Thrillcall's New iPhone App Has Your Live Music Daily Deals
-- Live music event aggregator Thrillcall launched an iPhone app this week that focuses on exclusive tickets and packages.
The app may give music fans daily deals, but Thrillcall is no Groupon. "We're not trying to sell distressed inventory," co-founder Jonathan Leone tells Billboard.biz. Instead, the company is helping promoters, small- and medium-sized venues, and artist managers create enticing offers without cutting into margins. It may be a special offer (such as free tickets to an event), a value-add items (like a free drink) or access to tickets to a sold-out event.
The special offers are available in San Francisco and will soft launch in Los Angeles next week, Leone says. On Thursday, Thrillcall was taking entries for a contest to win tickets to see the Flaming Lips at the annual Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco (the company has partnered with Noise Pop to offer exclusive access to sold-out shows and special offers). Friday's specials included free tickets to a dance music event with $20 tickets.
The iPhone app also has all the local concert listings for the 37 markets covered by the Thrillcall website. The company tells Billboard the site, launched in 2008, has acquired 500,000 users. It has social elements, so users can see where their friends are going, and it can play clips of an artist's songs.
Thrillcall is based in San Francisco and launched in 2008. It is backed by seed funding and a Series A round from undisclosed investors.
Thrillcall generates revenue in two ways. The more traditional source of revenue is its affiliate fees from ticket sales that originate from the site. The more unique -- and more lucrative -- revenue stream comes from the special items sold on the app. These offers earn Thrillcall a percent of the value of the entire package. Leone says app sales have a higher per-transaction amount and returns to Thrillcall a better percent of revenue than affiliate fees because.
Ultimately, Thrillcall has a relatively simple business model and a straightforward goal. "We're here to try to sell tickets," Leone says. "We're here to get more people to pay money to go to a show."
ReDigi Vs. Capitol Records
-- There was a bit of a dustup this week after ReDigi accused Capitol Records of forcing Rdio to disable the 30-second streams and album art the subscription service was providing to ReDigi. Capitol is suing ReDigi for copyright infringement related to its used music download marketplace. The judge in the case declined Capitol's require for preliminary injunction and has allowed the case to move forward.
ReDigi took offense to Rdio's move. "Apparently, having been denied an injunction, they have sought to use extrajudicial tactics to accomplish what they were unable to obtain in a court of law," attorney Ray Beckerman wrote to the court, according to Wired's Threat Level blog. ReDigi is now using YouTube for its 30-second audio clips.
Looking beyond this latest wrinkle in the legal tussle, Capitol's case against ReDigi is important because it will test the ability of the digital retailer to operate under the "first-sale doctrine." This limitation on U.S. copyright allows retailers and individuals to sell a used physical item such as a CD once it has been legally obtained. But digital goods are a different issue because the license required to sell them prohibits copies from being made.
But ReDigi claims to have found a way around the problem. ReDigi's court filing argues the first-sale doctrine does indeed apply to its sales because its system does not create a copy of a file. Instead, a "file pointer" associated with a file is changed. (A file pointer stores the address of a file.) So rather than create a copy for the buyer, the file pointer is modified "to associate the file with the purchaser's cloud locker."
( Threat Level)
RIAA, IFPI Considering Lawsuit Against Google
-- Music industry trade groups RIAA and IFPI are considering bringing a lawsuit against Google for its role in digital piracy. As explained in a TorrentFreak post about a report in German-language Handelszeitung, legal remedies are being considered to get Google to filter out links to infringing content in its search results.
While the two sides have been in private talks on the matter, the events described in the leaked document show growing tensions. According to the report, the "IFPI obtained a highly confidential and preliminary legal opinion in July 2011 on the possibility of bringing a competition law complaint against Google for abuse of its dominant position, given the distortion of the market for legitimate online music that is likely to result from Google's prioritizing of illegal sites."
This report is not a signal of a pending lawsuit, of course. Google won't be at the receiving end of a music industry hair-trigger response. Google and the music business have a complicated and intertwined relationship. The two sides got closer when Google launched the Google Music download store in the United States. YouTube is a vital channel for record labels as well as a partner of Vevo, the music video company co-founded by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. So expect the two sides to keep talking and working toward a solution.