Imeem lost a key backer when the social music site raised its last round of financing this spring: Sequoia Capital. The stalwart VC firm, which invested in Imeem’s Series A round and followed on at least one other time, has apparently lost confidence in the startup’s ability to reap profits from free ad-supported music streams, and was largely washed out in the recapitalization round. Existing shareholders Morgenthaler Ventures and Warner Music Group (s WMG) provided money in the round, worth about $6 million, which first came to light in May. Read More about Imeem’s Recap Round Doesn’t Include Sequoia
It’s been a busy September for the digital music business. Steve Jobs reappeared onstage to introduce the iTunes LP format and a series of new iPods. Anticipation grew around European streaming music service Spotify, which is due to arrive on U.S. shores in the coming months. And a series of mobile music applications that compete indirectly with the iPod were approved by the very company that makes the device. So it seems like a good time to assess the chances these key music models that have received so much attention and investment have of surviving. Read More about Time for Digital Music to Get a Reality Check
If Microsoft’s (s MSFT) freshly granted patent for a digital rights management system sounds like a 2003 idea coming to fruition in 2009, that’s because it is — the patent that was granted yesterday was filed six years ago. The newly codified bit of intellectual property is a DRM system that’s distributed over peer-to-peer networks, decentralizing a processing mechanism that traditionally resides on a central server. Read More about Is Microsoft’s DRM Patent for P2P Networks Too Late, or Ahead of Its Time?
Today’s news that Sony Music will offer its catalog through online music store Amie Street represents a potential step toward major music labels’ embrace of the dynamic pricing model, in which increased popularity of a song drives up its price. Although Sony, the first major label to sell music on Amie Street, is still only offering downloads using the tiered-pricing model it uses in iTunes, the deal with the startup clears a path for Sony to apply dynamic pricing to new artists’ music as they develop commercially.
To date, dynamic pricing has primarily been a factor only in the independent music arena. Major labels such as Sony already offer records by up-and-coming artists at reduced prices in an effort to break them commercially, and could easily extend that strategy to include Amie Street’s model, in which songs rise in price from free up to 98 cents based on their popularity. Independent artists, niche labels and distributors such as The Orchard Enterprises (s ORCD) and Iris have already accepted the model somewhat, and Sony-owned indie-label distributor RED began providing music to Amie Street a month ago. Amie Street says it wants to act as “a filter for underexposed music,” and draws on Web community features to highlight artists growing in popularity. Read More about With Amie Street, Sony Music Opens Door to Dynamic Pricing Possibilities
Out of all the startups that have tried to reinvent the way we listen to music over the past decade, few have attracted as much attention as free streaming music service Spotify, the latest potential “iTunes killer.” As the European company moves to unleash its sleek user interface on the American market, Spotify could prove to be as game-changing as the original Napster, the turn-of-the-millennium file-sharing service that caused music sales to crater as it taught consumers not to pay for songs, or as disappointing as the second-generation, “legal” Napster, a music rental company that failed to win over the mass market before being sold to Best Buy last year. Read More about Spotify Is the New Napster – But Which One?