Technology

#Smartphones vs #Wearables. @Apple iOS vs @Android. What’s Going On?

If people are looking to Apple and its new smartwatch to kickstart wider consumer interest in wearable computing gadgets, the maker of the iPhone will have a lot of work ahead of it. New research out from the GlobalWebIndex indicates that in a survey of 170,000 adult internet users across 32 markets, only 9% report having a smartwatch, and 7% said they owned smart wristbands. In contrast, among online adults, 80% now own a smartphone, according to Tech Crunch.

  

The proportion of smartphone ownership has reached a new high, but it has not yet overtaken legacy ownership and usage of PCs, which is currently at 91% of all online adults.

Some other interesting data points highlighted in GWI’s research:

— Wearables. Within the wearables category, the biggest number of device owners are affluent males in the 25-34 year-old group who reside in the Asia Pacific region. This points to these smaller, portable and more narrowly functional devices continuing their market placement as niche products that have yet to find a groove to appeal to a wider range of consumers.

— Platform ‘wars’ are over and Android won. Breaking out how different mobile platforms are performing in the smartphone and tablet sectors, it’s no surprise to see that Android is firmly ahead of iOS. What’s interesting to see, however, is just how far they have diverged and when.

  

We have heard various market analysts point out that Apple’s iPhone sales have seen a big bump in the wake of the launch of the iPhone 6 models, but it’s not clear that the ownership picture as depicted by GWI supports that.

While Android was creeping up quarter on quarter, the difference between Q2 and Q3 noticeably got flatter, which could indicate slowing sales, except that the iPhone numbers appeared to flatten/increase only very slightly.

In other words, if there has been an impact, it will have to be sustained by Apple to show any meaningful shift in ownership. As it stands now, Android’s 54% share represents a 38-point lead over iPhone/iOS, with the gap widening.

Back in 2011, the ratio of Android to iOS users was just under 2:1; in 2014, it has increased significantly to approach 3.5:1, GWI notes.

Whether that divergence will ultimately start to play out in where developers invest their time and efforts will be the really important question for users (and Apple).

— Tablets. In tablets, to me the most interesting point is a historical one: we like to talk about how Apple and the iPad dominate tablets, and while that may be the truth as far as the single brand is concerned, when it comes to platform dominance, Apple hasn’t been in a leadership position since Q4 2011, and really dropped away from a close position in 2013.

— Mobile internet use. GWI says that 75% percent of smartphone users are accessing mobile internet services on their smartphones — meaning a whole 25% are still not. The average amount of time that people are spending on their mobile devices is 1.85 hours/day, up by about 40 minutes on 2012. Because emerging market consumers often replace PCs with phones, they are using those phones the most, on average at more than three hours/day in the Middle East and Africa.

  

As you can see in the chart, mobile is used for Internet access far more than tablets, TVs and e-readers, but as with device ownership, it’s not yet passing PC/laptop usage, which is around 90%.

— VPNs, popular content. GWI also delves into what kinds of content is being consumed on the Internet access front, and how users are getting to it. The rising tide of restrictive firewalls in some markets has led to increased usage of VPNs to access the Internet. These VPNs effectively let you appear on the Internet as if you are somewhere that you are actually not. Currently, GWI says that some 27% of respondents, of 400 million users, say that they have used VPNs to go online, with China alone accounting for 150 million people.

Among those users, they are unsurprisingly significantly more avid online consumers of content than those not using VPNs. Google Play scored the highest of all services accessed by VPN and regular Internet users, who would be turning to the search giant’s store not for apps but for video and audio and gaming content.

  

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Time to Update Your #Website: Starting Soon @Google Penalizes Sites That Aren’t Mobile Friendly

Don’t have a mobile website? You can’t hide any longer. Is your website responsive so that it switches to accommodate being viewed on a mobile device or tablet? Uh Oh. Time to call a Web Developer. (Here’s ours – click to email for a price quote.)

  

On Tuesday, April 21st websites that are not mobile friendly will be penalized. Google searches made from mobile devices will lower the rankings of non-friendly sites, and will boost the ranking of sites that are mobile optimized, according to Digital Music News.

This applies to all industries and all languages, no one is safe from the new requirements.  Around 80 percent of adults have smartphones, so these changes should only help you.

Google offers a mobile friendly testing tool so you can evaluate if your website is up to par. If your site does not pass the test, the tool will tell you what to do to improve it. 

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile sites, check out Webmaster’s Mobile Guide or the Principles of Site Design on Web Fundamentals by Google Developers.

Caribbean Music, Model & Talent Search @IslandMMTS Launches Official #BBM Channel

Island MMTS is the Caribbean’s Top Talent Search and the first of its kind to bring top modeling agencies, record labels, talent scouts, booking agents, entertainment industries and talent managers from all over the world to The Bahamas and the Caribbean to search for aspiring models, actors, music producers, songwriters, singers and singing groups ready to take their talent to the international stage. Island MMTS is poised to bring over 1,500 stopover visitors to The Bahamas for its 2015 International Conference scheduled July 13 to July 19, 2015.

What better way to be #1 and stay in touch all over the globe but with a new, Official BBM Channel?  BBM is available for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone and Blackberry users for free.

