Tag: Mobile-Music

State of the Mobile Music Industry

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Bonnie and Clyde Freestyle picture copyright of Tricia Gosingtian and Dae Lee

It’s no secret that a slow response to the digital age has caused serious problems for the music industry in recent years. Sales have been in decline and most experts see no reason for that trend to slow. However, GigaOM recently covered a Juniper Research report in which mobile music had, “a larger piece of a shrinking pie.” Juniper identified mobile music as the bright spot in an otherwise dismal forecast for the music industry as a whole. Already a multi-billion dollar industry, mobile music is likely to grow at a substantial rate in the coming years as the technology that supports streaming and mobile downloads becomes more affordable and available.

Those of us who can’t live without our BlackBerry can’t help but notice that we are part of a growing community. BlackBerry manufacturer RIM reports that they shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry handsets between December 2008 and February 2009, bypassing Apples as the leading supplier of smartphones. As carrier deals, falling prices, and aggressive marketing have placed smartphone technology at virtually everyone’s fingertips, the expansion of 3G networks insures the reliability of the investment. Over the past year, carriers such as AT&T, Alltel, and T-Mobile greatly expanded their 3G networks and set the stage for the expansion of mobile music. Smartphone users accustomed to Internet music options have found themselves unshackled from their PC and application developers are seeking to meet their mobile needs.

Slacker.com’s radio app for BlackBerry allows users to listen to over 100 expert programmed radio stations or create a personalized station of their own. In addition to free streaming music, the application provides artist bios and album reviews as well. Best of all, Slacker’s app allows you to cache stations to your SD card for listening even when network reception intermittent. In March, the popular internet radio application Pandora released a BlackBerry version of the popular service. Just like Pandora for your computer, the Pandora for BlackBerry application allows you to create personal radio stations based on music preferences and uses its music genome data to feed you songs you might like as well. In addition to free streaming radio, the increased speed and storage capacity of smartphones has increased the number of mobile full-song downloads. Such downloads have undoubtedly contributed to the transfer of music sales profits to the mobile arena.

Perhaps the music industry’s best chance for an increase in overall revenue through the growth of mobile music can be found in ringtone and ringback sales. Unlike full-song mobile downloads, ringtones and ringback might complement traditional sales instead of replacing them.

Companies like SendMe Mobile and Mobicious have been getting an increasing amount of funding over the past two years. SendMe launched SoLow, an online sweepstakes site in July 2007 and acquired the online mobile community mbuzzy in October 2007. In 2008 SendMe Mobile expanding their ringtones catalog through licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Both deals provided SendMe members with ringtone access to songs owned by both companies. Investors like the looks of the ringtone/ringback market and in March of this year SendMe announced the acquisition of an additional $12 million in growth capital financing.

The Massachusetts based startup Mobicious is also tapping into the ringtone and ringback market but has ambitions to become something larger. Mobicious allows users to create a ringtone by uploading an mp3 from their desktop and download a 20 second clip as a ringtone to their smartphone. Mobicious also caught the attention of venture capitalists to the tune of $5 million in funding and in 2008 was honored as one of the most innovative companies in the Northeast. Mobicious has set out to become the go-to portal for mobile content, and in addition to ringtones they provide over 400,000 items of free and premium content.

The music industry will undoubtedly continue the attempt to adjust to the digital and increasingly mobile world, and smartphone users can expect innovative applications designed to deliver the music they want, when and anywhere they want it.

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New music player for BlackBerry Unsynced aims to outperform Apple

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unsynced

A little less than a year ago, Jim Balsillie was given a lot of criticism for saying that the BlackBerry platform will beat out Apple when it comes to media. There hasn’t been much development on the native music player and while it serves the basic purpose, there’s a lot that could be improved.

This is where BlackBerry has the advantage over iPhone. Apple would never let another company try and compete with their native applications such as the browser, but RIM welcomes third party software. The latest BlackBerry media solution is from Unsynced, an all-in-one music experience for BlackBerry that the company promises will one day make all of your Apple friends jealous.

