Friday, March 28, 2008

The Music Industry’s New Extortion Scheme

From Tech Crunch - Musicians themselves may just be crazy, but the music labels are dangerously stupid, and need to be stopped before they can do any further damage to the music industry. Case in point: Warner Music, fully aware that the days of charging for recorded music are coming to an end, is now pushing for a music tax.

This isn’t the first time someone has called for a music tax. Peter Jenner argued for it in Europe in 2006. Trent Reznor said the same thing last year (as did the Songwriters Association of Canada). Mathew Ingram has other examples.

But Warner Music is doing more than just talking about a music tax. They’ve hired industry veteran Jim Griffin to create a new entity that would create a pool of money from user fees to be distributed to artists and copyright holders. Lawsuits against their customers aren’t working (The RIAA sent out 5,400 letters in the last year, says Portfolio, settling with 2,300 of those individuals and suing 2,465 who didn’t respond). | Read full article

Apple developing full-fledged digital lifestyle fitness companion

From Apple Insider - Electronics maker Apple Inc. is developing a digital fitness companion system based around its iPhone and iPod touch players aimed a helping americans, and folks in general, live a healthier and more fit lifestyle.

A series of patent filings discovered by AppleInsider this week provides an overview of four distinct components that will comprise the system, including an iTunes-like software application, hardware-based heart rate and physiological sensors, a rewards tracker, and a component to facilitate synchronous group activities. | Read full article

Thursday, March 27, 2008

YouTube Debuts Viewer Analytics Tool

The service is designed to help video makers understand more about where their viewers are and how those viewers found their videos.

From Information Week - Online video makers can now watch those watching their videos.

Google (NSDQ: GOOG)'s YouTube on Thursday released YouTube Insight, a free video analytics tool designed to help video makers understand more about where their viewers are and how those viewers found their videos.

"For example, uploaders can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time," a YouTube blog post explains. "You can also delve deeper into the lifecycle of your videos, like how long it takes for a video to become popular, and what happens to video views as popularity peaks."

The metrics YouTube is making available are likely to be appreciated by marketers and professional video makers, who can use the information to see where videos are popular and to correlate changing viewership with related promotions and events. | Read full article

CBC Torrent Caught Up in ISPs’ BitTorrent Throttling

From New Tee Vee - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently made a bold decision to release an episode of the show Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister through BitTorrent. The move was remarkable not only because the national broadcaster decided to go completely ad- and DRM-free, but because it openly embraced platforms that are usually known for pirated content, the Pirate Bay and

But the experience has taught CBC a valuable lesson: Play with the outlaws, and you’re going to be treated like one. Numerous users have reported being unable to access the show downloads due to ISP-based BitTorrent throttling. To make matters worse, telecom company Bell Canada has just begun to throttle P2P traffic for all of its wholesale customers, potentially affecting a huge number of customers of other ISPs that resell Bell’s DSL service. | Read full article

Comcast agrees not to interfere with file-sharing

From CNN - Comcast Corp., an Internet service provider under investigation for hampering online file-sharing by its subscribers, announced Thursday an about-face in its stance and said it will treat all types of Internet traffic equally.

Since user reports of interference with file-sharing traffic were confirmed by an Associated Press investigation in October, Comcast has been vigorously defending its practices, most recently at a hearing of the Federal Communications Commission in February.

Consumer and "Net Neutrality" advocates have been equally vigorous in their attacks on the company, saying that by secretly blocking some connections between file-sharing computers, Comcast made itself a judge and gatekeeper for the Internet. | Read full article

Adobe opens shop on Web-based Photoshop Express

From C Net - Adobe Systems opened up Photoshop Express on Thursday, its long-anticipated Web-based image editor aimed at the millions of consumers that want a simple way to touch up, share, and store photos.

Photoshop Express, available for free with 2 gigabytes of storage at, is a significant departure from Adobe's desktop software business and a big bet that it can make money offering Web services directly to consumers.

The application, which needs Flash Player 9 to run, pushes the limits of browser-based applications and will likely ratchet up the competition on the dozens of free and online photo-editing products available now... | Read full article

Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison

From The New York Times - For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words “Mary had a little lamb” on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison’s invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades. | Read full article

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Canadians make music, not war

From The Globe And Mail - If you look at figures released by market research firm NPD Group for video game sales in Canada and the United States in February, a potentially fascinating cultural difference becomes apparent: when it comes to games, it seems Canadians like to make music and Americans like to make war.

Despite it’s hefty $170 price tag and bulky box, the Xbox 360 edition of Rock Band, Electronic Arts’ popular rock music simulator, has been flying off store shelves north of the border, sitting comfortably atop the Canadian chart in January and placing second in February (Wii Play, a collection of mini-games being scooped up by consumers for the Wii remote that comes bundled with it, took top spot in February). What’s more, three of the top five games on Canada’s February chart are music themed: Activision’s axe grinding Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for Xbox 360 and Rock Band for PlayStation 2 came in third and fifth, respectively. | Read full article

The Redemption of Joost

[Note, as Joost prepares to launch a browser-based version of its software, we are going to add a new topic link for all things Joost we come across!]

Joost has the bits of a fabulous distribution technology, but currently it doesn't have the users to back up the early promise (or ... hype) of transforming the TV industry.

Two potential outcomes (but not the only ones):

- Joost launches its browser-based version. The world rejoices. Users flock to high-quality video.
- Joost white labels its software infrastructure and licenses it to existing services that need to cut distribution costs

Joost has a fantastic concept to build upon, and a business model content providers can get excited about. All it needs to do is get users excited and make the case to producers...

A feature article from Portfolio - I Don't Want My Web TV

Internet TV startup Joost, backed by CBS, was supposed to be as big as YouTube. Instead, it's in danger of being squeezed out as the networks scramble for a billion-dollar payday. | Read full article