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A Queen tour in the near future should not be ruled out, said Brian May (right), founding member of the legendary rock band, during a PRS for Music Heritage Award ceremony in London yesterday (5 March).
Guitarist/songwriter May and percussionist/songwriter Roger Taylor, the act’s other founding member, were at Imperial College to unveil the PRS for Music plaque commemorating the venue where they performed their first concert in 1970.
PRS for Music, the royalties-collecting organisation, also highlighted the band’s achievements, which included selling more than 300 million records, 16 No. 1 albums and 18 No.1 singles.
When asked about Queen’s future plans, May pointed out that a movie about the band and Freddie Mercury, Queen’s late charismatic and flamboyant frontman, was in the making. It is being co-produced by Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and scheduled for a 2014 release.
And while there are no immediate specific arrangements to perform live, he also added: “There is a possibility that we might play as Queen again. Adam Lambert (who performed lead vocals during several Queen gigs last year) is still around, so you never know.”
And for those going into the music business only for the money, Taylor added that when the now very wealthy band members first started, they didn’t realise the value of copyright.
“We were not in it for that because you didn’t think your songs would last 40 years. But it does occur to you with the passing of time. And I am very glad it (copyright) exists.”
Today (4 March), a group of creative stars land in Silicon Valley on a tech-finding mission, courtesy of the UK’s Advertising Producers Association (APA).
The mission, which continues until 8 March, will bring some of the TV-commercials sector’s best minds to the homeland of innovative media technology.
A delegation of 27 UK-based production companies, including RSA Films, Framestore, Bigballs Films, The Mill, Stink, and Cut+Run will be joining the APA to exchange ideas, learn best practices and forge business partnerships with next-generation media groups like YouTube, Google, Facebook, Lucasfilm and Apple.
“Many brands and digital platforms want better, high-quality video content and we want to make sure they are aware of the APA members’ work,” says Steve Davies, the APA’s CEO. “We’re also going to Silicon Valley to learn how technology is evolving and how it will help our production companies offer new possibilities to clients and agencies who want to communicate with today’s digital-savvy consumers.”
The constantly forward-looking APA has organised trade missions to India (2011) and China (in 2009) to inform the two mega-emerging economies of the skills UK production houses have to offer.
In Silicon Valley, it is now addressing the global digital economy. In that environment, technology is extending video distribution from the still traditional TV platform to social media; mobile apps; Internet-delivered IPTV; OTT (over-the-top) TV services like Netflix and BT Vision; catch-up TV forums such as Demand 5 and ITV Player; Microsoft’s Xbox Live games network, Virgin Media’s TV Anywhere, and video-sharing giant YouTube.
These digital-media channels are increasingly snatching a share of the US$517.7bn that advertisers will spend globally on media this year (ZenithOptimedia).
These channels’ content is consumed by viewers at home and on the move on smartphones, tablets, PCs, game consoles, and new connected-TV sets. They are equally being monetised with video advertising and APA members want to apply their creative skills to the emerging new digital environment.
Planning to do business with the creative industries in the Netherlands? Looks like your rights are well and truly covered.
According to the recently published IFPI Digital Music Report 2013, 6.6 million Internet subscribers were accessing unlicensed online-music services in January 2012. By December that year, the number had dropped to 6.1 million.
IFPI and the local music industries say this proves their on-going battle against digital copyright infringement is paying off.
Megaupload, the rogue file-sharing cyberlocker operated from New Zealand with a server located in the Netherlands, was shut down by law-enforcement and anti-piracy agencies in January 2012.
In the same year, Internet service providers in the Netherlands opted to block access to The Pirate Bay, another file-sharing site notorious for encouraging access to unauthorised copyrighted content.
The anti-piracy campaign is also being supported by local mobile-telecom groups like KPN and T-Mobile - to make legal music services like Spotify and Deezer easily available to fans.
The reward? The Netherlands reported the highest growth (a 52% jump) in digital music in Europe last year.
So how are the other Dutch creative sectors faring? MediaTainment Finance’s analysis can be found in Issue No. 13 – just out. For more information, read http://jaykaymediainc.com/uploads/portfolio/55/mediatainmentfinanceissueno13abridged.pdf
The creative industries should open their eyes and take a closer look at the still clunky dull-looking e-reading devices. They are gradually turning into the predominant digital mass-media distribution channel, and 2013 could be the year in which we see that happen.
It doesn’t take a genius to grasp that, with the right words in the right context, the printed text wins the race to move hearts and minds in the art of storytelling.
