Good News/Bad News: Joost Gets $45 Million, Networks get Fewer Viewers

May 11, 2007

Good news: Today Joost announced they raised $45 million bucks with power VC firm’s from around the globe and a YouTube hating media giant. The deal brings together Index Ventures of the EU, Sequoia Capital of Silicon Valley fame, and the Li Ka-shing foundation run by Hong Kong based billionaire, Li Ka-shing. The international focus of the money flowing into the coffers of Joost is telling as is the participation of the GooTube hating crew at Viacom. The real shocker isnt that Joost got a butt load of money, its that with all the MBA’s, consultants, researchers, futurist and pundits, that are employed by the media companies only Viacom was smart or savvy enough to get in on the deal.

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Joost Signs Deal with CBS

April 12, 2007

screenhunter_002.jpgCBS just put out a press release announcing that they have cut a deal with Joost to show “first run and other premium content”. They are slated to launch content through the application in the spring and say that it will come from a bunch of the CBS divisions. The release says that they will make both new shows as well as previously aired stuff available via Joost. The content is supposed to included top rated shows like CSI: Hoboken and Survivor: Luxembourg.

Check out the full release here and watch for more details to come.


MAJOR RECORD LABELS WITHDRAW FROM RIAA

April 1, 2007

garland_logo-1.gifThis amazing bit of news was forwarded by Fred Benenson of Free Culture @ NYU. It’s amazing news and a critical development for the online music space. You can get more information at the RARA site and I’ve duplicated their message in full below without commentary:

From: Press Contact <respectartistaudience@gmail.com>
Date: Mar 31, 2007 7:58 PM
Subject: MAJOR RECORD LABELS WITHDRAW FROM RIAA

MAJOR RECORD LABELS WITHDRAW FROM RIAA
Apple and Microsoft Help Launch RARA: Respect Artist, Respect Audience

April 1, 2007 (Hollywood, CA) – In a major break from the litigious and often alienating strategy pursued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against everyone from preteens to college students and grandmothers, the four major record labels have decided to drop all pending lawsuits and instead join with Apple and Microsoft to eliminate Digital Rights Management (DRM) from music sales. The companies are joining other personal electronics manufacturers and independent labels in a new organization, Respect the Artist, Respect the Audience (RARA).

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Imploding Blockbuster Wants Failing Movielink

March 2, 2007

Better Title: Blockbuster (the also-ran) Contemplates Buying Movielink (the never-was)

The good folks at Ars Technica have an interesting post on Blockbuster’s desire to save its dying business by buying a failed business, Movielink. Movielink is a DRM crippled, online movie service foisted on an uninterested public by the five major movie studios. According to reports in the SJMN and the WSJ the price is less then $50 million and that includes a DNA test to see if you’re Anna Nicole Smiths baby-daddy. The move is your text book MBA, “buy a lemon to save the dinosaur” strategy. To a failing Luddite business this strategy makes a great deal of sense. The rest of the world just yawns.


EMI and Last.fm join forces is Pandora Next

February 28, 2007

Last.fm LogoAfter Steve Jobs dropped his anti-DRM bomb on the labels people immediately started talking about which label would be the first to wake up to MP3. Early money was on EMI being the first to buckle, largely because they are in the toughest financial position and Ted Cohen used to run the show. We’ll looks like the early money was wrong as EMI signs a streaming deal with Last.fm.

EMI Home Today EMI announced a deal with Last.fm, giving Last.fm users the ability to stream music from EMI artists including: Corinne Bailey Rae (a damned good album), Norah Jones (a great album), KT Tunstall (damned good for a long drive), Keith Urban (kill yourself) and Robbie Williams (who?). Paid content has a good blurb on this and you can check out the original release here. Rumors are also swirling that Last.fm may fall to Viacom in the coming weeks.

As a Pandora user myself I dont really get the appeal of Last.fm, which seems far more cluttered and confusing then the elegant and simple Pandora. Maybe I dont have enough friends, if your on Last.fm add me as a friend up (in fact I’m friendless on Orkut too…).


