Spotify's New Competitor In Sweden Is WiMP
-- Spotify is about to get new competition in its home turf of Sweden when the WiMP service launches next week. It is the music service of Aspiro, a Noway-based company that creates TV and music streaming services for partners such as T-Mobile, O2 and Telenor. WiMP launched in Denmark, Norway and Portugal in 2010.
WiMP is making a big push to get people to try it. Customers of the telecom company Telenor can get a free 60-day trial while users who register outside of Telenor can get a free 30-day trial. Consumers in other countries have also been given lengthy trial periods as an inducement to try the service. In Denmark, Telenor customers who subscribe to two or more products (such as broadband and mobile) were given six free months and half price after the trial period ends.
Telenor, which is launching WiMP in partnership with Aspiro and Platekompaniet, calls the service "Norway's answer to Spotify." How does it stack up against Spotify? WiMP has "some 20 content providers," according to Telenor, including the four majors, IODA, the Orchard, Beggars Group, Naxos and Phonofile. It works on both PC and mobile phone -- a subscription gets access to both. Both have distribution partners. WiMP has Telenor, the world's sixth-largest mobile network operator. Spotify has teamed up with telecoms as well, such as 3 UK
There are some major differences between WiMP and Spotify. For starters, WiMP does not offer a free, ad-supported tier of service. It offers only a paid version that costs 99 kroner ($US 15.52) per month. And unlike Spotify, which makes few recommendations and lacks editorial, WiMP has its own editorial staff and a focus on local music. ( Press release, The Local)
Kutcher (Seat)Geeks Out
-- SeatGeek can now count Ashton Kutcher as an investor. The actor has backed the ticket search engine through A Grade Investments, a fund that also has the involvement of Guy Oseary, manager of Madonna. In addition to SeatGeek, A Grade has invested in social shopping startup Fashism. SeatGeek company was founded in 2009. It was incubated at DreamIt Ventures and has received funding from Founder Collective, NYC Seed and numerous angel investors. ( GigaOm)
Fitz Hitz The Airwaves
-- Does radio still matter? Only if you're a young band that could use some new fans. Fitz and the Tantrums http://fitzandthetantrums.com/ wrote Bob Lefsetz and talked about the difficulties of being an independent band. After explaining how do-it-yourself tools -- with Facebook at the top of the list -- allowed the band to grow its fan base without the help of a label, Fitz explained the benefit of having a radio strategy after signing to Dangerbird Records.
"Until this band I thought that radio was truly dead. Who listens to radio? Well apparently a sh-- ton of people. We have been building with radio every day and we tied in every single tour date to a radio station in every city. We decided to go out on tour right at the new year, dead of winter when the market wasn't too saturated or competitive and hit every town from Philly, to Madison, to Kansas City and Portland Maine…We would show up in the morning do an in studio performance at a radio station, go to the next radio station and do the same and what happened was we were able to make that personal connection with every radio station and their listeners and we ended up selling out 95% of the tour. It was such an education for me. Old School hitting the pavement, meet and greets, signings at the end of every show. Doing the work. Plain and simple."
While radio has played an important role, Fitz sang the praises of a webisode the band created, saying it helped the gain more devoted fans than the band's appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and Carson Daly combined. ( Lefsetz Letter)
Lost in the Cloud?
-- "By all accounts, 2011 will be the year of 'the cloud'," writes attorney Chris Castle. "Again." Beyond that humorous opening, Castle's post digs into the potential problems of cloud-based music: piracy, unlicensed uses, side-server infrastructures, edge server catching and other rights issues that will need to be sorted out before many cloud services can gain the full support of rights owners. Toward the bottom of the lengthy post (good reading if you have the time), Castle sums up his concerns from a dollars-and-cents perspective:
"Once your recordings and songs go behind the cloud, finding out what happened to them will get very cloudy indeed. If you think that YouTube's accountings are, to be kind, sub par, just wait until you get the cloud accountings. Before anyone gets licensed any music for any cloud music service, they need to demonstrate they have the ability to actually account for the licensed usages."
He also mentions my recent article (subscription required) about the wealth of piracy-promoting apps in Google's Android Market that offer no compensation for rights holders. If you want to see piracy in action, search for "MP3" at the Android market and you will quickly find dozens of apps that search for and link to MP3 files that any rational person can guess are nearly all hosted without permission of the rights holders. It's going to be difficult to compete with free when the Android app store puts so many free options in plain sight. ( Music Technology Policy)