Archive for September, 2008

MySpace Music – Wow???

September 27, 2008

The launch of MySpace Music was “the big thing” everywhere last week. Lots of posts and comments… read some thoughts by Mark Mulligan and  his colleague David Card, or a good review by Coolfer.  Some basic info by Hypebot here and here.

MySpace Music is “US only” at the moment, I tested the service just for a few minutes with the help of a “fake” proxy … so no comments from yet.

But obviously the service is not a breakthrough… I didn`t find any “wows” in the reviews. Maybe MySpace can improve the service over time… if they would be able to renegotiate the label deal. We`ll see…

UPDATE: Two more reviews by GigOm and Mashable. The tone gets more severe… there is obviously some disappointment…

Radiohead Shows the Potential of User Participation

September 27, 2008

There was always a lot of speculation about the success of the Radiohead strategy around their In Rainbows album. Well…

Today I received this newsletter email:

To coincide with asking radio stations to think about playing Reckoner we are breaking up the tune into pieces for you to remix. After the insane response we got from the Nude remix stems and the site that was dedicated to your remixes…

Unique visitors: 6,193,776, Page Views: 29,090,134, Hits: 58,340,512, Bandwidth: 10.666 Terabytes, Number of mixes: 2,252, Number of votes: 461,090, Number of track listens: 1,745,304

…we thought it only fair to do the same with a tune that at least is in 4/4. You can get the stems (the different instruments/elements) from here

These numbers are insane… we are talking about a band website…  Not a big “YouTube whatever platform”.

We Think – Mass Production Utopia

September 25, 2008

I just saw the speech of Charles Leadbeater at the Picnic Conference in Amsterdam. I`ve seen him speak before, so his speech  was not really “groundbreaking”, nothing new for me…  , but cause he mentioned it today, I watched his promotion video for his book again (see above, 4min). For all of you who haven`t seen it yet, give it a try.

When you watch the video,  your first “reflex” might be… ok…thanks… I heard this before… boring… (besides the really nice illustration and presentation), this sounds like utopia et cetera … or whatever else you might have thought… and I thought so too, but after a while I started thinking, ok, actually he is right. This is a fact. It`s not mainstream yet, well my mother doesn`t even know what Wikipedia is, but it`s a fact. It`s happening and there should be huge potential for the media industry. There must be more than just a “pop idol” telephone vote, or a user generated advertising spot that is shown during the super bowl break, or a nonsense dancing video that is clicked 100 million times, or a social network…
I think there is still much more… and the media industry is not using it yet.

Sorry for sounding like a utopian… Just a thought…

Music Access as Product Bundle

September 24, 2008

Sony Ericsson announced today more details to their new unlimited mobile music service. PlayNow Plus will launch in Sweden by the end of the year and will be available globally next year. Reuters reports, the service will cost 99 Swedish crowns (US $15.24) a month. Subscribers can download an unlimited number of tracks to the handset or to a PC. The handset will sync with the PC using broadband and 3G/HSDPA connectivity.

So here we go. After Nokia, Sony Ericsson is now the second big player in the game. We are just waiting on the iPod subscription bundle and then the transition is officially started. We are on the way to the “music age of access”.

Subscription services didn`t get a huge success on their own yet (like Rhapsody and Napster). But maybe they can find success with a device bundle. Of course there is the second big business model “Free”  with ad supported versions like Last.Fm or MySpace Music and there will always be the illegal “darknet” p2p version of music download, but getting your adored “high end” device subsidized is a big lure for many people to make a subscription contract. I´m sure there will be some devices exclusive with the subscription bundle comparable to the iPhone & mobile provider deals at the moment. If you`ve signed a contract and the music service is great, you wouldn`t want to loose it, because it`s “so convenient”. And most important, the service will “feel like it`s free” after a while.  At the moment, the price per month is still a little bit high, but when the price falls to 5 or 7 Dollars per month, many people really won´t care about this addition to their monthly mobile/internet bill.
And at this point there always comes the obligatory question: Do you know how much money you spend for water usage at home every month? Did you ever care about water costs standing under the shower?

Intel Brings Internet To Television

September 19, 2008

The next step on the mission – “the third screen goes internet”…
A few weeks ago Intel announced in cooperation with Yahoo! a new kind of interactive television. They call it “widget channel” or “cinematic Internet”.  This “connected television” attemps to combine the Internet’s world of user choice, community, and personalization with the familiar television experience. Customized TV widgets try to seamlessly integrate TV and interface experience. No complexity, no keyboard or mouse. Just lean back and stay connected. It´s based on an open platform and Intel & Yahoo say they embrace an open media standard.

Well actually there has always been some guys somewhere, who talked about  “interactive television”, but not one of these models has achieved what it should have achieved. So we should be careful…

But what I could read and see on the net (here, here and here) looks promising.

Watch the video by JD Lascia below.
Eric B. Kim, senior vice president at Intel Corp., is demos the new Widget Channel. He thinks their new application has the potential to merge television and the Internet in a way users will love. They try to combine the  most important television values – ease of use, reliability, high fidelity (professional quality), entertainment – with the internet values – personalization, community, relevance, openness.

