Napster founder commerce enables unprotected MP3s on MySpace

Napster founder commerce enables unprotected MP3s on MySpace

Summary: One week after Yahoo! started selling unencrypted, unprotected, and personalized (with your name) Jessica Simpson MP3s on its music site (flying in the face of DRM), Napster founder Sean Fanning is at it again, this time with his Snocap service which enables artists to sell similarly unprotected MP3s through sites like MySpace.

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TOPICS: Legal
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One week after Yahoo! started selling unencrypted, unprotected, and personalized (with your name) Jessica Simpson MP3s on its music site (flying in the face of DRM), Napster founder Sean Fanning is at it again, this time with his Snocap service which enables artists to sell similarly unprotected MP3s through sites like MySpace.  Reported Reuters of the new service:

Snocap's Linx service is also designed to let online retailers sell music from the company's vast registry of songs. It has distribution deals with Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group and Warner Music, along with a number of independent labels....One band, The Format, is already selling music using Linx on its MySpace page.

Actually, it's the independents that will really benefit from MySpace as a sales channel (while the traditional labels go the iTunes, etc. route). While I don't believe were at a tipping point yet, the idea of commerce-enabling MySpace for music sales could position indies for an interesting offensive against the entertainment establishment.  And, with no DRM, it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Topic: Legal

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  • I believe we will see more professional content and distribution networks

    I think this is great. The Internet is the great ?democratizer? of things, and it is finally spurring more competition in the entertainment industry, in which distribution companies are finally listening to their customers, who not only dislike DRM, but utterly despise it!

    A lot of people have been commenting that when all is said and done, users prefer professionally produced media ? in particular music and video. And many of them have been saying this, with the suggestion that traditional media companies may not have that much to worry about. I disagree. I believe rather than there being a handful of movie studios, and a handful of distribution networks for professionally produced media, significantly more movie studios and distribution networks will arise, leading to much more professionally produced content, traditional media networks have to deal with. Therefore the game will shift from how content providers can lock down their content using hideous technologies like DRM, to how content providers can place their content as quickly and easily as possible into the hands of their customers. Media companies therefore will become far more sensitive to the wishes of consumers, and we will no longer have this nonsense of media companies trying to shove DRM down the throats of their customers.

    I don?t think it will be all that difficult to produce distribution networks. You could have a number of computer networks, where media companies upload their content. Some of the content could be embedded with ads and be made available for free, others could be sold without ads with premium stuff thrown in. I expect that there will be some cheating, but overall, I expect a much larger, more overall profitable media industry would be arise.

    In addition to above, there could be aggregator and content management services that take RSS feeds from these distribution companies, and attractively display information about content that is available from a range of distribution companies ? along with services such as allowing you to save the content you buy to your home PC, even though you are accessing the service from a UMPC or a smart phone.

    The above is very important, because it allows scenarios like a comedy club recording acts and uploading them to a distribution server. Or a high school recording an event, putting it on its server, and exposing it via a web service to be picked up by an aggregator service. Aggregator services could conceivably pick up obscure plays in say England, and a big box office hit from Hollywood. (I expect that there will be many professional recording services arising because of this, which can help people produce these efforts with some polish, at a modest cost.)

    Therefore I think there will be a significant expansion of sought after content for consumers, and professional media will be a lot more democratic than how it is now.
    P. Douglas
    • Use RIAs

      Incidentally, I think it would really be great if aggregator companies display available content and services using RIAs ? which would be significantly better and easier to do than trying to display and manage content from a web page.
      P. Douglas
  • beginning of the end?

    I think developments like this could lead to the end of the big four companies that control 80% of the record business.

    When the phonograph was invented it made it possible to connect musicians with huge remote audiences. However, a huge investment was needed to record the music and produce, distribute and market the records to the public. So you needed money-making enterprises to make it happen. Furthermore, there are significant economies of scale involved, so the whole business was eventually taken over by a few semi-monopolistic giants.

    With personal computers and the internet it is possible to record music at much less expense, and market and distribute it for next to nothing. The logical consequence is that thousands of small companies will take over from the giants, and many musicians will either handle the whole process themselves or contract out pieces of it.

    The RIAA is doing its darnest to stop this whole process. Its actions include lawsuits, lobbying and campaign contributions to get laws passed to protect their business, and end-to-end DRM. However, it is safe to predict that in the long run the new technology will lead to a new economic model, and the giants will be out of business.
    Eduardo_z
    • I agree (NT)

      .
      P. Douglas