As with every new year, there's little drama to report in the music world while everyone recovers from the holiday period - but don't think nothing is happening out there.
The music business is frantic with planning its strategies for the year, and as usual, technology companies are among the frontrunners for setting the tone in 2013.
Today our report will cover:
- Amazon MP3 store sidestepping Apple's 30% Cut on iOS; - The streaming company that delivered 13 billion hours of music last year; - A free way to get your music on iTunes for the world to enjoy; - The beautiful new tool that will promote your band on social networks; - How 2013 will be the year that Soundcloud breaks into the mainstream;
Your feedback and questions are welcome in the comments, where we'll be taking part in the discussion. Shall we begin?
Amazon Brings MP3 Store to iOS
Amazon have pulled one of the cheekiest moves in music history, by launching a web version of its own music store. The idea is to avoid releasing a music app on iOS devices, because then Apple would get 30% of every transaction. Amazon's solution is a webpage that behaves like an app store at amazon.com/mp3.
You can listen to any songs you buy using the Amazon Cloud Player app, available on the regular iOS store. All Amazon has to do is avoid the sales part happening on an iOS app, which it achieves with the MP3 web store; the listening can still happen on a native iOS app.
On the plus side, Amazon has a good catalog of songs and has more deals available. On the bad side, Apple might block it one day, and your only choice of device might be an Amazon device if you want to hear your music. It's too early to tell if Amazon's future products will be something you want to buy.
Pandora Reveals Impressive 2012 Stats
Music fans streamed 13 billion hours of music from Pandora in 2012 - not bad, considering artists were critical of its bid to reduce royalty payments a few months ago.
Here's the new stats in full:
- 13 billion hours of music streamed; - 1.6 billion personalized radio stations; - 1 million different songs streamed from 100,000 artists+; - 10,000 artists had 250,000+ unique listeners each;
"Fandalism" Offers Free iTunes Distro
Want to sell your music online? Digital music distributors like CD Baby and Tunecore make it easy by sending your tracks to all the online stores on your behalf - but it comes at a price.
Now an alternative has emerged with the musician social network Fandalism.
It offers free iTunes distribution, and you can pay $19.99 per year for additional distro to Google Play and Spotify catalogs with as many songs as you like. While the distro options are pretty limited (other companies send your tracks to at least 25 stores worldwide), it's good to know there's an affordable alternative which goes to the main western stores. Fandalism also acts as a musician social network, and claims to have over 550,000 members around the world. Not bad.
Tool of the Week: Dropify
If you want to promote your band online, there's a new option which neatly connects your Facebook profile and tracks downloads in a beautiful design. Dropify is a quick and easy way to share free downloads on social networks. Just drag and drop onto the home page, and you're halfway there:
Unlike similar drop-and-upload services, it encourages files to go viral with some smart social integration and design choices. It's also fully compatible with mobile devices, which is especially important when you consider how many people only have internet access through their smartphone.
Here's an example of what it looks like when someone shares an ebook to Facebook:
Sadly, you can't sell files on Dropify, but next time you have a free song to preview for download, try it out. Will Soundcloud Take Over 2013?
Last week we reported on some stellar listener growth on Soundcloud after its redesign in late 2012. Since then, Next Big Sound released its State of Online Music 2012 report, which highlighted the stratospheric growth artists have seen recently:
Soundcloud was already an integral part of any musician's online toolkit, but the new design introduced a 'repost' function that lets non-musicians join in the fun and share songs they like best. It seems the new listeners are non-musicians who are spending more time on the site now they can share music too.
Years ago, Soundcloud was the stronghold of producers and studios. It's great to see a company grow into being a positive, creative network where everyone can take part.
Do you have any questions about the topics raised this week? Ask your questions in the comments - we'll be joining the discussion and answering your questions.