Jul 20

Venzo Mobile Expands To Android With Jazz App

Venzo Mobile Expands To Android With Jazz App
ATLANTA, GA - July 20th, 2012 — Venzo Mobile, a subsidiary of Venzo Digital & the free app platform for musicians to build apps for the iPhone has just expanded its app presence to Google’s Android Market. Venzo Mobile allows artists, record labels, distributors, and publishers to build unlimited music apps to the iTunes App Store for free! In exchange, artists are paid 50% of any paid app downloads from the App Store.

To kick off the expansion, Venzo Mobile has launched the Aleasha Smooth Jazz app, a popular app sold on the iTunes App Store for $0.99. This app lets users tune in to 24/7 of jazz music, share photos of their favorite jazz artists, keep up to date on the latest news, and more. “This is an exciting time for us. We are very proud of the progress of our mobile business. Venzo Mobile has taken great strides with much more to come. We look forward to its growth as we move onward to the year. With our entry to Android, we are now able to expand the mobile presence of brands from our content partners while driving down cost.” says Kevin Rivers, CEO of Xeinge Group, the parent company of Venzo Digital.

For more information on Venzo Mobile, visit the website at: http://mobile.venzodigital.com

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Jul 11

What exactly is Venzo Digital?


With no upfront fees, subscription fees, renewal fees, or maintenance fees whatsoever, Venzo Digital provides clients customized marketing, promotion, sync licensing and administrative support to help maximize the earnings potential of specific music and video releases or catalogs. At the heart of Venzo Digital is “INTRANET PRIME”: a proprietary, end-to-end digital asset management platform that automates many distribution and administration functions.

Utilizing the Client Console, artists have total visibility on the status of their releases as well as how, when and where they are distributed, the ability to opt in and out of retail deals and review and export weekly & monthly sales reports. Our platform is a content hub that connects directly to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, eMusic, Yogitunes, VidZone & Muzu.tv with much more to come. Venzo Digital is a true digital company, not just an aggregator of services.

Our entire organization is staffed by senior engineers, and there is no non-technical or non-software producing management. Venzo Digital has a radical approach to enterprise application development. Specifically, we develop enterprise software as if it were shrink-wrap software, therefore the software is installable on any platform and scales to the enterprise level!Venzo Digital is also the perfect solution for mobile app development. Whether you’re an artist, movie maker, record label, distributor, radio station, magazine, or publishing company, we can build the most beautiful and vivid music apps in the world. By using our powerful platform, we can enable you to gain entry into the mobile space freely. This will allow you to increase your social network and generating more money without hurting your wallet! We get paid, when you get paid!

So what are you waiting for? Get in on the action at: http://www.venzodigital.com

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Jul 06

Venzo Music Signs New Store: YogiTunes As Part of Prime 7 Launch!


Hey guys,

We are extremely excited to welcome the world’s largest Yoga Music Store: YogiTunes ( www.yogitunes.com ) into our INTRANET platform. As part of the new Prime 7 update, we have integrated this amazing new service along with some great new features.

So how does YogiTunes work?YogiTunes allows artist’s music to be played by the world’s best yoga teachers. This will help any artist gain notoriety in the yoga world.  YogiTunes offers a premium download service that enables yoga fans to download  music. As always, artists can sell unlimited music through us for free + earn 80% of everything sold.

What other new features are available in Prime 7?

In our latest update of INTRANET Prime, we’ve added a new “Cover Art” feature. This enables Venzo Music customers to view the album cover they have currently selected for your albums. Secondly, we’ve beefed up our security features, making Prime 7 a very secured software to use. Finally, my personal favorite feature is the all-new “Send All Albums” feature! With our breakthrough technology in INTRANET, we have enabled our customers to send their entire catalog of music to any particular store with just ONE click! This feature is extremely useful as we add new additional stores, update catalog to current stores, and more. No longer do our artists have to re-submit an album to a new store (if they wanted to). Now with the power of Prime 7, they can send their entire catalog of music with only a push of a button. Its that easy!

On another note, we have also partnered with CNET and we are glad to announce that INTRANET Prime is now available on Download.com. So what are you waiting for? Visit http://music.venzodigital.com, create your FREE account, and start using the new INTRANET Prime 7 today! FOR PRESS: If you are a PR agent, press, blogger, news team, editor and would like to see the new Prime 7 in action, please feel free to contact us and we’ll send you a brief link where you can view the demo video!

