Monday, January 26, 2009

Facebook Now Twice as Big as MySpace?

I knew MySpace was losing people to Facebook left and right, but the latest report from comScore really took me by surprise. According to the latest report, Facebook now registers TWICE as many unique visitors than MySpace.


Wow, it sure didn't take Facebook long to overcome MySpace. MySpace feels like a sinking ship.

I know that I, personally, have more or less abandoned MySpace for Facebook. Yes, I still approve "friend requests" on MySpace, and I still reply to friend requests with my web site, music, and mailing list signup information, but that's about all I do on MySpace now.

On the other hand, I spend time every day on Facebook. It's hip, it's fun, and people are just much more talkative. Bottom line. I like Facebook more. I feel more connected with the people I care about... and people who REALLY care about what I'm up too.

In comparison to Facebook, MySpace feels slow, bulky, ad-swamped and just, well, cluttered. My desk is cluttered enough. Don't need to see it on my computer screen, too.

Anyone else jumped ship at MySpace? Your thoughts?

David Nevue (if it matters)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CD Baby: Coming to Life Again...

You know, when Disc Makers took over the helm at CD Baby, I have to admit I was somewhat nervous about the change. CD Baby was such a fantastic "little" independent music store, and there was a sense that, in a way, CD Baby belonged to the musicians who sold their music there.

I feared that Disc Makers takeover would change all that. That CD Baby would transform into something more "corporate"-ish. That it would lose the sense of belonging to the artists. That it would be "used" as a prop by Disc Makers for the purpose of soliciting more manufacturing business from independent artists.

I am happy to say I was wrong.

One of the first things Disc Makers did was change the look and feel of the CD Baby web site. I never really felt it needed changed, but once it happened, I realized how static the old look had seemed. The new look is stylish, current and happening. There is a definitely "cool factor" with the new design that surpassed what was there before. The new design, to me, made it vastly more appealing to just browse and discover new music.

So even with just the design change, Disc Makers had begun to win me over.

And then I received an email from CD Baby today talking about all the new changes in the works. I am excited. Really excited.

CD Baby is reinventing itself, and doing so in a major way to the benefit of its artists.

Here's an excerpt from the email that came from CD Baby today...

"...We've made progress, and there's a lot of work left to do. We intend to introduce new features for artists to make it easier to work with CD Baby, like an uploader so you can just upload your new music instead of having to send in a CD. We also want to introduce single song downloads, merch, and download cards. And we plan to add some exciting features to the album pages to create a more rewarding shopping experience for our customers. Many of these improvements involve significant programming, and will be rolled out around mid-2009. They're all geared to helping you sell more music, and making sure you get more value from your CD Baby membership."

The ability to sell merch? single downloads? Fantastic!

I am pleased, very pleased, because it seems that CD Baby development is moving again, and quickly too. CD Baby feels "alive" again. I never realized how static it had become until now.

Thank you, Disc Makers. You have taken something already great and made it even better. I can't wait to see what you do in 2009 and 2010.

David Nevue

Friday, January 09, 2009

Big Growth, Big Questions: Facebook Hits 150 Million

From Digital Music News...

"Facebook now has 150 million active users, up 10 million since last month, according to information recently shared by Mark Zuckerberg. Of that figure, half are checking the site daily. "This includes people in every continent - even Antarctica," Zuckerberg blogged. In total, Zuckerberg boasted penetration across 170 countries, in 35 different languages.

The figure, if accurate, represents a continued climb past MySpace, at least on a global basis. By mid-2008, Facebook had surpassed MySpace, according to comScore, though MySpace still retained a strong lead within the United States.

The growth is certainly impressive, though nagging revenue issues remain - especially as the advertising sector softens. Just recently, eMarketer estimated year-2008 advertising revenues for Facebook at $210 million, up 45 percent from 2007. But Facebook was hoping for a much higher total, and eMarketer is dialing down its advertising forecasts for the social networking sector.

Other analysts are also predicting trouble ahead. That includes Norwest Venture Capital Partners principal Tim Chang. "Microsoft isn't likely to renew its search-advertising contract — at least not at the same rate — and Facebook makes a significant amount of money from that deal," Chang recently told paidContent at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. "Imagine if you lost $300 million worth of revenue — how would you make it up?"

The milestone also tilts the music picture somewhat, especially after the arrival of MySpace Music. Facebook has music, most notably through application iLike, though Zuckerberg and company are pondering the possibility of a homegrown music initiative. But bands have been on MySpace for years, and "not on MySpace" means "not in existence," even for the smallest groups."

Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 Music Sales: Up, Down, All Around...

Nielsen SoundScan just released the sales numbers for 2008.

Here's the low down:

Overall sales hit RECORD HIGHS for 2008... that is when you define sales as "units", a digital track being a "unit." Overall, Nielsen's annual year-end music industry report shows that combined sales of albums, singles, music videos and digital tracks increased 10.5% over 2007.

For digital sales, it was the best year yet. Tracks posted a 27% gain to more than a billion units sold in 2008, and digital albums grew 32% to 65.8 million units, both new highs.

But the record highs in digital music sales didn't make up financially for the decline in PHYSICAL album sales. Combined sales of albums on CD, cassette and vinyl were down 18% from 2007. When you add in the boost from digital album sales, album sales in total were down 14%.

So while digital sales are hitting record highs in terms of "units", it's still a net loss financially.

However, sales of vinyl reached 1.88 million in 2008, a near-90 percent gain over 2007.

Numbers from:

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy