Colbert Tackles Sponsorships, Grammys, & The New Music Biz Rules

Steven Colbert dissects whats really important for a 2011 recording artist.

The Black Keys & Vampire Weekend assist.

Spolier Alert: Music doesnt sell like it used to.

DMI Tip: Start at the 5:00 minute mark.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
MeTunes – Grammy Vote – Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney & Ezra Koenig<a>
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive

Steve Jobs Not Talking–Tim Cook (COO) Does This One

NPR piece on Verizon’s iPhone play features Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, commenting on Tuesday’s Verizon iPhone announcement.
Interesting to hear a different senior voice at Apple comment on such timely news.

Spoiler Alert: ATT scores some comparative points here as NPR digs in.

Hear or read the piece right here.

Down With Tyranny – Stewart Dissects Yesterday's Verizon iPhone Deal

Spoiler Alert: Jon Stewart is funny.

DMI Tip: Start at 3:45 mark…

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Verizon iPhone Announcement
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

Even Tila Can't Remember Her Password: NY Times Gives Context To Today's Myspace Layoffs.

Sad day at MySpace, as approximately half of their employees were let go today.

Tim Arango from the NY Times does a nice job of bringing context to today’s Myspace layoffs.

Spolier Alert: The rise and fall of MySpace may be the natural pattern for Social Networking companies.

CES In The Rear View Mirror — Fred Jacobs on The Battle For The Dashboard

CES 2011 is in the rear view mirror now.

The pun is intended, as the recurring theme of this year’s event, as it concerns Digital Music, is the battle for the automotive dashboard.

I originally wrote about this on Thursday January 6th, and called out strong moves by Pandora and Clear Channel.

Revisit that piece here:
People Listen To Music In Cars?

Now, well-respected radio and media consultant Fred Jacobs responds with the Comment Of The Moment.

Spoiler Alert: Fred says terrestrial radio better wake up, or they will find themselves losing market and mindshare in the car.

One thing that stood out to me is that about the only visibility for broadcast radio (aside from Clear Channel which was more iheartradio oriented) was HD Radio. Their logo appeared during Alan Mulally’s keynote, showcasing SYNC, and HD Radio’s presence on Toyota’s new Entune platform is impressive. This may be an indication that HD Radio may be the most viable avenue for creating presence in these new hi-tech in-vehicle systems – as surprising as that sounds.

Most in broadcast radio are still under the illusion (delusion?) that they are entitled to the lion’s share of in-car listening based on historical precedent. As we saw at CES last year and this, that is rapidly not the case as these new systems are all about choice.

HD Radio is much vilified (and there have been many speed bumps along the way). But iBiquity had a booth on the floor, cars on display, and a viable presence. Acceptance by consumers and broadcasters is a “chicken/egg” thing. Broadcasters are waiting for there to be enough HD Radios before they will commit to content creation. And yet, consumers won’t bite until they are aware of content that makes it necessary to buy a radio (or a buy a vehicle that has one).

I think iBiquity is focusing on amassing as many “eggs” as possible – car companies that commit to HD Radio, thus creating that tipping point where broadcasters finally get the messge that it is real.

Additionally, you might enjoy this Endgadget review of the Toyota Entune system, and the accompanying  YouTube demo.

The Final Take: With the notable exception of Clear Channel and their iheartradio app, traditional radio has been slow to address a profoundly transforming audio entertainment landscape. CES 2011 just drove this point home, again.

Cricket Makes Some Noise at CES – – Muve Music Gets Its CES Moment

After taking a bit of a bludgeoning from Digital Music News in late December; Cricket Mobile gets a more favorable response from Endgadget today.

Spolier Alert: The Video clip here is a pure demo. No hard hitting questions, just a visual walk through of Crickets’ Muve Music attributes.

The Final Take: Cricket has always carved out a nice urban niche around their cheaper mobile plan price points. Now, with an “All-You-Can-Eat” music + data offering at $55, Cricket jumps into the mobile music fray with a compelling price point.

What Is Facebook Really Worth?


Meaty piece on Facebook from Henry Blodget (yes, that Henry Blodget) on SAI this morning.

Spolier Alert: the answer is — “no one really knows”. Blodget argues, among other observations,  that since any company’s market valuation is a reflection of its present value of future cash flows, balanced against risk….it is way too early to tell.

Read the full piece here:

$5 Albums? – Sure, Cause Amazon's Customers Are Worth More Than Yours.

How in the world can Amazon sell thousands of front line albums for under $5?

Billboard does some good analysis on this. (chart courtsey of SAI).

Spoiler Alert: Amazon customers are simply worth more, based on ARPU.

Billboard elaborates:
As those numbers show, Amazon is simply in good position to engage in loss-leading pricing. It wouldn’t work at the other Internet sites on the chart. Amazon’s ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is 385% more than eBay’s $39 ARPU, 688% more than Google’s $24 ARPU, and a whopping 4,625% more than Facebook’s $4 ARPU. While Amazon might lose a little money at $3.99, there is clearly value in getting people to the store and keeping them shopping….

The numbers carry with them a striking implication: there just isn’t much advertising revenue for the current record business at major search companies or social networks. (Notice I threw in the word “current” there. Tomorrow’s record business may be forced to have very different economics.) If you allow Google, for example, to distribute your music in exchange for a share of ad revenue, there’s not going to be much revenue to split between all parties. Of course, that’s not to say Google couldn’t open a successful music download service or Facebook users would not buy downloads and CDs through third-party storefronts.

The financial math for downloads and search/social may not work out right now, but less expensive streaming is less daunting. After all, what Google and Facebook lack in ARPU they make up for in sheer number of users. According to comScore’s figures for November 2010, Google sites had 178.7 million U.S. users and Facebook had 151.7 million U.S. users. Even small bits of revenue from huge user bases like those can become significant sums.

The Final Take: Customer aquisition is a tricky, expensive business. Imeem, Spiralfrog, LaLa, Ruckus Network and many more bare witness. Even a diversified business model (see chart above) that is not completly reliant on music, can have dramatic ARPU challenges. But for Amazon, the worlds largest ecommerce player, the customer aquistion rewards are musch rosier.