When the gods dance...

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Judge Rules Against ReDigi In Copyright Infringement Case

Gavel A federal judge this week dealt a severe blow to online reseller ReDigi, ruling that its so-called "secondary market" for digital music infringes on the copyrights controlled by record companies. Judge Richard J. Sullivan of United States District Court in Manhattan ruled that ReDigi was liable for copyright infringement, and appeared entirely unmoved by ReDigi's legal arguments that it had a right to resell a copy of a digital file as long as the original file was deleted permanently. In 2011 ReDigi opened an online platform that allowed people to upload and resell songs they had bought from online retailers, claiming that its technology deleted the original file once a copy was put up for sale. Capitol Records sued the company in early 2012, citing provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The case had been viewed as a test of whether the first sale doctrine - the legal principle that says someone who owns a copy of a copyrighted work can sell it - can be applied to the digital marketplace. In language that seems both wry and sarcastic, Judge Sullivan compared ReDigi's system to the "Star Trek" transporter and "Willy Wonka's teleportation device, Wonkavision," and ruled that the technology infringed on Capitol's reproduction rights because it transmitted an unauthorized copy of the file over the internet. "The first sale defense does not cover this any more than it covered the sale of cassette recordings of vinyl records in a bygone era," he said in his ruling. "While ReDigi 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0 may ultimately be deemed to comply with copyright law, it is clear that ReDigi 1.0 does not." [Full story: New York Times]

Study: 1/3 Of All Americans Now Listens To Online Radio

Car radio One out of three Americans aged 12+ listen to online radio on a weekly basis. That's the focal point of the latest edition of "The Infinite Dial," a joint research project released by Arbitron and Edison Research, highlighting just how far internet radio has come over the past several years. According to the study - the 21st since the first "Infinite Dial" report was issued in 1998 - online radio listeners report listening for an average of 11 hours 56 minutes per week, up by more than two hours over last year's listening levels (9 hours 46 minutes), and almost twice that reported in 2008 (6 hours 13 minutes). Additionally, 53% of all Americans 12+ (an estimated 139 million people) own a smartphone, and three out of four aged 18-to-34 own one. Plus, 29% own a tablet, a number that's up more than 70% from last year's 17% ownership. "We are now seeing the highest levels of weekly online radio listening with the increasing strength of AM/FM streams and other online radio brands and the near ubiquity of devices in which consumers can listen," Arbitron SVP/Marketing Bill Rose said in a statement. "In the smartphone, the majority of Americans now have powerful computers in their pockets, which has irrevocably altered not only out-of-home listening behavior, but out-of-home purchase behavior as well," noted Edison Research VP/Strategy and Marketing Tom Webster. [Full story: Arbitron]

Online Radio Gaining Ground On AM/FM Among Younger Listeners

Teenagers According to a study released this week by the NPD Group, young people aged 13 to 35 increasingly are listening to internet radio, despite the broad and ready presence of AM/FM radio. The study reveals that this demographic spends an average 23% of their weekly music listening time using such online streaming radio services as Pandora and Spotify, an increase from 17% from just a year ago. As might expectwed, as internet-radio listening rose among this age group, listening to AM/FM radio - which now accounts for 24% of music-listening time - declined 2 percentage points. By contrast, in the 36-and-older age group, internet radio accounted for just 13% of music listening, while AM/FM radio dominated listening methods with a 41% share. "Driven by mobility and connectivity, music-streaming services are rapidly growing their share of the music listening experience for teens and young adults, at the expense of traditional music listening methods," said Russ Crupnick, SVP/industry analysis at NPD. Noting that 62% of consumers in the 13-35 age group who used streaming services did so more than they had in the past, and 51% reported that most of their music listening was in their cars, he observed, "Whether it's listening to AM/FM radio or Pandora, music continues to be an integral element in the American driving and commuting experience." [Full story: NPD Group]

Broadcasters Foundation

"Tell My Friends" Uses Multi-Level-Marketing To Sell Music

Tell my friends Never heard of Ben Looi? Few people have - yet - but the cofounder and chief executive of Singapore-based digital music platform Tell My Friends intends to change that by using a multi-level marketing strategy to take on iTunes. Using what he describes as a "social network marketing platform" for digital products, Looi is going up against Apple's 28 million songs with about 2,950 paid downloads of music tracks and 647 beta users (at last count). Here's how it's designed to work: When people buy a song through the Tell My Friends platform, they get a link to share the song through Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. If their friends click on the link they can buy the song, too - and the person who posted the link will get a percentage of the proceeds. Then, when those second-tier friends buy a song, they get a link, too - and anyone using that link will be sending revenues to that person, as well as the original poster. In order to not qualify as a Ponzi scheme, the original link poster gets a percentage of sales all the way through 10 levels of referrals. "We just want to do our part to help [people] make the music industry better than what it is now, by giving them this model to make a living out of music," Looi said in a recent interview with Venture Beat. Recognizing that the company is a multi-level marketing business, Looi insists it's all legal - at least according to the laws of his home country. [Full story: Venture Beat]

Music Genome Project IS Pandora's Intellectual Property

APandora Mobilenyone who says Pandora "has no intellectual property" and thus is ripe for disruption - as an article in Motley Fool did recently - had better not make that claim directly to TheStreet's Rocco Pendola. "Pandora's most important piece of intellectual property - the Music Genome Project - sets it apart," Pendola wrote in a pointed rebuttal to the Motley Fool piece earlier this week. "Pandora's business has been 'ripe for disruption' for years. Competitor after competitor has come in and done absolutely nothing to slow Pandora's growth. In fact, the growth has never stalled. In terms of listener hours and revenue, particularly on mobile, the company is as healthy as it has ever been. Don't expect that trend to reverse, even if Apple hits the market with an iRadio product. You don't just walk in and overnight disrupt the advantage the MGP gives Pandora in the areas of personalization and discovery, or the head start it has building out sales infrastructure to gobble up an ever-increasing chunk of traditional radio's $14 billion to $16 billion advertising market. [Rather], Pandora's continued growth and the growing number of entrants attempting to snag a piece of it only validates the company's model. I feel like I have to hold people down, rough them up and threaten the safety of their families to get them to sit still long enough to comprehend the impact of the MGP." [Full story: TheStreet.com]

Al Bell Presents American Soul Music ... And American Soul TV

Al BellIf you're into classic and contemporary Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Hip-Hop Soul, Rap Soul, and Neo-Soul, we invite you to listen to Al Bell Presents American Soul Music. Former Stax Records owner and Motown Records Group President Al Bell personally has programmed this awesome radio station online, presenting your favorites from the 1960s and '70s [and some '80s], a lot of the best new music that's being released today, and some real gems you haven't heard in a long, long time. Come to www.AlBellPresents.Com and hear it for yourself!

And now...join us for Al Bell Presents American Soul TV here.

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