Pirate Bay Bitch Slaps MPAA

February 12, 2007

Oscar“Were winning” they say! I’d have to agree.
Our favorite swashbuckling buccaneers over at the Pirate Bay have done it again. These guys have all the swagger, ambition and balls that their name implies. Its not enough that they want to buy an island to freely distribute the digital goodness we all crave, or that they continually embarrass and poke fun at the luddite content industries, now the merry bandits have started a new site dedicated to the Oscars. Aptly named the OscarTorrents the site has helpfully organized torrents of movies that have been nominated for Oscars in all 24 Oscars categories.

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Corporate Innovation Process Told Through gapingvoid Cartoons

September 29, 2006

One of the many astute observations made by the street philosopher and urban griot, Bonty Killa, in his seminal work on the moral decay urban centers, Caan Believe Mi Eye, was his observation that “everybody wan go heaven but no body wan dead.” This is a perfect metaphor for the corporate relationship to innovation. All companies want the heavenly rewards that result from successful innovation but few are willing to allow legacy systems, processes, hierarchies, thinking and models to die so that they can get there.

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The Buzz about Netvibes

September 11, 2006

I was looking through the traffic stats on the site a couple of weeks ago when I noticed something interesting. It seems that more then 2/3 of you, my readers, never actually visit the site. This discovery was a bit of a shock. Who knew that the reason most of you visited this site wasnt for my thoughtful graphic selections (ie random stuff I find with Google images) and arduously designed webpages (default theme #31). The vast majority of you are reading this right now are probably doing it via an RSS reader. Even more surprising is the choice of RSS reader that most to you use to access the witty prose, biting commentary and BGO’s (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious) that I provide on a fairly random and inconsistent basis. The RSS reader of choice of my amazingly advanced audience is from a little known and recently funded company called Netvibes.

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Sony Buys Grouper, Turner Peddles Ads

August 23, 2006

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that they were buying Grouper.com, one of the 30 plus UGC video sites attempting to unseat YouTube as the King of crap collection. The deal puts $65 million in the coffers at Grouper and CEO, Josh Felser, gets to keep his job. They say they may move the company towards advertising in the future but have no current plans to change the sites model or structure. You can read the press release here or just marvel at the word-smithing of Grouper’s CEO below.

“When you pair Grouper’s innovative video sharing platform on the web and the desktop with Sony’s connected devices and copyrighted media you create a dynamic and exciting environment for consumers,” said Grouper CEO and co-founder Josh Felser. “We have an opportunity, as part of the Sony family, to bring together user-generated and copyrighted content across platforms and devices for the first time.”

Someone need to let Josh know that for the last 10 years user generated content has been little more then copyrighted content flying across platforms and devices without the permission of companies like, say, I dont know, SONY. Read the rest of this entry »


Is It All Over for AllofMP3?

May 15, 2006

Updated: A shining example of the future of online music sales has gone ominously dark. AllofMP3, which has been the center of IFPI and RIAA ire, may have finally succumbed to the forces of complacency and stasis.

Last week, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, declared in his state of the nation address, that in addition to having more babies and ending official corruption, Russia needed to get tough on piracy. Apparently, the irony of declaring a desire for innovation while promoting a legal statue that limits it was lost of Mr. Putin. утесы рационализаторства, Mr Putin, утесы рационализаторства!!! Alas, a few days after this speech, which included the quote "We must defend copyright inside the country. That is our obligation to our foreign partners" AllofMP3.com went dark.

The site now claims to be "down for maintenance" and the allTunes desktop client that worked with the AllofMP3.com service no longer functions. On the plus side, most of the other Russian MP3 downloading sites are still up and accepting new customers although I wouldnt recommend banking on their long term prospects.

Update: Reports of the death of AllofMP3 seem a bit premature. The site is back up with what seems to be reduced content. More to come.


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