Loudbytes Launched Cloud-based Service, Lines Up Advisory Board
-- Loudbytes has unveiled an advisory board with a number of well-known industry professionals, including Jason Flom (president, Lava Records), Scott Pascucci (Moneta 9), Jeff Kempler (COO, Sub Rosa), Kevin Lyman (owner, 4FINI and partner, SideOneDummy Records), Gregg Goldman (president, 29th Drive), Bill Fold (producer and festival director, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival), Syd Schwartz (founder, Lynchpin Digital), Brian Schall (principal, Schall & Associates) and Jean Sievers (partner, CO5 Media & Management), among others.
Recently, Loudbytes introduced a new cloud-based service called Crazy Funnel that allows physical retailers to sell and distribute digital music and media content along with merchandise through point-of-sale systems. Retailers will promote available music and media content through in-store signage, hangtags and circulars. The content is unlocked with a code that can be printed on a receipt or sent via email or SMS. The customer scans a Microsoft Tag -- the company's take on the QR code -- with a smartphone, enters the code and downloads the content.
The result is an innovative way to deliver music to young consumers in a new way. "Connecting music and media products to retail digitally has the potential to expand an otherwise shrinking channel of distribution for music," Flom said in a statement.
Current retail participants include La Jolla Group (O'Neill, Rusty, Metal Mulisha, TLFI), JDS Solutions (Volcom, Fox Racing, Camp Coleman Stores, New Balance and North Face franchises), and BandMerch, a division of AEG Live.
Hollywood Continues To Sell Fewer Tickets
-- Hollywood is selling fewer tickets but getting more revenue in the United States. The 2010 and 2011 summers attracted 551 million and 543 million ticket buyers, respectively, according to Hollywood.com. That's the lowest number for consecutive summers since 1997 and 1998.
While USA Today focused on the quality of type of movies released -- sequels and superheroes, mainly -- the fact that attendance has slid two years means other factors such as technological shifts could be involved. A single weak summer could be the result of factors like poor quality films and the audience's reaction to them, Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian told the AP. "But more than one or two years becomes a trend, and we're seeing this downward trend in attendance."
The music business has seen the same types of arguments for many years. The fall in recorded music revenue isn't due to piracy, some people say, it's been due to a lack of quality. And in some cases there might have been a lack of quality. But the argument doesn't hold water when you look at the album and singles charts -- especially the singles charts -- over the last few decades. If longevity is a sign of quality, then there has always been a lack of quality in popular music. Short-lived pop stars and albums with 90% filler are not new developments.
So if quality is not the issue, what is? A leading candidate is piracy, and it's difficult to imagine that not being a factor to some degree. The unbundling of the album is another factor -- people can and do buy single tracks instead of albums. And the abundance of music online could be a factor as well. The various impact of these factors cannot be accurately measured, but they are all related to shifts in technology, just as Dergarabedian said about the trend in movie attendance.
The handful of blockbusters this year shows the movie market is truly a global one. The latest installments of the "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Transformers" and "Harry Potter" franchises all surpassed $1 billion in international box office receipts, becoming the eight, ninth and tenth films to ever reach that threshold.
Former Monster Cable Exec Launches New Headphone Line
-- The headphone market is something to behold. First Beats By Dr. Dre grows into a powerhouse, a long line of imitators follows; Skullcandy goes public; and most recently HTC invests $300 million in Beats By Dr. Dre creator Beats Electronics.
But it appears the headphone market is not too crowded. Last week SOL Republic launched with a line of four affordable headphones ranging from $49.99 for the lower-end, in-ear model to $149.99 for the most expensive over-the-ear model. The kicker is that one of SOL Republic's founders is Kevin Lee, a former senior executive at Monster Cable (his father is the company's founder, Noel Lee) who was instrumental in the success of the Beats By Dr. Dre line of headphones.
The company describes itself this way: "Much more than a headphone company, SOL Republic is a music experience company focused on providing a better music experience through great sound." It's ironic that some people did not take Jimmy Iovene and Dr. Dre serious a few years ago when they were building Beats By Dr. Dre and spreading essentially the same message.
Music and lifestyle names tend to be part of headphone marketing, and it's clear from the company's Facebook page that DJs figure into SOL Republic's marketing and branding plans. Listed as the company's "Saviors of Sound" are Steve Aoki, Xzibit, Benny Benassi, Mark Farina, Q-Burns Abstract Message and a few dozen others.