Here are the articles our recipients clicked on most this week.
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The Daily Digest: this week's most-clicked articles

Morning all, 

I do love it when I read an article that crystallises various random thoughts of my own into a clear and precise view on something. Yesterday, Matt Hawn sent me an article from James Penycate's Ooh Brilliant blog, various points of which did just that. I've made no secret of the fact that I've been feeling (not to be too dramatic, but...) a sense of crisis about how exactly music is marketed of late. Facebook is becoming ever-more pointless as a platform from which to market (though perhaps not as a platform to carry word of your band - a very key difference). PR coverage on key sites feels like its becoming less meaningful as 500 labels queue up to grab a premiere on The Guardian, Pitchfork, NME or one of the other kingpin sites, which in reality may only be exclusive for an hour and which in my experience often actually drive very few plays. Overall, it feels like rising above the churn of "stuff" to get noticed is getting harder and harder.  I won't repost the main points of the article here but if James's summary is "less noise, more quality please" (though the article runs far deeper than that) then I wholeheartedly agree. Someone recently commented to me lately that "cultivating media" should be a key element of building an artist up - all the more so now that the days of securing on going campaign-wide coverage via one site/magazine are well and truly over. However, if the media coverage one is securing is nigh-on pointless because it amounts to a mere mention or repost of a press release with no personal touch or passion behind it, it counts for very little. We're all cheating ourselves here and it is becoming a race to the bottom. That desperately needs to change. 

Here's the articles you all clicked on most this week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


iTunes Radio: Smart For Apple, “Meh” For Users, And Harmless For Pandora

In launching iTunes Radio, Apple isn't going the all-you-can stream route, but rather is layering a Pandora-style Internet radio product atop its digital music store. It's a smart move, considering the popularity of services like Pandora, whose 72.1 million active listers collectively listened to 1.35 billion hours of music in August 2013 alone. But unlike Pandora, iTunes Radio doesn't have to be profitable in and of itself, since it's a mere piece of the iTunes puzzle and its revenue generation is threefold: advertising, new iTunes Match sign-ups (the equivalent of a "pro" account for iTunes Radio users) and, of course, digital album and song sales. It's likely most valuable to Apple as a promotional vehicle for said sales, at least for now. This could also be Apple's way of dipping its toes into the on-demand streaming music market and conditioning iOS users to turn to the "Music" app on their devices to stream music. After all, Apple did buy an on-demand service called Lala in 2009 and shut it down. Pieces of Lala's infrastructure went into building iTunes Match, but the code would be even better suited for a Spotify clone, not unlike the one Google just launched in May.
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Shazam 7 arrives just in time for iOS 7, now lets you mention friends when sharing to Facebook

We all knew iOS 7 was arriving today, and with that news we always brace ourselves for a slew of app updates designed specifically for Apple’s latest mobile OS. Some also seize the moment and roll out a slew of new features at the same time. Shazam has done just that. With its latest iOS app update, users can mention friends and places when they share a tagged song to Facebook. Also, if you have difficulty remembering the song you searched for last, you’ll now get a reminder of your most recent tagged each time you open the app. Though, as things stand, tagged songs already appear in date order, so we’re not sure what problem this feature is fixing – other than serving as a reminder to buy the song. While Shazam previously let you buy tagged songs in bulk, you can now do so directly from the Explore charts, meaning you can purchase multiple songs specifically based on where they’re proving popular, such as London or Paris.
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Business Matters: What Google Trends Says About Spotify, Deezer, iTunes and the State of Digital Music

Google Trends shows what we already know: subscription services are increasingly popular while interest in paid downloads has peaked. But Google Trends, a Google service that graphs the frequency of search terms, also shows the popularity of music services in relation to one another. A blog post by the Echo Nest's Paul Lamere showed the various trends of various digital music services at Google Trends. Lamere performed one query at a time. While the results were insightful, I expanded the searches by combining search terms and examining how services are trending in various countries. Examining trends by country is especially revealing because adoption of legal music services takes place at difference paces and on different timelines from country to country. It’s easy to understand why Apple is launching an Internet radio service. SoundScan and IFPI data have already showed that download’s share of digital music peaked in the US and globally in 2011. Google Trends also shows interest in downloads is waning.
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Exclusive: Jeff Toig, Former Muve Music Executive, Goes to SoundCloud

Jeff Toig, the Cricket Wireless senior vice president behind the creation of subscription service Muve Music, is moving to SoundCloud, the Berlin-based company that offers a popular audio hosting and streaming platform. Toig's team will oversee partnerships with content creators and technology platform partners as well as develop new revenue streams. He will start Sept. 30. Scale is one reason Toig was attracted to the Berlin-based company. He acknowledges that many digital media companies have struggled to build a highly scalable service. But he feels SoundCloud's 200 million monthly users give it an opportunity to innovate and excel. "This is a business that has already achieved a pretty extraordinary level of scale and continues to grow."
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Here's How YouTube's Offline Videos Will Work (Memo)

