Music Business

September 21 2009 - 10:08 pm

Music Publishers vs Record Labels

Just so you know, there really is a difference between the music publishing industry and the music recording industry: Millions Owed by Labels to Publishers.

September 6 2009 - 10:17 am

A Taste of Music Publishing

If you want to get an idea of what music publishing is like--and how it is not like the recording industry--read this NYT article that profiles Martin Bandier, chief executive of music publisher Sony/ATV. The article's accompanying photo may be all you need to see. And this: So it’s come to pass that after decades of playing second fiddle to the much bigger and brighter stars in the industry’s recording business, music publishing is on a roll. It is, as its executives like to say, a business of pennies and nickels, but that small change generates $3 billion in annual revenue, throws off enviably predictable streams of cash and has caught the eye of private equity firms and large institutional investors who are snapping up catalogs of stars like Frank Sinatra and Madonna.

September 5 2009 - 8:01 pm

NMPA Sues Motive Force

Motive Force LLC is behind LyricWiki. From an August 27, 2009 article in Ecommerce Journal: "The suit against LyricWiki [by the National Music Publishers Association] also states that the site "knowingly assist[s] and induce[s] third-party software developers to distribute copies of lyrics from Plaintiff's Songs to consumers' computers and personal media player." However, earlier this month [LyricWiki's] Sean Colombo published a letter on the LyricWiki API Developers Google Group telling developers that licensing agreements with big music publishers meant that the company could no longer add programmatic access to LyricWiki's collection."

Music publishers have waited way too long to do this and it'll be the whole RIAA thing all over again. The music publishing business may be bigger profit-wise than the recording business (and after all, before recorded music, publishing was "The Music Industry") so they've got time and resources to seriously entrench on this.

August 8 2009 - 11:08 am

LyricWiki Busts Its API

If you run an application or script which uses LyricWiki to supply lyrics (such as Lyrics Via LyricWiki) you will probably see this message instead of the lyric results you expected:

Unfortunately, due to licensing restrictions from some of the major music publishers we can no longer return lyrics through the LyricWiki API (where this application gets some or all of its lyrics)...(Please note: this is not the fault of the developer who created this application, but is a restriction imposed by the music publishers themselves.)

I could have guessed this clampdown from publishers was coming.

July 27 2009 - 1:17 pm

Project Cocktail

The news about Apple working with the music labels to "stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads" is interesting, but these so-called "interactive" downloads are not new. As I recall, there have been several available from the iTunes Store, usually as part of larger "box" sets. They open in QuickTime and have virtual pages and hot links and they're pretty cool, depending on how they are designed.

Although I don't think it likely, wouldn't be surprised if DRM was part of the "talks".

January 6 2009 - 2:12 pm

8 Million DRM-Free Tracks

Apple announced today at the Macworld keynote that 8 million tracks from the iTunes Store will be available DRM-free, with more to follow in March.

June 10 2008 - 12:23 pm

AOL Radio on Safari

The NYT notes that AOL Radio now works with Safari on the Mac. Additionally, the service adds all 140 CBS-owned radio stations. I've been checking it out and, while online radio isn't exactly my thing, it ain't bad.

May 22 2008 - 1:28 pm

Napster MP3 Review at TUAW

TUAW has a pretty thorough review of the new Napster MP3 store. Apparently kinda klunky.

May 13 2008 - 9:41 am

HBO Shows On iTunes

This is huge.

Balk all you want about the $2.99. The thing is that Apple has negotiated a variable pricing structure. And the structure is this (take note NBC); some shows are $1.99 and some very well produced and high-quality programs are $2.99. Does NBC have anything on its roster matching the quality of HBO's $2.99 product? Laffs on you, NBC. You want to come back, your shows are only worth 1.99, take it or leave it.

April 24 2008 - 11:12 am

Plays For Sure Sure Won't

I am not a fan of subscription services, if only because the idea of paying and paying for music just doesn't make any sense to me. I just can't get over that hump, like Dan Frakes and Chris Breen have, for example.

Well now the chickens have come home to roost.

"Microsoft ends support for tracks purchased from MSN Music - Microsoft is once again causing problems for its customers, closing down support for tracks purchased under its failed 'PlaysForSure' campaign.

The company is warning customers - who paid good money for music using the now defunct MSN Music service - that it will no longer supply authorisation keys for the tracks they bought.

What this means is that after 31 August, music fans who want to shift their sounds from one computer to another will be blocked from doing so. It also means that once all five Windows PCs a user can have authorised for music playback have failed, they will lose their music."

Explain to me, without using the phrase "yeah, but", how any subscription service can work in perpetuity without either failing or costing its subscribers a boat-load of money.

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