1. Universal, YouTube in Talks re Music Venture:
Record company Universal Music Group is in talks with Google Inc.'s YouTube division to create a music video venture. Instead of just receiving licensing fees or a share of ad revenue from the online video site, Universal is seeking an equity relationship on an ad-supported site focused on high-quality music videos, separate from the grainy user-generated fare common to YouTube's main site. Other record labels such as Warner Music Group Corp., Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Group Ltd. have also been contacted about the plan although they are not part of the talks.
2. iPod Generation Prefers Tinny Music to CD
Especially since the advent of digital, audio recording has become an art form in and of itself. Grammys are awarded to the engineers and producers who do the best job of it, who have the sharpest ears, the most discerning tastes. But thanks to the iPod, it may all be for naught. Indications are that the younger generations of listeners prefer their music “flat” as a pancake and loud, with very little interest in the subtle issues of “depth” and “dimension” that have been a hallmark of “audiophile” recorded sound. The implication for classical music, which has historically been at the forefront of such technological improvements in sound quality, is a possible further reduction in its perceived relevance to modern society.
3. Twitter for Dummies
An article in the Wall Street Journal explains the social etiquette and basic “how to” rules for using Twitter, the social networking site that appears to be reaching a “tipping point” of widespread use (www.twitter.com). Although Twitter is a valuable tool for “connecting” people to each other, its primary purpose is as a mechanism for personal or professional “broadcasting” of tiny bits (maximum 140 characters per “tweet”) of information. Unlike other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter does not require permission from the message sender to the “followers.” Since Twitter members are searchable, it is possible for fans of your organization’s performers to subscribe to their tweets, making Twitter a potentially valuable marketing tool.
4. G. Schirmer Puts Scores Online
Music publisher G. Schirmer has launched an online perusal service, through which one can look at – and in most cases download – orchestral scores on the web, at no charge. SchirmerOnDemand, as it is called, currently contains 500 large works by about 20 composers, mostly living, all exclusive to G. Schirmer. The plan is to “work backward,” explains Schirmer VP Kristin Lancino, and have the company’s entire catalog of 5,000 works by 300 composers online in the next several years. Scores from the catalog of print music distributor Hal Leonard – a Schirmer subsidiary – are also available online, but for viewing purposes only.
5. Mobile Apps for Music: Look Out, iTunes?
Another method for selling music online has emerged, in the form of songs that are bundled into software applications that are downloadable to the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. A rock band named PUSA is experimenting with software that lets their fans stream tracks from four albums onto their wireless handsets. The software also contains 10 songs from the band's demo tape and weekly exclusives, like audio from their rehearsals. All that comes for only $2.99, compared with more than $40 the content would have cost if it were sold in CD form or downloaded through Apple's iTunes music store, which sells songs at 99¢ a pop and albums for $9.99. Mobile apps offer an opportunity to sell new content to hard-core fans who have already purchased all of a musician's albums. But PUSA sees them as a way to lure new buyers.
6. Apple’s iTunes to begin flexible pricing April 7
Apple’s iTunes plans to boost the price of many hit singles and selected classic tracks to $1.29 on April 7, breaking the psychological barrier of 99 cents in what could be the first big test of how much consumers are willing to pay to download individual songs. Some music industry veterans are criticizing the 30% hike price, saying the timing is tone deaf because it comes in the midst of a recession and at a time when spending for online music appears to have reached a plateau. Apple Inc. set the 99-cent-per-song rate in 2003 when it launched the iTunes Store. The company long resisted pressure from the music industry to allow flexible pricing, arguing that it would inhibit sales. Apple changed its tune in January, however, announcing that it would begin selling music at three prices: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29, based on wholesale costs set by the labels and the artist’s perceived popularity.
7. WYPR gives arts groups free airtime
Baltimore's highest-rated public radio station announced that it would be offering free airtime to local arts and cultural institutions over the next six months. Beginning with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on April 6, WYPR-FM (88.1) will broadcast spots that highlight the work of 12 Baltimore-area museums, performance groups and cultural institutions. The spots, or "vignettes," will focus on the mission of each group and will be read by such personalities as conductor Marin Alsop (for the BSO) and city schools superintendent Andres Alonso (for Port Discovery). Each group's spots, which will be produced free of charge by WYPR, will air at least twice daily for a two-week period.
8. Royal Opera House productions to be broadcast on the BBC under new deal
The Royal Opera House has entered into a new partnership with the BBC, which will see Wayne McGregor’s productions of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Handel’s Acis and Galatea at the venue broadcast on BBC4. The shows will be televised in May - two of eight operas and ballets that will broadcast on BBC2 and BBC4 in total. Under the deal, a range of ROH productions will also be broadcast on the radio. This will include an eight-week season of operas to be aired on BBC Radio 3, in the broadcaster’s Saturday evening’s Opera on 3 strand. The season launches on May 16 with Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman, with other operas including Bryn Terfel performing the title role in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Höllander. Elsewhere, the BBC and the ROH will work together to bring operas to people around the UK in a series of outdoor screenings, while ROH productions broadcast on the BBC will become available on the BBC iPlayer for the first time. The partnership will also see Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera, present a three-part series called Viva Opera Italia, which charts the history of Italian Opera from Monteverdi to Puccini.