Sony has now aligned its pricing tiers on Music Unlimited to more closely match that of Spotify. The just-added 'Access' tier offers partial subscription access that stops short of mobile, with a $4.99 monthly tag. That mirrors Spotify's 'Unlimited,' though Sony's more accurate version of 'Unlimited' is a $9.99 tier that adds mobile devices into the mix. On the high-end, Spotify's Premium package offers access across any device or system (mobile or otherwise).
So, how long can this go on? The latest financial report from Pandora shows a $5.4 million loss during the recent quarter, and $25.6 million on the fiscal year. That said, topline and mobile revenues are booming, though Pandora's content costs are now hovering around 60 percent of broader revenues - and climbing.
Elsewhere in the subscription space, more details are now emerging on Cricket's expansion of available plans for Android, one that includes the inclusion of Muve Music across all packages. The broadening is designed to satisfy growing consumer demand for mobile assets, and compensate for a lack of 4G capabilities. One version of the plan will offer unlimited nationwide talk-and-text for $35 to $45 a month, and new smartphone plans from $50 to $70 per month. There are also options for 1, 2.5, or 5GB of data on the menu. The new range of service plans will be available beginning September 2nd.
Elsewhere, a New Zealand court ruled in Kim Dotcom's favor this week, effectively freeing access to $4.83 million of frozen funds. "It is good news because now we don't have to fight with our hands tied behind our backs," Dotcom told Wired, adding, "this whole case is getting more interesting every week." Dotcom also gets $800,000 allocated to pay to rent on his mansion until February of next year.
In other news, a new study of popular music published in the Psychology Of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts suggests that pop music has become more melancholy over the past fifty years. The report concludes, "In line with our principal hypotheses, there was also an increase in the use of minor mode and a decrease in average tempo, confirming that popular music became more sad-sounding over time. Decreases in tempo were also more pronounced for songs in major than in minor mode, highlighting a progressive increase of mixed emotional cues in popular music." The researchers, Glen Schellengberg and Christian von Steve proposed several theories to explain this trend, including an "increased sense of cultural individualism" and consumer demand for more choice.
Highly acclaimed classical pianist Lang Lang will be delivering a keynote at Midem's Visionary Monday. "I want to help classical music reach new markets and a broader audience," Lang Lang stated. "With its focus on tech, brands and artists, Midem is the best place to make it happen."
Also, Frank Ocean will make his SNL debut on September 15th. Ocean released his debut album, Channel ORANGE, in July of this year.
Madonna is not only fetching the highest ticket prices of the summer, but also pissing off fans and even cancelling gigs. The latest complaints are coming from Philadelphia, where moneyed fans booed Madonna for her casually-late, 10:30 pm walk-on. Apparently she said sorry, but this IS Philadelphia...
And on the funding front, ticketing startup SeatGeek just rallied $1.65 million. SeatGeek will use the money to expand its ticketing search engine onto the mobile deck, according to TechCrunch, and continued expansions into live music (from a heavy sports focus) are likely.