Now here’s a bit more detail about Google’s plans, via an email YouTube sent out to “partners” — YouTube uploaders it has a commercial relationship with. Most of the new stuff here deals with the logistics of the online/offline transfer. It’s also worth noting that YouTube says this does not apply to the movies and TV shows it offers for rent and purchase. And again, note that YouTube assumes that offline viewability will be the default state for its videos — if you don’t want your stuff watched this way, you need to tell them. One other note: While YouTube doesn’t say anything here about music videos — perhaps YouTube’s single most popular genre — I would be surprised if the music industry has given YouTube the ability to let people download music clips for free. I’m reasonably sure that YouTube has the rights to offer those clips for offline play, but only via a subscription service. YouTube declined to discuss that one.
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Exclusive: 'Spotify Landmark' Original Content Series Launches With Nirvana's 'In Utero'

Spotify has launched its own original content series and dedicated website called Spotify Landmark, a multi-media documentary series focusing on classic moments in music history. The premiere episode (embed below), entitled “The Real Story of Nirvana’s 'In Utero,'” went live yesterday (Sept. 17) on the occasion of that album’s 20th anniversary and a week before the album's deluxe reissue. The installment features audio recollections from Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, producer Steve Albini, tour mate Curt Kirkwood from the Meat Puppets and comedian -- and Nirvana opening act -- Bobcat Goldthwait as well as the album’s promotional video and a stream of the album in its entirety with commentary.
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How the Internet is killing innovation

I was granted a firsthand look at venture capital and startups, an area of the economy that supposedly drives innovation, and is full of mavericks, eccentrics, visionaries, iconoclasts, and other innovative types. Yet I didn’t find most of the people I met to be all that innovative. Every person I met seemed to read the same tech blogs, have the same information, share the same opinions about the same topics, and have the same business ideas. If the Internet had narrowed scholarship, could it have narrowed innovation as well? I have come to believe that, yes, the Internet is killing innovation. A broad and thorough discussion about why is beyond the scope of this piece, but let me whet your appetite and plant some seeds of doubt in your biased pro-Internet love fest.
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Eclipsed by rivals, Rhapsody reduces staff and ousts key managers

Rhapsody's managers were right in predicting more than a decade ago that consumers would one day flock to subscription music services. The only problem is, Rhapsody isn't one of the services they're choosing. The pioneering music company has laid off 30 workers, or about 15 percent of its staff and has plans to replace several top managers, including Jon Irwin, the executive who has led Rhapsody the past three years, sources close to the company said. Irwin is stepping into an advisory role. The Verge last week broke the news that Rhapsody was looking to replace Irwin. Also out is Adi Dehejia, the company's CFO. Dehejia will be replaced by Ethan Rudin, who was formerly with Starbucks strategy and corporate development group.
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Hedge Funds Start Dumping Live Nation Stock...

There now seem to be two groups left holding Live Nation stock: employees who can't cash out, and suckers. CEO Michael Rapino offered the first confidence-killer by dumping 40 percent of his own shares, for a near-$12 million payout. Others, including Board members and even the CFO, followed with sell-offs of their own. These guys know something the rest of us don't. And now, there's another group going cold: hedge funds. According to a recent report from hedge-tracking insider Arnold Frias of Insider Monkey, Live Nation is getting dropped by a number of high-profile, top-tier funds. "As Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:LYV) has witnessed a fall in interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, it's safe to say that there lies a certain 'tier' of hedges that elected to cut their full holdings last quarter," the report states. That includes some very big, well-capitalized names. "Intriguingly, Chase Coleman and Feroz Dewan's Tiger Global Management LLC dropped the largest position of the 'upper crust' of funds we monitor, valued at close to $30.9 million in stock, and Larry Foley and Paul Farrell of Bronson Point Partners was right behind this move, as the fund sold off about $17.6 million worth."
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Music industry matchmakers Giggem now wants to match bands with venues and promoters

It’s been a couple of months since Giggem introduced Auditions to its matchmaking platform for the music industry, with a view towards helping bands recruit new members. As things stand, if you’re a band in need of a drummer, a drummer in need of a band, or a ‘shirt-and-tie’ looking to discover new talent to sign, this is where Giggem seeks to help. Giggem analyzes user profiles to suggest possible matches based on the criteria it’s given. And today, Giggem is gearing up to boost the music industry’s ‘digital ecosystem’ even more, rolling out new venue and promoter member profiles, which basically moves the platform beyond bands, musicians, managers, agents and record labels, ushering in bars, nightclubs, concert halls, arenas, event organizers and promoters too.
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We are a strategic digital marketing agency working primarily in the music business. Our clients this year include Mercury Prize & Ivor Novello winners Alt-J, Infectious Music, Domino Records, Lucky Number, Fabric, AIM and more. We also go beyond music, working with clothes brands like FLY53 and Ellesse. If that's not enough we also provide white label solutions for creative marketing agencies, where our work to date covers anything from craft breweries to global brands in drinks and sportswear. We love working at the cutting-edge of music, tech, apps and social. Got something to discuss? Just hit reply to this email and let's talk!
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