Spotify Promises a TV Service (in Sweden, of Course)

spotify-logoSpotify, the streaming music service Americans love talking about but can’t actually use, has given us even more to chat about: The company now promises to roll out some sort of TV service, some day.

Where? In Sweden, of course, which is where Spotify started, and which acts as a sort of test lab/best case scenario-provider for the service.

The company has announced a two-year deal with Telia, a European telco/Internet service provider, “to work together developing Spotify’s music service for computers, mobile phones and eventually TV as well.” No details about what that TV service might be, but the companies say a mobile offering will be available for Swedes within a “few months”.

That’s interesting, since Spotify already has a mobile offering: Subscribers to its premium service can use the company’s iPhone app, which Apple (AAPL) approved last month. No description of how the new service will differ.

It’s also worth noting that this is Spotify’s second deal with a Swedish ISP. It already has a linkup with Bredbandsbolaget, owned by Telenor, (TELNF) Scandinavian telco, which allows users to bundle their subscription fee with their Internet bill.

It’s also the only territory where the service has a bundling deal, and industry observers think that tie-up has a great deal to do with the company’s much-talked about success there.

Everywhere else, though, Spotify remains a work in progress. It claims 5.5 million users, but as of last month only about 100,000 of them were paying the company a monthly fee, according to people familiar with the service. It is currently trying to break into the US market, but has been mired in discussion with the big music labels — the same ones that have licensed the company in Europe — for months.

For more on the company’s plans, see this interview Kara Swisher conducted with cofounder Daniel Ek last month:


[ See post to watch video ]

Welcome to the Jungle! Guns N’ Roses Accused of Stealing Songs for Pirated Album.

chinese-democracy-coverA caveat before we start: Musicians accuse other musicians of stealing their work all the time, and I’ve no idea if this case has more or less merit than any other one. But I couldn’t resist relaying this story: Guns N’ Roses, which made a point of stringing up people who pirated its last album, is now being accused of pirating songs on its last album.

Via Reuters/Billboard:

Guns N’ Roses and Universal Music Group’s Interscope-Geffen A&M label were sued by British label Independiente and the U.S. arm of Domino Recording Company, who own the licensing rights to songs by German electronic musician Ulrich Schnauss.

Singer Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses band members and album producers copied portions of two of Schnauss’ songs — “Wherever You Are” and “A Strangely Isolated Place” — for a song used on the band’s last album called “Riad N’ the Bedouins,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday but made available on Monday, seeks $1 million in damages. A spokesperson for Interscope-Geffen A&M, owned by Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, was not available for comment.

You might have thought that the labels suing the band and Universal Music might have done last fall, when there was a biggish to-do about the album, and when the band and Universal Music were siccing the federal government on bloggers who posted links to unauthorized MP3s from the album.

Anyway, it’s another good opportunity to remind the young people of today why the young people of 20 years ago were really into Guns ‘N Roses: They used to be great!

Also, I am still trying to track down a recording of any of the songs from the Axl Rose-inspired “White Trash Wins Lotto“, the best musical I’ve ever seen (the version I saw featured a pre-Ratatouille Patton Oswalt, I think). Any help greatly appreciated…

Music’s Sales Slump Slowed–But Not Stopped–By Michael Jackson and the Beatles

beatlesforsaleI don’t normally bother providing you updates on the music industry’s revenues, because the update has been the same for most of the last decade: Each quarter, the industry’s collective sales decline yet again.

But here’s a very slight twist: The sales decline slowed in the most recent quarter. U.S. sales dropped 11.1 percent in Q3, compared to a 14.5% drop in Q2, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Michael Jackson isn’t going to pass away again, and that unless they finally do come to Apple’s iTunes (AAPL), there probably isn’t another way to repackage the Beatles again. Billboard:

Renewed interest in the Beatles and Michael Jackson slowed the decline of U.S. album sales in the third quarter, although the industry is still on track to fall for the eighth time in nine years…

Music retailers are hoping that the continued performance of Jackson and Beatles albums and a strong fourth-quarter release schedule will continue to make up lost ground.

During the quarter, Jackson’s June 25 death fueled sales of about 5 million units, and the September 9 re-release of the Beatles catalog has sold 1.3 million units so far.

