the existing demo songs and templates.
HypeMachine Fast Forward - Similar to Shuffler.FM where you can listen quickly through music blogs tracked by Hype Machine. It’s an interesting concept but in an already hyperactive, digital world, this moves much too fast for me, especially when it comes to listening to music.
Trushuffle - You need a Spotify and a LastFM account, scrobbling needs to be enabled and Trushuffle helps find similar music that is added to a personal Spotify playlist.
Turntable.fm Extended - Google Chrome extension that adds desktop notifications, suggested tracks, last.fm scrobbling, song playlist export and more.
Spotify playlist to XSPF - If you ever need to export your carefully crafted Spotify playlists, here is a tool that converts them into an XML Shareable Playlist Format (XSPF).
Play by AOL - This is surprisingly a pretty impressive iOS and Android social music app. Powered by partner Rdio, interfaces with your iTunes collection, SHOUTcast radio and other AOL Music properties, like CD Listening Party and MP3 of the day.
Console.FM - An automated radio station that gathers the top electronica music across the web for each electronic genre and puts it into a group style radio chat room.
Windows Phone 7.5 quietly enables music streaming from SkyDrive - The latest WP7 update introduces smoother integration with Microsoft’s cloud storage service that lets users access any compatible sound file that will start playing the tune in the music app.
Rumblefish Opens Music API, Issues 4 Million Licenses - New API makes it easy for third parties to integrate licensed music into their online products.
Rebakery - A social, creative site where musicians can remix each other’s work.
Opinions, Insights and Analysis:
Co-Creator of Legendary Bloom App Discusses Music Apps Past, Present and Future - Peter Chilvers, who co-created Bloom with experimental music luminary Brian Eno, says the key principle of generative music apps is that they must be egalitarian.
Digital Music Thinkers Discuss Music Apps, More - EvolverFM interviews eight different music biz players to find out what apps they’re using or which apps they’ve made.
Experiential Rights- “Value in the music business though is an odd thing: the more value added to the music by the fan directly, the less influence the rights holders have over it, and the more influence the creators of representational systems (i.e., turntable.fm) and rights creators have (i.e., artists going directly on turntable.fm with stuff that their labels don’t own). And rights holders do not like being taken out of the value equation.”
eMusic CEO: Forget Spotify, Our Business Is Going To Be Huge Thanks To Music Nerds - eMusic serves a special type of music fan: 90% actively seek out new music, 95% consider their musical tastes to be different from mainstream popular culture, and only 7% enjoy popular music on the radio.
Roger McNamee: Thoughts on the new music business, investing in technology, Apple, Google, Facebook and more - “Creativity enables differentiation. Differentiation can be monetized. Huge differentiation can be monetized hugely.”
Jane’s Addiction on the confluence of music and technology (Q&A) - “In the live setting, we used to play to a couple thousand of faces at night, and now we play to a couple of thousand phones held up in the air. It’s a little bizarre.”
Who can we rely upon in the Music Industry to get us out of this mess? - “What we can deduce, is with years of what could be seen as ‘bumbling around’ with no clear digital strategy that has worked to any great degree (negatively affecting physical revenues whilst failing to maximize digital business models) we can no longer cry over spilt milk.”
Where Are All The Musicians Going To Go Now That Myspace Is Dead? - Interview with Howard Han, CEO of GigMaven where he provides his take on the future of social music.
Interview with Tim Heineke, Shuffler.fm: Simplicity is key for bootstrapping a music startup - “You should be able to make something simple with not a lot of money.” The idea is to get something developed early without worrying about including all the features you could imagine. Early user feedback will help you see if you have something viable and which direction you should take.
Interested in looking back at previous monthly music+tech recaps, you can find them here.
Gabriel Nijmeh is a business analyst, passionate music lover and guitar player. Currently building Mediazoic, a real-time personal broadcasting platform and co-organizer of OpenMusicMedia Toronto, which brings people together to openly discuss the intersection of digital music, culture and technology.