Leadership at Joost

Michelangelo Volpi, known generally as Mike, was for a long time the person most mentioned as successor to Cisco CEO John Chambers.  Before leaving this year, the man named after an artist,  spent 13 years at Cisco, including seven as the head of their mergers and acquisitions group.  During that tenure, he was responsible for the first seventy acquisitions – many across the time zones of the world.  He was also active in pushing the sale of Cisco’s networking equipment to many media power houses.  Now, Mr. Volpi will be taking on a new challenge as the CEO of hugely funded, largely hyped, talent-agency-represented, IPTV company Joost

joost ceoIn his new endeavor as CEO,  Mr. Volpi’s will likely find some overlaps to his past experiences and a host of new challenges to resolve. Click to Read More

Free Warner Music promised by LaLa

On a day when a major security company published a report that online music is more dangerous to your computer than web porn; a day when Microsoft got headlines for an initiative to use the combined promotional strength of its brands to help promote new emerging musicians;  a day when Apple announced a creative initiative to encourage musicians from different countries to translate and cover each other’s music, the award for the most interesting headlines in the music industry likely belongs to  a virtual unknown: a little company called Lala.

The little known startup, which heretofore was primarily focused on providing an exchange where music fans can trade used CD’s for a fee,  is expected to announce that it will begin making the majority of music in the Warner Music catalog available for free online. 

LaLa’s ambitious plan is to provide free streaming music, for which it will pay licensing fees to the music labels on a per/play basis.  Alongside the web music player, subscribers to Lala will be able to buy music in digital download or CD format.  From these sales LaLa hopes to sell enough music to cover its sizeable licensing expenses.  (estimated by the company’s founder and CEO in a New York Times article  to be as high as $140m over two years if the company attracts 5m users). 

Click to Read More

Slacker Builds a War Chest

Slacker Music

What do you get when you take three previous CEO’s from MP3/Online music companies and put them together in one room?   In the case of MusicMatch founder Dennis Mudd (MusicMatch, a pre-iTunes desktop music player, was bought by Yahoo in 2004) former Rio CEO Jim Cady, and iRiver CEO Jonathon Sasse, you get a company called Slacker that’s hoping to do what their prior companies didn’t – capture the digital music market and maybe even break Apple’s stranglehold on the $21b music downloads market.

To help in the effort, Slacker has just closed a $40m Series B financing from investors Centennial Ventures, Rho Ventures, Austin Ventures, Mission Ventures and Sevin Rosen Funds.  That follows a previous $13.5m round announced back in March.

Despite the lazy sounding name, Slacker has big ambitions. Click to Read More

Photo Licensing for All: Microstock Photo Services

Have a camera? Consider yourself a decent photographer? … Want to earn a buck from your efforts; see your pictures on a web page or in print?  Increasingly all that and more are possible thanks to a concept called Micro-Stock Photo Agencies which are gaining popularity almost as fast as their archives of footage are gaining new pictures. 

photoThe premise is simple: anyone with a camera can take a picture and upload it onto some Micro-stock Agency’s site.  There, the images will be displayed for any members to see, and if they like, license for a nominal fee.  If I need a graphic for Metue, for example, and don’t have the time to create it myself, I can go to a site like iStockPhoto.  There, if something catches my eye, for a few dollars I can license the picture (subject to some limitations) for use on my site alongside my content.  In theory, an entire website could be populated for licensed footage for sums that might only break my piggy bank, but not my real budget.

The idea of this open-access, micro-stock agency is relatively new but their older sibling, traditional Stock Photo Agencies, are not new at all.  Big agencies have for years managed the portfolios of untold amateur and professional photographers.  In fact, Stock Agencies   are generally the most consistent revenue stream for many professional photographers. They act as cataloger, distributor and licensing agent for orphaned photos (e.g. images not shot for a specific assignment). 

Click to Read More

iPhone Delivery Date

Apple News Flash

TV commercials and a posting tonight on Apple’s website have confirmed the official arrival date for the much anticipated Apple iPhone will be June 29th. The date is a week or two later than rumored deadlines but still within the June time frame Apple promised its faithful. The TV spots, which will likely be on YouTube and other video sites by morning, featured some of the phones unique features and explicitly said “Coming June 29.”

The phones, which will be available in two models for $499 and $599, are arguably the most anticipated new consumer product of the decade. The faithful and the pundits are both vocally speculating whether the product will live up to the hype. Officially now, on June 29th, the jury will able to begin consideration of its verdict.

TIVO Q1 Earnings

Late this week,Tivo (Nasdaq:TIVO), one of the pioneers in digital video recording, announced earnings for the quarter ended April 30th.  The Company beat analyst expectations and reported its first ever profitable quarter but the overall news was mixed.

Net income was $835k (or $0.01/share) over a loss of $10.7m (-0.13/share) for the same period last year. Analyst’s consensus expectations were for a loss of $0.02/share. Sales were up 6% to $60.4m. Adjusted EBITDA was $6.7 million, compared to an Adjusted EBITDA loss of ($6.9) million for the same period last year. Service revenues were $54.2 million, compared to $47.0 million. Service and technology revenues were $58.1 million, (compared with $55.0 million).

With subscription numbers, an important metric of performance for a company like Tivo, Tivo added 57,000 new subscribers but total subscriber numbers dropped 1.7% to 4.34m. TiVo-Owned subscriptions increased slightly to 1.7 million from 1.5 million for the same period last year.

Click to Read More

About the music … Video: EMI, Warner, YouTube and Apple in deals.

The news in the later part of this week was all about the music, but not the music you listen to … it was about the music you watch.  

music videosIn a series of announcements several companies made clear they were taking music videos playing online seriously.   Some of the major names grabbing the headlines included labels Warner Music and EMI, search giant Google, and of course, Apple, which these days is always within a whisper of another headline regarding consumer entertainment technology.

Here’s a recap of developments in three news flashes:

News Flash 1: Warner Music

Warner Music, one of the Big 4 record labels, made public plans launch its own online video site.    The planned site, which will be built in partnership with UK based Premium TV, will house the entire archive of Warner Music’s music video collection.  Multiple sites are planned with content organized by artist, label (there are many labels under the Warner Music umbrella) or genre.  Click to Read More

Page 7 of 7« First...34567