Monday, December 31, 2007

The RIAA Hits Below The Belt

Trouble is brewing this holiday season for all you CD rippers out there…“the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer…The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation.”  What kind of democracy are we living in if we’re legally forced to buy additional digital copies just to be portable?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

TV Watchers Also Watch Content on Alternative Devices...

“According to the recent release of The ChoiceStream 2007 Survey of Viewer Trends in TV and Online Video, 55% of connected consumers who watch TV watch some type of video on devices other than their TV sets, including their computers, mobile phones and digital media players (e.g., iPod). Not surprisingly, video-watching on these alternative devices is more popular among younger consumers (66%) than older ones (36%).”


New Open Source Internet Radio Recorder - RAIMARADIO

“Luckily, the open source community has been hard at work and what Screamer Radio leaves out, RaimaRadio is now bringing to the table. Raima Radio is a powerful freeware program that fuses features like wishlists, program scheduling, and video support with the traditional features of most stream ripping software. This combination turns a tremendous amount of power over to the consumer and will certainly have the RIAA taking extra heartburn medication (when they find out about it). If they didn’t like XM’s limited subscriber base having the ability to record satellite radio, then they’re going to hate this program… Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection now has the ability to time shift radio to an MP3 player.”  - Davis Freeberg


Friday, December 21, 2007

New DRM White Paper

Thanks to DRM Watch, I just found out about a new White Paper - DRM-protected Music Interoperability and eInnovation. According to Bill Rosenblatt, “This white paper, written by Urs Gasser of the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) Research Center for Information Law and John Palfrey of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, is a watershed in serious multidisciplinary scholarship on DRM. It draws on research in economics, public policy, law, and security technology to examine approaches to and motivations for (and against) DRM interoperability.”

(I haven’t actually read it yet, but perhaps I can get to it on the plane ride to CES…..)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

iPod touch is more than an iPhone without a phone

Here’s a great LINK to Apple’s Bill of materials (BOM) and direct conversion cost estimate for the Apple iPod touch (US$)


On the outside, Apple's iPod touch looks a lot like its iPhone. On the inside, there's a strong resemblance too, but a dissection conducted by iSuppli's Teardown Analysis service reveals the touch sports a distinct design and unique advancements compared to the iPhone….”


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Optical Zoom to become Standard Feature

Digitimes is reporting that Camera modules with an optical zoom will become a “standard feature” for handsets with a built-in 5-megapixel camera…





Monday, December 17, 2007

New Association of Downloadable Media Brings Standards to 'Podvertising'

HERE’s a good article about the newly formed ADM…“There is a misconception that one needs an MP3 player to tap into podcasts, and the explosion of the mobile industry can only benefit podcasting. ADM co-founder Chris MacDonald, EVP of Business Development and Operations at LibSyn reasons: "Podcasting and other downloadable media delivery mechanisms are uniquely positioned to exploit this growing area. We believe that while there is still a lot of desktop consumption occurring now and in the future, the new developments in rich media devices in the pocket present extremely exciting monetization opportunities. The trick will be to address the various needs of consumers, producers, advertisers and vested industries to come up with a reliable, consistent and replicable model from a business standpoint."

Piracy as a leading indicator of sales

I've been saying this for years, but here's another angle: "The hope is that distribution of content this way will lead to new viewers who wouldn't have been reached through traditional marketing means."



Friday, December 14, 2007

Microsoft Re-Brands PlaysForSure

Another silly idea from Seattle’s behemoth…”The licensing change to ‘Certified for Windows Vista’ is Microsoft's attempt to beat market leader Apple using a similar combination strategy of branding and DRM technology.”  When will the music/technology/media industries realize what consumers really want and then work towards that instead of the complete opposite direction?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

LinkedIn Adds New Twist...

Here’s a great blog post by Anne over at Gigaom…..“The new partner relationship with BusinessWeek shows how LinkedIn might reach out to succeed. When you’re viewing a Business Week article with the new LinkedIn feature, you can hover over a company name and find out how you’re connected to the company via your professional contacts…This flips news personalization on its head. Usually, personalized news means a service recommends articles to you. In this version, articles you’re already reading are personalized by virtue of their association with your professional network.”


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nokia Launches Streaming Video Service

Nokia is certainly building up some mobile momentum...the more devices the merrier!


Expanding further into Mobile Media, Nokia has launched Medeo, a streaming video service focused on entertainment and lifestyle content. Created in partnership with mobile services firm Starcut, Medeo is accessible through the portal features celebrity news and interviews, movie trailers, and music and fashion-related videos. The new ad-supported video service is available on all Nokia E- and N-series phones. Earlier this month, Nokia launched Comes With Music, a new program letting consumers purchase a year of unlimited music downloads through handsets bundled with its Ovi Web services platform.”


Free Copies of Divx Pro!