Island MMTS Official BBM Channel Screen Shot

COO of Island MMTS Inc (and Co-Founder of The DS3 Group), PJ Douglas Sands and the Media Team are really excited about the launch. When asked why she felt an official BBM Channel was important to the Island MMTS brand, Ms. Douglas Sands expressed that technology continues to level the playing field.  Island MMTS in particular, is using technology and new media in innovative ways to get the word out. MMTS is a great opportunity for those aspiring to become professionals in the entertainment industry.

Island MMTS has only just begun to take full advantage of the many benefits of a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and SoundCloud. Not only do they compliment IslandMMTS.com as a website, but work in tandem with the support of local traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio, television and magazines.

“Throughout the Caribbean and The Bahamas, Blackberry has always been one of the top mobile platforms.  In many islands, it is the most affordable way to communicate.  Island MMTS is happy to be a part of the BBM family which allows those who have Blackberry devices as well as iPhones, Androids and Windows Phone, not only to chat with us in real-time but see what’s going on with our auditions around the region. Launching the Official BBM channel for Island MMTS has been ground-breaking.  No other entertainment company in The Bahamas has an Official BBM Channel.” – PJ Douglas Sands, COO, Island MMTS Inc.

As Island MMTS travels the Caribbean and hosts free auditions in 37 cities this year, social media has documented the conversation we are having with individuals who are hungry to take their talent to the world and be seen by international scouts, major labels and talent agencies.

If you want to subscribe to the Island MMTS Official BBM Channel, download the BBM app or click the BBM Link. You can also scan the QR code below with your mobile device to follow instantly.

Island MMTS Official BBM Channel QR Code

Here is a screen shot from the Island MMTS Official Channel.

 

BBM MMTS channel screenshot

 

Webinar, Comparison of #Music Placement Services & Platforms from @NARIP on 8/6/14

You are cordially invited to NARIP’s Free Webinar: A Comparison of Music Placement Platforms & Services with Charlie Mac of Mac A Million Dollar Man scheduled for Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM PST / 9:00 PM EST.

Music placement is fiercely competitive. For those who use third parties or licensing platforms, which services are best? What are the terms? Who pays more? How do they work? What’s the difference?

Music publisher, music supervisor, A&R executive and music creator Charlie Mac of Mac A Million Dollar Man Musick speaks from his direct and ongoing experience with dozens of music placement companies, third party licensing reps, music libraries and platforms.

He will detail the pros and the cons of many of these services, and how his company has generated revenue and thousands of placements across multiple platforms in the U.S. and around the world. Get the facts from Charlie who has hundreds of placements including his clients’ music and his own in dozens of projects across multiple platforms, enabling him to share an overview and analysis in this special NARIP program.

Click here to register now.

PLATFORMS & SERVICES TO BE DISCUSSED:
Rumblefish
Music X Ray
Getty Images (Music) / formerly Pump Audio
Sonic Bids
Taxi
Jingle Punks
NARIP

ALSO:
Soundcloud
Broadjam
Reverbnation
Pay To Play

YOU WILL LEARN:
Genres of music that work best and pay the most on various platforms
How they work
How they pay
How to collect
Effective administration
Making a living and putting it all together

QUESTIONS?
Submit YOUR questions to be addressed during our program, get feedback and recommendations specific to YOUR situation from Charlie and Tess via Twitter and follow us now: @NARIP Feel free to submit questions in advance and / or during the session. Official hash-tag for this event is #NARIPplace.

SPEAKERS
Charlie Mac, CEO, Music Supervisor, A&R, Mac A Million Dollar Man Musick
Tess Taylor, NARIP President, program moderator

WHO SHOULD TUNE IN
Artist Managers, Producers & Artist Reps
A&R, Artist Development and Marketing Executives
Record, Distribution & Music Publishing Executives
Music & Entertainment Attorneys
Anyone seeking to maximize music placements, time and revenue.

FOLLOW US, LIKE US, LOVE US!
TWEET ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS & EVENT

@whosthehottest
@NARIP
@TessTaylor
@theDS3group

Official hash-tag for this event: #NARIPplace

WHEN
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
6:00 p.m. – Program begins (PST), 9:00 p.m. EST
7:30 p.m. – Audience Q & A
8:00 p.m. – Program ends

NOTE to registrants:
On event date, look for an email about 10 minutes BEFORE start time of 6:00 p.m. PST with a link to the live stream of NARIP’s Webinar. You can also check back at this link on The DS3 Group’s website where the webinar will be viewable.

If you are registering after the start of the event, an auto-response email will be sent to you from webmaster@narip.com. This email sometimes gets caught in spam filters so be sure to check there if you do not see it in your inbox. You can always check back here to view.

COST
FREE for NARIP members and non-members but please RSVP below – just scroll down.

BONUS
Because you are registering for this program, we offer you the opportunity to pre-order the MP3 recording of the program for only $20 (regularly $39.95). To pre-order now, select the Premium Ticket option below, the mastered recording will be emailed to you within 1 week after our program (if not sooner).

PAYMENT METHODS
1. Online – click here to register.
2. By phone – just call 818-769-7007 with any major credit card.

