Archive for category Music

Where to find the next best band?

Next Best Band 

In the Netherlands alone, there are about 15.000 unknown bands, waiting for that one chance to break through.  As I experienced myself, unknown bands hardly ever get a chance to perform outside their region. As a band from Amsterdam, it is relatively easy to arrange several gigs there. But as soon as you try to break down the borders, you get shot down! Band contest are bound by several rules, of which the location of the band is always a big issue. Smaller bars think that bands from outside the city won’t bring enough fans and you forget about the bigger venues of course.

Platforms such as Ongekend Talent and Next Best Band try to create a bridge between the band and the rest of the Netherlands, by organising band contests for example. The band with the most votes wins the festival spot, the opportunity to open for a popular band from the states or to record a video clip. Next Best Band takes this a little further and organised a Next Best Band Tour. Four cities, four venues, three rounds, a total of 12 shows with a total of 18 bands, each one of them talented enough to be the Next Best Band.

Every tour consist out of 2 bands who get to play at some of the largest venues of the Netherlands: Hedon (Zwolle), Patronaat (Haarlem), 013 (Tilburg) and Tivoli (Utrecht), each night  a local talent will accompany them. A great opportunity for all the bands involved, a good promoted gig, at a well-known venue and the best thing is, the bands only have to show up.

 

Tonight Next Best Band is at Hedon Zwolle. Dudettes (which you may have heard live at radio 3FM this week) and Birth of Joy will be accompanied by local talent De Geweldigheid.

Doors open at 20.00 and entrance is €7 and €5 voor students and CJP cardholdes.

June 9th, you can join the Next Best Band team at Tivoli de Helling in Utrecht. This time Audio Adam will accompany Dudettes and Birth of Joy. A combination sure to rock your night!

Doors open at 19.30 and entrance fee is the same.

See you there!

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Slow and steady wins the race

When Apple released its first iPad back in 2010, majority considered it as a revolution. Well, yes and no. Actually, the first complete concept of a tablet computer was the DynaBook. Alan Kay presented it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Even Microsoft in early 00’s first defined the term “Tablet PC”. But only Apple managed to create genuinely user-friendly product, which infected the crowd, and delivered 3 million of the devices in 80 days.

And here we go again with streaming services. Purely philanthropic and non-profit starters such as Pandora, Grooveshark and Rhapsody passed the baton to more mature Spotify and MOG, who took a quite serious approach signing deals with all four major labels (first one has rights to operate only in Europe, second – only in U.S. market). In addition to this, MOG Investors include Menlo Ventures, Balderton Capital, Simon Equity Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music.

Finally, we got to the top: Google Cloud Music beta recently released and Amazon Cloud Player Lets You Play Your Music From Anywhere. Both of them did so without securing licensing rights from record labels but have maintained that their services are completely legal, as users can only upload own purchased music.

There are also rumours about Microsoft Ventura music cloud solution, and even HP confirms that it has acquired Melodeo, a company that provides cloud-based delivery systems for content.

But wait, where is Apple? While Amazon and Google have managed to win a short sprint outpacing Apple by few months, both of their cloud music services have already been heavily criticized, both by the unhappy music industry and from consumers, who have found the quality of the services to be lacking. Such approach could send music content providers rushing into Apple’s arms. And if recent reports are to be believed, Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing deal with EMI Music, and is close to similar deals with UMG and Sony Music Entertainment.

But lets not forget about Apple ability to make things easy to use. It is not only about applying recently emerged technology, but also analyzing current needs of society and improving user experience. And perfect timing of course.

Seems like Apple let rivals to launch their services with only one reason – watch and analyze them. It is a great ability – learn from other’s mistakes. Thumbs up, and lets hope that Google, Amazon or Microsoft can build or improve their own cloud music services in order to give us, users, a bigger choice.

Apple has already confirmed the schedule for WWDC 2011, one of the biggest tech events in the industry, which begins on June 6 till June 10, 2011. Apart from iPhone 5 and Mac OS X Lion Apple is expected to make an announcement regarding its cloud-music system.

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Slap in Apple’s face by Google Music?

On Tuesday Google launched a new music service: Google Music Beta. This service allows you to upload all your music and organize it. It will sync all your music devices and enables you to access your music everywhere. Right now you can only use it by invite and in the USA. But no doubt that it will come across the big pond as well. Here you can watch a video which explains how the new music service works:

Sounds too good to be true? Find a first review of the offered service here.