The Divx team is again giving away their Divx 6 Pro software for free in a DivX Pro holiday download. All you need to do is download the Divx 6 Pro version and enter your email address to receive the serial number which will unlock the Pro features of the Divx software.  Divx 6 Pro retails for roughly $20 so make sure you grab your copy before the offer expires. Divx 6 Pro can be downloaded for Windows and Macs

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

3ivx MP4 Codec Hacked

Here’s a LINK to a recent article about a new bug related to 3ivx and MP4’s..“Attack code has already been released for the bug, which has been confirmed in a codec used by older versions of Windows Media Player, made by Microsoft, and in AOL's Winamp. A Symantec researcher has warned that users of other players may also be at risk because the vulnerability itself resides in a commonly used MP4 codec produced by a company called 3ivx Technologies.”

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The MPAA Infringes Copyright!

Thanks to cyber buddy David Touve, I recently found out that the MPAA has recently released a software toolkit designed to help universities detect instances of potentially illegal file-sharing on school networks.  The only problem though is that many of the components in the Ubuntu Linux distribution, including the Linux kernel, are distributed under the General Public License (GPL)….I’m glad to see DMCA takedown notices being used for what they were originally designed for J.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wi-Fi industry to ship 300 million chipsets in 2007

“Wi-Fi chipset sales are poised to reach 300 million units this year, according to new data released by the Wi-Fi Alliance and In-Stat. Driven by ongoing strength in the PC networking market and new growth in consumer electronics and handsets, this milestone represents a 41% growth from 2006, in which 213 million chipsets were shipped.”

Universal Tightens the Preview Belt on MySpace

According to Digital Music News and Wired, every recording artist currently signed to Universal has to reduce their full song previews on embedded sites like MySpace down from full length to ~1:30.  Another bad move in a series of blunders…Obviously, this will immediately affect everyone who is using a Universal artist for his/her profile.  Also, how is this going to make me want to purchase more music again…..?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Dynamics of Web-Based Social Networks

Interesting research from Jennifer Golbeck…


“Social networks on the Web are growing dramatically in size and number. The huge popularity of sites like MySpace, Facebook, and others has drawn in hundreds of millions of users, and the attention of scientists and the media. The public accessibility of Web–based social networks offers great promise for researchers interested in studying the behavior of users and how to integrate social information into applications. However, to do that effectively, it is necessary to understand how networks grow and change. Over a two–year period we have collected data on every social network we could identify, and we also gathered daily information on thirteen networks over a 47–day period. In this article, we present the first comprehensive survey of Web–based social networks, followed by an analysis of membership and relationship dynamics within them. From our analysis of these data, we present several conclusions on how users behave in social networks, and what network features correlate with that behavior.”


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Volvo Promotes Digital Radio

According to a statement made yesterday by iBiquity Digital, Volvo will be the first car company to offer HD Radio in nearly all its models in the U.S.  Factory-installed HD Radio will be available starting fall 2008 as standard or optional equipment on eight Volvo models…

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NY Times: Pay Me For My Content

Here’s a great article by Jaron Lanier from the NY Times.  Favorite quotes below…


“There's an almost religious belief in the Valley that charging for content is bad. The only business plan in sight is ever more advertising. One might ask what will be left to advertise once everyone is aggregated.”


“Affordable turns out to be much harder than free when it comes to information technology, but we are smart enough to figure it out. We owe it to ourselves and to our creative friends to acknowledge the negative results of our old idealism. We need to grow up.”

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rhapsody Launched New Player

Rhapsody America has recently announced the availability of its new Wi-Fi-enabled PMP called the Ibiza.  Haier America is the hardware manufacturer and supposedly it’s running Linux…However, the 30GB Ibiza is only available at Amazon, but 4GB and 8GB flash-based players are reportedly coming.  [The players will carry price points of $329, $229, and $249.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Web Video: Move Over, Amateurs

From where I’m sitting, the handwriting is written on the wall and the tide is starting to flow away from user generated content…here are a few good nuggets from Businessweek:


  • "What we found out is, we don't need the classical user-generated talent when we have the Hollywood talent that wants to work with us" says ManiaTV CEO Peter Hoskins


  • Over 57% of U.S. Internet users say they have watched or downloaded online videos, according to a July study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. But they're not flocking to home videos. According to the study, viewers are most interested in news videos, followed by comedy bits and television shows.


  • "A year ago, if you did a search for a professional video, you would be able to watch a clip or a bad pirated version," says Suranga Chandratillake, CEO of video search site Blinkx. "Now you are able to watch a real show."  Professional content grabs significantly more money. Chandratillake says advertisers will pay $60-plus per 1,000 views to incorporate their ads alongside professional video content. They'll pay around $7 to associate with user-generated videos, depending on the piece. And some brands have shunned user-generated video outright for fear of being unwittingly associated with videos that make their brands look bad.


