Social-networking manager Flock has really proven that there's a strong interest in browsers customized for specific users. The tools that it comes with are well-suited to helping people who spend their days navigating those networks. Songbird is the hatchling of Firefox and iTunes, a Flock for music lovers.
In the perfect utopia that exists only inside my head, all cell phones and MP3 players incorporate A2DP, also known as stereo Bluetooth. As a result, they're all compatible with stereo Bluetooth headsets like the Plantronics Voyager 855, which CNET rated 8/10, and which Newegg currently has on sale for $57.99, shipped. That's a pretty big savings over the $149.95 list price.
During business hours, the Voyager 855 functions as a fairly standard headset, albeit one with a cool sliding boom mic. When you want to get your groove on, you just connect the second … Read more
Ask Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, whether the band's foray into a "pay what you want" model for music was successful and he'll tell you, as he told David Byne (Talking Heads) in this Wired interview:In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever--in terms of anything on the Net. And that's nuts. It's partly due to the fact that EMI wasn't giving us any money for digital sales. All the contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff.
Sounds great, except that he's comparing "more money" to "zero money." Apparently the music companies don't pay new bands (or old?) squat for digital sales (read: iTunes) of their music. I can't fathom why. I suppose because they don't have to.
But where the interview becomes useful and interesting is when Yorke talks through the relevance of this new model for new bands. Teaser: it's not.… Read more
We're putting the music industry to the sword today, because I just discovered this wonderful blog (The Future of Music), written by Dave Kusek (what is it about those Stanford anarchists?), and it's overflowing with great material.
Kusek points to an interesting Wired article on Doug Morris, chair and CEO of Universal Music Group. Morris suggests that the music industry has been pillaged by technology...yet he was powerless to stop the carnage:
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist....That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"… Read more
"Surely, you're joking!" I thought as I read Glyn Moody's take on recent rumblings from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Glyn was making the point that the music industry is hurting itself through its heavy-handed efforts to stamp out peer-to-peer file sharing/stealing.
He's right, but it's even worse than that, it turns out. The RIAA is actually trying to rewrite copyright law on the fly, as the Washington Post reports:In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the [music] industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer....
At least, that's what a recent study from Digital Music News and BigChampagne suggests. Why? Because 36.4% of the 1.66 million computers survey had LimeWire, a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) program installed. Guilty by association?
I have LimeWire installed on my Mac. This doesn't make me a thief. In fact, I've bought a wide range of music through iTunes over the past year. I think I've downloaded one or two songs and a few goal compilations using LimeWire in the past year when I couldn't find them on iTunes. The songs in question - by Led Zeppelin - I ended up buying (again, as I'd already bought them once or twice on CD and cassette tape) when they became available on iTunes.
So, 99.999% of the music I've listened to in the past year was happily bought through legitimate means. .001% was not. At least, not originally. Am I a thief? I suppose so. But not by any devious plan. I imagine that I'm not alone in how I consume music.
But maybe as a 30-something geezer, I'm atypical. Maybe everyone does want to steal music, as the music industry seems to believe. If this is the case, as Ars Technica writes, charging more per song does not sound like a winning resolution to the problem:… Read more
Narrated by Forest Whitaker, Before the Music Dies, is a cautionary documentary focusing on the sad state of the music business. Or as someone so eloquently put it, "mixing music and art is a bad mix." The film is loaded with interviews and performances by Erykah Badu, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, and Branford Marsalis.
Since its release in November 2006, the film has screened more than 200 times in more than 130 North American markets. Before the Music Dies is available as a download and DVD. Check the Web site for more info.
MTV has a rundown of events showing that 2007 was the year the music industry broke. Not broke as in "broke big," like "The Year Punk Broke." Broke as in "became broken." (Which I suppose is followed by "went broke.")
And in Wired, David Byrne explains the modern landscape and what musicians can do about it. I'm a huge fan of his music, his writing, and his art, so far be it from me to add anything to what he said, but I'll point out my favorite part: he begins … Read more
The Register ponders the question, "Why does the music industry make licensing its catalogs so cost prohibitive?"
For years, the Big Five (now Four) have preferred to litigate rather than license their catalogues, but we were told that was no longer the case.
"We have to license... and think like the publishers," said UMG's digital chief Larry Kenswil back in January, setting the tone for the year.
The problem is that the music industry sets its license fees so high that its licensees are doomed to fail, notes Michael Robertson (in "Imeem gets license and death sentence"). Could this be Microsoft's game plan in its patent initiative? Put on the guise of cooperating while pricing its competition into oblivion?… Read more
If you're a music industry executive, you should be praying that the Mac wins the desktop war. Why? Because, as Tom Krazit writes, a recent NPD survey finds that Mac users are much more likely than Windows users to actually pay for music. How much more likely? Consider:The data says that 50 percent of all Mac users surveyed by NPD purchased at least one song during the third quarter, while only 16 percent of Windows users purchased a song from an online music store. And 32 percent of Mac users bought a CD during that same time, while … Read more