Thursday, December 22, 2005
Forget the other services they talk about and go to the "preview" of AOL Music Now (www.aolmusicnow.com).
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The tide is beginning to turn....
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Perhaps more interesting is the mash-up I created between Music Now, Wists and Immedi.at, where you can subscribe to my album recommendations (see the sidebar to see what they are). Conceptually, every time I add an album recommendation, you would get an AIM with a link to the album within the Music Now catalog. To subscribe to this one, click here.
So far, the IMs seem to take there time getting to you, but I'm guessing the folks at Immedi.at are getting slammed right now with traffic.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
UPDATE: I've now got it working... click here to try it out.
Monday, November 07, 2005
The key advantage of a web-based solution is accessibility - not only from multiple computers and browsers, but increasingly from mobile devices. At first blush, the proposition is compelling: buy or listen to music from wherever you are, by simply entering a username and password. And for a player like AOL, a web-based approach is designed to integrate more smoothly into a larger music destination."
Sunday, November 06, 2005
But that time has given MusicNow ample opportunity to develop a strong user interface and the type of features menu that analysts say will be increasingly important to set music download sites apart, especially as the predicted shift from pay-per-download -- the current model offered by the dominant Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes -- to subscription services."
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Ah, now here's a logical arguement... I would contest the point, but I'm obviously not appopriately educated to the point where I could engage in a battle of wits with him (since my OS has a "Microsoft" emblazoned on it). What I love most about his "logic" is that the reason iTunes/iPod will win is due to it's unsurmountable market share position (80% marketshare). Bascially, if you're not the market leader then you shouldn't even try, yet he seems to be composing this arguement from his Mac.....
'It allows me to pick songs and express preferences and see playlists of people like me. It's pretty good,' he says. 'If it's about other people finding me based on my profile and contacting me over this Web site saying, 'Dude, you've got to check this out,' that's not happening.'"
Hey, I'll take it. It's not a rave review, but I'm not even sure if they checked out the new features that launched this week. But, I'll keep my eyes open and post more reviews here when I find them.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Phone: (xxx) xxx-xxxx
Music Profile: [PROFILE NAME]
1. Find your MusicNow profile ID # by going to "view my profile" and looking at the URL (following "id=")
2. Your personal "Top 10" feed is available by typing:
http://www.musicnow.com/rss/a/?ac=user_top&id=58868597 (but replace my id # with the one you got from above) By entering this URL into a browser, you will be taken to a simple text page of your Top 10.
3. Go to http://www.feedburner.com/ and create a free account.
4. "Burn a feed" by copying your new feed URL (as created above in Step 2).
5. "Activate" your feed by clicking the button at the bottom of the confirmation page
6. Click on the "Publicize" tab, then click on "Headline Animator" in the left-hand column of the page. Make sure your newly created feed has been used to create the animated graphic.
7. Click on "Activate".
8. Copy the HTML that is generated. It should look something like this:
9. Create a new HTML email signature.
The easiest way to do this is to open Notepad* and paste in the following HTML , making sure to replace the ID number in the "Music Profile" line so that it matches your ID. Also enter your own personal information for the rest of the signature field or simply edit them to what ever you want;
And then paste the HTML from Step 8 below the Music Profile line so it looks like this;
9a. For AOL you need to add some HTML tags before you paste in the HTML code snippet you created above.
- Then select all of the text you have just created, right click and select Copy to copy the HTML to your clipboard.
- Go to AOL Mail and click Write Mail (or just click Write).
- At the bottom right of the letter template it says Signatures.
- Click Signatures and then highlight and click Set Up Signatures.
- A window will open, click Create.
- In the upper field of the new window, type "Top 10" .
- In the lower field, paste in the signature HTML you created that is now in your clipboard.
- Then click OK.
- Click Default on/off to turn your signature on or off.
9b. For Outlook, the process is very similar:
- Open Outlook > Tools > Options > Mail Format > Signatures
- Create a New Signature by selecting "Start with a blank signature":
10 . Choose your signature preferences, alter the font, formatting, etc.
