May 20, 2008
An interesting article from the good folks at TorrentFreak. While it wont have any of the humor and fireworks ThePirateBay brings to the party, I still think this will be an interesting battle. Mininova doesnt run a tracker or host files it is truly only pointing in the general direction of both legal and questionable torrent files. However the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BRIEN disagrees.
<Insert trite music industry is doomed comment here> blah </insert>
I noticed that the article keeps referencing the DMCA, which as a US law and as such probably has little applicability as a defense in a Dutch courtroom. Hope the folks at MiniNova have a better battle plan up their sleeve then “we kinda follow a fuzzy US law”. The Dutch agency persuing the case counts among is success forcing Demonoid offline for a couple of months and getting them to move their popular bitTorrent tracker to a different ISP.
<Insert music industry loves whack-a-mole comment here> blah </insert>
April 29, 2008
Last week the RIAA was cheering the destruction of million CD and DVD taken from flea market vendors and church swap meets across the country. This week it put out the numbers of CD’s shipped from its client record labels to music stores and they arent good. The ailing music industry shipped 17.5% fewer CD’s to record stores in ’07 than it did in ’06. Of course, much of what was shipped to the stores is still sitting in discount bins so the actual sales decline is surely much worse. Across all physical formats, CD singles (up 50%), Cassettes (down 41%), LP’s (up 36%) etc… shipments were down 16.9% Y/Y.
Despite this news, record labels still seem intent are keen on destroying any company, site or individual foolish enough to build a service that makes online music discovery and playback simple and painless. The four major labels, though nine of their subsidiary companies, have filed suit against Project Playlist, a site that aggregates music from around the web into one simple interface. According to the label’s, Playlist.com enables “massive copyright infringement” by pointing to files on other websites (ie blogs, artist pages, fan pages etc…). Despite common sense and the generally accepted business maxim that your customer can not be your enemy, the luddites at the major labels seem to relish finding novel ways to destroy shareholder value and drive customers away.
I’m not the sharpest tack in the marble box but if I wwas an exec in a failing $10 billion industry that had shrunk by more then $2 billion in the last year with shipments down 19%, the last thing I’d do is sue a company that lets my customers discover and buy my product. Call me crazy.
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.
March 17, 2008
The good folks at Torrent Freak caught my attention this morning with news of the possible resurrection of Demonoid, of one my favorite BitTorrent trackers, for stats. They have been tracking the fate of Demonoid since it was taken offline last year. The site seems to have gained a new host in the Ukraine and its torrents are working again. Ernesto of Torrent Freak speculates that it could come back online in the next few weeks. In other BitTorrent news the fall of Torernt.is, an Icelandic BitTorrent tracker which accounted for 50% of Icelands internet traffic seems to be nearly complete. I really do love that 10% of the population and 50% of the Internet traffic on the island nation was accounted for on one site.
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.
July 3, 2007
It seems that after months of slow economic starvation AllofMP3.com is finally no more. Over the last few years the IFPI and RIAA have mounted a sustained assault on the site, which followed the letter of Russian law, but sold music in a format (MP3) and for a price (cheap as hell) that the dying recording industry disliked. For the music industry this was a long, hard fight and their victory would be a whole lot sweeter if AllofMP3.com hadn’t already reopened under a different name. The new site called Mp3sparks, has all of the features and functionality you loved in Allofmp3.com. Your old Allofmp3.com username and password are supposed to work on Mp3sparks.com although it hasnt for me. Credit cards are still not accepted on the site but its unclear if thats due to the old credit card monopoly ban on ALLofMP3 or a simple technical glitch. Hopefully, MP3Sparks can fill the gap left by the hobbling (and now full closure of ALLofMP3.com) but until it gets credit card payments up I dont recommend you let your BitTorrent ratio’s slide.
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.
June 9, 2007
Lala.com, an online CD trading platform, began offering a limited music locker with free music streaming this week and it pissed off uber-CEO and music locker competitor Michael Robertson. The general reaction to Lala.com’s announcement ranged from the mildly bemused to the historically reflective with most blog post and articles mentioning Mp3.com or Napster as parallels. That wasnt enough for the Michael “lightening will strike as many time as I say” Robertson, who promptly posted a pretty damning “expose” of the details not mentioned in any of the post about Lala.com’s new service. Read the rest of this entry »
April 25, 2007
Trolling SSRN I came across another academic report destroying much of the FUD put out by the RIAA in their attempt to criminalize digital downloads. Like all good academic studies it has a cumbersome and wordy title, The Analog Hole and the Price of Music: An Empirical Study, which belies the rather simple text contained within.
The report starts off with an exploration of the analog hole , which frankly isnt that interesting but then goes into how the analog hole will effect the pricing of digital music. They set off to answer two questions: Do consumers perceive a difference between analog hole copies and the originals? Kinda. At what price would they be willing to sacrifice some quality? Twenty-five cents. The sample size is pretty small for the survey, only 66 respondents, but the findings are really interesting. Read the full report here and check out the abstract here: