Warner and Sony Join Universal's Lawsuit Against Grooveshark
Warner and Sony Join Universal's Lawsuit Against Grooveshark

Grooveshark Inks Deals With Four More Indies
-- Online music service Grooveshark has signed up four new labels for licensing deals: 101 Records, Nacional Records, Paper Garden Records and SMC Entertainment.

"Nacional Records prides itself on having the highest percentage digital sales of any sizable Latin indie label, and recognizes that the digital hemisphere is constantly evolving. We have been impressed with Grooveshark's growth -- especially in Latin America -- and applaud Grooveshark for taking steps to monetize and legitimize digital streams both north and south of the border," Nacional Records VP of business affairs and digital relations Josh Norek said in a statement.

Much has been made about Grooveshark's lack of licenses with most majors. But the company has deals with EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing, as well as many indies through its agreement with indie label rights group Merlin (whose catalog includes Rough Trade, Warp Records, Yep Roc, Epitaph, Tommy Boy, Beggars Group, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, !K7, Merge, Domino and Koch/E1). The Gainesville, Fla.-based company inked licensing deals with Merge Records and Ultra Records in March.

Facebook Credits Sees Big Jump In 2011
-- Facebook Credits are expected to be a $470 million-a-year business in 2011, according to a new report by eMarketer. That would mark a 235% increase from $140 million in 2010. Credits are expected to represent only 11% of the company's $4.27 billion of global revenue this year, up from 9% in 2010.

EMarketer projects that the company's U.S. ad revenue will hit $2.01 billion this year, giving it a 16.3% share of the country's $12.33-billion display advertising market. Its projections for 2012 is $2.89 billion in U.S. ad revenue, and a 19.5% share of the display advertising market.

In other words, Facebook Credits are expected to be a minor yet growing part of Facebook's revenues in the coming years. The eMarketer report arrives just days before Facebook's f8 conference on Sept. 22. There have been no indications that any of the week's major announcements will having anything to do with Facebook Credits. Instead, the expected integrations are meant to increase users' time spent at Facebook. That directly impacts Facebook's advertising revenue and perhaps indirectly impacts Credits revenue.

Right now most Facebook's Credits revenue is probably coming from games. Just how much is unknown. Facebook takes a 30% cut of Credits revenue. Zynga generates an estimated $1 billion per year in net revenue. If a company generated $1 billion solely from Facebook Credits, it works out to gross revenue of $1.43 billion and a $430 million cut for Facebook. Recall that eMarketer forecasts 2011 Facebook Credits revenue to be $470 million -- that implies nearly all Credits revenue is coming from games.

Music currently is not a major source of Credits revenue, although David Guetta's new Facebook app that sells MP3s for Credits is an indication that artists and labels are willing to experiment. "We believe that Credits can and will fund a variety of monetary interactions on Facebook beyond social games," eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson told VentureBeat. "Ecommerce is one example, as is buying access to media such as TV shows or movies."

Google+ Now Available to the Masses
-- Google+ is now open to everyone. Facebook's f8 conference is the dominant news item this week, but Google has broken into the news stream this week by announcing nine new product features to its Google+ social network. Most notable is that Google has opened up Google+ to everybody (it was previously open to invited guests). There is a new search function in Google+ that connects users with search results based on their Google+ interests. There are also seven new features in Hangouts, the Google+ live video chat function that allows a group of people to chat face to face.
(The Official Google Blog)

Looking For Another Turntable.fm-Like Service? Try Boom.fm

-- In the mood for another social Internet radio service like Turntable.fm? Boom.fm creates what it calls "radio rooms" where people can get together, play the role of DJ and chat with one another. So it's pretty much like Turntable.fm -- but without the throngs of people, fun avatars and $7 million in funding from some leading venture capital firms.

South African-based Boom.fm differs from its peers in a couple ways. It allows bands to set up profile pages where listeners can stream their music and read their bios. And it will start suggesting songs to users once it gets a handle on their taste in music.

But unlike Turntable.fm, Boom.fm lets DJs choose from only songs that have previously been uploaded by the artists. That approach looks like a way to get around rights issues across many different nations, but unfortunately it puts severe restraints on DJs. Turntable.fm is so effective because it lets people upload and play whatever they want, but its DMCA-compliant model is not necessarily in good legal standing in other countries.

Don't miss Billboard's FutureSound Conference, taking place November 17-18 at Terra in San Francisco. FutureSound will feature keynotes from the top minds in investment, technology and music today; presentations that will offer specific solutions structured around answering the most pressing questions; and workshops.