February 19, 2008
A couple of years ago a kid from Norway, named Jon Lech Johansen, broke the encryption put on DVD’s to stop people from coping them onto their computers. A year or so later he did the same thing to the iTunes music store and made it possible for folks to share their music purchases. He was pretty unpopular with the big media companies but geek-boys the world over loved him, so he went legit and started a venture backed company. However, going legit isnt what it used to be. His latest application, let’s you share your music and other media with friends and family no matter what device they might be using. The new application called doubleTwist allows you to convert all your iTunes purchases to plain old mp3’s for you can shares them across devices. and it help you manage that process. The application is still in beta (early beta if the number of crashes I’ve had is any indicator) so you might want to check out the PDF press release here , the blog reaction here or the early articles here and here.
Thanks to the erudite scholar and gentleman, david touve for the tip.
June 20, 2007
Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious
For some reason folks are acting all shocked that sales of digital music seem to go up when you dont cripple it with DRM. In a piece thats all over the net right now (here, here, here and here) Bloomberg (the news service not the recently independent, non-presidential candidate) is reporting that sales of DRM-free tracks released by EMI are showing significant increases. Again not sure why this would surprise anyone not paid directly by the DRM developers or the RIAA. Its an interesting story that is only going to get bigger as folks like Apple and Amazon push for less restricted music. Of course the P2P side will still dwarf them all but that is a debate for another time.
May 4, 2007
A must read article over at Rev2.org on the Digg rebellion and its outcome. Two items that I think are really interesting and deserve more thought:
1) spontaneous user protest
2) siding with your users is a winning strategy
DVD’s, cracked. HD-DVD’s, cracked. Blu-Ray disk’s, cracked. There has to come a point where the movie guys realize that the effort and cost associated with trying to bottle up content isnt worth it. The main question shouldnt how do I protect my content, it should be how do I help people access and use my content, what are they willing to pay for and how much are they willing to pay.
February 28, 2007
After 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.
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…).
February 12, 2007
A central tenet of the RIAA/IFPI terror campaign against file downloading has been that file downloading causes the industry to loose billion of dollars a year. This point is hotly debated by many who point out that downloading is more like sampling then buying and has probably resulted in net growth for the industry. However, the
myopic, luddite brain-dead response of the music industry has been to ignore the mounting evidence of the negligible impact of file-sharing on music sales. Instead they prefer to sue old ladies and children and further poison their relationship with their customers.
Needless to say these arent the brightest folks in business. Fortunately, our good friends in the Ivory covered halls of academia have been busy crunching numbers and running models to see just what is what. Well the latest in a string of reports from some well lettered individuals is in and the numbers show that file-sharing is likely to have negatively impacted just .7% of CD sales. Ars Technica has the full story and its not good for the labels. You cant argue with science man.
Some of the previous research (Price and Piracy, Piracy and Sales, SSRN articles)
February 9, 2007
Earlier this week the Chief Evangelical Officer of Apple
Computers Inc., Steve Jobs, channeled the spirit of Ronald Regan (media moguls tear down these digital walls) and wrote an open letter (read my post here) aimed at the music barron’s in their Bling’d-out offices. In it he basically says that DRM sucks, iPods rock and the labels dont grok the implications of either. Well it was a shot heard around the blogosphere and the commentary came fast a furious from low caste bloggers like myself.
Not to be outdone by the rabble, the unfortunately named IFPI strongman, John Kennedy, posted a retort to Steve (El Capitain) Jobs. His response could be summed up in two words: “You First!” In what I imagine is a whining monotone, he suggests that Steve drop DRM from Apple, Disney and Pixar products as an example to the industry.
Read the rest of this entry »
February 6, 2007
People have been belly-aching about Apple’s iTunes DRM for months, complaining that it’s somehow more restrictive then says Microsoft’s brown brick, the Zune. Steve (El Capitain) Job’s has been largely silent. Until now. Today Apple’s CEO came out swinging. In a letter posted on the Apple site, not only does he lay-the-smack-down on the “free iTunes” contingent but he steals my math to do it. A large part of his argument virtually mirrors the analysis I did way back in April of last year. Namely that most of the music on iPods is not from iTunes. Should I expect a check?
My five sentence summary of Steve’s 1800 word rant is:
iPods rock, DRM sucks. The labels made me put DRM on iPods before they’d license any music to me. If I open Apple’s DRM to every joe-blow company that comes asking Apple’s products would suck as much as Microsoft’s Zune. Only 3% of the songs on most iPods is from the iTunes music store the rest is from other sources.
My favorite quote:
“The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.”
Read the full letter here, to find the first two alternatives.
Thanks to Jake Walker for the news via Pho.