  • "Advertisers are a bit more reluctant to trust the user-generated stuff.… They feel better aligned with the professional stuff, and that is driving a lot of these changes," says Burst CEO Jarvis Coffin.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sony BMG, Yahoo Ink Online Video Deal

Sony BMG Music Entertainment has inked a licensing deal with Yahoo that clears the way for people to upload files with music or video content by the record company's artists to Yahoo. [Surprisingly, Yahoo does not currently have any video-filtering technology in place, but the agreement marks the first time Yahoo has reached a deal with a major recording company over licensing content in user-created videos…]

Friday, November 16, 2007

DivX Bets Big on H.264, Buys MainConcept

This is pretty newsworthy for everyone out there actively licensing video codecs….


“With the deal, DivX is acknowledging that the open standard H.264 is becoming a codec of choice when it comes to high quality video — be it broadcast video, streaming Internet video, video on mobile phones, or on consumer devices like next-generation DVD players.”



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Internet Radio and Copyright Royalties: Reforming a Broken System

Here’s a great summary post on Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s website about Daniel Castro’s 13 page report.  While it was written last May, it is still VERY relevant…

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Google announces Android open platform for mobile devices

Press release, November 6; Eric Mah, DIGITIMES 

Google has announced Android, an open platform for mobile devices, in a posting on the company's website on November 5.

Google says that it developed Android in cooperation with the Open Handset Alliance, which consists of more than 30 technology and mobile leaders, including Motorola, Qualcomm, HTC and T-Mobile. The goal in creating Android is to enable an open ecosystem for the mobile world by creating a standard, open mobile software platform, stated Google.

The Android platform includes all of the software to run a mobile phone, including an operating system, user-interface and applications, according to the company.

Google says that Android will complement, but not replace, its longstanding mobile strategy of developing useful and compelling mobile services and driving adoption of these products through partnerships with handset manufacturers and mobile operators around the world.

Google plans to release a software developer kit (SDK) for the platform soon and said that partners should be releasing phones based on Android in 2008.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Music Rights Regime Needs Updating, Should Embrace New Technologies

Here’s a great post from the Center for Democracy and Technology:

(1) Music Rights Regime Needs Updating, Should Embrace New Technologies
(2) Shortcomings of Existing Music Licensing Law
(3) Controversy over Private Copying
(4) Key Principles for Reform Efforts

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sony Connect Closing = A Collection Re-Rip

I don't know about any of you, but it kind of irritates me that SONY is being so vague about how the continued use of previously "purchased" Connect files will not work on next-gen SONY devices after their online music store closes next March...To me, this consumer insensitivity is more than just a decision to abandon their proprietary DRM and jump into the drowning Plays-for Sure-camp...I think that the behemoth should come right out and clearly explain what's about to happen to all the DRM'd ATRAC files consumers have "purchased" up to this point...[THAT THEY WON'T WORK SOON] Instead, they just dance around the issue on the FAQ's with 'CAN' instead of
'SHOULD rip to CD'....

IMHO, I think that SONY should clearly let its Connect customers know that previously downloaded OpenMG content will not play with newer SONY players...(In other words, if music fans want to keep their past Connect
purchases relevant moving forward - they have to take off the DRM and burn
the collection to CD and then re-rip everything themselves...LAME !!)

Nice synergy there between the store and the consumer electronics division,
eh....? :-)

(Directly from the site: What can I do with ATRAC content that has DRM Digital Rights Management)?

"For your purchased music from CONNECT, you can burn it to audio CD and re-rip it into MP3 format to continue enjoying it for personal use."

Monday, October 29, 2007

MPAA 2006 Statistics

Here’s a LINK to the MPAA’s most recent MarketStats document.  While the data is from 2006, there’s some really good info in here…


Friday, October 26, 2007

Apple Definitely Not #1

Cellphone Vendor Share: Samsung and Nokia Lead the Way


According to Strategy Analytics, “285 million cellphones were shipped worldwide in Q3 2007, up 12% year-over-year. Demand was strong in emerging markets, particularly Asia and Africa. Nokia sold a record 112 million handsets; its 39% share is more than the next three brands combined. Samsung hung on to 2nd position, as 3G shipments surged. Motorola continued to stabilize, due partly to a ramp-up in Razr 2 volumes. Sony Ericsson lost slight momentum, while LG maintained its recent upward track. As predicted by Strategy Analytics, Apple quadrupled sales, reaching a 0.4% global share. Industry-wide, Strategy Analytics forecasts 330 million units globally for Q4 2007.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

IPSOS - The Face of the Web

New findings from Ipsos annual global study on digital media trends show that over half of all U.S. Social Networkers have used their mobile device to send/receive text messages (60%), email (59%), browse the Internet for news and info (59%), and send/receive digital images (54%).


Do Music Lovers Still Care About Fidelity?

(or is the battle for Quantity over Quality already won?)