Done, and done!
* Notepad comes standard with all installations of Windows, you will find it in your Start menu under Accessories or just click on Run in your Start menu and type in notepad. Then click on OK and it will start up.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Just updated my blog to support this "official" API. Before it was kind of a hack....
Thursday, September 29, 2005
your pocket and your don't mind waiting for a full-blown XP machine to boot
up, then this may be kinda cool for you music and videos. No sync
required... just download via WiFi and enjoy.
Monday, September 26, 2005
running Windows Mobile (and thereby Window Media Player) means that these
will be "Plays for Sure" devices fully capable of syncing and listenting to
all your subscription music content. Note to carriers - this is the
beginning of the end for your walled garden approaches. Once there is an
open platform and open access to the network(s), there is no reason the
public will pay a premium for content to be delivered specifically to their
It's interesting to see what Apple's costs are, but the margin quoted above is misleading since the retailers have to get their piece of the pie too. It's been a while since I've dealt with product that was sold through retail outlets, but in the past the Best Buy's and Target's of the world demanded at least 20 points of profit...
Saturday, September 24, 2005
So, my brother-in-law (and artist extrordinare) has FINALLY gotten a site up. Between my complete lack of artistic talent and his technological aversion, we make quite a pair.
Here is one of my favorite pieces of his recent work. Check out www.dansutherland.net to see some of his other stuff. The site and images don't really do it justice (as you can imagine), particularly considering many of the paintings are 5' tall....
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
This is essentially stating the obvious, but it is the piece that everyone is missing.... there needs to be tight integration and working relationships between the music service, the PC software and the device to create an Apple killer. Samsung, get on the phone with Microsoft and a top tier music service provider, and make something compelling.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The saga continues....
Here comes the industry shakeout....
Friday, September 16, 2005
Offered without comment....
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Alternatively, if you are just interested in some of my music-related charts (like my Top 10), then I've added this support to just that piece of this page.... then every time you go to your My AOL page you will see my latest Top 10 list.
To go along with my last post.... here is the latest object of my affection. And it is going to sell for only $149?! I'll take three. Granted the iPod Nano is cool looking, but for less money I can get this... supports subscription music services, sports Windows Mobile 5 and WiFi (I believe). Best of all, it limits the number of devices I have to carry down to one. It's the day I've been dreaming of for 10 years.
Sweet. Flash memory continues to get bigger (capacity not physical size). Imagine your next mobile phone... Windows Mobile 5, Windows Media Player (with Janus Support) and 32GB worth of storage. All in a phone no larger than the one you have now. Mmmmm....
So, I was almost right. I've been speculating for some time that Media Center would be bundled with the "standard" home edition of Vista. Well, Microsoft has announced no less than 7 different version of Vista, with MCE being part of the bigger "Vista Home Premium" edition. The article speculates that this will be the volume seller, with it being the equivalent of XP Pro. Good news for those of us awaiting mass market adoption of Media Center.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I'll be the first to say that a wi-fi connected media player is very cool. In this scenario, I could just leave my portable player in my car and when I pull into my garage just have it pull and/or sync my latest content wirelessly. Maybe I'm just lazy, but one of my big pet peeves with other portable players is that I have to bring it inside an sync it every few days.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a "Guide to Online Music" that is basically a list of reasons why DRM sucks and how consumers should basically just visit some alternative DRM-free solutions like eMusic and Audio Lunchbox. It's a noble cause, but you'd be waiting an awfully long time for any "big name" music to be legally distributed without copy protection...
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
It's nice to see that the major labels are starting to understand that the game is changing and they need to adapt. Digital distribution is killing the traditional "hits-driven" marketplace and creating true one-to-one marketing and distribution relationships around the long-tail content.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Interesting in that the suit doesn't include Microsoft, who's DRM technology is used by a number of the services cited. I haven't read the claim, but it sounds like the patent is more about the manner is which DRM is used and not the technological underpinnings of how it works.
Monday, August 15, 2005
The story goes on to say...
