— MySpace Downloads May Be “Largest Purchasable Offering Of Music Ever”: That’s what Snocap CEO Rusty Rueff told Marketwatch. (video interview). His premise was 3 million bands x 10 songs each = massive. Artists get to keep more than 50 percent though Rueff wouldn’t say exactly how much; just that “we are running a business” and that Snocap has to cover the cost of storage, payment processing and all the rights-related checking processes. “The two of us [Snocap and MySpace] share a little bit at the end,” he said, modestly. “It’s a small part but we reserve the right to get smarter about those costs.” To break even, he said Snocap needs to sell millions of downloads every month but emphasized that for now, the focus is on working out just how the model works best. That will probably involve adding more distribution points for these unsigned artists, such as other music download stores. “Social networking is the future of the connection between artists and fans,” he said.
— The “massive” impact of social nets on music: From the 2006 UK Digital Music Survey by Entertainment Media Research. Unsurprisingly, social networking sites play a big part in the music habits of teenagers: 23 percent said sites like MySpace and Bebo have had a “massive” impact on their music purchases, 31 percent have bought downloads or CDs of music they found and 12 percent regularly download for free. Forty-nine percent regularly recommend artists to others and 57 percent have discovered music they say they love. More details on our sister site, MoCoNews.net.
— iPod under threat?: Among consumers the iPod has still not been bettered, according to this piece in USA Today. Despite a growing threat from Microsoft’s imminent Zune MP3 player, as well as the legion of mobiles with integrated MP3 players, the Apple addict factor and the trend for built-in accessories, like iPod docks in luxury BMWs, mean that iPod’s reign is still secure. Fans are prepared to pay a premium because the design really hasn’t been bettered – that’s why it has a 75 percent market share in the US and 50 percent globally. Jupiter analyst Nate Elliott questioned the quality of Microsoft’s PlayForSure software and said no-one yet rivals the iPod’s integration with the iTunes music store. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating and so far no one else’s pudding is very good,” he said.
— Advert-lite web attracts radio listeners: The long tails of web radio are explored in this Reuters piece: a swathe of amateur radio stations are broadcasting online, and promoting themselves through listings on AOL Shoutcast.com, Live 365.com or Vtuner.com. Radio listeners are switching to more niche online services that often have fewer adverts and more music. More of these niche stations are becoming viable businesses, funded through donations, sponsorship or government funding. The BBC is cited here as a popular destination though that’s hardly a start-up; presumably then, BBC radio is accessible outside the UK, unlike video content. The piece quotes Arbitron/Edison research that one in five Americans listen to web radio monthly.
— Canadian firm launches MP3 message service: Munch Music’s MP3Musicgram.com is a free service that allows users to send an MP3 with an image and message to a friend. There’s also an option to upload a track and artwork, designed to encourage unsigned bands to promote their work.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.