April 16, 2005

Followup: How To Screw It Up [7:02 am]

From BusinessWeek Online, followup to this: Wireless Outfits Will Face the Music [pdf]

In recent years, cell-phone carriers have been gleefully astonished by the popularity of ringtones. These electronic snippets of sound have sparked a lucrative, multibillion-a-year trend, as people — mostly younger people — fork over $3 or more to get personalized rings on their cell phones. So you can’t blame carriers for taking what seems like a bigger, even more lucrative step: Selling real songs, rather than digitally copied bits of them. As Dennis Strigl, CEO of Verizon Wireless, told BusinessWeek, “We have a tremendous opportunity to make a big impact in music.”

[...] Since carriers are trying to define their services by the thing they’re uniquely positioned to do — deliver songs over the air — they’ll have a hard time delivering to varied devices. That much is clear from what BusinessWeek Online has learned about the initial services in the works from big U.S. carriers. Songs will likely cost $2 or more — twice the price on iTunes — and you’ll probably be able to hear them only on your phone.

Another problem: “If you listen to music on your cell phone for a few hours on the way to work and find that the battery is dead when you get there, that’s not a good experience,” says Jonathan Sasse, president of iRiver, a leading maker of MP3 music players.

[...] “From the consumer’s point of view, it would be a great idea to have a phone with iTunes capability,” says former Wall Street analyst Phil Leigh, who now runs the Web site Inside Digital Media. “But the carriers don’t really care — because they just want to make some revenue. I think it’s unfortunate that they’re taking such a narrow point of view.”

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Bush backs tough TV decency laws [4:58 am]

Mis-statement? Or pending agenda? Bush backs tough TV decency laws

President George Bush has expressed support for decency standards being applied to US cable and satellite TV.
Speaking at a newspaper convention, Mr Bush backed the idea, aimed at helping parents to decide what their children should watch.

A White House spokesman said Mr Bush was only backing a proposed law which failed to clear Congress last year.

The failed law, which called for increased fines for broadcasters, would have only applied to network TV.

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Really “Invested” In The Technology [4:52 am]

IPod Devotees Rocked By Thefts

The burglar visited every room of Sara Scalenghe’s Northwest Washington apartment, stealing an expensive digital camera and a gold necklace passed down from her grandmother. But Scalenghe did not begin seething until she confirmed her biggest fear: Her new iPod had been swiped, too.

[...] “I know it sounds silly, but it changed everything. I was really upset,” said the 34-year-old graduate student. “I can’t explain it. But it hurt.”

Across the Washington area, thefts of digital music players are rising, police say, putting Scalenghe and others through the emotional trauma of losing something that has become an increasingly important and personal part of their lives. Victims said they felt the thieves got an illicit glimpse at their musical tastes and even their “souls.”

[...] Other victims also spoke of their digital music players as though they were as precious as jewelry. [...]

[...] Experts said they are not surprised that victims are reacting so strongly, because people often form special bonds with music.

“Everybody has a lot of memories they associate with music, and musical taste is usually very important to people,” said Anita Boss, a forensic psychologist in Alexandria who has counseled crime victims. “You actually have a piece of identity theft here.”

She added: “Anytime something is stolen that is so personal, victims are going to have a reaction like that. It’s not the same as stealing a coat.”

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