Read: RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol's Farewell Letter to Music Execs
Read: RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol's Farewell Letter to Music Execs

RIAA's Mitch Bainwol in Talks With Auto Trade Group
-- Mitch Bainwol, CEO for the RIAA since 2003, is in talks to take the leadership of automotive trade group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, as initially reported by CNET and Politico. Billboard.biz has confirmed the talks have indeed occurred. Bainwol has not left the RIAA but has reportedly notified the board of directors that he could depart soon.

If Bainwol leaves, he is likely to be replaced by Cary Sherman, the RIAA's current president. Sherman joined the RIAA as general counsel in 1997 and became president in 2001. He was instrumental in brokering the agreement between ISPs and entertainment companies that will be graduated response measures to U.S. broadband networks. ( CNET, Politico)

Spotify's Got Mighty Clout, Says Klout
-- By one measure, social music site Turntable.fm has greater Twitter traffic than Spotify and Pandora, according to Twitter traffic analysis by Klout (which was a Spotify launch partner, by the way). Counting tweets with invites to its free service, Spotify actually grabs 51% share of tweets to Turntable.fm's 26% and Pandora's 23%. Without those tweeted invites, Spotify's share drops to 2%, Turntable.fm's share rises to 52% and Pandora's share jumps to 46%.

According to Klout scores, which measure a person's social influence online, Turntable.fm users are tops with a score of 34. Pandora users have an average score of 32 and Spotify users have an average of 29.

There's a catch, however: Spotify sharing is different than sharing via Turntable or Pandora. Spotify allows sharing via Twitter but also allows music to be shared via Facebook, Windows Messenger and within Spotify itself. That's right, Spotify has its own internal messaging system. Users can send tracks or albums to friends and attack short messages. Spotify users even have a folder marked "inbox" that collects the music sent by friends. Those internal messages aren't tracked by Klout.

Turntable.fm is great for sharing, though. It allows sharing via Facebook and email in addition to Twitter. When either of the three prominently placed icons are clicked, Turntable.fm populates each Facebook post, tweet or email with a message that encourages readers to go to the site and lists the song currently playing.

In my experience, most sharing on Spotify occuring through Facebook. Each message goes to both the user's Facebook news feed as well as the Spotify feeds of all their friends. I see very few shares in my Twitter feed but get regular updates in my Spotify feed (via Facebook).

Sharing music on Spotify using Facebook has one main advantage over Twitter: length of message. Facebook messages can be up to 420 characters while Twitter messages max out at just 140 characters. The hyperlink included in the Twitter message will reduce the available number of characters well below 100. Because Facebook shares don't include a URL, the maximum number of characters for sharing Spotify music through Facebook really is 420.

Turntable.fm is still getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere, but its traffic and traffic rank have dropped considerably since peaking at the end of June, according to Alexa.com http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/turntable.fm. And judging from the oscillating shape of its traffic pattern, the site gets most of its visits in the middle of the week and loses about half its traffic over the weekend. ( TechCrunch)

Rush to the Cloud Quantified
-- How big is the land rush into the cloud? Telecoms invested $8 billion in the cloud in the first half of 2011, according to Informa Telecoms & Media's Telecom Cloud Monitor.

The 90 telecommunications service providers tracked by Informa made 10 acquisitions and 21 investments. Eighty percent involved data centers. Informa analyst Camille Mendler points out the "generous" multiples paid in the rush to secure assets. "More worryingly," she says, "the companies acquired - although growing - generate a sixth or less of their revenues from pure cloud services."

Informa sees another problem: many of these telecoms "are swapping their dumb-pipe problem for a dumb cloud: 70% of the 88 cloud services launched in the first half of 2011 were generic productivity and storage applications, often involving partners claiming a major share of the takings." ( Press release)

Is Apple Richer Than the United States?

-- Here's a financial oddity that was all over the media Thursday and Friday: Apple has more cash reserves than the United States of America, according to a post at the Financial Post. How so? On Thursday the US Treasury Department said the Federal Reserve's operating balance closed at $73.768 billion https://www.fms.treas.gov/fmsweb/viewDTSFiles?dir=w&fname=11072700.pdf (although its balance for the fiscal year is $309 billion). Apple's latest financial statements reveal the company had cash reserves of $75.876 billion as of June 30. Obviously there are about four weeks separating the two dates.
(Financial Post)