May 16, 2006MySpace: a new competitor to iTunes?
Most of the media have picked up on MTV's launch of a music download and subscription service, URGE, which comes integrated into the newest version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player. MTV should have been one of the leaders in this space and the surprise is that they took so long to come up with an offer.
I wonder whether the bigger news is actually the announcement from NewsCorp that MySpace is to sell downloads of episodes of 24. Could this be the first step towards the reinvention of the social networking site as a commercial platform for the distribution of paid-for content.
May 4, 2006BBC: British Buzzword Corporation?
Notwithstanding my praise for BBC's Creative Future plans announced last week, I'm growing increasingly concerned by the plethora of buzzwords emanating from those behind the plans.
Rafat Ali at Paid Content has paraphrased comments made by Mark Thompson, Director General, at the We Media conference yesterday, and they make scary reading:
We believe we are seeing a second disruptive wave, where there are more opportunities...we are trying to find out what it means for us. We have seen a shift from anxiety being top of the list of reactions in our organization, to that this extraordinary world is better for BBC to be in. The audience phase of the media is over.
There is fundamental misunderstanding among a lot of media and other comanies about the power of these technologies.
The editorial in the future will be led by users, as much as us. User will configure and personalize and make their own.
This is a consumer-driven democratic world, and if we're useful, we'll be relevant. If not, then not.
Get your Bulls@%t Bingo cards ready...
May 3, 2006iTunes and variable pricing
It looks like the record companies have given up trying to persuade Apple to adopt variable pricing in iTunes. I guess that shows where the power really is right now.
Personally, I think Apple's view is wrong this time. I absolutely agree that one simple price was the right thing to do when trying to kickstart the market, but it's been a few years now and with over a billion songs sold, consumers understand the principles of buying music online. I think that customers also understand the principle that a new Coldplay album or song has more value than a 20 year old filler track from an Ultravox album (with apologies to Ultravox fans everywhere...).
Variable pricing would allow a greater degree of flexibility in promoting back catalogue, and in my opinion would drive prices down while incressing volume sales - wouldn't that be good for everyone?