Waiting For Godot (Spotify): Music Cloud Readies Payment System for U.S. Launch
-- Spotify is telling U.S. users (what few exist) that it hopes to launch "in the coming months." Here's part of an email that was sent from Spotify to U.S. users of promotional test accounts:
"We are really looking forward to launching the service in full in the USA over the coming months, and hope that you will continue to use the service and be one of our key advocates. We need to make some small system changes to our payment system for our USA launch, and so in order to make the transition for you as smooth as possible, we have credited your Spotify account with 1 month worth of FREE Spotify Premium/ Unlimited!"
The company has not given an official word on a U.S. launch. Only Sony Music has confirmed that it has licensed its recorded music catalog to Spotify for the U.S. The others may or may not be close, but that doesn't prevent Spotify from getting the business ready for a new wave of customers.
WMG's Bronfman: International Is the New National
-- Warner Music Group's international division could have a lot of growth, chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said during Tuesday morning's earnings call. "The international market is a lot larger than the domestic market. And as smartphones and connected devices increase in market share around the world, all kinds of content will be advantaged in that expansion."
In the quarter ending December 31, 2010, Warner's international recorded music revenue topped its domestic recorded music revenue $416 million to $257 million. International's publishing revenue topped domestic publishing revenue $80 million to $40 million.
But as Bronfman said, international digital revenue has room to grow. In recorded music, domestic digital revenue outpaced international digital revenue $96 million to $82 million.
No More Paradise By the Dashboard Cassette Light
-- It's an end of an era for the cassette. The last automobile to ship in the U.S. with an in-dash cassette player was the 2010 Lexus SC 430, according to the New York Times. This historical event comes as sales of the cassette format have dropped nearly to zero - but not all the way to zero. It goes to show that use of a particular type of hardware may not be in sync with what people are purchasing. CD sales are way down but there are CD players everywhere - in stereo systems, in computers and in cars. So it's not like people are going to stop listening to CDs any time soon.
But as exemplified by Ford's SYNC and Toyota's Etune, the companies' in-dash entertainment systems, new cars are quickly embracing digital media. There is a big push to integrate Internet radio with car stereo systems -- Pandora has made strides and Slacker is working hard on partnerships, too. And after-market devices will bring these new technologies to older cars. As Antony Bruno reported at January's CES, Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine and Sony are making forays into Internet radio. This year, Pioneer displayed nine Pandora-capable units starting at just $150.
Moontoast's New Facebook App To Help Artists Earn $$$
-- Moontoast, the social commerce company that allows artists to sell directly through their Facebook pages, now allows for merchandise sales through its Facebook app. This new feature allows Moontoast to facilitate some ticket sales.
As Billboard has reported many times, companies like Moontoast see a lot of promise in Facebook as a commerce platform. Right now it's more of a marketing platform, but efforts are underway to sell goods - both digital and physical - right from the Facebook ecosystem. To be sure, it's early days, but expect a lot of activity in this space. After all, Facebook has nearly 600 million registered users and people spend an incredible amount of time there. It's only natural for entrepreneurs to seek ways to get people to buy good there.