June 11, 2004

Speaking of Business Models…. [4:37 pm]

Songs played and played and played

[W]hat many chart watchers may not know is that the predawn saturation in Nashville — and elsewhere — occurred largely because Arista Records paid the station to play the song as an advertisement. In all, sources said, WQZQ aired Don’t Tell Me as an ad at least 40 times the week ending May 23, accounting for more than one-third of the song’s airplay on the station.

The Don’t Tell Me campaign is part of the latest craze in record promotion, a high-pressure part of the music business in which the labels try to influence which songs reach the air.

[...] In the latest twist, it’s the radio stations themselves that have been reaching out to the labels, offering to play songs in the form of ads, often in the early morning hours when there tends to be an excess inventory of airtime. The practice is legal as long as the station makes an on-air disclosure of the label’s sponsorship — typically with an introduction such as “And now, Avril Lavigne’s Don’t Tell Me, presented by Arista Records.”

From Slashdot: Labels Find New Method of Payola

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AOL settles with Harlan Ellison [9:34 am]

AOL settles copyright claim

America Online settled a four-year lawsuit with author Harlan Ellison concerning the digital distribution of his works. Ellison’s suit had alleged that AOL allowed unauthorized distribution of his writings. The settlement was quietly announced earlier this week. The parties did not release the sum of the settlement.

Ellison originally claimed AOL was responsible for the appearance of his works on Usenet newsgroups, which were accessible through Internet service. A judge in 2002 said AOL was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the ruling was partially reversed by an appeals court earlier this year.

For background, see Appeals court says writer can bring copyright case against AOL

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Still Looking for a Business Model [9:29 am]

Big music stores squelch download plan

But mounting development costs, a glut of rivals offering bargain-rate services, and smaller-than-hoped-for sales across the online-music spectrum, even at Apple’s successful store, have led the big retailers to pull funding for the project, its founders say.

“The reality is that compared to all the retailers’ bottom lines, even Apple’s music sales are insignificant,” said Alex Bernstein, a co-founder and investor in the Echo project. “Our board repeatedly told us that.”

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NYTimes on Supreme Court [9:16 am]

A Troubling Dissent

Cases like these quite naturally invite skepticism. As the court learned in 2000, it does grave harm to its reputation if it appears to be deciding election-law cases for partisan advantage. In cases of this sort, the court must make a special effort to show that it is acting on the basis of legal principle, the only basis for a court to act. By departing from his deeply held belief in state autonomy to side with the Republican Party in a redistricting case, Chief Justice Rehnquist has once again invited the public to question this court’s motives.

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What’s Next [9:01 am]

From the MacWorld editor’s weblog: AirTunes: Where Does Apple Go Next?

Of course, when I really dug into the details of AirPort Express, the first thing I thought of was a handheld, iPod-like remote control that let you choose playlists, browse albums, and the rest — basically letting you do everything you could from iTunes, without having to walk over to a computer and pick up a mouse. At which point I had to ask myself: why not just stick AirPort inside the iPod and let iPods stream their music directly to AirPort Express-driven speakers? What better iPod-like remote control could there be?

Now, it may be a while before something like that happens. I do believe that, eventually, iPods will have either AirPort or Bluetooth (or both) built in — it makes too much sense, since it will allow music sharing and easy library syncing. But since the iPod battery only holds so much juice, going completely wireless with one doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now.

Not to mention the IP issues…..

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