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 30, 2008
There are some folks, Andrew Keen comes to mind, who are easy to dismiss not because of the sensational and contrarian nature of their ideas but because of the lack of thought and discussion that surrounds them. Contrast this with Kevin Kelly who wrote 1,000 True Fans back in March and ignited the the echo chamber we lovingly call the Blogosphere with his suggestion that with a 1,000 true fans supporting them an artist could live exclusively from their craft.
The idea is not without its detractors, Jaron Lanier of Digital Moaism fame (summerized back in ’06), being the most prominent. However, unlike Andrew Keen who goes into Fox News styled apoplectic fits (more) when there is disagreement, Kevin Kelly has opened his blog to highlight the arguments against his meme. In posts last week and again today, Kelly has highlighted variations of and arguments against his meme. While remaining steadfastly committed to the idea of a 1,000 (or perhaps 5,000) true fans, Kelly is has taken up the challenge of proving his ideas right. He is on a quest to find 3 artist that make a “predictable income sufficient to raise a child.” If he cant, then the 1,000 true fans meme will be declared officially dead and Jaron Lanier, Andrew Keen and the terrorist will have won.
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.
April 24, 2008
Apple’s ubiquitous iPod was built to ensure that listeners could not easily pass their music between devices. The iPod and iTunes combination leads to a very solitary musical experience with users only able to share music by jumping through technical hoops. The annoyance factor with sharing digital music was intentionally high. However, where ever there are digital roadblocks, there is an entrepreneur ready to remove them (for a small fee).
Enter MiShare, a nifty little device that came out late last year and allows users to transfer music, pictures, videos and even playlist between iPods. DRM infected music is transfered but must be reauthorized for use on the receiving iPod. But since your reading this blog you know that the vast majority of music on any given iPod is ripped or downloaded MP3’s and so we can assume that music reauthorization wont be much of an issue. The cool little device got good reviews from the NYTimes and the Chicago Tribune. Itis available from the Mishare site for $99.95.
April 23, 2008
Yesterday I got an email from Michael Robertson of MP3tunes, personally asking me for help (yeah were that close). You see, MP3tunes is being sued by EMI music for making it easy for people to store and access legally purchased music online. The labels are arguing that ripping a CD and uploading it for storage is tantamount to distributing it and is therefore illegal. Rebuffed by the courts in March, EMI is undetered and Michael says the labels efforts to sue his company out of existence is causing him major agita. Michael doesnt want me to write my congressperson or file an amicus brief on his behalf, what he really wants from me is Money. In the letter, apparently sent at random to conencted to the Interwebs, Michael has two request: 1) people upgrade their free MP3tunes accounts to the premium level. 2) blog about his plight. I’ve held a premium account for close to two years (Michael you need a better database marketing system) and I’ve now blogged about it so I consider my obligation fulfilled. Full email from Michael after the jump.
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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.