Opinion and analysis of the day's music news.


Spotify: No Truth To Apple Rumor
-- Spotify tells Billboard there is no truth in the rumor posted at TechCrunch that Apple is in very early, “on-again, off-again discussions” with the company.

“We wouldn't normally comment on this kind of speculation, but we wanted to make it clear that we have absolutely no intention of selling Spotify,” a Spotify spokesperson tells us. “We're working hard to build the best music service we can and are in this for the long haul.”

The company did not comment on the rumor in the TechCrunch post that Spotify was nearly sold to Google for $1 billion in late 2009. The deal was said to have gone, writes Michael Arrington, mainly because the acquisition would have voided Spotiy’s licensing agreements with record labels. Of course, those types of contract clauses would not have snuck up on Google, so it seems unlikely they were the only thing that stood in the way of a deal.

All we know for sure about Spotify is it is still an independent company, it has many investors (Northzone Ventures, Founders Fund, Wellington Partners, others) and it expects to launch in the U.S. by the end of 2010. (TechCrunch)


Sony Rumors Shot Down
-- More rumors shot down: Sony shares rose then dropped after speculation that Apple could buy the company was dampened by analysts’ comments that such a deal would be unlikely. A Barron’s article included speculation that Apple could use its stockpile of $51 billion of cash to make an aggressive acquisition. The article’s author tossed out a few companies that could hypothetically be takeover targets – Sony, Adobe, Disney – but later stressed that he was only speculating.

This wasn’t the first time speculation arose that Apple could acquire a media company (although in this case film, TV and music are just a few of Sony’s many segments). Yet Apple has shown no interest in playing content creator or copyright owner. It has made enormous sums of money creating software and hardware that incorporate the products of media companies. While owning a triumvirate of content, hardware and software may appear to some as a synergistic heaven, content is an entirely different type of creative enterprise than software and hardware. Apple is smart to stick to its strengths and not venture far outside its area of expertise. (Reuters)


New Taylor Swift App In Synch With Release
-- On the day of the release of Taylor Swift’s new album, “Speak Now,” Mobile Roadie released an updated version of her free iPhone and Android app. The new app features updated artwork, audio clips from the new album and a new ticker at the bottom of the screen. Mobile Roadie offers these stats on the app, which was first released in March: it has been downloaded over 500,000 times and has streamed over 12 million songs. (Mobile Roadie blog)


Goldstar Expands
-- Goldstar is expanding into Sacramento, Calif., Atlanta and Portland, Ore. Those new markets rounds out the Top 25 U.S. markets for the company. Goldstar is a free online service that offers discounts on tickets to a range of entertainment events. (Press release)


Building Better Mobile Commerce Options
-- On its Innovate 2010 developer conference on Tuesday PayPal announced new mobile technologies aimed at allowing businesses to build better mobile commerce solutions: Mobile Express Checkout and Mobile Payments Library.

This is PayPal’s latest effort to facilitate growth in mobile payments for everything from virtual to physical goods. With Mobile Express Checkout, PayPal has created what it calls a “two click, in-context checkout experience.” Mobile Payments Library adds split payments, which enables subscription-based models. Consumers can stay logged in across multiple apps to make purchasing faster.

PayPal’s micropayment fees are low enough to allow for purchases of low-priced digital goods: 5 percent plus 5 cents for purchases under $12. Prohibitive transaction fees have long stood in the way of innovation in the sale of digital goods. Lower fees and better processes can allow more impulse purchases of inexpensive items like digital tracks. To put that in perspective, a 99-cent song would carry a fee of 10 cents. A $1.29 song would carry a fee of 11.5 cents.

There are a number of sites currently using this new solution for the sale of digital goods: Financial Times, Justin.tv and GigaOm, among others. (Press release, PayPal blog)


Reaching 'Generation C'
-- Nielsen takes a stab at describing Generation C, a group of teens and 20-somethings a Nielsen strategist calls the most highly influential in the world due to their need to share their lives via social media platforms. Good food for thought for marketers who rely heavily upon social media. Here’s how members of Generation C break down:

- They form their identities by belonging to and expressing themselves through their “tribes” that connect through similar thoughts and cultural movements. “Brands need to get into conversations that are happening within and across tribes,” says Nielsen.
- Their social status comes from what they share (opinions, ideas) within their tribe.
- They exhibit swarm behavior. “When it comes to buying decisions, 85 percent of youths rely on peer approvals. Everything is reviewed and rated, making decision-making a team sport.”
- The mobile phone allows constant connection to social media platforms. “Teens today consume 13 hours of content daily and have constant exposure to new ‘news.’”
- They are co-creators. “They no longer consume ideas, but actively participate, play and collaborate. They demand to be part of the brand story.” (NielsenWire)