Datz Music Lounge: Why It's Actually A Really Big Deal

Today sees the announcement of Datz Music Lounge. This one's been bubbling in the background for a little while now and a few record execs have been very elusive when pressed. What�s the big deal? It's an unlimited DRM-free music service with major record label content. Yes, you heard correctly. So what's the catch? Well so far only two of the majors are on board (EMI and WMG) and, crucially, it won't include all new releases, rather "a wide selection of new music released in 2009". But I wouldn't get too hung up on that. I'd expect more content to roll out over time if this thing proves successful.

The pricing is a 100 GBP upfront fee. Regular readers will recall this is exactly how I suggested the future of music subscriptions should be back in the summer. In the new digital world of Comes With Music and Play Now plus, 10 Euros/GBP/dollars a month for temporary downloads is a dead-end business model. New entrants like Spotify will either have to get new licenses or recognize that their ad-supported tiers are their future. As for Napster and Rhapsody, well they need more than a makeover to survive in the new digital world order.

One thing to be clear about though, this is not a tool to fight piracy. A hundred pounds up front might work for younger demographics if there�s a device involved (i.e. the 5310 or, say, an iPod Nano bundle) but is not going to hit the mark for a music service. For this price point it's going to be hitting older, higher spending music aficionados. Indeed the focus on catalogue aims it even more squarely at older consumers.

So don�t get distracted by all the current caveats, this is as big a deal in its own way as Comes With Music or MySpace Music. Datz itself may never be a market leading service but it�s laid the licensing groundwork for the rest of the market.

Trend-Spotting at Day One of the Consumer Forum

I did about a dozen meetings during the course of Day One of the Consumer Forum, most of them about social computing strategies for marketing. Some quick pattern-matching across the conversations produces the following trends:

  • Social marketing budgets are safer than mobile initiatives in the current climate
  • That said, social marketing measurement and ROI are sketchy at best. So marketing leaders continue to earmark for experiments more than full-blown campaigns
  • CPGs are keen to participate
  • It's way easier to prove ROI for social marketing for customer service cost-savings than for branding objectives or customer acquisition. That said, it felt like initiatives were equally distributed
  • Social marketing doesn't exclusively equate to youth marketing -- no, not at all. And it piques a lot of interest for business to business marketing, not just consumer

Some highlights from the keynote executive presentations:

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Telenor is often viewed here as a Nordic telco. However, exactly like Telia Sonera, it is one of the largest mobile operator worldwide, competing with the likes of Vodafone, Telefonica and China Mobile. The company just announced that at the end of Q3 2008, it had reached 159,000,000 subscribers worldwide.

Interestingly, their Asian "business environment is currently more turbulent, and we foresee a period with lower global growth. In Asia in particular, the revenue development continues to be affected by the macro economic development as well as strong competition".

My colleague Pete Nuthall also just published a report "The Economic Downturn Sets Back The European Mobile Consumer Market: Mobile Data Growth Is On Hold As Consumers Turn To SIM-Only Deals". Available on Forrester website here.

Forrester's Consumer Forum Day 1: Keeping Ahead Of Tomorrow's Customer

Phew! We've reached the end of the first day of our Consumer Forum, here in Dallas, Texas and it's been a busy one – our attendees have had the opportunity to attend over 20 presentations including keynotes, track sessions and theatre presentations from Forrester analysts and industry experts. Some of my highlights:

  • Carrie Johnson, VP and Research Director at Forrester, kicked us off by expanding on our theme – Keeping Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Customer. She showed (with the help of Homer Simpson J) how important it is to understand how consumers have changed – become multi-channel, multi-taskers – in a short period of time, and how vital it is that we understand how the next 10 years are going to change them further, especially in today’s economic climate where maximizing the power of every marketing dollar spent is more important than ever.
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A new world view

I've been a fan of the Strange Maps web site for a while - and I particularly like the maps that "tell a story" by making visual changes to reflect certain demographic data etc.

Today in the Telegraph newspaper (not a paper that I normally read) there's a series of such maps and some of them are fascinating. The one below shows each country's size in proportion to the NET number of tourists who visit. (i.e. the number  of incoming tourists minus the number of outgoing tourists).

Click on the link below to see the full size version and several more maps on the Telegraph web site:


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Notes on the Economic Downturn

Forrester has noted that one of the factors behind their acquisiton of Jupiter was (and is) the quality of our forecasts. To ensure that we offer clients the best information available, we are currently in the process of reviewing our data from the advertising forecast for our soon-to-be-released category ad forecast. As we drift further into fourth quarter, many companies are announcing last quarter's results and some of the news is underwhelming, notably Yahoo!'s display earnings. We're also discussing the current market with many companies in the industry. For example, Jeff Lanctot of Razorfish gave us his view of the Fortune 500 advertisers that he works with, and how many of them are cautiously planning for a tough 2009. Our Category Ad Forecast should be released in the next few weeks.

Sonos Controller App for iPhone and iPod Touch - First Take

Today Sonos, the multi-room streaming music system, announced an iPhone and iPod Touch application which turns the Apple devices into wireless Sonos controllers. The free app includes music management, Internet radio, album art etc. This is significant not so much because it suggest Sonos won�t be upgrading their physical controller unit anytime soon, but because it takes a step towards Apple touch devices become universal media controllers for the home. A concept which Sonos' CEO is a firm believer of.

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The future of the internet is mobile...

Dr. Philip Sugai at International University Japan's Mobile Consumer Lab points to a recent report from IBM, which predicts that "Worldwide adoption of the mobile phone as the preferred device for accessing the Internet is just around the corner."

I think we can already see this today among young consumers and in developing countries, where cheap cell phones are more readily available than PCs with internet connections. To quote William Gibson: "The future is already here; it just isnt' evenly distributed yet."

Philip points out that the interfaces for mobile internet should not be the same as those we use for other media - they should leverage the strengths of mobile devices. He points to the example of Amazon Japan, which lets its mobile site's users navigate to its product pages by scanning the barcodes on DVDs or books that they come across in the real world.

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Geek "Cred" Gag

Gee, am I the only one making "Azure, I knew Big Blue, and you're no Big Blue" gags? (search comments). Where are the other geezer commentators?

Rating the Ratings

Oh come now, you're telling me SNL and Mad Men are not on the most talked about list on social networks? Mad Men might be an insider thing, but there must be a slip if Saturday Night Live's Ms. Maverick clips aren't rating.

TechCrunch bit on Networked Insights' "nielsens" for social network buzz.