NSM and Playmysong Launch New Mobile Social Jukebox

San Francisco (-1st of October 2013-) NSM Music, Inc., one of the world’s leading suppliers of commercial jukebox music systems, and Playmysong, the creator of the popular mobile social jukebox app that has taken the world by storm, announced a new partnership at the SF Music Tech conference.  The companies have launched an interactive music service which gives bar patrons the power to DJ the music around them while giving bars the chance to earn more revenue with paid song requests made by patrons.

Playmysong’s mobile social jukebox app provides a crowdsourced DJ experience to tens of thousands of private parties, weddings, BBQs, tailgating parties, with new uses being invented by users every day. NSM Music provides commercial, interactive pay-to-play music systems in thousands of locations in North America, Europe, Australasia and Africa.  Together, the new service connects Playmysong’s iPad jukebox app with NSM Music’s fully licensed and comprehensive music library. Bars can immediately launch the Playmysong NSM Jukebox service with a network connected iPad, and start earning revenue share from the paid song requests that bar patrons make.

“Since last year we’ve gotten loads of requests from US venues to provide a solution that includes a fully licensed music library. Our partnership with NSM Music allows us to provide this turnkey service”, said Rami Korhonen, co-founder and CEO.  The new Playmysong NSM app integrates with popular social networks, allowing venues to offer patrons a limited number of free songs in return for checking in on Foursquare, liking on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter.  After that, customers pay for each song request.  “Our mission is to give people the power to influence the music around them everywhere they go”, continued Rami, “and this joint service with NSM Music allows us to do it in a way that benefits bars, bar patrons and rights holders,”

“NSM has been a leader in interactive, in-venue music for 60 years”, says Bob Cooney, NSM Music’s Senior Vice President. “As opposed to most commercial music services, NSM Music offers services that increase the profits for our customers.  As consumer adoption of smartphones continues to grow, it is strategically important for NSM to offer a product that is relevant to today’s bar patron.  Partnering with Playmysong enables us to offer a fully-licensed, cutting edge, mobile and social music experience for patrons that actually earns money for our locations.”

The Playmysong Venue Jukebox app is available today from the iPhone App Store as a free download. By subscribing to the optional Playmysong NSM Jukebox add-on service, bars get access to NSM Music’s vast licensed music library, new money making opportunities and Playmysong Pro features, which include: 

●   Customized thank you messages for in-bar marketing

●   Branded jukebox page for the venue

●   Playmysong big screen digital TV display

●   Marketing materials

●   Venues can subscribe to Playmysong NSM Jukebox at hello@playmysong.com

Playmysong app for requesting songs can be found from: www.playmysong.com. Playmysong Venue Jukebox app for iPad can be found from http://www.playmysong.com/usa/

 About NSM Music

 About PlaymysongFounded in Germany in 1951, NSM Music Group manufactures and sells commercial music systems, including digital downloading jukeboxes, worldwide. Headquartered in Leeds, England, with offices in Chicago, Germany and Dubai, NSM Music is a pioneer of the Digital Downloading Jukebox, distributing music content worldwide through its own music servers. NSM Music was the first jukebox manufacturer to be awarded the Phonographic Performance License for dubbing and downloading music in Europe. NSM has distributors in Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Malta, Greece, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

 Playmysong, founded in 2011, has reinvented the jukebox for the smartphone era. It’s a free app and service which allows users to both play songs in social jukeboxes and to host their own social jukebox experience in a matter of seconds. Playmysong’s business model is based on selling premium services for end-users, participating venues and brands.

CNN Covers the Jukebox

In an opinion piece, CNN.com covers the new trend of jukeboxes with mobile apps, and covers the debate over whether this is a good or a bad trend.  They suggest that the “jukebox stroll” was a “hallowed part of the American experience”.  Wonder if that goes for the stroll to the bathroom too, though for ladies it does seem to be more “experiential” than for men.  They also posit that we don’t need another reason to stare at our smartphones.  This one we agree with.  

NSM is working on new ways to discover and experience music in all kinds of locations.  And we are paying particular attention to using smart devices. But we really want these devices to help connect people within a venue, not distract or isolate them from it.  To learn more about our work in this area, follow #jukeboxnext on Twitter. 

Here is the article on CNN.com  

Texan Bar Fined $45,000 for ‘Pirated’ Karaoke Songs

Torrentfreak reported that a Texan bar at the Clarion Inn was fined $45,000 for hosting “pirated” karaoke songs, featuring Otis Redding, Willy Nelson, and Johnny Cash among many others.

This lawsuit was one of 81 total cases so far in 2013 dealing with pubs, restaurants, and bars that were sued for playing music without a proper license. Full story on Digital Music News.

