The start-up would offer music free of charge to consumers and attempt to hand the bill to advertisers. Since then, we've seen a dozen companies make names for themselves by offering their own twist on the ad-supported music model, including MySpace Music, Imeem, and Pandora. But regardless of how anyone has tweaked it, not a single service in the still-nascent sector has proven that it knows how to offer consumers a compelling free-music service … Read more
The dot-com era had eToys, Webvan, and Pets.com. The digital-entertainment boom has SpiralFrog.
The day SpiralFrog likely reserved a corner in the pantheon of the Web's most noteworthy busts came on July 14, 2008. At 2 a.m. that day, an agitated Amir Khan, an executive at hedge fund 3V Capital Management, SpiralFrog's main financial backer, e-mailed several fellow board members at the pioneering ad-supported music service.
Khan was frustrated by SpiralFrog's marketing efforts. In one case, the start-up spent $300,000 to host a video from pop singer Alicia Keys that managers claimed would draw … Read more
French advertising group Publicis Groupe has agreed to acquire Internet ad agency Razorfish from Microsoft for $530 million in cash and stock.
Razorfish will continue to operate under its own brand name and continue to serve as Microsoft's "preferred provider" for Internet advertising, the companies announced Sunday in a joint statement. The deal includes a strategic alliance agreement in which Publicis Groupe will purchase display and search advertising from Microsoft over a five-year period.
"The purchase of Razorfish is a new step in our strategic plan to be the unquestionable leader in digital communication," Publicis … Read more
As professional organizations become increasingly guarded about employees' use of social networks, British troops are actually being encouraged to use social media to talk about what they do--within limits, of course.
The Ministry of Defence has issued its Online Engagement Guidelines (PDF), 13 pages of recommendations for keeping in touch with friends and family via blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, and multiplayer games without endangering military personnel and activities.
The statement says, "Current and emerging Internet technologies, such as simple self-publishing, sharing of user-generated content, and social networking, are of growing importance to Service and MOD civilian personnel in … Read more
In my local Starbucks, there's a bald man who wears the same pristine white Prince tennis shoes every day. He is always perched on a stool, his PC open in front of him, typing away with the middle finger of each hand. He has one of those Bluetooth thingies in his ear and he's often talking as he's typing. This somewhat peculiar gentleman is, indeed, running his business from Starbucks.
One might wonder whether he's just getting the slightly better end of this deal. I have never seen him eat there. Perhaps he orders one or … Read more
Google plans to start paying non-employee directors on its board in cash, just after tossing them a hefty restricted stock award.
In a filing with the SEC Friday, Google revealed that it will be breaking with tradition by deciding to pay directors not employed by the company $75,000 a year in cash and $350,000 a year in restricted stock grants. In addition, those non-employee board members (John Doerr, John Hennessey, Arthur Levinson, Paul Otellini, Ram Shriram, Ann Mather, and Shirley Tilghman) will also receive a one-time stock award worth $500,000, though Mather and Tilghman will have to … Read more
Music industry executives in Europe have begun pressuring Global Gaming Factor, the company that intends to buy The Pirate Bay, to turn over to them any money it pays to acquire the site.
Jo Oliver, the general counsel for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), wrote Hans Pandeya, Global Gaming's CEO, on July 24. Oliver told Pandeya that the group will ask authorities in Sweden to "issue an order prohibiting Global Gaming from paying the purchase sum" to the founders of The Pirate Bay. Oliver added that copyright owners will also ask the government require … Read more
I awoke on the floor of my house today with a thumping, bumping sound bashing lumps into my ears.
Yes, someone had called me to play a winning Bing jingle over my cell phone. This was a friend, indeed. A friend with no conscience.
I heard a little techno beat, the voice of a distant cousin of the Pet Shop Boys and the oft-repeated phrase "Bing goes the Internet."
When it ended, my friend shouted into the phone, at least I think he shouted, that this ditty had won its creator $500 in a competition sponsored by Microsoft.… Read more
This post was updated at 1:40 p.m. PDT with RealNetworks' correction of the percentage of employees laid off.
Entertainment software company Real Networks laid off 12 employees within its music division or about 9 percent of the division staff, the company said Thursday.
The cuts come a week after RealNetworks reported marked decreases in the number of subscribers at its Rhapsody music subscription and online radio units.
Rhapsody, which is partly owned by Viacom's MTV Networks, lost 50,000 of its 800,000 subscribers over the past three months, RealNetworks said last week in its second-quarter earnings … Read more
In a move that makes him seem a bit like Dr. Evil wanting to be paid one hundred billion dollars for Austin Powers' ransom, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has said that he will charge for all the online content associated with the newspapers and television stations he owns.
It's a goal that some in the digital-media space will bill as ludicrous--and some as inevitable.
He's already got most of The Wall Street Journal, … Read more