Wendy Scores

In this MI2N news release, RIAA Finds Few Takers For Shamnesty, quoted below in its entirety:

The Recording Industry Association of America today announced that 838 of the 60 million Americans who file-share have accepted its “Clean Slate” offer. “At such a paltry uptake rate, the RIAA program looks more like a blank slate,” says EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer.

Price Elasticity of Demand?

According to a VH1 poll, Nearly 75% Of Music Buyers In A VH1 Poll Tell Music Industry: ‘It’s The Price, Stupid!’

The VH1 poll found that 89% of music buyers think that CDs are not priced fairly. Only 8% said that a CD priced in the $14-$17 range was a fair price. Nearly half, or 46%, said that $10-$13 was fair, while 43% said that $6-$9 was in the fair range. The survey reveals that other music labels should pay close attention to UMG’s price breaks. Close to half, or 48%, said they think the other music labels will soon follow suit with similar price decreases.

[…] Of those surveyed overall, 20% have ever downloaded music, while 11% have downloaded music in the past six months. Of those who have downloaded, virtually all are aware of the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) lawsuits against downloaders. But their responses indicate that price breaks are much more likely than the threat of lawsuits to get them back to the music stores.

Now, Geer’s Changing His Tune…

Not about the controversial report, but about his firing: Security Expert Geer Sounds Off on Dismissal [Slashdot discussion: Geer Comments On Firing From @Stake]

Officials at @stake, in Cambridge, Mass., flatly deny any connection between this fact and Geer’s firing and say that no one from Microsoft influenced their decision whatsoever.

But Geer isn’t convinced. The company said Geer’s last day as an employee was Tuesday, but the announcement wasn’t made until Thursday, the day after the paper was published. Geer went on a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning and identified himself as an @stake employee and added that the opinions in the paper were his own and not the company’s.

Best (as in, most characteristic) Slashdot comment:

A true math geek… (Score:2)

by dmayle (200765) on Wednesday October 01, @07:43AM (#7102263)

“The Venn diagram of facts doesn’t intersect. The intersection of all of those statements is the null set,” Geer said.

Ahhh, one of our own… 🙂

The Reg on The MA Software Proposal

The Register takes the Business Software Alliance to task on its recent critique of the reports floating around that the state of Massachusetts is thinking about mandating open standards in its next set of software purchases: BSA imagines open source policy, attacks mass.gov

CNet’s writeup seems to fall into the BSA’s rhetorical trap: Proprietary software–banned in Boston? After all, how exactly does this quote threaten proprietary software?

“We’re going to be evaluating all projects to ensure conformance to open standards as we move forward and to retroactively move legacy systems to open standards,” Kriss said. “We want to make sure what we build is interoperable and interchangeable, so that different applications can use the same data, so we won’t have to be constantly reinventing and rethinking basic functionality.”

Widespread Panic

I’ve been pointed to this Fortune Small Business article (be sure to check out the sidebar), How Panic Spreads [pdf,], which describes in some detail how a “Grateful Dead”-like business model works today.

What’s happening onstage at a Widespread Panic gig is only a small morsel from a big, flaky feast. Therein, dudes, lies the key to its ongoing profitability: In an era in which the piracy of recorded music has leeched away revenues, the band’s ability to turn live shows into its primary distribution channel may turn out to be the wisest of business decisions.

[…] Widespread Panic doesn’t sustain itself by selling a shrinkwrapped product. Like business consultants and tax attorneys, these folks make money only when they work–that is, up on stage providing “the soundtrack to this big party that’s going on,” as drummer Todd Nance puts it. Widespread Panic sells the experience of seeing its live performance, which is even airier than it sounds. “You’re calling nothing something, and you’re selling that,” explains John Bell, the band’s 41-year-old co-founder. “It’s like Seinfeld.”

[…] Making money from nothing is harder than it looks. The band’s company, Brown Cat, does have an official merchandising department (annual revenues: $500,000, with 20% margins) working out of its headquarters in Athens, Ga., selling everything from T-shirts to faux Georgia license plates.

[…] One group Widespread Panic won’t ever try to unplug is the amateur tapers. With the music industry suing individual fans for downloading songs over the Net, it’s jarring to see a special section at the band’s concerts reserved for these guys—right behind the soundboard, where they’re out of the way of most Spreadheads. (To get closer, tapers have been known to mount tiny microphones on their eyeglasses.) These fans, the logic goes, create new acolytes by sharing their CDs with them.

[…] Driving with Nance to the gig that afternoon, I ask him as we approach Red Rocks, Wouldn’t all these folks lining the streets explode into, well, widespread panic if they knew you were in the car? Not at all, he insists. To prove it, he turns and waves out the window. One fan, draped in tie-dye, smiles broadly and then—of course—points. “It’s not like we’re the Beatles or anything,” Nance says quietly. “Here, the band and the audience are responsible for each other’s existence.” Finally, I’m convinced he’s right.