Plugged:
So if all goes as planned, we could see as many as two new digital music services launch next week with some very unique business models.

One of course is Amazon.com, which many see as the best potential iTunes competitor to come along in quite a while. The other is SpiralFrog’s ad-supported free services hoping to lure P2P users away from pirate services. Another ad-supported service, Qtrax, is planning a beta launch for December with full service in early 2008.

This is all great news for an industry looking to evolve beyond the iTunes one trick pony. None of them will likely be the "iTunes killer" others in the press may try to ascribe them. We don’t need nor want an iTunes killer. What is needed is a market evolver (not quite as sexy, I know).

Only time will tell whether any of these newcomers can contribute to that effort, but their mere existence will answer a lot of questions still swirling. Is ad-based free music a viable business model? Will DRM-free tracks attract more sales?

I for one am growing weary of every yo-yo on the Internet with a blog and a keyboard spouting off on what will or won’t save the music industry. I want to see results. Here’s hoping we’ll start seeing some soon.

UnPlugged:

According to a Guardian story, Prince is getting ready to sue, well, everybody in an effort to "reclaim the Internet." The usual suspects are in there: YouTube, Pirate Bay, eBay. But what this really looks like is an attack on his fans.

According to the story, Prince is worried about controlling his image. Much of the video we're talking about here is not the unauthorized posting of his music videos, but rather clips of concerts taken with mobile phones and the like. Prince apparently is concerned that these grainy images don't adequately reflect the quality of his live performances, and that only channels he and those representing him authorize can post footage. Gimme a break.

The minute you go out in public -- be it on stage or on the street -- you can't seriously expect to control anything. Once you put it into the public domain -- it's out there, and all you're going to get trying to control it is a big headache.
Practically every mobile phone available today has some kind of digital camera or video recorder embedded in it. We're not talking about a camcorder recording an entire show and posting it online -- we're talking short clips.

Prince is out of his purple mind if he thinks that's ever going to go away. But the sad thing is, he's not alone. Look what happened when Beyonce was filmed taking a tumble during a recent show. Her label tried to get the clip removed from YouTube by claiming copyright infringement -- not for fear of piracy, but because it somehow sullied her "image." Have their egos gotten so big that they now defy the laws of gravity?

Stars and their PR handlers may want to control every story, image or clip of them so it's always in a positive light. But fans have the right to capture snippets of their life, including when they're at concerts, as long as their not recording the whole event.

Otherwise what's next? Suing me for taking a photo of Prince while walking down the street? That's the world we live in now. If you don't like it, get off the stage.