Spotify Signs Sony Royalty Deal While Warner Holds Out: Reports

Spotify Signs Sony Royalty Deal While Warner Holds Out: Reports

Spotify has reached a licensing deal with a second major label, Sony Music Entertainment, according to media reports, setting the stage for a US stock market listing by the music streaming leader.

Recently valued at $13 billion (roughly Rs. 83,810 crores), Sweden’s Spotify is planning a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this year or in early 2018, sources told Reuters in May.

Sony agreed to reduce royalties that Spotify must pay in return for the streaming service restricting new albums to paying subscribers for two weeks before offering access to free users, the Financial Times reported, citing a single source.

Sony’s top artists include Adele, Beyonce and Shakira.

Spotify is also in talks with Warner Music Group , Billboard reported.

Favourable royalty terms are crucial for Spotify to attain profitability and to make it a viable long-term holding for investors.

The company reported a EUR 349 million ($400 million) operating loss, a 47 percent increase on a year earlier, even as revenue grew 50 percent to EUR 2.93 billion.

In April, it signed a multi-year licensing deal with Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, with a similar two-week release window for new albums and a break on the royalties Spotify pays Universal.

It also signed up digital agency Merlin, on behalf of more than 20,000 independent labels.

Last year, Universal held a 28.9 percent share of global music label revenue, Sony Music generated 22.4 percent and Warner 17.4 percent. Independent labels made up the remaining 31.3 percent, MIDiA Research data showed.

Spotify has fended off competition from rival Apple Music, with nearly double the number of paying subscribers.

In March, Spotify said it had more than 50 million paying subscribers and 140 million active users, including free listeners. Apple reported 27 million music subscribers last month, up from 20 million in December.

The company has faced boycotts from some top music artists who have complained its free services undercut the value of their work but the major label licensing deals have gone some way toward easing these tensions, according to analysts.

Spotify declined to comment. Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group did not respond to requests for immediate comment.


Samsung SMART Signage TV: Digital Signs and TV for Small Businesses

Samsung digital sign - bagel store



A turnkey solution giving you the ability to offer either business TV programming or digital signs (or both on a split screen) to your patrons, on a 40-inch or 48-inch Samsung business TV. With 200 templates, do-it-yourselfers on a small business budget can create and change digital signs quickly at no added cost.

Lots of small businesses use televisions in their premises: gyms, sports bars, restaurants — to name some.  But what business owners may not realize is that using consumer televisions for commercial purposes may void or reduce the warranty.

And if you decide to use a TV or computer monitor to run an in-house presentation, say in your lobby, it can be cumbersome and expensive. You may need to commission an expensive video or multimedia presentation. Or if you choose to create it yourself, such as with PowerPoint, the result may look less visually appealing than you’d hoped.

And what about signs and displays in your business? Have you ever wished for something more dynamic and exciting?

Recently we ran across an impressive solution for small businesses that solves those kinds of issues. It’s called the Samsung SMART Signage TV.

Think of it as “TV and digital signage in a box.” I saw it in action at the recent Small Business Summit in New York (pictured in the booth below).

Overall, it’s an impressive package that gives small businesses the kind of flexibility and options for signage and television previously available to larger buyers (such as hotels, hospitals or retail chains).

Michael O’Halloran, marketing manager with Samsung, who was at the Summit, told me that this is a solution Samsung designed specifically for small businesses. “Digital signage has been around for years,” he said. “But up to now it’s been for large companies. The difference is that we’ve created the first ‘television and digital signage package in a box’ that’s easy enough for even the smallest business to install and use.”

digital signage tv system in a box

Samsung SMART Signage TV Features

The Samsung SMART Signage TV is designed specifically for small businesses.

With it you can offer regular television programming to your patrons, of course. It is a fully functioning high-definition TV.  It comes in two sizes: 40-inch and 48-inch.

But the real beauty of this system is the digital sign platform that is included at no extra charge. You can create and display bright, eye-catching digital signs in your premises.

It includes a free software package called MagicInfo Express (see video demonstration), that comes with over 200 sign templates. After a short learning curve, it takes just minutes to create dynamic signs with text and images. You can have static signs or make the sign images move, alternate, fly in or fade out. There are many animation options to catch a customer’s eye.

You can also schedule signage for different times of day. For instance, a restaurant could change a menu sign for breakfast, lunch and dinner automatically.

You don’t need to be a designer to use the software. Just upload your logo and photographs. Then you follow the instructions to insert them into the pre-made templates.  You update the software from a laptop or desktop computer, or from a mobile device.