But Apple's strategic goal is not to sell music, it's to sell iPods. Selling songs is marginally profitable, and helps Apple keep the support of the music labels. But the iPod is the reason for Apple's runaway success in recent years. Sales of the device soared 343% in the quarter that ended July 31, when the outfit brought in nearly a third of Apple's $3.5 billion in sales.
The rumblings I hear is that Apple isn't yet technically capable of launching a subscription service. Supposedly the Fairplay DRM scheme doesn't handle it and the iPods themselves don't have a secure clock (a requirement so that people can't have their player frozen in time, thereby keeping their subscription content from every expiring). I'm not sure about the secure clock thing, but that is what I've hear from a number of people/sources. If true, a subscription service would REQUIRE everyone to buy a new iPod. This would give everyone else in the market a free shot at converting Apple's consumers over to a cheaper product/service.
Cool, if you've got TivoToGo (meaning your Tivo Series 2 is networked to your PC), you can now essentially "passthrough" that content via Orb running on your Windows machine.
Microsoft continues to evolve their Spaces platform...
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Ruckus music subscription program fails to cause excitement at American University - Engadget - www.engadget.com
Ouch. Not sure what the problem is here... maybe too many of them still stealing their songs, or perhaps many are already locked into an iPod (not compatible with any service other than iTunes)? I've never seen the Ruckus service in person, so I don't know how it competes against Napster, but I would assume that they would have the same problems.
Monday, August 08, 2005
It's good to see that AOL is finally starting to get some credit from the rest of the industry (I believe Russell is a Yahoo employee) as being more than just "the Internet on training wheels"....
They've had headhunters calling around for quite a few months trying to lure people over from competitors in the space. No doubt about it, Amazon is the king when it comes to moving physical goods and inventory via e-commerce, but I'm not convinced that it will help them all that much in the digital music space. That being said, they do have the luxury of having an awful large number of credit cards on file, thereby lowering one of the biggest barriers to entry for many...
Friday, August 05, 2005
It appears that Savage Beast is looking to get into the online Radio game themselves. They've changed their name to Pandora and have launched a beta where they create Personal Radio stations based on a users artist or song input.
When a "station" is created, users can skip songs, and purchase from either iTunes or Amazon.
As I play with it more I will add some more color commentary.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
A good article on the the process (or lack thereof) the record labels undertake to get their artists' back catalogs onto the digital music services. It seems that companies like Snocap are trying to lure the record companies into simply monetizing consumer's encodes of this content (instead of waiting for the labels to encode it themselves). Eventually, the belief is that there will be a "good enough" digital copy from someone in the audience that the labels will able use for their archive without having to incur the cost of doing it themselves.
I have yet to hook up my Slingbox, but have used Orb to "placeshift" my television content before. All-in-all, it is a pretty cool concept but I have yet to find a real use for it. But, if I can give my buddy the rights to view my shows from his PS3, then that is a pretty compelling angle on media sharing that I think could make consumers giddy but copyright holders and cable providers nauseous.
Monday, August 01, 2005
This deal never made sense to me in the first place (at least for HP). Once again, the stars are aligning so that it is all the PC OEMs and Microsoft in one corner and little ol' Apple in the other.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Looks like Linksys is getting more serious about the networked entertainment device space....
Friday, July 22, 2005
Great for the consumer, but I'm sure that neither Microsoft nor the mobile carriers are too pleased about this. Microsoft wants the handset manufacturers to license their DRM, and the carriers don't want you to be able to buy music without them in the loop. Let the mayhem begin!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Essentially, by using an old travel mug and a 20 cent "L" bracket that I had laying around, I hacked together this solution. The bent "L" bracket slides into the Zen Micro's case on one end, and into the "sip hole" of the coffee mug at the other.
The good news is that it is secure, the right height with adjustable angle (just spin the mug so either the driver or passenger can easily read) and best of all, a place to store my player when I park. Hopefully, this will keep any potential thieves from breaking in (unless someone is just dying for what looks like a cup of stale coffee). I'm thinking about trying to run the wires (mini-jack to cassette adapter and cigarette lighter to mini-USB charger) through the bottom to clean it up a little. The bad news... that mug won't ever see coffee again.
