Justing Bieber: Pop Icon, Savvy Investor?
-- Justin Bieber invested in SoJo Studios, developer of games with a mission "to provide joyful and easily accessible ways for people to join with others to do lasting social good." The startup has also received funding from talk show host Ellen Degeneres, according to reports.
The company's main product at the time is WeTopia, a social game in the vein of FarmVille and Sims. "Playing online games is a lot of fun already, but WeTopia makes it better by helping children around the world. Some of these kids need to go to school or they need clean water," Bieber stated in the press release. "I've been so lucky and blessed and that's why I believe so much in giving back, and I know my fans will feel the same way when they play WeTopia."
The company was founded by entrepreneur Lincoln Brown and its staff includes former employees of Electronic Arts and Microsoft. The company says it gives half its net profit - and at least 20 percent of revenue - to its 501(c)3 partners "to complete projects related to children's causes."
( Press release, via Business Insider)
Rejoice BlackBerry Owners, Spotify Cometh!
-- Rejoice, BlackBerry owners. You now get to use Spotify's app for BlackBerry if you subscribe to the service. The app currently works with the Bold 9780, Bold 9700, Curve 9300, Bold 9000, Curve 8520, and it supports only phones running on GSM networks.
( Spotify blog)
The New Music Seminar's Return
-- The New Music Seminar will return to New York from June 17 through June 19. Among two and a half days of seminars and networking will be a keynote from Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman. The event will also include two new components: the SoundExchange Digital Broadcast Summit and the BMI Creative Conclave. Specifics on speakers and event location will be announced soon.
Note To NPR: You Need Record Labels
-- "Who needs a record label?" NPR asks in a blog post about some favorite albums released via direct-to-fan service Bandcamp. The answer to the question can be found in the post's second sentence: "Bandcamp has become one of my favorite ways to discover new sounds, in part because it's possible to sit for hours on end randomly discovering music by genre or city."
Record labels exist because nobody but the most avid music lovers will spend hours at a site like Bandcamp and "randomly" peruse its thousands of artists. Record labels exist because everybody from journalists to avid music lovers routinely overestimate the number of avid music lovers who are willing to spend hours upon hours listening to unknown bands online. Record labels exist because the step from anonymity to commercial viability is a lot more difficult than the step from nonexistence to anonymity. Record labels exist because media outlets - NPR included - pay a lot more attention to those artists who can afford publicists (an artist doesn't need a label to get a publicist, but it certainly helps). Record labels exist because the average pop music lover can tell the difference between a self-written, self-produced song and one written and produced by Dr. Luke. Record labels exist because Billy Corgan was wrong when back in 2005 he said that MySpace was evidence that artists no longer needed record labels to get heard.
None this is should be interpreted as an attack against Bandcamp, a great tool for artists to sidestep traditional retail and sell digital and physical product to fans. But suggesting that Bandcamp is a substitute for record labels is like saying the iTunes App Store is a substitute for venture capital. Whether a musician or an app developer, creators need some sort of funding to break through the noise.
( NPR Music)