Business Matters: Another Indie Sours on Streaming Services, But How Solid Is the Math?
Business Matters: Another Indie Sours on Streaming Services, But How Solid Is the Math?

Spotify Already Has Around 1 Million U.S. Users, Says Source
-- How is Spotify doing in the U.S.? One industry executive estimates the popular music service, which launched in the U.S. in mid-July, has amassed at least one million total users in just three weeks. Considering the hundreds of thousands of invitations that were given to launch partners such as Chevrolet and Klout, that's not a surprising figure. There is definitely a lot of awareness and consumer interest, and it seems possible that number could be higher if invitations to the free service were not limited.

Indications are that paid subscriptions are doing well, too. As has reported, Spotify gained 70,000 subscribers in its first week in the U.S.

That one million figure would seem more reliable than an estimate formulated using data available at AppData of 2.1 million total users. Keep in mind this was merely an exercise in publically available data, but here's where the 2.1 million number came from: Although Spotify does not have a Facebook app, AppData can track Spotify's Facebook users because the two services can be linked together to enable sharing. According to AppData, Spotify's monthly average users (MAU) began climbing just days after its U.S. launch. Before the U.S. debut on July 14, Spotify's MAU was slowly climbing above 2.4 million (at a time when Spotify said there were 10 million total users in Europe). But starting July 18, Spotify's MAU started a steady climb. As of August 4, its MAU was 2.9 million and growing. So, it looks like the US launch has helped push up Spotify's MAU by 500,000.

To estimate how many total users Spotify has in the US, take the user/MAU ratio before the US launch and apply it to the incremental gain after the US launch (500,000). Spotfiy claimed to have 10 million users in Europe (it's an old number but that's the latest number made public). A MAU of 2.4 million and 10 million total users means 24% of total users were using Spotify through Facebook. Applying the same ratio to the incremental gain in MAU due to the U.S. launch, one can estimate the number of Spotify users in the US to be about 2.1 million (500,000 divided by 24%).

It's possible the true number of total registered users is somewhere in the middle, or at least higher than the low estimate. Differences in the two numbers could be caused by different time periods - AppData is based on monthly users, the other is based on weekly users. In any case, the number of Spotify users is very impressive and bodes well for cloud music in general.

New Zealand Calling Early Strikes
-- Three strikes will appear in New Zealand three weeks before the official September 1 date. As explained at the new, informational web site about the new copyright infringements start counting under the new law from August 11. The law takes effect September 1.

The New Zealand law is called the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, which amends the country's 1994 Copyright Act. Infringers get two warnings. Upon a third notice of infringement, a copyright owner can take the infringer to a Copyright Tribunal. The person who owns the Internet account is liable even if he or she wasn't the person who infringed on a copyright. The minimum penalty is $275 and the maximum is $15,000 - payable to the copyright owner.

The law aims to cut down on peer-to-peer file sharing. As such, the law defines file sharing as "material uploaded or downloaded from the Internet" and "using an application or network that enables the simultaneous sharing of material between multiple users." Whether or not the law will cover methods of uploading/downloading files other than peer-to-peer networks will depend on decisions by the tribunal and the courts if the law is ever challenged in court.
( National Business Review)

Carphone Warehouse's Napster Largesse

-- Carphone Warehouse is offering a free trial of the Napster music subscription service to buyers of an iPhone or Android mobile device. The offer is good only to new Napster users. Pay-as-you-go mobile customers get one free month while monthly subscribers get three months. The promotion makes perfect sense: Napster is owned by electronics retailer Best Buy, which is a 50% subsidiary of UK-based mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse.
( Telecompaper)

Federal Bench Upholds ICE-Homeland Security Domain Seizures

-- A federal judge will not allow domains seized earlier this year to be returned because of any financial hardship the seizure is having on the company. The case involves Spanish company Puerta 80, who had its Rojadirecta domain seized by ICE-Homeland Security in February because they mostly linked to video of copyright-protected sports events. Puerta 80 argued the seizures would cause a "substantial hardship" and noted that a Spanish court had ruled the company's activities legal.

But in rejecting the company's petition, the judge rejected Puerta 80's claims because its main purpose is to "catalog links to copyrighted athletic events." He did point out that Puerta 80 can bring up the First Amendment issue in its motion to dismiss.

ICE-Homeland security has been using domain seizures as a way to combat piracy and counterfeit goods. Dozens of domains were seized at once last November. In February, the domains of a number of sites with links to sports video broadcasts were taken in addition to Rojadirecta, including, and
( Ars Technica)