QUESTIONS?
Call 818-769-7007 or contact NARIP.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Charlie Mac
Who’s The Hottest Rapper
Makavelk Music Group
You’re Nobody Films
Broadjam
Jingle Punks
Getty Images
Music X Ray
Reverbnation
Rumblefish
Soundcloud
Taxi
NARIP

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Charlie Mac, CEO, Music Supervisor, A&R, Mac A Million Dollar Man Musick

Charlie Mac is an entrepreneur, music publisher, music supervisor, music producer, composer, songwriter, recording engineer, public speaker, consultant, author and A&R executive with 15+ years experience in the music business. His last major film as a music supervisor was executive produced by Spike Lee (Lionsgate’s “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Kills You”).

He is CEO of Mac A Million Dollar Man Musick, Senior VP of A&R for Makaveli Music Group, and music supervisor for Black Noise Media. He has had made multiple music placements on and with brands such as MTV, Epic Records, VH1, Gunit, Shady, Aftermath, Bio, Atlantic, 40 Acres, Cash Money, DTP, Def Jam, Nbc, Warner Bros. Records, CMT, Elektra Records, Asylum Records, Interscope Records, Discovery, Luke, NBA, Geffen Records, Google, Jive, Muzak, TLC, Konvict, Rocnation, Time, Nike, Violator, Mercury Records, Viacom and others.

Charlie Mac’s music and that of his clients has been featured in hundreds of productions and shows which have aired thousands of times nationally and internationally, in commercials, games, trailers and in other media.

As an independent A&R, Charlie provides critiques and artist development to help artists become commercially successful in today’s music business. He teaches that taking a proactive stance for their art the first step to push their careers to the next level, offering hands-on, cost-effective, creative marketing methods, which result in generating royalties from their recorded material. Through a music licensing service provided on the Web site, major, independent, and unsigned artists of any genre can submit music for licensing and placement opportunities.

Charlie Mac founded publishing company Mac A Million Dollar Man Musick in 2004 and has consistently identified songs that have become successful in music licensing. He has placed music behind such stars as Kimora Lee Simmons, 50 Cent, Katy Perry, Ludacris, T-Pain, Q-Tip, Common, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Redman, BOW WOW, Flo Rida, Mike Jones, Brooke Hogan, Tony Danza, Cam’ron, Tom Arnold, Rick Ross, Tim Westwood, The Cool Kids, Ashley Tisdale, Fat Joe, Michael Gudinski, Gene Simmons, Dr. Drew, Niecy Nash, Mos Def, Eddie Griffin, Mack 10, Steven Seagal, Donald Faison, Joe Zee, Kim Kardshian, Trey Songz, Robert De Niro, Eminem, John Goodman, XZIBIT and others.

Mac A Million Dollar Man Musick has secured significant placements in global markets in over 50 countries including in the US, in Europe and around the world.

Tess Taylor, President
National Association of Record Industry Professionals

Tess Taylor is president of the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP.com), the biggest music business network in the world. She is creator of NARIP’s Music Supervisor Sessions which have yielded over 100 music placements for participants and sold out in LA, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and London. She is also President of the LA Music Network (LAMN.com) and helped launch the Mowglis who won the 2011 LAMN Jam Music Contest. They were signed to a management deal, then signed with Universal / Photo Finish Records. They’ve been featured on prime time network TV and now get radio airplay on primary stations across the US. One of the nation’s leading authorities on careers in the music and record industries, Ms. Taylor has been called The Job Whisperer and has connected countless people to jobs and opportunities through her work in the US and abroad, cultivated collaborations for over two decades, helped launch hundreds of projects and several companies. Called a “super-connector” and dubbed “International Music Ambassador” by Neophonic music supervisor P.J. Bloom (Glee franchise, Nip/Tuck, CSI: Miami), Ms. Taylor works with international groups to connect their members to opportunities in LA and the U.S. She has consulted leading businesses such as InsideSessions (a joint venture between the Universal Music Group and Penguin Putnam), The Walt Disney Company, BMG Entertainment (formerly Sony BMG) and Concord Records. Deeply annoyed by people who think music should be free, Ms. Taylor is a vigorous defender of intellectual property rights and debated Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow on “free music” twice. She won both times. She lectures nationwide and around the world (in 12 countries to date), including at the Harvard Business School, in Berlin, Bangalore and beyond. From 1988 to 1993 she was employed at MCA Record, last serving as Associate Director of Marketing. A classically trained pianist, she studied music at the University of Vienna and is a Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Univeristy of Redlands’ Johnston College where she received her BA in music, German and literature. She loves traveling the world, nibbling dark chocolates and drinks lots of tea. She also loves fine fountain pens, Glenn Gould, Pete Townshend, crime novels and hiking with her English cocker spaniel Haribo. She encourages pet adoption.

In addition to running NARIP, Ms. Taylor provides private, fee-based consulting services for companies and people who want more personalized attention.

The National Association of Record Industry Professionals promotes career advancement, education and good will among record executives.

