Opinion and analysis of the day’s music news.
The ‘Scourge of Internet Piracy’
– The ISPs may have won over record labels in an Irish court, but the judge went to great lengths to describe the damages done by piracy and the obligations ISPs have to the creative industries. Take a look at the judge’s decision in the case of EMI Records v. UPC. The judge ruled Ireland does not have the laws on the books to order UPC, one of the largest ISPs in the country, to implement a graduated response system for dealing with digital piracy. Writes attorney Barry Sookman at his blog, “This case is a must read for anyone concerned about internet piracy and the legislative solutions needed to help curb it.” Here’s a sample from the decision:
“The evidence establishes definitely that copyright is being infringed on the UPC network. I do not accept any of the evidence from UPC as to its unawareness of this process. Nor do I accept that it has not thought about this issue and considered whether it is making a profit from it.”
“I am satisfied that the business of the recording companies is being devastated by internet piracy. This not only undermines their business but ruins the ability of a generation of creative people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a living. It is destructive of an important native industry.”
“This scourge of internet piracy strongly affects Irish musicians, most of whom pay tax in Ireland.”
“There is no difference between the public situations I have described (pirated movies filmed in theaters) and the piracy of music tracks over the internet. It has the same consequences. The conduit for that illegal activity is, however, not the street or the pavement outside a cinema; it is the internet service providers. It is clear they have an economic and moral obligation to address the problem.” (EMI v.
UPC decision, via Barry Sookman)
Amazon Introduces ‘Singles’
— Amazon.com is taking a page from the music industry by introducing Kindle Singles to its online book store. Kindle Singles do not represent the unbundling of books. It’s a new format for short works ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 words (about 30 to 90 pages). The singles will be priced much lower than normal books and appear to be aimed at independent writers. The offering is available to anyone and requires that author to email Amazon.com for consideration.
Shorter works may be better for mobile devices with smaller screens. And a lower price could encourage customers to take a chance on relatively unknown authors. Is this a problem for large publishers whose main business is selling full books? Probably not, if the experience of record labels translates to the Kindle store. More popular music titles have greater competition from “long tail” titles than in years past, but their main concern is changing consumer habits, not unknown artists. (TFTS)
Financial Times App Hits The Mark
– Not every app is a home run, but there’s definitely some money to be made. Case in point: The Financial Times’ iPad app has generated over £1 million ($1.6 million) in advertising revenue since its May launch. The app has over 400,000 subscribers and now accounts for 10% of the paper’s digital subscriptions. The app is free of charge and won the Apple Design Award 2010.
The Financial Times is in a rare position, however. Its readers consider its content to be so valuable that it has escaped some of the problems facing other publications. But the company didn’t wait to pursue its digital strategy. Back in 2005, the company admitted it was “in the middle of a rather uncomfortable generational shift” and needed a strategy to reach “a generation that doesn’t read newspapers.” (paidContent)
— MXP4 has announced a partnership with Push Entertainment that will allow artists and labels to include MXP4’s interactive music applications in their services they receive from Push. (Press release)
— Why the Canadian Broadcast Corporation doesn’t use Creative Commons songs for its shows. (Ars Technica)