Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Piracy Documentary

ON PIRACY: On Piracy, Radio & Walmarts is a new documentary film by 20 year old University of Ottawa student Julien McArdle. The film is nearly 2 hours long and discusses music and movie piracy. Other topics include DRM, TPM's, the DMCA, why people pirate, what everyone thinks of it, etc. Deviating from the standard media regurgitation of this controversial topic, several interviews were conducted with top Canadian industry execs, copyright lawyers, pirates, government officials, consumers and artists. The film is currently available in pre-release form via streaming, bit torrent or google video. McArdle released the film under a Creative Commons license and eventually hopes to get the film translated into several other languages too...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

77% of U.S. Adults Go Online

The number of U.S. adults who go online at home, in the office, at school or elsewhere has grown 5% in the past year to an estimated 172 million, or 77% of all adults, according to the latest Harris Poll. The percentage of adults online has risen from 66% in 2002, 57% in 2000 and 9% in 1995, when Harris began tracking Internet use. The proportion of adults who have Internet access at home has risen to 70%, up from 66% in 2005 ad 55% in 2002, while the percentage of those who have Internet access at work remained flat, at 35% year over year, compared with 30% in 2002. The poll also found that as Internet penetration rises, the demographic profile of Internet users is coming more in line with that of the nation as a whole. Data showed that 14% of online adults earn less than $25,000 (compared with 19% of all adults), and 39% of online adults (compared with 47% overall) did not go to college.

Internet Video Consumption Up Heavily: comScore

The number of Internet users watching video online grew an impressive 18 percent between October 2005 and March 2006. That's according to comScore's first ever analysis of U.S. Web users' online video viewing habits, drawn from its new Video Metrix service.In March, U.S. Internet users initiated a total of 3.7 billion video content streams; and they watched an average 100 minutes of video content each during the month, compared with 85 minutes back in October.Men initiated 52 percent of those streams, women 48 percent; splitting genders along roughly equal lines. But men spent far more time with the content, averaging two hours of viewing time during the month, compared with women's hour-and-twenty. Not surprisingly, males 18 to 34 were most engrossed with online video, averaging 140 minutes of video consumption.

Software Piracy Costs $34 Billion

Software piracy resulted in a loss of $34 billion worldwide in 2005, a $1.6 billion increase over 2004, according to a study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The study, conducted by information-technology research firm IDC, found that roughly one out of every three copies of personal computing software installed in 2005 was pirated. While the rate of piracy has fluctuated from country to country, globally it has remained steady since 2004.

Online Game Download Market Growing

U.S. spending on video games for personal computers hit $1.4 billion in 2005, according to an estimate released yesterday by market research firm NPD Group. Online subscriptions to PC games and gaming Web sites accounted for about $344 million of those annual sales. Major U.S. game publishers such as EA and Activision expect downloads to grow into a substantial business, although that part of the industry is just starting out. NPD analyst Anita Frazier said "digital downloads appeared to have contributed about 3 percent of total PC market sales in 2005, which would amount to about $42 million."

Florida Music Festival 2006 Photos

Here's a LINK to some music panel photos from last week's Florida Music Festival. The 5 year old three day event continues to draw growing numbers of people from all over the world to discuss, perform and share new music. Highlights included Music Orchard's Richard Gottehrer's keynote as well as Transcontinental's Lou Pearlman's comments regarding bold new online music copy protection strategies currently being implemented in Europe...

Rhapsody Adds Verve Jazz Titles

The Verve Music Group has just announced an exclusive 3 month program with Rhapsody, the online music service from RealNetworks, to make a number of its classic, out-of-print recordings available to consumers as digital releases. For a short time, Rhapsody will be the only source for several Jazz favorites online.The Verve Music Group is thrilled to have Rhapsody embrace the delivery of out-of-print music to meet the consumer demand for it," says Ron Goldstein, President and CEO of The Verve Music Group. "Verve can now achieve the full potential of its amazing catalog by re-releasing these classic recordings in the digital space."The program launched yesterday with 28 titles, which are currently unavailable for purchase anywhere else online in America. Consumers will be able to stream, download, or purchase these classic recordings as well as transfer them to Windows Play-For-Sure compatible portable devices. (Sorry iPod owners!)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

RIAA Sues XM Satellite

Today, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit in New York federal court claiming that XM Satellite Radio's handheld receivers (such as the $400 Pioneer Inno and Samsung Helix which can store up to 50 hours of downloaded music) violates federal copyright laws by allowing users to save and label songs that are saved. In other words, the RIAA is suing XM over the satellite company's refusal to pay another set of license fees (in addition to blanket performance royalties) for storage of music on portable devices. The lawsuit seeks $150,000 in damages for every song copied by XM customers using the devices. The "Inno" receivers went on sale several weeks ago under the slogan, "Hear it, click it, save it." * Click HERE to read the 33 page PDF complaint *

