Monday, September 15, 2008

Napster Gets Sold To Best Buy For $121 million

Best Buy has acquired Napster for almost twice it's current share price, no doubt Best Buy was sick of losing more and more CD sales and decided to join the digital music revolution. Of course we all know this isn't really Napster, it's just the brand slapped on a music store built by Roxio, unfortunately this means it's not iTunes and hasn't been a huge player in the market.

(we all know that the real Napster lives on through imeem)

Meanwhile myspace music is all talk about its 'new' features, all of which we've seen elsewhere. It's kind of a shame because there are great companies out there who are going to find themselves competing with the behemoth that is myspace. For the sake of good music I hope that the problems with EMI and indie artists hobble the site sufficiently that it doesn't wipe out the competition.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

'Told You So'

You know I always said that new fangled muxtape site wasn't going to work, what with it being nothing more than a minimalist clone of websites which had important things linke business plans.

I'm amazed at how many people are acting suprised or outraged at the supposeds RIAA shutdown of the site. Well as you can guess I'm not one of them and I could expend all sorts of energy explaining this, and point out that the RIAA probably only had a small part in this shutdown and that lack of cash and revenue was more important.

I think Justin Oulette secretly wants to be Shawn Fanning. Sorry, Justin you're not nearly cute enough to compete.

Meanwhile people seem to be missing a potentially bigger news story, In Europe a court has decided that Buma, the dutch performing rights society cannot supply Europe wide licensing agreements. This means that sites like eMusic and Beatport suddenly find that they're now illegally selling music in countries other than the Netherlands, since they were foolish enough to sign Pan-European licensing agreements with Buma. Now these music retailers have to go back and negotiate with PRS (UK), SEESAC (France) and many more agencies who they have now pissed off by trying to cut them out of their deals.

Elsewhere in the social music morass Techcrunch pointed out that even though CBS pushed out press releases praising the redesign it hasn't helped them gain any market share and they're still a distant second to imeem.

But one wonders if imeem can remain dominant in the face of myspace music which we are assured is coming soon. I hope myspace can sort out some way to pay those indie artists, otherwise they might just decide to start sending people to their and imeem pages - both companies have had programs in place to pay artists, regardless of whether they're attached to a massive label or a bedroom producer.

here's hoping for a massive myspace music fail

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Muxtape, not Popular, or Good, but Newsworthy Nonetheless

Apparently Justin Oulette confused his e-mail with his tumblr account and posted a highly sensitve and legally damning photo to his blog. The image of the contract shows Jakob Lodwick gave Justin $95,000 to help launch muxtape, which is most likely in conflict with the usual slew of non-compete aggreements one would expect him to be bound by from his time at

Justin pulled the image and posted this comment
I posted something I didn't mean to yesterday. Pretty embarrassing. I meant to
email it to myself, but my reflexes directed me to Tumblr (which is where
I’m emailing photos from my phone 99% of the time). Oh, internet. Always
Valleywag also pointed out that since Jakob was fired from vimeo last year the company has started to show some legitimate growth in its userbase after being written off as a youtube also-ran for most of last year.

Ahhh Justin, your website may be crap and losing its users, but the hype and gossip surrounding muxtape make it more interesting that mixwit, seeqpod or any of those other playlist sites. They even seem to have got the word muxtape tacked onto stories about other, better, playlist sites.

(yes, that's an article about imeem, and how it's the most popular muxtape site in the world - it features a great quote from Dalton Caldwell which sums up imeem "It's legal and it doesn't suck")

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Warner Music Stops Playing Music And Starts Playing Hardball With

Warner Music was one of the first labels to sign a deal with to allow streaming of their music from the site, back in February 2007, back then it was for use in's smart radio application, but a year later all the music became available on demand. However in the last couple of days it looks like Warner have quietly pulled their music from the on demand feature, there haven't been any official press releases or anything I've seen. Journalists have contacted Warner regarding the music availability and Warner have confirmed that their deal with has expired.

My guess as to what this really means is that Warner are re-negotiating this deal, and most likely have been renegotiating since February. Now that they have financial investments in imeem, lala and myspace music the relationship probably doesn't look so favorable in comparison and perhaps they're shooting for more. I doubt they'll be negotiating for equity, instead they'll be shooting for higher per stream rates and unsurprisingly wouldn't like this. So, Warner is forcing the issue, and this is the result.