I saw this article today in the New York Times and thought many of you would appreciate hearing about innovative technological solutions that deliver increased fidelity, instead of the current industry trend of distributing less sound quality to save a penny here and a nickel there...Also, I'm not one to make many predictions in such a frothy sea, but I'll go out on a limb and say that this category is about to explode!  


Sign me up :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Future of Radio

The Senate Commerce Committee has announced it will hold a full-committee hearing called "The Future of Radio," this Wednesday. No witnesses have yet been announced. According to the Committee web site, members "will assess the state of innovation and competition in the radio market."

Quote of the Day...

“This increasing market transparency can adversely impact the margins, market share and brand equity of consumer products companies,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and US consumer products group leader at Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.  “In the past, clever marketers and advertisers shaped brands, but now consumers are increasingly empowered, everyone has a voice, and information and opinions are instantly dispersed. Consumer product companies need to determine how best to capitalize on this new landscape. Clearly, there will be consequences for those who don’t.”

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ford's Next Generation Vehicle = FOCUS??

[Couple of choice nuggets]

"...Though based on the same platform as the current model, the new 2008 Focus features an array of improvements from the interior and powertrain to ride and handling. More importantly, it is the first vehicle to feature Sync -- a new voice-activated onboard computer connectivity system developed with Microsoft Corp. that will allow motorists to fully integrate their cell phones and iPods with their automobiles..."  

"...Mark Fields, president of Ford's Americas division, said Sync will be the first system in the country that connects the car to the Internet. It will allow drivers to control their cell phones and MP3 players with voice commands, read incoming e-mail and allow them to send and receive text messages, all without taking their hands off the wheel..."

Also, from Mark Ramsey's blog....(make sure to watch the 5 minute video too...The voice recognition and the TTS looks pretty decent!)

"Ford has announced that its new 2008 Focus will be the first small and relatively inexpensive car aimed at younger buyers to feature their Sync Audio Technology that essentially puts the Internet and complete audio control in your car. It will be an option on the Focus (it's actually standard in Ford's more expensive lines), and it will run about $400 (or, in other words, about a hundred dollars more than a pre-installed HD or Satellite Radio)."

OK, this is getting pretty cool for accessing internet radio in the car with the built-in USB connection/battery charger......and hopefully it will save some accidents and lives....but what I really want to know is who's Sync's main competition?

Who's Watching Sports Online?

According to recent information from the Center for Media Research, I was kind of surprised to see Yahoo ahead of ESPN in the Top 10 Online Sports Destinations (although Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance reporting data reflects advertising activity served on pages accessible via the World Wide Web and not within AOL's proprietary service)


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Best Buy Jettisons Analog TVs

Home Media Magazine:  “Best Buy has pulled all remaining analog TVs off its shelves and will sell only digital TVs from now on. The move comes in anticipation of the Feb. 17, 2009, nationwide switchover from analog to digital for all TV content providers.”

Interesting Research...THE BEDROOM PROJECT

“Arbitron and Jacobs Media conducted groundbreaking research to observe young Americans interacting with technology and media in their natural habitats—their homes, dorm rooms, cars and, yes, their bedrooms.”   In case you haven't seen the results of "The Bedroom Project," give these 15 minutes a listen, courtesy of hear 2.0…...




Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Audiovox to Buy AV Rights to RCA Brand From Thomson

Yesterday afternoon, French electronics maker Thomson SA announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its consumer electronics Audio-Video (AV) activities to Audiovox Corporation  as part of the process of shifting its focus to providing services and technologies to the media and entertainment industries.

Here are the key points:

  • Completion of the sale is expected to take place on December 31, 2007.
  • Purchase price is $19.7 million, plus a net asset payment, plus a five- year fee related to the RCA brand in the consumer electronics audio video product field.
  • Proposed acquisition to add approximately $150 million in annual sales as well as the ability to generate royalty income and should positively impact fiscal 2009 results.
  • Company to acquire the rights to the RCA brand for consumer electronics audio video products.
  • Thomson also plans to close its European audio-video and accessories business, except for its German Skymaster unit, which is in talks with potential buyers.

NOTE: Thomson's AV business has 65 employees at its U.S. headquarters in Carmel, Ind., and about another 150 in Hong Kong, a Thomson spokesman said. Audiovox has "expressed interest" in hiring "some" employees, although how many will be involved is still being finalized, the Thomson spokesman said. Audiovox will likely choose the employees it hires based on "skill sets" and "the markets they want to serve," he said.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Location-Based Services Key Revenue Generator

According to the latest Telephia research, location-based services (LBS) such as navigation, represented 51 percent of the $118 million in revenue that downloadable mobile applications (such as LBS, weather applications, chat/community, and personal organization tools) generated during Q2 2007.  According to the report, many consumers may not realize the utility of a navigation application on their mobile phone until they use it.

