After reading the predictions from both Rags Gupta and Hypebot on what they think will shakeout in the digital music space in 2007, I thought I'd throw some more of my thoughts out as well - in short, 2007 is going to be the year of the acquistion. In no particular order...
- eMusic gets acquired - either by Microsoft or Amazon
On second thought: Not happening.
- Last.fm gets acquired - smart money is on Google, but if Real was able to dig up enough of their settlement cash from Microsoft, then a Last.fm/Rhapsody combination is an extremely compelling service
On second thought: Right idea, wrong suitor. In my defense, I don't think anyone saw CBS coming out of left-field.
- Pandora gets acquired - gotta think this is Microsoft considering they have already partnered with them for the MSN Radio relaunch
On second thought: Could still happen. Particularly, all of the suitors that lost out on Last.fm may be looking for a contingency plan that Pandora may fulfill very well. We shall see....
- Mercora gets sued - the labels will need to make an example of someone that they think is violating DMCA, and Mercora looks like a great target
On second thought: A partnership with Microsoft (for distribution of their Windows Mobile client) makes it appear that established players are more comfortable pushing the boundaries with partnerships and features. I heard through the rumor mill that Mercora moved to Canada to help reduce the risk of getting sued here (they claim to be in full compliance with Canada's copyright laws) - I can't confirm this in my limited research, but interesting nonetheless.
- SpiralFrog launches with a thud - the ad supported model may eventually work for downloads, but I don't think SpiralFrog will be the ones to pull it off
On second thought: What have you heard? Exactly. This one was not a stretch, but seems on the money so far.
- Zune slowly starts to make inroads - this is the equivalent of Microsoft Windows Mobile (CE) vs. Palm OS battle of last decade.... MS will spend enough time and effort to make this work for them
On second thought: Is it a million sold now? Embarrassment aside that they announced they sold a million, then corrected themselves a couple of days later - this is still so strategically important to Microsoft that they will continue to pump big money into it, and continue to find ways to tie it to the Xbox360. Until Apple gets a gaming platform, this is Microsoft's biggest opportunity (Sony has proven themselves completely inept at creating a compelling mobile device since creating the category with the original walkman decades ago).
- Apple iTV will get lukewarm response - remember the Mac Mini? It was supposed to be perfect for this application as well...
On second thought: Jobs recently categorized Apple TV as a "hobby". 'Nuf said.
Looks like I'm hitting about .500?