Unfortunately for OK Go, there's little to no chance that any of their music videos are going to go viral again and get 50 million hits, because as lead singer Damian Kulash puts it, "you can't embed diddlycrap." In an open letter to fans, Kulash offers up a lengthy explanation as to why the decision was made, why it sucks, and why it's a good thing (for some). Oh, and there's an apology thrown in there as well.
"We've been flooded with complaints recently because our YouTube videos can't be embedded in websites, and in certain countries can't be seen at all," Kulash starts off. "And we want you to know: we hear you, and we're sorry. We wish there was something we could do. Believe us, we want you to pass our videos around more than you do, but, crazy as it may seem, it's now far harder for bands to make videos accessible online than it was four years ago."
Kulash goes on to describe record labels as a sort of necessary evil which front all the money to distribute and promote albums, press CDs, make videos, and everything else that "adds up to a great deal more than we have in our bank account." So it's the labels' right to cash in everywhere they can. After all, "they need new shoes, just like everybody else."
That doesn't mean OK Go agrees with EMI's decision, and on the contrary, Kulash says, "It's a decision that bums us out. We've argued with them a lot about it," to no avail, obviously. So "in the meantime, the only thing OK Go can do is to upload our videos to sites that allow for embedding, like MySpace and Vimeo. We do that already, but it stings a little. Not only does it cannibalize our own numbers (it tends do do our business more good to get 40 million hits on one site than 1 million hits on 40 sites), but, as you can imagine, we feel a lot of allegiance to the fine people at YouTube."
Are you ready to rock? Because you'll be doing a lot of head-banging and dancing around once you've transformed every computer in your living area into a collective speaker system. Perhaps the better question remains unasked: Why would you do this? Because you can. Because you want to. Because it reverses the issue of having to connect to or stream from a central music repository (like an iTunes database) and instead allows you to push tunes out of a single music hub to anywhere you want to them to go.
Also, you want to do this because the app that makes this cacophonous symphony possible--SpeakerShare--is super-easy to use and well worth the small time investment you'll make. For the full details on this virtual conductor, check out the rest of the article after the jump.
No matter how many companies try, we're not sure USB flash drives preloaded with music or movies will ever generate the kind of sales marketing gurus envision, but Kingston and Sony, along with the help of the late king of pop, are nevertheless going to try.
Timed to the DVD and Blu-ray release of Michael Jackson's "This Is It," Kingston plans to release a limited edition 2GB drive with the flick preloaded on the memory stick. According to Kingston, the film can be backed up on up to three PCs and works with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
"Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is dedicated to exploring new distribution channels, and we are pleased to work together with Kingston on a program that introduces consumers to Flash memory as a vehicle for enjoying their favorite movies on devices like netbooks and PCs," said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment senior vice president digital distribution Joe Arancio.
The drive will be available on January 26 for $20.
If you're going to call something "iTunes Preview," it'd be nice to, you know, actually be able to preview songs, and now you finally can.
To get it to work, head over to iTunes Preview through Apple's iTunes Charts page. Once there, mash on any album or artist and then hover your mouse cursor over a track number. You'll now see a little play icon which, when clicked, results in a 30-second snippet.
There are some caveats. You'll to have iTunes installed, and you can't preview an entire album. Nor does iTunes Preview offer up samples of movies, TV shows, audio books, or anything other than music. Still, it's a start, and a badly needed feature if iTunes Preview was going to live up to its name.
Muziic developer David Nelson still isn't a household name. But this 16-year-old may be pitchforked into the limelight, in case the music industry chooses to confront him over his creation, Muziic, an app that streams YouTube music directly to the user's desktop. He and his dad, Mark Nelson, had launched the media player on February 25, 2009. The Muziic player, to its credit, not only spares users an otherwise mandatory visit to YouTube's website but also lets them search YouTube's vast music library, create playlists, and browse them with ample ease.
While Google gave the nod for Muziic to continue after the latter agreed to expand the size of its video player, the music industry has hitherto chosen to turn its sight away from the father-son duo and Muziic. All that changed on Monday, though, when Muziic expanded its service to include content from label-backed video service Vevo, and that too without any annoying ads. Vevo is operated by YouTube for the companies that own the service: Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI and Abu Dhabi Media Company. As if blocking ads usually displayed along with Vevo content wasn't enough, Muziic circumvents the site's North America-only limitation to add insult to injury.
Push has come to shove for the music industry and the consortium behind Vevo is in the mood for some action. Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff has asked David Nelson to pull the plug on Muziic's use of Vevo's content. "I kindly advise you to immediately cease the use of the Vevo Logo, trademark and any other references to our corporate name," Caraeff wrote in an e-mail meant for the Muziic founder. "With regards to the use of Vevo licensed videos...they are also being used directly without our consent...You can be assured that changes are being deployed to the API in question immediately, however I am still going to ask you directly to cease the use of Vevo videos from within your service." Nelson remains adamant that he has done nothing wrong. He insists that he hasn't taken “any actions to circumvent the delivery of 'pre-roll' advertisements.” He further contends that it is the Youtube API, which currently does not deliver any ads to Vevo content, that is at fault.
