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Guitar Hero: Activision has pulled the plug

14 Feb

We all know and love Guitar Hero. The hair metal tunes, the chinese-made guitars and those faux-drums were just so much fun. I could riff Muse like there was no tomorrow. However the franchise, which has been running for over five years now, has now stopped production of the series including DJ Hero and True Crime after disaapointing retail sales.

This comes within months of Viacom’s decision to rid itself of Rock Band which was losing them money. This still comes as a slight shock considering it once one of the biggest selling video games of the new century. Elaborating about the decision, Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, said: “We simply cannot make these games profitable based on current market and demands.”

The discontinuation of “Guitar Hero” will result in more than 500 lay-offs, most of which will come at the studios contributing to the series. These studios include Freestyle Games in the UK; United Front in Canada; and Bizarre Creations in Liverpool.

Bad times.

Is @twitter worth $10bn?

11 Feb

Hot off the press is the news Twitter is attracting takeover interest, estimated to be around the $8bn to $10bn mark. Twitter, with its 200 million users, has certainly revolutionised communication online, but this is still an extraordinary sum of money considering not only has the site is yet to turn a profit, but also hasn’t figured out a plan on doing so.

But despite a fundamental flaw as a business the micro-blogging platform is attracting a lot of interest by the inter juggernauts Google and Facebook, both having held “low-level” talks. And even the savviest investors in Silicon Valley are predicting Twitter’s estimation is only going to rise. Two months ago, the company raised $200m to fund its development, valuing the business at $3.7bn.

There is evidently a lot of faith and maybe I don’t see the profoundly bigger picture (else I’d be in Silicon Valley), but I just think $10bn is an insane amount. The only companies it does make sense for is Facebook and Google which can use Twitter in conjunction with their existing applications. But still… $10bn for a site that is yet to turn a profit?

Groupon’s superbowl controversy: who gives a twit?

8 Feb

Blogs have been alight with the anger towards Groupon’s Super Bowl ads, ads that poked fun at serious global issues such as deforestation and poverty stricken countries. If you have no idea what I’m chatting about check out some of the tongue-in-cheek videos below!

What struck a chord with me is the amount of outrage on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Blogs. Groupon, the daily-deal kings, brought on advertising firm CP+B to come up with the campaign which was aired during the Super Bowl and can be viewed via SaveTheMoney.org. Despite the entertaining and evidently, very effective commercials, many groups have criticized the taste even going after the celebrities themselves.

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Motorola’s sly dig at iPad – Empower the People (ad)

7 Feb

This advert is great! It pokes fun at Apple’s classic 1984 commercial inspired by George Orwell’s book… 1984.

…and for those who haven’t seen the original Apple advert.

Vivienne Westwood designs new Brit Awards Statuette

13 Jan

As part of the biggest overhaul of the Brit awards since its inception, a new statuette was unveiled today.

Created by the influential British designer Vivienne Westwood, godmother of punk and grande dame of the UK fashion scene, it features a vintage-style union flag draped around the traditional statue, which wears a bronze helmet embossed with the Westwood logo.

Organisers of the awards have created a “blank canvas” trophy that will be restyled each year by leading British creative individuals.

The new chairman of the awards and CEO of Universal Music in the UK, David Joseph, said: “Vivienne stands for all the things we want to inspire in tomorrow’s generation of artists. She continues to be unique, innovative, not to mention massively inspired by music and vice versa. We are honoured she accepted our offer of designing 2011′s trophy.”

Full Story at Guardian.co.uk

RIAA unfit to govern: $90m+ spent on lobbying alone

10 Jan

The RIAA is the trust that represents the music industry and distributors in the US. Any regular follower of my blog would know my general dislike in how they operate.  Such past articles include:

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What Shea hopes for 2011′s music industry

30 Dec

2010 has been a terrible year, as seems to be the continuous case, for the music industry with piracy still ruling the waves and physical sales continuing to plummet. For me, the one bit of exciting news this year was the arrival of cloud-based music services from Google, Spotify and Sony – that didn’t happen.  Well Sony’s Qriocity (shudder) is off to a stuttering start but I doubt it will get anywhere.  So alas, we pray to what 2011 brings!