So far this year 11 albums have topped the 1 million-unit mark, the same number as in 2008. In 2008, the top seller was Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III,” at 2.5 million units; this year’s top seller is Jackson’s “Number Ones,” at 1.8 million units.

Music’s Sales Slumped Slowed – But Not Stopped – By Michael Jackson and the Beatles

beatlesforsaleI don’t normally bother providing you updates on the music industry’s revenues, because the update has been the same for most of the last decade: Each quarter, the industry’s collective sales decline yet again.

But here’s a very slight twist: The sales decline slowed in the most recent quarter. U.S. sales dropped 11.1% in Q3, compared to a 14.5% drop in Q2, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Michael Jackson isn’t going to pass away again, and that unless they finally do come to Apple’s iTunes (AAPL), there probably isn’t another way to repackage the Beatles again. Billboard:

Renewed interest in the Beatles and Michael Jackson slowed the decline of U.S. album sales in the third quarter, although the industry is still on track to fall for the eighth time in nine years…

Music retailers are hoping that the continued performance of Jackson and Beatles albums and a strong fourth-quarter release schedule will continue to make up lost ground.

During the quarter, Jackson’s June 25 death fueled sales of about 5 million units, and the September 9 re-release of the Beatles catalog has sold 1.3 million units so far.

So far this year 11 albums have topped the 1 million-unit mark, the same number as in 2008. In 2008, the top seller was Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III,” at 2.5 million units; this year’s top seller is Jackson’s “Number Ones,” at 1.8 million units.

Stream (Most of) the Austin City Live Fest on Hulu

If you couldn’t or didn’t get tickets to the big ole Austin City Limits festival happening this weekend — don’t be too glum. Word from the GigaOM remote office in Austin is that it’s going to rain (big, Texas-style thunderstorms!).

HuluACL

With that kind of forecast, you should stay inside and stay dry. Hulu’s got you covered by streaming pretty much the whole three-day shebang live. We say pretty much because headliners are on a delay (BOO!).

You can catch the whole show at Hulu.com, or alternately, Hulu is also streaming the show through Facebook.

Hulu is really getting into this whole live concert thing. Earlier this summer it streamed one of Dave Matthews Band.

Below is the lineup for the show (all times PDT); streaming starts at 10:30 a.m. PDT and goes till 8:30 p.m. PDT.

Friday, October 2nd
10:30am – 11:30am: School of Seven Bells (LIVE)
11:30am – 12:30pm: The Knux (LIVE)
12:30pm – 1:30pm: The Avett Brothers (LIVE)
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Dr. Dog (LIVE)
2:30pm – 3:30pm: Coheed and Cambria (LIVE)
3:30pm – 4:30pm: Raphael Saadiq (LIVE)
4:30pm – 5:30pm: John Legend (LIVE)
5:30pm – 6:30pm: Andrew Bird (LIVE)
6:30pm – 7:30pm: Medeski, Martin & Wood (On Delay)
7:30pm – 8:30pm: Thievery Corporation (On Delay)


Saturday, October 3
9:45am – 10:30am: The Henry Clay People (LIVE)
10:30am – 11:15am: Alberta Cross (LIVE)
11:15am – 12:00pm: The Raveonettes (LIVE)
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Deer Tick (On Delay)
1:00pm – 2:00pm: The Airborne Toxic Event (LIVE)
2:00pm – 3:00pm: TBA
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Bon Iver (LIVE)
4:00pm – 5:00pm: …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (On Delay)
5:00pm – 6:00pm: The Decemberists (LIVE)
6:00pm – 7:30pm: Ghostland Observatory (LIVE)
7:30pm – 8:30pm: STS9 (On Delay)


Sunday, October 4
9:45am – 10:30am: Suckers (LIVE)
10:30am – 10:50am: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears (LIVE)
10:50am – 11:15am: The Dodos (LIVE)
11:15am – 12:00pm: Here We Go Magic (LIVE)
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Clutch (LIVE)
1:00pm – 2:00pm: Heartless Bastards (LIVE)
2:00pm – 3:00pm: Toadies (LIVE)
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Passion Pit (LIVE)
4:00pm – 5:00pm: Ben Harper and Relentless7 (LIVE)
5:00pm – 6:00pm: The B-52’s (On Delay)
6:00pm – 7:00pm: The Dead Weather (On Delay)

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