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Yesterday, Conduit Labs announced they were shutting down their experimental music game and community known as Loudcrowd. For two years, Loudcrowd was an electronic hipster haven for fans of outfits like Chromeo, Justice and Van She. Even as they expanded their track offerings to bands like Foals and Yacht, Conduit Labs saw massive growth with their Facebook offerings Music Pets and Super Dance and ultimately decided to abandon the former.

Originally when considering writing this post, I wanted to focus on the functional reasons why Loudcrowd didn’t pan out. When I wrote about the game last May, I pointed to the limited social networking abilities and the niche demographic of electronic fans. Former Director of Marketing Josh Grossman actually stopped by my blog to comment and express that the company shared some of those same feelings.

But now, sitting down to write it, the closing of Loudcrowd is just a sign of the times. There was nothing inherently wrong with the game itself other than it wasn’t hosted on a popular social networking platform. Casual gaming has hit the market full stride and Facebook remains king. According to a recent Mashable survey, 83% of respondents claimed to have played games there. It seems that casual games can’t survive without a powerful portal to back it up.

Not only that, but I think it gives testament to another interesting finding from the Mashable survey (among others). Most online gamers prefer to play with people they know, and not strangers. While Loudcrowd was a place to meet and talk to other fans of the genre, most would rather play a quick round with their BFF on Facebook.

The good news is that Loudcrowd isn’t *really* dead. Conduit Labs’ Facebook game Super Dance runs off the same engine and artistic style. Thanks to a recent distribution deal with UMG, both Super Dance and Music Pets offer a wide range of music that can appeal to all fans. While a lot of Facebook game developers rely on cheap tricks for retention and engagement, Conduit Labs provides a unique product and I wish them continued success.

I’ve been a fan of Marina and the Diamonds for a while now and figured she’d make a great Music Monday post because well, the music just stays good over and over! The Welsh singer-songwriter stormed onto the scene in 2009 and released her first full length this year.

There isn’t much negative you can say about Marina. She’s got a unique, catchy style with the kind of voice that can’t be duplicated. She serves as the antithesis to the glam, overproduced junk infesting pop music today with meaningful lyrics and system-defying views on personal image and the role of celebrity in society.

Forget the talentless garbage like Ke$ha and Gaga, Marina makes phenomenally good pop music and is someone the kids can look up to. She’s a can’t-miss if you haven’t checked out her music already.

Right click and save as to download “Oh no!”

Pick up her debut album today on Amazon

Surely you’ve heard about it by now, the interview that has the entire internet LOLing, or at least scratching their heads. The Artist Now Known as Prince Again recently declared the death of the internet to the UK’s Daily Mirror by stating, “The internet’s completely over.”

Let me pause and give you a chance to catch your breath. Surely, surely this has to be some kind of marketing stunt. After all, the ‘dead’ internet lit up like a tree on Christmas the second his comments were published… on the internet. Prince even admits in the interview that “I really believe in new ways to distribute my music,” even if “new” means releasing it on a dwindling medium (CDs) through an aging distribution channel (newspapers).

It’s not his fault. Prince is known for being one of the most eccentric musicians of our time. He’s spent the better part of his life as a sex symbol, isolated from society by layers and layers of managers, producers and other members of his entourage. His convoluted worldview is apparent with asinine statements in the interview like “The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

Okay… let’s take a look at the numbers.

  • On the same day the Prince interview was published online, Variety reported that physical album sales dropped 17.7% and digital album sales rose 13.7% during the first 6 months of 2010.
  • Despite recently increased prices for individual tracks, sales on iTunes continue to grow daily and recently hit 10 billion songs sold in February.
  • Through websites like Pandora and Last.fm, internet radio has grown steadily since 2004 with over 42 million listeners in 2009. The rise of mobile phone sales has lead SNL Kagan to predict a 20% increase in internet radio revenue in 2010.
  • Universal Media Group threw up a hail mary in 2009 when they slashed all CD prices to $6-$10 a piece in an attempt to slow the medium’s demise.
  • Newspapers have lost 16.9% circulation between 2007-2009 and lost 43% in advertising revenue during the same period.

If you’d like more numbers that demonstrate how monstrously moronic Prince’s comments sound, check out Fast Company’s article comparing him to Lady Gaga – arguably the queen of internet music.

In the midst of the social media revolution, Prince declaring the end of the internet is about as ludicrous as Decca Records stating in 1962 that “guitar music is on the way out,” after rejecting a recording contract with the Beatles. I’m not sure what evil internet numbers Prince was referring to (binary code?), but the only thing they can’t be good for are his future album sales and the legacy of his brilliant music to future generations. Hopefully he can pull his head out of the sand long enough to avoid drowning in purple rain.

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