Sunday Apr 26, 2009
Thursday Mar 12, 2009
Want to be the next music star? Why not host your own internet radio station at http://blip.fm ? Like a kind of Twitter for music Blip.fm is a micro-messaging service that allows users the opportunity to post short “blips” (mp3 + 150 characters comment about the music), to a community of ‘wanna be’ Disc Jockeys. In addition to connecting to other DJs to share songs users can rate their favorite DJ and post their songs on their Twitter accounts.
Music discovery has always been a social sharing process so it is not unusual to find a proliferation of technology driven music applications and services vying for our attention in this arena. A quick search prepares a daunting list of applications, music sharing sites, mashups, and bookmarking sites, some who have open deals with record companies, some running under the radar, and some that are taking the You Tube approach by putting the responsibility on users not to upload pirated material. Here are just a few music services I thought were interesting:
- Muxtape – oops they were shut down last September by the Record Industry and are now trying to rebuild
- We are hunted.com – tracks the top 99 songs of the day around the world through social networks, forums, blogs and twitter and turns data into a chart
- Midomi – hum a tune into your phone and the service finds and plays the song for you. (Make sure you are in a private place when humming to avoid embarrassment)
- Last.fm – you listen to the music, then Last connects you to people who have similar tastes. Sort of a music gone dating service
- Pandora – type a song and Pandora creates you a customized radio station through a complex algorithmic analysis of your preference. Very cool but not available to Canadians due to licensing restrictions.
- LaLa – select a song from a library of millions, then get recommendations from friends and reviewers
With so many free services out there is anyone making any money?
Slacker Radio, at http://slacker.com a US only interactive radio service, appears to have a subscription and ad supported revenue model that is working. Founded in 2007 Slacker offers “Your Radio Everywhere”. Users have access to 100 programmed stations, 10,000 artists’ stations, and an unlimited amount of personally created stations. Slacker acquired the rights from content owners, including Sony MBG Music, Universal Music Group, and hundreds of independent labels, Slacker Radio is available via PC and on protable devices like the Blackberry and Iphone.
CEO and founder of Blip.fm, Jeff Yasuda when asked at the recent Ad Tech Conference in San Franciso about how his new company planned to make money indicated that while their arrangements were confidential he did indicate that monetization around music and their users can be well received if executed appropriately. For example he indicated that Ticketmaster interested in advertising an upcoming Metallica Concert to band fans on Blip.fm would be accepted by his users especially if targeted geographically. This certainly supports the notion of permission-based, customized and personalized advertising.
The other day my daughter asked if I could rewind a song playing on the radio so she could hear it again. I told her I could not because it was the radio. She found that puzzling. There is no question that technology has changed the way we enjoy and share music and that consumer demand is fueling the speed of innovative alternatives to the old radio station model. The key to survial for these old modeled companies is to embrace change and learn how to partner with innovative startups.
By Elizabeth Gage | Comments (0)
Wednesday Jan 21, 2009
Imagine no screens, no keyboards and being able to access the world’s information at your fingertips so that you can make the optimal decision on whatever it is you are doing. Wear Ur World or the 6th Sense as it is being called is a wearable device that enables interaction between your real world and the internet world of data. It is the brain child of Pranav Mistry, an Indian Phd student enrolled in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT Media Lab.
The 6th Sense is composed of off the shelf components, costing approximately $350, and consisting of a webcam, portable battery powered projection system (which has a little mirror attached to it), and a cell phone. The cell phone which can be in your pocket acts as the communication and computational device. The system intuitively recognizes hand gestures and the environment around it and can in real-time project requested information on any surface.
The application of this simple device is mind boggling. For instance the system recognizes a squaring hand gesture to mean “take a picture”. Using the same hand gesture the picture taken can be projected on any surface, resized, organized and filed. Drawing a watch on your wrist the system can project a watch showing the time. Zooming in on a map can project information on your surroundings. The device can recognize items on store shelves, retrieve and project information about the products and provide quick signals to let users know which items suit their tastes for purchase. Deciding on a book purchase at a bookstore? Let your 6th Sense project the reviews, ratings and what your friends think about the book, directly on the cover of the book. Reading an article in the newspaper? 6th Sense can retrieve the latest stories or videos on the topic and project and play them on the pages.
An interesting application is the social one. With your fashionably designed pendant (or perhaps there can be other jewellry items) you can walk up to that attractive man at the social gathering and see projected on his chest everything about him, his blog, his url, degrees, likes and dislikes and know what to talk about. When he exclaims: “How did you know I am a sailor?!” you can respond coyly “I guess its my 6th Sense”. But beware he might have a device on him too! (Maybe its his tie clip?)
The 6th Sense or Wear Ur World could hit the market in two years time. Cell phone manufacturers are already working on integrating projection capabilities into their products so it might be faster. Whatever the timeframe this incredible, yet simple invention integrates our world and how we will interact in a way that will have huge societal impact.
By Elizabeth Gage | Comments (0)
Wednesday Jan 14, 2009
Is radio experiencing its digital revolution? Cheaper radio chips and the increasing penetration of wireless networks has given rise to a new technology said to be a disrupter of satellite and AM/FM radio.