If it will really be a slap in the facefor Apple is not decided yet. Until Google does not offer an online buying service it will probably not be a huge threat. In the future we will see how the Beta Version develops and how big the acceptance within the customers is. But this definitely shows that there is a world outside apple services and devices, increasing hope for all android mobile phone users.

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360°, but not deals

360° full motion interactive videos are finally taking off. Will.i.am recently launched his digital media company will.i.apps and it’s first application BEP360 featuring a video from Black Eyed Peas song “The Time (Dirty Bit)”. Once you download an app, you dive into a fully immersive experience. Moving a phone around user will be able to experience the world.

One of the current biggest players in 360° video production is Immersive Media Corp. from Dallas, Texas, USA. It offers “11-lens camera and full complement of production and post-production services are being used by prominent brands to deliver cutting edge live entertainment and advertising.” Check this amazing base jumping video and even more demos on the Immersive Media demo page.

And for all these with a low budget, Pittsburgh tech start-up EyeSee360 released a 360-degree lens for use on your iPhone. The device attaches to the lens of an iPhone 4 and catches everything visible within 360° view. Viewers of the footage are able to change their point of view using the phone’s touchscreen, looking in front of, behind, beside or above the camera. GoPano is expected to sell for about $80.

Now imagine if we could play this kind of video back through a pair of goggles equipped with motion sensing accelerometers. Turning your head to change a viewpoint, the effect of Virtual Reality might be achieved with the snap of a finger.

We’re looking forward to see how this technology being used for live concerts and fully immersive experience.

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Dying of D.I.Y.’ing? Outsource!

What is behind the name of the artist? Obviously, his music and a bunch of different sales and marketing activities. A new trend called outsourcing has been on the rise as a way for record companies to cut costs and still produce a great product. Outsourcing is being used in a few different ways: music production, promotion and distribution.

Universal Music, the world’s largest music publisher and record label took advantage of the expertise, scale and resources of an experienced supply chain specialist called arvato. In result, the Company improved the next-day delivery service for UK and Ireland orders, which was done by implementing a new warehouse management solution.

“There was no specific ‘problem’ we were trying to fix – nothing was ‘broken,'” says supply chain manager Clive Smith. “But by outsourcing something non-core we’ve still been able to realise real benefits and improved our processes at the same time.”

Not only recording companies, but also start-up musicians and acts are looking towards new opportunities, outsourcing features and DIY culture. They are trying to do developing, marketing, sales and administration all at once on their own.  This group of artists decided to turn a back on the traditional record label model in search of a better way. Despite the internet makes do-it-yourself so easy, there are too many services, and so much change finding the way is expensive and quite difficult. D.I.Y. is making you crazy? Then outsourcing is for you!

There are quite a lot of things that can be outsourced:

  • Web-design, coding and logo design
  • Analytics and statistics
  • Video shooting and editing
  • Recording and mastering

And apart from technical stuff there are plenty work left for bookings research, search engine optimization, social media activities, content writing etc. Artist usually pays 10%-15% commission fee to a booking agency, but it is not a big deal to find a personal assistant that can perform a range of different tasks (including bookings) for $5/h. Do you feel that breeze of saved money coming back into your pocket?

Think about outsourcing as time (saved) and investment. It is important to find a good reason and possibly to start with a small budget assigning tasks to the army of freelancers. Overseas workers should be considered also as they might cost 3-4 times cheaper. Check Odesk.com where you can find contractors for any kind of tasks – from programming to business consulting and project management. ScriptLance.com is mostly focused on web-development and Guru.com is perfect for finding freelancers in technology, creative arts and business fields.

One more resource to mention – a blog by an outspoken member of Generation-Y, music marketer Greg Rollett. Gen-Y Rock Stars was a brand, developed as a blog and business for indie musicians to explore online tools and communication to develop their own brand. Sign-up on a web-site and get free pdf with all necessary resources + 2 mp3 podcasts, or just simply start with videos.

On this note we want to remind you, that Holly Blue is an integrated marketing communications firm or the Boutique Agency that offers PR services, product development and bookings. HB offer is:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Music Analytics at IASPM2011: Spotify will vanish

The IASPM conference held on 14th and 15th of April rather surprised. Indeed, the differentiation between speakers was quite big. Disappointment, that many students speakers could not answer questions from audience. The most common phrase you could hear:”Oh, I didn’t complete any research on that”. But lets leave them and talk about speakers that brought a huge inspiration.

