21st Century media delivery

This Wired article (Wired News: Real Stern Shocker: No Podcast) is really about Howard Stern and his new Sirius satellite radio show, but it touches on some interesting digital media distribution issues.

In fact, if ever Stern considered distributing his stuff online, it was most likely the DRM considerations that scared him away — a sad testament to the fractured state of the online media distribution industry, which scares users as much as it does many broadcasters and copyright owners.

The article also talks about things being available in “a readily consumable form.” That is really the key. When we can offer our content in a form that consumers may use as they wish, we will win. Right now that format appears to be mp3 (at least for audio). Not necessarily because mp3 is the best sounding codec, but because it is the least sullied by controlling corporate interests and the resulting DRM issues.

I believe that ultimately, when the bandwidth and portability issues allow, all media will be accessable from the network on a subscription basis or through monthly billing based on use. Of course that won’t be allowed to happen until all of the big media conglomerates die, or see the light.

Vatican ‘cashes in’ by putting price on the Pope’s copyright – World – Times Online

More on the copyright front.

Vatican ‘cashes in’ by putting price on the Pope’s copyright – World – Times Online

So now you have to pay to print the words of Martin Luther King and the Pope. I guess that is their perogative, even though it seems absolutely contradictive to their purposes. Maybe someone shoule send the Pope a link to the Creative Commons site.

Via Boing Boing.

Future of Music, a must read for 21st century artists

Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution

I have mentioned this book before, but I thought I would dedicate a post to it. Check this book out. It paints a picture of a music industry scene that is quite possible, and would be fabulous if all of the players can get on the same team enough to let it happen.

The concept is “music like water” or media delivered in the style of our current utilities, where we pay a bill for it each month, but it doesn’t feel like we are charged at the point of use. Everything is available, and everyone gets paid.

There is even a podcast on the authors’ website with audio book versions of the first 5 chapters.

Future of Music

What is a podcast?

I have been trying hard lately to get the word out about the Scratch My Brain podcasts, and the other day someone asked me, “what is a podcast? I don’t have an iPod, can I still listen?”

Yes, you can listen on anything that will play an mp3 file. Just click the link to download the mp3 to your computer, then listen however you like. I have linked to the Wikipedia podcast definition page below, to offer greater detail.

Podcasting – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Podcasting’s essence is about creating content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want.

Digital music spins new sales approach | CNET News.com

Digital music spins new sales approach | CNET News.com

This article offers another look at legal music service styles, and the idea of playlists, or listener recommendations.

I like the concept of finding new music through another individual whose tastes you trust. Nearly every really interesting work of art that I have been turned on to has been through a friend’s suggestion. That was one of the founding principles of this website.

Napster on the ropes?

This article, Napster on the ropes? | CNET News.com, deals with the business health of a couple of legal online music services.

It points out the two basic philosophies: A la carte (like iTunes) where you buy individual tracks or albums, and subscription (like Napster) where you can access lots of content for a monthly fee, and pay extra to burn things or for other added “rights.”

I think ultimately the subscription model, or a similar “utility” model (see this book for more on that) may win out, but the technology has not quite reached the point to make that work on a grand scale. I think it will, it just hasn’t yet.

What do you think? (Use the comments section)

King’s Fiery Speech Rarely Heard

King’s Fiery Speech Rarely Heard

All of King’s speeches and papers are owned by his family, which has gone to court several times since the 1990s to protect its copyright; King obtained rights to his most famous speech a month after he gave it. Now, those who want to hear or use the speech in its entirety must buy a copy sanctioned by the King family, which receives the proceeds.

Doesn’t something about this just feel wrong? I know there is a long history in the world of living off of the fruits of the accomplishments of our family forebears, but is this what MLK would have wanted?

The more I learn about how copyright is used, the more I think the system needs a radical overhaul. Of course that could just be because the copyrights I own aren’t worth that much.

Via Boing Boing.

Will music kiosks change the retail landscape? – Yahoo! News

Will music kiosks change the retail landscape? – Yahoo! News

Still, Kiosk business is at an all-time high, with some providers readying U.S. deployments numbering in the thousands, an executive at startup kiosk provider MediaPort says. Such major chains as Starbucks and McDonald’s have experimented with them

I have never found my self in McDonald’s wondering where I could get Britney/Jessica/Christina mix tape RIGHT NOW.

But seriously, I like the idea that people are trying to take advantage of digital technologies.

Music retailers also like kiosks because they make it possible to offer more titles than what is available on shelves, as well as offer custom CDs to digital-savvy consumers accustomed to burning their own music at home.

That’s cool, but that already exists on my computer at home. I don’t quite get why a machine in McDonald’s or Starbucks or the airport is going to get me to buy music when I can do it at home.

Maybe an impulse buy at the airport if I am bored, but I no longer carry a CD player when I travel, and the machines won’t load to my iPod. I guess I could rip it to my laptop, then put it on the iPod, but it might be easier to just buy a newspaper or Sports Illustrated to kill that 30 minutes at the airport.

Sometimes the big music labels remind me of the government. They have this great knack for taking what could be the seeds of a good idea and finding a way to mess it up.