So it's now official official. Ahead of the weekend, exiting MOG founder David Hyman officially bid adieu on email, reaffirming that the Beats-owned ship would be sailing without him. Lingering head-scratchers include how this basically subscriber-less (but very cool) platform got sold for $14 million (as confirmed by HTC), or, how it managed to raise nearly $25 million since inception.
In a somewhat angry response to our earlier article, Hyman also noted that the funding pot helped to build the ad-focused MOG Music Network; the New York Times pegged that sale price (to Townsquare Media) at $10 million, citing two sources. That brings the ultimate investor return to a still-underwater $24 million, though Hyman subsequently contended that MOG (the music app/service) was sold for $16.5 million, not $14 million as published by HTC (you decide).
Last year, Shazam seemed great at predicting artists and hits that had already broken. But this time, they're actually making some genuine calls: for 2013, the identification app is calling for big things from the likes of Bei Maejor, Aluna George, Joey Bada$$, Becky G, and uh, French Montana.
And the soul-searching, concert-alerting app space pushes forward. The latest update comes from Bandsintown, which has been busy updating on the Android side. The latest enhancements include in-app ticket purchasing (cool), and a number of presentation improvements.
And the debate over digital windowing (or simply holding out) continues to simmer, especially in the wake of a non-Spotifying Rihanna, and a suddenly iTunes-licensing AC/DC. Another thread is focusing on an oft-overlooked downside of karaoke and 'sound-alike' covering, enabled by compulsory publishing permissions. Which means, something that 'sounds like' your band will be on Spotify and iTunes if you're popular enough, and picking up your pennies.
JH Audio is now touting its FreqPhase Time|Phase Waveguide technology, a technology integrated into its JH16Pro and JH13Pro in-ear monitors (IEMs). This is 'phase-coherent' and in-sync technology geared towards audio professionals and total audiophiles.
And another mole, whacked. Newzbin2 is now totally shut down, as of last week, thanks to a squeezplay coordinated by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) that featured blocks from ISPs and frozen payment lines from the likes of PayPal. "We don't have much more than about 40,000 active users and the number of premium users is in the small thousands," the site owners wrote in a farewell note. "It costs much more to run than we bring in. It just doesn't stack up."
Also, if you're planning to upload content onto iTunes for the holidays, please note that Apple is taking a holiday hiatus. According to TuneCore, iTunes will not be making any changes between December 22nd and January 1st, and the company recommends that all content be uploaded by December 7th just to be safe.
Are musicians scared of backing up their content, for fear of pre-release, half-baked leaks? Skrillex famously had his laptops of in-progress works lifted, and the latest to suffer the theft of an unbacked-up laptop is producer Ryan Leslie. But Leslie is now in a pinch: after suffering a theft in Cologne, then offering a reward of $1 million and ultimately reneging on that offer, a Manhattan federal jury has ruled that the money should be paid. Leslie angrily claimed the files were unretrievable from the laptop.
And, the gut-wrenching, multi-decade story on music disruption would be incomplete without a long chapter on Metallica. The band has now formed its own label, Blackened Recordings, a move towards total, post-major label positioning. It's a move we've seen before, though Metallica's approach could be interesting. "It's always been about control for us as a band," drummer Lars Ulrich stated, sounding eerily similar to his sentiments circa 2000. "Forming Blackened Recordings is the ultimate in independence, giving us 100 percent control and putting us in the driver's seat of our own creative destiny."
Casey Sunday, December 02, 2012
MOG seemed to have the mentality of "build it and they will come." Well they offered buggy products with promised features and fixes that never came, so neither did the people. They seem to have had a hard time getting even non-paying customers. As sad as it is, I think Slacker is on the same path.
Corey Tate - www.spacelab.tv Sunday, December 02, 2012
As someone who runs a web site that features (in part) ads from MOG, and now Townsquare, I was always amazed at how little marketing they did. Casey's comment of "build it and they will come" is right on. I still mention MOG to people and they're mystified to find that MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody even exist. They're all Spotify, Spotify, Spotify -- as if that's the only streaming music site out there.
I was a MOG paid subscriber before I picked up the ads for the Spacelab web site and still use the service today. It's great for streaming, I'm still amazed that they hardly made a dent in the streaming music world.
Visitor Sunday, December 02, 2012
As someone who has subscribed to MOG, they DO have great sound quality and also great customer service. No complaints there. HOWEVER (and this is a big however), their service is as buggy as hell. There are sometimes long gaps in between songs on both their web app and the Windows desktop app and songs also sometimes skip. Gapless playback isnt even on their roadmap. This is from someone who has the latest system specs. I don't care how well it sounds. Just give me simple freaking hassle free playback already. Spotify just works! Simple as that. The only things that worked reasonably well with MOG was their iOS app but that also doesnt have gapless playback. If I was MOG, I would completely redesign the software for more seamless playback.
Casey Monday, December 03, 2012
I subscribed for quite a while too. And I liked it. But while I was there, they never fixed the ~20-30 second load time on the new player. That was very annoying. And the buffering technology they used in general was rather poor if you watched it on traffic monitoring software. Instead of loading the whole song at once, it loaded it in little increments. Most companies have the song load all at once and it works much better overall. If it loads it in increments, it will even out the traffic, but if you try to use it on a busy business or home connection it is very possible the track will have to stop playing part way through. And it did, and it was annoying. Even when streaming at 128kbps. Rhapsody has never had this problem. The MOG android app was pretty, but not very stable and did not support the kindle fire. All these things finally made me switch to a different company.
David Hyman Monday, December 03, 2012
Great reporting Paul! For the record, the sale was for a total of $26.5million.
paul Monday, December 03, 2012
Just to fill everyone in on the background of this argument (there's a long email thread), David also countered that MOG (the music property) sold for $16.5mm, not $14mm. HTC, the company that purchased MOG, put in writing the amount was $14mm, and also relayed that to the New York Times.
David attempted to have New York Times writer Ben Sisario update the value unsuccessfully (according to David, we have not discussed this with Ben). Sisario was obviously weighing two contradictory pieces of information, and probably decided to side with what was in writing/confirmed by the buyer.
Visitor Monday, December 03, 2012
"the latest to suffer the theft of an unbacked-up laptop is producer Ryan Leslie"
Nah, that's just sharing, Paul. Laptops want to be free.
BN Monday, December 03, 2012
Sorry, Beats should have build something from scratch that part seems obvious. Might be some buyer's remorse going on.