The WiFi Radio. Selling between $200 – $400 dollars these battery powered internet radios can access the over 10,000 internet radio stations freely and they can be combined with existing devices like smartphones, MP3 players, and connect to a home computer linked to home stereo system. They come in various shapes and shine and the techology has even made its way into some car stereo systems.
The idea of listening to radio over the internet isn’t new. It has been around pretty much since the early 90′s. As a late night insomniac I have for many years listened to the after midnight “Coast to Coast” show and to Art Bell interviewing interesting scientists, psychics, and other odd people via streaming audio, podcast, MP3 download or through live broadcast. I used to download some radio songs I liked but found many stations hard to find after the copyright regulators cracked down. Apparently radio broadcasters are not allowed to broadcast the same songs over the internet as they are on their broadcast radio stations. I believe this stunted radio’s online growth and its opportunity to explore its new media opportunities. But things are now changing for radio.
There was an interesting research study done by a UK research firm RAJAR. They tracked WiFi radio listeners during a period of May through October 2008. They found most internet radio listeners listen at home (89%), 1 in 5 listen at work (21%), and 6% indicate listen elsewhere. In their latest media study Deloitte (Dec 2008) indicates that in their opinion WiFi radio is positioned to take off because of improved broadband connections and the fact that two-thirds of households are subscribers to high speed.
Radio broadcasters may now have a very real opportunity to turn the tide on their fortunes. Radio revenue was down by 12% in the 3rd quarter of 2008. Online revenue grew by 5% over 2007. According to the US Radio Bureau online currently represents only 9% of total radio income.
The internet offers the radio industry an opportunity to extend its reach and strengthen relationships with current listeners while at the same time build new listener relationships. At its core radio programming is sponsored audio content and entertainment that can be shared over multi-platforms. Enter a contest through SMS and announce the winners through a sponsored web-based video. Interesting? Radio has always been a media that engages and as such is strategically positioned to finally shed the “old media” label for the more attractive “new media” one.
I believe the “signal” is clear, radio has a “new media” face.
By Elizabeth Gage | Comments (0)
Sunday Jan 4, 2009
In the days of the cavemen (Web 1.0), we measured page views, hits and click thru rates. Clickstream analysis and browser tags followed this. There was great debate in the mid 90′s over which method provided a better ROI tool for measurement – browser tagging winning out. In 1999 the web analysis market preported to be around 150 million was growing by 200%. By 2000 it reached 400 million. The leading companies to emerge were Web Trends, Accrue and an interesting company Net Genesis. They were part of a prolific group of 60 + web analytic vendors.
Marketing Buzz today now centres around Coremetrics, Omniture, Web Trends and Webside story. What was once a technolgy focused market has now matured to becoming a process driven market. Businesses are interested in how web analytics can foster greater online presence in an integrated way that considers search, categorization, personalization, and multi-channel analysis.
As we move more into the exciting future of universal search advertisers will look to web analytics to measure interaction, creative, reach, recency and conversion. Recognizing the whole experience and measuring all the touch points, including how offline media contribute at various stages along the conversion funnel, will become increasingly more important in effectively measuring ROI.
Kristen Nomura, Search and Analytics Marketing Manager at Google, indicates that advertisers need to sometimes look beyond just conversion. They need to look at all the things they are doing higher and lower in the conversion funnel, then take a leap to conversion.
While she has a point success will also be determined by establishing clear KPIs.
By Elizabeth Gage | Comments (0)
The end of the holidays and “back to school” is music to the ears of many. I mean I love my kids but tag with the two yellow Labrador dogs in the living room leaping from chair to couch, and webkinz (these funny little stuffed animals) nesting in your shoes…well in these desperate moments the Japanese Robot babysitter PaPeRo sounds enticing.
According to the International Federation of Robotics, there were 610,000 robots in service worldwide in 2004. Today there are 6.5 million with this figure expected to reach 18 million by 2011.
PaPeRo (Partner-type Personal Robot) is a rather interesting Robot developed by NEC in Japan. In tests children have found it friendly and have had no trouble making friends with it. PaPeRo comes with a camera, face-recognition software, microphones and wireless communication via a mobile phone. Imagine going out for dinner and leaving your children with a Robot babysitter you monitor from your cell phone?
The thought is a little scary. I don’t know about your children but I would fear my son with his outrageous creative mind would find a way to cross and reconnect a few Robot wires. In no time the PaPeRo would be chasing the Labradors and repeating there is no bedtime. The image of a Robot babysitter rewired by my 6 year hoodlum makes the idea of re-renting the movie “Home Alone” sound rather lame.
However, there is a lot more to Robots than this application. The fact is that Robots have a tremendous untapped ability not only in our daily lives but in the marketing of products and services. They can “stop traffic” and present important commercial messages and are an asset at store openings, or special events. They can sing, perform a show, follow people (hey is there someone you are pissed at?), shoot out prizes or coupons, spray perfume, and interact with people. With the advances in Robotics this long-tail marketing niche provides a new dimension in engagement marketing.
By Elizabeth Gage | Comments (0)