The evolution of music has been marked by one singular concern: making music as personal and as individual as possible. Look at the development of music in the west. It began with concerts, where hundreds of people would collectively experience an orchestra or band playing pieces composed by men like Beethoven. The musical experience got even more personal with the invention of sound recording equipment and playback instruments like the gramophone. Now music lovers could appreciate music in the comfort of their own homes (well, at any rate, the cream of the society that could afford such devices could appreciate music in the comfort of their own homes…). Continue reading Clothing That Controls Your Music »
Have you ever been to a record store selling used and promotional copies? You’ll see many CD’s reading “For promotional use only – no reselling”. You probably had to think twice whether to buy a copy or not, wondering if it could be some sort of illegal sale. If you have ever bought a “Promo” CD before, you can rest assured that the FBI is not going to show up at your door and arrest you while your neighbors look on in horror.
Just recently, a higher court in San Francisco ruled that buying and selling of promo records is not in any way copyright infringement. Promo records are copies that are distributed by record labels, mostly to radio stations and some music critics, before the actual release date.
It was a big name in the music industry, Universal Music Group, that sued a California resident, Troy Augusto, about 4 years ago. The record label sued Augusto for allegedly reselling their promo CD on eBay. Similar actions would have been taken had the case favored UMG. Prior to suing Augusto, UMG’s standard practice was to send notifications to eBay with the objective of stopping the auctions. In court, Mr. Augusto firmly argued that he has the rights to sell the copies because he owns them, and stated that the First Sale Doctrine is applicable in his case.
The First Sale Doctrine dictates that if you own a book or recording which you legally acquired, you retain the right to do whatever you want with it. You can give it to a friend, have the library keep it, or sell it to a record store. This rule makes borrowing a book from library possible. Thus, it annoys publishers and music labels as their profitability opportunity is impacted.
The Supreme Court originally ruled when this doctrine was codified that anyone who has bought anything in these categories are given the full ownership as long as the products is not being copied or reproduced. This case clearly showed that there is a distinction between copyright sale and sale of copy, so buy with confidence!
You may have heard the rumors, which have been circulating for nearly a year now, that Google will launch its own digital music service which will involve a cloud-based digital locker. This service will enable users to store their music for a $25 annual fee.
Google has started reaching out to different record labels hoping that they will jump into the deal, which will allow them to share access to their music. Part of the deal involves a feature that would let online users to listen to and browse through an online store’s music selection without purchasing the tracks they like. Instead of downloading the music file, users will just store them in the “music locker” then listen to them later on.
Unlike the conventional way of purchasing music file which only allows a 30 seconds snippet preview; Google’s music service feature will friends of its subscribers listen to the purchased music files at least once without having to buy it themselves.
This idea of offering a digital storage locker is actually a retry of an initial attempt made by another company a decade ago: the MP3Tunes website, owned by Michael Robertson. He was the first to launch internet-based music services. At MP3Tunes,Robertson introduced a music service with online streaming, but his initial efforts landed him in a lawsuit with Universal Music.
Part of Universal Music’s lawsuit against MP3Tunes was emphasizing that the latter was violating copyright issues by acquiring music files illicitly. At present, MP3Tunes is battling another lawsuit with another record label, EMI, for the same sort of music copying charges.
Google’s attempt to connect the public to its cloud based music services would have been the first time since the failed attempt of MP3Tunes. While streaming providers like Rhapsody and MOG have invaded the industry of online music services, there are some features that users dislike. For example, most users still prefer to download the files onto their computer, so perhaps they have several reasons for not trusting the online locker concept.
Following MP3Tunes attempts to introduce online music locker to the public were Apple’s Lala, which would have been iTunes’ version of online locker. Lala has since ceased operation. Another similar service is Best Buy’s Napster.
Establishing another media service is Google’s way of expanding its social network. With the desire of record labels to continuously profit from online users, selling the rights remains impossible.
