LAS VEGAS -- Some 400 operators and other jukebox industry members took part in the 15th anniversary reception conducted by TouchTunes Interactive Networks (New York City), which was held in conjunction with the 2013 Amusement Expo here. This year's gala, held at the tony Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan, not only celebrated the company's steady progress, but served to update stakeholders on important developments occurring over the previous 12 months.
TouchTunes president and chief executive Charles Goldstuck summarized these developments in a brief keynote address. He noted that the organization was launched in 1998 with a catalog of only 750 licensed songs for download to its first jukeboxes from its central music library; today, that library contains about 3 million licensed songs and serves an installed base of more than 58,000 locations in North America.
Of these, Goldstuck reported, 800 also have TouchTunes Karaoke available to patrons. Also finding favor is the new TouchTunes PhotoBooth option; more than 3,000 photos a week are being made with this accessory.
PHOTO: Charles Goldstuck meets with Jimmy Buffett to talk about jukeboxes and streaming.
An important recent development is TouchTunes' Gen3+ software, Goldstuck continued. This is a major upgrade to the company's Gen3 software, which was supplied with such popular models as the Allegro MX-1 and Ovation II, and also is found on some older models. "The development of Gen3+ demonstrates TouchTunes' commitment to working with our customers to understand their needs and to supporting and improving legacy equipment," the company chief executive emphasized.
Gen3+ provides a fresh, modern look, he explained, and makes it easier to navigate, browse playlists, search for music and find desired songs. Essentially, it brings popular features of the new Virtuo (powered by TouchTunes' OpenStage software) to many legacy TouchTunes jukeboxes.
About 50% of installed jukeboxes running the original Gen3 software will support the upgrade without modification; the remainder can be upgraded by purchasing a replacement board -- an exact retrofit for the original one -- and downloading the Gen3+ update for free. The new software is now in beta test, and will be rolled out during the second quarter.
New for TouchTunes PhotoBooth is a Location Frames tool that enables the operator to select one of four pre-drawn border designs, add their own text in a color of their choice, and include a location logotype for superimposition on the frame. Once it's created, the Location Frame appears among the frame choices offered to the patron during a PhotoBooth session.
The company also continues to stimulate interest in the karaoke option, Goldstuck continued. TouchTunes again is being featured in an episode of the popular "Bar Rescue" series on Spike TV. Airing at the end of March, the show documents the remaking of Dimples (the first karaoke bar in America) in Burbank, CA. The establishment, popular with residents of nearby Hollywood, received a TouchTunes Virtuo karaoke system as the centerpiece of its makeover.
PHOTO: Amusement Expo showgoers have a look at TouchTunes' new streaming service at the jukebox company's exhibit. Marquee concerts will stream exclusively into select, pre-approved locations, which require the Karaoke hardware complement. Concerts can stream in real time or run as prerecorded events. The service is only active at the time of scheduled events and can be enabled by an application button on the Virtuo homescreen (next to Karaoke and PhotoBooth).
A new service available for TouchTunes' Virtuo jukebox is waiting in the wings. Called TouchTunes Presents, it is a live streaming service that will enable operators to "stream" actual concerts to their locations. Legendary singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett has played a leading role in making this concept a reality, and a Jimmy Buffett show in May will be the first post-launch program. Goldstuck told VT that it might stream to 250 TouchTunes locations.
Goldstuck said that TouchTunes Presents will give artists the ability to reach thousands of fans in regional markets where they may not visit on tour. It also gives fans access to "great content and amazing, shared music," and allows operators to deliver the experience. Locations get differentiated entertainment that will attract a crowd, and operators will enjoy a new source of revenue with another method of adding value for their customers.
A highlight of the annual reception was the presentation of the President's Appreciation Award. Goldstuck bestowed this year's accolade on Alan Salzman, chief executive of Vantage Point Capital Partners (San Bruno, CA), in recognition of his outstanding support of the company.
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