Sweet. I certainly can't take credit for this, but it is nice to work on something that gets recognized by the industry. Check the competition out:
From Interactive TV Today :
The nominees for the Emmy for Non-Program Specific Enhanced or Interactive Television for a Channel, Network or Service are:
- AOL Music On Demand (Zetools / Time Warner Cable)
- The DirecTV Interactive Service (DirecTV)
- iO Interactive Optimum Digital Cable Service (Cablevision Systems Corporation)
- Reuters Interactive TV Channel (Reuters)
- Sesame Street Games (Sesame Workshop)
The ITV Emmys will be presented at the Creative Arts Awards Ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles on September 11th. The Academy has upgraded the status of its ITV Emmys this year: the award decisions of the Interactive Media Peer Group are no longer subject to ratification by the Academy's board, and all recipients will receive Emmy statuettes; previously, it was up to the board to decide whether each recipient would receive a statuette or a simple plaque.
In short, Cringely says he thinks that Clickstar will power an iTunes Movie Service with Intel providing the support for a device ecosystem that can access the content from living room and mobile devices. Could be, but I think the mobile DRM issue is non-trivial and unless Intel has solved the portable tether subscription issues that Microsoft has already tackled with "Janus", then I'm not sure how they plan to "rent" first-run movie content. Maybe the consumers would only have a "purchase" movie option?
Keep an eye on this one...
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Good news. The more Janus devices the better. What is more exciting is the thought of NormSoft's Janus compatible player (Pocket Tunes 3.1) running on the new Treo. I'm not sure if any of the existing Treo's (or upcoming) have a secure clock, which is a requirement for Janus, but I would think that they should...
I had heard the rumors that MySpace was a prime acquistion target, but I would have not guessed that Fox would be the suitor. I'm as big a fan of MySpace as most, but I've got to say that I think $580 Million is more than a little steep for a site and service that can be duplicated fairly easily. Granted, they are buying mulitple properties and established eyeballs, but if MySpace can build that kind of traffic as a small independent company with little to no marketing budget (at first), than others should be able to do the same.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Nice. Say an early "hello" to the first Media Center Extender device that will hit critical mass. Now all Microsoft has to do is include Media Center functionality in the baseline Windows "Longhorn" Home Edition.
Here is a quote from Jobs' published by SeattlePI last year regarding the Video iPod rumors...
Responded Jobs: "You know one of the things that I say around Apple, I paraphrase Bill Clinton when he was running long ago, when he said, 'It's the economy stupid.' I say, 'It's the music, stupid.' We have to stay focused on the fact that people are buying these devices to listen to music. ... People love listening to music as a background activity when they're exercising, when they're commuting and when they're just hanging out. Music is a wonderful thing because A, it's music, and B, because it can be listened to as a background activity. And a lot of these other things that people are talking about building in, such as video and things like that, are foreground activities. You can't drive a car when you're watching a movie. You know? It's really hard. So we really are very focused on music because that's what we think the revolution is here."
This is exactly why I don't believe any of the latest feigned disinterest from Jobs' regarding a subscription music service. As he has a history of doing, I believe he will continue to spout "people don't want it" until he is ready to launch. Then he will position himself as the creator of all that is good and holy and grant the world the power to subscribe to a music service. Ugh.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Most podcatching clients seem to have settings that allow you to specify how many files/podcasts to download, how long to keep them, maximium size allowed, etc. Once I find some copyright-free material to tag, I will let you know and you guys should be able to easily subscribe to my "channel".
UPDATE: My podcast feed is available here.... http://del.icio.us/rss/tag/system:media:audio+jherskowitzpodcast
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The labels speak... file sharing bad, streaming audio blogs of the same content...good.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
These iMesh and Snocap P2P deals are interesting, in that it creates an open trading post for unsigned artists and small indies to get there stuff out there, but without a compelling discovery/recomendations engine I don't think it is going to help the average user much. The good news for these companies is that they may be able to get thousands of small artists advertising their solution.... "look for us on iMesh!".