Would love to test it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It doesn`t look or sound so bad…but it still feels a bit “stuck in the middle”. It feels like TV with an additional digital interface…

I don´t know… but what this new generation of mobile phones has made possible (starting with the iPhone) that I’m able to use (or feel as though I´m using) the same userinterface, on my PC screen than on my mobile screen, is very very valueable.
People don´t like all these browser versions on TV screen… but shouldn`t be there a way that I can surf a website on my television screen and I would have the “feeling” that it is the same as the version on my PC or mobile phone?  To evoke the feeling that I had been there before and simply use the interface  without a mouse, just with a remote?

Three screens but just one user interface …. would be great…

Joost Goes Browser

September 18, 2008

Today Joost released a browser version of it`s p2p service (just a plug-in download is needed). Next month, according to CEO Mike Volpi to TechChrunch, Joost will offer a version of the service that doesn’t require any download at all.

In addition to the browser version, they created a video based social network complete with Facebook-style activity streams that show your friends what content you are watching and gives you the chance of commenting or “shouting” about the program (Watch the Demo Video of TechCrunch below.).

TV is and always has been a “social experience” and so I think there is big potential in these features. Imagine watching a soccer game with all your mates… even when you are in a hotel on the other side of the world…

So Joost goes a little bit in the direction of what Last.Fm does for music….  integrating “social” components… there is only a good recommendation system missing … maybe coming soon … and of course, the biggest problem of all,  the “big blockbuster” content is missing. Last.Fm made it cause they lived in the “grey” area of copyright usage… Joost is in the green area… and there is no chance to compete… it’s too expensive to finance great video content with full copyrights … we will see…

But anyway, I think this model is a very interesting perspective for the television industry…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Students Don`t Care About Piracy

September 18, 2008

Well it`s no surprise.
According to a study by Darryl Woolley, assistant professor at the University of Idaho, piracy may not be perceived as  “immoral behavior” for students. Woolley has been analyzing piracy among university students for several years. Despite the greater awareness of copyright law, students have become less accepting of piracy. It appears that education about copyright law does not influence students’ attitudes toward piracy.

“Music piracy – especially among college students – is viewed as socially acceptable,” said Woolley. “What one’s friends think about illegal downloading influences one’s thoughts and behaviors. Unfortunately, professors or authority figures do not have the same kind of influence.”

According to Woolley, students aren’t even ashamed to admit illegally downloading music off the Internet. More than 95 percent of respondents in his research freely admitted to illegally downloading music, and some 63 percent admitted to copying a CD. Students indicated that they expect the trend to continue after they graduate and move into the workplace.

Found via Coolfer.

DRM Free – Finally

September 16, 2008


Music provider 7Digital announced today that 100% of it’s 4 million strong catalogue is DRM free MP3 format. After years of talking about DRM issues, now one after another big player gets it… and we are finally there.

Apple is still “waiting” … Mark Mulligan has good comment on that:

“Often what happens when a single company dominates a marketplace it eventually falls foul of complacency and finds itself under multi-directional attack from niche innovators. Apple’s dominance of digital music is comparable to that of Google’s footprint: it continues to augment its dominance through innovation and weak competitive threat. Most other digital music providers have settled for me-too WMA stores. 7Digital hasn’t. The irony of all this though, is that DRM-free shouldn’t even be an issue anymore.”

Now I`m looking forward to the “MySpace Music” start… will it achieve all the expectations? We will see at the end of the week…

Pricing Models For The Digital Age

September 15, 2008

I already quoted Chris Anderson yesterday and must once again. He brought to my attention this great paper by Prof. Hal Varian (for all of you who have had not the honor to study a few semesters of economics… he is “god” … well my professors told me so… by the way Mr. Varian is the “chief economist” at Google at the moment…)

In this paper, Varian describes 14 business models that allow content creators to make money even if they cannot stop the content from being distributed for free.

  • Make original cheaper than copy.
  • Make copy more expensive than original.
  • Sell physical complements.
  • Sell information complements.
  • Subscriptions.
  • Sell personalized version.
  • Advertise yourself.
  • Advertise other things.
  • Monitoring. (ASCAP monitors the playing of music in public places, collects a flat fee, which it then divvies up among its members.)
  • Site licenses.
  • Media tax.
  • Ransom. (Allow potential readers to bid for content. If the sum of the bids is sufficiently high, the information content is provided.)
  • Pure public provision.
  • Prizes, awards and commissions.

Some of these models are better than others… some only work for a very specific kind of content, but they are all options.

People Love Their DVR

September 15, 2008

Just found this survey via DMW of 1,000 DVR owners in the U.S., U.K., Italy and Australia conducted by NDS.

The survey shows how many people like non linear content usage. More than 70% of DVR owners say they cannot live without it. Owners ranked the DVR as the second-most essential household technology item, behind the mobile phone.

I don´t know how good the quality of the study is, but anyway… Non-linear content usage will be the biggest driver for people to change to web TV as soon as technology is ready. HD or quality is not as important than this chance to finally personalize your TV watching.

It´s sad that non-linear content usage is still not mainstream. People sitting in front of TV and complaining about the programme… they don´t have to…