While location-based services deliver highly personalized offerings such as friend-finding and other location-aware features, navigation represents the lion's share of revenue. The report on mobile applications also stated:

  • Approximately 13 million mobile consumers downloaded a mobile application on their phone.
  • Of the $118 million in revenue that these downloadable mobile applications generated during Q2 2007, LBS represented 51 percent.


Friday, October 12, 2007


New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that over one in every five households in the United States now have a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – up from about one in every thirteen households just two years ago. Fueled by a continued push from cable and DBS providers offering combination HD/DVR set-top boxes, the study says that the number of US households with DVRs will grow to over 60 million by the end of 2011.

Other key findings include:

  • The mean household income of DVR owners is 33% above average
  • 53% of DVR owners say that they have an HDTV set
  • 45% of DVR owners record five or fewer programs per week
  • While 84% of DVR owners rate the ability to skip commercials as very important, just 8% of DVR owners say it is the greatest benefit of having a DVR

Based on a survey of 1,300 households throughout the United States, LRG says the growth of DVRs does not mean that the era of live TV viewing has ended. They estimate that 95% of all TV viewing in the US is still of live TV.

Taking Stock With Teens' National Study

According to Digital Music News, Piper Jaffray & Co. recently announced the results of its 14th biannual proprietary research survey, "Taking Stock With Teens," a national study on teen spending habits and retail brand perceptions. After conducting mall research field trips in 10 cities across the United States and surveying approximately 980 students, the Piper Jaffray retail research team published key findings for teens' purchasing behaviors and preferences in the categories of: fashion, apparel brands and retailers, beauty and personal care, home furnishings, video games, digital entertainment and restaurants.


“When asked about buying habits of MP3 players and online music, 82 percent of the students who own an MP3 player indicated that they also own some form of an iPod, which is up from 79 percent in fall 2006. Purchasing online music is becoming more main stream as 64 percent of the students surveyed indicated they download music illegally, compared to 72 percent at this time last year. iTunes continues to dominate market share at 79 percent. In addition, after only three months of availability, 3 percent of the students own an Apple iPhone, and 9 percent expect to buy an iPhone in the next six months”.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday's Quote

“Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal, said the U.S. Justice Department should increase its antipiracy efforts and in comments before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Zucker cited data from conservative think tank, Institute for Policy Innovation, that said piracy of intellectual property, including movie DVDs and music CDs, has cost the U.S. economy $58 billion in lost output and more than 370,000 jobs.”

Does anyone else besides me want to know how they measured that….?

Very Dangerous Precedents Being Set In Favor of the Music Industry...

  1. “In proving liability, the industry did not have to demonstrate that
    the defendant's computer had a file-sharing program installed at the
    time that they inspected her hard drive.

  2. The RIAA did not have to show that the defendant was at the keyboard
    when RIAA investigators accessed the defendant’s shared folder.

  3. “Also, the judge in the case ruled that jurors may find copyright
    infringement liability against somebody solely for sharing files on
    the internet. The RIAA did not have to prove that others downloaded
    the files.”


Common Webcast Metrics

According to Ando Media’s website, “One of the primary benefits the internet provides is the ability to know how many people are listening to any given station. No longer do radio stations or advertisers need to rely on an estimate based on surveys or panel behavior.”  Wow!  I couldn’t agree moreNow if only the PRO’s of the music industry could follow their lead and pay musicians based on tangible quantifiable data J

  • TSL - time spent listening
  • ATL - average time spent listening
  • AQH - average quarter hour audience (The average number of persons who listened to a station for a minimum of five minutes within a reported daypart)
  • CUME - the number of different persons who listened to a station for a minimum of five minutes within a reported time period

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday's Quote of the Day...

“2008 will be the year of BOLD, CREATIVE, operational acumen. Companies will need to be run by smart content oriented people with ideas, vision, and B--LS!”

- Bill Figenshu, Regional President of Citadel Broadcasting, and Senior Vice President of Infinity Broadcasting

U.S. Copy-Protected CD Penetration Rate...?

Does anyone out there want to take a guess at how many copy-protected audio CD's have been cumulatively released in the U.S.?

I know there's a big difference between 'units shipped' and 'units sold', but I'm most interested [percentage terms] in the overall number of commercially available protected titles, rather than the actual number of CD's.  In other words, what's the actual marketshare?  Intuitively, I know it's pretty low and most likely shrinking, but I'm thinking it's probably somewhere between 1-3%?

Thanks in advance!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Interesting Article About Album Art

According to Warner Music Group (WMG) senior VP of strategy and product development George White, “…the music industry needs to agree upon technological and operational standards for how to provide this material across multiple services. It's not fair to expect iTunes or others to create different album art features and technology for each label.”



