Eight groups, including Google and Amazon, have submitted applications with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to be the exclusive operator of the .music domain. Five difference groups have applied for .tickets and dozens more are vying for top-level domains related to media and entertainment.
The identities of the groups vying for the .music and other generic top-level domains (gLTD) were part of ICANN's unveiling Wednesday of 1,900 applications for new gLTDs (which cost $185,000 to submit). A gLTD is an Internet domain name extension, such as .com or .org. ICANN has developed its generic top-level domain program to increase competition and introduce new gLTD's into the Internet's addressing system. Only 22 gLTDs are currently in the domain name system right now and another 280 are reserved for countries.
The groups that have applied for .music are: Google (apparently under the name Charleston Road Registry), Amazon (under the name of consultancy Valideus), dot Music Limited, DotMusic/CGR E-Commerce Ltd., DotMusic Inc., Donuts, Far Further (under the name .music LLC) and Entertainment Names Inc.
The operator of the .music registry could hold considerable power in digital music. The domain register could grant or withhold a .music domain name based on its views of an entity's adherence to copyright law and respect for intellectual property rights. A commercially-minded company like Amazon or Google could build upon its .music registry by becoming a hub of artist pages powered by its ecommerce tools.
A couple of .music applicants appear to have an edge. One of them is Far Further. Founded in 2008, Far Further has an executive staff filled with industry veterans, including Loren Balman, John Styll, John Frankenheimer and Ralph Simon. According to its website, Far Further is working with a host of music industry associations such as the RIAA, the National Music Publishers Association, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Independent Music Companies Association (Impala) and the Recording Academy.
An organization called .MUSIC - not to be confused with the all-lowercase gLTD .music - has won the backing of government bodies around the world, the International Association of Music Information Centres and companies such as distributors the Orchard and INgrooves Fontana. ".MUSIC's priority is to make the .music domain widely available to the global music community while balancing the needs for inclusiveness and security," said .MUSIC founder Constantine Roussos in a statement.
The five groups to have applied for the .tickets gLTD are: Shubert Internet, Dot Tickets Limited, Accent Media, Tickets TLD LLC and Atomic McCook, LLC.
Dot Tickets has applied for the .tickets gLTD to give legitimate status to ticketing sites. "Ticket fraud is the scourge of the live entertainment business, and causes great distress and hardship to the consumers who are caught out," founder Steve Machin said in a statement. "We believe that our unique .tickets proposal, which is already attracting widespread industry support, is an independent and open structural solution that can be controlled, trusted and communicated simply and consistently to ticket buyers worldwide."
Applications were received for other gLTDs specific to entertainment: .audible, .audio, .film, .guitars, .media, .movie, .play, .radio, .show, .studio and .video. ICANN will conclude initial evaluations by December of January that determine whether applicants have passed or failed a set of criteria. If two or more applicants remain, ICANN will give priority to the most community-based applicant. ICANN reserves an auction as a last resort.