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Google Glass Enters the Hotel Industry with Starwood Hotels

By Mark Rowh, Lodging Magazine

Few would disagree that keeping up with mobile technology poses an ongoing challenge for the hotel industry. In one move to stay ahead of the curve, Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently unveiled its new Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) app for Google Glass. Users can explore destinations, book stays, and check point balances, among other features.

Recognizing that the wearable technology market is rapidly growing into a multi-billion dollar industry, Starwood wanted to get in at the ground floor and start learning on this new platform, says Chris Holdren, senior vice president of SPG and digital. The goal is to explore new technologies and learn from guests’ interactions with them.

SPG promo

“Travelers are more tech-savvy and mobile than ever before, and we want to be where guests are,” he says. “That means identifying and building apps on emerging platforms.”

Developed by an in-house team, this is the only Google Glass app presently available that enables booking a stay at any of Starwood’s hotels around the world. Designers feel the personalized interface is ideal for any Glass Explorer, providing ready access to account information along with features such as voice command search and geo location, search and book options, and photos of a selected hotel’s amenities.

While the number of potential users may be relatively small, company officials expect interest to grow. In the meanwhile, the SPG app for Google Glass will complement other digital offerings from apps to messaging to mobile web.

In researching prospects for the initiative, Starwood execs noted that mobile technology is already having a huge effect on business, with mobile bookings growing five times faster than web bookings did 10 years ago. In fact, analysis of trends in use of mobile technologies was a key factor in the decision go with the new app.

“Mobile is the only technology used through someone’s entire travel experience,” Holdren says. “Our guests stay connected through their mobile devices during their travels.”

He notes that smartphones and tablets now capture nearly 1 in 5 online travel dollars, with more than 53 percent of travel inspiration now beginning on a mobile platform. He also notes that in 2013, 40 percent of all industry-wide travel searches were done via a mobile device, up from 25 percent in 2012.

“More than half the world will access the Internet through mobile this year, with it being the most common way to access the Internet in emerging countries,” Holdren says. “So it’s imperative to be where our guests are.”

SPG for Glass uses voice search to let members look for any of the chain’s almost 1,200 properties across its nine brands. Searches can be done in four ways:

  • “Near Me”
  • “By Destination”
  • “By Airport Code”
  • “By Hotel Name”

After a hotel is chosen, the app offers directions, a few photos and the opportunity to book a room either by phone or email. Starwood also promises SPG members that its app will recognize their upcoming stays and push relevant information about the stay 48 hours before arrival.

Other travel-inspired Google Glass innovations that have popped up recently include Hotel Near Me, a hotel reservation app for Google Glass launched by Destinia, an online travel agency; a Google Glass-assisted hotel check-in solution that’s being developed by hospitality industry software solution provider, Itesso; and TripIt’s Glass app, which enables users to view their flight details and car rental, hotel, and other travel reservations.

While unable to predict whether other major hotel companies will follow suit, Holdren says Starwood is accelerating its efforts in digital innovation. The company’s other recent moves include keyless mobile check-in and introduction of a Chinese Android app. He notes that as mobile browsing and booking continue to play a larger role in the travel experience, digital innovation will be increasingly important in offering guests the best, easiest-to-use tools on the latest platforms.

Starwood's Google Glass app

Starwood’s Google Glass app

Celebrate Social Media Day on June 30 with @Mashable #SMDay #tech #Houston

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The DS3 Group is thrilled to celebrate Mashable’s fifth annual Social Media Day!

Mashable launched the event in 2010 as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. Each year, thousands of people organize hundreds of meetups across the globe. From Australia and The Bahamas to the Philippines, all the way to Sri Lanka and Morocco, countries come together every June to participate in this global movement.

This year, we invite you to join fellow social media enthusiasts by attending a 2014 Social Media Day Meetup in your area. Search for an event in your community by clicking here. Mashable Meetups are events organized by the Mashable community, giving our readers the opportunity to meet and discuss social media and tech offline.

Goals:
• To bring together those with a passion for digital and social media.
Inspire conversation surrounding tech, social and digital happenings.
• Be a source of innovation to better our digital world.
• Celebrate the Mashable brand

The staff at The DS3 Group will be celebrating in Houston and Nassau, Bahamas.

Follow the hashtag #SMDay for updates and events.

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Interested in Crowdfunding? Online Class for Artists, Enterpreneurs, Inventors, App Developers via @GA

Interested in raising capital using the internet but don’t know where to begin? Here’s a great Online Class from General Assembly.

Social media and platforms like Kickstarter and Indie Gogo have made it easier than ever before for inventors, entrepreneurs, and artists, to seek funding for their projects. There are over 530 online platforms available to assist with raising capital and donations. In this quick introductory class from General Assembly, Arie Abecassis will give a brief overview of the industry and offer a few practical steps to launching a successful campaign.

As a founder of AppStori, and a Venture Partner at DreamIt Ventures, Arie has worked closely with a number of amazing founders and companies, including SeatGeek, Adaptly, BiznessApps and MAZ Digital. In addition to spending time with the General Assembly community, every now and then, Arie contributes his thoughts on the state of technology and entrepreneurship in various tech blogs.

While this pre-recorded session originally aired on September 17, 2013, Arie Abecassis will be available live to answer questions via chat. To participate in the live chat, simply enter any username of your choosing, login in via Facebook or Twitter and contribute your questions or comments to the public chatroom. All attendees have access to the chat, and your fellow classmates may be able to help you as well.

