Spain's Recorded Music Dropped 21% Last Year
-- Spain's recorded music market dropped 21.1% to €167 million (U.S. $228 million), according to figures released by Promusicae, the country's recorded music industry trade group. The decline was led by a 28.5% drop in the physical recorded music market.

The country's digital story meanwhile was mixed. Subscription revenue increased 174% to €11 million and streaming revenue rose 1,712% to €9.4 million. But those impressive growth rates contrast with pitifully low digital revenue. Sales of digital downloads amounted to just €17.1 million (U.S. $23.5 million) -- €11.6 million (U.S. $15.9 million) from download stores like iTunes and €6.5 million (U.S. $8.9 million) from mobile downloads.

While streaming revenue is clearly growing, it appears to be occurring at the expense of download sales. As streaming revenue jumped sharply, traditional downloads dropped 25% and mobile downloads dropped 46% in 2010. And, as previously mentioned, the physical market dropped 28.5%.

Little digital revenue is generated in Spain, a market with a notoriously casual attitude towards piracy. The country has 46 million residents and per-capita download revenue is just €0.37. Billboard estimates the U.S. the per-capita download revenue is €4.9/$6.7 (based on an estimated $2.1 billion of digital download revenue and a population of 310 million). So, the U.S., with almost seven times the population of Spain, has 122 times its digital download revenue.

( Aliado Digital)

Psonar, U.K. Sound Cloud, Coming Soon
A new pay-per-play service is coming soon from cloud-based music service Psonar. Based in the U.K., Psonar allows users to upload music files and stream them through a PC or mobile device. The new pay-to-play option allows users to stream songs not in their collections.

So far, The Orchard is the only distributor to sign up. It would not be surprising to see other indies also join Psonar, but some holdouts are likely. As Billboard explained in its MIDEM coverage, some labels do not support a business model that allows users to upload tracks that may have been legally purchased. The worry, of course, is that a person could enjoy royalty-free streaming of tracks that were downloaded or shared illegally.

"We are very uncomfortable with a model where you can just throw anything into the cloud and stream it, if what you threw into the cloud was not legitimately purchased," Thomas Hesse, Sony Music president of global digital business for U.S. sales and corporate strategy, told a MIDEM audience. "It's not the right thing to do to launch a service under these kinds of shady legal situations. We will do everything in our power to enforce our rights in those kinds of situation."

( MusicAlly)

Singapore's AMPed Gets Big Four Permissions

-- Singapore telecom SingTel has added Warner Music Group and EMI to its AMPed music download service. Sony Music and Universal Music Group had already signed up for the service which offers 15 DRM-free downloads per month and works across a wide range of devices.

( Techgoondu)

Is Foursquare Just For Major Markets?

-- Terminal 5 in New York City was the No. 1 venue at social app Foursquare in 2010, as a recent Billboard.biz article pointed out. But what you may have noticed was that some of the top venues in New York, such as Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, did not make Foursquare's top three. And you may have noticed that two of the three top venues are Bowery Presents venues that skew toward the type of indie rock fare. Looking over the company's 2010 stats, it's clear that Foursquare is popular in the media center of New York (thus the constant, loud buzz about the app) and is popular among attendees of Bowery Presents shows.

Foursquare hype is so frequent and so loud that you may think your artist, label or company is suffering from a Foursquare gap. And while it wouldn't be unreasonable to educate yourself on the app and its possible uses, you may not need to be in a rush. After all, you can only use it to the extent that your customers are using it. If you're not in a few of the major markets on the coasts or Austin, Texas, for example, and if you don't cater to the early adopter/tech savvy crowd currently using Foursquare, it may not yet be worth your time.

(Foursquare blog)

Half of 2010's Social Media Advertising Went to Facebook
-- More than half of the $1.7 billion U.S. advertisers spent on social media in 2010 went to Facebook, according to Hubspot. MySpace got 17%, games and apps got 8% and Twitter got 3%.

Only 3% went to location-based social media like Foursquare and Gowalla.
( L2 Think Tank)

The New Norm: Music & Corporate Branding
-- The story of the naming rights acquired the Atlantic Richfield Co. for a basketball arena in Sacramento is a reminder that advertising will not hurt the music business. Back in 1985, when the city's new arena was named Arco Arena, the practice was practically unheard of in professional sports. People were simply uneasy with the idea. Two local media outlets refused to identify the arena by name in its articles. CBS was concerned its advertisers would be upset. Since then, however, corporate sponsorship of sports arenas is standard. From the Staples Center in Los Angeles to the Toyota Center in Houston, branding is everywhere.

Today, some people are still uneasy with corporate brands' involvement in music. The purity of the music and the artist's message can be tainted, they fear. But brands are actively involved in music - from song lyrics to tour sponsorships - and they are sure to become even more involved in the future. And people will get used to it. In 15 or 20 years, complaints about corporate sponsorships in music will seem just as quaint as complaints about Arco Arena were in 1985.

( Sacramento Bee)

Topspin's Ian Rogers On The Value of Midem
-- Topspin CEO Ian Rogers on MIDEM: "The concentration of people to do business with is high and there's no better time/place in the year to get 30 meaningful meetings (PER PERSON) done in three days. Seems everyone is aware they've come all this way for a reason and they'd better come home with something to show for it. Plus the Croisette is small enough you can easily move from meeting to meeting quickly, visit a couple of gatherings in a single night, get introduced to a future partner in a hotel lobby, or talk about preschool in Santa Monica in a hotel suite at 3am (yep. happened.)."

( FISTFULAYEN)