Facebook Agrees To Improve Transparency...In Europe
Facebook Agrees To Improve Transparency...In Europe

RootMusic, ReverbNation, Vevo Are Top Music Apps on Facebook
-- RootMusic's BandPage is the top music app on Facebook, according to the AppData. With 32.5 million monthly average users (MAU) as of September 2, BandPage is far and away the most used music app on Facebook and is #6 overall. ReverbNation's Band Profile is the #2 music app and ranks #25 overall (12.6 million MAU).

Both RootMusic and ReverbNation are putting more resources into the Facebook platform. On Wednesday RootMusic announced it raised $16 million in Series B funding to continue to build out its BandPage app. The week before, ReverbNation unveiled a service called Promote It that allows artists to quickly and easily set up a Facebook advertising campaign.

Vevo is #3 and ranks #31 overall with an MAU of 10.1 million, but it's falling. The Vevo app has actually lost 230,000 MAU in the last seven days and about 2 million in the last month, according to AppData. Its all-time high is 13.2 million MAU. Pandora is the #4 music app, ranks #51 overall and is trending upward. Its 7.5 million MAU is an increase of over 300,000 in the last month.

The high rankings of RootMusic and ReverbNation underscore the popularity of Facebook as a way for consumers to connect with artists. The social network once lagged behind MySpace but is now the main hub for direct-to-consumer marketing. Popular music services get millions of users but still lag behind the apps that provide the basic service of giving fans information as well as audio and video streams.

Other music apps include Bandsintown at #117 overall (3.4 million MAU), Spotify at #134 (3 million MAU) and SoundCloud at #281 overall (1.4 million MAU).

While music is popular, video games dominate the Facebook platform. Zynga has many of the most popular apps: CityVille is #1 (75.8 million MAU), FarmVill is #5 (35 million MAU), FrontierVille is #38 (9.4 million MAU) and RewardVille is #60 (6.6 million MAU).

Barnes & Noble's Digital Strategy Looks Strong -- Mostly
-- Barnes & Noble's digital strategy appears to be working - to some extent. The company's first quarter earnings fell a couple cents short of analysts' expectations but turned in strong digital growth and a slight decrease in in-store sales. Revenue related to B&N's Nook e-reader rose 140% to $277 million, online sales rose 37% to $198 million and in-store sales fell a modest 3% to $1 billion (comp store sales were down only 1.6%).

But even with the digital gains, the company still posted a net loss of $57 million in the quarter, a slight improvement over the $63 million loss experienced in the same period in 2010, and an operating loss of $79 million, better than last year's $88 million operating loss.

B&N, writes Forbes, expects "Nook-related sales, from e-readers to digital content, to double to $1.8 billion for the full fiscal year 2012 (these were $880 million last year and $123 million in fiscal 2010). Consolidated revenues are estimated to reach $7.4 billion, with comparable store sales growing 2% to 3% while comparable online sales up 60% to 70%."

The company has escaped the fate of Borders, whose stores around the country are in liquidation, but is now going head-to-head with Amazon.com and its Kindle e-reader. ( Forbes.com, Motley Fool)

Wellington Tries Free WiFi
-- Residents of Wellington, New Zealand got free WiFi in the city's business district the same day the country's "three strikes" law, which targets infringing users through IP addresses, went into effect. The city will have hundreds of people using WiFi through a few IP addresses. The city council said they're confident of smooth sailing. "The council is primarily funding the network, but we are not a provider as outlined in the act," said the mayor. The provider is actually a company called TradeMe. P2P software will be banned on the network and TradeMe says it will deal with problems related to the new law as the arise. ( New Zealand Herald, Stuff)

Paul Krugman's Plea Illustrates the Best and Worst of Music Recommendations

-- Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman went to his blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, to solicit suggestions for post-1990 music. It seems Krugman, who was born in 1953, belatedly discovered Arcade Fire and is on the hunt for new music. In the comments section, readers suggested such bands as Pavement, the Decemberists, Noah and the Whale, Mumford & Sons, the Walkmen and Broken Social Scene. A few recommended he discover music using Internet radio station Pandora.

But there's more to the post. The 100-plus comments actually represent both the good and bad of music recommendations and discovery. The best recommendations - and there are many - offer some context to better explain why Krugman should listen to that band over the dozens of other bands suggested. Some contain a high degree of personalization. Describing The National's "Bloodbuzz Ohio" as a "good (loosely) economics themed song," or noting that Still Lost Bird Music is "a MacDowell fellow and a PhD in Composition from U Chicago" are probably good ways to get Krugman's attention. Other helpful suggestions included links to videos, which makes it easy to access the band's music.

The worst of the recommendations offered an artist name without any context. Just typing "Breakestra" or "Veruca Salt's second album" will do little to pique a reader's interest. The suggestion is not coming from a trusted source, it lacks context and it's not personalized. The only way either of those recommendations would carry weight is if Krugman noticed they were frequently being recommended. An economist would likely pick up on an artist's frequency, but other people may not discern the pattern.

The same factors are at play with recommendation engines, music blogs and music services that offer personalized selections. A trusted source like a favorite blog carries more weight than a recommendation from an unfamiliar blog. Additional context helps pique the listener's interest - this is why NPR features make for such good promotion. If a recommendation is given without supporting context, it helps if the listener knows the recommendation is ( The Conscience of a Liberal)

'Bout Time: Chicago to Get Its Own Music District
-- Chicago is set to get its own Music Row - although it won't be a business-oriented area like Nashville's Music Row. The Chicago City Council is about to sign off on a plan to transform a South Loop street once filled with auto showrooms (an auto row) into an jazz and blues entertainment district (a music row). There's actually some music there already: the former home of Chess Records that's now a protected landmark and home to Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation. ( Chicago Sun-Times)