Music In The Digital Age

If I were simply to count the types of options, not even the options directly, but the types of options available for obtaining music in this day and age, I would run out of fingers and toes in no time.  Streaming, purchasing from e-tailers, and online radio are just a few of the methods openly available for consumers to listen to music that they want to listen to.  But with the economy of technology and standards rising every day it’s becoming more and more challenging for artists to gain revenue by utilizing e-tailer platforms or selling disks in music stores.

Mark Robertson of the UK Modern Culture newsgroup The List makes an excellent point here and is truly proving what we at MyMojo have been saying all along. Artists must utilize a fresher marketing and distribution model, that combines the power and scalability of web based services with creative marketing initiative, to start seeing nice revenues again. This is where MyMojo comes in to save the day. Since we’ve always offered ringtones, music, wallpapers, and games in an ad-supported environment , DRM-free of course, we’ve been able to offer our users a free and easy download experience which allows us to pay royalties to artists and publishers. What’s more is that MyMojo invites a wide variety of artists to host their content and boost revenues while allowing the artist to continue marketing themselves by their own means and with no constraints on other ventures, a luxury seldom seen in today’s e-tailer market place.

Check out today’s article and remember to stop by MyMojo to check out today’s selection.

Developing technology has increased our access to music, books, TV and films, allowing us to get what we want, whenever we want it, and usually for free. With the music industry struggling to combat illegal downloads, there’s a rush to use internet technology to the benefit of artists, labels and music consumers alike. But will services like Spotify actually make a difference? Mark Robertson runs down the options for enjoying music in the digital age and asks, with consumers calling the shots, will the musicians ever survive?

To paraphrase the Creme Egg adverts, when it comes to music, how do you hear yours? Streaming over the internet? Nicking stuff from torrents on the web? A bag full of goodies from Fopp? Crates of obscure vinyl from your local specialist emporium?

Hair-splitting over which has more inherent value: a piece of vinyl in your hands or an MP3 on your mobile phone is a moot point now; the bottom line is we want to hear music when and how we please, without worrying too much about the details. After all, by the time any technology makes it into our lives we know it has a limited shelf life: as one platform – vinyl, CD, Minidisc, MP3 – arrives, another is lined up in the wings, waiting to take its place.

As with all genuine commercial innovations in the web 2.0 world – Love Film, BBC’s iPlayer, even match.com – the future success of artists and labels relies less on their marketing message and more on their methods of delivery. When Spotify arrived with us in 2008 it was immodestly expected to change our lives, much like iPods and other portable music players were supposed to almost ten years ago. Today, the standalone music player is on the way out, with mobile phones becoming the place not only to play, but also to download music. The song remains the same, it’s only the player that changes.

So what are the options afforded to you to find, listen to and keep music? The first port of call is those services that offer the chance to listen online, but not download music. Spotify (www.spotify.com) is the current site du jour offering free unlimited listening to their 3.5 million tracks as long as you don’t mind adverts piped between your tunes. If you can’t hack the ads then there’s a premium subscription for £9.99 a month. Similarly, one-time rebel Napster has gone legit, offering a £5 a month subscription for access to their catalogue.

Last.fm is the king of online radio: a social networking and music site that popularised the ‘if you like this, you’ll love this’ system of listening and recommending. More generally, there are thousands of straight-forward online radio stations offering streams of pretty much every possible kind of music. Start somewhere like http://www.streamfinder.com or http://www.radio-directory.com.

As far as buying and downloading music goes, iTunes remains the daddy of the retailers, offering over 10 million tracks for download. The likes of Amazon (amazon.co.uk) and HMV (www.hmv.com/downloads) have less comprehensive catalogues but do offer downloads without digital rights management (DRM), giving users more options for moving their music collections about. iTunes will soon be offering similar DRM-free download options in the UK, albeit with a higher price tag.

Aside from the big guns, there are several excellent specialist sites offering downloads by the track or album like 7digital (www.7digital.com), Bleep (bleep.com), Boomkat (www.boomkat.com), and local site tentracks (www.tentracks.co.uk). eMusic (www.emusic.com), which bills itself as the ‘indie iTunes’, offers a number of tracks for a monthly subscription starting at £9.99 for 24 songs, just 42p a track, and there’s a similar deal to be had at http://www.mp3.com.

The final option is not one we endorse, but recognise is a huge part of web activity: illegal downloading. Bit torrents are popular file-sharing tools that allow users to download large files by accessing the data on several different computers simultaneously. Thanks to their proliferation across the internet, a few quick torrent searches can turn up pretty much anything from TV series to the entire discography for a band. The reliability and quality of these files is variable, however, since there’s no central administrator checking who’s uploading what to the file-sharing network.

