Increasingly American as Apple Pie: Smartphones
-- Smartphones have reached an important milestone in the U.S. According to Nielsen, 55% of mobile consumers who reported buying a new handset in the last three months purchased a smartphone instead of a feature. A year ago just 34% of mobile consumers were buying smartphones. Now 38% of U.S. mobile consumers own a smarthone.
Android is the most popular operating system with a 38% share of all smartphones (not just those purchased in the last three months). Apple's iPhone has a 27% share and BlackBerry has a 21% share. A handful of operating systems have a share of less than 10%: Windows Mobile (9%), Symbian (2%), Palm OS (1%) and Windows Phone 7 (1%). (Not included in this survey are the iPod Touch, which runs Apple's iOS and runs the same apps an iPhone runs, and tablet devices. When considering the potential install base for a music-related iPhone apps, for example, the iPod Touch and iPad need to be considered as well.)
Nielsen notes that Apple, not Android, is driving smartphone growth. Android's share of new devices has leveled off at 27% since earlier this year while the iPhone has rebounded to 17% after falling from 12% last August to 10% in February. The increase in Apple's new device share corresponds to the iPhone's February debut with Verizon. In its first quarter earnings release, Verizon revealed it sold 2.2 million iPhones and added 1.8 million new connections during the quarter.
Amazon to California (Post Internet Sales Tax Laws): Adios
-- Following its source of action in other states that had passed Internet sales tax laws, Amazon canceled its relationship with its 10,000 California affiliates Wednesday after state governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will require out-of-state e-commerce companies to collect sales tax from California customers. Overstock.com also announced it will end relationships with its affiliate partners.
The law probably won't harm Amazon - its affiliate-related demand could be shifted to web sites operated in other states - but the company's decision will impact the thousands of affiliates who place Amazon advertisements on their sites and collect up to 15% of the sale price for the referral.
Amazon does not want to comply with state laws that tax affiliates with no physical presence in the states. The company has fought a similar law in New York. It lost in trial court and is now appealing the decision.
( Los Angeles Times)
Grooveshark Signs Licensing Deal With Vagrant, Others
-- On-demand music service Grooveshark has signed licensing deals with Vagrant Records, BFM Digital, Dual Tone, Thirty Tigers, and Rocket Science. Vagrant has recently released titles by PJ Harvey, The Elected, Stars, City and Colour. Its roster also features Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, French Kicks, Pete Yorn and Thrice.
( Grooveshark blog)
Rdio Does Do Windows
-- Rdio has just released a desktop application for Windows. The Mac version was released back in March. Subscription services are typically thought of as products completely driven by mobile use, but with its desktop apps and Roku app, Rdio is showing that a good music service needs to be accessed on multiple devices.
Using the deskop app is pretty much similar to using Rdio in a web browser, but there are a few differences that make the app worthwhile. First, the app allows users to use keyboard shortcuts. Users can also use the application to scan and match their hard drive collection to their Rdio cloud collection. It's the same feature that will be part of Apple's iCloud - it's called iTunes Match - but is not present in Amazon's Cloud Drive or Google Music Beta.
( Rdio blog)
Moontoast Staffs Up
-- Social commerce startup Moontoast has added a few new executives to the roster. Geoff Smith is the new vice president and general manager of business development. He has held positions at AOL Shopping Chanel, Shop at Home Network and Value Visions Media, Inc. In addition, Tim Putnam is the new vice president of client services. Putnam is not only a songwriter but was a partner and vice president at Music City Networks.
MocoSpace To Community Members: Free Concert Tix
-- MocoSpace, which claims to be the "largest entertainment destination on the mobile Internet," is rewarding some members of its community with free tickets to its Moco Summer Concert Series. The series features concerts by Selena Gomez & the Scene, Ke$ha, Mötley Crüe with Poison and New York Dolls, CAKE and other artists. MocoSpace is the creator of the music-themed game Stage Heroes, which the company says gets 350,000 monthly average users. The company's entire roster of games gets over one million players each month.
Twitter: Tolstoy Would Be Proud, Sorta
-- This is just a tidbit for marketers and people generally interested in social media: Twitter says its users are now sending 200 million tweets per day. In a blog post, Twitter puts that huge number in perspective. "For perspective, every day, the world writes the equivalent of a 10 million-page book in Tweets or 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. Reading this much text would take more than 31 years and stacking this many copies of War and Peace would reach the height of about 1,470 feet, nearly the ground-to-roof height of Taiwan's Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world."
( Twitter blog)