March 19, 2008
The once haughty recorded music industry has finally collapsed under the weight of its own greed and inefficiency. We can officially call the industry dead, not when the companies are shuttered (because a number of them will survive), but when their main business model is radically different. According to an article in todays Financial Times the music industry is edging ever closer to signing a deal with Apple Computers which may do just that.
The article discusses a deal the two sides are trying to hammer out to shift the labels economics from collecting money based on the number of songs/CD’s that are sold to collecting money based on the number of iPod’s or iPhone’s thats are sold. Its a complex deal that the article emphasizes may not get done, however for the labels to even consider it highlights how very desperate they’ve become. This deal would certainly spell the end of the traditional record labels as their status as added value intermediaries (ie important middlemen) fades even further. Also read a related article which is a bit of a counter-point to the first article albeit with little new information.
July 3, 2007
So I find out today, via voicemail from Craig and Vincent, that Google is buying my universal mail box, Grandcentral, for $45 million. Despite Grandcentral’s oh so very evil habit of promising 212 area codes and not actually having any, the Grandcentral service is one of the most useful free telephony services out there. Now it joins the ranks of Blogger, Writely, Feedburner and several other applications I’ve used on and off that Google has subsequently purchased. Thus proving once and for all, that if I use your product Google will buy it.
Using this same logic, here are 3 other companies likely to be purchased by Google in the next 12 – 18 months.
GMail, EditGrid, Onlywire, a service that saves bookmarks to all the social bookmarking sites your a member of, with one click. GeoBeats, an amazing content site featuring video tours of cities around the globe. Splashcast, geek fanboy favorite and uber media tool to the stars (and star wanna-bes).
July 2, 2007
Yesterday Big JG, the soup eater, posted a note about Universals Music’s mad dash to ends its tortured existence as the worlds largest purveyor of little plastics discs. In an act of classic Seppuku, Universal Music is reported to have told Apple that it was not going to renew its contract to sell music through iTunes. The move comes as a bit of a shock given that the Universal is reported to net somewhere in the $200 million dollar range through iTunes sales. Apple’s steadfast refusal to allow the labels to “wet their beaks” from iPod sales is widely believe to be the main reason behind the move by Universal.
There are two huge problems with Universal’s withdrawal from iTunes. First, they are the only ones doing it. Both Sony/BMG and EMI are on board with Apple and Warner Music is bleeding money and employees so fast it wouldnt dare walk away from any source of income. Second, by refusing to sell its music through iTunes, universal will not effect the consumption of its music, iPod sales or iTunes popularity. People will just get the content that isnt on iTunes they way they get 70-80% of the content on their iPod, from CD’s and P2P networks. The big loser therefore can only be Universal Music, which stands to loose a couple hundred million dollars along with a couple million paying customers. In these lean times for the music industry turning away either is the fastest way to quick death I can think of.
Here is a simple law of survival economics that all digital entertainment business MUST LEARN! “A little money is better then NO money.”
June 7, 2007
Back in April, Michael Robertson launched his latest Internet venture called AnywhereCD, which was supposed to sell CD’s with MP3 tracks that could be downloaded immediately. No sooner had the companies press release hit the Blogosphere then Warner Music pulled its music from the site. The lawsuits started to fly and the AnywhereCD was reduced to eMusic.com circa 1999.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 12, 2007
CBS 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.
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.
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…).