THE FREEMIUM DEBATE
-- Writer/educator/consultant Clay Shirkey says sites with paywalls will underperform. Plus, he’s worried that content behind paywalls will not be part of public discourse.

“When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they're critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn't want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times.”

The parallel for the music business is the value in letting people share and discuss music. That topic is related to the question of whether or not the freemium business model is a good or bad approach. One of the big questions in digital music today is whether or not free, ad-supported versions of services should exist alongside paid, ad-free versions. In a freemium model, free users will outnumber paid users. That makes some people uncomfortable, and the freemium model is under attack as a result. On the other hand, a freemium model may result in greater sharing of music. Without a freemium model, far less sharing will take place if the discussion is limited only to paying users. (The Guardian)


'IDOL' TOUR UPDATE
-- An update on the "American Idol" 9 tour: shows have been canceled in Omaha, Kansas City, Winnipeg, Toronto, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Portland. Eight shows have been rescheduled. (Reality Blurred)


CITY OF PORTLAND GOES WITH LOCALS
The City of Portland and licensing company Rumblefish have announced an effort to replace the City’s traditional “on hold” music with songs by local artists. The program, called “Listen Local” will feature playlists picked by a panel of 41 local volunteers, which will rotate quarterly. The musicians are paid directly by Rumblefish for music licensed by the City. - Cortney Harding


CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL DOWNLOADS
-- Authorities are hitting hard at sites with illegal downloads – but as usual they are proving to be quite resilient. Last week, U.S. authorities seized the domains of TVShack and a number of other video sites. A few hours after the seizure, Stockholm-based TVShack reappeared at TVShack.cc, a domain registered by the Cocos Islands (it was previously TVShack.net) and acquired through a Chinese registrar. Earlier this year, RLSLOG, a site that features downloads of new release movies and music, was taken offline by its German hosting company after a takedown request from a law firm representing Universal Music Group. The site was back after just two days of down time. (TorrentFreak, Arbor Networks)


TURNING PLAYLISTS INTO TWITTER FOLLOWERS
Playlist publisher Playlistify (yes, you read that right) has added a unique capability that lets users convert their playlists into Twitter lists. Basically, it allows users to add songs in their playlists to a directory that then matches them against artists’ Twitter accounts. The resulting list then lets users follow the Tweets for any artist in the playlist. Playlistify also connects to artists’ Facebook, MySpace and official websites. Playlistify only has about 20,000 artists in its database, and only about 5% of them have synced Twitter accounts at this time. (TechCrunch)


KKR TO TRADE ON NYSE
-- Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange next week, adding a bit more transparency into the financials of the music industry. In KKR’s portfolio is BMG Rights Management, a music publishing joint venture with Bertelsmann that was established in late 2008. Bertelsmann is a privately held stock corporation. (MarketWatch)


Assorted Links:
-- Lawsuit doesn’t affect “The Hurt Locker” file sharing. (NewTeeVee)
-- MySpace is reportedly seeking a new ad deal to replace the current deal with Google that expires next month. (The Street)
-- Does a British-based advertising agency need to pay the American Federation of Musicians for use of U.S. music tracks? (The 1709 Blog)