Engage Employees with Discounted Jukebox Play

A dirty secret of the jukebox biz is that, in at least some locations, the bar staff puts a ton of money in the jukebox. This is especially true in locations with little to no other entertainment and no background music. Nobody likes a quiet bar, and during slow times when maybe only a couple of people are hanging out and nobody is playing the jukebox, the bartender is faced with putting their own money in to keep the ambience up, or risking having people walk out taking their tips with them.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with making employees plug some money into the jukebox, but should a bar owner really be giving 60-70% of their employees’ money upstream to the amusement operator and the network provider? Employees who feel like they are being taken advantage of are also more likely to turn off the jukebox entirely, and just plug their iPod or laptop into the sound system, removing a key revenue source for the bar’s business, and potentially violating copyright laws that could lead to substantial fines and penalties.

There are solutions available to bar owners to keep employees engaged with the jukebox without making them feel like they are being ripped off. One option is to just reduce the cost per play during slow times. If you know that your employees are the primary users of the jukebox during certain hours, set the price at 10 plays for a dollar. This gives the employee tremendous value for their money. Another option is to let the employees mark their currency in marker with their initials before they insert it into the bill acceptor. Then when the bar owner cleans out the cashbox, they pull out the marked bills, and give a rebate back to the employee, which can range from 50% up to 100% by returning the marked bills to the employee.

By engaging and rewarding employees with discounted or free jukebox play, they’re more likely to encourage customers to use the jukebox, and overall jukebox revenue will increase. This is a very simple strategy if the bar owner has the keys to the jukebox. Otherwise it requires buy-in and participation from the amusement operator. If the operator is resistant to this idea, ask for a two- week trial to see how it goes. Or bar owners can call NSM Music to arrange for a new digital jukebox, which comes with a flat fee music subscription and the keys to the jukebox, so they can do whatever they deem necessary to increase their bottom line.

Why Copyright Law Is Crippling American Karaoke Companies…

The following comes from David Grimes of Digitrax Entertainment, a karaoke company headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, courtesy of Digital Music News. It further underscores the difficulty in licensing content in the US. David’s issue is primarily one of enforcement.  If a company is going through the difficult labor by legitimately licensing content, but foreign entities are just dumping their unlicensed content into the market, that’s a shame. At NSM, we want our customers to understand the difficulty of licensing so they appreciate the value proposition of our product.  We are not complaining however, as that difficulty acts as a barrier to entry for competitors and keeps the market sane.  However, if foreign entrants, or other companies that are trying to skirt proper licensing channels, say by claiming SoundExchange exemptions, were to begin competing in this market, we would expect our content partners to step up.  And I think they would. 

 

“Right now, American karaoke labels are struggling to compete with foreign competitors who wield huge advantages due to archaic American copyright laws and lax enforcement of overseas restrictions. The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) was made very aware of these issues at the 2013 Karaoke Summit; all we ask is to be able to compete on a level field.

When a foreign karaoke music company wants to release a new track, based on any popular song, they go to a rights organization, which administers karaoke rights in general, pay a nominal fee (usually 10% of retail), record and release the track.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, this is done with a simple KAR license from MCPS, through PRS For Music. PRS is the “rights organization”, doing the administrative work of collecting fees and distributing them to the appropriate song publishers.

In the US, the story is very different.

In the landmark ABKCO Music, Inc. v. Stellar Records, Inc. case in 1996, karaoke in America was defined by the courts as an “audiovisual work”, forcing domestic karaoke companies to secure a “video synchronization” license, a lyric reprint license, and mechanical recording license in order to release a karaoke song.

There is no rights organization for video sync.

Video sync licensing in the USA requires the explicit permission of the song publisher, meaning the American karaoke company has to hunt down each song writer or their agent individually, and secure a license under contract, a time-consuming and expensive undertaking. This is completely at odds with the transient nature of song popularity; by the time songwriters have been located, negotiated with and signed to a contract, the song in question has long disappeared from the charts and the window of opportunity closed.

In addition, there are thousands of popular songs that simply can’t be produced domestically at all, because the songwriters have decreed their songs will not be made into karaoke… in the USA.

But nothing prevents overseas companies from ignoring these edicts, securing a compulsory license from a rights organization, and releasing music from these songwriters and artists. And it appears that nothing is keeping them from selling those works in the United States, in spite of the fact that the licenses they’ve obtained explicitly don’t cover sales into the USA.

For example, the UK license noted above from MCPS allows the company to sell anywhere in the world – except the USA and Canada. It would be a trivial matter for foreign companies to geo-block US IP-addresses and comply with their licenses, but the dirty truth is that the money is just too good. Red Karaoke, based in Spain, recently noted in an interview that about 50% of their revenue comes from the US. The company claims on their website that “we have licenses and agreements with the copyright entities and music publishers in the countries where we operate.”

