With the hype surrounding last night’s unveiling of the Samsung flagship S4, the UNPACKED event at New York’s Radio City Music Hall had been long-anticipated for us here at 7digital. Not least for the sensational ergonomics that J. K Shin, the president and head of IT & mobile communications division, flaunted on stage – with new features including a touchless ‘Smart Scroll / Pause’ feature, the ‘S Translator’, ‘S Health’ and 13-megapixel, 360-degree camera - but mainly for the fact that this new device in the Galaxy range has our technology powering the Samsung Music Hub app.
February is a month of big business in Barcelona as the Mobile World Congress and Heroes of the Mobile Fringe – an event that runs in tandem – hold monopoly over the city for a week-long mega mobile blowout. Having been running for almost a decade, it has inevitably become a fundamental part of every mobile enthusiast’s calendar, and so to escape an extended British winter we joined tens of thousands of delegates who descended en masse to the Catalan capital to immerse ourselves in pure mobile tech innovation.
Our CEO Ben Drury, VP of Global Marketing Kelaine Blades, Commercial Director Stephen Somerville, Business Development Manager Izabela Rekowska and VP of Strategic Partnerships Alyssa Tisne were all in attendance this year, and aside from a tight agenda of meetings scheduled throughout the day, we were particularly excited to be hosting our own panel discussion on the Wednesday. We also saw a fair amount of product launches over the course of the four days, a standout of which being the unveiling of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 which we were lucky enough to test-drive and demo our application on.
Nearly 2 million square feet of exhibition space showcasing over 3,000 global multinationals’ array of gadgets can make any company feel like a small fish swimming in a sea of giants. However, the 7digital list of partners showcasing new devices with music powered by 7digital’s API was truly impressive at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. 7digital is proud to count Microsoft, Pure, HP, Toshiba, HTC, Samsung, Sonos, Pioneer, BlackBerry and QNX among our key consumer electronics partners – all of whom continue to roll out new and improved devices.
We work around the clock to build this network and keep our set of music rights and technology current with the latest and greatest trends and consumer needs. At CES the reality and grandeur of our dance card is inspiring to witness as the throngs of consumers pass through the massive show floor to try out the tablets, phones, connected TVs, wireless systems and PCs with our API in the background. This year we had six people at CES, running around from one meeting to the next in suites and the convention hall. Here are their observations of key trends.
1. The Importance of Music
No matter how great the chips, design, or touch screen perform, if a device isn’t entertaining and useful, it’s not going to succeed. While each CE company may have a different strategy, it is apparent that music is a core requirement in all connected devices. There is something for everyone with music, and it makes each device shine.
2. Consumers Want Ease of Use and Interoperability
The consumer is king and they want to try and buy new devices at will. The proposition that core functionality is gated off from one operating system to another doesn’t make sense and will lead to disappointment after the all-important box is opened. We believe the same thing is true for a user’s music collection, so we aim to give consumers access to music across all platforms and all connected devices.
3. Vertical vs Horizontal
Our friends in Cupertino set the bar for hardware, software and content integration but they’ve done it in a vertical stack. If you roam outside of that suite of devices, the experience breaks down. Very few companies can or WANT to take this approach, and a core trend we saw in every corner of the CES show floor is partnerships and API integrations that allow for fertile collaborations that enable great experiences across devices and platforms in a horizontal approach. The pace of change in the market is overwhelming, and we hear new music business models pitched to us on a daily basis – the horizontal strategy also allows for partners to move more independently amidst constant change.
Vickie Nauman, President of 7digital North America has been going to CES for years and on behalf of 7digital for the past 3 years. She comments, “it is amazing each year to see all the companies showing their take on a new unique consumer electronics product. It can range from anything such as robotic cats to fridges that can talk, however, it is growing much more apparent that having music run through your product changes the dimension of it completely. Music makes your device instantly relevant to your consumer base. ”
4. 2013 Looks to Be a Big Year
Another key observation from the 7digital crew is that it’s not only the CE companies that are coming out of their shell with a music strategy but also digital media publications and destinations, brands, big box retailers, specialty retailers, radio streaming companies and even chip manufacturers. The common thread is music helps everyone connect to and grow their user base.
Vickie comments, “many of these companies have been on the fence for years, contemplating the right way to enter into music while watching the industry and consumption patterns change at an unparalleled fast pace. They’ve pondered business models and debated whether to partner, build or buy. It’s clear they want to move forward with a smart, strategic company – and this means solutions like 7digital’s API and partner approach are increasingly relevant – the digital music switch is being flipped on all over CES and it is an exciting time.”
