Thursday, April 27, 2006

What Is The PERFORM Act?

Even though it's only a draft bill, the answer to that question depends on which side of the fence you sit on with respect to music licensing reformation :-)

Below are my favorite quotes fom copyright/technology attorney Bob Schwartz cross posted from Public Knowledge's Gigi Sohn.

  • "It is simply wrong for the government to freeze innovation by banning new technologies and features that are desired by consumers."
  • "The RIAA is already being well compensated by the satellite radio industry. XM and Sirius already pay the record labels tens of millions of dollars in performance royalties. In addition, under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 ("AHRA") satellite radio pays the record labels up to $8 for every digital radio recorder sold. RIAA's demand to be paid a third time reflects either greed or their simple desire to shut down a new technology."
  • "It bans the sort of private, noncommercial time-shifting that Americans have engaged in for decades."
  • "This bill is nothing more than the recording industry using Congress to gain leverage in private negotiations."
  • "The PERFORM ACT harms American consumers, the technology industry, and private, noncommercial recording rights."

Read the whole 8 pages HERE...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

RealNetworks Granted Another Streaming Media Patent

RealNetworks announced yesterday that it has received a fundamental patent for streaming media technology and applications. The "Click-to-Stream"patent covers innovations going back to November 30, 1994, more than four months before Real introduced RealAudio. It also covers the core methods used when consumers select links to stream audio-visual media via webbrowsers and other media players.

Click-to-Stream joins a portfolio of over 35 patents related to the world of Internet media delivery. Real has more than 100 additional patent applications pending relating to digital media technology and services and continues to lead the paid content market - with more than 2.25 million paying subscribers for premium services as of the end of 2005.

"The "Click-to-Stream" patent covers the core methods used when an end user selects a digital media asset (audio and accompanying video or other metadata) to be played, causing digital packets of the selected digital media to be transmitted over an Internet Protocol network and received by the end user's playback device when playback begins prior to delivery of the entire digital media asset to the consumer's device. The patent applies whether the digital media is played back on a personal computer, mobilephone, or other hardware device. The patented "Click-to-Stream" method is most commonly initiated when an end user accesses media links from web browser pages, embedded multimedia advertising, and links managed by network- enabled software media players."Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks stated "This fundamental new patent recognizes our breakthrough innovation, and provides Real with an exciting opportunity to expand the Helix Community's role as the centerpiece of the digital media marketplace."

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Digital Radio

Mark Lam, Chairman and CEO of Live365, will testify tomorrow at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on digital radio entitled "Parity,Platforms and Protection: The Future of the Music Industry in the Digital Radio Revolution ". According to DiMA's website, Lam will discuss the challenges facing Internet radio and will urge the Committee to help create a level competitive playing field for broadcast, cable, satellite and Internet radio by:

- Legislating royalty and programming parity among all digital radio services

- Protecting recording artists and copyright owners from radio services that promote and profit from consumer recording of their programming

- Resolving the longstanding dispute over the meaning of "interactive service" so that consumers, online radio services and recording artists can maximize the benefits of blending Internet technology and radio programming.

It seems that Lam and others are hoping to amend the Copyright Act so that it no longer favors broadcast, cable and satellite radio...Perhaps it's time terrestrial broadcast radio pays their way like everyone else? Maybe then we'd get a quicker resolution :-)

Internet Sound Recording Royalties

Here are a few links to some illuminating documents from the Digital Media Association's website (DiMA). Taking the time to read these cleared up a lot of questions I've been having recently regarding the current rate structure for Sound Recording Royalties and how artists are getting paid for the online broadcasts and performances of their music...

Monday, April 17, 2006

CD Baby Partners with Worldwide One-Stop SUPER D

This exciting announcement was released last Friday but is still under the radar (thanks Coolfer!) Continuing the tradition of enabling and emancipating indie artists, Derek and crew are raising the bar for independent music distribution by making their entire CD catalogue available to retailers on a global scale. According to the press release, the exclusive distribution agreement includes CD Baby's 160,000 titles, comprised of 128,000 artists, which will now be available to augment Super D's current in stock selection of 216,000 titles - representing product from 24 countries. The major benefit of using a one-stop is simplified purchasing via a single source. I'm personally glad to see that another antiquated and time-honored barrier to entry (ACCESS) has been removed for the independent sector - which will hopefully lead to improved consumer selection, increased physical sales and revived distribution of quality music...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hollywood Is Getting It!

I was pleasantly surprised to read today in a Strategy Analytics email that the produers of the recent King Kong remake decided to release the movie simultaneoulsy on DVD and for Download - even if only in the UK. "Although independent and back-catalogue movies have been available via download before, Kong marks the first time that a Hollywood studio (Universal Pictures International) has allowed a major hit title to be released simultaneously on both DVD and through the online channel." Very smart and only a small glimpse of things to come...I think that the content cannibilization argument will be seriously tested in the coming months and the eventual results will show that more sales actually result in this type of dual-distribution-approach...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

RivBea Orchestra Relases New CD - AURORA

A few years ago in the mid nineties, I had the esteemed honor and pleasure to be a regular member of the Rivbea Jazz Orchestra, directed by Sam Rivers. This ensemble is a unique 17 piece band that plays avant garde jazz written exclusively by by the legendary saxophonist and composer Sam Rivers. The music from his latest Aurora CD (which I happen to play trumpet on) was recorded and mixed at FullSail's Studio B and was officially released last week. The CD is not for everyone, but is truly world class in its infectious grooves and daring improvisations. Since Sam's last CD was nominated for a Grammy - I've got my fingers crossed :-)
(I will post later to tell you where it's commercially available, since it's officially an "indie" release and has no major distribution...Hopefully, Rhapsody, CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon will add it. )

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Music Business & Technology Lecture

Today I gave a presentation to Rollins College Music Business students and set a new talking record within my allotted 70 minutes. It was refreshing to see the student body so familiar with the confluence of digital media on the web. We covered a lot of ground, so I'm posting this Powerpoint for the students to review. (It is 8 MB's......Enjoy !)