September 11, 2003

  • Thought

    “The RIAA Are Dicks. We Apologize.”

    “In any good community, people take care of each other. If someone is robbed, people put in what they can to help them out. Therefore, I am planning to raise $2,000 for this girl (the cost of her settlement), because I think she’s been robbed by the RIAA. Other folks tend to agree with me.”

September 10, 2003

September 5, 2003

  • Thought

    Church of the Customer: Rip Van Record:

    “For years we’ve heard the recording industry blame everyone but itself for the drop-off in CD sales. Overly protected and coddled, the industry is so dysfunctional that its best answer to declining sales was to sue its customers. Rather than focus on improving technology and delivery platforms, the industry sent its high-priced lawyers and lobbyists after customers, and the intimidation lawsuits continue to this day, further alienating an already disenfranchised customer base. Because of this, the recording industry was a charter member of Customer Hell.”

July 17, 2003

  • Thought

    Loudeye is providing the backend for buy.com’s new music download service reports internet.com: “All The iMusic You Can Buy.com”:

    “For Seattle-based Loudeye, the move by e-tailers into the music subscription business provides a ready-made market for its new Loudeye Media Framework, which is styled as a single source for developing and integrating digital music purchases, music subscriptions, audio and video players, music and video channels, and music samples including metadata and cover art.

    Like the online personals space, where companies like Spring Street Networks have found a gold mine in powering matchmaking services for third-party sites, Loudeye wants to be the engine that hums behind every paid music download on the Internet.

    In addition to Buy.com, components of the Loudeye Media Framework are being used by Amazon.com, AOL, Apple iTunes, Barnes and Noble, MSN and Windows Media, MusicNet, PressPlay, and Yahoo.”

July 14, 2003

  • Thought

    My pals at Moontaxi were featured in this Globe article on the music industry:

    “When Apple broadens its serv­ice to the Windows environment — expected some time later this year — the potential audience will expand dramatically. Canada will be added to the Apple system when the CRIA completes its ne­gotiations in the fall.

    At that time, Canadian competi­tors will also enter the field. One that is ready to go is PureTracks, a pay-for-play service developed by Toronto firm Moontaxi Media Inc.

    “All the signals are looking very positive,” said Moontaxi founder Alistair Mitchell. “We’re still plan­ning our launch for the fall.”

    The PureTracks content will in­clude material from all the major Canadian record companies and the bigger independent labels, Mr. Mitchell said. The “indies” are cru­cial, because “a big reason why people go on-line to look for music is to find stuff that is new, emerging, niche repertoire,” he said.

    While the company had origi­nally considered charging a monthly subscription for down­loads, market research clearly showed consumers much pre­ferred a per-download pricing structure.

    Apple’s success with its 99-cent-a-tune system underlined that “à la carte” was the way to go, Mr. Mitchell said. It also showed there was clearly a business case for a high-quality pay system in competition with free downloads. Apple’s experience “told us it was worth our while to be making this happen,” he said.”

June 26, 2003

  • Thought

    Clay Shirky is a bright guy. In The Music Business and the Big Flip he writes:

    “The curious thing about this state of affairs is that in other domains, we now use amateur input for finding and publicizing. The last 5 years have seen the launch of Google, Blogdex, Kuro5in, Slashdot, and many other collaborative filtering sites that transform the simple judgments of a few participants into aggregate recommendations of remarkably high quality.

    This is all part of the Big Flip in publishing generally, where the old notion of ‘filter, then publish’ is giving way to ‘publish, then filter.’ There is no need for Slashdot’s or Kuro5hin’s owners to sort the good posts from the bad in advance, no need for Blogdex or Daypop to pressure people not to post drivel, because lightweight filters applied after the fact work better at large scale than paying editors to enforce minimum quality in advance. A side-effect of the Big Flip is that the division between amateur and professional turns into a spectrum, giving us a world where unpaid writers are discussed side-by-side with New York Times columnists.”

April 29, 2003

  • Thinking About Apple’s iTunes Music Store

    I’ve been reading about Apple’s iTunes Music Store and think they got it half-way correct — or maybe more accurately, 1/3 correct.

    Buying songs you know and love for $0.99 is perfect if you want to burn discs of current favourites. And Apple seems to have “fixed” most of what was wrong with earlier online download sites. I think this will be a hit — especially when they get the Windows version live — which they realistically need to do to make this work.

    But what happens if you’ve heard that Miles Davis is really cool but you don’t know anything about him? Well, for about $10 a month, a subscription to listen.com let’s you listen to most every album miles ever recorded. You can then make your decision about what songs you’d like to own forever (if any) and decide to download those for 99 cents (via Apple for example).

    And sometimes you just want music on in the background — music in a specific genre or to match a particular mode. You might want classical in the background for a brunch, 70s pop songs while you clean the house, or ambient “chill” for late night surfing sessions. In these cases you’re less interested in the actual performers than the feeling the music induces in you or your guests.

    So people have at least three goals with music: to own it, to explore it, and to use it to augment other tasks. The iTunes Music Store appears to do an admirable job of the first goal, but leaves the other two out in the cold.

    The “home run” in online music will be a service that combines cheap downloads (I think the magic number will be 10 cents a track, not a buck), music on demand from a vast library of diverse music styles, and high-quality commercial free “radio” that offers songs to match hundreds of genres, moods and situational settings.

October 12, 2002

  • Thought

    Here’s a NYT article called Online Fans Start to Pay the Piper.

    The article covers the increased acceptance of paid online music services like listen.com. This makes total sense as Listen is making baby steps to the musical nirvana — the day that we have a true celestial jukeboxes — all the songs you’d ever want, easily and instantly accessible via a simple, powerful interface.

August 23, 2002

  • Thought

    Hit Charade — The music industry’s self-inflicted wounds by Mark Jenkins is one of the best articles I’ve read on the problems with the music industry these days. As a former music industry insider, this all rings true. One of the main reasons I left the music business was the anti-fan, litigious nature of the industry’s approach to the business. Hopefully there is something that can do for the modern music malaise what MTV did in the early 80s.

July 19, 2002