Business Matters: Rhapsody, MetroPCS Partnership Excludes Warner Music Group
Business Matters: Rhapsody, MetroPCS Partnership Excludes Warner Music Group

Rhapsody, MetroPCS Partnership Excludes Warner Music Group
-- Warner Music Group is a holdout in the Rhapsody-MetroPCS bundle r eported Wednesday at, according a report by CNET. That means subscribers who get the free subscription to Rhapsody won't be able to access the major label's catalog.

The partnership allows MetroPCS to offer a Rhapsody account to subscribers for its $60 per month unlimited data plan who uses an Android phone. MetroPCS also offers a $40 and $50 data plan. Like Cricket, which has created its own music service that's bundled with mobile plans, MetroPCS does not require its subscribers to enter into annual contracts.

Warner has a reputation for holding its catalog back from some digital platforms, although to be fair there's never a guarantee all four majors will share the same sentiment about a music service. Warner pulled its catalog from YouTube back in 2008 (Universal Music Group did the same with MTV Networks' websites last year) and returned after nine months of negotiations. It is the only one of the four majors who does not distribute its music videos through Vevo (EMI licenses content to Vevo but it not an investor in the venture). And Warner was reported to be the final holdout in the U.S. version of Spotify.

Dar.FM: Like Tivo For Internet Radio
-- Michael Robertson, founder of, has launched the finished prototype of (it stands for digital audio radio). It's like Tivo for Internet radio. is currently free of charge, and users get 2GB of free storage space. A premium account gets more storage space. Costs range from $4.95 month/$39.95 year for 50 GB to $12.95 month/$139.95 year for 200 GB.

The early version allowed users to record audio from about 500 radio stations and 1,500 shows that are broadcast over the Internet. As Michael explains at his blog, it's not easier to find stations at the service. " is not just a useful digital recording service but is now also a radio discovery site where it's enlightening to browse through the categories of shows. There are more than 16,000 radio shows in the system from auto racing (38 shows) to wine (8 shows). Each is recordable with a single click on the red record button."

In the past this business model might have got an entrepreneur in hot water. But over the years, the legality of time-shifting has been protected by the courts. is no different than recording a TV show onto a set-top box like a Tivo that has an internal hard drive. Nor is it any different than recording a TV show onto a remote digital server, a service now offered by cable companies. Refer to
(Michael Robertson blog)

Rob Levine's 'Non-Politically Correct Opus'
-- "Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back," the new book of former Billboard executive editor Robert Levine, is out now in the U.K. and will be released in the U.S. October 25. It has received a smattering of reviews from major outlets and blogs, and all I've seen have been positive. The Financial Times called it "a nuanced case for the other side of the argument" (the pro-technology side of the copyright debate that is typically covered by mainstream media and blogs). The Guardian called it a "fascinating" "non-politically correct opus."

A few blogs have written reviews, also. Music attorney Chris Castle called "Free Ride" a "a must-read for all policy makers and indeed all professional creators." The Copyhype blog writes "ends an air of hope to the idea that creative industries can thrive online."

Musician Coaching: 'Context Is King'

-- Musician Coaching has a great feature called "10 Things To Know Before You Launch a Music-Based Company" by Bill Wilson, NARM's VP of Digital Strategy and Business Development. I'm highlighting #9, "Context is King," which in my opinion explains why NPR is such a powerful promotional channel. You just don't hear an artist's song on NPR, you actually learn about the artist and the making of the recording. That's why people love learning about new music at NPR.

"Context is King. Artist? Album name? Song title? Music isn't just about those three things. There's a story in who produced the album, side musicians, additional songwriters and other information. Artists in the studio need to keep track of these details because the products will be based on deeper and deeper levels of information. A picture isn't just pretty; it's a wealth of information that can be used to drive people to an artist. Who's in that picture? What are they playing? What are they wearing? Amazing discovery experiences such as the 955 Dreams History Of Jazz App on the iPad use artist context to build immersive apps that lead to content purchase."

Wilson also gives some other good but occasionally ignored advice, including: don't forget there are two rights (recording and composition) for every song; fair use is not a good foundation for a business model; and be mindful of correct metadata.
( Musician Coaching)