Monday, August 18, 2008

snapshot 8/18/08

Report: Fees may sink Pandora soon
Tim Westergren, the founder of popular Web radio start-up Pandora, has said in an interview with The Washington Post that his company may be close to a shutdown. "We're approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision," Westergren said in the article, published Saturday. "This is like a last stand for webcasting."

The problem, he explained, is last year's royalty hike for Web radio, which makes it extremely expensive for an independent start-up to stay afloat in the business. The royalty increase will eat up 70 percent of Pandora's $25 million in revenue, Westergren said.

GNR's 'Democracy' To Be Retail Exclusive?
But some concrete signs are finally emerging that the album's release could be imminent. That's because, according to sources, negotiations are underway for "Chinese Democracy" to come out as an exclusive at one of the big boxes -- either Wal-Mart or Best Buy.

Wal-Mart to sell new AC/DC album exclusively
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said rock band AC/DC will sell its new album exclusively at namesake and Sam's Club locations in the U.S. The move - which makes the veteran rockers the latest artist to sell a new album only through Wal-Mart - highlights the company's growing music-industry clout.

The AC/DC deal, however, comes at a time when the retail giant - the largest seller of compact discs in the nation - is signaling that it may rock the music world by stocking fewer CDs. Such a move is part of a trend that would further accelerate the already-steep decline of CD sales as consumers make the transition to digital music. The album, called "Black Ice," will be available at the discount retailer's stores and Web sites Oct. 20, as well as on the band's Web site. It is AC/DC's first album of all-new material in eight years and will be priced at $11.88.

Topspin Delivers Byrne Eno Exclusive Album
Topspin's technology puts to the test starting today as they provide the technology behind the exclusive delivery of the first David Byrne & Brian Eno collaboration in 30 years. "The album is available exclusively from this Web site. You can stream all of the songs for free and purchase it in a variety of digital and physical formats, including a limited edition Deluxe Package designed by Stefan Sagmeister. All formats can be downloaded immediately and physical CDs will be shipped in the Fall." One track is available for free with options priced from $8.99 to $69.99; all include an immediate 320 kps mp3 album and booklet download. The site also offers free streaming of the entire release via this viral player...

CinemaNow downloads now playable on Macs
CinemaNow announced today it has signed a deal to use Widevine Technologies' multi-format digital rights management and copy-protection technology to make CinemaNow's video downloads playable on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. The technology also enables CinemaNow to stream movies to users through the Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari and Opera browsers.

The move could help the company wrestle market share away from Apple iTunes, which dominates the paid digital video business. Up to now, iTunes has been the only download service to sell major studio movie downloads playable on Apple computers and PCs.

Legal P2P Music Service Doomed to Fail
If you can’t beat pirates, join them. This is Playlouder’s philosophy, a music download service that allows subscribers to download music from BitTorrent and other filesharing networks, while reimbursing the copyright owners. The concept sure is interesting, but the current setup is naive, flawed and doomed to fail.

Playlist my way? Not quite.
At first glance, Universal Music's new "Playlist Your Way" program may look like the company is finally catching on to one of the things that fans and digital music mavens have wanted for a long time: options. The company plans to sell greatest hits CDs from artists across a variety of genres which come with a card that lets the consumer download a 15-minute biographical podcast about the artist—basically, audio liner notes. The consumer also gets 6 additional tracks by the same artist "and/or" a studio album of his or her choosing.

The download card also features two digital music offers related to that artist: Consumers may choose six additional tracks and/or a full-length original studio album. With "Playlist Your Way," fans can complete their own "greatest hits album" or their music collection for that artist with physical product and/or digital downloads.

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