Why the recording industry really stopped suing its customers

This is a super lazy post.  See the following link for David Silverman’s answer to the above question on HarvardBusiness.org

The RIAA will instead work with ISPs to crack down on file sharers.  The response of one small ISP based in Louisiana to the demands of the RIAA is spot on me thinks http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10127841-93.html


EMI.com Beta goes live

Ok, this isn’t really news hot off the press but I was in Copenhagen and missed it until I got back today.  So EMi.com launched on Wednesday 17th with Doug Merrill penning his own welcome email:

For all of you who love music, we are happy to introduce you to EMI.com.It’s a website designed for you to discover new music, rediscover your favourite classics and find information about EMI artists.

EMI.com will allow you to listen to your favourite songs, watch videos, discover music based on your tastes, create playlists and search for content about EMI artists – all for FREE. In the future, you’ll be able to buy downloads from the site.

What you’ll discover at EMI.com:

  • 500,000 tracks from 11,000 artists and bands, with loads of new content being added regularly.
  • A media playerthat streams both audio and video from EMI artists.
  • A discover feature that lets you search for music according to your taste.
  • The ability to create an unlimited number of playlists.
  • Special video and audio features, including live sessions and behind-the-scenes footage from our biggest and our breaking artists.
  • And that’s just for starters! We’ve designed EMI.com to be what we call a “learning lab” – a place to experiment with new ways to connect you with music. Over the coming months, we’ll be adding new features and content, and we want to hear what you think of the music, the site and anything else.

Visit EMI.com today and sign up to access loads of great content and music!

Best Wishes

Douglas Merrill

Having visited the site, I’m underwhelmed.  But as Doug says its an experiment.  EMI.com is in Beta, more features’ll be added and the site will get better, promise.    Lets hope so.

The Next Big Thing?

My label

My label

OK first off – my apologies. I meant to blog about this site about a month ago, when I stumbled across it on Mashable, and I have only just got round to it.

The site is called The Next Big Sound. It’s a music social network site that lets you discover new bands. *hears sound of snoring*. I know, I know – sounds familiar doesn’t it, but bear with me.

The differentiator in the site is that it lets you – the user- become the label. In simple terms, this just means instead of ‘adding’ friends, or ‘joining’ groups as with traditional soc nets this site asks the user to ‘sign’ bands that you like. The registration process involves founding your own label, and then you’re encouraged to sign acts that you like to your label.

Now if I’m honest there are a number of limitations to the site, despite how nice it looks. Firstly, the bands are all US centric at the moment (no band thing, I love Americana College Rock – ala Death Cab– as much as the next guy, and the recently added Map function does mean you can build up location-based ‘scenes’).

Secondly there is very little engagement or dialogue between you and the bands you sign, making it a rather lonely experience. MySpace changed the way that fans could interact with acts they liked, and the absence of any messaging element seems a little strange here. Indeed there’s actually very little information available on some of the bands.

Thirdly, the filtering and search functions are very restrictive. This means that scouting for bands is actually quite tiresome, and relying on the automated filter (similar to the Last.fm system) kind of takes the fun out of playing the role of an A&R man on the hunt for the next band who can make you a million

It’s actually this ‘play’ element though that made me sit up and take notice of the site. You’re restricted to signing 10 bands, which encourages you to be selective with who you sign – it’s a nice touch as you have to go for quality over quantity. For every signing you score points, the more popular and higher rated the band, the more points you earn.

This adds a competitive edge that is more akin to a casual game than a purely ‘social’ virtual music experience, which I thought was an interesting development. I’m not sure how the site expects to monetise the service, but if users are compelled to ‘play’ while they discover new music then it could prove very popular . If it’s of interest – a couple of bands I’ve signed and really like are somanydynamos (read it backwards…) and Han Ma and the Camaros.

And in other engagement/ music/ label news – why not buy shares in Patrick Wolfe for your loved one this Christmas?

Make the Tea!