I don't doubt a resolution will be reached, but Warner can afford to wait, after all they have their investment in imeem and imeem is a far more popular site these days. They might even hope that this pushes some users to imeem, although judging by many of the blogs a large number of users have never heard of imeem. The reaction to's limited on demand service saw many bloggers (who clearly had aspirations to 'real journalism') praising's free ad supported services as a giant step forward, which is was for users who had never tried imeem in the months prior to's announcment of their more restricted service. (to be fair, that author had previously posted about imeem and didn't like it at the time, the conspiracy theorist in me also notes that CNET and are now both part of the same company)

Actually, imeem is a great site to help you spot tech bloggers who don't have a clue, since it has a name that's nothing to do with music and because it's the biggest site in the internet music game. It gets overlooked all the time by bloggers who'll write huge articles about muxtape, songza or when they come forth with features that are core to imeem's site. Even big sites like techcrunch have a blind spot for it, writing several articles about a music site called 'meemix' which has clearly had some inspiration for their name.

Projectplaylist is another great blogger blindspot, the bloggers should take all their muxtape love and split it equally between projectplaylist/imeem (music lovers) and muxtape (lovers of minimalist design). Judging by the descending alexa/compete/quantcast stats for muxtape, interest in the site is already dropping off and users are probably going elsewhere anyway, in the end muxtape's brief popularity may have primarly served to alert the blogging community to these existing services. Of course this is where I point out that one of my earlier predictions for muxtape's legal future may have been wide of the mark since they were based on the assumption that muxtape's rapid growth would continue for more than a couple of months. It may still happen, muxtape had a bad month with bizarre database corruption and downtime at their co-lo so that could be partially responsible for their poor showing.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Explosion Takes ThePlanet Offline

Wow! apparently an electrical explosion blew holes through walls at this Texas data center and because of the nature of the event the Fire Department has basically told the facility managers that they can't bring the backup generators online. It just shows you that no matter how many backup measures you have in place your site can still go down.

Sounds like Muxtape was one of the sites affected, although, I think they may still be hosting the files on amazon s3 so if you've been compiling links to all their tunes you might still be able to access them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Alexa Users Watch Al Jazeera

There are a few web-tracking companies out there, most of them don't exactly agree on which sites are ranked highest or how many visitors they get. Indeed, you only have to look at compete's claim that imeem was the most popular internet music site to see the complaints from other sites on the list pointing at other sites to question imeem's claim to the top spot. Jed Carlson from Reverbnation posted to Wired's music blog pointing out that Quantcast's network tracking showed his site had almost 20 million users - roughly the total of compete's measure of imeem and yahoo together. Of course, some other smart bod pointed out that Quantcast's network score for imeem was almost 40million users.

Regardless I wondered what each of these tracking sites would say about each other, on Alexa you can't ask for stats on Alexa, but compete and quantcast have now such limits.

Compere shows Quantcast in first place and alexa in last.

Alexa shows both compete and quantcast have about 2/3 of their visits from the US, and again Quantcast is the more popular of the two ranking #1134 vs compete's rank of #3691.

But Quantcast is the site that offers the greatest riches in terms of audience details. (Rank 3,460) is a top 5,000 site that reaches over 745K U.S. monthly uniques. The site attracts a slightly male slanted crowd. The typical visitor reads Techcrunch and watches Al Jazeera. (Rank 9,101) is a top 10,000 site that reaches over 263K U.S. monthly uniques. The site appeals to a slightly male slanted crowd.The typical visitor reads Techcrunch and buys from (Rank 899) Neatly removes any demographic information, nothing to see here, move along.

All 3 sites point to quantcast having the biggest audience, but quantcast and compete both disagree as to which site is in second place.

There are other sites which do this, but many of them provide only limited data to free users, Hitwise, Comscore, Nielsen etc I can't get data from these sites but here's what quantcast says.... (Rank 146,251) This site reaches approximately 10,512 U.S. monthly uniques. The site caters to a slightly female slanted, more educated audience.The typical visitor reads Business Week. (Rank 101,681) This site reaches approximately 16,467 U.S. monthly uniques. The site appeals to a more educated, very slightly male biased following.The typical visitor reads and uses

Apparently conservatives prefer comscore while liberal minded people prefer hitwise.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Napster Goes DRM Free

I would have posted this yesterday, but I wasn't around. All the major record labels are supporting Napster's new DRM free record store, probably in some vain attempt to weaken apple's dominant position.

Really, this isn't about being DRM free, it's all about being iPod compatible, since music stores need to be able to support the iPod. Which is why apple's DRM free store only has limited label support, but, it still has the advantage of seamless integration into the iTunes library which is how most iPod owners get their music onto their device. I don't think most mainstream users really care about DRM sufficiently to care, they only really notice when it goes wrong - like the recent end of line on MSN music store content.

Ultimately, this doesn't make the Napster subscription service any more attractive, the subscription content is still DRM controlled so that it self destructs when accounts get terminated. It's unlikely to help their subscription numbers, and unlikley to convert existing iTMS users, but it does make Napster a little closer to what it once was.