iTunes Proves DRM is Killing Music

December 12, 2006

Sensation headlines are great, El Reg’s mocking coverage is even better and Forrester Research is the best (for sensation headlines anyway). The Register is running a story with the somewhat overstated headline “iTunes Sales Collapsing“, based on some research put out by Forrester that seems to show that iTunes music is flat or even falling a bit.

While the iTunes service saw healthy growth for much of the period, since January the monthly revenue has fallen by 65 per cent, with the average transaction size falling 17 per cent. The previous spring’s rebound wasn’t repeated this year.

And it isn’t just Apple’s problem. Nielsen Soundscan has grimmer news for prospective digital download services, indicating three consecutive quarters of flat or declining revenues for the sector as a whole.

The article goes on to point out that despite the fall in iTunes sales iPod player shipments are way up.

The ominous trend comes despite healthy growth for digital music players – iPod sales quadrupled in the period monitored by Forrester – and Apple’s growing inventory – the company has added videos and movies to its established inventory of music downloads and audiobooks.

Of course if your a regular reader of this blog you already knew this. Apprently fewer and rfewer people are being sucked into buying the DRM crippled songs on iTunes for .99 cents a pop, but folks are still flocking to the iPods. The good folks at the Reg pin the blame for iTunes stumbling on Apple’s use of DRM in the music store. Andrew Orlowski goes so far as to say that we have entered the “final days” of DRM’d music.

Roomy Condoms Bane of Indian Men

December 9, 2006

A study by the Indian council of medical research finds that the majority of men in India have penises too small for the condoms that are sold in the country. When was the last time some obscure Indian government agency commanded mention in a bunch of major news outlets? Could their thoughts on innovation, poverty, AID’s, violence or abortion be worthy of the worlds attention? Of course not. The bit of news from the Indian Council of Medical Research that caught the attention of the press was the results of a 2 year study on the size of Indian phallus’s in the city of Mumbai. It appears that for about 60% of the men in the city have an inch of extra room when using a standard condom and for 30% of the fellas in that city 2 inches of space of extra space after an erection is not uncommon.

This whole thing got started with an article in The Times of India proclaiming that “Indian men don’t measure up“. Reuters then picked up the thread with the somewhat more dignified headline “Oversized condoms annoy Indians but this was as good as it would get. The Short News (I cant make this up) in Germany, went with the headline “Standard Condoms too big For Indian Men” and News24 in South Africa went with “Too small for your condom“. But my favorite article is from the Kanucks at eCanadaNow, which ran a story entitled “Size is to Blameaccompanied by a picture of guy hanging his head in shame and disgrace (the one above). I probably would to if I had to face the Blogospheres withering take on this.

Ugliness in the Music Business

December 8, 2006

I’m told there was a time when the music industry was a place of beauty and wonder. A place where the average person could hear the soundtrack of their lives or float away on the sirens call of a muse. I’m told these things but I dont remember them.

Two new stories add their wedge in ever expanding chasm between the music industry and their intended customers. Both are from the appropriately named Recording Industry vs The People and they highlight the clear death of the moral economy that may have helped the music industry remain afloat. The first one is a tale of lies and greed,apparently the RIAA’s greed got the best of them and they lied in a letter to the courts in an attempt to extort money from a a Queens mom with MS. The second story is yet another RIAA inspired lawsuit, but this time a group of folks that got shook down for a few grand by the RIAA are suing the makers of Kazaa for basically setting them up to get sued by the RIAA.

Why the music industry is so glib about throwing away its relationship with its customers will always baffle me.

Why Music Sucks: Manufacturing Stars for Fun and Profit

December 8, 2006

Our good friends over at the Institute for Strategy and Business Economics at the University of Zurich put out a paper entitled Explaining the Star Shift in the Media – Why ‘Manufactured’ Celebrities are More Lucrative than ‘Self-Made’ Superstars“. Far from the normal academic drivel pumped out of the ivy halls at university this little gem of knowledge, kinda reads like a geeks who dunit, as it explores the many reasons media companies prefer prefab stars to “self-made” superstars. Yes it does kinda miss the obvious point that all celebrity is ultimately prefab and that there are no real self-made stars and havent been for about 30 years. The paper takes 25 pages to explain what boils down to, its easier for media companies to exploit capture value when they create pre-fab stars (think Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard) then when they have to contend with a self-made star. For the details go here.

Formula for Entrepreneurial Success in EU

December 8, 2006

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Our friends across the pond have pulled together some stats about what makes a successful entrepreneur in the EU. The stats are culled from surveys that were conducted by the National Statistics Institutes of 15 countries in the EU. The goals of the survey was to identify some FOBS (factors of business success), which to them means your business survived for 3 years with the same founder/entrepreneur involved in the running the show.

So, what did they find? 1) You dont need experience in the area to be successful. 2) Most of the entrepreneurs found dealing with customers and the details of running their businesses to be the biggest headache, which is just kinda funny. The younger the entrepreneur the faster the business was likely to grow. While women found it easier to get paid for invoices then men, male entrepreneurs felt better about getting to profitability then the women. My favorite finding from the report is that the more degrees the entrepreneur had, the more likely they were to claim their business was “innovative”.

Its an interesting report check it out here.