First to mention is Dr Lee Marshall from University of Bristol. He was talking about stars in the recording industry and changing dynamics. But before his talk, this respectable gentleman was hiding on a last row stinging every speaker with fair questions. Should I say that some of the presenters “capitulated”? And today he even came to us again and gave a perfect overview on music industry biggest players and 360 degree deals. Well done! Thank you and hopefully see you soon!

Other amazing speaker Michael Christianen shared his opinion on developing systems that help customers to optimize the music discovery, managing and sharing processes. This presentation highlighted those concepts together with the results of the research done by Michael in the past 15 years. He also represented his research on streaming business model, claiming that Spotify might disappear, but Goggle or even Amazon might catch up and become major providers of a streamed music and other cloud content. But these grands should consider several attributes, such as:

  • Discover
  • Acquire
  • Manage
  • Use
  • Share

These components must be considered, developed and modified in order to establish a competitive service that will hit the spot. Paradigm shift that started 10 years ago is not finished yet. As Michael said:

“For established parties, it is therefore important to act pro-actively, integrating new technologies, new business models and alliances in order to forge a solid position in the value chain to secure.”

We are here, to provide you with latest updates on music industry. Stay tuned.

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The Pilots – Infinite Skies EP is online!!

We are very excited to announce that one of our own team members has released his own EP!!

Check it out and let us know what you think!

You can listen the tracks of their EP on: www.thepilots.nl

Keep them on your radar! Cause they are ready for take off!!!

 

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VillaMusicRights

The world of music copyright is evolving. Monopolies of collecting societies are under pressure. Composers complain about a lack of benefit, users about non-transparent and high tariffs. Why should you as a composer pay a membership fee to such an organization, when you have to fill in a lot of forms and get nothing or little in return? Why should you as a user pay such high tariffs? This can change… (villamusicrights.com, 2011)

Even though artists are free to manage their own rights, most artists choose to transfer their rights to collecting societies. Best know society in the Netherlands is Buma/Stemra who takes over the right for existing works as well future works. Another platform to manage your rights is Creative Commons. Creative Commons focuses fully on the online area, trying mainly to stimulate the legal use of music (and other creative works), but also their free use. And now there is VillaMusicRights. VillaMusicRights a worldwide operating website for music authors (composers) and users of their musical works, provide a database on which music authors and lyricists make their works available together with the necessary licences. VillaMusicRights is founded by Koos Kalkman and Jan Smits.

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Bon Jovi gave THE Interview of the week and slashes against Steve Jobs

The interview created quite a big buzz since Bon Jovi blamed Steve Jobs “for killing the music business”.

Justified?

On the one hand Bon Jovi’s opinion is understandable: Itunes made it unnecessary for people to go to a record shop. No more hassle with driving to the city, buying the album and driving back. Now, they could just buy it with basically one click. Suddenly music became really easy accessible for mostly even a lower price than previously. Obviously the music business is not really happy with earning less money per CD.

Or was it Napster?

But wasn’t this development bound to happen soon anyway? With the start of Napster online consumption of music really started of. Some people didn’t like using Napster since it was illegal and therefore ITunes provided a nice and easy solution for them. After Napster shut down  many of the illegal music downloader became users of ITunes due to the low prices. Music became basically so cheap that it was for many people not worth it anymore to download it from some shady websites. ITunes and therefore its creator Steve Jobs, didn’t do anything wrong, they just provided a legal alternative for music buying and consumption when the music business couldn’t or didn’t want to do it.

Nowadays the internet is surrounding us 24/7, it would be unimaginable if the music business wouldn’t be partly happening online as well. Therefore it only seems logical now that Itunes came into existence.

Or ITunes and therefore Steve Jobs?

Additionally ITunes gives the user the opportunity to only buy the songs he/she really wants without being stuck with a whole album the user might not be interested in. This is really nice for the user, but for the music business it is disastrous! Less people are spending money on a full album and thereby destroying the overall artwork of many artists. The artwork, the construction and the songs are not randomly chosen by the artist but are arranged as a personal art piece of the artist. By only purchasing a few songs the user does not listen to the songs like it is intended to be, part of the listening experience is gone.

Overall I think Steve Jobs didn’t kill the music business but pushed it in a new direction and gave it a new life online.

Bon Jovi is probably not totally against ITunes since he also earns money with it…

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