Freshly-Grilled SXSW Rumors: WMG, Tunecore, Gobbler, RootMusic, MTV, Apple…

Austin has descended into complete chaos, with lots of juicy rumors to complement the succulent BBQ.  Enjoy these treats…

We’re hearing that Warner Music Group is getting ready for a label-wide switch to Drupal, with Aquia managing the custom-crafted backend platform.  Nothing’s confirmed at this stage, though one source projected an announcement within ‘a few weeks,’ with ex-WMGer Ethan Kaplan potentially getting a posthumous pat of validation.

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Looks like Tunecore is slowly pushing through some negotiation snags with Amazon in Europe, according to one source dialed into the discussions.  But this remains a thorny discussion, and Tunecore tracks remain off the service.

And, SXSWers keep pointing to some very healthy funding rounds ahead – including a possible pair of injections greater than $10 million.  That list includes Gobbler, whose cofounder Chris Kantrowitz confirmed to Digital Music News that a sizeable round is indeed arriving.  We’d heard $14 million, though Kantrowitz would only admit to a “substantial, big shot in the arm…”

And on that note, LN Labs Fund seems to be further perking investor interest in areas like concerts, ticketing, and other solution-driven startups.  That includes serious cash for at least one ticket-focused upstart; more on that later.

And speaking of well-funded, chatter continues to surround the quite lavish ‘compound-like’ SXSW digs for RootMusic (right near Stubb’s). The monstrous playground has music, bars, displays, and even a backyard hangout.  Walden Venture Capital investor Larry Marcus told Digital Music News that RootMusic – whose name is officially being changed to ‘BandPage’ – covered most of their costs by sharing the space with sponsors like SoundExchange and House of Marley Headphones, among others.  He also said nearly every member of the company is down for the trip; hopefully the math works out.

And this one’s confirmed: MTV is now launching an artist-focused, DIY platform called ARTISTS.MTV.  Artist pages will live on with lots of MTV distribution potential, and Topspin wil power key components of the backend.  Right now, artists can jump onto the beta at

And of all the rumors floating around, this has to be the juiciest: executives keep pointing to a possible on-demand streaming service ahead from Apple, including a tight tie-in with iCloud and iMatch. That would present a huge problem to players like Rhapsody and Spotify, though Apple is playing it characteristically mum.  “Apple doesn’t like to lose in any category, they like to dominate,” one executive noted.

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