goal when I sat down to
pen this Minute was to write about TuneWatch
- a fantastic new feature
that automatically puts any song or album
you purchase directly into your personal Music Locker. But first I want
to tell you
about a high powered banking meeting that took place back in
days of digital music and give you my predictions for 2008.
1999 at an investor conference
in NYC the energetic and pioneering Rob Glaser,
CEO of Real Networks was the first up to speak. He explained how his
company powered 70% of media
servers and his Real Audio format was poised to dominate digital music.
He listed the many media companies using his services as evidence. Next
to speak was persistent and methodical Will Poole, Vice President of
the Windows Digital Media Division. He announced partnerships with
major record companies and device makers and told the audience that
Microsoft's Windows Media would dominate digital music. As CEO of then
public MP3.com, I was also invited to speak and stunned the audience by
saying that the Real and Microsoft's corporate partnerships were
irrelevant -- MP3 would be the dominant audio format of the future.
recall Mr. Poole scoffing at the notion that MP3 could prevail
without any major company backing. But I thought it was preposterous to
propose that anything but MP3 would prevail because it is the best
consumers. Thanks to the Internet, top-down-Soviet-era-style mandates
from corporations or even groups of corporations are largely
meaningless. That might have worked in the 80s or early 90s but no
longer. Now it is consumers who collectively have more power and
dictate the course of technology.
some predictions about what to expect with digital music in 2008...
Media DRM as an audio format will officially be buried. All
remaining online stores selling music in this format will abandon it
just as Microsoft did last year. Some retailers are getting less than
10 orders per day and that doesn't even cover their electricity bill.
Digital have already halted business. Look for the
bigger names (Walmart, Best Buy, and BuyMusic) and all the smaller
names to stop offering Windows Media. Microsoft will announce it's
still supporting this technology -- that's only
because the massive profits from their operating system and Office
suite allow them to make irrational business decisions, and for
longer time periods than other companies would find acceptable. (Note:
Sony recently announced their music store called Connect will close in
early 2008. It uses ATRAC3 - their own failed DRM format.)
major labels will offer their entire catalog for
sale in MP3 format.
EMI is already doing this. Universal Music will
expand its trial with Walmart and Amazon to be catalog wide and
include an expanded set of retailers. (But still not Apple!) Warner
Music will move to MP3 in Q1 forced by continued sagging CD revenues.
Sony, unable to remain the only holdout, will grudgingly go along with
the MP3 trend in time for the holiday season.
becomes the $0.50 lure for the digital album. For
two decades, the CD
has been the monetary mainstay of the music industry. Widespread
digital music player adoption has lessened the need for CDs and 2008
will see the continued deterioration in CD sales, matching the 20
percent decline in 2007. The CD as a standalone music product is
unsaveable -- the industry foreclosed that opportunity when they sued
block MP3.com's Beam-It and InstantListening in 1999 that could have
extended the life of the CD another decade. Progressive accountants in
the music industry will realize that the only value of a CD in 2008
is marketing -- to compel the 99 cent song purchaser to spend $9.99 on
album. To achieve this they'll offer a free CD to those willing to
buy a digital album instead of a single track. For those who are
accustomed to CDs (like me) this is heresy, but the industry simply
more people to buy albums. People are making more music purchases now
than ever, but the average dollar per sale has dropped off dramatically
thanks to the 99 cent single. The industry must compel someone to pay
for 10 tracks when they were really shopping
just for one. With CD production costs under $1 the CD becomes a
becomes the "must have" digital
First came Winamp, then came iTunes and now TuneWatch
becomes the product no discerning music fan can do without. TuneWatch
is a new service within LockerSync
from MP3tunes. It quietly watches all
the digital music you're acquiring. Once TuneWatch detects a song,
album or even
multiple albums it automatically syncs those files to your personal
Music Locker. MP3tunes offers Music Lockers with unlimited storage for
free and you can sign up for one here.
TuneWatch works great with amazonmp3,
songs only), eMusic,
Music Download and every other MP3 music
store. When you download a purchased track it will automatically be
backed up to your Music Locker -- so you get free music insurance for
any digital catastrophe. Perhaps more importantly, seconds after you
download new music, you can stream it from
your Music Locker or any net enabled device. It's also handy if you buy
music at work and school because
you'll be able to easily sync it to your home or laptop computer.
you download any of the millions of promotional songs swirling around
the net from one of the many popular online sources such as Spin,
Magazine, or your favorite record label site such as
will dutifully store those files in your
personal Music Locker for your streaming and downloading pleasure.
never lose another track and you'll have your music with you wherever
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