OUYA has grown from obscure tech startup to the super-hyped ‘Next Big Thing’ in less than three weeks. And, the ambitious gaming platform keeps getting plenty of love, including from the music industry. The latest to jump aboard is iHeartRadio, which is planning to integrate an HTML5-based streaming service into the TV-focused, Android-based play. That closely follows a similar announcement by VEVO to lend its entire collection of videos, and comes as Kickstarter cash pushes past $6.5 million. OUYA has also inked a deal with OnLive, a game-streaming company that offers popular titles to tablets and computers. Stay tuned.
Investors will be closely watching Live Nation‘s (LYV) next quarterly earnings call, slated for Tuesday after the bell. The stock has been a perennial underachiever on Wall Street, though the company seems bullish heading into the call. LYV landed at $9.02 at the Friday close.
Wahwah.fm, a concept that let users turn their playlists into live web radio broadcasts, just hit the biggest roadblock in the business: licensing. The company tried to adopt a non-interactive streaming format (meaning lower royalties), but found that this was seriously harming the user experience. So now, after accumulating 50,000 users, the company has just called a hiatus for the summer. Here’s what founder and CEO Philipp Eibach told GigaOm: “Once you have a license, it’s valid for a few months and you have to negotiate again and again. We realized it’s a huge overhead, the whole licensing and legal thing. There’s so much grey zone. You talk to them and they don’t have a clue about new models, and are suspicious of new things.” He goes on to add, “There should be more competition, so there is a need for them to look into new models. Maybe more collecting societies would increase the pressure.” The Wahwah.fm team is rethinking its platform and licensing structure, and vows to return in the future.
Looks like former Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. did some damage during recent Congressional testimony. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) was one of several Judiciary Committee members asking very pointed questions, and now, Kohl has sent a very pointed letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “We believe this proposed acquisition presents significant competition issues that merit careful FTC review to ensure that the transaction is not likely to cause substantial harm to competition in the affected markets,” Kohl urged, alongside Mike Lee (R-UT), ranking minority member of the committee.
Separately, Warner will be disclosing its fiscal third quarter results (ending June 30th) this Thursday, August 9th at 8:30 am (EST). Expect something perfectly lackluster; the party happens at 888-790-6706888-790-6706 or 517-623-4984517-623-4984, with passcode ‘Warner Music Group’.
Lollapalooza just wrapped in Chicago. The action resumed after 60,000 fans and 3,000 staff workers were evacuated for several hours due to thunderstorms, and Sunday was all sun. The headliners playing Sunday night included Justice, Jack White, Florence + The Machine, and others.
Elsewhere, Cee Lo Green has been named Chief Creative Officer at Primary Wave Music.
And, the British industry is now celebrating its 100 millionth digital album sale, with heavy-sellers like Adele, Ed Sheeran, and endless NOW compilations pushing the accomplishment.
Oh, there’s actually more WMG-related news, this time surrounding Len Blavatnik. The Russian billionaire (and Warner owner) is now putting cash in Deezer, a Spotify competitor that is adamantly avoiding the US. Perhaps this will change that: Blavatnik is apparently grabbing a ‘small stake’ in the company, but also interested in taking things stateside, according the New York Post.
Lastly, Google has announced that it will discontinue its Google Listen podcast app, as well as ‘Google Apps for Teams’ and ‘Google Video for Business’. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as the internet giant has been cleaning up ever since Larry Page took back the reigns last year. Presumably, Google Play will be the company’s main focus regarding music from here on out.