Monday, August 4, 2008

snapshot 8/4/08

Social.FM is dead — 30+ music startups to go
Much more silently than it came into the world, music search and sharing site Social.FM has gone back out — leaving what users it had to retreat to Pandora, iLike or one of the other, more successful music sites on the Internet.

8tracks makes it easy to mix your own music play lists, and do it legally; 3,000 passes to early beta here
The music labels haven’t made it easy for unauthorized web sites to stream music on the web. But David Porter, the founder of 8tracks, has figured out a way around the copyright law obstacles to deliver a useful and legal sharing service to music fans.

New York-based 8tracks capitalizes on the same right that radio stations have to play live music over the air: it’s OK to stream recorded music over the web, as long as the user doesn’t know what song is coming next. 8Tracks uses this loophole, allowing users to create half-hour mixes of music and listen to streams of the music that they have created.

Yahoo offers coupons for music that stops working
Yahoo Inc. is offering coupons or refunds to users who find songs they bought inaccessible after Sept. 30, when the company shuts its music-download service. The company said Wednesday it is offering coupons on request for people to buy songs again through Yahoo's new partner, RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody. Those songs will be in the MP3 format, free of copy protection. Refunds are available for users who "have serious problems with this arrangement," Yahoo said.

Country Star Says Industry's CD Outlook Has Improved
"Almost exactly a year ago, I was in some meetings where distributors were planning within five years, and not speculating, but planning to be out of the CD business," says Kix Brooks. "It felt like within five years we would be in a purely Internet download world and a lot of major companies were shifting their networks to prepare for that download world and getting into the download business. And now, in the last couple of months, I've started to hear some backpedaling on that.

"It may be CDs are a format that may last longer than first speculated. I'm not su
re where that slowdown came from because it seemed like a year ago everybody was all prepared. It was full steam ahead, CDs were obsolete, and obviously the Sam Goodys and the ma-and-pa distributors of the world were going out of business right and left. But now for some reason you're hearing that Best Buy and Wal-Mart have said maybe there is some longevity to the CD format."

eMusic Tops 4 Million Tracks
eMusic says its worldwide music catalog has now exceeded four million track from more than 40,000 record labels with the majority available worldwide. Recent additions include reissue label Ace Records, New World Music, Load Records, classical label Delos and What’s Your Rupture, specializing in small-run vinyl releases.

In So Many Words... Survey Shows Spotty Lyrics Landscape
Consumers want more lyrics layered into their music-related purchases, according to a recent survey. The study was conducted by the National Year of Reading, a campaign created by several literacy-focused companies in Britain. According to the consortium, 90 percent of music fans feel that lyrics provide a deeper appreciation of music, though 50 percent feel that less lyrics are easily accessible than five years ago.

But what about the massive collection of lyrics online? On that point, a strong majority of fans complained that most sites contain spotty or inaccurate lyrics listings. That is an issue being combated by players like Lyricfind, Gracenote, Yahoo, and RealNetworks, though the impact of those companies appeared limited amongst the survey participants.

Blockbuster Adds DVD Vending Kiosks; 50 Machine Pilot; Redbox Numbers
Blockbuster has expanded its earlier partnership with NCR, and will be deploying about 50 DVD rental kiosk machines in a pilot test...this expands on their earlier announced separate deal for download-only kiosks which are being tested in Dallas area. The DVD-rental only kiosks will start to appear in the third quarter, with full deployment by the end of 2008...down the line, these kiosks will add DVD buy and downloads as well, the companies said. “Looking beyond this initial deployment, our mutual goal is to have 10,000 kiosks installed within 18 months,” said Bill Nuti, NCR CEO said in the release. No details on locations or pricing was release for now, though I would think the locations won’t be BB stores, but malls or grocery stores.

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