Music Business Roundup: Apple Releases New Products, Twitter Tests ‘Buy’ Button, and Garth Brooks Launches ‘Ghost Tunes’


Each week on Songwriter U, Songspace recaps the top stories in the world of music business. Here’s everything you need to know from the week ending on September 12th.

Apple Debuts Phones, Watches, and U2 Album

Despite technical issues with a live stream, Apple got their message out loud and clear during a product announcement event on Tuesday. Along with a new iPhone 6 and 6+, Apple also debuted the Apple Watch, which establishes wearable technology as a bonafide new category of consumer technology. Somewhat buried amidst the deafening buzz surrounding those new products was the surprise announcement of the “largest album release of all time.” As part of a joint marketing deal, U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence” was released to all 500 million iTunes users, free of charge. While Billboard won’t count the giveaway towards chart sales, u2 got a sweet deal from Apple, reportedly worth $100 million. They’ll also reap the marketing benefits of a worldwide ad campaign. Given Apple’s history redefining how music is distributed and consumed, the music business always heeds any and all major Apple announcements.

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Twitter Unveils ‘Buy’ Button

Purchasing concert tickets or artist merchandise online can be a burdensome process for consumers. Twitter is hoping to make selling easier (and keep you in their app longer) by introducing a “buy” button that allows for purchases directly within tweets. Artists are at the forefront of the effort, with early partners including Brad Paisley and Ryan Adams. Former Ticketmaster CEO and current Twitter Head of Commerce Nathan Hubbard is credited with the rollout, and while the venture reaches beyond the music industry and includes partnerships with charities and brands, the emphasis on music indicates the value Twitter places on itself as a platform for relationships between artists and fans.

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Garth Brooks Launches Ghost Tunes

In conjunction with releasing new music and announcing a worldwide tour, Garth Brooks has a new digital music venture called Ghost Tunes. The service purports to hand the control over to the artists, who have the option of selling songs individually (like iTunes), selling only full albums, or bundling multiple albums into a single offering. Brooks has never before sold music digitally and said he believes artists deserve more flexibility in how they do so. Ghost Tunes already offers a slew of current releases from many chart-topping artists including Maroon5, Brad Paisely, and Coldplay, among many others.

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