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Android’s Media Player 2

29 Dec

An alpha version of the next iteration of Android’s media player has supposedly been leaked in a video by an Android developer. The video, which is on YouTube, shows an entirely revamped album library (which works in portrait and landscape mode), and those who have used the player have said it’s better for music organization. So why hasn’t it launched yet?

Those who have used it also said that it supports streaming music but that feature doesn’t work very well yet.

According to Fortune, Google has been working on this project for quite some time, and has even secured the rights required to stream music from the cloud down to your phone.

It’s unclear when Google plans to launch this update, if it even launches in this form. For now, take a look at the updated music player on Android by watching the video below.

Qriocity: Sony’s Music Service

28 Dec

Not going to lie, I have been a little excited with the anticipated music service launch from Sony. With the iconic Walkman, their stamp on entertainment technologies and, of course, Sony BMG, I could only dream what synergistic techniques the Japanese lot could would come up. Well boy I was wrong.

Introducing:

*Bangs head on table* So the name has obviously been devised by some middle-aged men thinking their in touch with social trending simply due to owning the latest Katy Perry CD.  Clever play on words, I’ll give them that, but  it just screams “I am a sh*t product”. Now my rants don’t go unfounded, they are fuelled by lacklustre products and services in a market place that demands the very best in innovation. Sony, if anyone, is best positioned to fulfil these needs.

So here the low-down on Sony’s music service. Two options. Basic and Premium (sounds familiar?). In the basic plan, users can stream music by genre channels. The premium option allows users to stream songs on-demand, a la carte style. This will be at a cost of $9 a month, which isn’t too exciting considering the competition from the likes of We7, GrooveShark and Spotify.  Despite this charge there is no promise of an app coming out for iPhone users, which would suggest a service for Sony device users only. Shame I don’t have anything Sony. Oh, apart from my old-school Walkman.

2011′s Music Industry: 5 Predictions

23 Dec

This post comes from my friends at Mashable:

The music industry continued suffering its hardcore identity crisis in 2010, buffeted by the languishing major labels, continued leaks/file-sharing and that most confusing of conundrums: How to get music to fans in a way that makes sense — without losing money.

Still, despite the industry’s continuing difficulty to adapt to the digital age in a truly profitable way, we have seen some stirrings of change: the expansion of the online music video oeuvre, more creative and diverse methods of releasing albums (via Ping, Facebook and even mobile apps), and more mainstream, established publications and institutions embracing social media all the more.

There’s a lot of noise out there in the music world — and we’re not just talking about the genre — and we’re all hoping that out of that tangle of ideas and sounds comes the antidote that will fix a system that is so obviously in flux. Although I don’t quite see that antidote being concocted this coming year, I do see more trial and error and creativity brewing that could, in the end, lead to the music industry’s eventual rebirth. Either that or it will all implode and we’ll live in eternal silence, but somehow I doubt it.

And with that I bring you my predictions for 2011.


1. Subscription Services Will Be Popular, But Not Profitable


headphones

If Spotify’s $26.7 million loss in 2009 is any indication, subscription services still have a ways to go before they’ll actually become profitable. Hell, Last.fm isn’t even turning a profit yet — although it could be getting close.

Still, this year and the end of last year saw services gaining even more steam — MOG launched its all-you-can-eat service in December, followed by Android and iPhone apps, and, most recently, an app in the Chrome Web Store. Rdio also launched to much excitement, and Slacker Radio announced that it would be launching an on-demand offering as well (possibly across a variety of devices to be unveiled at CES).

Yes, streaming music services have been around for a while now, but what’s changed in the past year is the number of devices you can access them on — everything from the iPad to Roku to the Xbox Kinect to the upcoming Chrome OS devices. The ability to listen to music on-demand across a variety of devices is sure to be a hit among consumers — it just remains to be seen how these services will monetize. Continue reading

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