Even in our digital age, from mobile texts to text books, from the Bible to digital billboard ads, from the facts in Forbes magazine to best-selling erotic fiction Fifty Shades of Grey, the written word still gets us turning heads and pages. No falling off a creative fiscal cliff here.
40 Years of Queen is a massive physical coffee-table book published last year. It features everything there is to know about Queen, the flamboyant British rock band and one of the most influential rock-music brands ever.
In December, the digital arm of its publisher Carlton Books released an e-book version for Apple’s iPad or iPad Mini, the portable computer tablets that can be converted into e-books using the iBook software.
40 Years of Queen is described as “the most advanced interactive music e-book in the market”. It has photos, audio interviews with members of the band, puzzles, animation, copies of handwritten lyrics and letters and links to tracks on Apple’s iTunes store. And while the book’s original print version costs £30.00, this interactive digital treasure costs only £9.99.
As Queen guitarist Brian May told UK trade magazine The Bookseller: “Technology is causing us to rethink once again and rediscover what a book really is and what it has the potential to be.”
The multi-content device
The digital-media sector has been so obsessed with finding the ideal platform for selling only music or only videos to paying consumers, it is failing to see the one thing all music, video, movie, games lovers will still pay for - a good read.
The book-publishing sector itself, however, is beginning to get the picture. It sees there is no need to market one digital-device type for watching videos, another for music listening, and yet another for reading books.
By being dismissive of e-readers, makers of smartphones and video-friendly tablets allowed Amazon.com, the pioneering online seller of physical books and e-books, to develop the increasingly popular Kindle e-reader in 2007. It has since used the device to disrupt old and new media businesses.
Amazon has challenged the traditional brick-and-mortar book stores and won a place in bookselling history. Astonishingly, it has also grown into a fearsome book publisher and a revered conduit for the increasing number of self-publishing authors. Thanks to Kindle, they can sell directly to consumers without needing a gargantuan printing plant to churn out paper books.
Moreover, the newer Kindle Fire, a mini multi-functional version of the Kindle, not only accesses e-books, but also digital music, streaming movies, social games, mobile apps, social media and email via the Internet. The content is stored on ‘cloud’ servers, enabling access anytime, anywhere, anyhow digitally.
As avid readers take to their Kindle Fire, the strategy is to spur the impromptu purchase of music, videos, games, and more books while online.
OK, global sales of single-function e-book devices will start declining rapidly from its peak of 23.2 million units last year, according to a report by IHS iSuppli Research. Makers of e-readers, however, must realise that book-loving consumers just might want to interact with other content on the same device.
Investors targeting e-readers
NOOK, the e-reader created by US bookstore giant Barnes & Noble, now has offshoots called the NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, which enables users to read books as well as stream movies, TV shows and other content apps.
Like the Kindle Fire, NOOK (which launched in the US in September and is already in the UK) makes its apps compatible to other reading devices and tablets, including Apple’s iPad. Their users can buy e-books and other content from NOOK online stores. That Microsoft, the software giant with digital- entertainment ambitions, invested US$300m in Nook last year indicates how the e-book business is luring investors.
Other ambitious e-reader brands are supported by companies experienced in media and entertainment. Kobo (anagram of the word ‘book’), Canada’s leading e-reader maker, was sold by Indigo Books & Music to Japanese global conglomerate and e-commerce website Rakuten a year ago.
Rakuten has invested in TV broadcasting (Tokyo Broadcasting System), owns a baseball team, led a US$100m investment round in social-media darling Pinterest, and operates Wuaki.tv, a Spanish video-on-demand service.
Sony Corp, a global entertainment conglomerate, owns a line in e-readers. South Korea’s iRiver Story e-reader is made by an electronics and entertainment group founded by former Samsung executives.
It was when major book publishers noticed how the erotically charged Fifty Shades of Grey, licensed to a tiny Australian independent publisher, was shooting to the top of the New York Times fiction e-books chart, that they realised reaching e-book readers generated cash.
Vintage Books, part of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, paid US$1m for the rights. To date, the Fifty Shades trilogy has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide as hardbacks, paperbacks and digital files.
E-reading films, TV and music
This success contributed to Vintage’s owner Random House, a subsidiary of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, going one step further with its e-book ambitions. It has announced plans to merge with iconic UK publisher Penguin to form the world’s biggest consumer book-publishing group.
The enlarged Penguin Random House is expected to use US digital-media agency Smashing Ideas, a Random House subsidiary acquired in 2011, to develop apps based on TV programmes adapted from Random House books. The programmes will be made by Random House’s TV-production sister company FremantleMedia. Meanwhile, in December, Penguin’s owner Pearson grabbed 5% of NOOK’s business for US$89.5m.
