New digital formats: CMX and Soundparts

Posted by: admin on August 12, 2009 @ 2:25 pm
Filed under: Culture, Music Business News, Music Technology

Always interested in new formats around here.

CMX was just announced and it looks pretty cool to me, though I haven’t seen any details on sound quality and the like. Here’s what “a label insider” told the Times Online:

“[CMX] will be a file that you click on, it opens and it would have a totally brand-new look, with a launch page and all the different options. When you click on it you’re not just going to get the ten tracks, you’re going to get the artwork, the video and mobile products.”

Here’s hoping that the major labels will start signing bands that can fill up the CMX with 10 good tracks. If not, we’re back at square-one with no one buying albums because there are only 2 tunes they want.

And another new format came to my attention via WFMU’s blog.

Much in the same way itunes dismantled the notion that paying $16 for a cd with 2 good songs on it was a good idea, songparts goes a step further and argues that even $.99 is too much to pay for that one part of a song you really like. Instead why not fork over $.06 for the “Best line in Steely Dan’s ‘Kid Charlemagne’ looped for your convenience” or the “Gluten, gleebun, glauten, globen” intro from Def Leppard.

The majors recently bought a 17% stake in Spotify, the much loved (but Europe only) music subscription service and one can only hope they can get on board with these guys too…. I give the site about a week to live.

Songparts seems like something that won’t catch on, but I’ve been surprised before. I know I wouldn’t want to buy just a piece of a tune. Even if it is the ripping solo from Kid Charlemagne. Wonder how much they’d charge for just the turnaround?

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Music Business Roundup

Posted by: admin on June 4, 2009 @ 9:31 am
Filed under: Culture, Music Business News, Music Technology

As reported at Howard Mandel’s Jazz Beyond Jazz blog, Jazz Times is rumored to be folding.  HM: “…it’s laid off employees, notified writers of waits for May payments, not shipped its June issue to the printers and failed to sell itself to a new publisher.”

Love them or hate them — and their are plenty on each side — this magazine was one of the few outlets that excusively covered jazz.  If the rumors are true, this will be yet another lost outlet for jazz musicians and labels to get their message out to the masses.  Sad news if true.

In other news, the trial with Pirate Bay still goes on.  U2 manager Paul McGuinness gave an interview to CNET last week talking about the state of the business, how “free is the enemy of good,” and how ISP’s need to be pushed into regulating content to protect copyrights.  Whereas I don’t quite agree with the aforementioned quote, the “hippy values” McGuinness talks about are ones that are shaping how consumers of music think about the content they are consuming.

The ISPs as a group make the noises that they are required to make when it comes to what is politically necessary or when there is a scare, say for instance, something about security or pornography or pedophilia on the Internet. That is when you will see a rapid reaction from the ISPs to defend themselves against any kind of legislation or intervention or monitoring. I’m not sure it’s a sincere reaction very often because I think the ISPs, if you take them as a group, have for many years been much more interested in selling broadband subscriptions around the world than they have in doing what is right.

What I think is right for them and indeed the content makers, and that would include newspapers, book authors, movie makers, music makers, sports teams, the people who make the free content that ISPs are pumping through their pipes, deserve to be recompensed. Realistically the only way they are going to be recompensed is in partnership with ISPs, who after all, are collecting revenues from their subscribers.

And I think the tipping point is occurring round about now.  Perhaps broadband subscription sales are saturated in many territories and the ISPs are belatedly but realistically now turning to building revenue collection businesses with the content owners. I just hope it’s not too late.

More on that topic at a later time.  Feel free to agree of disagree with the “hippy values” of free music in the comments section.

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Three-Strikes Anti-Piracy Law

Posted by: admin on May 12, 2009 @ 1:40 pm
Filed under: Culture, Music Business News, Music Technology

Following file-sharing legislation gives me a headache. From TorrentFreak:

In an attempt to reduce piracy, the French have passed a new law requiring Internet service providers to cut off Internet access for repeat copyright infringers. Under the new ‘HADOPI’ legislation ISPs have to warn their customers twice that they are accused of infringing copyright. If both warnings are ignored, Internet access for that subscriber will be terminated for up to a year – and they’ll have to keep paying their ISP bill throughout this period too.

The law goes much further than disconnecting alleged file-sharers though. In addition it is now possible to take “any action” in order to put a halt to copyright infringement. For example, websites can be blocked without having to provide hard evidence that they are engaging in illegal activities. The Pirate Bay has already been mentioned as one of the sites that could be easily taken out under the new law.

First, everyone knows what a torrent is, right? OK, good.

It’s frustrating that the people making the laws really don’t know very much about the technology as Ernesto talks about in an earlier post. Restricting certain sites like Pirate Bay or Isohunt is not the answer. All the links that they post can be accessed through Google or any other search engine. New aggregater sites will pop up in a matter of months.

Something’s gotta give, though. It just seems like that something isn’t going to give until the legislators have any idea what is going on.

The internet is famed for being dynamic. When a file-sharing service gets canned by the government, users respond with a new way of getting around the legislation. But does that mean we should not do anything about people stealing music (and by stealing, I mean the people who use Torrents and file-sharing without ever purchasing music)?

Anyone interested in solving this mess, please send your proposals via our comments section.

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