Spotify Thrown Over For A WIMP ...
-- In "I Broke Up With Spotify," Swedish writer Sam Sundberg explains that he has taken up a relationship with WiMP, the music service that launched last month in partnership with telecom company Telnor. Could Spotify, which has reportedly been valued at $1 billion in its latest round of funding, actually be disappointing to some music fans? Yeah, it's possible. Some people just won't like its bare-bones approach.
Sundberg prefers WiMP KetaiWeb because it introduced him to new releases by Lykki Li and Robyn -- exclusive comments on each song - and a playlist from the music collection of Kanye West. Spotify, on the other hand, offered him Avril Lavigne, a Bing Crosby compilation and "Mozart Through the Ages." WiMP is a music editor, he writes, while Spotify a "moron robot" that has benefitted from a lack of competition. An excerpt:
"The reason that Spotify has grown so quickly has been a free music and the absence of competition. The service is good enough to compete with illegal file sharing, but it needed a shake-up in order not to lose users to new players. The monopoly is overthrown, and the quality is Spotify sidelined by Wimp."
In the U.S. the default product design of a subscription company is one heavy in editorial or at least some level of human curation. Rhapsody, for example, has long offered a great deal of editorial to help subscribers through its deep catalogs. eMusic (a download store that sells monthly subscriptions) is also heavy into articles and reviews. Editorial is a point of differentiation.
But Spotify, as I pointed out in my product overview last November (subscription required), excels in spite of a complete lack of editorial or curatorial direction. It's not a top-down service. If you need a lot of hand-holding from a music service, or if you want the service to lead you to the newest and coolest music, Spotify won't be for you. A lesson in minimalism, Spotify displays around 20 different recently added titles (either singles or albums) at any one time on the home page. There are no genre pages. No celebrity playlists. And usually nothing particularly hip. On Tuesday afternoon, among the titles Spotify was showcasing were such older demo favorites as Elvis Presley's "The Complete Interviews from 1955 - 1977," Queen's "Queen II" and Dean Martin's "Just for Fun." (via SVD)
Simon Fuller's XIX Worth C Million
-- Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment is worth $100 million. The Financial Times reports Fuller's new media company has received two investments at a $100 million valuation from U.S. brokerage house Cantor Fitzgerald and Patrick McKenna, chief executive of U.K. investment firm Ingenious Media. ( Financial Times)
-- Here's something for marketers who use Twitter and want to keep track of how their customers are using the service. Social monitoring company Sysomos doubts Twitter's assertion that "90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis" (official means Twitter's own applications it creates for mobile devices). In a survey of 25 million tweets Sysomos found that 42% of tweets were made from non-official apps. That's more than four times what Twitter is saying.
Here's the breakdown of non-official apps used: 16.4% Ubersocial, 13.1% Tweetdeck, 9.2% Echofon, 5.2% Twitterfeed, 3.4% KetaiWeb, 3.3% TweetCaster, 3% Twipple and many more with less than a 3% share.
When tweets come from official apps, says Sysomos, the breakdown is 35.4% from Twitter.com, 8.8% from Twitter's iPhone app, 5.5% from Twitter's Blackberry app, 2.6% from the mobile Twitter web site, 2.3% from Twitter's Android app and 1.8% from text. ( Sysomos blog)
Pandora Punked By British Government?
-- If Pandora launches in the U.K., it may have competition from a government-backed consortium that is building a personalized Internet radio service. Music streaming service We7, communications giant British Telecom, Yahoo!, the Internet Advertising Bureau and digital agency Somethin' Else have received £1.8 million in funding from the Technology Strategy Board, a U.K. public body that promotes innovation to help assure the U.K. remains competitive in expertise and technology. According to its website, the TSB focuses on such areas as advanced materials, nanotechnology and bioscience -- and apparently digital music.
Called Apollo, the project is slated to combine the skills of the partner companies and have tangible results in 12 months. Unlike current personalized Internet radio, Apollo could have hyper-local content such as traffic updates, says a digital director at Somethin' Else.
Pandora has not yet launched outside of the U.S. But in its SEC filing for an initial public offering of common stock, the company made it clear that expansion to other markets is part of its growth strategy. ( The Drum, via MusicAlly)