Hey, this looks like a pretty sweet deal. I was thinking about upgrading anyways, and this may be just what the doctor ordered. All I have to do is get myself to the post office and let Netgear borrow $100 for 4 months...
Friday, July 08, 2005
It's no secret that the latest iTunes release (4.9) is riddled with references of phone support, such as:
- Eject mobile phone.
- iPod Phone Prefs
- iPod>Phone>iTunes Setup
- Phone>Updating contacts
- The name of my mobile phone is:__
- The mobile phone cannot be ejected because it contains files that are in use by another application.
- Set Up Your Mobile Phone
- Automatically choose songs for my mobile phone
- iTunes will automatically fill your mobile phone with a random selection of songs from your library. You may fill your mobile phone with a different selection of songs by pressing Autofill in the mobile phone playlist.
- No mobile phone connected.
- Open iTunes when this mobile phone is attached.
I'm going to have to keep my eyes and ears open on this. This is one of the more industry rumors I've heard in a while.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I agree with Motley Fool's Rick Aristotle Munarriz on the point above, but I beleive that he is of course missing one major player... AOL. You may say I'm biased (and I am), but with AOL still glowing the Live8 broadcast triumph and introduction of an industry benchmark Video Search service, AOL is quickly recasting themselves as THE company to watch.
According to the story, Target thinks there niche in the market is appealing to mothers who purchase music for their families. I applaud the fact that Target's marketing muscle will help educate consumers on the benefits of subscription music service, but ultimately I don't Target is going to make much of an impact (at least for the first few years). Walmart is having the same problem...
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
I'll be very excited to see what the on-demand video usage numbers look like at the end of 6 week window that AOL has for delivering the concert footage...
An insightful article into the disaster that is known as Sony Connect...
What's that? You missed it? Have no fear, you can go and check out the whole thing on-demand at AOLmusic.com. Congratulations to everyone at AOL that made this a success.
This quote from David Bauer (AP), sums it up quite nicely... "Television seemed shockingly old-fashioned in how it followed Saturday's worldwide concert for poverty relief. AOL's coverage was so superior, it may one day be seen as a historical marker in drawing people to computers instead of TV screens for big events."
Friday, July 01, 2005
This story made me sit up and scratch my head. The battle for the living room is going to be a bloody one, and it looks like Microsoft is trying to build a Coallition of the Willing. If this actually happens, it would make Microsoft's Media Center Extender functionality the de facto standard for in-home media networking (thereby ensuring Windows role as the center of the digital media universe).
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Not a surprise, but them seem to be tipping their hand a little early if you ask me...
Ruckus to Allow Students to Legally Share Music; Becomes First Campus Entertainment Network to Support Legal Music Sharing
Ah, the beauty of marketing spin.... sure, Ruckus wants to use P2P as a distribution method because it's going to lower their bandwidth costs incurred by having to serve up all the content from their head-end. But, why would a consumer care that they can download a song directly from their friend as oppossed to directly from the Ruckus servers? In a scenario where both users are subscribers to an all-you-can eat music service, then they can "share" all they want just with published/public playlists, queues and listening history that link back to the source content on the host.
As I always provide as a disclaimer.... "I may be missing something", but I don't get how this is anything more than a PR person's take on how to generate some P2P-related press coverage after the Grokster ruling.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
- "Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that while the decision largely upheld the Sony-Betamax decision protecting technology innovation, technology companies now have a greater burden of proof when defending themselves against lawsuits from content owners."
- “This decision seems somewhat Orwellian to me in that it seems the copyright and entertainment industries now become the thought police,” adds Matt Neco, general counsel for StreamCast Networks. “(Technology companies’) every thought and every action will now be subject to discovery in expensive litigation. Lawyers are going to be pulled into every aspect of innovation and business. It’s not a great way for a business to function.”