5. The Connected Car is In the Fast Lane
People love their cars, want music at the (safe) touch of a button, and we had a lot of fun wandering through the auto show floor. We also were invited to present our custom app made for the Pioneer in car sound system and spent several days positioned at the Pioneer booth to demo the 7digital/Pioneer application. 7digital’s VP of Global Marketing Kelaine Blades spent time at the Pioneer booth and comments, “it was amazing to talk to such a steady flow of users and repeatedly try to explain this intricate layer of access and deep wiring of technology and content in a way that makes it sound simple. When two companies like Pioneer and 7digital work together, they can give the user a good experience in a natural listening environment, and that means music in the car.”
Another example we were delighted by was a walk through the QNX booth, where the 7digital integration for connected cars was given prime placement.
It was an amazing year at CES for us! Having a team on deck running around to meetings was great and we look forward to next year where we hope to be able to show even more interoperability, partnerships and smart products that give users access to music in ways they want and need.
In 2011, mobile sales accounted for 50% of 7digital downloads globally. The best selling artist of 2011 was Adele with her album 21 and track ‘Someone Like You’. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay and Snow Patrol also featured in the top 20 albums. A comprehensive list of the top 20 albums and tracks of 2011 is provided below.
Mobile growth has been driven by 7digital applications being pre-loaded on millions of devices from consumer electronics partners, including Samsung, RIM, Sony Ericsson, Philips and Toshiba. Updated 7digital apps for Android handsets and tablets, BlackBerry handsets and the launch of an HTML5 mobile site also contributed to mobile growth.
The coming months will see 7digital’s reach widen within the mobile space with the launch of a Windows phone app. A 7digital app for the iPhone, allowing users to sync purchased tracks with their device, also became available at the end of 2011.
Ben Drury, CEO 7digital comments, “We’ve seen another year of strong growth in 2011, especially from smartphone and tablet devices. Sales from mobile devices rose significantly year-on-year for the final two weeks of 2011, rising from approximately 10% in 2010 to 50% in 2011.”
“Our approach to be an open, agnostic digital content partner to the consumer electronics industry is really paying off. We know that consumers want access to their music collection on the device of their choice, anytime, anywhere and we’re helping enable that. 7digital’s catalogue of over 17 million high quality DRM-free MP3 tracks and open API platform mean we are an attractive partner for device manufacturers.”
Top 20 Albums 2011*
- Adele – 21
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
- Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
- Snow Patrol – Fallen Empires
- Rihanna – Loud
- Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans
- Elbow – build a rocket boys!
- Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
- PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
- Beyoncé – 4
- Ed Sheeran – +
- Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
- Michael Bublé – Christmas
- Lady GaGa – Born This Way
- LMFAO – Sorry For Party Rocking
- Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV
- Chase & Status – No More Idols
- Bon Iver – Bon Iver
- Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
- Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
Top 20 Tracks 2011
- Adele – Someone Like You
- LMFAO / GoonRock / Lauren Bennett – Party Rock Anthem
- Adele – Rolling In The Deep
- Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer – Give Me Everything
- Maroon 5 / Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger
- Rihanna / Calvin Harris – We Found Love
- Lady GaGa – Born This Way
- Bruno Mars – Grenade
- Jennifer Lopez / Pitbull – On The Floor
- LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It
- Adele – Set Fire To The Rain
- Christina Perri – Jar Of Hearts
- Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song
- Rihanna – S&M
- Jessie J / B.o.B. – Price Tag
- Lady GaGa – The Edge Of Glory
- Snoop Dogg vs. David Guetta – Sweat (Snoop Dogg vs. David Guetta)
- Ed Sheeran – The A Team
- Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks
- Katy Perry – Firework
* Note: the lists provided reflect sales from across 7digital’s mobile applications and web-based global stores in 37 territories, which include the UK, US, Canada, Europe and Singapore.
Our brand new application allows Android tablet users in over 20 countries to access our catalogue of over 16 million high quality MP3 tracks. The layout has been optimised for tablets running the Android Honeycomb operating system, which mirrors the new 7digital online store design.
The grid format display of the homepage makes it even easier to browse and discover new music. All the latest releases, promotional products and staff recommendations are updated on a regular basis by the 7digital editorial team. Browse through the content by swiping across the screen, and tap on a product to be taken to the artist page.
Preview and browse music at the same time
One of our favourite new functionalities is the brand new 7digital Player, which allows you to preview music and browse the site simultaneously.
