This Week: an interview with Susan Bonds from 42 Entertainment and the first half of my Sounds Digital keynote summary. In the news: MFlow launches in the UK, Last.fm abandons streaming, the Ovi store increases in traffic and Apple changes the App rules.
MFlow was a big story this week in the UK as the service went in public beta. Mflow is effectively described by Shane Richmond from the telegraph as a cross between iTunes and Twitter, where users can recommend tracks to one another and get 20% of the price of the download in redemption credits if someone buys a track through their recommendation. I’m really intrigued by this service and I look forward to trying it out next week. I’m also in talks to arrange an interview with them so hopefully that will happen soon as well.
The Ovi store reveals its latest growth figures
The Nokia Ovi store keeps growing and is now reporting over 1.6 million downloads per day globally, with China, Germany, India and Indonesia being amongst the most active countries. Nokia has made a real effort in providing localized content to its users, and most of the Ovi Store’s users can now receive content and browse in their own language. Mobile entertainment reports on how the billing and operator supports are very important to the expansion of the service, with over two thirds of payments are being made via mobile billing. The Ovi store seems like a huge opportunity to reach consumers in countries where access to PCs or Broadband services is not as widespread that are seeing a huge increase in mobile data consumption.
Last week Last.Fm announced that it would stop its streaming service to concentrate on its core business of scrobbling. Now if you want to play a track on Last.fm you are re-directed to one of the many partners of the service, including Spotify, MOG, We7, Vevo via what is called a “playlink”. The site announced that its aim is to become ubiquitous amongst music services and able to scrobble from any music experience on the web. Apparently the company does not get paid for the use of the scrobbling technology – the revenue comes from users that go through to the Last.fm site to check out their profile and tracks. Since streaming was just a side feature and didn’t really fit in with the company’s business plan it was certainly an expensive feature in terms of licensing fees and cutting it seems to make a great deal of sense – especially since last.fm users were probably scrobbling from other platforms anyhow.
Some fresh controversy on the Spotfy revenues debate. The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca), which represents 2,000 songwriters last week claimed that the company generates very small amounts of money for the rights-holders – casting fresh doubts over whether the service is capable of providing a substantial revenue source even for artists that generate millions of streams. Spotify was very quick to hit back and to re-iterate that they are paying out to rights-holders considerable amounts of money, a figure in the tens of millions o euros, and that one of the company’s main objectives is to be able to compensate the creators fairly. Naturally the problem the company has at the moment is that with everyone being so secretive about the actual figures most of this is pure speculation and we have no idea of knowing who is making what!
Apple reveals new regulations regarding app advertising and analytics.
And finally Apple has been the source of a few headlines last week. First of all it changed some of its Development guidelines to include this line “Device Data may not be provided or disclosed to a third party without Apple’s prior written consent. Accordingly, the use of third party software in Your Application to collect and send Device Data to a third party for processing or analysis is expressly prohibited”. This caused quite a stir because basically it bans any analytics app for the phone from the store, and these had been very helpful to developers to understand the public take on the product. Second it may have changed the guidelines as to not to support personalized advertising powered by AdMob on the iPhone, naturally in favor of the company’s own and new iAd platform.