Monday, September 15, 2008
(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
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 last.fm 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 last.fm 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
Justin pulled the image and posted this comment
I posted something I didn't mean to yesterday. Pretty embarrassing. I meant toValleywag 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.
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
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
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 last.fm 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 last.fm 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 last.fm users to imeem, although judging by many of the blogs a large number of last.fm users have never heard of imeem. The reaction to last.fm's limited on demand service saw many bloggers (who clearly had aspirations to 'real journalism') praising last.fm's free ad supported services as a giant step forward, which is was for last.fm users who had never tried imeem in the months prior to last.fm'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 Last.fm 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 last.fm 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
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
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.
Alexa.com (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.
Compete.com (Rank 9,101) Compete.com 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 notebookreview.com.
Quantcast.com (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....
comscore.com (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.
hitwise.com (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 thinkprogress.org and uses ultimatefares.com.
Apparently conservatives prefer comscore while liberal minded people prefer hitwise.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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.
If you want to know that the track sounds like you can of course find it on imeem...
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Usually this happens after Bankrupcy, and the employees aren't usually running out the back door with laptops to stop them getting impounded by debt collectors....
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Many of the top music sites lost traffic in the last 12 months - yahoo, aol, myspace and msn all lost users while imeem grew by 58%. Many other Web 2.0 sites also grew, or appeared on the list for the first time, including Muxtape which squeaked in at #20 despite beig launched less than a week before the survey window closed. Projectplaylist was the only Web 2.0 property to lose users in the last 12 months, not a good sign for the company which is now getting sued by the record industry.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Odds are, this is just the first step to making PP into a legal site, but, maybe not, maybe PP could make a semi convincing case for, or at least maybe they think they have a case. It's known that they have been talking to the major labels, and not everyone is suing them, sony is a notable exception.
Here's how I see it playing out, Sony will force PP to use their newly acquired audio filtering technology (from Gracenote) to ensure that unlicensed music does not appear on the site, and in return it'll license its catalog on similar terms to those agreed to by other ad supported sites like imeem/last.fm. Over time other labels will follow, but many of the users will jump ship in this period when they find their music options limited. Some will go to imeem with it's more complete catalog and embeddable player, others might try to stay ahead of the legal stormfront and move to muxtape where pre-release tunes and the beatles are still not blocked.
In the end PP will join imeem and last.fm as a legal site, it'll probably lose a lot of users during the transition to legality, so imeem will probably re-establish its top position in the US, leaving PP as the 2nd ranked site in the US and 3rd worldwide. And to pay for all those plays it'll start to host millions of ads, but that will mainly be a cosmetic change to the site, on the back end of things I predict that PP will start serving its own content once it gets licenses, while they might get some legal deal that protects their right to manipulate and serve references to other files, those other sites which are hosting the files will still have no such right.
So changes are a coming.
Maybe a lawsuit will still happen, but I doubt it, PP launched very soon after imeem's embedded playlists got popular, their implementation was designed to save them money on server costs and limit their legal liability, but I believe they want to become a legal site and there wont's be any drawn out legal proceedings.
If you're looking for a lawsuit, I believe seeqpod is the place you should be looking.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
That buyer was imeem, and they primarily wanted it for the audio filtering system and the catalog of millions of known tracks. imeem already has the most popular playlist site on the net, so boomshuffle was likely considered surplus to requirements and it came as no surprise to me when I started noticing blog posts from users asking where it had gone.
boomshuffle.com simply redirects to imeem.com
Did anyone have an account? I'm trying to find out if any notification was sent and whether existing account information was transferred to imeem. Given the surprise of users I'm guessing imeem simply switched the domain without any concern for users, or perhaps the majority of users simply hadn't signed up in any way that allowed them to be notified. Still you'd expect at least a transitional page on imeem explaining the situation and introducing them to the new awesomeness.
This seems like a particularly ham-fisted move by imeem, while imeem lets users do a whole lot more than boomshuffle ever did, the abruptness of this is likely to alienate users.
Searching for 'boomshuffle' on imeem.com returns a few playlists
I hate imeem "I want boomshuffle you fags"
Awesome - "what happened to boomshuffle?"
Garry's Mix - "Bring Back Boomshuffle"
So, I wish I could track former boomshuffle users and see how many choose to go to other playlist sites just to spite imeem.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The bizarre thing is, I don't really understand why Microsoft feels it has to shut these machines down, I mean it can't take a huge amount of horsepower to keep these old servers working, and Microsoft is hardly lacking in resources. There's probably some upgrade policy which is forcing the migration of hardware to new revisions of windows which just don't support the old DRM servers, and there's nobody working on keeping this old software up to date. There's probably some scary security holes in the old DRM server software which have never been patched and it's easier for Microsoft to betray those trusting pioneers who bought music from them 5 years ago, than it is to ask a few interns to keep the servers up to date.
