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-- The business models of personalized radio stations stood on firmer ground on Monday after the Supreme Court denied Sony Music’s request to review a lower court’s ruling in Arista Records v. Launch Media. In August 2009, the Second Circuit found Launch’s LAUNCHcast to be a non-interactive service. (Capitol Records, Virgin Records, UMG Recordings and Interscope Records were also named as plaintiffs in the suit.) That ruling means Launch is required to pay only the compulsory license rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board. Sony had argued LAUNCHcast meets the definitions of an interactive service and thus needed to negotiate licenses for songs (which are more expensive than non-interactive rates). Launch allowed users to create stations based on preferences, such as a particular song or artist. The company was acquired by Yahoo! in 2001 for $12 million. LAUNCHcast was integrated into Yahoo! Music. (Exclusive Rights)

-- Bandcamp has added a surprising element to its toolkit: a vinyl-only record label. The online service for artists, a sort of stripped-down MySpace that enables streaming and purchasing of music, launched BCWax on Monday. In the blog post announcing its launch, co-founder Ethan Diamond called BCWax an "unlabel" that will help artists turn "a disposable good into something your fans will fetishize." The first release, "Love.Life.Ukelele" by Sophie Madeleine, comes with a silkscreened poster by designer Dan Stiles, who will design all BCWax artwork. Only 500 copies will be made, and digital downloads are included (in a wide variety of formats). Distribution will be done at Bandcamp, and Diamond explains the record deals will be nothing more than co-marketing agreements. "It's a model that diverges enough from a traditional label role that it seems wrong to even call it a label," he wrote. (Bandcamp blog)

-- Gern Leonhard's presentation from MIDEM, "10 New Generatives - Selling Music in a Connected World" is worth a look. Generatives are things that can be built or cultivated but not copied - like authenticity or immediacy. In the context of digital music, a generative is a characteristic that creates value for relatively worthless digital copies of sound recordings. For more, read Kevin Kelly's "Better Than Free.") "Making money is the consequence of attention," he says, "not the other way around." So Leonhard runs through some examples of generatives that can be sold: offers that save time; offers based on unique, personal experiences; offers that save the user search time; and others. (MediaFuturist)

-- There were a lot of numbers coming out of MIDEM 2010. Here's another one: 450,000. That's the number of subscribers Vodafone says it has (ten-track MP3 bundles as well as unlimited access models). The company says it has the most paying music subscribers in Europe. That seems like a direct shot at Spotify, which announced it has 250,000 paying subscribers (in addition to the nearly seven million users of its free, ad-supported version). (Music Ally)

-- James Boyle, a professor at Duke Law School, thinks the Obama administration is showing signs of a more balanced copyright policy. Writing in the Financial Times, Boyle quotes Justin Hughes, a senior advisor in the Department of Justice, speaking at the World Intellectual Property Organization in December 2009: "We recognize that some in the international copyright community believe that any international consensus on substantive limitations and exceptions to copyright law would weaken international copyright law... The United States does not share that point of view." But while Boyle praised Obama for this new found balance, as well as the administrations stance on net neutrality, he is less enthusiastic about negotiations for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. (The Financial Times)

-- Just as record labels have found free giveaways can goose sales, book publishers have discovered a zero price point helps capture awareness that would otherwise be elusive for some titles. Free e-books are not without controversy, though. Some publishers feel it's wrong to give away an e-book when they are already having difficulty supporting a $9.99 price. At least labels can give away just a song - it would be hard for a publisher to gain traction by giving away just a chapter. At the time of this writing, ten of's top 15 Kindle books are free and another costs only $0.25. (Similarly,'s MP3 album chart is regularly filled with titles that have been on sale for $3.99 or less. Currently, Muse's 2001 album "Origin of Symmetry," priced at $2.99, is #2. Lady Antebellum's new "Need You Now" costs $3.99 and is at #1. Of course, in music is a competitor to market-leading iTunes.) Hopefully somebody will study Kindle readers at some point and see if they are hoarding free books or actually reading them. (New York Times)

-- Related: Book publishers are struggling to adapt to e-books. In doing so, they are providing learning lessons and, possibly, inspiration for record labels. Just as the music industry has learned to adapt to a world dominated by P2P and iTunes, book publishers are trying to cope with an e-book market dominated by Some publishers are delaying the release of e-books in order to maintain sales of physical versions. Others are looking for opportunities. Hachette, for example, will release a digital version of Sebastian Junger's "War" that will include video clips. O'Reilly Media will test a subscription to unlimited access to its books for $42.99 a month.'s market power is a concern for publishers just as iTunes' market share in music bothers labels. As a result, some publishers are selling e-books through more than a dozen partners in an attempt to reduce's market power. As record labels have found, having electronic goods for sale in dozens of places doesn't necessarily reduce the market leader's power. Customers have the ultimate say in who has market power. (