Once satisfied with your design, you can load the content wirelessly to the television set from your computer or mobile device. This means, if you have signs at multiple locations, you can update them remotely.  Another option is to upload via a USB device that you plug into the TV.

You do not need to be a technician to set up the system. The media player is built in to the television.  So there’s no messing around trying to get a separate media player to “play nice” with the TV. You don’t have to jerry rig solutions such as running cables from a monitor to a dedicated laptop hidden nearby.

Samsung televisions are good quality and look attractive. The Smart Signage TV has a sleek gloss-black finish.

These televisions are designed to take heavy business use — 16 hours per day, 7 days a week. They each have an 16:9 LED Backlit LCD display. They are Energy Star rated for energy efficiency.

The signage TV is in use in New York’s Tompkins Square Bagels, where owner Christopher Pugliese points out that he’s using the sign to open up new sales opportunities. “We have massive lines of 20-somethings who work all over New York City. And I don’t think any of them realize that we could cater their office breakfast or meeting,” he said. “We felt that the digital display would be really helpful with getting that message across.”

Samsung digital signs cross sell


  • Everything you need for one installation is included in the box: television, TV stand, wall mount hardware, and software and templates to design the signs.
  • The SMART Signage set can be displayed in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) mode — either on the wall or as a tabletop set. Vertical signs are especially good for clothing stores that may want to show a fully dressed model. Horizontal signs have the added benefit of being able to display a television program right alongside a sign message, on a split screen. For example, a sports bar could display a televised football game, alongside a sign with the day’s drink specials.
  • Digital signage is bright, modern looking, and faster to change than printed signs.
  • Each Smart Signage TV comes with a 36-month warranty for parts and labor. This warranty covers commercial use of the TV. It includes onsite service. Samsung has a dedicated support line for commercial users.
  • MSRP pricing is $749 for the 40-inch and $999 for the 48-inch. You might be tempted to think, ‘I can buy cheaper TVs at my local big box store.’ But remember the added value you are getting in the form of (1) signage software, (2)  Samsung quality, (3) ease of managing your signage, and (4) commercial warranty and onsite service.
  • You can purchase directly from Samsung, or from retailers such as Costco, Amazon and Sam’s Club. Leasing options may also be available to spread out the cost in monthly payments.


I saw a live demonstration, including how to use the software, at a conference. It presented very well (see Tompkins Square Bagels examples pictured).  It appears as easy to use as the description. There were no negatives that I could see.

My only reservation is that I haven’t used the Smart Signage TV for any length of time. So I can’t speak to installing it or using it over time.  (Read: what you need to know about business TV.)

However, I am a user of Samsung televisions in general. If the quality of these is similar to what I have used, you will be well satisfied with the looks, reliability and display.  While there may be sharper displays on the market, the SMART Signage TV is a vast improvement over what I see many small businesses using today.

Samsung digital signs TV DIY installation

Who Samsung SMART Signage TV Is Best For

SMART Signage TV is ideal for small businesses that want to attract customer attention through bright, eye-catching digital signs for interior spaces. This includes retail shops, spas, salons, restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and bars. It’s perfect to call out visually-appealing offerings or sales promotions, so you can sell more products or services.

And remember that it’s also a TV. For those of you already offering business TV programming to patrons, it opens up new cross-selling opportunities.  For example, a dentist’s office can provide TV in the waiting room. On a split screen the dentist could inform patients about optional services such as invisible braces or tooth whitening.

It’s also a good choice for offices that have television and/or in-house presentations in their lobbies. Examples include consulting businesses and technology companies that receive visitors regularly.

Samsung SMART Signage TV is great for do-it-yourself owners and managers who want the flexibility to change signage regularly — even multiple times a day.

Playing around with the software, I can say it is easy to change signs using the templates.  I’d equate it to using PowerPoint. If you or your staff use PowerPoint, I’m pretty sure you can learn to use this sign software.

Who it’s not for: if you use business television but have no plans to ever use the signage, you may not get full value at the $749 and $999 price points. Price shoppers strictly looking for an inexpensive TV who don’t need the signage option can find cheaper options, I am sure.  Remember, though, the warranty coverage with this SMART Signage TV may save you money in the long run.

