If only there were 16x9 index cards.

If only there were 16x9 index cards.

We should have had an xdjs World Cup viewing party and post about it to Instagram and twitter like everyone else
clt
If somebody listens to a song, I don’t care! I don’t wanna know. If they click to Like it, that’s a little bit more interesting, but if somebody feels strongly enough about a record to spend money on it, or more importantly to support the artist that made it, and maybe write a little about why they like it, THEN I’m interested.
Ethan Diamond, BandCamp
The best ideas are born in the crucible of dark izakayas

The best ideas are born in the crucible of dark izakayas

Interesting slides on SoundCloud demographics from a 2013 study conducted by On Device Research (slides taken from http://youtu.be/gUuY6KcqcHE?t=8m36s)

Creator/Listener

  • 1 in 4 of SoundCloud’s most active and engaged listeners are also creators
  • Most listening happened via mobile on their own
  • Love to share online via multiple social media
  • When not listening they are active social people, preferring sports and socializing in their offline lives

Listener

  • Male, 28
  • Spends $24/m on music
  • Lives in US urban area
  • Aware of 10 services
  • Uses 5 in parallel: YouTube, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud
  • "I know what I want to listen to: artists I like"
  • "I choose consciously what I want to listen to next - it’s part of my daily life to discover new content and listen to music that I like"
  • "I use SoundCloud to music and audio. I also actively share content"

A Day in the Life of a Listener

  • Morning: live audio on their own in the car
  • Most 3-5h listening sessions start after 10am
  • Lunch: peak listening time of the day and transactional listening through social sharing
  • Back home: at home via home entertainment with friends & family throughout the evening
Using Crush to listen to a16z podcast coverage of WWDC. Tempted to tap “chorus”

Using Crush to listen to a16z podcast coverage of WWDC. Tempted to tap “chorus”

Whelmed by WWDC 2014

In April, Apple offered the right to buy WWDC 2014 tickets on lottery basis.

Carl won, but C.Y. didn’t.

After a little discussion, we decided it wasn’t worth going if only one of us was there. Judging from today’s press and Twitter coverage, that worked out in our favor - there were no new announcements for which we’d change our product.

iOS 8, you have one job: cut this shit out #notenoughstorage #icloudbackup #wakinguptowarnings #notonbrand #iphone #icloud #lockscreen #fail

iOS 8, you have one job: cut this shit out #notenoughstorage #icloudbackup #wakinguptowarnings #notonbrand #iphone #icloud #lockscreen #fail

Must photograph all consumables with Carl at Tartine Bakery & Cafe – View on Path.

Must photograph all consumables with Carl at Tartine Bakery & Cafe – View on Path.

This is the part of the music discovery problem we’re solving.

This is the part of the music discovery problem we’re solving.

Apple is buying Beats to save iOS #beats5C

Apple’s biggest problem is the declining global market share of the iPhone versus Android smartphones (compare 2012 vs 2013 in this Gartner report).

It could become a death spiral as top-tier app developers shift to developing Android-first instead of iOS-first; while iOS currently has the upper hand in ease-of-development and monied users, it’s hard for developers to ignore a steadily growing Android majority. Without a constant flow of new exclusive apps for iOS, the iPhone loses a critical selling advantage over Android smartphones.

Apple needs to meaningfully shore up its global market share to keep developing for iOS sexy. However, it is unwilling to drastically drop the price of the iPhone 5C down to no-contract Android levels despite underwhelming sales worldwide. Too low and it threatens the premium pricing of the entire iPhone line and the Apple brand as a whole.

One way to solve this is to carve out a separate brand of iOS smartphones that can take on the cheap no-contract Android smartphones and the demographic that buys them - similar to how Toyota created the Scion brand.

Apple could create a separate brand on its own, but that takes years, hundreds of millions in marketing, and there’s substantial risk that the brand won’t resonate with their intended customers.

This is where buying Beats starts to make sense.

Beats is a turnkey premium consumer electronics brand. It successfully sells premium headphones and speakers in the $99-$449 range that are never discounted. The Beats brand is strong in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. With its brand DNA tied to music, Beats has a deep emotional draw.

Owning the Beats brand would make it possible for Apple to sell an apologetically plastic iOS no-contract smartphone on an MVNO like Boost or Cricket.

(Bonus speculation: AT&T bought Cricket (an MVNO) in March and is looking to sell the Muve music subscription service that was bundled with all Cricket plans because they’re “explor[ing] alternative music options to Muve.” Given AT&T’s partnership with Beats, perhaps they’ll rebrand Cricket as a Beats phone service that comes with a Beats 5C phone)

Skipping is Shopping: Why We Need Old People To Skip More

Paul Lamere (of the Echo Nest, recently acquired by Spotify) did a deep dive on track skipping behavior in Spotify.

Much ado was made in the music press about his data showing that 24.14% of songs played in Spotify were skipped within the first 5 seconds. Definitely eye-opening for people who make music.

We found his concluding point correlating skipping behavior and engagement even more interesting:

When we are more engaged with our music – we skip more, and when music is in the background such as when we are working or relaxing, we skip less. When we have more free time, such as when we are young, or on the weekends, or home after a day of work, we skip more. That’s when we have more time to pay attention to our music.

This striking graph shows how dramatically skipping drops from age 13 to age 36. As people get older, they tend to engage less with music. Jobs and spouses and having children will do that.
image

(the data gets wonky past age 36, see the original blog post for details on why that might be) 

The individual artist’s challenge is to make music that people listen to the end.
The music industry’s challenge is to make people skip MORE! Because when listeners skip, it means they’re still interested in trying more music. Skipping is shopping.
If they stop skipping, they’ve lost interest in the product. That’s certainly reflected in the trend that as people age, they listen to more news/talk radio. I’m guessing that’s at the expense of listening to music.
image
Americola = Americano + Mexican Coke #SOAWAKERIGHTNOW with Carl at Octane Coffee – View on Path.

Americola = Americano + Mexican Coke #SOAWAKERIGHTNOW with Carl at Octane Coffee – View on Path.

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