Chatbots Are Out for Rob Gordon’s Job

Christopher Heine, writing for AD Week, on how a chatbot is helping sell vinyl records. And it’s working.

Here’s how it works. People sign up to receive text messages and then get an album recommendation every day on their phone. Upon seeing such an offer, they can text back either “yes,” “like” or “dislike” to inform the chatbot of their musical preferences—and the reply affects what 12-inch slabs of wax are pitched their way in the future. If they answer “yes,” a link appears to let them buy the album in a couple of clicks. The Edit has sold some 50,000 records that way to tens of thousands of subscribers. What’s more, if a subscriber asks a “human question”—such as, “What is currently playing in the office?”—a customer service rep quickly steps in and provides a contextual response to further engage the patron. If the consumer seems ready to buy something but hasn’t pulled the trigger online, the chatbot—not the rep—sends that person a message to call a rep to complete the order.

The Rise and Fall of America’s Awful Beer Glass

Laura Bliss, writing for CityLab, on the history of what is widely known as draft beer’s most common drinking glass … and why it sucks:

Under Fitz’s watch, there’s not a shaker glass in sight. The glass he once hardly noticed in the race towards sloshdom he now detests. “Shaker pints were never meant for draft,” Fitz says. “They’re the worst thing that ever happened to beer.”

And it’s not just at Pizza Paradiso. In more and more bars across the country, the little-recognized shaker is slipping out the back door. And among beer’s devotees, the end of the glass that defined a century in beer can’t come soon enough.

Warner Music’s Deal for BMG’s Catalog Sets Up Showdown With RED

Ed Christman, writing for Billboard, looks at how Blink-182’s new label, BMG, and their distribution deal with the Alternative Distribution Alliance will be challenging RED as the largest indie distributor in the U.S.:

According to sources, BMG’s record label operations is already generating about $100 million globally, and about one-third of that is in the U.S. While BMG began its revival in 2008 by first pursuing music publishing opportunities, after it completed the sale of its music assets to Sony Corp., it actually held back about 200 album master recordings from the Sony deal. But it wasn’t until 2013 when it acquired Sanctuary and Mute as part of the divestiture’s the Universal Music Group made in order to keep the EU Commission’s regulatory agency happy about its EMI Recorded Music acquisition, that it began aggressively pursuing a recorded music strategy too. Since then, it has also acquired Union Square, Infectious, S-Curve, Vagrant, and Rise.

All these labels and deals and acronyms sure gets messy fast.

Spotify Acquires CrowdAlbum

Glenn Peoples, writing for TechCrunch, on Spotify’s aquistion of CrowdAlbum:

Spotify announced Wednesday it has acquired CrowdAlbum, a service that creates albums of events based on the location and time of photos and videos people share on social media sites. It can index content for any kind of event — sports, Earth Day festivals, political rallies — but mostly aggregates photos from music concerts and festivals.