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27 Jan 2012 16:16


Music: On Spotify and the ethical issues it presents for music listeners

  • Why can’t you listen to “El Camino” on Spotify? There are a lot of reasons why The Black Keys’ discography ends with “Brothers” on the service, and it’s not because “Tighten Up” is the best song they’ve ever done. Really, the problems here are ethical. As an idea, the concept of subscription-based music has been around for years — remember Columbia House? or how about eMusic? — and in a lot of ways, Spotify and MOG and Rdio are merely the latest generation of that. But The Verge’s Paul Miller touches a solid nerve with a single sentence: “I suppose what I really want is some sort of ‘free range’ sticker slapped on my music consumption, so that I know the artist was ethically treated in this transaction.” Here’s a breakdown of the issues involved here.
  • benefits Listeners get to try things without worry of wasting money, and as one label executive notes, most people spend an average of $17 per year on music, meaning consumers could spend more with these services in the long run.
  • problems Big acts who don’t need services like Spotify to gain exposure — notably The Black Keys, Coldplay and Adele — have taken their latest albums off the service, saying labels benefit from the deals more than individual artists. source
  • » But is that actually the case? Small-scale bands probably have less to lose in terms of cannibalization, but in a change from the iTunes era, it’s the biggest bands on the planet, not the ones with legacies to protect, that are protesting the services. One Universal Records exec, Rob Wells, says that the artists have nothing to worry about: “Every single one of those bands has earned more money from its album being on Spotify than it has from being on any other services within a period of time.” But try explaining that to Patrick Carney, the drummer for the Black Keys: “For a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.” For what it’s worth, Spotify and its ilk are working hard on discovery these days.

27 Sep 2011 01:38


Tech: Too social? Spotify and Facebook get too friendly for some users’ taste

  • Not cool. My Spotify account isn’t linked to Facebook, and it’ll stay that way, thankyouverymuch. If I didn’t have an account already, this would prevent me from signing up.
  • A Get Satisfaction user • Venting about Spotify’s Facebook-only signup option for new users. On top of that, Spotify recently started cross-posting what songs users are listening to on Facebook, which might be a little to personal for some people. Whistling Britney Spears while you work? Have a soft spot for Depeche Mode? Now all your friends will know, too. Follow these steps to stop or limit Spotify oversharing. source

24 Sep 2011 12:33


Tech: Dish Network’s Netflix killer has catch that limits its killing abilities

  • yeah … Dish Network’s new Netflix competitor — based around the recently-acquired Blockbuster brand — offers 100,000 DVDs by mail and 4,000 streaming films for $10 a month. Considering the current status of Netflix and Qwikster, the time is now.
  • … but You have to be a Dish Network subscriber to take advantage of this deal, which seems like a major mess-up on the part of Dish. (They are offering a deal to get it for free for a year, for new subscribers.) Timing is on your side, guys! Do something smart! source

04 May 2011 15:01


Biz: Warner Bros. buys up Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster

  • A conflict of interest on the side? One of the internet’s most popular movie review websites will now be owned by one of America’s major movie and entertainment studios. The acquisition has less to do with Rotten Tomatoes, however, than it does Flixster, a movie review/streaming company that counted RT as one of its subsidiaries — Warner Bros. wanted Flixster to push a competitive advantage against Netflix, and their new ownership of the widely-known review aggregator is a byproduct of that. So, if Warner Bros. makes a piece of utter dreck, hopefully you’ll still be able to see that not-so-fresh “tomatometer” rating. source

04 Mar 2011 15:56


Tech: Apple still doesn’t do streaming music yet, or why we miss Lala

  • issue Apple bought this really awesome company called Lala, then quickly killed it, making a few music fans (like us) start crying profusely. It killed a weekly music feature we had, quite sadly.
  • reason Well, Apple has a huge facility to allow this sort of streaming, but no streaming deals with the record labels – but they’re working on it. Note to Apple: Please make albums embeddable if this happens. source

21 Dec 2010 11:05


Tech: Guess that streaming-only Apple TV reboot really paid off

  • 1 million units sold in just three months; that’s not a bad start, guys source

30 Jul 2010 02:38


Biz, Tech: Netflix slowly but surely becoming a movie studio cash cow

  • 20
    the number of people who use Netflix, which has only been around about 12 years
  • 24
    the number of people who use Comcast, which has been around over 40 years
  • $9M the amount Netflix paid studios for streaming films in the second quarter of last year
  • $66M the amount Netflix spent on acquiring movies for its streaming service this past quarter
  • $116M the amount the company paid to movie studios for in the first six months of 2010 source
  • » A win-win relationship? While the relationship clearly favors the film studios at this point, the success of Netflix’s streaming model has proven fruitful, especially since it hasn’t come at a higher cost to the consumer. While Netflix has pushed more money into streaming distribution, they’ve had to put less into their DVD budgets, meaning that money is shifting from one platform to another. Oh, and it helps that they’ve nailed streaming movies better than anyone else. (Hat tip to Jeff Greco for finding this.)

28 May 2010 14:00


Tech: Apple apparently has big plans to revive its Apple TV line

  • good It will reportedly be based on the lightweight iPhone OS and focus on streaming content.
  • better This iPad-sans-screen will only cost $99, which is a solid $100 less than the current Apple TV. source

23 Apr 2010 10:57


Music: Protip: The National’s new “High Violet” streaming free this weekend

This, of course, is only for fans of anthemic indie rock sung by dudes with really low voices. In other words, everybody. (Right?) source

29 Dec 2009 09:48


Tech: Netflix’s online streaming a hit, but studios don’t like it much

  • 47% of Netflix users take advantage of on-demand streaming content
  • annoyed the movie studios’ take on the uber-popular product source