"The difference between the optimist and the pessimist is that the pessimist has more facts," said Jean-Paul Betb?ze, Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research Department, Cr?dit Agricole S.A., in a panel at the Millken Institute's Global Conference 2008 in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. True as this may be, his statement stood in sharp contrast to the overall vibe of the event: Yes, we can, was the prevailing sentiment, and the overwhelming majority of attendees would probably have outed themselves as fervent optimists, despite an abundance of fact-featuring PowerPoint slides supporting … Read more
It's official. It might have worked. It might not have worked. But whether or not Radiohead's experiment with free distribution of In Rainbows worked for the band or not, it's not going to happen again anytime soon. Thom Yorke, Radiohead's frontman, explains:"Yes. It was a one-off in terms of a story. It was one of those things where we were in the position of everyone asking us what we were going to do. I don't think it would have the same significance now anyway, if we chose to give something away again. It … Read more
If one ever had to come up with an award for "Clueless Industry of the Millennium," the music industry would win by a landslide. What with the US' RIAA suing homeless people and now the UK's Music Business Group attempting to tax iPods, it's shocking that these jokers get paid at all. It's like Cirque de Soleil. Without the Soleil.
The MBG, conveniently overlooking decades of vinyl-to-cassette personal copying, declares:
We acknowledge that consumers clearly want to format shift and also place enormous value on the transferability of music. Music fans clearly deserve legal clarity in this area as well as the freedom to enjoy any music they have legitimately obtained.… Read more
A joint venture featuring heavyweight Hollywood studios is looking to fall 2009 to launch a premium television channel and video-on-demand service that will offer feature films and original television series.
The unnamed venture, and the unnamed channel it will produce, has the backing of Viacom and its Paramount Pictures unit; MGM Studios; and Lionsgate. Films to be offered will include new titles from Paramount and Paramount Vantage released in theaters after January 1, 2008, and new titles from MGM, United Artists, and Lionsgate released after January 1, 2009, according to a statement from the companies on Sunday.
The studios will … Read more
The music industry seems to be taking one step forward, and then promptly taking one thousand steps backward. In Universal Music Group v. Augusto, Universal Music Group (UMG) is suing someone for putting its promotional CDs for sale on eBay, seriously altering the standard view of what First Sale doctrine means.
At issue here is who owns the promo CDs. Universal argues strenuously that it never transferred ownership when it sent them out and that the discs are merely "licensed" to those who receive them. Each disc includes text that makes clear that "this CD is the property of the record company and is licensed to the intended recipient for personal use only." According to Universal...… Read more
As of September, Philips will no longer make televisions for the U.S. and Canada.
Instead, it is transferring that job to Japanese electronics maker Funai. The two companies agreed to a brand-licensing agreement in which Funai will source, distribute, market and sell all consumer TVs under the Philips and Magnavox brand names in the U.S. and Canada.
The deal begins September 1 and is good for five years. Funai will pay a royalty to Philips.
"This agreement secures continued presence of Philips and Magnavox branded TVs in North America in a model that safeguards Philips profitability in … Read more
In a project that's grabbing headlines this week, researchers at the University of California, Riverside and Stanford University are recruiting laptops to help them monitor seismic activity. The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed network of laptops running software that takes advantage of a built-in accelerometer to monitor and report seismic activity. (The accelerometer's primary purpose is to detect a fall or shock to the chassis in time to stop the hard drive from spinning, though it's been a key element in several fun hacks, including the Smackbook [video] and SeisMac.)
Based on the same software as the … Read more
I was surprised to read on David Kusek's blog (Future of Music) that Indie's share of the music market is galloping toward 30 percent. I'm not sure where Kusek gets that number, though I was able to find some corroboration, but that is a surprising rise for a once obscure slice of the music pie.
It's also perhaps indicative of how music distribution is changing music preferences:
Indie Labels now account for upwards of 30 percent of total music sales, up from the low 20's just a few years ago. This is a profound shift in the powerbase that favors the independent artist and innovator.… Read more
For years the music industry has fought the idea that music should be free. Today, it has decided to play along.
In a sign that the music labels are finally desperate enough to experiment with new models of distribution and monetization, more and more bands and their labels are following in the footsteps of Radiohead to discover that "free" can pay.
Now a host of new services, with the backing of major labels, are promising to revolutionise how music is distributed by offering millions of tracks, from much-hyped wannabes to established acts such as U2, for nothing.
Competing for attention at the Midem trade show, the services promise a global jukebox, paying for the free music by attracting advertising. Meanwhile, some acts are queueing up to swap their deals with labels for agreements with big advertisers which would further blur the line between bands and brands.… Read more
The New York Times is reporting that HBO is launching its own online distribution service for a portion of its content both past and present. Starting this week, lucky residents of Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be the first to get dibs on the new software application that can be set up to download and stack episodes old and new that can be watched on their PCs. Cable provider Time Warner (the same folks working on the lovely bandwidth metering down in Texas) is sending out the application on an CD to current HBO subscribers "soon."
Already … Read more