After the music streaming services Rdio, Rara.com and Deezer only recently entered the German market, yet another player will join the merry crowd : WiMP (yes… let’s hope they change their name for the English-speaking market!) is the name of the service, and users beta access can be requested on their German website www.wimp.de.
So what are they bringing to the market? As Thor Martin Jensen, Global Editorial Manager of WiMP said on musikmarkt.de, editorial content will be at the core of the service. Also, their plan is to allow the music industry to participate in the development of the service.
According to Musikmarkt, WiMP the editorial content will come in the form of playlists, recommendations and other editorial content that’s targeted at the German music market. In addition to offering the latest releases, WiMP will also focus on allowing users to “rediscover the back catalogue”.
Let’s see how that goes. By the way, Spotify, where art thou?
Deezer UK today pulled quite a trick today: They got about 2,000 (from 499,508 to 501,503) likes in less than 12h.
So here’s what happened: this morning Dezzer tweeted to their 3,200 followers (@DeezerWorld (2,574 followers), @deezeruk (549 followers), @DeezerIRL (95 followers), but not by @deezer with 271,709 followers)
#Deezer is currently at 499,508 likes on Facebook. Go on, help us reach a half a million milestone. on.fb.me/orBrlU (→)
Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around.
(Neil Young at the D: Dive Into Media conference, via allthingsd.com)
As much as I appreciate Neil Young as an artist, I very much don’t agree with this sentiment. For one, if a song is played on the radio, the artist gets royalties. Second, the radio, as opposed to pirated music, is not a substitute for a CD or a legal download (turns out home taping is, after all, not killing music).
Pirated music, on the other hand, is quite a good substitute, as the popularity of piracy demonstrates.
His point is that pirated music may help to promote music. But if music “got around” by piracy, very few people would still buy CDs or legal downloads.
It may not be a perfect substitute, but it’s good enough for most people.
Furthermore, for an established artist such as Neil Young the small number of people that would still buy CDs and go to concerts may be enough to pay his rent, but it would not allow newcomers to survive.
The latest Tom Waits album “Bad As Me” (ANTI) has been launched last year with quite a remarkable social media campaign that deserves some credit:
Here’s the order of events
- Aug 16, 2011: First announcement of upcoming news on Aug 23 (reminder on Aug 22)
- Aug 23, 2011: Video clip with Tom Waits announcing new album release on Oct 25, contains snippets of new songs
- Aug 30, 2011: Title track “Bad as me” free stream; pre-order CD, deluxe CD, LP
- Sep 27, 2011: Single “Back in the Crowd” available as (paid for) download
- Oct 04, 2011: Track “Back in the Crowd” free stream
- Oct 11, 2011: Announcement: Full album for streaming available on Oct 17. Mailing list signup. Reminder on Oct 14 (“the only way you will be able to hear the new album (…) before it is released”)
- Oct 17, 2011: Full album available for streaming; only available to people on mailing list (who received an invite code by email). People with invite codes can invite 5 friends (see below)
- Oct 18, 2011: Interview on pitchfork.com
- Oct 18, 2011: Invites code available until Friday (Oct 21)
- Oct 21, 2011: “Listen with Friends”: Set of local record stores listening parties (US only)
- Oct 24, 2011: Album available in stores (CD, deluxe limited edition CD (+3 songs), LP
- Nov 01, 2011: Interview on npr.org
- Nov 08, 2011: Video for “Satisfied”
- Nov 23, 2011: Deluxe limited edition CD “available again”
- Jan 03, 2012: “Best album of 2011” award by Metacritic
(Unfortunately, as of today, the album is not yet available for streaming on Spotify.)
Here’s a few more screenshots from the invitations campaign:
Unlike in the US, where the Napster brand is put on ice, Rhapsody will retain the Napster brand in the UK and Germany, because of its high brand awareness. The service as such will be replace by Rhapsody technology though, and Napster subscribers will be migrated to Rhapsody’s infrastructure by March.
After more than a decade in the US market, the music streaming pioneer had bought Napster US from its owner Best Buy back in October 2011. With the acquisition of Napster International, Rhapsody now for the first time moves to foreign territory, shortly after Spotify entering the US market last year.
WHY RARA.COM IS FAILING TO ADDRESS THE MASS MARKET
The other day I pointed out four reasons why Rara.com is worth checking out. While Rara.com certainly brings a fresh breeze into the market, I believe they will have a tough time. Here’s why:
Let’s look again at what lets Rara.com stand out in the ecosystem of streaming services. The biggest difference between Rara.com and the existing players is clearly the user interface, which is designed to be very easy and intuitive. In the launch presentation Rob Lewis, chairman of Rara.com, said that the market of digital music is still in its infancy and has not yet reached the mainstream. Players like Spotify, at the same time, do not address the mainstream market, but a small niche instead:
The graph shows the audience along the two axes “music knowledge” (from “music listener” to “music guru”) and tech knowledge (from tech laggard” to “tech wizard”). According to Lewis, a majority of existing music services (including Spotify, Napster, Pandora, but also iTunes) are “designed for people who know a lot about music and also are technically very literate” (i.e., the upper right quadrant), and fail to meet mainstream requirements. Rara.com, on the other hand, focusses on the remaining untapped market, that represents a majority of 80% of the entire market, according to their analyses.
Quite frankly, I think that Rara.com is not going to be able to get those remaining 80% of the market, and I’m going to explain why.
As of today Grooveshark has shut down in Germany. According to their website, they did so because because of “excessive operating costs”. They continue to imply that this is the fault of the GEMA, and suggest to get in touch with them to help bring down these costs.
It would appear they are referring to the recently announced rates for streaming services (as mentioned in a previous post). Which is kinda funny, given that they don’t even pay any license fees to the GEMA in the first place. As the GEMA says in their press release in response to Grooveshark’s accusations:
Grooveshark has shut down their service in Germany – contrary to their claims – not because of excessive operating costs.
In fact, Groovshark refuses generally to pay any fees whatsoever for their service. Grooveshark has never even been in touch with the GEMA in any way yet. (source)
So what Grooveshark forgets to mention is that they don’t, never did, and probably never wanted to give money to the artists that they have on their website. Contrary to streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, or Simfy, Grooveshark do not have deals with the labels, nor do they pay any royalties. In fact, they are being sued by all 4 majors because of that.
Here’s the message that Grooveshark shows to visitors with German IP adresses:
At the bottom they recommend that German users should use Simfy instead. Here’s what Simfy says on their blog:
simfy AG today announced a transatlantic collaboration with US-based Escape Media Group and its music streaming service Grooveshark. In response to Germany’s music streaming regulatory environment, Grooveshark.com has begun referring visits from German IP addresses to simfy.de. The goal of the agreement is to provide German music fans with continued streaming access to the songs and artists they love. (source)