Small businesses that want to serve customers better AND increase sales should check out Samsung’s SMART Signage TV for an:

  • easy turnkey solution combining both advertising and television;
  • TV programming on a beautiful HD television set;
  • the kind of professional-looking digital signs that large companies have;
  • the ability for do-it-yourselfers to change digital signage quickly at no added cost, without getting a designer involved;
  • onsite warranty coverage backed by a multibillion-dollar global company;
  • at a small-business price.

Image credits: Samsung; Small Business Trends

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5 Signs You’re Throwing Leads in the Trash

business trashWhat I’ve learned the last 10 years of working with entrepreneurial small businesses is that this savvy group of marketers cares about three things: getting more customers, increasing sales and saving time.

Small businesses tend to focus most, if not all, of their marketing and sales resources on closing hot leads — which means the not-ready-to-buy-yet leads end up getting thrown out with yesterday’s garbage.

This “get more customers now” mentality, combined with a lack of time and resources, hurts small businesses and often causes some serious inefficiency in the marketing and sales funnel.

Are you suffering from this problem in your small business? There are five signs your marketing and sales funnel is leaking leads and losing customers.


1.       You don’t use a lead magnet or Web form. You spend money and time driving traffic to your website, but then you bury your opt-in form. Or worse, you don’t offer a compelling lead magnet (e-book, webinar, demo, etc.) that people can opt in for at all. If you don’t have their contact information, you can’t follow up, and your conversions will be lower.

2.       You don’t segment your prospect and customer list. I suggest you segment your contact list three ways: by lead source, by demographics and behaviors (links they clicked on in an email, webinars they attended, etc.) and by selected interests (what information they’ve opted to receive).

3.       You don’t have a lead nurturing system in place. Without a system in place for nurturing and qualifying cold leads, your sales team waste hours on the phone educating prospects about the benefits your product or service provides. It helps to have an automated follow-up system in place so no lead gets lost in the cracks.

4.       You batch and blast. Your lack of time forces you to send the same message at the same time to your entire contact list. While your prospects and customers may share similarities, this one-size-fits-all approach will train them to ignore you or opt out of your messages all together. Track what actions they’ve taken, what information they’ve opted in to receive and their buying history. Then send only relevant, highly targeted messages that you know they will want to receive. This strategy will result in better open rates, higher click-through rates and more lead-to-sale conversions.

5.       Any nurturing ends after the sale. Once you get the customer, you get too busy to keep them happy, to upsell additional products or to ask for referrals. Automated follow-up can help satisfied customers remember to send their friends your way. Also be strategic about the products you upsell. If you have a system in place for tracking customer behavior, you can easily market your upsells to their needs. I know one small business that sends a pre-recorded voicemail automatically to new customers, thanking them for their recent purchase. That same business sends cookies when customers spend a certain amount of money (this is done automatically when the sale is processed). It’s about wowing your new customers so they don’t leave you for the competition.

Don’t fret if you find your marketing and sales funnel has some serious leaks. Just about every small business will experience and overcome these growing pains. In today’s world of technology, there are many marketing and sales tools available to help small businesses attract, nurture and convert leads.


Facebook Signs EU’s Privacy Shield Treaty; May Spark Privacy Row

Facebook Signs EU's Privacy Shield Treaty; May Spark Privacy RowSocial networking giant Facebook has agreed to adopt a new European Union (EU) data accord that allows personal information to be transferred to the US, potentially sparking yet another privacy row, the media reported.

Facebook has quietly signed the Privacy Shield – a controversial treaty that allows US technology companies to transfer EU citizens’ details abroad. It will apply to certain advertising data and its new Workplace service for businesses, the Telegraph UK reported on Saturday.

Privacy Shield, a replacement deal that was designed to provide extra safeguards for Europeans, came into force in July. Google and Microsoft have already adopted the treaty.

Facebook signed up at the end of September, although only two aspects of the social network use it.The first is Workplace, a special version of Facebook that allows company employees to communicate, which was launched last week.

The other is its “Ads and Measurement” technology that uses customer data supplied by other companies to target adverts.

Other user data is not covered by the treaty, although it can be transferred to the US under secondary legal measures, the report said.

“We have signed up two important parts of our business to the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework – Facebook at Work and our relevant Ads and Measurement services,” a Facebook spokesman confirmed the report.

Facebook’s adoption of the treaty is significant because the prior US-EU agreement, Safe Harbour which was abolished by the European Court of Justice as a direct result of legal action against the social network by privacy campaigners.

However, it is likely to lead to further scrutiny of the Privacy Shield deal from Facebook’s critics, the report stated.

Tags: EU, Privacy Shield, Facebook, Social, Internet