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Jul 04

So Why Did MOG sold to HTC for $14 Million???

Source: GigaOM

HTC revealed Tuesday in a note to its shareholders that it spent $14M on music subscription service MOG through its Beats Electronics subsidy this week (hat tip to Unwired View). Of course, the number is not much of a surprise to GigaOM readers, as Om first reported it as the acquisition price more than three months ago. What remains is the question: Why did MOG sell for so little after raising $25 million?

The obvious answer is that MOG simply didn’t have that many users. MOG had never broken out the number of paying subscribers, but the company’s CEO David Hyman said in February that it had a total of 500,000 active users,  which included users of its free service tier. To compare, Spotify announced in January that it had reached three million paying users worldwide.

But there’s another reason for MOG’s low valuation, and it has nothing to do with its popularity: MOG’s music licenses are of limited use for any buyer, HTC included. This was pointed out by former MOG employee and web audio pioneer Lucas Gonze when rumors of the sale bubbled up in March. Back then, Gonze wrote on his blog:

“Companies like MOG, Spotify, and Rdio rely on negotiated deals with record labels. Those deals usually contain clauses that make the deal non-transferable in case of a change of ownership.”

I asked Beats about this, and a spokesperson replied via email:

“Mog the music service and the rights they retain will remain the same today as they were last week pre-aqusition.”

That’s decidedly vague, but makes some more sense if you put in in the context of the acquisition announcement itself. Monday, Beats announced that “MOG’s music service will continue to operate as an independent company,” which may just be what it needs to do in order to not lose those precious licenses. Or maybe it’s part of a deal hammered out between the labels and Beats during those long months ever since the first sale rumors surfaced in March. Maybe one day, we will know why selling MOG for so little took so long.

However, one thing is already clear: HTC won’t just be able to take the licenses MOG originally negotiated with the labels and use them to launch its own, Beats Audio-branded music subscription service for HTC handset owners. To do so, it has to go back to the negotiating table. The same would have been true for any other potential suitor, which explains why in the end, MOG was worth so little.

So why did HTC buy anyway? Because it’s one of the few companies that doesn’t actually have to worry much about music licensing. Again, Gonze:

“It happens that one of the major stakeholders in Beats is Jimmy Iovine, who is also a lead at Universal Music. That’s not to say that in this deal UMG is getting ownership of MOG (they already have equity anyway). It is to say that getting Universal’s blessing is pretty much a done deal. And where Universal goes, Sony and Warner go, because Universal is the 600 pound gorilla of labels.”

And of course, it only helps that Universal also has equity in Beats. In other words: HTC is a perfect buyer for MOG – but there aren’t many other companies in its position, which meant it could pick up the subscription service on the cheap.

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Jul 03

OFFICIAL: Dre & Iovine’s Beats Buys MOG


Source: Hypebot

It’s been rumored for weeks, but now it’s official:  Beats Electronics, the company co-founded by musician and producer Dr. Dre along with Interscope, Geffen, A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine, has agreed to acquire on-demand digital music service MOG.  The MOG Music Network (MMN) blog network is not part of the acquisition rumored to be priced around $10 million.

For MOG investors, the sale marks an exit from a marketplace overcrowded with competitors including Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio and Deezer. MOG, however, fits Beats plan to create an end-to-end premium music experience, that to date that has meant hardware including headphones.

MOG’s music service will continue to operate as an independent company with no immediate changes to the service or impact on MOG users/subscribers.  The MOG Music Network (MMN) is not part of the acquisition and will remain its own entity.

MOG employees will remain with the company and will continue towork out of MOG’s offices in Berkeley, CA. MOG founder and CEO, David Hyman, will assume the title of CEO of MOG reporting directly to Beats President and COO Luke Wood.

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Jun 29

Google Unveils Nexus Q: 8 Things It Will Do For Music Fans


Source: Hypebot

Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.

Yesterday, Google announced a new hardware device: Google Nexus Q, a $300 Android entertainment system for the home that Google calls “the first social streaming media player.” Here’s what it will do for music fans, according to what we know so far:

Change Color With the Beat. The spherical Google Nexus Q has “32 LEDs” around it that “shift and change color in time to your music,” sort of like a software visualizer. Google says you’ll be able to choose your favorite effect. This sounds cool.

