Tuesday, August 5, 2008

snapshot 8/05/08

Sony goes solo as Sony BMG disbands
Sony Corp has agreed to purchase Bertelsmann's 50 percent stake in their Sony BMG music joint venture for around $900 million, ending a four-year venture that never lived up to its promise. Sony said in a statement on Tuesday that Bertelsmann will also get $300 million of the cash on Sony BMG's balance sheet, valuing the deal at around $1.2 billion.

New Metallica Album To Arrive On A Friday
Like its predecessor "St. Anger," the new Metallica album, "Death Magnetic," will be released worldwide off-cycle on Friday Sept. 12 via Warner Bros. No reason was given for the switch from a traditional Monday/Tuesday release; in 2003, the group's label claimed Friday was chosen to prevent pirated copies of "St. Anger" from entering the marketplace.

iTunes maintains stranglehold on US music sales
Apple's chief competition is Wal-Mart, which has traditionally sold a high volume of CDs through its big-box retail chain, and has branched into both physical and digital online sales. The same is true of third-place contender Best Buy, but online-only vendor Amazon has risen from fifth place to fourth, based largely on its popular MP3 store. NPD also notes that while online CD sales are in decline, demand remains greater than for retail purchases.

Disc Makers Acquires CD Baby
I chose Disc Makers as the new owner because their president Tony Van Veen has been one of my favorite people for years, and I always felt they’d do a better job of running CD Baby than I would. The CD Baby staff, location, name, and everything else will stay the same, but I think you’ll start to notice more attention given to improvements that help you sell more music.

Disc Makers is a a full-service CD replicator with locations in nine locations in the U.S. and one in Puerto Rico.

CEA mulls standards for MP3 players, more
The Consumer Electronics Association is considering implementing technical standards for handhelds and other home electronics, according to an announcement late yesterday. The organization says it has formed a discussion group that would gauge interest in a cross-platform standard that would ensure digital cameras, GPS navigators, MP3 players, and video screens all obey a certain minimum standard for integrating with other devices in the home.

DVD manufacturing-on-demand rollout delayed
Despite expectations of large-scale pilot tests and a commercial rollout this year of kiosks that would save retailers aisles of shelf space while offering thousands of movies and TV shows on demand, technical and economic challenges have led to a shakeup among DVD manufacturing-on-demand players that is likely to push most retail launches back into 2009. Walgreen’s, which was expected to do a large pilot test at stores this year, has been forced to delay those tests until 2009 after TitleMatch, the kiosk company it was working with, essentially shut down.

Polar Frog Digital has pulled its kiosks from most retail locations after a year of pilot tests at airports, hardware stores and drugstores as it reworks its business model. The digital kiosk company has formed an exclusive partnership with technology company Nero for its liquid media technology. Nero’s technology will allow Polar Frog to make its kiosks one-stop shops where consumers can burn movies, TV, music and books to DVDs and CDs or download them to flash drives and USB devices, CEO Todd Rosenbaum said.

Data-mine Elvis: Yahoo opens music interface
Yahoo has released an API (application programming interface) that lets outside Web sites automatically extract information such as top 10 lists from the Yahoo Music site. For example, a programmer can use the service to search for the numeric ID that Yahoo gives a particular musician, then use that ID to retrieve all the albums by that artist or to retrieve a list of artists Yahoo deems similar, according to self-described Yahoo music nerd Jim Bumgardner on the Yahoo Developer Network blog. The item ID for a particular video can be used to retrieve a thumbnail image for the video or the video itself.

Escape iTunes With the TuneClone Audio Converter
TuneClone Audio Converter has come to the rescue! You can use this to move your library of M4P DRM protected music to the MP3 format that you can use on any player out there worth its salt. This is a useful tool for anyone looking to break their relationship with the iPod. This software does cost $34.95 to register but that price does give you what appears to be a full feature application. The best part is that it maintains all of the music file’s metadata. DigitalMediaOnline has a nice little tutorial that shows how it works.

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