The Weekend: exfm, Backplane, Whitney, Wilson, post-SF, OK Go, MSFT, Ultra, Thrillcall...
These are the stories we're watching this holiday weekend. Check back for ongoing updates and new developments. Also, if you think we're missing something, just add it below!
First, the funding front. It happened quietly, though the little extension-that-could exfm has just raised another $1.5 million from Spark Capital.
Which complemented a $4.5 million round for Backplane, cofounded by Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter. SV Angel and Google Ventures are were among the leaders of that series A, with the first iteration expected to be LittleMonsters.com. The broader vision is a community platform focused around interests - and one that pushes beyond music.
Heard playing at the Whitney funeral this weekend: "Drama" feat. Bobby Brown, who was escorted out of the ceremony in Newark after clashing with Houston family members. The Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were apparently attempting to smooth ruffled feathers - and for more on that, we go to TMZ.
So what's the post-SOPA sentiment? Lots of 'what's next' discussion, including a well-circulated opinion by power-VC Fred Wilson, who this week suggested a privately-created and enforced blacklist. That is, free of government oversight, FBI raids, and egregious international oversight, while lacking that ferocious enforcement bite that everyone hates.
And, we're still sifting through a mountain of notes and footage from SF MusicTech Summit from this week. That includes OK Go digital strategist Mike Rosenthal, who noted that YouTube only produces a 'trickle' of revenues, and a flurry of music elevator pitches. Coordinator Brian Zisk is uploading sessions onto Soundcloud now; meanwhile we've heard some American executives contrasting the fairly cheap-n-easy SF MusicTech to the far more pricey-and-complicated Midem...
I think I read this before (in 1998), but it looks like Microsoft is starting the wheels on a new music service. According to details tipped by C|Net's Greg Sandoval, the service will be geared towards Xbox and Windows Phone customers.
Looks like the Ultra Music Festival is becoming a global roadshow. The event just announced expansion dates beyond its Miami roost into Buenos Aires, Ibiza, Seoul, Sao Paolo, and Warsaw, with Bayonne, NJ also on the shortlist.
Also on the live circuit, event-focused Thrillcall has just launched an iOS app that pushes ticketing deals to fans, including enticements like drinks, special access, etc. The initial launch is happening in San Francisco, with Los Angeles the next hop.