- “Of more concern to me is for the guy in the garage coming up with the next great product,” says Michael Pettricone, VP technology policy for the Consumers Electronics Association. “The legal environment (they’re) facing is much less clear. As an innovator, I’m not sure you know what the rule is and what you have to do to avoid being sued.”
- “It makes it harder for them to negotiate with content providers if they’re vulnerable for suit and that discovery process,” says Ed Black, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. “Not that it will happen all the time. But the threat of that actually taking place allows (content owners) to extract concessions.”
- “Verizon remains committed to continuing to work with copyright owners and Congress to find appropriate solutions to the difficult issues of copyright liability,” said Sarah Deutsch, Verizon vice president and associate general counsel in a statement.
- “We do have those concerns,” says David Pakman, eMusic COO. “We don’t think that stings us down the road based on the current service we have. But we constantly look at new features that we can deploy that may have a combo of infringing and non-infringing use. We now have to question if we can offer a feature that can be used legally by our users but illegally by others, are we liable? That puts a cloud over development activities over innovating new features.”
- “P2P is not going to go away,” says Gigi Shone, president of Public Knowledge, a DC-based digital rights advocacy group that has long-supported Grokster. “There’s still going to be P2P and Hollywood and the recording industry are still going to have to deal with it. And they’re going to have to try to modify their business model to take advantage of it and not try to kill it. This is a pyrrhic victory for them, at best.”
And goes on to say...
"The court laid out what should be avoided in internal memoranda and advertising," Solum said. "With this information, P2P services and software developers can easily figure out how to immunize themselves from prosecution."
Obviously I'm no legal expert, but to me it sounds like the Supreme Court has in essence just avoided a overarching ruling on the legality of the P2P technical implication and instead are creating a precedent where each service is evaluated individually (based on how they market their services). I beleive this is good news and seems to open the door to the creation of non-infringing services that leverage all the distribution benefits of a peer to peer network.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Good story about the push around distribution channels for unsigned bands. The story goes on to say...
"With artists now receiving revenue from downloading, fans don't mind supporting the artists. However, on sites like iTunes and Napster, artists only receive eight to 14 cents per song, according to downhillbattle.org, a Worcester based nonprofit organization working to promote a fair music industry."
Of course, the question is... why do these sites have to be indie-only? As a consumer, I want a single service that exposes both major label and unsigned artists in a single interface with a recommnedations engine that will surface the latter based on my preferences for the former.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Monday, June 20, 2005
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I know that I said I wasn't going to post anything this week since I'm on vacation, but I was reading the news this morning and thought that this article was worth a mention. This NYT piece has a very interesting perspective on the new Macintel relationship where the real driving factor for both Apple and Intel is control of the living room. Xbox 360 & PS3 both are well poised to be the centerpiece of digital living room (neither of which use Intel processors). Media Center PCs certainly have a role as well, but they can't compete on the $300 price point of these other devices. If the game consoles get good traction as media hubs, then that limits Intel to a role as the main CPU in the PCs that they are connected to (or not). This is not enough for them, as they want to be powering multiple connected devices in the home. This new relationship opens up the possibility of a sub-$500 Mac(Intel) Mini sitting in your AV Rack for those that aren't gamers.
A enlightening read. Take a look....
Monday, June 13, 2005
Friday, June 10, 2005
"Linux is legacy, but it will be a start. In the case of the Cell, operation systems are applications. The kernel will be running on the Cell, and multiple OSes will be running on top of that as applications. Of course, the PS3 can run Linux. If Linux can run, so can Lindows. Other PC Operating Systems can run too, such as Windows and Tiger (Max OS X 10.4), if the publishers want [them] to do so. Maybe a new OS might come out. "
It's an enlightening interview, check it out.