Monday, September 24, 2007

Kids & Teens Online:

Virtual Worlds Open New Universe


“For marketers trying to figure out how to reach kids and teens on social networking sites, there is a new game in town: virtual worlds.

eMarketer estimates that 24% of the 34.3 million child and teen Internet users in the US will use virtual worlds on at least a monthly basis in 2007.

By 2011, 53% of them will be going virtual.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Future of Music Coalition 2007 - PHOTOS

I just posted 25 personal photos to my flicker account HERE of the Pho dinner and the 7th Annual Future of Music Coalition's Policy Summit. A heartfelt "thank you" and another Congratulations go out again to all the Coalition members and sponsors for another extraordinary event. All of the hard work and preparation definitely shows...[And as Brian Z. mentioned, "it's not just the panels that makes it such a great gathering - it's the people you meet!"]  Similar to other worthy events, I also plan to summarize my notes of the best links, new catch-phrases and innovative concepts discussed, so if any of you are interested in receiving a copy, just ping me...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Future of Music Coalition - POLICY SUMMIT 2007

I'm currently on location at the Future of Music Coalition's 7th annual Policy Summit in Washington D.C.
IMHO, it's one of the best conferences in the country with some of the best minds in the industry simply "telling it like it is", but at the same time, it provides multiple opportunities to mingle with entrepreneurs from exciting new startups and make new friends. I will be uploading photos of the event to my flicker account HERE whenever I can find the time...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Get Your September Issue of Harry Fox Soundcheck

FYI - The September issue of the HFA Soundcheck is now available at:  It contains recent information about NMPA's Settlement of the Bertelsmann Class Action Suit and LyricFind licensing updates, etc…

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Quote for the Day...

From Radio Business Report:

…Speaking at a conference in the Netherlands, Consumer Electronics Association honcho Gary Shapiro said, "Broadcasters no longer enjoy a monopoly on content delivery. Ears and eyes once devoted exclusively to broadcasters are now being drawn in by new forms of content and new methods of delivery." But those able to anticipate where consumers are headed will do just fine, he said. Shapiro was speaking at the IBC2007 Conference, said to be Europe's largest annual gathering of broadcasters. "The winners over the next 40 years will be those who have the clearest vision," said Shapiro. "They are able to identify potentially disruptive new channels, recognize consumer trends and yet, go out to meet the challenge."  So broadcasters must have vision and must create "new services" for consumers, leveraging our universal presence in listeners' lives and extending radio beyond its traditional definition into a brand new one…

Shapiro's advice is the advice of all competitive strategists: To leverage our inherent advantage, not be limited to it.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Using Watermarking To Track Royalties (instead of statistical sampling)

Great article about watermarked pre-release CD’s...

Reading through it though, just made me want to challenge the industry even more on how to use watermarking to its fullest socio-economic potential - not for tracking individual uploaders of pre-released content - BUT FOR PAYING ROYALTIES ON ACTUAL USE!

Why can't we all collectively push for this non-intrusive technology to be put into all future media creation software as a plugin - that can then semi-permanently attach the original songwriters/musicians to their respective art ( i.e. a digital release signature) ? In the U.S., the The Register of Copyrights (or a similar type of official organization) could be designated to be the master database directory where this information gets stored and modified. Think of it as an additional requirement to filling out your SR and PA forms.....And eventually as the movement takes hold, this organization could fall ultimately under the UN's authority or a global PRO.

But for now, the same way that music subscription services (and internet radio broadcasters) are tracking playcounts based on metadata and server logs, this new form of major and indie "marked music" could automatically ping the PRO's [including SX] when it's played back on any internet connected device...

The desired result moving forward then, would be more accurate royalty payments for all of us long tailers :-)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Follow The Money!


Clearly, the Entertainment Industry pays a lot to play in the D.C. game……Listed below are some revealing lobbying totals for selected companies as compiled by the Center for Responsive
(CRP) for the reporting period Jan.1 through Aug. 14.



ASCAP ($431,250)

Belo Corp. ($315,000)

BMI ($620,000)

Clear Channel ($1.2 million)

Comcast ($3.9 million)

Cox ($2 million)
Walt Disney Co. ($2.2 million);

EchoStar ($350,000)

EMI ($190,000)
MPAA ($900,000)

National Association of Broadcasters ($4.28 million)
NBC Universal ($160,000, but General Electric's total is $11.9 million)
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. ($2.1 million);

News Corp. ($1 million);

RIAA ($658,747);

Sirius ($230,000);

Sony/BMG entertainment divisions ($925,000)

Time Warner entertainment divisions ($1.9 million)

Viacom ($775,000)

Univision ($160,000)

UMG ($350,000)

XM ($215,000)

Warner Music Group ($197,500)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Why Not Use Watermarking To FAIRLY Tag & Track Music?

