This may be a taste of things to come, especially with VEVO and Spotify mega-rounds dangling. Late last night, set top maker Roku revealed a $45 million round, with News Corp. and British Sky Broadcasting leading the way. Roku cut its teeth on simpler, music-focused networked systems, though that charter has dramatically expanded into TV and video. The latest injection easily eclipses the cumulative, $32 million round, and will help to finance big content and technology expansions.
Elsewhere, independent ticketing company Ticketfly just raised $22 million in a Series C funding round (led by SAP Ventures). The San Francisco-based company is the David to Ticketmaster’s Goliath, and is bent on loosening the monopolistic grip the latter has had on the industry for years. Ticketfly looks to continue a strong 2012, which has already seen its client base increase by 65%. Just last week, Ticketfly introduced reserved seating to its services.
Separately, WhoSay, a social networking company geared towards higher-profile music, film, TV, and sports celebrities, just scored a $12 million Series C.
UMG is now facing pressure from all sides. EMI owner Citigroup is holding Universal to a September 10th deadline for paying $1.7 billion towards its acquisition of EMI, according to the New York Post. However, UMG is still in the process of gaining regulatory approval for the deal. European regulators are expected to announce their decision by September 6th. Stay tuned.
Zynga, the social game maker most famous for FarmVille, took a hard hit in the second quarter. The company reported a net loss of $22.8 million. Shares of Zynga fell by 35%, and subsequently those of Facebook fell by 8%. Zynga is part of Facebook's payments business, which may be secondary to its ad business, but still accounts for about 18% of total revenue.
Following Coachella’s lead, Lollapalooza has announced its 2013 dates before '12 even gets started. The Chicago music festival will be held August 12-14, 2013 at Grant Park. Obviously, no word on the lineup yet.
Lady Gaga is being sued by MGA Entertainment, maker of the popular Bratz Dolls, for allegedly reneging on a contractual obligation to release a line of Lady Gaga dolls this Christmas. According to MGA, Lady Gaga's management team wants to delay production and shipping until her album release next year. MGA complains that it has already 'agreed to an excessively generous royalty rate' and 'invested millions into pre-production'. If you're seriously bored, here's the lawsuit.
Here are this week's chart toppers from SoundScan. At number one is Nas, Life is Good, which pushed 148,716 units. Zac Brown Band is second with Uncaged, which sold 78,260. Kidz Bop 22 (they still make these?) earned the third spot with 63,678 sales. And rounding out the fourth and fifth spots were Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange (54,046) and Justin Bieber’s Believe (44,610).
It never takes hackers long to adapt to the latest technology, does it? It seems like just yesterday that we learned the US government was using the computer worm Stuxnet to infiltrate and remotely control Iran's nuclear facilities. Now a hacker has reportedly done the same thing. The end game? It seems to have been just for kicks, but two facilities had to be shut down. And in a letter to F-Secure, someone claiming to be an Iranian facility worker wrote, “There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC”.