Will Boinc's Business Model Get Stale Before it Launches?
-- Boinc, the innovative music service by Beyond Oblivion, could revolutionize the way people consume music. But the industry is going to have to wait a bit longer to see it in action.
The company now has two deals complete, according to Music Week. As Billboard reported in August, Beyond Oblivion had reached a deal with Sony Music. Music Week now claims the company has also reached a deal with the Warner Music Group. In addition, Beyond Oblivion has reportedly reached a deal with U.K. collection society PRS For Music.
Boinc allows subscribers to play whatever songs they want. For some users it will feel like a free service because Beyond Oblivion plans to license the service to mobile phone carriers, device manufacturers and car companies. The cost of the service is integrated into the device for the life of the device. Consumers will also be able to subscribe and use Boinc on iOS and Android devices.
No official launch date has yet been announced -- the company does not have deals with Universal Music Group, EMI or indies, according to reports -- but the Boinc website says the beta launch will happen in "early 2012."
It certainly has been a long wait for Boinc. The company was founded in 2008 and was actively in the press last year. It announced the receipt of $10 million in Series B funding in April 2010 (News Corp. was in on that round) and another $77 million in funding in March of 2011.
Much has changed since Beyond Oblivion was conceived. The digital music market has coalesced around a handful of business models since 2008. First, DRM-free downloads are still dominant and play into the cloud plans of Apple, Amazon and Google. Second, the market for cloud-based subscription services has evolved quickly and carries much potential. Third, DMCA-compliant webcasting services like Pandora have turned into mainstream services.
Given these trends, is Boinc's business model as viable as it seemed a few years ago? It's a question worth asking. After all, Nokia tried a similar idea with Comes With Music but had mixed results (the results varied by country, but the United States was said to have been a bad market for Comes With Music). And Boinc does not appear to follow any of the paths being blazed by other services.
So is there room for a service that fits none of these trends? Definitely. The digital music market is still young and more bright ideas are sure to break through. Music needs more ideas, quite frankly. Some will fail, but there needs to be an environment in which ideas -- even the more expensive ones -- can get to market. We won't know if Boinc is that next bright idea until it finally gets off the ground. All we know now for sure is it has at least $87 million in funding and some big expectations.
Ticketmaster Reaches Settlement Over 2009 Lawsuit
-- Ticketmaster has reached a settlement over the 2009 class lawsuit related to customers redirected from Ticketmaster to the company's secondary ticketing service, TicketsNow, according to paidContent. The settlement still requires a judge's approval.
Customers who purchased tickets at TicketsNow can choose to receive $10 in cash or an 18.5% discount (up to a value of $18.50) on any future purchase made through TicketsNow.com within the next two years. The company has reportedly set aside $16.5 million to cover the cost of the settlement.
The class action lawsuit stemmed from the sale of tickets to a 2009 Bruce Springsteen show in New Jersey. Buyers were sent from the primary ticket site, Ticketmaster.com, to buy more expensive tickets on the secondary market at TicketsNow.com. The company settled with the New Jersey attorney general shortly thereafter, agreeing to pay $350,000 to the state for costs of the investigation. It also stopped automatically sending customers to TicketsNow from Ticketmaster links in Google search results.
An additional aspect the settlement involves how Ticketmaster customers navigate to tickets listed on TicketsNow. According to the report, when a customer leaves Ticketmaster.com for TicketsNow.com, the company must display a new web page informing the customer that they are leaving for a different site.
Spotify App Available For BlackBerry
-- BlackBerry owners may have a good email service (most of the time) and may love typing on their devices, but when it comes to apps they definitely don't have it as good as iPhone or Android owners.
But now Spotify is available for BlackBerry. It has all the good features: offline playlists, music inbox, playlist creation, search and more. However, the app currently supports only phones running on GSM networks. CDMA-network phones and Torch 9800 are not compatible. As is the case with Spotify's other mobile apps, the BlackBerry app is available only for subscribers to the $9.99-per-month premium service.
Spotify was actually a little late to the BlackBerry party. Competing subscription services Rhapsody and Rdio have already released BlackBerry apps. So have Internet radio services Slacker, iHeartRadio and Pandora.
National Audio Co. Sees Cassette Sales Surge, Report Says
-- Every few months there's a report about the resurgence of the cassette market. A Wall Street Journal's article on the vitality of the format includes this interesting information from a manufacturer:
"Steve Stepp, president of National Audio Co., the largest U.S. cassette-tape manufacturer, says he has seen a surge in cassette-tape sales. He says he has doubled his staff to about 60 from 30 in 2009 to increase production at his Springfield, Mo., factory."
Of course, words like "resurgence" and "vitality" are relative. Cassette sales are minuscule --- 23,000 through Oct. 15, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's just 0.01 percent of all album sales. Even vinyl sales need to be put in perspective. They represent just 1.2 percent of album sales.
(Wall Street Journal)