Clever idea from Cravendale – milk – to get people making more tea and to crowdsource (gaining free insight into people’s tastes/office-drinking habits…)


The company recently launched the widget/social networking site, Make the Tea, which reminds you and those in your ‘group’ whose round of tea it is.  Once registered, it asks you to set your tea or coffee preferences (how much milk you like – colour-coded from 0-5, whether you take sugar) and set the time and day for when you want tea made (say, x5 per day).  It then sends a reminder at each of the times to let you and the people in your group know whose turn it is.


You can also upload pictures of yourself and your colleagues and leave comments for added fun and japery…



Now there are no excuses not to make tea (or for making hideously milky – ‘lazy-tea’ – as some DERT team members have been know to do…).





Google to turn UK operator?

Ofcom’s auction off of the most desirable band of UHF spectrum is starting to cause a stir.  As we switch from analogue to digital, media pundits are speculating as to whether companies like Microsoft and Google will snap up the soon-to-be-free broadcast spectrum.  Why?  This spectrum has a much longer wavelength which means better penetration of walls meaning excellent coverage as well as high speed wireless.


In the US, Google placed a bid on the spectrum but also lobbied the FCC hard to ensure that the spectrum, once won, would be be left open to any non disruptive device (mobile, PDA, laptop, handheld games devices) and that all devices using the network should be open to third party software.  For Verizon, who won the auction in the US, this meant that they couldn’t lock devices into their network or protect them against any third party software, securing Google a medium for its ad revenues.


An article in this weekend’s Observer, Media and Business James Robinson wonders if Google, using the Google phone, could turn operator:


Crucially, the chunk of analogue space being sold is high frequency, meaning a high-quality signal that can reach a wider area easily. The spectrum currently used by mobile phone companies is weaker, meaning more base stations need to be built to ensure customers receive a good service. They are expensive to construct and difficult to roll out, often meeting resistance from planners. The new spectrum in effect provides a ready-made network, requiring few modifications or additional capital expenditure, and that could allow a new entrant to establish a national presence within a few years.

That has prompted interest from some of the world’s most valuable companies, including Google, which is placing huge resources behind its new Google phone. Senior industry sources confirm it is considering a bid. Google’s new handset, which will compete with Apple’s iPhone, will give users access to services such as Google Earth, which could be adapted to provide customers with information on everything from road maps to where to find local shops and restaurants. It would be cheaper to sign a deal with an existing mobile provider, as Apple has done, piggybacking on its network and sharing profits. But buying a licence outright would allow Google to keep all the revenue, give it greater control over marketing, and could even allow it to drop monthly rental charges for the device.

That may not be as risky, or as expensive, as it sounds. Google’s search engine is funded almost entirely by advertising, and applying the same business model to its phone could generate enough revenue to fund this plan. A Google handset with no contract would be hugely popular, placing it in the hands of millions of consumers and creating a valuable new captive audience for advertisers.


Given the current economic climes and the memories of the cost of 3G licences still fresh in telcos minds, next year’s bidding will certainly be interesting.  Who will have the cash to place the winning bid?

Making money from the free economy

Anyone contemplating how to make money on the Internet out of things that consumers now consider free (i.e. digital music and films) should read Kevin Kelly’s ‘Better than Free” manifesto.  The “senior maverick” from Wired doesn’t believe that advertising is the only business model, but that generosity, accompanied by the cultivation and nurturing of qualities “that can’t be replicated with a click of the mouse” is the new business model. 

This brilliant manifesto “Better than Free”  looks at the eight things that are, well, better than free.  He starts off by setting the scene with:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless

When copies are super abundant, stuff that can’t be copied becomes scare and valuable

When copies are free, you need to sell things that can not be copied

Well what can’t be copied?

Read it!

Papers turning to readers for news exclusives

In case you didn’t see it in the DERT Daily – article in the IHT on the rise of citizen journalism and its now open support by some newspapers.


The German newspaper Bild is partnering with Lidl to sell ‘basic’ digital cameras in the hopes of encouraging readers to contribute their own news stories to the paper as their writers, ‘can’t cover everything’.


As seen with Mumbai, the article highlights the way internet users are increasingly influencing the recounting of news in a less organised, non newspaper-regulated way  –  much to the horror of many journalists.  Interesting to see if any of the UK newspapers pursue similar initiatives…