Improved search performance and relevancy
Our updated search function is not only over 10 times faster than its previous incarnation, it’s a lot more accurate too; making it easier for you to find the artists you love.
With a 7digital account you’re able to wirelessly sync all your music purchases between your phone, tablet and PC. What does that mean? Well, imagine that you purchased Ryan Adams’ new album on your laptop first thing in the morning, but didn’t have time to download the music before you left the house; you can simply open up the 7digital app, or log in to our mobile site, to download and listen to the album on the bus into work.
For further information regarding 7digital for mobile, visit www.7digital.com/mobile
The 7digital app for Android is available to download from the Android Market
July 21, 2011 – 7digital is offering HP webOS users an integrated music experience on the new HP TouchPad, where users can discover, buy and listen to music. 7digital’s full track download application is now available in the webOS App Catalog on HP TouchPad. This application is a Tier One featured app built specifically for the webOS platform.
7digital MP3 Music lets HP TouchPad users browse current charts, preview the latest tracks and discover, purchase and download high quality, DRM-free MP3 music from a catalog of over 14 million songs directly to the device.
“HP is a worldwide leader in consumer electronics and we are very pleased to deliver the 7digital global music experience to their sleek designed and highly functional tablet device,” comments Ben Drury, the CEO and co-founder of 7digital. “Through the use of 7digital’s platform, HP TouchPad users will have an optimized music experience at launch.”
“High-quality applications and music are essential to the HP TouchPad,” said Richard Kerris, vice president of webOS Worldwide Developer Relations, HP. “7digital’s deep catalog of music and robust platform will help us bring a great music experience to our customers.”
The 7digital platform consists of a suite of global music rights and technology features, which are made available to partners through 7digital’s Application Programming Interface (API). The API provides 3rd parties such as HP with a simpler way to leverage fully licensed music to create a customized, best-in-class front-end experience.
The 7digital MP3 Music app for the TouchPad features:
Over 14 million songs available from all four major labels (Sony,
Universal, Warner, and EMI) and thousands of independent
Browse Top album and track charts, new releases and genres,
and listen to preview clips
Quality 320kbps MP3s
Download high audio quality, DRM-free tracks and albums
directly to tablet
App downloads music directly into device media storage for local
7digital MP3 Music app for webOS is available in all countries where TouchPad is currently shipping, including the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany and France. Currency and pricing for track download purchases is localized for users in each region.
More informationabout HP TouchPad is available at www.hp.com/touchpad.
SXSW 2011 was a busy seven days for 7digital!
VP of North America Vickie Nauman attended both the Interactive and Music portion of SXSW and had the great pleasure of talking to start ups, consumer electronics companies RIM and Toshiba, artist-to-fan services, live performance social apps, music discovery services, gaming companies, and streaming services who are all using the 7digital platform. “Music has become so complex that it doesn’t make sense for most companies to do their own licensing or set up a secure platform, especially if they want a broad international service. All of these innovative companies are instead focusing on creating their own best in class user experience, and relying on 7digital’s API to take care of the rest,” Nauman commented.
Once the Music portion of SXSW began, Nauman was joined by Anna Siegel, who manages the US and Canadian 7digital.com stores. She met with labels and artists throughout the week and had the opportunity to film interviews and performances for the site. SXSW Music always proves to be a spectacular setting for new music discovery, particularly fostered by the label and distributor day showcases of new artists. Recorded music was not forgotten by Sony Music Group, who invited 7digital for a lovely preview listening session of their exciting upcoming releases. 7digital partnered up with the UK Trade and Investment to host an official SXSWi showcase at the British Music Embassy and enjoyed a Great British Breakfast in Austin. While the interactive portion of the festival continues to outgrow the music portion – bringing many new faces and discussions to the event – companies that bridge the two fields are finding new ways to interact with potential partners and existing contacts. This was encouraged by two very successful music tech meet-ups held by Rdio and Topspin. Jack White was out and about promoting the legacy of physical album sales through his mobile records store van, spotted by the 7digital team one late night in Austin.
Vickie Nauman spoke on two panels – one SXSW Interactive panel with British innovator ARM, discussing the future of mobile payments, and another called “Music Plus Devices – What Works?” during SXSW Music, which included representatives from Toshiba, Sonos, and Qualcomm. This was a great discussion about the importance and complexity around enabling music in your favorite laptop, smart phone, or tablet. With these panel speakers we heard examples of what it takes to make a successful partnership between digital content services, mobile, car and home devices, and platforms in a positive discussion about the future of the music business.
