The YouTube Billion-Airs Club: Eminem, Bieber, Gaga and...Rhi Rhi?
-- Who will follow Eminem to become the fourth artist to surpass one billion YouTube views? Rihanna, who currently has nearly 986 million YouTube views. Based on her daily average in 2011, Rihanna should pass the one billion mark this Sunday, says David Burch, TubeMogul's director of communications.
After Rihanna, it could be a long wait for the next artist to reach the one billion mark. Burch says that Miley Cyrus is behind Rihanna at #5 but currently has about 701 million views.
The top YouTube artist is Justin Bieber who has amassed 1.34 billion views followed by Lady Gaga with over 1.19 billion views, says Burch. Lady Gaga passed the 1 billion mark on October 24. Bieber followed on November 5.
The Shift to a Subscription Economy
-- In light of the recent uproar about the plans of Apple and Google involving subscription content, a post by Tien Tzuo, CEO of subscription billing company Zuora, makes for interesting reading. Tzuo sees a bigger story beyond the Apple/Google headlines: a larger shift to "the subscription economy," as he puts it. Here's a brief tutorial:
"The 20th-century economy was rooted in manufacturing: companies were focused squarely on making and shipping as many tangible goods as possible. Car companies, for example, were measured on how many cars they ship in a quarter.
In contrast, modern companies focus on their customers, and focus on building long-term relationships with customers through a set of services. Zipcar, for example, reports on how many members it has, not how many cars it owns. And with these long-term relationships come a recurring, predictable revenue stream. That is the subscription economy."
The subscription way of thinking is everywhere, he writes. AT&T realized it could make more money by lowering the price of an iPhone and raising the price of a monthly mobile plan. Amazon offers free shipping through its Amazon Prime membership fees (read: subscription fees). And the publishing has long subsisted on subscriptions.
So what chances do in-app subscriptions have if Apple imposes its considerable market power? Tzuo says he is "at least somewhat hopeful" that competition - mainly from Google's One Pass - "might offer some relief to customers."
Amazon's Prime Cuts: Members To Get Free Video Streams
-- Speaking of Amazon Prime, U.S. members now get free video streaming of over 5,000 movies and TV shows at no cost (and with no commercials). Members can stream the free content on the PC, Mac or through a wide array of other devices like Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray DVD players and set-top boxes (Roku, for example).
According to a letter at the Amazon home page, Amazon Prime will continue to cost $79 per year.
Why would Netflix want to offer free streaming? First, it's not really free. Amazon Prime members already pay $79 per year for perks such as free shipping. Second, free streaming is a customer retention tool - just like free shipping. Because Amazon is a one-stop shopping portal, the company benefits when it attracts customers and keeps them at its site. Third, this is clearly a competitive reaction to Netflix. Amazon already offers video streaming rentals and purchases. And it has wide distribution through PC, Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes. But until now it did not have a subscription model to compete directly with Netflix.
What kind of content will Prime members get to view? The list of Prime-eligible videos currently has 1,704 titles and includes popular movies such as "Analyze This," "Contact," "Syriana" and "Jerry Maguire." There is quite a bit of overlap with Netflix but Amazon Prime has some titles not currently available for streaming through Netflix.
Engadget was quick to post a hands-on review of Prime streaming. While it reports some issues with streaming quality, the service gets an "actually quite good" overall rating.
While the new streaming service may be good for consumers, investors were not enthusiastic. Shares of Amazon were down 3% in midday trading Wednesday after falling 1.8% on Tuesday. Shares of Netflix were down over 6% in midday trading Wednesday.
Breaking: Music City Really is THE Music City
-- Is Nashville North America's true music city? Richard Florida, author of "The Creative Class" and professor at the University of Toronto (and blogger at The Atlantic), has once again examined the importance of music to cities in North America. What he found is that Nashville has by far the highest concentration of music industry in the U.S. and Canada (for metro areas with a population greater than 500,000). His analysis resulted in a number that compares cities' relative concentration. Nashville scored an 11.2. Second-place Los Angeles scored a 3.43 and third-place Montreal a 3.3.
Florida described Nashville's rise in music industry importance:
"Over the past several decades, Nashville transformed itself from a rather narrow country music outpost in the 1960s and 1970s into a major center for commercial music. By the mid-2000s, only New York and Los Angeles housed more musicians. Nashville's rise is even more impressive when you look at its ratio of musicians to total population. In 1970, Nashville wasn't even one of the top five regions by this measure. By 2004, it was the national leader, with nearly four times the U.S. average. Today, it is home to over 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs, and 80 record labels."
He also noted that while Nashville appears to lack the diversity of Los Angeles and New York (based on a study of MySpace artist pages), it has large concentration of genres such as Christian, pop and rock. However, he left out one genre very important to the city: gospel.
( The Atlantic)
Merch Profits Just Went Up .15 Cents Per Transaction, Possibly
-- Here's a news item that's important to anybody selling merch at a concert: Square has dropped its 15-cent transaction fee. Square is the mobile payments company that created a credit card reader that plugs right into an iPhone or Android phone. Thus, small retailers - or bands on the road - can easily accept credit card payments.
Although Square has dropped the fixed transaction fee, it still charges a fee equal to 2.75% of the transaction. That's comparable to the fees charged by Intuit's similar service, GoPayment (which still charges a fixed transaction fee, although that could change after Square's latest move).
GoPayment actually has two pricing plans. The low-volume plan does not have a monthly service fee and carries a 2.7% "swipe rate" and a 15-cent transaction fee. The high-volume plan has a $12.95 monthly service fee along with a 1.7% "swipe" rate and a 30-cent transaction fee. Fees for keying in the credit card number are higher under both plans. GoPayment works with iPhones, a handful of Android devices and six models of Blackberry phones.