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Business News (more headlines) 01-03-2007

The 2007 Online Music Market Trends

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It's no secret that in 2006, the music industry spent billions of advertising and marketing dollars launching and promoting artists through online music services. According to the Music Marketing Network, with 40% of the USA's 177 million internet users going online for music, by placing your music online, you gain a potential audience of 70 million. Globally, with 404 million total internet users, your potential audience grows to 161 million. Fan Force CEO, Marco Hansell examines the online music market and the evolution of the mobile phone as an important channel for digital music.
* Widgets and rich media are our new friends:  Expect to see less and less emphasis on marketing "dot coms" and more use of widgets and rich media. Widgets are portable chunks of code that can be installed and executed within any HTML based page without any additional interfacing. Examples of widgets include Snocap's Store interface, the My World Visitor Widget, flash players, weatherbug's, and time widgets. Rich media combines animation, video and sound with interactive features that can oftentimes contain multiple embedded pages. Examples of rich media are ads that may include playable games, video content, music players, and even forms that may be used to capture demographic information with many of the same capabilities of a full website. Today, the consumer prefers the personal experience and enjoys the comfort of exploring a product or service right from the luxury of their own social community or network. Widgets and rich media are emerging as the best way to attract consumers to your brand without actually forcing them to your site or storefront. These two technologies will save tons of energy, marketing dollars and time by allowing consumers to experience your product or service on their own terms and even purchase your product from a third-party site. 
* Snocap vs. Burnlounge:  The statistics are in and Nielsen Soundscan cited a "dramatic increase" in digital download music sales for 2006. InStat reported that digital downloads generated over $2 billion in music market revenue and anticipate over $4 billion in 2007. The question is whose market share will increase the most in 2007?  This year, we saw two new entrants in the digital music industry, Snocap and Burnlounge. Both products are very fresh and rely heavily on the new social community phenomenon. Snocap has instant viral potential and uses the "widget" technology, which we all love. While Burnlounge has an open-access media catalog and a dose of multi-level marketing. The first to go viral and open their catalog to all users will see the biggest increase in market share for 2007.   
* Big media's YouTube competitors crash and burn…or don't get off the runway at all:  This year, rumors circulated about Fox, CBS, Viacom and NBC plotting to squash YouTube. Surveys says…not likely. Even if they do put together a YouTube competitor and attempt to use their vast catalog for a competitive edge, there's no force greater than the millions of people equipped with camera phones and webcams. One of the driving factors behind YouTube's popularity is its infinite and extensive library of unedited user generated content. Attaching a big media conglomerate's label on it will make it scream "marketing" so loud that the average user will run back to the safety of their YouTube channel.
* Hot new ad network for music labels and artists:  If you clicked the play button on the Myspace Lil Jon ad, which resembled a Myspace music player, you were redirected to Lil Jon's music page. Who was behind this ad trickery?  iPromote, a new ad network. Using the Myspace music player interface as their ad template may have been the smartest move this company could have done to bring attention to their business. Beyond capitalizing on this new advertising trend, they're offering a solid do-it-yourself PPC ad-network tailored towards artist which will change the way they market themselves in 2007. With thousands of "blind partners" from social network sites to lifestyle sites and talks of demographic targeting, rich media template integration, and even expansion into other verticals, iPromote will be the ad network to watch.
* Cingular and others steal Helio's Market Share: With Cingular and Myspace being such great friends, it's a wonder we didn't see this happen in early 2006 before Helio grabbed the "Myspace Mobile" market. Though late, Cingular offering Myspace Mobile will certainly affect Helio's market share. Helio, the self proclaimed phone that's not a phone, has more features than your typical Cingular device, but without their monopoly on Myspace Mobile, their competitive advantage is severely hurt. And at $2.99 per month Cingular's Myspace Mobile is a far cry from the cost of a totally new device. Expect to see other service providers follow the trend and offer more mobile applications for social networks.

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