Other book-publishing enterprises have started making imaginative use of e-books and their reading devices. As mentioned earlier, the UK’s Carlton Digital has made rock band Queen’s music available via an interactive e-book featuring links to iTunes. Before then, a small UK publisher Bedford Books had used the same music-links strategy for The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music, which was published in May.
NBC Publishing, part of the US’ NBC TV network, recently decided an e-book on iPad was more user friendly than an app for the second-screen experience accompanying Grimm, the fantasy crime TV series.
As far back as 2010, Penguin Book joined forces with TV producer/distributor Starz Entertainment to issue the first e-book tied to a DVD release. Purchasers of Ken Follett’s epic fiction The Pillars of the Earth in the iPad e-book format could watch a trailer of the star-studded eight-hour TV drama produced by Germany’s Tandem Communications. An Amplified Edition allowed readers to access regularly updated videos based on the book and the series.
The year of the e-bookonomy
The e-book economy might not be firing our imaginations the way streaming videos, premium music services, and social mobile games are doing. But while a book publisher is unlikely to ensnare a games player to read a bestseller via a games console, a games publisher has a pretty damn good chance of getting an e-book reader to take a shot at its latest digital release, and listen to the soundtrack, and watch the film, and many other things…
The writer Juliana Koranteng is editor/founder of business journal MediaTainment Finance and newsletter TechMutiny. An analysis of Amazon.com’s overarching ambitions to dominate anything that can be sold online and its evolution into a dominant bookseller and publisher is in Issue No.10 of MediaTainment Finance (www.mediatainmentfinance.com).
JayKay Media Inc and TechMutiny, the free quarterly newsletter focusing on the latest international technology developments that impact the creative industries, are delighted to renew this year’s partnership with MIPCube, the innovative technology and TV/video-content event, when it returns to Cannes in 8-11 April 2013.
JayKay Media Inc is the London-based independent media group and consultancy that also publishes TechMutiny’s sister publication MediaTainment Finance, the only business journal that covers investments in the international creative industries.
MIPCube, which offers that rare opportunity to place global TV executives, investors seeking opportunities, international brands and ambitious smart start-ups in the same venue, was launched to much acclaim in March this year. MediaTainment Finance was a global media partner. The event was also supported by global media conglomerates that included Vivendi from France, Conde Nast and Microsoft from the US as sponsorship partners.
Next year, the MIPCube Lab tech-pitching competition will be championed by Microsoft BizSpark and international investment groups Jaina Capital, of France and US-based Illuminate Ventures.
MIPCube 2013 will also be right at the heart of MIPTV, its much revered and well-established sister event that has hosted the world’s biggest gathering of the global international TV business for the past 50 years.
This time, MediaTainment Finance’s new sister publication TechMutiny will be one of the MIPCube media partners.
About JayKay Media Inc (www.jaykaymediainc.com)
Creative-industries business journal MediaTainment Finance and technology newsletter TechMutiny are published by JayKay Media Inc, a London-based independent media and creative venture. It was founded by international business journalist and published author Juliana Koranteng, who specialises in the media, entertainment and related technologies. Apart from MediaTainment Finance and TechMutiny, JayKay Media Inc’s other enterprises include a media consultancy offering services such as corporate writing, speech writing, plus its photography-design business for print and digital platforms and wall art.
To subscribe to MediaTainment Finance or for advertising/sponsorship opportunities in TechMutiny, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
JayKay Media Pix Gallery: Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss, of Faithless fame, at London Jazz Cafe for PRS for Music Heritage Award on 19 September; Maxi Jazz spins some decks afterwards
“Make up your mind up about what you want out of your own contract. Don’t look at just making music, have your business head on too. And once you’ve got a lawyer to translate all the jargon, it’s simple. But don’t stop (making music) under any circumstances,” said Maxi Jazz, the Brit rapper who fronted iconic dance outfit Faithless with Sister Bliss, when asked what advice they would give talent entering the music business today.
The two were at London’s celebrated Jazz Café, Faithless’ first live-gig venue, on 19 September to accept a Heritage Award from PRS for Music, the UK royalties-collecting society. It was in recognition for breaking the mould in the then emerging dance-music scene during the mid-1990s.
Faithless’ Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss
Faithless’ Sister Bliss and Maxi Jazz with WestburyMusic’s Paulette Long at the Jazz Cafe, London
The blistering sale of more than 15 million Faithless records worldwide confirms Maxi Jazz knows what he’s talking about when advising up-and-coming musicians to harmonise their talent with business know-how.
Although Faithless is no more, he and Sister Bliss are still collaborating on projects they hope to announce soon.
Photos: JayKay Media Pix