Quote from Brian Foster (Sr Mgr Business Dev, Alliances Mktg Toshiba America) during the panel, “There are three criteria for a good partnership between a consumer electronics and a music company – First, you need a solution consumers want – and people want music. Second, you want to work with a company that is well-established in the market – 7digital is working with Toshiba in all of our key territories. Third, you want a partner with a lot of proven experience and expertise.”
Vickie’s favorite live performances of SXSW 2011: The Black Angels (big dark rock sound from Austin TX), The Soundtrack of our Lives (Sweden), Bright Light Social Hour (amazing 20 year olds from Austin channeling psychedelic garage rock), supremely infectious performers Fitz and the Tantrums (from Silver Lake’s Dangerbird Records), The Naked and Famous (New Zealand), Alejandro Escovedo and his full orchestra, DeVotchKa in the new ACL Live hall, Duff McKagan’s acoustic set, North Mississippi All Stars, Charles Bradley, Surfer Blood, Chapel Club, Jonquil, and finally… a brand new discovery, San Diego’s Dynamite Walls.
Anna’s favorite live performances of SXSW 2011: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Yuck, Dirty Beaches, La Sera, Charles Bradley, Toro Y Moi, Chikita Violenta (Mexico), Francisca Valenzuela (Chile), Bun B w. Erykah Badu, James Blake (UK), Mother Mother (Canada), The Chapin Sisters, Khaira Arby (Mali) and Charles Bradley.
London, UK and Waterloo, ON – Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) and 7digital today announced that the 7digital Music Store will come pre-installed* on the BlackBerry® PlayBook™.
The 7digital Music Store will give BlackBerry PlayBook users access to 7digital’s catalogue of over 13 million high quality (320kbps) MP3s. BlackBerry PlayBook users will be able to search for tracks, albums and artists and preview tracks before making a purchase. Users can also discover new music through 7digital’s recommendation technology. Prices for BlackBerry PlayBook users will match the prices on 7digital.com, with individual tracks and albums priced in a customer’s local currency.
Ben Drury, CEO 7digital comments, “We’re really excited to be working with RIM to bring the 7digital experience to the BlackBerry PlayBook. RIM has created an incredible tablet with premium multimedia features and together we are delivering a truly exceptional music experience for mobile users, offering content that is extremely easy to discover, purchase and use.
“We currently have the largest international footprint of any MP3 digital music seller and we look forward to expanding our business with RIM throughout the year.”
“The 7digital Music Store is a perfect complement to the high-performance BlackBerry PlayBook, providing users with fast searches and downloads, and a slick interface that makes it very easy to discover, purchase and enjoy music,” said Alistair Mitchell, Vice President, BBM Platform & Integrated Services. “We are thrilled to be working with 7digital to provide BlackBerry PlayBook users with access to an amazing catalog of 13 million tracks.”
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet running the 7digital Music Store application will be previewed this week at the South by South West conference in Austin, Texas.
Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain and London, UK, 14th February 2011 – 7digital announced the company is acting as Samsung’s official music download partner for the new Galaxy S II smartphone.
7digital will be the embedded digital music store on the Galaxy S II, allowing users to access 7digital’s 12 million strong catalogue of high quality MP3 tracks. The native Android application will be pre-installed on all Samsung Galaxy S II smartphones shipping to 30 countries including UK, US and Canada.
With the Android application, users can search for tracks, albums and artists and preview tracks before purchasing. Users can also discover new music through 7digital’s recommendation technology. Tracks and albums will be priced in a customer’s local currency, with prices mirroring those on 7digital.com.
7digital has been incorporated into the Galaxy S II using the 7digital API (application programming interface), which allows consumer electronics companies and developers to build and integrate bespoke digital music download stores into a range of devices and services. The music download application on Samsung’s existing Galaxy Tab device is powered using the 7digital API.
Ben Drury, CEO 7digital comments, “The new Galaxy S II has been designed with entertainment at its core. The integration of 7digital makes discovering, previewing and purchasing high quality MP3 music simple and intuitive for users. In addition to providing access to the 7digital catalogue, users will also have access to our recommendation services, and can preview tracks before downloading direct to their mobile device.
“We currently have the largest international footprint of any digital music MP3 retailer, with a presence in the UK, US, Canada and throughout Europe. This made us an ideal partner for Samsung, as we are able to serve their large global customer base and provide access to the largest MP3 catalogue in the world.”