Maybe many of you have already thought about this type of a technological solution to the dilemma of smaller and indie artists never showing up in ASCAP's or BMI's periodic samples for music performance royalties - but wouldn't it be ironic if the growing anti-piracy trend to dynamically filter uploads to YouTube and MySpace (and the recent proliferation of audio watermarking efforts from companies like Activated Content which are quickly becoming the new and improved DRM) became instead - the new standard to accurately and fairly track public performances? Forget bar codes, ISRC codes and acoustic fingerprinting for a minute....


The global music industry could feasibly migrate from piracy to promotion to payments...


Think about it...if suing customers is not the real savior of the floundering music industry that the RIAA hoped it would be...then perhaps a technology that's mostly associated with crackdowns on music and movie pirates could instead be used to help longtail artists actually get paid when their music is played...Sounds crazy, right....? Well, maybe not......


DISCLAIMER: I acknowledge that it would be incredibly cost prohibitive and resource intensive to re-encode the world's library of previously recorded music with watermarks and add additional metadata to all the content closely guarded in the label's vaults, so for simplicity's sake, let's assume that I could wave a magic wand through legislation [or magic] and declare that all new music released from Jan. 1, 2008, ----in the U.S. to start--- would have a unique and inaudible identifier embedded into the actual audio file. It would then be up to the owner of each individual file produced and subsequently released into the market to put his/her tracking information into the file and register with an overseeing entity if he/she wants to get paid for actual usage. Tiered royalty rates could then be paid out for different use cases like streaming, legal and p2p downloading and even analog transmissions, etc....All this with a 1-to-1 ratio with NO SAMPLING.


Hobbyists and professional musicians that use software like Digidesign, Apple, Logic, Cakewalk etc. could all easily access this type of technology as a plug-in and then the traditional studios and mastering houses could also make this a standard part of their "service." Within a year or two, all new music released in the U.S. would easily be identifiable when it was used on the radio, television, cellular networks and the internet - and then ALL artists (big and small) could get paid proportionately. WOW, what a concept!!!!!


Then Congress and major organizations like NARAS, AES, CEA and all the PRO's would quickly endorse it, because it's the law and it's so easy and it makes's completely fair........ :-)


OK, that's my pontification for the day. Anybody want to help me build such a system?


Enjoy your 3 day weekend!!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Deloitte & Touche's "State of the Media Democracy" Study

As you can see from the chart below, Search Engines and Recommendation were more much more effective than print ads at driving Web site visits. Think about that for a minute. And then think widgets. Syndication and Social Networking as new ways to reach your audience…

Another takeaway from the study was that print simply doesn't deliver the same bang for the buck as digital

Types of Advertising that Cause US Consumers to Visit Web Sites, by Age, February 23, 2007-March 6, 2007 (% of respondents in each group)


Friday, August 24, 2007

Deezer's New Online Music Jukebox

I just stumbled across yet another Web 2.0 music site called DEEZER (actually not new, it’s Blogmusik redone) and am enjoying my free test drive.  Strangely enough, Google hasn't indexed their website yet, but the URL is

According to the website, they claim to offer a  5-in-1 service:

1-LISTEN for FREE to your favorite tracks with no Limitations
2-CREATE your own Playlists
3-DISCOVER new artists with their exclusive SmartPlaylisting
4-UPLOAD all your songs in your unlimited personal storage space and participate to their growing song data base
5-BLOG & SHARE your favorite tracks with your friends

The concept is simple:
-Give consumers a full and free access to all their favorite songs
-Pay artists and their producers through a revenue share based on our advertising revenues
-Help discovering new artists through a wide audience

**  I haven't seen much chatter about this "legal" streaming service, but Universal seems to NOT be happy about it.

I'd love to hear some of your thoughts and feedback of your experience after the weekend!

Ofcom Research Report Gives Dim View of Mobile TV

UK communications industry regulator Ofcom has released new research, Ofcom’s fourth annual Communications Market report, which looks at how new technologies affect consumers' media consumption. According to the report, 38% of mobile users now use their MP3 player less - due to their mobile being able to play music, while 51% use a portable radio, tape or disc player less.  This trend will only continue to grow and the handwriting is on the wall, so mp3 player manufacturers need to wake up and smell the coffee…..


But, there's bad news for the mobile operators though when it comes to mobile TV: only 10% of UK consumers are aware they can get it, and only 2% actually do so. In addition, over 50% of adults think mobile TV is "not at all valuable" when prompted.


NJ teen unlocks iPhone from AT&T network
A 17-year-old hacker named George Hotz of Glen Rock, N.J has broken the lock that ties Apple's iPhone to AT&T's wireless network - freeing the most hyped cell phone ever for use on the networks of other carriers, including overseas ones.  I hope he doesn’t get into any trouble, but apparently there is no U.S. law against unlocking cell phones…

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

FLASH Grows Up & Adopts H.264 Video

Good news!  The free Adobe Flash Player was upgraded today and it includes support for the widely used industry standard H.264 codec as well as High Efficiency AAC audio support.