Some of the features of Unsycned include:

  • Painstaking care has been taken to ensure Unsynced Music is efficient and predictable.
  • The Unsync button will capture song information. Unsynced does a search on their end and e-mail you the most relevant results so that you won’t forget to “purchase” it when you get home.
  • Use any PC to drag and drop music into folders on your BlackBerry using Mass Storage Mode. Listen to your newly added songs through Browse Files, or quickly create new playlists through Create/Modify Playlists, giving you the freedom to add to your music experience not just at home, but wherever you go.
  • Progress indicators for those long podcasts.
  • Customizable color themes to match your style.
  • Send song info to friends to share your tastes.

Download Unsynced Music for your Bold or 8900.

Or visit m.unsynced.com from your BlackBerry browser.

{Currently only available for the Bold and 8900. More devices to come soon]
More screenshots after the jump

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Telus Mobile Music now has 25,000 tracks from Quebec artists

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Those that know me know I’m a huge fan of music and particularly a connoisseur of Canadian music. The big story of the Canadian music scene recently has been all the great bands coming out of Quebec, and Montreal in particular (sorry Toronto and Vancouver, but you know it’s true). That’s why I was immediately excited when my friends at Telus tipped me off that their Mobile Music service now has 25,000 tracks by home-grown artists, making it the largest collection of Quebec songs for mobile phones.

TELUS will continue to expand its musical library by adding new productions from Quebec-based record companies, such as TACCA Musique, Audiogram, Indica Records, Déjà Musique, Sphere Musique, Vega Musique, Dare to Care, Grosse Boîte, K.Pone.Inc Music Group, Iro Productions, Tandem.mu and Abuzive Muzik, as soon as they are released. The most avid music lovers will be able to enjoy new releases in real time, without having to wait to buy their favourite artist’s latest album.

25,000 tracks is a lot. I was strolling through the list and found composer Coeur de pirate (shown above), which I recommend because I think her name translates to “Heart of a Pirate” or potentially “Heart Pirate”. Telus customers can find their own favorite artist at www.telus.com/music. Tracks start at $0.99 each, or for $20.00 per month, music fans can also download an unlimited number of tracks from a catalogue of over one million songs. The full press release is after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Telus Mobile Music now has 25,000 tracks from Quebec artists’

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Jim Balsillie talks music 2.0 and App Center

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Jim Balsillie seems very eager to encourage the consumer side of BlackBerry by stating recently that they’re going “music 2.0.” Although he clearly stated that the BlackBerry is not competing with iPhone, it seems that recent moves are aimed at making the BlackBerry more competitive in the same market. While in Cannes at a music industry conference, he had the following to say about their upcoming Application Center:

“We’ve moved to [music] 2.0, where music is undergoing a radical transformation and it creates a remarkable new opportunity for content owners to monetize their content… [BlackBerry is] already very music centric, what were talking about now is our platform.

We’re ingesting apps now and it goes online in March… [It has] a billing engine and is a channel for developers - you’ll see dozens of music apps.”

The shift to on-device billing of apps and media has been a long time coming. It is said that BlackBerry now caters to somewhere around 50% consumers and this iTunes-like store will be a great revenue generator for all those new customers. At the same time, I feel a lot more can be done for enterprise first, their niche market where they can still make a lot of headway.

[Via]

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FlyCast Piles On New Platform Enhancements

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Press Release

Leading Mobile Broadcast Network Adds Desktop Widget, Android Support, More

CES SHOW, LAS VEGAS, NV - January 8, 2009 - FlyCast announced a number of new
enhancements to its industry-leading mobile broadcast network today, including a move to the desktop with its new player widget for PCs and Macs. Other announcements include support for the T-Mobile G1and other upcoming Google Android-based devices, a new “What’s On Now” program guide feature, a Facebook interface, a partnership with AccuWeather.com and support for AAC+ and Windows Media streams.

“2009 will be a year of transition for broadcasting, as hundreds of millions of new ‘smart devices’ hit the streets, with incredible media consumption capabilities,” noted FlyCast CEO Sam Abadir.