  • Learn enough about the industry to make choices about how to obtain funding.
  • Learn the first steps to starting your campaign.
  • Understand the dos and don’ts of crowd funding.

Need capital for a tech product or service?  Try AngelList, SeedInvest or FundersClub. Most indie films are crowdfunded through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. On the equity side, there’s a platform that focuses on indie film called Slated‎.

Have questions during class? Join the conversation in the chat, or tweet them by mentioning #GALive and @GA.

Watch General Assembly’s online class here and comment. Download the Deck here. For more classes from General Assembly on crowd funding and raising capital, click here.

crowdfunding screenshot

Watch live streaming video from ga_premium at livestream.com

@TheGrammys #SocialMedia Interactions Hit Record Breaking 34 Million #Grammys

20140131-155444.jpg
The second screen experience of interacting with social media while you watch television via your mobile device, computer or tablet was enjoyed by many at the 2014 Grammys. As viewers watched on CBS from more than 120 countries across the globe the hashtag #TheGrammys took over everyone’s timelines.

With statistics compiled by Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, The Recording Academy® announced today that combined social media interactions surrounding the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards reached a record-breaking 34 million, making Music’s Biggest Night, which aired Sunday, January 26 on the CBS Television Network, television’s biggest social event of the 2013 – 2014 season.

According to data compiled by Twitter and 87AM, the GRAMMYs garnered 15.7 million mentions on Twitter during the broadcast, the peak moment of which was during the Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performance with 171,593 tweets per minute. According to Facebook data, 6.3 million people had more than 13.5 million Facebook interactions related to the 56th GRAMMYs, making it the No. 1 trending topic. Stats compiled by Union Metrics reveal that there were more than 100,000 GRAMMY-related posts created on Tumblr with more than 5.1 million reblogs and likes. Stats compiled by 87AM reveal that the top three most-talked about performances were, in order: Daft Punk, Beyoncé and Jay Z, and Lamar joined by Imagine Dragons. The most-talked about artists were: Lorde, Taylor Swift and Macklemore.
20140131-155511.jpg
These stats alone make you wonder about the hip hop non-controversy of Macklemore allegedly sending Kendrick Lamar a tweet saying he felt he robbed Kendrick for Best Rap Album and arguably several other categories where they were up against each other. As an advocate for independent artists, Macklemore’s wins this year were impressive because he rallied hard to build a fan base with great visuals in his music video. His topics were controversial, and his pop, contemporary appeal transcended race.

The entertainment industry pays attention to these second screen interactions because they are an immediate reflection of what the engaged viewer likes and dislikes. Gone are the days where weeks go by to await Neilsen viewing stats transmitted by digital boxes in a select demographic’s living room. Now Neilsen and social media tell the story of what’s hot and what’s not. Nothing tells the story better of what fans you have built and what fans think of you than your social media stats. Without a website, traditional and digital advertising as well as a heavy, active social media presence there’s no way for the independent or even mainstream artist to stand out.

GRAMMY.com, the official GRAMMY website, saw visits on GRAMMY Sunday and the following day rise 15 percent from last year, with 4.6 million total unique users and 18.5 million page views for the site according to Google Analytics. In partnership with CBS, The Recording Academy produced, for the fifth year, GRAMMY Live®,an official second-screen companion program featuring coverage from the GRAMMY red carpet, Pre-Telecast Ceremony and backstage. GRAMMY Live’s livestream and on-demand viewing was up 100 percent over last year, generating nearly 5.5 million total streams. The official 56th GRAMMY live-blog, syndicated globally to 38 outlets, saw a 320 percent increase in user engagement minutes and a 659 percent increase in unique visitors compared to last year according to ScribbleLive.
20140131-155504.jpg
On YouTube, the official GRAMMY channel saw a significant increase in views starting the week of January 12 with more than 5.7 million views of GRAMMY original content leading up to Music’s Biggest Night. Views of content published immediately following the broadcast received 375,000 views in the first 12 hours alone.

“GRAMMY engagement continues to explode year over year as fans seek ever deeper ways to connect with Music’s Biggest Night,” said Evan Greene, Chief Marketing Officer for The Recording Academy. “These consistently increasing statistics underscore the overwhelming excitement and passion for the GRAMMYs, and music, across today’s most meaningful social platforms.”

As a member of The Academy, I received my Billboard Grammy voting guide. I recall receiving emails soliciting advertising space, and I wondered how many people labels, artists and consumer based products had taken advantage of the opportunity to get the attention of the voting members of The Academy. Let’s just say after careful review of the Billboard Grammy voting guide and seeing who made the investment in their career, I wasn’t surprised with many category outcomes. If the voting members of the Academy don’t know you, how can they vote for you? Sending out your music digitally, physical album packages and placing advertisements in the voting guide are key elements. Also, how can someone vote for you if you aren’t nominated? I was surprised at the record number of past nominees and winners who are not active in The Grammys and never nominate acts each year. Many don’t even send in their voting packet. So who’s fault is it when you aren’t nominated? Primarily yours and your peers at your label and those on your production team, especially if they are past nominees and past winners.

About The Recording Academy
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit http://www.grammy.com.
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@TheGrammys #SocialMedia Interactions Hit Record Breaking 34 Million #Grammys via @theDS3group

20140131-160024.jpg
The second screen experience of interacting with social media while you watch television via your mobile device, computer or tablet was enjoyed by many at the 2014 Grammys. As viewers watched on CBS from more than 120 countries across the globe the hashtag #TheGrammys took over everyone’s timelines.
20140131-160404.jpg
With statistics compiled by Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, The Recording Academy® announced today that combined social media interactions surrounding the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards reached a record-breaking 34 million, making Music’s Biggest Night, which aired Sunday, January 26 on the CBS Television Network, television’s biggest social event of the 2013 – 2014 season.

According to data compiled by Twitter and 87AM, the GRAMMYs garnered 15.7 million mentions on Twitter during the broadcast, the peak moment of which was during the Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performance with 171,593 tweets per minute. According to Facebook data, 6.3 million people had more than 13.5 million Facebook interactions related to the 56th GRAMMYs, making it the No. 1 trending topic. Stats compiled by Union Metrics reveal that there were more than 100,000 GRAMMY-related posts created on Tumblr with more than 5.1 million reblogs and likes. Stats compiled by 87AM reveal that the top three most-talked about performances were, in order: Daft Punk, Beyoncé and Jay Z, and Lamar joined by Imagine Dragons. The most-talked about artists were: Lorde, Taylor Swift and Macklemore.
20140131-160010.jpg
These stats alone make you wonder about the “hip hop non-controversy” of Macklemore allegedly sending Kendrick Lamar a tweet saying he felt he robbed Kendrick for Best Rap Album (and arguably several other categories where they were up against each other.) As an advocate for independent artists, Macklemore’s wins this year were impressive to me because he rallied hard to build a fan base, had some great visuals in his music video and really invested in his career. His topics were controversial, and his pop, contemporary appeal transcended race.
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The entertainment industry pays attention to these second screen interactions because they are an immediate reflection of what the engaged viewer likes and dislikes. Gone are the days where weeks go by to await Neilsen viewing stats transmitted by digital boxes in a select demographic’s living room. Now Neilsen and social media tell the story of what’s hot and what’s not. Nothing tells the story better of what fans you have built and what fans think of you than your social media stats. Without a website, traditional and digital advertising as well as a heavy, active social media presence there’s no way for the independent or even mainstream artist to stand out.

GRAMMY.com, the official GRAMMY website, saw visits on GRAMMY Sunday and the following day rise 15 percent from last year, with 4.6 million total unique users and 18.5 million page views for the site according to Google Analytics. In partnership with CBS, The Recording Academy produced, for the fifth year, GRAMMY Live®,an official second-screen companion program featuring coverage from the GRAMMY red carpet, Pre-Telecast Ceremony and backstage. GRAMMY Live’s livestream and on-demand viewing was up 100 percent over last year, generating nearly 5.5 million total streams. The official 56th GRAMMY live-blog, syndicated globally to 38 outlets, saw a 320 percent increase in user engagement minutes and a 659 percent increase in unique visitors compared to last year according to ScribbleLive.

On YouTube, the official GRAMMY channel saw a significant increase in views starting the week of January 12 with more than 5.7 million views of GRAMMY original content leading up to Music’s Biggest Night. Views of content published immediately following the broadcast received 375,000 views in the first 12 hours alone.

“GRAMMY engagement continues to explode year over year as fans seek ever deeper ways to connect with Music’s Biggest Night,” said Evan Greene, Chief Marketing Officer for The Recording Academy. “These consistently increasing statistics underscore the overwhelming excitement and passion for the GRAMMYs, and music, across today’s most meaningful social platforms.”

As a member of The Academy, I received my Billboard Grammy voting guide shortly before Christmas. I recall receiving emails several weeks prior to that soliciting advertising space, and I wondered how many people whether it be managers, publishers, labels, artists and even consumer-based products would take advantage of the opportunity to get the attention of the voting members of The Academy. Let’s just say after careful review of the Billboard Grammy voting guide and seeing who made the investment in their career, I wasn’t surprised with many category outcomes. If the voting members of the Academy don’t know you, how can they vote for you? Sending out your music digitally, physical album packages and placing advertisements in the voting guide are key elements. Also, how can someone vote for you if you aren’t nominated? I was surprised at the record number of past nominees and winners who are not active in The Grammys and never nominate acts each year. Many don’t even send in their voting packet. So who’s fault is it when you aren’t nominated? Primarily yours and your peers at your label and those on your production team, especially if they are past nominees and past winners.

About The Recording Academy
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit http://www.grammy.com.
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9 Questions #Hotels, #Hoteliers Should Ask Their #Website Designer via @theDS3group

As a Consultant in the Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism industries who works with hotels, restaurants and service providers daily to establish brands and corporate identities that compete with the global travel market, I find it surprising that many businesses still shop around for the lowest bargain when getting price quotes for a website and social media management.

When you want a hamburger do you just stop at White Castle because it’s the cheapest? Or do you select your favorite spot because they make it the way you like it, and in a way that appeals to you? The same thought process should occur with a website designer or social media manager.

If they have no idea what is happening in your industry or what your competitors are excelling at then move on. The best website designers are not only using the latest technology and algorithms causing your information to appear at the top of search engine results, but they have a thorough knowledge of what is trending and emerging in the tourism, hotel and hospitality business so that you can stay ahead of the competition.

Recently at the 2014 International CES a panelist from Las Vegas Sands Resort remarked that the hospitality industry falls behind nearly every other industry in implementation of technology and new media tools. He mentioned that Asian hotels and casinos are leading the travel industry in revenue making more in one casino in one month than the entire Las Vegas Strip combined. Why? Because the Digital Millennial (born after 1980) and Generation Y (born 1970 to 1979) demand hotels and resorts that embrace technology, understand their customer niche, constantly respond favorable to customer suggestions, target potential guests in environments they frequent and address consumer complaints promptly using social media platforms. Major North American franchises have just been too slow to respond to the emerging digital lifestyle.

In the multi-screen world we live in today, hoteliers must meet the needs of their guests on every device. This means investing in technology that allows for the best user experience on the three screens: desktop, mobile and tablet. If a resort isn’t providing wifi in the room, how can they successfully cater to a multi-screen guest? Conversations about the 2nd screen have become conversations about Multi-screen.

The difference between an ordinary hotel, resort or casino website and a great one can easily be measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars of missed revenue a year. Some hoteliers are mistakenly led to believe that ‘going cheap’ when re-designing their property’s website will save money. Wrong! Not investing in the correct property website will cause you to lose money and severely damage the hotel’s bottom line. A property website must incorporate the right balance of excellent design, state-of-the-art digital technology and engaging visual and textual content, while providing optimum user experience from top to bottom, which inevitably will boost conversions on and revenues from the site.

Choosing the correct website design vendor is key in creating and executing an efficient digital marketing strategy – and a great website design and brand development firm can be one of a hotelier’s greatest assets.
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A number of important factors must be taken into consideration when deciding on the right website design firm. Here are some of the questions you should be asking a potential website design vendor before making a decision that could either reward your property immensely, or destroy your property’s bottom line:

1) Do You Understand the Unique Needs of the Hotelier?
A hotel website must speak the language of the travel consumer, and each website is an artistic interpretation of the property’s unique business needs. Therefore the website design must be based on hospitality-specific necessities that non-hospitality design firms often overlook: hotel booking and revenue generators such as best rate guarantee messaging, promotional tiles, dynamic calendars of events, and more. These elements work together to position a client’s hotel as the hero of the destination.

2) Will you build my hotel a website that accommodates users on their desktops, mobile phones and tablets?
One size does not fit all – a simple resizing of the website to fit onto a specific screen size is not the answer for hotels. The property website must serve the right content to the right device category (desktop, mobile, tablet), without having to manage three different websites.

Desktop users require as much information as possible and place high value on visual galleries. Mobile users need slimmed-down content with an emphasis on maps and directions, easy to use mobile booking engine and click-to-call property reservation number. Tablet users require a visually enhanced experience as well as a website that is built to accommodate the touch screen and swiping capabilities the tablet offers.

Technology available today allows for a hotel to manage all content in one place, yet still provide a customized user experience for each device. When advising our website clients at DS3 we suggest utilizing responsive design on server side (RESS) to accommodate user behavior on the three screens (desktop, mobile and tablet). DS3’s web design team treats each device as a unique customer experience channel and serve different features and content from one single back-end platform.

3) Is all design and development done in-house?
Many interactive and digital marketing agencies outsource website design, often to web development shops overseas. Website design and technology have become so complex, especially now in a three-screen (desktop, mobile, tablet) digital environment that integrates social media, that you need a partner who fully understands these complexities and knows how to maximize revenues from the property website.

4) Are you up to speed with all the latest SEO best practices, and will these be applied to my new website (including professional copywriting)?
The difference between appearing on the first and second page of search results can add up to thousands of dollars of bookings and RFP submissions.

There is a direct correlation between the quality of the website SEO and the results from your paid search (SEM) campaigns. The better the SEO on the site, the better the Quality Index assigned to your paid search campaigns by Google, which means higher ad position, better conversion rates, higher ROIs, and lower cost per click. A robust content strategy, supported by adequate technology and marketing funds, can make all the difference and allow the hotel to maximize revenues from the search engines.

Many clients think they can ignore implementing an SEO strategy only to discover this resulted in their revenues from organic search plummeting and website revenues overall suffering greatly.