Social Music Selection. As with the Sonos system, Google Nexus Q will allow multiple people to add songs to a queue. This could make it attractive to people in offices, apartments with multiple roommates, and family homes. However, you’ll only be able to add the songs to the queue from an Android phone or tablet. In the video below, Google says this is “the first device that lets you create a social playlist with your friends.” That is utter hokum, but the feature is still great to have.

Multiroom Music. According to Google, you’ll be able to sync multiple Nexus Qs around your house, playing the same music on all of them. You can also do this with Apple’s AirPlay devices, although according to Sonos, that leads to phase cancellation (which can affect sound quality, because the music doesn’t arrive at the speakers at the same time). However, we have not noticed that effect with AirPlay systems, and suspect we won’t notice it with Nexus Q either.

Nexus_q_ecosystem-313x204Power for Speakers. The Google Nexus Q has a 25-watt “Class D” amplifier. According to my extensive research into “Class D” amplifiers, that will be more than enough power to fill one or more rooms with music at a loud level, because they are far more efficient than the ones you’d find in grandpa’s hi-fi system. Class D amps are already fairly green, and Nexus Q makes this one even greener by shutting down the power to the unit automatically when it’s not in use. (Incidentally, Google will sell you $50 speaker cables or $400 speakers to go with the Nexus Q, but you can probably do better on both fronts in terms of price/quality.)

At Least Two Music Apps. We know that Google Nexus Q runs Android 4.0 (the so-called “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system). We also know that SiriusXM and other app developers are going to demonstrate their apps later today on some sort of Google TV device. Is this that device? It looks fairly likely, although for now, Google only lists three compatible apps (two that play music), and they are all made by Google:

To be fair, third-party apps for Nexus Q could be coming later; SiriusXM says its app will be available from Google Play “soon.”

Bluetooth. In addition to WiFi and NFC (near-field communication), Nexus Q has a third wireless compatibility: Bluetooth. This should mean that you’ll be able to beam music from any app on any smartphone (including the iPhone) to the Nexus Q and have the music come out of its speakers, the same way you would with, say, the Jambone Jambox.

Touch To Mute. Twist for Volume. Google says Nexus Q has a “rotating top dome volume control” and ”capacitive touch sensor for mute on/off.”

Optical and Digital Outputs. If you like super-clean sound and you have a modern home entertainment unit near the Google Nexus Q, you’re in luck. The device includes a TOSLink (S/PDIF) optical connector, as well as an HDMI port, so you can send the 1s and 0s that represent your music to your more expensive home theater system with a single, thin wire, and do the D/A conversion there.

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Jun 27

Xeinge Group CEO Kevin Rivers Celebrates 25th Birthday!!!


Hey guys,

I am excited that today is my 25th birthday. I am extremely grateful of the wonderful wishes and gifts from everyone. I’d like to thank first and foremost God for everything He has given and done for me. I also thank my wife and supportive family, friends, and even clients who took their time to join the celebration. Its been more than 8 years since Xeinge Group (parent of Venzo Digital, WaTunes, and other great brands) was founded, and we’ve had some great memories. I am very pleased to have worked with many talented individuals as well as very great people within the company. Mostly, I am proud to have served and work with many new and establishing artists, record labels, distributors, publishers, and other affiliates. You guys made everything happen.

So as we move forward into 2013, I thank everyone for making this possible.

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Jun 25

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Jun 23

Music Is Now Less Than 0.3% of Revenues at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, & Target…

Source: Digital Music News

For years, the music industry blamed big box retailers for destroying mom-and-pop record stores.  Now, it simply looks like physical retail itself - small, medium, or large - is evaporating entirely.  Here’s what EMI Music chief executive Roger Faxon told a Senate panel on Thursday about the state of the largest retailers. 

"Let’s understand.  Best Buy and Target, music is a very small part." 

"If you take Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, music represents less than 0.3 percent of their turnover."  


"If we as an industry or even a significant player tries to raise prices in a way that is going to reduce demand, and therefore reduce turnover per square foot, what is going to happen?  It’s a very simple thing, and so they will resist and we have to supply at the terms that they will accept.  And these stores, they look at their square footage and say, what’s my turn, what’s my profit retention, and if music isn’t providing it, they put something else in."

