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.
A couple of weeks ago a little known government body called the Copyright Royalty Board set new rates for webcasters like Pandora, Last.fm and other streaming music services. The new rates made many webcasters and streaming music entrepreneurs apoplectic. Only being tangentially related to the streaming music space I was a bit confused by all the doom and gloom talk that had lots of really intelligent and articulate folks claiming that this was the end of streaming radio. It all sounded so over the top that I sent an email to the ever accommodating Tim Westergren, of Pandora, asking for his take on the controversy. I sent him a series of questions largely based on some projections Michael Robertson posted to the Pho List and one of this responses at the time really shocked me.
“There will be no Internet radio by the end of 2007 if these [new rates] go unchanged.”
At the time I thought there was no way that the music industry would allow the mostly legal and fee paying interactive music services to go under. Services like Pandora and Last.fm have been hailed in the media as the new “it” companies for music promotion and fans across the globe embrace these services for music sampling and discovery. But as of yesterday, influenced by the ever present RIAA in the guise of its bastard child SoundExchange, the CRB denied webcasters like Pandora’s attempts to rehear the case. Effectively putting an end to the nascent interactive radio business.
The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. Tim Westergren in letter to Pandora commuity
In what seems like a last ditch effort to make a change to the deadly new rates, Tim Westernger sent a letter to the Pandora community asking people to write their lawmakers for a literal stay of execution. If you’ve enjoyed Pandora and Last.fm you might want to go ahead, sign the petition and get involved. Normally I’d also suggest that you go ahead and enjoy Pandora and Last.fm before they go out of business, but since the rates are being retroactively enforced, they apply to everyone that used the service in 2006 and everyone that uses it now, potentially tripling the fees these services owe copyright holders.
Last week, I mentioned the survey from P2Pnet.net, that AllofMP3.com was promoting on their homepage. Well the good folks at P2Pnet have released some initial data and say they will release the entire data-set on Monday. So far they have over 750 respondents and what looks like some really good directional information on the thinking of at least a segment of the file sharing community. Watch for the full data, including answers to open-ended questions, to go live later this week and I’ll try to keep track of anyone that crunches the numbers and makes interesting connections.
Our Russian friends over at ALLofMP3.com are showing the kind of staying power that would make Lexington Steel proud. Despite being perpetually attacked by the bulldogs of the copyright industries ALLofMP3.com continues to evolve their offering and enhance their site. While checking out their latest upgrades I came across a rather incongruous image on the home page.
It was a link in the news section directing people to take a survey being conducted by the good folks at P2Pnet.net a site dedicated to news with a distint anti-RIAA flavor. The survey is being billed as the first online survey of perceptions of the RIAA and its title, The Sultans of Spin, shouldn’t in anyway skew the results.
ALLofMp3.com decision to feature the survey on their homepage is what struck me as strange. Last year the US trade rep was on the war path and tried to get Russian strongman Vladimir “toxic tea” Putin to shut the site down. ALLofMP3.com responded by starting a half-hearted attempt to get their side of the story out but ended-up just ignoring the public altogether. ALLofMP3 seemed more comfortable trying to avoid confrontations with the IFPI, RIAA and BPI by putting out luke warm statements asserting the legality of their service under Russian law. This is what made the prominent placement of what is clearly anti-RIAA propaganda so shocking. When the upgraded their site did they increase the amount of backboneas well?