360-Degree Music Experiences: Use The Cloud To Target Device-Use Orbits

We have just published a new report that is an essential read for anyone working on a cloud-based music product strategy: 360-Degree Music Experiences: Use The Cloud To Target Device-Use Orbits.

The title of the report is important and highlights the key focus of the report: that cloud-based music services should not be some technology-driven rush to deliver music across as many devices as possible but should instead focus on extending and connecting the digital music experience into what we are calling 360-Degree Music Experiences.

The idea of cloud-based music has been with us for a long time (some of you many remember the decade-old concept of The Celestial Jukebox).  Now that technology and connectivity have, to some degree at least, caught up, the cloud is drifting across the digital music marketplace once again.  However, numerous hurdles continue to temper the potential:

  • Device adoption: most consumers don’t use many devices to listen to music.  In fact, most don’t use digital music devices at all.  Only a third use MP3 players and 10% music phones.
  • Rights issues: should a stream from a cloud copy of an already owned song count as fair use or a licensed stream?  Labels think the latter.
  • Connectivity issues: 3G speeds outside of urban areas resemble dial-up and Wi-Fi is far from ubiquitous.
  • Interoperability issues: rights managed cloud services will only work on supported devices.  But even ‘open’ offerings will only work on supported devices -- e.g. Spotify won’t work on BlackBerrys.

Even if the final three bullets were fixed tomorrow, the inescapable fact is that few consumers currently use a wide number of devices to listen to music.  For example, just 5% listen via MP3 player, and phone, and PC and home streaming. In the report, we present systematic analysis of every combination of music device usage: we call them Music Usage Orbit Clusters.  One of these clusters towers over all others: the PC/MP3 player orbit.

The challenge for any music service or music device manufacturer is how to help digital music break free of the chains of the PC and the MP3 player.  Getting music into the living room has  to be a key priority (the iPod docking station is a Band-Aid, and the TV set-top box reinforces the supremacy of TV content over music).

 The overriding objective though for cloud-based music services is to join the dots of the digital music experience (see graphic below).  The impact of legacy rights and technology factors have resulted in a fragmented digital music experience in which the consumer has to jump across multiple services and platforms to get the best-of-breed experience.  The true potential of music services that leverage the cloud is not ubiquitous device access but joining the dots of the digital music experience so that discovery, acquisition, management and consumption can all happen within one unified 360-degree music experience environment.

The 4 Stages Of the Digital Music Experience


Hi Mark - nice article and I

Hi Mark - nice article and I think you're right on the money about where things are headed.

One thing I'd add though is that all of these services (plus others around them which provide additional information like Grace-note or even concert information) should and will move towards API based models where they can be seamlessly integrated with each other and new user experiences.

We're seeing quite a lot of this at 3scale with media companies in various parts of the ecosystem looking to plug themselves into strong partner ecosystems.

Data is key

Hi Steven

Data standards and ubiquitous transfer of data will indeed be key components of a successful cloud based music marketplace. And not just music meta data, but consumer usage data. Most consumers won't pay for digital music experiences with money but they are much more willing to pay with data. It is one of, if not the, most important currencies digital music audiences have to offer.


Data is key

Agreed - and trends like usage of facebook connect and other similar authentication systems, user identities will be tied together more tightly across many music properties - so the image of the user will be more multi-faceted (hopefully still under the user's control however).

I expect what many players are counting on though is not just the data but as it gets tied back more directly to a users' real identity, those users will also be more willing to pay real money (via their iTunes account or however else).

A nice example is with the facebook social graph API I can so this: http://graph.facebook.com/stevenwillmott/ to get basic public information (about me), but http://graph.facebook.com/stevenwillmott/music (will if authorized give a list of all the bands I've favourited at some point.

Response to the Cloud Article

I think the most important selection they make is the music itself. When they are able to find the music they want they will form their own clouds. We MUST make music that suits theur tatses easier to obtain without having to go thru song after song, youtube after youtube to find NEW music.

Our Build an Artist, Build a Brand concept using corporate partnerships as music distribution bases and performance opportunities is the future of the business.
Corporate America is the BEST friend the music industry has and will play a larger and more lucrative role in the future of music. Direct partnerships between new artists and corporations which are mutually beneficial will increase the amount of music selections out there based on the demographic of the business.

For EXAMPLE, A Rural King Artist would distribute the best new traditional country we can find and record by the best traditional country singers out there. The new music will be distributed thru all Rural King outlets, used in commercials on both radio and TV, social networking sites etc.

Videos of the music shot in Rural King Stores etc. It is time to give the people the music they want to hear and I really think we are getting there.

TUNESMITH ENTERTAINMENT will assist you in setting up your own record label and making sure you acquire the A TEAM you need in pursuing your own Brand Deal. We will work with you to establish the brand that best matches your music then design a "pitch" plan for you. Our brand represntative will pitch your personalized plan directly to your brand for a direct artist/brand deal.

In March of 2011 Tunesmith Entertainment is hosting the frist EVER Country Artist DRAFT, yep just like the NFL with all the hoopla during the Country Radio Broadcasters Seminar. We will match our best 20 unsigned country artists with 3 different brands and the artists will have 2 days of showcases and meet and greets with the perspective brands to sell their talent and promotions concept. The target date to have all 20 artists identified and funded is August 31st, 2010. The total cost of a COMPLETE Artist/Brand Portfolio, per artist is 25,000 USD.

The portfolio includes a 4 song mastered song sampler with songs chosen, produced and recorded with Tunesmith Entertainment studio partners.

ONE Video produced specifically with the brand matches in mind with Tunesmith Entertainment producer partners.

Imaging, and photo shoots by Tunesmith Consultants/Partners. Plus all logo and merchandise designs using the brand match and a DEAL ready to be presented to the brand during the DRAFT Event.

We will have adequate time to work with our artists on their showcase structure, rehearsals on sound stages in Nashville and song co-writing sessions to make sure we have HIT songs in our song sampler.



My apology

I apologize for that full post. I had cut and pasted some information /I intended to use and did not review it before I published it! Now I can't find the edit or delete button! I hate it when that happens!

My apology

I apologize for that full post. I had cut and pasted some information /I intended to use and did not review it before I published it! Now I can't find the edit or delete button! I hate it when that happens!

It Happens!

I can't speak for anyone else, but my Personal intake shows me how many people do use the digital streaming domain to not only listen but also download to their personal libraries, pull and paste HTML widgets etc... all you have to do is look at the numbers on UTube or ReverNation not to mention Jamendo and Creative Commons licenses being purchased and placed. We're talking globally nowadays and there are in fact many options available to those who press on. The day of the final authority as far as commerce is concerned can only be re-initiated by some tyrant declaring and enforcing martial law and implementing prohibitions on liberties including the pursuit of happiness There are just too many variables for monopolies to coral the proverbial cattle nowadays and that's one good thing amongst the chaos of money grabbers and sales gimmicks of this new millennium! Trust me; "We ain't seen nothin yet"!

Apple’s iTunes Store gave

Apple’s iTunes Store gave labels much-needed succor after its launch in 2003, slowing down big losses by replicating physical’s per-track purchase paradigm in digital. But now, even after many such services have abandoned copy locks, growth in downloads has largely flatlined, or even worse..

Rolling with the changes

Internet technology much like industry itself will always have new additions that add curves and new intersections to yesterdays map. You'd have to be a dedicated individual spending allot of your time in that one particular arena of growth to stay on top of it. And if that were the case independent producers would not produce they'd be glued to their computer monitors or taking out student loans for classes in music industry! (Uh, follow me here)?

That not being the case I realize that much of what's going on with new curves in the digital domain as far as I (the indie producer) will remain where it belongs and totally out of my control but I can use whatever changes have been or are being made to the best of my ability and make those implements advantageous to the degree I am capable.

As far as music downloads suffering are concerned I've only reached mediocre savvy here of late and to me it seems like the ultimate open door to advertising success! Smack me in the kisser, but that's how I see it from my perspective standpoint!

Then too, other applications not associated with viral marketing have to be implemented to help respondents and fans choosing to use the digital streaming method of obtaining music. Those numbers are largely based on appeal outside of the digital domain in the physical world! (That doesn't mean enter the major labels) although I'm sure that's part of their plan to intercede!

So in essence I guess what I' trying to say is "more power to change"! It keeps things lively in the way we won’t become complacent or get the big head feeling we've arrived and it helps keep us honest! After all, we'd look pretty stupid trying to talk about things that we really don't know much about so it's better we stick with the music and contract independent of the music industry politicians!

I think the indie (do it all) musician/producer/publisher/performer is the next wave in music and entertainment evolution. Why have middle men if you can; contract; run a crew; and give results at a substantially lower price? Experience is its own reward in the way that we grow a little more each time around. For an independent “impatience is the enemy”.

The truth is "I think"; we never needed managers, agents, or labels! All we needed was education and patience, but getting it correctly and from righteous source is another story for another time even though it relates directly to concerns that presumably digital downloads have diminished.

Propaganda and manipulation is an age old tactic developed over years of repetitive use and revision into what has now become an art in the business world on all levels where control is needed to assimilate and monopolize endeavors that are not only potentially lucrative but even meagerly gainful. You know; like education to facts or the lack of; like surfs under the kings domain; like Indians with bows and outdated weapons; or Negro slaves with bibles, chains; and isms etc… it all comes down to chains! I think what’s really going on is that independents and music streaming has put the big boys in a music industry monopoly on guard and they’re agitated that they may have to do some real work now! Not to mention cuts in salary!

If your sources are media remember propaganda is a tactic that develops at the same rate technology does so you can just about imagine! But a fact I’m well acquainted with is that opportunity always knocks on someone’s door at all times! What we do with it and how, well... So who's suffering what and why? Truthfully?
Cause I'm not complaining!

Late to the debate

Apologies for checking back into this discussion late.

There are some fascinating points here, one of the ones I'd like to pick up on is the whole streaming vs download / owned versus rented debate.

I believe that the streaming / downloading distinction has been shaped by the restrictions of the technology that has shaped digital music consumption to date. I am not saying that the distinction doesn't remain important. Of course it is. But as ubiquitous connectivity edges closer the difference becomes less marked. People just like to be able to access their music when and where they want. Downloads have been the best way to do that so far but they won't always be in all circumstances. Especially if you don't have that music with you or don't have yet at all.

This dynamic also affects the own vs rent issue. If people can develop a sense of permanence of access then a new sense of ownership has been created. Unfortunately as so many digital music start ups don't even get out of start up phase digital music fans have the opposite sense: that digital music services have an inherently finite life cycle. So a subscription service can, in this world view, only ever be temporary.

This is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles to clear.