The True Cost of Sound Recording Piracy to the U.S. Economy

Executive Summary Text:

“Piracy” of recorded music costs the U.S. sound recording industries billions of dollars in lost revenue and profits. These losses, however, represent only a fraction of the impact of recorded music piracy on the U.S. economy as a whole. Combining the latest data on worldwide piracy of recorded music with multipliers from a well established U.S. government model, this study concludes that recorded music piracy costs American workers significant losses in jobs and earnings, and government’s substantial lost tax revenue.


 “There is little debate that U.S. sound recordings are “pirated” in vast numbers in the U.S. and in international markets. Piracy of these works harms the intellectual property owner, who loses the revenue that would have been gained had the legitimate recording been purchased. These “direct” losses, however, represent only part of the story. Piracy also causes significant and measurable harm to the “upstream” suppliers and “downstream” purchasers who also would have benefited from the sale of legitimate, copyright protected sound recordings. Indeed, the harms that flow from pirate activities produce a cascading effect throughout the economy as a whole. These harms include lost output, lost earnings, lost jobs and lost tax revenues.”


Friday, August 17, 2007

Download any MP3 from MySpace

If you’ve ever wanted to download a song from MySpace without stream ripping it, there’s now an easy solution for you called –


According to the website “ does not host any of the files, it just provides the link to download them.”  I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll wager that it will become a pretty popular hack, since most MySpace users aren’t going to whip out their wallet for a paid download via SnoCap and the fact that that it will take a while to shut it down since it’s based in Spain….

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Universal Music Snubs Apple - Releases DRM-free Music

There's been a lot of chatter lately about Universal's recent decision to offer DRM-Free tracks everywhere online, but I think the biggest flaw in this strategy (besides excluding iTunes) is that it's only an experiment and that it's only for some of the catalogue...The one smart move they did make was not to penalize the consumer for choosing a file that is interoperable...However, I still think the downloading business would grow much faster if mini-albums were bundled in 6 packs for a dollar...


Also, whatever happened to the old BMG business model, where you buy

12 physical albums for a penny and then over the course of a year you agree to buy 8 more at regular price?  I think the market is ready for this type of digital offer and Universal should incentivize their consumers to buy more legal music this way...For example, buy 10 downloads for a penny and then buy 5 more for $.99 cents.....?


Either approach is a win-win with more sales and satisfied customers......

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Microsoft Escapes Patent Infringement

According to the WSJ, it appears that Microsoft has won the appeal for the 1.5 billion in damages in a recent court case with Lucent- Alcatel.  The case involved mp3 royalties related to Windows Media Player and would have been a huge setback to others in the industry who have been paying Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the right to use the encoders/decoders.  I was pretty sure sanity would prevail in this case and I’m glad to see the ridiculous decision has been reversed.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Apple iTunes Songs for Free....?

Here’s an interesting new blog all about the evolving business model that gives you free music (i.e. advertising supported).  Apparently from recent filings and public statements, Apple is at least considering jumping into this frothy space…The author, Marc Cohen, does a great job of sharing links to recent research that help fill in the blanks between all the hype…I liked it so much , I just added it to my RSS reader.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Score 2-0 For the Little Guy

This story is a significant victory for the ‘little guy’ in the David vs. Goliath saga the music industry is enduring, when earlier this week Judge Lee R. West sharply spanked Capitol Records for falsely suing Oklahoma resident Deborah Foster for alleged copyright violation via unauthorized downloading.. This case is extremely monumental in the fact that it’s the first time ever an RIAA member has been forced to pay attorney’s fees!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Net Radio "compromise" Hinged on DRM Adoption

  • Here's a link to SoundExchange's press release:

...'The music industry is very worried about users recording Internet radio for the purposes of "disaggregating" music, and the message seems to be that if webcasters will scratch the industry's back, then a better deal is possible. Too bad it's a deal that could kill another potential avenue of fair use (recording radio), and limit users' ability to enjoy radio by limiting playback to clients that support DRM."

Same old story....gain an inch, lose a mile.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Myth #1 - Airplay Leads to More Record Sales

Professor Stan Liebowitz from the University of Texas in Dallas has released a new research paper entitled “Don’t Play it Again Sam: Radio Play,

Record Sales, and Property Rights.”  The 40 page document “undertakes an econometric investigation of the impact of radio play on sales of sound

recordings using a sample of American cities. The results indicate that radio play does not have the positive impact on record sales normally attributed to it and instead appears to have an economically important negative impact, implying that overall radio listening is more of a substitute for the purchase of sound recordings than it is a complement. This finding indicates that creating a set of property rights to allow this market to function properly is different than has been suggested by prior research. New technologies affecting radio broadcasts are likely to make this topic increasingly important in the coming years. This research also exposes a fallacy of composition in applying to an entire market a generally accepted positive relationship that holds for individual units.”