Jul 07

As the resident geek, my part-time job is providing computer tech support to family, friends and neighbors.  One of the most common questions they ask me is:

“What’s the difference between digital songs that cost $1.29 on iTunes and $0.99 on Amazon.com?”

And being the smartass that I am, my stock answer is:

“30 cents”

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Sep 18

In a move that will only reinforce the public’s view of a greedy music industry, a consortium of music industry groups has begun lobbying the U.S. Congress to receive what they believe is their fair share of revenue from online music performances.  This includes fees for the free 30-second song samples that feature their work on websites like iTunes and Amazon.com.

The story from CNET indicates that music officials believe they should be paid a “performance” income from Apple and others for all online music including the free samples, just like when a song is played on the radio or at a sports game.

“If you watch a TV show on broadcast, cable or satellite TV, there is a performance fee collected,” David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association.  “But if that same TV show is downloaded over iTunes, there’s not.  We’re arguing that the law needs to be clarified that regardless of the method by which a consumer watches the show there is a performance right.”

I agree that everyone in the music food chain should get their cut from music sales, but collecting a fee from 30-second samples?  The music industry is clearly over-reaching (once again) and apparently doesn’t understand the concept of FREE samples.  See, the idea is you give a little clip away for free with the hope that customers will pay to buy the whole song.  I don’t know anyone who gets their music just by listening to these short clips.  Most people just steal their music outright.

Oct 27

AC/DC is an interesting, anachronistic mix of classic rock and modern marketing.  The band refuses to sell its extensive music catalog on iTunes or other music services because the band members feel the album is an art form that must be preserved.  Yet the band released its new CD exclusively at Wal-Mart.  This strategy apparently hasn’t hurt the band much, as it is one of the best-selling bands of all time with over 200 million albums sold.

Now AC/DC has released a new music video as ASCII art delivered in an Excel spreadsheet.  It’s a strange but oddly compelling mix of old and new technology: