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The Most Innovative Companies in Music

  1. Apple: The traditional labels — and everyone else — keep trying, but no one has dented iTunes' supremacy. In 2008, Apple surpassed Wal-Mart as the world's largest music retailer.
  2. Warner Music Group: Digital sales were up 39%, thanks in part to a ramped-up MP3 effort in 2008. WMG also partnered with Nokia on an all-access music channel that lives on your phone.
  3. Imeem: After buying up and Snocap, Imeem found itself one of the top social networks of 2008, according to Nielsen.
  4. Pandora: The music-discovery machine of the 21st century has taken the serendipity out of finding new music that fits your tastes. Just one step ahead of competitor
  5. Later to the party than Pandora, but a growing force that includes info on concerts and artists, plus video.
  6. South by Southwest: The Austin-based music-and-media festival attracts more than 1,800 acts and 150,000 attendees. Despite a grassroots approach, a standout showing can make an artist.
  7. MTV Music Group: A slew of new digital initiatives are one part of president Van Toffler's remaking. Another: the $175 million purchase of Rock Band game maker Harmonix.
  8. Radiohead: The band that spawned direct-to-fans releases made two songs available for remix — and let users vote for the winner on its site. Amateurs and professionals alike joined in.
  9. Live Nation: The concert promoter continued to sign A-list artists to distribution deals and further increased its live-events footprint.
  10. Pitchfork Media: The popular and wildly influential music blog recently added video and inked a deal with Fader Media for integrated advertising and sponsorship across all platforms.




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  • lipan lol

    @Happy Parts: Innovation and revenue are two different beasts and those that are the former aren't all that often connected to the latter.

    This list isn't innovative: What's innovative about Apple licensing The Beatles to one digital format just as it peaks in popularity? They haven't done anything like Radiohead or NIN to shake things up. Autotune is almost 20 years old. Is Jack White doing something innovative? Coulda fooled me - but then I live in a country where bands have been releasing vinyl 45s for years. (Probably where lift chairs got the idea - lol.)

    Where's Mog, Deezer, or 1click2fame, just to pick 3 obvious contenders.

  • Glenn Friesen

    Selling mp3s isn't innovative. The way they're being sold is. The scale, the flow, the "pull" advertising. Brilliant stuff.
    I'm frustrated that coverage is focused on behemoths. Most of these companies are innovative for their size, but really don't compare to the hungry upstarts that deliver better products but don't have the millions to market.

    Missing:,, Saul Williams.