Business Matters: Rihanna's 'Unlocked' Facebook App Gets Her 750,000 New Followers
Business Matters: Rihanna's 'Unlocked' Facebook App Gets Her 750,000 New Followers

Rihanna's 'Unlocked' Facebook App Gets Her 750,000 New Followers
-- A Facebook app created for Rihanna's new album is gaining the singer a horde of new social media followers. The app, titled "Unlocked," is a promotional tool for Rihanna's upcoming album, "Talk That Talk." Built by marketing agency AgencyNet and Rihanna's label, Island Def Jam, "Unlocked" allows Facebook followers to uncover a series of details about the album.

The results recently reported at Mashable are eye-opening. As of Wednesday, the app had led to 750,000 new Facebook followers and has led to an estimated 208 million Facebook impressions. In addition, the app has given Rihanna 1 million new Twitter followers and has led to 2.5 million tweets (a 450-percent increase from pre-app levels). The singer now has over 46 million Facebook followers and over 8.6 million Twitter followers.

Many Facebook marketing apps entice users to "like" an artist in order to gain access content, but this bespoke app is especially well done. To use the app, Facebook users must "like" Rihanna's artist page. There are 13 items to be unlocked. Seven - including song lyrics, an audio stream, the album cover and other album items - have been unlocked so far. Users are supposed to go on "missions" to unlock the content, but any previously unlocked items can be accessed right now.

"Talk That Talk" will be released November 18 on Island Def Jam. The leadoff single, "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris), has sold 583,000 digital tracks through October 16, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Mashable)

Don't miss Billboard's FutureSound Conference, taking place November 17-18 at Terra in San Francisco. FutureSound will feature keynotes from the top minds in investment, technology and music today; presentations that will offer specific solutions structured around answering the most pressing questions; and workshops.

Apple's Third Quarter, by the Numbers

-- Here are the music-related numbers from Apple's third-quarter earnings release that came out Tuesday: iPhone sales were up 21 percent to 17.07 million units; iPad sales were up 166 percent to 11.1 million; iPod sales were down 27 percent to 6.6 million.

Although iPhone sales experienced strong growth, sales of 17.07 million units was low enough to disappoint many analysts and investors (analysts' consensus was 20 million units). Apple's stock was down 5.6 percent to $398.62 on Wednesday. Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner told the Wall Street Journal this slight pullback gives investors "a rare opportunity to buy one of the highest quality franchises within tech." The stock's 52-week high is $426.70 and many analysts have a price target of $500 or more. (Press release)

Streaming and Mobile Are Getting Bigger
-- Even though nearly two out of three Americans say that the majority of their music listening takes place in the car, streaming and mobile device listening is gaining traction, according to a new NPD report.

Broadcast radio is still dominant: 80 percent of music listeners listened to music on the radio in the prior three months, a decline of 2 percentage points from last year. One doesn't need to look far to read a report of radio's demise, but it's still an incredibly popular format.

But new forms of listening are moving in on the CD's turf, according to NPD. "Smart devices streaming music could end up being the largest threat to CDs and broadcast radio since the dawn of digital music," says Russ Crupnick, senior vice president and entertainment analyst, in a statement.

Crupnick describes an upcoming "tipping point" at which integrated solutions replaced tethered connections (plugging a smartphone into the in-dash receiver, for example). Twenty-nine percent of people surveyed had listened to music using a mobile device (such as iPod touch, iPhone, or Android smartphone), up 9 percentage points from last year.

Listening in the car is a zero-sum game. When smartphone use goes up, something has to go down. NPD found that consumers spent 3.5 hours per week consumers listening to music on smartphones, a 9-percent increase compared to a year ago. That increase came right out of time spent listening to CDs and dedicated portable music players.

Beatport Launches Digital Distro Service
-- Digital music retailer Beatport has launched a digital distribution service called Baseware Distribution. Initial partners are Beatport, iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Stompy (a site that specializes in house music downloads) and unnamed mobile and tablet applications.

"We want to foster emerging creativity and help electronic artists make their work available for sale not only on Beatport, but across numerous channels," said Matthew Adell, CEO of Beatport.

Exactly how does Baseware differ from other distributors? Details are few at this point, and the company definitely enters a marketplace filled with competitors. But Beatport has done a good job carving out a niche in electronic dance music. The retailer says it has sold 77 million downloads and has distributed "upwards of $100 million" to labels and artists since its launch in 2004. (Press release)

The Orchard Updates Analytics

-- The Orchard launched some new and improved analytics features in its Release Analytics product. It now includes top charts that give the client a quick overview of its top 20 artists, releases and tracks over the last month. It analyzes patterns across the client's catalog. It breaks down information at the store and country level. And there's an iTunes heat map. (Daily Rind)

Deezer on the Move - but Not in the U.S. or Japan
-- French music subscription service Deezer is expanding - but don't expect to see it in the U.S. any time soon. CEO Axel Dauchez tells Reuters the quickest way into the most markets is by ignoring the two biggest recorded music markets. "Instead we aim to sign global licensing deals, without the U.S. or Japan, so we can roll out in dozens of countries quickly." The less he's interested in the U.S., he says, the easier negotiations for the U.S. will be.

Deezer is based on France and expanded to the U.K. in September. Its pricing has the familiar tiers: free for ad-supported streaming, £4.99/€4.99 for the basic subscription and £9.99/€9.99 for the premium subscription with mobile access. ( Reuters)