Every few months a new court case comes up regarding illegal downloads: the first high-profile case was against Napster back in 2000 when Metallica took umbrage at their music being shared on the network and took founder Shawn Fanning to court. The latest court wrangling involves Pirate Bay, a Swedish site that tracks bit torrent files for download. It has been dubiously defended as a piece of public art and not just an index of where to go to infringe the copyright of musicians, TV producers and software developers. But this wasn’t an argument that stood up in court and in April this year the founders were handed down one-year prison sentences and a fine of over £2 million. The defendants have appealed and the site continues to operate.

The long-term picture for the music industry is that a huge source of income – the sale of CDs – is dwindling. In its place are new income streams: paid-for downloads and royalties from sites like Spotify. The problem is the two don’t tally up. If an artist gets £1.50 from the sale of a ten-track album on CD, they might get 80p from the same download sale on iTunes, but only 5p for an album play on Spotify. English indie outfit Friendly Fires told NME this month that they reckoned they were making 0.5p royalty per song play on the service. Which means, to recoup the kind of same revenue, they’d need to have the same album played 30 times. Other reports have put the royalty rate nearer 0.04p, which would mean literally thousands of plays to recoup the same sum.

In the short term this won’t affect us consumers, as new music will still be appearing, but in the long term there may be fewer people making new music as there will be less money around for new artists to survive on.

Spotify won’t kill off CDs completely, and there will always be people wanting to have a physical product, as proven by the healthy trade in collectible vinyl. The question remains, however: do more options mean more great music?

In theory, yes: if you know what you’re looking for Spotify is ideal, but try to find to new music on the service and it becomes more problematic. There are other sites that will sate your appetite for new sounds, but the romantic notion of walking into a record shop and hearing music that will change your life, à la High Fidelity, might soon become a nostalgic memory. The chances of recreating these rare, but not extinct, revelations online depend entirely on just how determined, dedicated and thoughtful you are. The options exist, but in the absence of the hands-on, personal element, and given our growing unwillingness to pay for it, we might find ourselves increasingly cast adrift from the music we love.

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October 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Yahoo Will Shell out $100M to Promote Its Brand and Products

Since I was a young pup interested in surfing the web, and long before MyMojo, I remember that funny looking ‘Y’.  During the initial modern acceptance of the internet cirque 1996, few companies offered exceptional web services.  Of the few and far between that have kept their head above water since then, Yahoo has stood out as an entity where multiple web based services are rolled into one yummy e-sandwich.  Offering search, email, shopping, news, weather, and other regularly required web surfer services, Yahoo has maintained a foothold in this industry.

However if your like me, you’ve followed news about Yahoo’s struggle with Google and Microsoft for the online advertising space over the past few years.  And now with Yahoo selling off it’s search engine business to Microsoft, due to being unable to match the amount that Google and Microsoft are investing into their search engine functionality, Yahoo is turning in the direction of mobile advertising.

I’m sure there are plenty of critics out there who are thinking Yahoo’s decision is just too little too late but I don’t agree.  Yahoo has maintained an immensely powerful following for the numerous other services it’s been providing for over a decade.  Yahoo will continue to flourish with the services and features it offers but I must admit that I do agree with Fierce Wireless journalist Jason Ankeny’s statement “the deal means Yahoo will lose some of its most talented engineers to Microsoft, with layoffs resulting in as many as 400 additional employee losses. Moreover, the sale undermines years of investment around search solutions”.  As of right now the 1o year agreement for Yahoo’s search engine to be powered by Microsoft promises to deliver more relevant results as well as better pay offs for publishers and advertisers.  Microsoft has committed to a revenue sharing model with Yahoo in order to compensate them for the first five years of the agreement.

While  Yahoo’s search solution days are pretty much over, it will open up the window for maximizing the power of the rest of yahoo’s web service platform.  ‘PC World reports that Yahoo is launching an advertising campaign worth approximately $100 Million. Since the sale, Yahoo has begun efforts to truly build their platform into literally a one-stop-shop for all your web resource needs. Aside from the fantastically inviting user interface of Yahoo’s portal home page, accessibility of facebook, flickr, and yahoo messenger are all fully integrated. In my opinion, it’s far superior to igoogle and msn profiles.

