by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 3rd 2011 8:07pm
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 3rd 2011 3:55pm
from the thank-goodness-for-little-things dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 19th 2011 5:20am
from the time-to-step-up dept
The modern version of that is the wholesale commoditizing of music catalogs by the labels who create licensing deals with the streaming music services. Those actions in turn further homogenize the streaming music service systems as the services only have access to the same catalogs – there is no differentiation. Artists get pennies, or less than a penny, when someone streams their song, and the listener gets advertising in the stream unless they pay to escape the ads.I agree that we haven't yet seen all that much that's really innovative in music, but I'm not as worried about it as Dave. As I noted about the SF MusicTech conference (where Dave moderated a panel on exactly this subject), it really felt like we'd finally gotten past the doom and gloom and started looking at the real opportunities in the music business today. I think that much of the lack of innovation is because pretty much anyone who has really tried to innovate has been shot down by lawsuits. Seriously. The second you do something marginally innovative that starts getting attention, a major label comes up with an excuse to sue, mainly to regain some amount of control. So these clone music services are, in part, a reaction to all of that. The reason they all look the same is because they now know what it takes to fall into line and not get sued.
Music streaming on the web is not a Big Idea, it’s simply a lack of intellectual vision and thinking. Worse, it has advanced the “passive listening” experience. It’s just terrestrial radio dumped on to the web in other words – including advertising....
The bottom line is that there is no differentiation at the end of the day between Mog, Rdio, Spotify, Rhapsody, and all the others too numerous to mention, if they all have the same music catologs – widgets and tactics don’t count.
But I don't think that's a problem for the next wave of innovation in the space. Yes, many of these services effectively replicate radio on the internet today. But when you look through history, that often is the first wave of history when dealing with new media. You take the old media and move it to the new platform. It takes a generation or two before people start to recognize that the new media has special or different characteristics that really let you do something unique and new. Then it takes a little while before people start figuring out what that is. It's why I'm excited about things like Turntable.fm. Whether or not it's really the next generation offering that becomes a success story, it is a sign that people are finally starting to branch out and try things that are unique and different and really only possible on the medium of the internet.
In fact, while I'm a fan of Spotify and Pandora, since playing with Turntable.fm, I always feel sort of disappointed that I can't merge the three. Spotify has a huge collection, and I'd love to be able to move my playlists directly into Turntable.fm, or use Pandora's matching engine to find similar songs to what I'm playing or what others are playing within Turntable.
So I think we're just entering the very beginning phase of real innovation in the music service market space. The companies here today may or may not survive. Or maybe they'll drive the changes and come up with the next great innovations themselves. But it's still early in the game.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 4th 2010 10:46am
from the cheaper-to-settle dept
Earlier this year, however, Sharing Sound sued a whole bunch of companies over these patents. Included was Apple, Microsoft, Napster, Rhapsody, BDE (Kazaa), Sony, Sony/Ericsson, Amazon, Netflix, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble and Gamestop. Late last week, the news came out that Apple had settled and paid up. Along with that, people noted that most of the other companies had already settled.
I defy anyone to explain how this patent is a valid patent. The folks at M-CAM broke down a whole bunch of prior art when the lawsuits were first filed. Anyone who was anywhere near the online web store world for digital content would look through the (very, very, very simple) claims in the patent and just laugh. There's no "invention" there at all. It's a joke.
So why did so many companies settle? The easy guess is that the settlement terms were simply less than going through with the lawsuit. Lawsuits are expensive, even over totally bogus patents. So it's often just easier and cheaper to pay up. Of course, now that gives Sharing Sound more ammo to say "look at all these big companies who settled" when they continue to go after lots of other companies. This is a perfect example of how bad patents still "win" lawsuits.