Flagging music industry seeks reincarnation as iPod upsell

March 19, 2008

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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.

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Liberate iTunes (and all your media) with DoubleTwist

February 19, 2008

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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.


Musical Condoms Boon to Rhythmic Coitus

February 9, 2008

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Are you rhythmically challenged? Does your guttural moaning and expletive laden calls for incestuous relations with a parental figure ruin your bi-monthly night of passion? If so, then a force-sensitive sound-playing condom might be just what you need to set the mood. The inventor of the musical cock-ring and the burping, peeing doll you played with as a kid has another hit device ready to be licensed by manufactures the world over.

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You know its a bad review when…

March 5, 2007

Way back in december when people still cared about the prospects of Microsoft’s Zune, I commented on a CNN product review gone horribly wrong. At the time I didnt think it could get worse. Well I’ve been proven wrong. Its seems our British friends are putting their more refined use of the english language to work not in the creation of prose but in the more rarefied art of product bashing.

While looking into new phones I came across this review of the Samsung E900 in the Guardian (an excellent alternative to the crappy US newspaper fare). The review starts off with some self-effacing hilarity, moves on to snarky commentary and then quickly blossoms into full out bashing. Anytime someone uses the words “twittering handheld crapstones” to refer to your product, its not a good thing. I’ll end my musings with this sample of what rant is truly supposed to be:

It is lumbered with a bewildering array of unnecessary “features” aimed at idiots, including a mode that scans each text message and turns some of the words into tiny ani-mations, so if someone texts to say they have just run over your child in their car, the word “car” is replaced by a wacky cartoon vehicle putt-putting onto the screen. There is also a crap built-in game in which you play a rabbit (“Step into the role of Bobby Carrot – the new star of cute, mind-cracking carrot action!”).


Steve Jobs Steals My Math and uses it to Smacks Detractors

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.


10 Reasons Zune will Flop

November 14, 2006

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Today the Zune player from Windows will explode from the shelves of 30,000 stores around the country, to what I anticipate will be the collective yawn of a “me-to” device weary public.
Will Microsoft spend billions pushing the Zune player on the market? Yes.
Will they make a huge splash in the press? Yes.
Will they put out a press release within a week and tout how many Zune’s they’ve foisted off on unsuspecting luddites sold? Yes.
Will it fail get any real traction and have a minimal impact on the market for digital players? Yes!
Now some might say I’m simply playa hatin’ (excuse the pun and the misappropriated vernacular) the on the Zune, so I’ve put together this list of the top 10 reasons the Zune will fail in the market.

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MS Cuts Labels into Zune Sales

November 9, 2006

Zune™ Device White I’m pretty conflicted about the news that MS has signed an agreement with Universal Music to share revenue from Zune sales. On the one hand it seems like a great way for MS to guarantee itself access to content from one the music industries largest producers. Given Universal’s size and power its unlikely that other labels wont get in line to license their stuff to the ZUNE store and get a piece of Zune sales as a bonus. On the other hand it highlights just how desperate MS has become in its heavily lampooned bid to ruin the iParty that Apple has enjoyed for the last few years.

There is great coverage out there from both perspectives; for the naysayers, check out Global Nerdy’s take on the Zune shakedown or Om Maliks thoughts on UMG muscling Zune. For a more enthusiastic take on the subject check out Mathew Ingram’s post or El Reg’s rant, neither of which call of the out right destruction of the music industry… Of course you may prefer the more balanced approach of MSM, so here a link to the NY Times article and an AP story is here.