With this campaign in place Yahoo hopes to not only attract new users, but to remind them that Yahoo wants to be the epicenter of their web surfing experience. We at MyMojo think that is just fantastic. Being that we offer our users a unique media sharing and critiquing experience we like to think of ourselves as the epicenter of your mobile media world. We in the ad-supported media industry give respect where respect is due. I think Yahoo’s initiatives are going to be a great success in the mobile advertising and web based portal world as they’ve expressed a number of very convincing factors as to why they forecast success for their affiliates and them together. For more info, definitely check out this article by Juan Carlos Perez from PC World online.

Joey@mymojo

September 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Some Grow Wings!

Anyone can agree that artists generally follow the tides as Music sales travel up and down throughout the years. But the fluctuations are not always on a comfortable level. Recently, physical and digital sales have gone way down. Putting weight on most artists’ shoulders as they are restricted and money becomes less abundant.

Of course for an artist, income is still more than enough to live comfortably, so some of them adjust to the changes. Picture a collection of your favorite artists all falling off the same cliff. This would be an image of the fluctuation taking a great dive. But do you expect all to be happy with this fate?

No! Some artists break the sales barriers and even break their own records in down times by using new strategies of sales and advertisement. In a sense, these artists grow metaphorical wings and refuse to fall with the rest. Let’s take Radiohead for example. The release of In Rainbows became their most successful album. This was released late 2007, long after record sales began declining. With 3 million records sold [between digital downloads, physical CDs, and more] and a post-release tour with 1.2 tickets sold, how could anyone deny their efforts? Not to mention, that fans could choose their price when downloading the music! That’s right. You could get it for free if you wanted, or choose to pay as much as you want to purchase their CD. This was quite an unusual campaign but the band certainly profited from this.

Digital sales play a big part in today’s artists’ revenue. The content doesn’t sound any different when downloaded, it is definitely more convenient, and sometimes even more affordable! Why wouldn’t anyone take advantage of that? Let’s evolve!

Now here’s a question mainly for artists. How much more do you think your content would be downloaded if it was FREE? Definitely a lot more, because even people not interested in the music wouldn’t turn down a free track. Luckily there is a way to offer free content and still make a profit! Yes I did say give away FREE music and earn MONEY. Companies like MyMojo allow artists to do this crazy thing. As well as offer its users free Wallpapers, Ringtones, Tracks, Games, and Videos that can be downloaded by cell phone or to the computer. Remarkable!

Visit http://www.MyMojo.com for more details!
For Artists, visit http://Artist.MyMojo.com to grow your “Wings” and start making money!
-D’haden @ MyMojo

September 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

Keep your Friends Close, and your Fans Closer!

I personally feel that it is nearly impossible to maintain a constant level of income (if not increasing) in the music industry without forming some sort of relationship with your fans. If you don’t know who your fans are and you don’t know what they like about you the most, how do you know who to perform for and what to perform for them?

This philosophy can be proven right even if you have no way to market your product. Let people have a sample of what you’ve got to offer, and ask those people to pass it on to their friends. Keeping in contact with these new fans will allow you to spread your talent exponentially, send invitations to future events, and build a solid fan base! You’re almost guaranteed to have these fans at your events if they’ve liked your talent before! And who goes to an event like that alone? Before you know it, fans are pouring in!

Luckily, nowadays you don’t have to go out in public and hand out CDs. You can take advantage of companies such as MyMojo to do your promoting. The great thing about MyMojo is it allows you to offer your content for free to over 4.3 million music lovers and counting! And it gets better. Once you create your free artist account, you will actually be receiving cash for each download you earn! How great is that? No cost to the user, meaning you will have tons of downloads if you promote it properly. Quick cash to you, meaning you can start a career promoting your own music! It’s like owning a restaurant without having to pay for materials to make food, rent, or utilities! Remarkable!

Visit http://www.MyMojo.com for more details!
For Artists, visit http://Artist.MyMojo.com to set up your account and start making money!

-D’haden @ MyMojo

September 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Free Music is the Best Gift of All

Few phrases are able to paint a smile on my face quicker than ones containing “free” and “music”. Luckily I’ve been graced with a ton of smiles over the past year with some amazing artists giving away their music as a true gesture of thanks to their fanbase. Bands like Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Marilyn Manson, and even Coldplay have brought us some great free music over the past year. These offerings are typically tied in with a related type of campaign concerning advertising or a tour. At first glance, the idea of an artist giving away an album, in whole or in part, may appear to be a pathetic attempt to stir commotion and hype among consumers. While this is true to some extent, it’s never an easy task to implement and in the end, surely reveals itself as a gift rather than a baited hook. Entire campaigns must be put together by a dedicated marketing team who understand both the ins and outs of the business as well as the appreciation of the fans. Similar to MyMojo’s famous street team contests, these campaigns must truly be designed with the fan in mind to create both a rich interactive experience that the fan appreciates and one that is still profitable the artist. After all, the music industry is just that. An industry. No matter how much the artist cares for their fans, if the experience itself doesn’t appear profitable to the record company, it won’t be funded.