Paid Downloads Losing Steam

Paid online downloads are possibly losing some momentum this quarter, following explosive fourth and first quarter performances. According to the latest numbers from Pali Research, overall, weekly paid download purchases from outlets like the iTunes Music Store are double levels from last year, though purchases have been sagging in the second quarter. Citing Nielsen Soundscan data, research analyst Richard Greenfield pointed to week-over-week declines. "In 2006, despite the aggregate year-to-date strength in digital tracks, weekly performance continues to decline, with every week during the second quarter below the year-to-date average," he said. * Click HERE to read the PDF Pali Research Summary *

Future of Music Policy Summit

The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has just announced dates for the 6th Annual Future of Music Policy Summit. Top names in music, technology, law, academia and policy will convene in Montreal, Canada from October 5-7, 2006 to discuss crucial issues facing musicians and the music industry. Presented in partnership with McGill University's Schulich School of Music and Pop Montreal, the Policy Summit will provide musicians, students, attorneys, advocates and policymakers with opportunity to examine the critical issues facing the international music community through a robust debate.

RSS: Subscribe HERE to the FMC Events blog...

Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution

Last month, Creative Commons and the Berkman Center Clinical Program in Cyberlaw released the Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution. The Guide provides a comprehensive summary of the complex body of copyright, trademark and publicity rights issues that face podcasters, as well as a helpful list of resources for podcasters, ranging from technical overviews to useful software to ways to find "podsafe" content that may be freely used. Equally important, the complexity revealed by the Guide illustrates the disconnect between current law and the technological upheaval represented by new digital media tools such as podcasting. A copy of the report is available HERE.

[INTERVIEW] Paul Hoffert on the Digital Media Exchange and More

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School is home to approximately thirty fellows, all of whom focus their time and energy on issues concerning the Internet, including Internet governance, privacy concerns, intellectual property rights, competition policy and antitrust issues, electronic commerce, the role of new media and journalism proper, and digital media, among many others.Paul Hoffert (from the band Lighthouse) is Chair of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Chair of the Guild of Canadian Film and Television Composers, faculty fellow at Harvard University, Fine Arts Professor at York University, and a Board Director of the Glenn Gould Foundation, and the SOCAN Foundation. HERE is an interesting link to a Q&A with Paul about his work with the Digital Media Exchange (DMX) project - a legal non-profit Peer-to-Peer on-line service."....DMX royalty payments are based on a formula that incorporates several royalty distribution schemes, such as number of downloads; number of plays (experiences); a novelty bonus for recently added works; number of copies made to fixed and removable media and devices; availability of works for derivations; and royalties linked directly to individual subscriber payments and consumption. The weighting of each of these terms will be adjusted from time to time by the DMX governing council..."

Net Neutrality Video

Here's a short 3 minute VIDEO produced by Public Knowledge which clearly explains the concept of "net neutrality". The topic has been somewhat confusing in the media as of late, but watching this excerpt reminds us of how simple but important this isssue really is. (Share it with your friends and co-workers!)

Florida Music Festival 2006

The 5th Annual Florida Music Festival is coming to downtown Orlando soon this week - May 18th-20th. Similar in scope to Austin's SXSW but without the chaos, FMF2006 promises 3 full days of incredible music being showcased by more than 250 bands performing in over 15 Venues = 20,000 Music Fans! Attend digital media panels by industry experts, rooftop VIP industry parties with more than 300 labels as well as network with major label representatives from Atlantic, Columbia, Island, RCA and attorneys from some of the largest firms in the country...

Friday, May 05, 2006

RAIN SUMMIT 2006: Pandora Presentation Video

Here's a nice overview of Pandora, given at the RAIN Summit last week in Vegas by CEO and Founder, Tim Westergren. The site also has several other cool on-demand streaming videos offered in windows media format...Average length is 10-20 minutes with an impressive quick/smooth playback :-)

RAIN: "CARP"(Royalties) Update
RAIN: How Internet Radio Can Help the Music Industry
RAIN: The Future/The Big Picture
RAIN: Interview with David Goldberg

Monday, May 01, 2006

Napster Goes Web-based!

In a surprise twist of events, I learned over the weekend (from Rafat and David's post) that Napster has tweaked it's consumer offering to evolve into a web-based music service which now operates using any web browser instead of a clunky client download. One major benefit of this approach is that they instantly gain more market share by simultaneously hitting the Mac and Linux camps... A little late to the party since AOL's Music Now and Real's Rhapsody are already doing this - but I predict that Apple will follow this road eventually too...What does this all mean? Well, in a nutshell, the new Napster is now offering FREE listens to any of its 2 million songs - the catch as a non-paying "member" is that you're limited to only 5 listens of any particular song and the streaming tracks are lo-fidelity and highly compressed (they sound like mono too!) Banking on the fact that most people like to try-before-they-buy, Napster is betting on acquiring more subscription customers who will get addicted to the ease of use and vast selection and then eventually spring for the monthly fee. This was a smart move and shows that the management team is paying attention and not afraid of change!

Now if the technology is already there to track usage per song by each "member" - one would think that eventually some of these streaming royalties being paid to the PRO's (i.e., ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) would eventually find their way to the individual artists whose music is being played!?