"We know that, because shelf space has vastly reduced in our industry, and our prices in the physical world have declined, and they continue to decline even to this day."


Entire music section at a Walmart outside Austin, TX (picture taken in March, 2012)

Entire music section at a Walmart outside Austin, TX (picture taken in March, 2012; more pics here.)

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Jun 22

Why Investors Don’t Want to Back Your Music Startup!


Source: BetaBeat

The problem, as one philosophically-minded audience member pointed out, is that there are too many problems in the music industry. It certainly felt that way Tuesday afternoon at the New Music Seminar Tech Summit, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained – A Look at the Digital Music Vertical.”

The discussion at the AMC Loews Theatre focused on the difficulty of acquiring investment as a music industry startup, the issues with music copyright laws, the free-downloading plague and innumerable other chinks in the business.

To bring an investors viewpoint into the mix, Chris Fralic, a partner at First Round Capital, explained why many financers are hesitant to back music-technology startups.

“You can not only lose money, you can end up in court for years and years,” he said, pointing to Napster as an example. “There’s a graveyard of companies that have failed in the music industry.”

But his speech wasn’t all blood and gore. He did note that the music industry was picking up now because startups can grow faster at a much lower cost. A good investment is a lot of “engagement and reach,” even if it doesn’t initially generate revenue, he said.

So what companies did Mr. Fralic miss the boat on? “Kickstarter,” he said, a company he had the opportunity to invest in twice but never quite took the bate. Mr. Fralic also passed up LyricFind, the brainchild of Darryl Ballantyne, who was one of the four other panelists.

“We couldn’t convince Chris to invest in us, or anyone else, except for my mother, and that was with a whole bunch of strings attached,” Mr. Ballantyne said. “It took us three years to get all the majors signed … We were either clairvoyant or stupid.” One of the problems Mr. Ballantyne faced was getting the licensing for the songs and their lyrics, and he certainly was not the only frustrated attendee.

Copyright laws and licensing were a hot-button issue at the discussion, something that inspired quite a few metaphors. It’s like charging the hungry to look at the menu, said the panel’s co-host Bill Wilson of digitalmusic.org. It’s like buying a car and having to pay separately for the engine, said audience member John Simpson.

In a nut shell: The music industry doesn’t like the current state of copyright laws, and no one in the audience could really come to a consensus on how to improve the problem.

Mr. Wilson’s fellow co-host, Ted Cohen, a managing partner of TAG Strategic, pointed to another problem in the music business in an interview after the panel with Betabeat. “Big companies have a tendency to assimilate things that are cool. There’s innovation, followed by real apprehension, followed by assimilation,” he said, a vicious cycle that he thinks sometimes kills the uniqueness of record labels and other music start-ups. “I don’t think that Def Jam Records at Universal is what Def Jam Records was when Russel Simmons and Rick Rubin ran it 20 years ago.” Hipsters, I think you have found a new spokesperson.

So, Mr. Cohen, as the expert on all things too-mainstream, what is the most overdone pitch-line in the music industry?

“‘We’re going to save the business,’” he said, noting that many so-called “cool” companies don’t have business models or a clear purpose, a problem echoed during the panel.

Of course, when those overachievers we love to hate send in 100-page pitches, “no one’s ever read one of those or ever funded one of those that came in,” Mr. Fralic said. According to him, the key is a 10 to 15-slide presentation. “Tell a story. Talk about why this got you excited and why you are willing to go.” And you probably shouldn’t put your potential investor to sleep.

J.J. Rosen, the CEO of Indaba, Benji Rogers, the founder and CEO of Pledge Music, and Olivier de Simone of Webdoc, also participated in the panel discussion, half of which they spent discussing the growth of their company and the other half of which they spent answering and discussing issues with the audience.

“I wish there were more wonderful sort of ‘think sessions’ like this, because I think that the technology sector has a lot of these sort of talks, but I feel like the music sector talking about technology doesn’t have enough yet … It would have been nice to have another two hours to hear even more ideas,” said attendee Neeta Ragoowansi, the vice president of business development of legal affairs for TuneSat LLC.

But possibly the highlight of the whole discussion occurred in the last five minutes, when Mr. Cohen dragged Mr. Fralic’s nephew from the audience, handed him a microphone and asked if he paid to listen to music. Well, of course, the kid replied. (Wink, wink.) Yeah, we pay for our music too.

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