Business Matters: Ticketfly Adds Venues Union Transfer (Philly), The Foundry (Phoenix)
Business Matters: Ticketfly Adds Venues Union Transfer (Philly), The Foundry (Phoenix)

Ticketfly Causes Works To Help Charities
Ticketfly's new charitable initiative is not just an example of a corporation supporting good causes in its community and around the country. Ticketfly Causes is also an attempt to remain an attractive employer in a competitive labor market.

Ticketfly will build Ticketfly Causes into its platform in three ways. First is the charitable giving at the company level. The two initial partners are Sweet Relief and Headcount. Sweet Relief provides financial assistance to musicians with health care needs. Headcount, whose board includes Ticketfly co-founder Andrew Dreskin, aims to increase voter participation. Ticketfly plans to help Headcount's visibility in music venues leading up to this year's presidential election.

Second is the giving at the employee level. Ticketfly employees will be given up to 24 hours of paid time each year to volunteer at non-profits. In addition, the company will offer a donation-matching program to its nearly 100 -- and growing -- employees.

The consumer will see the third aspect of Causes. Ticketfly will build into its checkout process the ability for ticket buyers to support causes. Donations will also be accepted at Ticketfly's Facebook page.

Cause marketing is an established trend. For its "Refresh Everything" campaign, Pepsi spent its 2010 Super Bowl budget of $20 million on charities chosen by its customers. American Express and NBC Universal's "Shine a Light" that awarded grants to small businesses chosen through the program's website.

But Ticketfly executives say its charitable efforts are not cause marketing. Instead, Ticketfly Causes is rooted in giving employees and potential employees the kind of workplace they desire.

"A lot of employees that work at Ticketfly are in their 20s and 30s and they've have grown accustomed to expecting more than just a paycheck from their companies," explains co-founder Dan Teree. "They are also a healthy, cynical lot in that you really have to go out of your way to prove what the company stands for. It has to be tangible and visible. You can't just say it on a chart. You really have to put it into practice."

Entire businesses exist to help companies understand the motivations and workplace needs of Generation Y workers. Baby boomers are seeking to understand younger employees' needs for flexibility and their desire to do social good. Being able to attract and retain the employees can ultimately be good for a company's bottom line and worker productivity.

Charitable giving actually appears to motivate across generational divides. In a 2011 paper titled " Prosocial Incentives Increase Employee Satisfaction and Team Performance," researchers challenged the traditional assumption of employee motivation by explaining that research has showed "prosocial" incentives, or incentives aimed toward other people, lead to happier, more satisfied employees and better team performance. In other words, giving an employee money to give to non-profits and other employees is a better motivator than a typical employee bonus.

So, even charitable efforts that don't directly pad its bottom line can help Ticketfly by giving it many indirect financial benefits. "It will help us attract the best and retain the best over time, especially in our age range of 20 to 30 year olds," says Teree.

Stereomood Crosses Songza With Hype Machine
A company based in Rome, Italy is giving a new meaning to the term "mood music." Stereomood is cross between Songza and the Hype Machine. Like Songza it allows the listener to select music based on mood and activity (just woke up, dreamy, yoga, workout). Like the Hype Machine it pulls music that has been posted at a wide variety of music blogs (so expect a lot of indie rock).

The idea may sound familiar to Spotify users. Moodagent has created a Spotify app that plays songs based on mood. The app also examines existing playlists and lets the user select songs within that playlist that fit one of five moods (sensual, tender, happy, angry, tempo).

One thing to note about Stereomood is that it appears to be a mobile-first service. The Stereomood website is functional but unrefined and doesn't appear to be a product that will win over consumers. That's a good strategy as Internet radio listeners have proven to desire mobility. Unfortunately, my impression of the mobile app comes from pictures and a YouTube video. My experience with the app has been limited due to a buggy installation.

The big question is whether mood-based listening should be merely a feature or can be the main thrust of an Internet radio service. The leaders in Internet radio -- Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker -- have fared well by creating personalized stations based on genre and specific artists songs or albums (iHeartRadio offers online streams of radio broadcasts in addition to personalized listening). But mood-based listening might make for a nice addition and help round out existing services.

Taking A Look At Spotify's App Rankings
Record labels and a global brand are behind some of the least popular apps on the Spotify desktop client (for U.S. users). The top record label app, Universal Music Group's "The Complete Collection," currently sits at #17 out of 36 apps. Domino Records' app is the second-best record label app at #21 and Def Jam's app is third at #22.

Labels apps are bringing up the rear. The [PIAS] app is currently last of 36 apps. The Matador Records' app is #31 and Warner Music Group's the Warner Sound is #32. Two other apps created by record labels, Tweetvine (Universal Music Group) and Hot or Not (Warner Music Group) currently stand at #27 and #28, respectively.

In theory apps hold potential for brand engagement on the platform, but the lone brand app is performing poorly. The McDonald's-branded LISTENin app is #33 out of #36. LISTENin helps users see what their friends have been listening to in previous days and allows the user to filter the lists by decade. Since the app functions just as one would expect, its lack of popularity suggests one of two things: either Spotify users don't care what their friends have been listening to or they don't like the idea of McDonald's having access to their Facebook information.

After #1 app TuneWiki, a provider of song lyrics, the most popular apps involve discovery and chart apps. Soundrop's excellent social listening app is currently #2., already a well-known brand, is #3. Billboard Top Charts is #4. Digster, a collection of playlists created by Universal Music Group, sits at #5. Rounding out the top ten are apps by Pitchfork, We Are Hunted, Moodagent, Rolling Stone and KCRW.