Google has tried every means to convince the big record labels to let them get in on the media industry. In fact, Google has contracted with a law firm to take care of the negotiations every step of the way. Whether the record labels would sign in the deal with Google or not remains a question to most of us.
One thing is for sure—the profit generated and projected for the music industry will never go away, hence the interest of record labels in retaining full control of the business. It will always be the music giants’ prerogative to protect copyrights of its artists, and as an extension, their own profits…so unless Google can accomplish those goals, maybe they shouldn’t hold their breath.
We all knew this day would come. The downfall of the compact disc was inevitable once technologies like MP3 players and streaming Internet radio started gaining consumer acceptance. It was only a matter of time before the industry realized the trends of our times and readjusted their distribution strategies. However, the demise of the compact disc, although in the making for at least a decade, is only starting to show visible signs. Sony recently announced that it would be shutting down one of its two compact disc manufacturing plants in the States and commented, in no uncertain terms, that the main reason for the closure was the increasing dominance of digital music distributed via the Internet.
The era of the compact disc is officially over. We have not used them for at least half a decade (my personal collection of CDs is gathering dust in a corner of my attic). They have ceased to be a part of our lives. Compact discs will join the likes of cassettes and vinyl records, collected by fringe enthusiasts and ignored by the rest of the general populace. Like most technologies that have outlived their purpose, compact discs will be remembered with nostalgia but rarely missed.
Truth be told, I’m a little surprised that it took this long to for the compact disc to be retired and for plants to be shut down. Officials at the plant linked the rise of the digital music and online piracy to the decision to shut the compact disc manufacturing plant down, and they are spot on. Personally, I have not bought a single CD in the last two years. Most of the music I want is readily available online. Additionally, I can pick and choose which tracks I want from an album and get other interactive features a compact disc simply cannot offer me. I don’t even know where my CD player is right now! Likewise, millions of other people across the world rely on their MP3 players today to satisfy their musical needs.
Whenever you feel excited, happy, angry, ridiculed or annoyed with someone or something, these days, it is so easy to express your frustration by sharing it with your friends and acquaintances online. Indeed, Twitter has made this form of “self-expression” incredibly popular; but like everything, it can be a double-edged sword in certain circumstances.
Twitter is currently in the spotlight because of the first high-profile defamation lawsuit to result from one user suing another for the “defamatory” content of their tweets. Courtney Love, a rocker and a Twitter user, has been sued by designer Dawn Simorangkir, also known as the Boudoir Queen. This legal action occurred after Love made personal remarks targeting the designer after Simorangkir demanded payment for some designer clothing that Love had rejected as unsatisfactory. As a result of this lawsuit, scheduled to go to court February 9, 2011, some Twitter users have become paranoid about their posts, fearing that what they Tweet could land them in legal hot water. Continue reading Sue Me With 140 Characters »
Are you the type who listens to a song just because it was done by your favorite artist? Or do you judge a song as a cool track because it really is – based on all the given factors? If you want to find good music, either from a branded or a yet-to-be-known artist, MTV Music Meter will make things easier for you.
The Music Meter helps you find the names of the artists who are currently making a buzz on the music scene. Music Meter artists may be newcomers or someone who has been there for a long time, but is just waiting for a platform to share their songs with the world. MTV Music Meter does not gauge popularity based on album sales alone; this is MTV’s way of providing an avenue to talents who play any genre there is. Music Meter let the world know what sort of talent an artist has and why many people are listening to his music. Continue reading MTV’s Music Meter – The Perfect Spot for Fresh Talent »
I still remember the day iTunes launched. For years, recording artists and their labels had been fighting to prevent Internet users from downloading music off the net. Record companies saw compact discs as the only legitimate way to distribute music. Although there were small online music initiatives like the legalized Napster, there were practically no feasible online outlets for downloading quality music. Apple changed that by launching iTunes and ushering the world into the new era of digital music.
Continue reading Opinion: Another Music Service Crushed by iTunes and the Industry »