Sony Corp. USA To own 38% of EMI Music Publishing, No Official Word on Staffing

Sony Networks Are Still Down, But Music Unlimited Promo Tour Rolls On

-- At the same time an Amazon Web Services outage wreaked havoc on websites and Internet services last week, Sony's PlayStation and Qriocity networks were experiencing unrelated outages of their own. Sony's video and music streaming services operated on the Qriocity network. Both networks were taken down Wednesday night. On Saturday Sony blamed the outage on an attack by an unidentified group of hackers. Both were still down at press time on Monday.

The timing of the outage is unfortunate since Sony's Music Unlimited promo tour continues this weekend with a show at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville. In addition to performances by Show Dog/Universal group Carter's Chord and Black River Music Group artist Sarah Darling, the Music Unlimited service will be on display for guests. An event is planned for Miami's Aventura Mall, according to the Qriocity website. The date and featured guest have not yet been announced.

Four other Q Music Unlimited events have taken place in the U.S. in April: DeVotchka played the House on Blues in Chicago, Natasha Bedingfield performed at the Sony Store at Century City Mall in Los Angeles, Big Boi played Irving Plaza in New York and G. Love performed at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto.

"We will spend a lot of money to market this and explain it to customers," Sony Network Entertainment president Tim Schaaf told Billboard at the Midem conference in January.

Ironically, the current outage has put Qriocity back in the public's attention for the first time since its launch.. According to Google Trends, the word "Spotify" gets 12.5 times the search requests in the U.S. as the word "Qriocity." Spotify also dominates news reference volume except for a couple Qriocity spikes related to the initial announcement and the launch in the U.K. and Ireland in December.

In fact, Qriocity has had quite a curious rollout. Little attention has been given to the service thus far in spite of a steady stream of press release mentions and the current road show (which is reminiscent of the live events hosted by Microsoft to get its Zune portable media player and music service in front of music lovers). In a day and age when online word of mouth is vital to digital products and services, Qriocity is practically mum. Its Twitter account has 96 followers but has not made a single tweet. Its Facebook page has generated a mere 190 likes.

Launched back in February, Qriocity is an on-demand movie and music service. Movies are purchased on a pay-per-view streaming basis. Music is purchased on a monthly subscription basis for either $3.99 (for non-interactive streaming) or $9.99 (which adds on-demand streaming and extra features). It can be accessed on Sony-made devices -- such as the PlayStation3, Bravia Internet connected televisions and Blu-ray players - as well as web-connected computers. Sony added PSP support earlier this month. ( PlayStation blog, CBS News)

Google TV Revamped?

-- After poor reviews upon its launch, has Google TV changed? There is a large update that shows Google is addressing some of the errors and technical issues experienced in the first go around, according to Dave Zatz of the Zatz Not Funny blog. But it appears Google TV, which has so much potential to bring Internet video and music into the living room, is still too geeky a product for the layperson. "Google TV still isn't quite ready for prime time," he writes. "And probably won't be until the UI is improved and an application market launches." ( Zatz Not Funny)

Brazil's Minister of Culture Wants to Hear From You

-- Brazil's Minister of Culture is seeking comments on the revision of copyright legislation. From the Future of Copyright blog: "Minister De Hollanda herself noted several points on which she would like to receive feedback in particular. Among these are limitations on the rights of the author, the use of protected works on the Internet, reproduction of literary works, the introduction of a unified register of copyrighted works, collective administration of copyrights and state supervision on entities for collection and distribution of copyright and licence fees."

Blogging at his Entertainment Law Brazil blog, entertainment lawyer Attilio Gorini writes the move comes as the Minister is being pushed by "people who want to have access to copyrighted works to do whatever they want without paying." Even so, Gorini believes the move was the right one. "She had to pull the bill from the Civil House in order to have time to orderly analyze it. And, indeed, there is a lot of room for advancements in this bill before it reaches Congress." ( Future of Copyright)

TuneCore's Jeff Price Has Some Words for Music's Traditional Gatekeepers …

-- TuneCore founder Jeff Price has some pointed words on the breakdown of music's traditional gatekeepers -- whom he singles out as "the sitting board members of the RIAA and the sitting board members of A2IM and the sitting board members of Sound Exchange who have made public comments stating that music that we release is crap" -- in a CMJ interview. "When you go to iTunes, people search for it. If they find it, they buy it. So, go fuck yourself. You know? Please. You're no longer the gatekeeper; you don't get to say what has access. Technology changed that, and the general population of the world can say something like Rebecca Black, for better or for worse, has value. You know, we can say it doesn't or it does, but the general population decided it is, so it doesn't really matter what we have to say. They get to make the decision now." ( CMJ, via Daily Swarm)