I consider the following artists and their campaigns to be the most integral and engaging give-aways that this year has seen.

No Doubt

With the announcement of their reunion back in May, No Doubt publicly offered their entire audio catalog for download by fans who purchased a full priced ticket to their reunion tour. This was a fantastic offering as No Doubt has had a long and lustrous career even outside of the mainstream eye. From their early days as a punk-ska band to their more widely acclaimed hip hop and pop influenced sound, No Doubt has quite an eclectic sound that many were unaware of. Fans are given the ultimate gift and become even more grateful and loyal to the band. Mission Accomplished

Coldplay

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past several years, or haven’t been to a coffee shop or public social gathering, you’re obviously well informed of the UK’s international flagship group Coldplay. Coldplay has been putting albums out and touring around the world for the past 6 + years and hasn’t shown even the slightest sign of slowing down. Their arena pop-alternative-rock sound attracts thousands of fans per show, most of which are dedicated and follow news, tour dates, videos, etc. When they decided to give away a mini-live album, titled “Left Right Left Right Left” via download, at the small price of an email address, their official website crashed several times throughout the day due to fan download traffic. Fans who attended the shows received a CD copy of the live album. Everyone is engaged so again everyone wins.

Girl Talk

A more independent yet widely acclaimed artist Greg Gillis a.k.a. “Girl Talk”, released his latest album “Feed The Animals” on a pay-as-you-go basis. The idea behind this move was to attract more attendance to his live performances. Not that he needed the hype, but there’s no reason not to strike while the iron is hot. Girl Talk’s performances are a one-of-a-kind mash up style that blends hip hop, soul, drum and bass, as well as classic hits spanning several decades. Many of his performances are truly unique and chances are if you’ve seen him perform more than once, each time is a truly different experience. However his affiliation with the independent record label Illegal Art allowed for little to no publicity which led to the execution of this campaign. Fans could pay as little as one cent for a free download of his full length album “Feed The Animals”. Other packages were available, and still very affordable, that added perks like higher quality flac files and special merchandise, which many users actually opted for. I found this specific campaign to be my favorite as it seemed the most rewarding and engaging while still allowing the artist to do his job which is to turn a profit for the record label.

These artists have truly allowed us all to “win”. By offering us their loyal fans more of what exactly keeps us loyal. Good Show.

Joey@MyMojo

September 8, 2009 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

Mobile Cell Phones: Key To Learning Of The Future?

I’m sure all of our readers know how much of a punk kid I am and how much I love to show that being yourself pays off in the end. And if your parents have ever told you to get off the computer or game console and do something constructive, then I’m sure you know what I mean. From the rise and fall of portable CD players to dominance of mp3 players, generation-y teens and young adults have grown up with what my parents would consider to be, “mobile distraction devices”, at their fingertips for the better part of 15 years now. For far too long, we’ve been told by authority figures, parents, and teachers that the use of these machines hinders the process of learning and turns us into mindless drones. But we know better!

I’m sure that I, like most general tech-savvy consumers, am incapable of pinpointing the the precise value of today’s mobile technology industry. However with ABI Research anticipating that the mobile advertising market alone will be worth $19 billion by 2011, I’d say it’s a safe bet that the media and software operating on these systems is doing a little more for the average user than distracting them from the proverbial chalkboard. Technology in the classroom is becoming more and more prevalent every day by means of high school classes like web design and software development replacing general technology shop and writing classes. With these new forms of techie-ed, one should expect that students will embrace the tools that they’re being instructed to use, both for educational and recreational purposes. Most students will honestly proclaim that for everytrack streamed and every game downloaded that they have utilized the same technological medium for answering a question or solving a problem.

This alone should be enough to prove our interest in mobile software and media isn’t a brain drain, but skeptics like to hear it from someone they trust. That’s why I’m glad I stumbled upon today’s interesting piece of literature from Science Daily.

Enjoy! And thanks for reading!

-Joey@MyMojo-

Mobile Cell Phones: Key To Learning Of The Future?

ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2009) — In today’s classroom, mobile phones are seen as a nuisance, but they can be the key to a new, personal way of learning, according to Prof. Marcus Specht of the Open Universiteit Nederland.

