December 11, 2006

Access & Creativity [4:07 pm]

Should be interesting… Mozart’s entire musical score now free on Internet - pdf

Mozart’s year-long 250th birthday party is ending on a high note with the musical scores of his complete works available from Monday for the first time free on the Internet.

The International Mozart Foundation in Salzburg, Austria has put a scholarly edition of the bound volumes of Mozart’s more than 600 works on a Web site.

The site allows visitors to find specific symphonies, arias or even single lines of text from some 24,000 pages of music.

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iPod:iTunes = 20? [8:03 am]

Although the article is written as if it were bad news for Apple, I’m sure that Apple’s happy the ratio goes this way; after all, the hardware side is the profitable side. It’s the RIAA who should be worrying: Sales of iPods and iTunes Not Much in Sync

Although both are successful, the relationship may not have worked out exactly as expected. At any given point, the cumulative number of songs sold by the iTunes store has generally been about 20 times the cumulative number of iPods sold, according to Forrester Research, the technology consulting firm. That ratio has recently crept up to roughly 22 to 1, as 1.5 billion songs have been sold. The figures were compiled from public statements by Apple.

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Fraud? Or Just Aggressive Online Selling? [7:57 am]

Plus, a picture of Ben Edelman! In Web Traffic Tallies, Intruders Can Say You Visited Them

Pop-up windows appear all over the Internet, including the Web site of The New York Times. But they are typically used as advertising to pitch a product or a service.

Entrepreneur.com’s pop-ups were unusual because they contained news content, like articles on how to start a small business, making them hard to distinguish from an intentional visit to Entrepreneur.com’s site. This hailstorm of pop-ups more than tripled Entrepreneur’s reported traffic before it was detected and factored out a month later.

The technique of using pop-ups to gain readers underscores just how important sheer numbers have become in the online media business. Advertisers are shifting their marketing dollars to the Internet, but the rates they pay are low compared with traditional media.

Consequently, publishers who have struggled for years to find a way to make money online are taking aggressive steps to get their Web pages in front of as many eyes as possible.

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Rent-Seeking Behavior [7:49 am]

Squeezing Money From the Music

As a recording that has sold modestly, but in an array of forms, Akon’s music illustrates the new definition of a hit in pop music — instead of racking up sales of half a million CD’s or more in the first week, it arrives with solid if less impressive sales, but with several revenue streams.

It is an example of the business model that the retrenching music industry is embracing as sales of the CD, its mainstay product for two decades, slowly decay.

As a result, the big record companies, whose fortunes are still overwhelmingly tied to CD sales, are taking a far more expansive view of how to carve out pieces of the music economy, which by some estimates runs as high as $75 billion, including recording sales, music publishing, concert ticket and merchandise sales and other sources of revenue.

Lately, the major labels have in effect tried to move into the talent management business by demanding that new artists seeking record contracts give their label a cut of concert earnings or T-shirt and merchandise revenue — areas that had once been outside the labels’ bailiwick.

[...] CD sales are still the single biggest source of revenue, and the picture there is mixed. The EMI Group of Britain, third largest of the four major record corporations, said in reporting its half-year results in November that recorded-music sales declined more than 5 percent, though a drop in CD sales and net prices had been “slightly” offset by digital revenue. The Warner Music Group, the No. 4 company, said that over all, recorded music sales for the fiscal year rose almost 3 percent, to $3 billion, and that digital revenue had more than offset the drop from CD’s.

Yet digital song sales are not fueling a recovery as quickly as some thought — in fact, sales have been sputtering. After rising 150 percent last year, sales of digital downloads have increased less than half as much this year.

[...] To show the promise of digital sales for individual albums, Warner Music executives provided cost-analysis data from a successful hip-hop record released in the last 12 months. The information was disclosed on condition that the performer not be identified in The New York Times.

According to the data, sales of the CD accounted for roughly 74 percent of domestic revenue the company took in from the project, or roughly $17 million. But sales of an array of digital products added almost $6 million — about two-thirds of that came from ring tones of hit singles. The figure also included roughly $330,000 from mobile phone games related to the performer and $94,000 in sales of cellphone “wallpaper,” or screen backgrounds.

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The Many Faces of Consumer Content [7:47 am]

  • Hottest Ad Space in Times Square May Be on Tourists’ Cameras

    As a result of the growing popularity of consumer-generated pictures, videos and e-mail messages on Internet sites like YouTube and Myspace, advertisers are getting consumers to essentially do their jobs for them.

    When Target, the discount store operator, suspended the magician David Blaine above Times Square for two days during the week of Thanksgiving, videos shot by viewers were posted on YouTube and viewed more than 19,300 times.

    “Times Square is becoming, in a way, a publishing platform,” said Peter Stabler, director of communication strategy for Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, an advertising agency that is part of the Omnicom Group. “What happens in Times Square is no longer strictly the province of location. You can experience things that are happening there, even if you’re not there.”

  • Music: 2006, Brought to You by You

    All that free-flowing self-expression presents a grandly promising anarchy, an assault on established notions of professionalism, a legal morass and a technological remix of the processes of folk culture. And simply unleashing it could be the easy part. Now we have to figure out what to do with it: Ignore it? Sort it? Add more of our own? In utopian terms the great abundance of self-expression puts an end to the old, supposedly wrongheaded gatekeeping mechanisms: hit-driven recording companies, hidebound movie studios, timid broadcast radio stations, trend-seeking media coverage. But toss out those old obstacles to creativity and, lo and behold, people begin to crave a new set of filters.

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Guess Who’ll Be Running the House IP Subcommittee [7:41 am]

Berman, copyright fan, to run key panel - pdf

It will be a comforting sound to the entertainment industry when Rep. Howard L. Berman pounds a key House subcommittee to order next month.

That’s because the Valley Village Democrat sometimes known as Hollywood’s congressman will be wielding the chairman’s gavel after his party takes control of Congress. The position will give Berman considerable sway over laws regulating the transition to digital media.

But Berman’s oversight of the Judiciary Committee’s panel on the Internet and intellectual property is likely to give a splitting headache to consumer electronics makers and public interest groups advocating unfettered use of digital content.

“There’s two problems with Howard Berman,” said John Palafoutas, the chief lobbyist for AeA, a high-tech trade group that wants fewer government restrictions on digital information. “One, he’s really smart. And two, he knows how to represent his constituents, which in this case is Hollywood.”

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