Billy Bragg talked abou how musicians deserved a share of the Bebo acquisition price since they helped propel the site to its successful position, well I deserve part of the $260 million that Gracenote investors are getting. I contributed to CDDB in the early days, and I know I didn't agree to any license that let them use my hard typed keystrokes as part of a commercial enterprise.
So.... which company is next I wonder?
Update: I just realised something spooky, both Gracenote and Snocap built their audio fingerprinting technology on top of the software developed by Philips, I wonder if anyone else has licensed this, and whether they're up for sale?
The document also includes links to other sites which labels and artists can use to promote its music. Notably absent are the 3 biggest players - myspace, imeem and last.fm - sites which sonific has complained about in the past.
A message by Gerd Leonhard, Co-Founder & CEO
As a consequence of a the unworkable music licensing situation and the resulting lack of solid revenue modeling Sonific's founders and investors have decided to temporarily take Sonific.com and Sonific.net offline. While we are looking for other ways to realize our vision we are also open to talking to any interested partythat may have use for Sonific's user base, content relationships, technologies or distribution network (please contact us anytime to find out more). Together with some other partners, we may also investigate the concept of making Sonific a paid-for service that is provided to artists, record labels and other content providers on a white-label basis.Here are some background details on our decision:
1) There are countless startups providing access to any and all music streams without any license whatsoever. However, when we approached the major record label decision makers in order to obtain licenses for some of the music in their catalogs we have routinely faced demands for very large cash advances and fixed per-stream minimum payments, pressure to give them 'free' company equity, and requirements of utterly bizarre usage restrictions. It seems that the industry's major stakeholders still prefer this turf to remain unlicensed rather than to allow real-life, workable and market-based solutions to emerge by working with new companies such as Sonific. This is not the way forward.
2) We therefore had to realize that a company that wants to provide interactive streaming music services must either a) risk the constant complaints of their users, due to the lack of hit content b) proceed to use any and all music (this is routinely done by allowing users to upload their own MP3s) without the required licenses, and therefore be at the total mercy of the record labels at some point in time, and c) build a huge audience very quickly, based on having the content available - permission or not -, and then very quickly sell themselves to a large company that will take care of placating the labels while the money is plenty and the pockets are deep.
Unfortunately we don't like any of these choices.
The bottom line is that this industry is certifiably dysfunctional and that we do not see a plausible path to take at this time. We neither want to engage in so-called copyright infringement nor do we have millions of dollars available to buy our way in when it is abundantly clear that doing business under the existing rules of the major labels will simply amount to economic suicide.
Almost a billion people now use music to stream on their blogs, social network pages, home-pages and user profiles – this is indeed a veritable gold mine for music marketing and selling, and it can make serious money for artists and composers. Yet, the established players in the music industry are still looking to simply squeeze 'permission fees' from companies that want to serve this market, instead of building new opportunities together. Maybe, just like Radio over 100 years ago, a plausible conclusion may just be that this must apparently be done without permission while the industry catches up - but we shall leave this for others to explore
We want to thank all our partners and the many artists, independent record labels as well as the few major label new media people that dared to try us anyway, and the leading music aggregators that have provided the over 200.000 songs that Sonific has offered until now. We also want to thank our faithful users that played our music every day, and the over 80.000 people hat have signed up for our service, and we apologize for having to pull the plug on you. We hope to return in a different incarnation; please stay tuned via our blog.
Co-Founder & CEO
But now, if you really care to hear her attempt to cover the great Tom Waits it's on the front page of imeem.com, I've no idea if the takedown notices are still getting delivered to other sites.
Frankly I'm more surprised by it being Earth Day today, because I thought that was on Saturday....
Monday, April 21, 2008
There are a lot fo music sites right now from the tiny (mystrands, soundpedia) to the huge (imeem and last.fm) and from the old (napster, rhapsody) to the new (muxtape, mixwit). The proliferation of sites is similar to that seen during the first dotcom boom, and I can see that the next year is going to be make or break for most of them.
The established players, napster, rhapsody and last.fm probably aren't going anywhere, they've got solid backing and enough users and brand awareness. imeem is the biggest fish and it's backed by sequoia, but it could well find itself in second place if myspace gets its act together.
Many of the smaller sites are going to get folded into larger sites, but they're increasingly going to find it hard to compete with the massive, freely acessible, legal catalogs of imeem, last.fm and myspace. The dynamic will become increasingly content centric and sites without content aren't going to be able to hold much of an audience, except perhaps amongst users who hate flash widgets and advertising.