However, a quick look at Red Karaoke’s catalog shows an enormous number of songwriters who are on the forbidden list in the USA, including Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon, freely available to users from inside the United States. Additionally, the site uses the original album cover art and artist likenesses, rights that presumably would have to be negotiated with the original record labels and the artists themselves, respectively.

At Digitrax, we’ve identified nearly thirty other entities operating outside the US and trafficking karaoke songs back into the USA that American companies are forbidden by law to sell. Unless the playing field can be leveled, we three surviving US karaoke labels are going to have a rough time.”

David Grimes

Digitrax Entertainment, LLC

Use Karaoke on Your Jukebox to Promote Parties and Special Events

Some of the newer jukeboxes on the market offer Karaoke. Every NSM digital internet jukebox, as well as Touchtunes’ new Virtuo, are capable of hosting Karaoke. While a jukebox can never replace a qualified and engaging Karaoke host with a loyal following for an official Karaoke Night in a bar, it does offer up some interesting and potentially profitable benefits than many bar owners don’t think about.

Karaoke is a great party activity. By offering a Karaoke service to potential party customers, especially corporate parties, bar owners can increase their service offerings without having to dramatically increase their expenses, maintaining their profit margins. The best Karaoke experience is a hosted one, and most companies would gladly offer the job of Karaoke host to one of their more outgoing employees. Or maybe someone on the bar’s staff has the personality and desire to play host. Either way, using the jukebox to increase party business is good for the bottom line.

Another use for Karaoke is to create themed events. Jamie at the 540 Club in San Francisco hosts several themed Karaoke parties each year with great success. Their Catholic School Karaoke party has become a perennial favorite and always packs the house.

One of the benefits of Karaoke in a jukebox is that it can be turned on at a moment’s notice. This can come in handy when a group shows up on a slow night and there’s not much buzz happening in the bar. Offering to turn on Karaoke and letting them take control, potentially keeps them engaged, drinking and eating instead of moving on to the next bar looking for excitement.

Bingo Isn’t Just for the VFW

NSM’s entire line of jukeboxes comes with a Keno/Bingo game. This exclusive application is a great way to promote food and drink specials or create bounce backs for happy hour or other promotions. The jukebox auto-announces the numbers, which are also displayed on screen and on any external TV’s that have been hooked up. It’s simple, fun and effective.

Creative bar owners run the Keno game during lunch hours and happy hour. Bar staff pass out free Keno cards and pencils to patrons, and offer prizes redeemable during a bounce back visit. These prizes can be used to promote new menu items or new drinks and slower day parts. Promotions like ‘Free Cheese Sticks after 9PM on Weeknights’ can potentially drive return visits during slow hours. The prize should always be redeemable during a return visit, and promoting a new item builds awareness of that item during busy times.

Keno is also a great option for corporate and birthday parties. Locations that do corporate party business can use it to engage and entertain the attendees and give out corporate swag as gifts.

Sell Ads On Your Jukebox to Local Businesses

In addition to promoting a bar’s own events and specials, savvy bar owners with relationships in the local business community are selling advertisements that they run on their jukebox-connected TV’s. Several bar owners are charging $20 a month per business for up to 10 businesses, which pays for their music fees. REALTORs, Taxi Companies, dry cleaners, and other service providers are great targets. One way to build a target list is to see who is advertising on other out-of-home media like bench ads, grocery store receipts, or even the bathroom ads in the bar.

Some bar owners use jukebox ads as trade-out inventory for their service providers. Every bar needs occasional appliance repair, plumbing, electrical and carpentry work and an advertisement for that business on the jukebox can cover the cost of simple repairs and maintenance needs for the bar.

Promote Specials and Events on Your Jukebox

Connecting TV’s enables the ability to run customized promotional ads from the jukebox. Not every jukebox gives locations this ability. NSM’s entire line of digital jukeboxes comes with its Promotion Designer app, which enables a bar to design ads on the jukebox screen, or on a computer for upload via a USB memory stick. It’s like a free digital signage platform. Bar owners use this feature to promote happy hour specials, special events, parties, new menu items, bar-staff announcements, or anything else they deem important. Bar owners should check with their amusement operator to see what promotional capabilities are available to them.

Best Practice – Hook-up TV’s to the Jukebox

One of the limiting factors of jukebox revenue is visibility in the location. When jukeboxes are buried back by the bathroom, their revenue inevitably suffers. But it’s not always practical to put a jukebox in the best location to maximize revenue. Lots of things compete for wall space in a bar. One way to offset this is to hook up one or more televisions to the jukebox’s video output. Most modern digital internet jukeboxes have video outputs that mirror what’s on the screen. The best jukeboxes have HDMI outputs that generate a hi-quality promotional video stream designed for external monitors. And by hooking up one or more TV’s, other potential avenues for increasing profits are opened. For technical questions about how to hook up a jukebox to TV’s, no matter what model of jukebox, contact NSM’s technical support line for advice and guidance.

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