Today’s learners — of all age groups — use their mobiles in nearly all their daily activities. Mobile media enable learners to access information and learning support whenever they need. “The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation or context. Nothing more. Nothing less. And they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner. Not later. Mobiles will be a key technology to provide that learning support,” says Dr. Specht, who is professor for Advanced Learning Technologies of the Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CELSTEC) at the Open Universiteit Nederland.

Digital nomads

More than 50% of the world population use a mobile phone today. In the Netherlands almost all children of 15 year old have a mobile phone. Digital natives (those who grow up with computers, internet and mobile devices) use mobile media as tools for informal learning and for everyday living. This influences the way they communicate, live and learn. The key question is what this use of mobile learning tools means for learning. In other words: how can we unleash the power of contextual effects with ubiquitous technology for learning. It calls for a rethinking of education with its classical educational settings.
As a start to answering this question, Specht has developed a conceptual model to describe patterns of contextual learning support with mobile media. He is presenting this model in his inaugural address entitled ‘Learning in a Technology Enhanced World’ during the Mobile Learning in Context symposium at the Open Universiteit Nederland in Heerlen.

Side by side

Mobile technology changes the way we learn, it can augment our capabilities to connect with others, it enhances our physical environment, it enables new ways of learning at school, home, and at work.
Specht claims that the technology enhanced world is not a constraining factor for introducing learning support, but a real enabler for instructional designs of the future. However technological innovation and educational paradigms should develop side by side. Education providers, innovators of technologies and instructional methodologists should collaborate to enhance learning with technology. This will mean in some instances a drastic change of the educational systems and organizations we know today. It also means that in some instances new technologies, being invented or used for education today, will be hyped, fade away, or probably used for something completely different in 20 years.
The inaugural address is part of the symposium Mobile Learning in Context. The symposium highlights several important aspects of mobile learning like personalization, contextualization, accessibility, informal learning, and nomadic learning support. The goal is to provide researchers and practitioners a new vision of technology enhanced education with contextualized mobile learning. For more information, see: http://www.ou.nl/mobilelearning

Mobile Cell Phones: Key To Learning Of The Future? 7 September 2009. 8 Setember 2009.

September 8, 2009 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Ringtone sales fall 24 percent in 2008

Holy plummeting ringtone purchases MyMojo Man! Ringtone sales in the U.S. are suffering pretty bad in this day and age with ringtone clipping software being a household name. Software built for clipping ringtone sized audio files on both your home computer and directly on your mobile phone are flooding the mobile device world from top to bottom and are beginning to seriously put a dent in a heavy hitter ringtone distributors nationwide. We all knew it wasn’t possible to keep technology under tight wraps forever and this proves it. In my opinion the best opportunity the mobile industry has to adapt to this phenomenon rather than attacking it.

Users everywhere are able to circumvent the old fashioned honest way of obtaining music and ringtones with relative ease. The answer to maintaining a profitable stance in the mobile industry these days is to work smarter, not harder. To this end check out the ringtones that MyMojo offers. By offering new and different styles of ringtones and music, users will always be able to find something different instead of being bombarded by the same billboard top 10 artists in every direction. Corporate money will be put into advertising the same old stuff every day. In this day and age the only way to really monetize is to do something fresh and different by investing in a variety of ventures, not just the same boring sound each and every day. That’s why we invite everyone to our website. It’s a humble home for independent and big name artists alike that want to really branch out away from iTunes and Amazon into a more sturdy and open distribution environment. Don’t take my word for it though. Check out this piece from credible mobile device newsgroup Fierce Wireless.

By Jason Ankeny of Fierce Wireless

Ringtone sales in the U.S. declined from $714 million in 2007 to $541million in 2008–a 24 percent year-over-year drop–according to research firm SNL Kagan, which says the annual decline is the first ever posted for a U.S. mobile content category. In all, ringtones’ share of total U.S. mobile music revenues fell from 80 percent in 2005 to 63 percent in 2008. SNL Kagan credits the slump to consumers learning to create their own ringtones by sideloading edited MP3 clips to their phones and in turn bypassing operators’ direct sales channels. The firm adds it expects carriers will begin offering ringtones at reduced price points to rekindle consumer demand.

Despite faltering ringtone sales, overall mobile music revenues in the U.S. grew at a 20 percent CAGR from 2005 to 2008, led by growing consumer interest in full-track download options and ad-supported streaming radio services. “When we ask mobile music insiders what will replace ringtone revenues, RBTs (ringback tones) are most often mentioned,” said SNL Kagan wireless analyst John Fletcher in a prepared statement. “We estimate this category grew at a 37 percent CAGR from 2005 to 2008, from $77 million to $199 million.”

August 18, 2009 at 9:27 pm Leave a comment

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