Report: Who Is Listening To Internet Radio?: "A recently released report from Audio Graphics, compiled from over 45,000 responses by online radio listeners, offers a look at who is listening to radio on the Internet. Among the highlights:
- 57.7% hold a college or post-graduate degree
- 45.1% have an annual household income of $50,000+
- 46.8% work in technology, management, medical, or professional positions
- 56.1% find most new music on Internet radio
- 82.4% connect to the Internet via broadband
- 40.9% listen for 3 hours+ each listening session
- 81.6% claim their online station satisfies expectations by 80% or more
- 57.6% listen during morning, mid-day, afternoon, and late afternoon
- 56.1% say online advertising 'frequently' or 'sometimes' helps them make an offline purchase
The study was conducted over a four year period and combines the findings of 31 separate surveys."
I know why the labels want to sell songs (and music videos) directly, but I think they are making a huge assumption that people, a.) know, or b.) care, what label their favorite bands are on. It's like telling me if I want to buy Oreos then I need to go to the Nabisco store and I've I want to buy Chips Ahoy then I have to go to buy them at the store that is owned by whoever the hell makes Chips Ahoy. So, in actuallity, I have to first go do research on who makes Chips Ahoy, THEN I can go to there store and buy them.
The story goes on to say..."the iTunes replacement plan would require agreements from multiple copyright holders, and may not come to pass, however." Maybe I'm missing something, but this should be simple... scan the user's existing library and match (either via metadata or audio fingerprint) to the corresponding Windows Media DRM'd track on their service and download it. Sure the users ends up with two copies of the same track, one for the iPod and one that works on everything else, but that's the beauty of a subscription service... you can download whatever you want.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Another study pointing out that traditional broadcast radio is on the decline. The combination of new personlization technologies and recomendations engines are exposing consumers to "long tail" content that is highly targeted to their tastes. Say goodbye to the concept of "mass media" as consumers start to rebel against being spoon-fed the lowest common denominator of media swill that is being served to us by the traditional channels.
Granted, people will argue the value of watching TV on a small mobile device, but I have to say that I have put shows I've recorded on my Media Center PC onto my Audiovox smartphone in the past, and in fact found it watchable. I still need to optimize the transcoding profile so that the framerate is a little better on my phone, but when stuck on an airplane where your other viewing option is "White Chicks"... a small, choppy episode of "Arrested Development" is a welcome reprieve any day.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
I applaude the concept, but if you believe that ultimately the mobile phone eats the dedicated portable audio player (which I do) and that most of these phones will have some notion of high(er) level operating system (which they will), then this may end up being a short-lived market for a company like MusicGremlin. Today, with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones/Pocket PCs, users can go to dedicated web-based music stores (like MusicNow) and stream their entire content directly to their device. Direct over-the-air downloads to these devices aren't far behind and the open development nature of these OSes (Windows Mobile/Symbian) makes integration of these applications much easier (and upgradeable) then embedded firmware.
I would think that this is going to ruffle some feathers over at the RIAA...
Monday, June 06, 2005
A pretty good article covering technology-only recommendations engines and their pros/cons. Personally, I think the hardcore analysis is a good first step, but it needs to be bolstered and refined by editorial content. Professional music editors are fine, but more powerful is being able to leverage my social network to make recommendations.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Does Apple want OS X to displace Linux as the alternative OS of choice for the 90% of computers out there that use the x86 architecture?
Thursday, June 02, 2005
A nice roundup of many of the integrated 10' media management/consumption applications.
Personally, I think that the labels should leave the distribution piece of the media puzzle to the content aggregrators, but I'm all for R&D that may make digital distribution easier and more efficient....
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
AOL scores exclusive rights to broadcast all 5 of the concerts live on AOL and AOLmusic.com. Nice.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Very cool... social/music networking developments continuing to progress very quickly in both the IP and physical worlds. Sign me up.
A potential acquistion target for one of the major content aggregators? If not, it probably should be....
Monday, May 30, 2005
XM planning online subscription music service and an XM Digital Music Player? - Engadget - www.engadget.com
Friday, May 27, 2005
It seems that subscription music models are suffering the same fate as TiVo - you can't really appreciate the value of it UNTIL YOU TRY IT. Because of my music subscription (tied in with some social networking features), I found 3 new bands that I like... TODAY. I believe that this scenario is just not feasible in the current iTunes model. In fact, you can argue that the audiences are totally different... I (and a wide range of others like me) employ a music service to discover new artists. iTunes users generally discover their music outside the context of the service and then proactively go there to purchase something that is "on their list".
