In a recent article, I made a series of predictions about the future of the music industry – one of those predictions was that “many new online and digital services will rise and fall.” Now that I think about it a bit more, that prediction seems kind of cheap because in the course of researching that story, I came across lots of the new online and digital services that have already risen. So half of the prediction was more just reporting than prophesying.
Even so, I thought it might be helpful to include a list of the new music models that I found while doing the research. If my prediction holds, many of these will eventually fail, and most of the others will be acquired or consolidate. Staying on top of this quickly changing industry will be tough for awhile, but knowing what’s out there now is a good place to start.
This list is obviously not exhaustive, so if you know of others, or have feedback on any of those listed below, please leave a comment. Also, some of these companies have revenue models that are clear, but others were a bit less so. If you have any input, let me know.
Goombah – Music recommendations based on your iTunes playlist and a comparison of what other people who share similar music interests are listening to. Goombah scans your iTunes library, finds other people who share your musical tastes, and then recommends songs to you based on the songs that they listen to. Revenue model: Affiliate income with potential to get into paid placement, with labels paying for their artists music to be part of the recommendations.
finetune- This site lets you type in an artist and they will createa custom playlist of songs based on that artist and others “like” them. Alternately, you can build your own playlist of up to 45 songs from 15 artists. You can then take your custom playlist and embed it on your blog or MySpace page. Revenue model: advertiser-supported
Groove Mobile – The leading music-for-your-cellphone provider, they have mobile downloads, P2P sharing, music recommendations, streaming radio and music subscriptions. Groove Mobile also powers Orange’s Music Player (U.K.) and the Sprint Music Store. Revenue model: Subscriptions
Livewire Musician – This Web application lets bands, labels or managers book gigs and tours, communicate with fans, manage radio promotions, manage the press, and track radio play. A basic account is free, and there are a la carte premium services available. Revenue model: Licensing fees
matchmine – Suggests other songs (and movies and blogs) that you‘ll be interested in based on your preferences. The company is a product of The Kraft Group/New England Patriot’s interactive media and innovation team. Revenue model: Sells general user data to partners
Nextcat – Social networking for the entertainment industry, which in the entertainment industry looks more like traditional networking. Revenue model: Advertising and sponsored listings and placements
nimbit – Business management tools for the indie musician. The company’s mission is “to put musical artists in complete control of their own music business and brand, enabling them to reach their full potential as quickly as possible.” They do this by providing solutions that allow artists to sell CDs and digital downloads, merchandise, and provides assistance with online ticket sales, e-mail list management, Website design and content hosting and a variety of other services. Revenue model: Paid services
OurStage – This site works kind of like a traditional “battle of the bands.” Bands upload their music, users of the site vote on what they like the best. Every month there are winners of cash prizes. Revenue model: The site sells the music that is uploaded to the site.
Sonicbids – Connecting bands and music promoters. The site allows musicians to put together one digital press kit (DPK) that is then distributed to promoters and helps the artists book gigs without having to send out physical press kits. Revenue model: Promoters pay a one-time fee and artists pay for submissions.
Amie Street – This site allows indie artists to upload their music – the more popular the song, the more expensive it is to download. All songs are free to start and then move up in cost the more popular that they get. When users recommend songs to their friends, they get credit to buy more music. Revenue model: Earn 30% of every song sold
Strayform – Artists put proposals online and they are (or aren’t) funded by the fans who see them. According to Strayform, “Fan funded proposals let artist get paid without giving up a big cut, without blowing money on ads, and without long term restrictive contracts.” All the media is Creative Commons licenced, so fans can use everything freely on any device and share on P2P networks. Revenue model: ?
SellaBand – With this site, musicians need to find 5,000 people who “believe in them” (people prove this by giving $10 to the artist) and then SellaBand takes the artist to the “best producers and studios in town.” Then the three (artist, believer and SellaBand) split the profits from sales of $.50 downloads. According to this article from TechCrunch, some artists have hit the $50,000 mark and have already headed to the studios. Revenue model: Splits revenue with the artist and users
CDBaby – Online record store that sells albums by independent musicians. They only sell music that comes direct from musicians, and pay the musicians directly, weekly. They also help to facilitate the digital distribution of music. Revenue model: They take $4 per CD sold, plus an initial $35 fee.
iTunes – This is a site that probably needs very little introduction. MP3 library, from which users can download songs for $.99 per track, $9.99 per digital album. Revenue model: iTunes takes 30% of each sale.
Amazon MP3 Downloads- Works just about the same way that iTunes does, except that users don’t have to download a special player to get songs, and digital albums cost $8.99 each. Revenue model: Amazon takes a percentage of each sale
Rhapsody- Another MP3 download site, this one features unlimited downloads based on various subscription deals. Revenue model: Memberships plans starting at $12.99 per month
TuneCore- This site allows artists to upload their digital tracks, and then TuneCore manages their relationships with digital distributors, including iTunes, Amazon.com and Rhapsody. I wrote a more in-depth assessment of the site here. Revenue model: Charge artists a yearly fee
In compiling this list, I relied heavily on TechCrunch and Xconomy. Thanks!