“FlyCast continues to lead the way in offering broadcasters and webcasters innovative platform capabilities to take full advantage of these new and compelling distribution opportunities.”

Download Flycast for BlackBerry

FlyCast platform enhancements

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Slacker Announces Availability of Mobile Radio Application for BlackBerry Smartphones

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Press Release

Exclusive station caching feature guarantees playback everywhere while also dramatically boosting battery life and performance

LAS VEGAS - January 8, 2009 - Slacker, Inc. today announced the availability of the free Slacker Mobile application for BlackBerry smartphones from Research In Motion. BlackBerry smartphone users can now hear their favorite Slacker radio stations wherever they go, whether they are connected to a wireless network or not - a Slacker Mobile feature exclusive to BlackBerry smartphones. The application, which is compatible with BlackBerry Device Software version 4.3 and higher is available as a free download by visiting Slacker.com from your BlackBerry smartphone.

Continue reading ‘Slacker Announces Availability of Mobile Radio Application for BlackBerry Smartphones’

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BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac hands-on

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It seems as though RIM has finally heard the cries of many Mac BlackBerry (MacBerry?) users. Earlier this week they released a ‘Preview’ build of BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac, and I had to give it a test run. In general, it works as advertised and syncing playlists is surprisingly fast. Unfortunately, you can’t just drag over iTunes albums as is, but have to make a playlist out of each.

Here’s some things to keep in mind:

    This is a ‘preview’ build. RIM seems afraid of Mac development and has gone out of their way to tell users that their not legally responsible if Mac Media Sync roxXors yurz blakberreez. You have been warned.
    Mac Media Sync will not work with Pocket Mac or Missing Sync. Which would be fine if RIM had also released a Mac Desktop Manager, but one step at a time, I guess.

Download BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac

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BlackBerry Media Sync updated, now supports album art

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BlackBerry Media Sync

RIM has officially released a new version of the BlackBerry Media Sync, which allows users to sync their BlackBerry Media Player with their favorite iTunes playlists. Version 1.1.0.24 now includes album art support as well as a few other features (Vista 64-bit support and a bunch of new languages). The inclusion of album art support is actually enough to get me to start using Media Sync over drag ‘n dropping my music files onto my MicroSDHC card. Oh wait, at least I would if MEDIA SYNC WERE AVAILABLE FOR MAC. Sigh.

Below you can find a download link to version 1.1.0.24, as well as a handy knowledge base article telling you how to use Media Sync.

BlackBerry Media Sync 1.1.0.24
BlackBerry Media Sync 1.1.0.24 Knowledge Base article
General BlackBerry Media Sync support

|via BerryReview|

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Verizon launches VCAST Music on BlackBerry Storm

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A helpful tipster with the inside scoop just let us know that Verizon has launched the VCAST Music application today for the BlackBerry Storm. VCAST Music allows you to purchase songs individually or subscribe to get unlimited access for $14.99 per month. A quick catalog search of Verizon’s offering tells me that VCAST Music has millions of songs available. You can learn more about VCAST Music at the link below and view another image of the Storm application after the jump.

Verizon VCAST Music for BlackBerry

VCAST Music for BlackBerry Storm

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Mobile headphones can interfere with heart devices

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iBerry

As someone that is constantly concerned about the amount of radiation my BlackBerry emits, you might call me the paranoid sort. So when I heard about this recent report by the FDA saying that headphones — yes, even the kind all you multimedia-enabled BlackBerry users have — can interfere with heart devices like pacemakers if held too close, I had to write about it:

“Headphones contain magnets, and some of these magnets are powerful,” said the study’s leader, Dr. William Maisel, a cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a heart device consultant to the federal Food and Drug Administration.

When headphones were about an inch from the device, interference was detected nearly one-fourth of the time — in four of the 27 pacemaker patients and 10 of the 33 with defibrillators. A pacemaker reset itself in one patient.

Dr. Maisel said that the headphones could have an effect even when unplugged. Don’t be too concerned, however: the report also said that as long as you keep the headphones away from your chest, you should be fine.

|via CN|

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