I think the onus is on the marketing departments of these subscription music services to communicate the value of discovery. You are not "renting" music you would otherwise buy... you are discovering new music that you would have otherwise never noticed. For me, that is certainly worth the equivalent price of a few sodas a week.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Just when I was thinking that Yahoo was moving everyone away from their MusicMatch products (which they paid upwards of $160 million for), they go and launch a Radio and Music service branded with the old moniker within Media Center's "Online Spotlight". In addition to the fact that it requires you to install yet another media player (MusicMatch) on top of all the others, it had the nerve to crash my machine while doing it.
While a solid radio offering is a welcome addition to MCE, this seems to be a little bit of a contrivance.. Yahoo is pushing you to their new Yahoo Music Unlimited / Yahoo Radio (aka Launch) on your 2' PC UI, but a separate UI and infrastructure when you want to manage your music from the comfort of your sofa. That's just odd.
I work in this industry, and the current state of the market and messaging is confusing enough to me. How is the average Joe Schmo supposed to make heads or tails of which service to use on which device?!
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Good overview and insight into the typical pricing model of online music distribution and why Yahoo's current prices aren't sustainable (unless they use it as a loss-leader to generate other revenue streams).
I can attest to that. The networking feature is extremely compelling and puts the "pick and play" usage models of the past to shame. By being able to listen to what my friends inherently recommend (through their usage patterns), I've discovered more new music and artists in the past month that I have in probably the 5 years prior. Check them out... Mando Diao, The Honorary Title, 22-20's, Mike Doughty. All great stuff that I would have never heard of before without investing the time and effort to seek new stuff out.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Let the rumor mill begin....
Monday, May 16, 2005
Perhaps the story I just posted below (Sony/iPod relationship) is just a bunch of marketing swirl inflicted upon us consumers in retaliation to this Xbox 360 feature as reported last week by BetaNews?
Whoa, this sounds completely crazy on one hand, but a Sony and Apple joining forces to battle Microsoft may make sense to some. It's no secret that Sony's efforts in portable players, proprietary formats and abandoned DRM schemes have left them desperately trying to figure out how to best get into the digital media game. Some have speculated that Apple may exit the hardware game completely and license their hardware designs to 3rd parties. Personally I don't buy it (yet) since the hardware is where they make the bulk of their money... BUT a PSP that syncs to iTunes and/or a Sony-branded iPod could certainly throw a new wrinkle into the quickly chaning landscape. I would assume we will here more this week at E3. I'll let you all know once I get out there.
It looks like the latest iTunes build (4.8) had tipped Apple's hand. It appears that the next Airport Express will actually include a remote so that you can can navigate and control your iTunes library directly from your stereo. I'm not sure whether they will do an LCD remote a la Creative's SoundBlaster Wireless device or whether it will have some notion of using a
TV as the UI's display. Of course if they more actively pursed the TV UI, then when/if they launch a movie service as rumored, they have all the pieces to do so.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
"In the quest to break Apple Computer's grip on the legal online music market, the best approach has seemed to be to try an entirely different model. Instead of selling individual songs outright for 99 cents each, as Apple does, some other companies are renting songs to users who pay a monthly subscription fee.
But the subscription services have had trouble gaining any real traction. So two big players, Yahoo and RealNetworks, are taking interesting steps to change the game. Yahoo has introduced a new service that's priced at just a third of what competing rental services charge, and Real is offering some music free to entice new customers.
I've been testing these two new services, and of the two, I strongly prefer the new Yahoo Music Unlimited to Real's revamped Rhapsody service. Yahoo's offering is bolder, and it works much better. In fact, even though it is still in a beta, or test, phase, I regard Yahoo Music as the new champ among subscription services. Whether it can dislodge Apple is another matter."