Those sites with content will either need paid subscribers or a ton of advertising.
This puts muxtape in an interesting position, right now it's the star of the blogosphere, but soon it will have a horrible disfiguring disease that will slowly change it and make it less attractive. The record labels will demand to get paid which means one or more of these things
1) Tons of advertising all over the site. This will piss off those design fixated bloggers who have been justifying its superiority over other sites by its minimalism.
2) Users will have to pay a subscription to post or to listen, this will piss off casual users.
3) Restrictions on what can be posted - no more Beatles for sure, and if the site wants to be cheap it might skip anything from major labels which will probably mean fewer ads or cheaper subscriptions. This will piss off everyone every time they try to add a track and find that it's not covered by the record deals.
Regardless of how fast muxtape goes I don't see it having a chance of getting major label content. They all want big advances - spiralfrog paid 3 million dollars for Universal, some sources suggest imeem's advance payments were more like 20million. So Muxtape will need this amount of cash on hand to negotiate, and I don't see any investor riding in to help it, by the time this is a possibility myspace music will be launched and both last.fm and imeem will be properly established. No investor is going to want to get into a market that crowded, especially when the primary appeal of the site is confined to
- Users who haven't heard of imeem.com
- Users who've heard of imeem but prefer the 'less is more' design
- Users who've heard of imeem and are annoyed that their beatles tracks turn into 30 second previews
So, if muxtape tries to go with the major labels it's going have to lose the advantage that it has with groups 2 & 3 to have a chance of being legal, and then there's no guarantee that it'll be able to do all this on day one, it could take months for them to get on board, during which muxtape with have a partial catalog and 2-3 other competitors with full catalogs.
So, muxtape will go where the bloggers are, and try to get profitable using only indie music, accepting a smaller slice of the pie, while perhaps hoping the music tax becomes a reality and gives them a chance of getting into the major label game without putting itself at a massive disadvantage.
So.... enjoy your muxtape while it lasts, it's not going to get sued out of existence, it's just going to die slowly as it turns into a clone of imeem.com
The SportsNetwork, a privately held sports website located in Hatboro, PA, has been under attack from hackers for about 24 hours. Early Sunday the site was defaced with “Tibet was, is and will always be part of China” messages. Engineers returned the site to normal, but late Sunday evening the site was again hacked and taken offline. The message in the image second above is now all that can be viewed on the site.
The site itself is relatively small, attracting just 264,000 visitors in February 2008 (Comscore, worldwide). But it also powers parts of other large sports sites such as CNN/SI. The domain sports.si.cnn.com, for example, is also down.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Youtube has such a grip on the market it hasn't worked particularly hard to provide anything better than 320x240 blurry vision. Dailymotion, Vimeo and others are now doing 720p but that hasn't helped them assault youtube's market share.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
muxtape takes simple to ridiculous extremes, only 1 'muxtape' per account, 12 track limit, and max file size of 10mb. However many of the people who are calling themselves fans of the site clearly think this has made the site better than all the others which have been around longer.
Or, reading the blog posts about the site it's more likely that they haven't actually heard of the other sites and muxtape is their first experience with the world of online mixes.
The site appears to suffer from poor browser support, failing completely on my firefox install. However there's no real security and all the files are stored in mp3 format on amazon's s3 elastic storage service so it's trivial to download the files from muxes... errr mixes that you like. Which is nice because the other services have made compromises on their content to protect themselves from legal action, actions which have soured opinions towards these more established sites. So if you want to download Beatles tracks then muxtape with a bit of help from its friends at Amazon have them all available for you.
I give the site a couple of months before it makes changes to protect itself and triggers a blogger backlash.
What is a social media site? Well it needs to combine media and social interaction, depending on your definition of media and social interaction you can include ancient web institutions like Usenet and BBS's. But I'm more interested in fancy schmancy media types like videos, music and possibly photos if the site is interesting enough.
The typical social media site I'm interested in covering is more media than social, to be honest the social side of things is converging to a model whereby site developers can tick the checkboxes for the social features they want. The interesting part is the media, how it's hosted, how it's discovered and also how the site's legal team handles the interesting issues surrounding copyright.
As it stands the biggest names in social media are closely identified with content -
Flickr => Photos
Youtube => Videos
Imeem => Audio
but there are plenty of other sites which are chasing these 3 with their own strategies, indeed, Imeem has only recently emerged as the frontrunner in the music space, but it's still a long way from the stature of the other two and there are many other sites gunning for it. The biggest threat to Imeem however is an old site in a new guise, myspace music is coming and Imeem will have a fight on its hands.
more to come.