Here is only a sample of the “must-haves” SEO enhancements to the property website that allow efficient crawling by search engine bots:

• Creating high-quality and engaging editorial content: In the old days, marketers added keywords to copy – now they add value for users through quality content.
• Relevancy, depth and breadth of the website copy supported by Search engine optimization (SEO) on the site, including keyword density of the website copy, H1 and H2 headers, page titles, description tags and keyword tags.
• Organizing the content into easy-to-follow funnels
• Making sure that the Meta data, XML site map, and canonical tabs adhere to the latest best practices.
• Search engine friendly site ‘architecture’ (for example: page layout, logical and consistent navigation, website development language, internal linking, site maps, XML site maps)
• Making sure your website loads quickly, as download speeds immensely affect search engine rankings, by utilizing fast and secure “cloud” hosting with to enable fast download speeds

5) Do you have a CMS (Content Management System) that will allow me to make updates to my site easily (i.e. add an unlimited number of pages, update 100% of my content pages, change all photos on the site, create photo animations on every page, create unlimited landing pages and promo tiles for special offers, packages, events)? If not, how much will I spend on maintenance fees each year?
Today’s hotelier must have access to a RESS-enabled CMS technology allowing single-dashboard management of all three device channel presences of the property website: desktop, mobile and tablet. Hoteliers must have access to a CMS that functions as the nucleus of your digital marketing, where every website update, social media post and image can be published with the click of a button. The CMS should not only allow you to create and manage content through the three distribution channels, it should also offer:

• Innovative architecture facilitating fast download speeds
• Functionality to push promotions to the hotel’s social media profiles
• Ability to change the look-and-feel design of the hotel website with a click of a button
• Dynamic content personalization
• A suite of reservation conversion features

There should also be sections for ‘Special Offers’ and ‘Calendar of Events’ to address 100% of any hotelier’s needs when it comes to populating their sites with special events content. This is especially important in the hospitality space, as these elements help generate bookings and position the hotel as the hero of the destination.

6) Will my website come equipped with Reservation Recovery Applications to recover abandoned bookings and boost my website conversion rates?
Approximately one-third of hotel website visitors initiate a booking, yet 95% of those abandon before making a reservation. This leaves the vast majority of website visitors unexposed to the hotel rates and special offers. Even in the case that the visitor has decided to stay at the property, he or she may not feel compelled to complete the booking at that time or even via the hotel website, and choose to do this via an OTA.

There are number of reservation abandonment and recovery products that must be incorporated on the property website which also assist with lead generation.

7) Will my website be hosted in the cloud and do you ensure fast download speeds and a secure hosting environment?
Investing in cloud hosting and a content delivery network platform will inevitably boost site conversions and improve search engine rankings that are increasingly dependent on fast download speeds.

A few other benefits of investing in this type of hosting platform:
• Dramatically improves website download speeds
• Allows for fluid bandwidth usage to accommodate spikes in website traffic due to seasonality and promotions
• Provides liquid – virtually unlimited – disk space to store the hotel’s digital asset library, including all photography, pdf brochures, etc.
• Guarantees that your website will have no interference from other websites by using a dedicated virtual server and IP address
• Enables content distribution network (CDN) that increases the response time of the website, which, since the Google Panda update, has been one of the key factors in Google search rankings

8) Will my new website come equipped with full-service and full-support for analytics or will it use free, open-source based analytics?
Tracking every dollar spent, as well as visitor behaviour on your website, will allow you to make quick tweaks to your online presence that result in higher revenues and a better user experience. This data could also help you justify the investment in technology needed (are you seeing low bookings from mobile or tablet users and need to invest in RESS?). In addition, with over 15 percent of website visitors utilizing the mobile channel, call analytics is a must for any hotelier. Assessing your call analytics will ensure you aren’t underestimating the performance of your online campaigns and cancelling or lowering the budget on initiatives that are driving revenues via your voice channel.

Beware of free tools that own your data, have no customer support and do not provide you with the big picture.

It is important to hoteliers to track every dollar spent and be able to attribute revenue to digital marketing campaigns. For that reason, most hospitality clients utilize Adobe Analytics (Omniture), the most advanced web analytics platform in the industry today – the same platform utilized by Marriott.com, Starwood.com, and Expedia. A well-rounded analytics tool like Adobe allows you to make quick decisions on a campaign – such as tweaking marketing messages, pausing the campaign or allocating additional funds.

9) Will I receive ongoing digital marketing support after the website launches?
Designing, building and launching your property’s new website is only the beginning. A new property website that is not supported by digital marketing and best practices efforts will only linger on the web and produce next-to-nothing revenues. In order to generate incremental and growing revenues, any new property website needs:
• Ongoing website revenue optimization consulting to ensure the new website generates optimal revenue and addresses the property’s business and occupancy needs year-round.
• Ongoing digital marketing campaigns: from SEO to SEM, email marketing, online media and retargeting to social media and eCRM.

Industry best practices have shown that the ideal approach for any hotel, resort or casino is to deal with a one-stop-shop website design and digital marketing and technology firm. Due to the ever growing complexities of digital marketing and technology in hospitality, the boundaries between the property website and the property marketing efforts are blurring and disappearing. The property website must be conceptualized and built to support and work in harmony with the ongoing digital marketing efforts. Thanks Hotel Online for many of these tips.

Remember just because someone knows the fundamentals of designing a website in HTML5, Joomla or WordPress does not mean they can design a website that works for your business. When looking for website designer they need to be knowledgeable in your industry and understand the dynamics of social media campaigns for your sector. Otherwise, your results will be mediocre. If you are looking for a web designer who specializes in entertainment, hospitality, tourism and hotel sectors, consider The DS3 Group. Contact us for a price quote today.

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