As music industry conference SXSW wraps up for another year, there's been a flurry of music business activity worth absorbing. Here's a roundup of the most interesting developments over the past week, including:
- A full video of Dave Grohl's SXSW keynote speech - Twitter's new music streaming service - The headphones that react to your brainwaves and mood - Apple plans to let you 'resell' old MP3 files.
We'll start with Dave Grohl's excellent keynote speech at SXSW. While discussing his history and relationship with music, Grohl unloaded a few surprise facts on the crowd.
Did you know that "Gangnam Style" is one of Dave's favorite songs from the last decade? Yep, me neither. He also told the crowd that Foo Fighters is a "stupid name," which is odd for a guy that coined the title. See Grohl's full keynote here for more:
It seems like 2013 is the year that music streaming is really exploding into the mainstream. In the past, the most popular efforts followed the Spotify model of offering access to a huge online catalog for a monthly subscription fee.
Now there's signs that new companies are going to bend and warp the streaming model into new shapes, which is great for customer choice and ultimately means musicians have a better chance of being paid and finding an audience in the future (or at least, we hope so).
Twitter Music is the latest entrant to the streaming space, according to recent rumors. The new Twitter Music app will behave like regular twitter feeds, with four tabs: "Suggested" to highlight new music tips, "Popular" to chart the most streamed songs on the whole platform, "Emerging" to promote fast-rising new artists and a #nowplaying stream to tap into what other Twitter users are listening to at any moment.
Twitter will collaborate with Soundcloud to deliver these music streams, though as we discussed last week, Soundcloud has some hurdles to overcome before it can pay artists for streams, which continues to be a central debate among music marketers online. On the plus side, Soundcloud is available in pretty much every country unlike Spotify or YouTube, so it's the perfect platform for a global network like Twitter to collaborate with.
Now for something different. How would you like a pair of headphones that react to your brainwaves? This new pair of cans from Neurowear promises to do exactly that. It connects to a special iOS app which reads your mind to select the perfect music for your mood - or so it claims. Hit play to see them in action:
Apple could be preparing to find a way for you to sell your old music files, just as we used to sell old CDs or tapes in the old days. Wait a second did I say "sell music files"? That's right, you could sell your old digital music files that are technically invisible and don't exist. It's not even a new concept; ReDigi does exactly the same thing and is currently in court defending users' rights to sell digital content.
A patent discovered by Apple Insider shows that Apple is seriously considering a system that lets you trade digital content like music files and apps to other people. We presume this means Apple gets a 30% cut on these sales, just as it did on the original music or app sale... which means the original musicians and developers could lose out on their share.
This makes for an interesting debate should users have the right to sell digital content, or should the creators be rewarded with every new customer? Let us know your thoughts on this or any other topic in this column in the comments.