The major music labels hope Vevo will do for music videos what Hulu has done for movies and TV shows. In other words, become wildly popular.
Vevo will be a website for music videos and has the backing of co-owners Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment (Abu Dhabi Media Company also owns a stake). On Monday, Vevo announced it had signed up EMI as a video provider, which leaves Warner Music as the only holdout among the four biggest music labels.
"It will be a higher-quality experience around music and videos than anything else that's currently out there," Rio Caraeff, Vevo's chief executive, said in an interview.
Caraeff went on to say that Vevo would host 30,000 music videos by the end of the year, which will include original programs by artists for their fans.
On the technical side, videos will be hosted and streamed by YouTube. Vevo also plans to syndicate videos to a bunch of other sites, a la Hulu.
Reports today indicate that Apple is in talks to buy music streaming service Lala. Apple could be largely concerned with acquiring the technology or the people behind Lala. The streaming service has made a name for itself, but lacks a large customer base. Even with its recent inclusion in the Google music search tool, there are no indications that Lala is profitable. Apple’s massive music-buying customer base, could be just what Lala needs.
Lala currently offers users an opportunity to stream a song one time at no charge. Permanent access to that song will run 10 cents. Purchased tracks are not downloaded, but are rather stored on Lala’s servers. For 79 cents the tracks may be downloaded to the user’s computer.
Warner Music Group lost quite a chunk of change investing in Lala, so it will be surprising if Apple offers a large sum of money. However, if Lala could be integrated into the iTunes ecosystem as a subscription streaming service it could give Apple a huge source of revenue.
Update: Techcrunch is reporting the deal is done. New York Times reporter Brad Stone has tweeted that Apple has gone through with the deal and the NYT is updating their story. Stay tuned for more.
The internet music application everyone loves, Spotify, has released an app for Symbian phones. The new app was created in conjunction with UI design firm The Astonishing Tribe (TAT). The technology behind the new app has been used to produce a number of user interfaces across the mobile and desktop spaces. The Symbian platform is the most widely used mobile OS in the world at this time, so this entry was certainly overdue.
The release of this app means that the 250 million users of S60 devices running 9.2 or later can enjoy the Spotify service. “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Spotify to help realize their visions for a mobile version that can now reach hundreds of millions of music lovers that use Symbian based phones,” said Charlotta Falvin, CEO of TAT. Regardless of your feelings about Symbian, that’s more than can be said for US music lovers. Spotify is still only available in Europe.
Measuring the impact of illegal downloading on the music industry is a nearly impossible task that only seems to make the lawyers rich, but a new UK based study has concluded that illegal downloader's not only don't hurt music sales, they help. According to the survey which looked at the buying habits of about 1,000 16 to 50 year-old computer users, those that regularly downloaded music illegally also spent nearly 43% more per year through official channels than their legitimate counterparts. According to the UK Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson, this proves the shortsightedness of the new "Digital Economy Bill" set to become law next April which aims to boot any user off the Internet accused of downloading copyrighted material three times or more.
Peter Bradwell, from the think-tank Demos who commissioned the Ipsos Mori study agrees and claims, "The latest approach from the Government will not help prop up an ailing music industry. Politicians and music companies need to recognize that the nature of music consumption has changed, and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access." The UK music industry however remains unconvinced, and insisted that the figures cited in the study show a skewed picture. It turns out in fact, that nearly 61% of all illegal downloader's surveyed claim they would stop downloading illegitimate tracks if they were threatened with losing internet service for a month.
So will illegal downloader’s spend even more money on digital tracks if they get cut off from Bit Torrent's? Or does it help to create fans who would have otherwise spent less on music using traditional discovery methods. It’s an interesting debate, where do you fall on the issue?
The idea of dethroning Apple's iTunes service to lord over the domain of digital music downloads seems like a long shot at best, just don't tell that to BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster who has high hopes for its upcoming Sky Songs digital music service.
Perhaps rightfully so, as BSkyB has inked deals with several music suppliers, including EMI, Sony, Warner, and a bunch of independent labels. But unlike iTunes and its per-track business model, Sky Songs will be a subscription-based service charging subscribers a flat fee every month. This also differs from Spotify, which serves up free access to music but plays ads.
"[Sky Songs] will offer access to unlimited music as well as premium fan-oriented content, while ensuring our roster of artists are appropriately rewarded for their creativity," said Eric Daugan of Warner Music, Europe.
Sky Songs is expected to launch next week with two subscription options available. For £6.49, subscribers will be able to download and keep a single album or 10 songs but forgo unlimited streaming, while the £7.99 subscription ups the ante with unlimited streams and 15 individual downloads to keep.