6 posts categorized "Music"

November 24, 2008

Dr. Pepper + Guns n Roses = We Win

Who would've thought that Axel Rose could actually give everyone in America a Dr. Pepper?  If you haven't heard, the soda maker made a pledge to give a free Dr. Pepper to everyone in America if Guns n Roses released their long awaited album "Chinese Democracy" in 2008. 

GNR has come through, in a big way, and DP has responded with allowing people to print off a coupon on their site.  Good luck trying to get their site to work though.  It seems like even if you hate Guns n Roses (the new album is heinous, btw) you've got to love the fact that they came through for you this time. -John Herrington


November 08, 2007

Maybe Prince cries like his mother... two, four


Fan sites dedicated to Prince say they have been served legal notice to remove all images of the singer, his lyrics and “anything linked to Prince’s likeness,”...

The sites, now featuring an image of a hand print with “pfu” written on it, said the singer had demanded the removal of fans’ photographs of Prince-inspired tattoos and vehicles displaying Prince-inspired license plates.

Prince's representatives say the music star's position is being misrepresented by Prince Fans United (website), which was formed by the owners of the three websites being sued, but one must wonder about the wisdom of filing legal action against the .1 percenters who have been holding his torch.

I understand the need for artists to protect their copyrights and get paid for their work. I really do. But these are the people he should nurture and cultivate... help them be his fans, even if it costs him money in the short run.

These fans are more valuable as friends than enemies. - Cam Beck

June 05, 2007

Steve Jobs Makes A Boo-Boo

Stevejobsipod2005 After accepting the accolades of consumers who desperately wanted DRM-free music, Apple has run into a bit of trouble because the downloaded music files apparently have customers' personal data embedded in them. As the thinking goes, the only people who have to worry about it are those who seek to illegally share music with others. After all, the information doesn't become public knowledge unless the data is made public in violation of the law. This thinking has merit, but it's incomplete.

If the operating motivation behind this initiative is, as Jobs himself says, that,  "People want to enjoy entertainment when they want it, how they want it, on the device they want it on," then it also follows that the right to use and listen to that entertainment must be transferable.

If I, for instance, downloaded a DRM-free song but decided I didn't like it, I might pass it along to a friend, whom I thought was trustworthy. Of course I would remove the file from my hard drive and all my listening devices. Say that friend passes it along to someone else while deleting the music from his listening devices and hard drive. Eventually, if it gets into the hands of someone who isn't so trustworthy, that person might upload it to a peer-to-peer network, where the legal vultures latch onto it, get my name from the file, and sue me for the violation of the record label's copyright.

The above scenario would rarely happen, but the fact that it could happen provides sufficient reason to cast some scorn on Apple's lack of disclosure, which would have helped its customers make more informed decisions. Now it just looks as if Apple was intentionally hiding something.

In addition, Apple increased quality of these files, but many people can't tell the difference. This increase in "quality" came with a 30-cent price increase IN ADDITION TO this information Apple demands be tied to the file -- requiring the customer be held accountable for its use for all perpetuity (or until someone develops a hack to strip the information from the files).

Make it one or the other, Apple, not both.

According to  the Associated Press (take it or leave it), "Apple declined to comment." It wasn't that a spokesman was unavailable for comment, but that the organization declined to comment at all. I presume they will comment later, but I find it surprising that Apple wasn't already prepared for this.

On the other hand, had they simply disclosed their policy before they made the service available, they would have never had to even worry about it. - Cam Beck

October 06, 2006

What Can't Google Do?

For those who have been living in a cave, Google is reported to be in talks to buy YouTube for about $1.6 billion. Although I know their accounting wonks have to do a cost-of-capital analysis, it has to be comforting for them to know that, with $10 billion in the bank at the end of June, they could pay cash for the online video gorilla.

Now, as a personal maxim, I will never feel sorry for billionaires who get outsmarted in the marketplace, but this move has me thinking that Bill Gates can't win for losing. I mean, besides having a net worth of $48 billion. Besides that, the guy is the Bad News Bears of business.

First, he's known to have been upset that Apple beat Microsoft to the marketplace with a media player and music download service. Second, he's also known to covet consumer Internet applications. Practically owning the word processing and office application suite market, he realized such pricey options would become outdated and that Internet applications are the future of computing. Yet Microsoft had to watch helplessly as Google purchased a great word-processing Internet-based application, Writely, and further encroached into Microsoft Office's territory with free online spreadsheet, e-mail, and calendaring applications. On top of that, Microsoft had to undergo lawsuit after lawsuit around the world as well as a public "brain-drain" as some of its top talent bolted for Google.

Just when it looked like Microsoft might get something right with the release of its media player, Zune, and its corresponding media download service (which would include, one presumes, movies), Google is looking to change the rules again, and Microsoft has to be afraid of what that means.

Why? YouTube holds almost half of all traffic for online video sites. Google video holds 10%, but Google, as the dominant search engine, is perfectly poised to be top video distribution network simply by virtue of the fact that nearly everyone visits there. Apple has about 3/4 of the music download service market. With these ubiquitous services, what compelling benefit can Microsoft possibly offer to get people to change?

I don't think Microsoft will be satisfied if it is only able to capture a 10% share of the video download market, but as they have surely noticed by now, Google is nimble enough to dance circles around Microsoft, but too big to be pushed around by the software giant. Which such strengths, is there anything Google is incapable of doing? - Cam Beck

August 09, 2006

In Defense of Apple

I really want to be able to use other music players with iTunes. Don't get me wrong. I like the iPod just fine--and I'll like it even more once the wireless version comes out--but more than that, I like having options. The iPod may very well be the best music device available, but I want the freedom to use another device with my favorite music download service, even if doing so winds up being a bad decision.

Companies, like people, have a vested interest in making good decisions. If they fail to deliver what the audience wants, the market punishes them.

Government agencies and elected officials have a vested interest in self-preservation, so the immediate temptation for politicians whenever the market demands something companies aren't delivering is to intervene on behalf of both the market and, in many cases, the competitors who contribute to their political campaigns.

That all brings us back to Apple, who was recently ordered by the French government to make iTunes compatible with other MP3 playing devices and to make the iPod compatible with other music download software.

Even though the result is what I want out of iTunes and the iPod, I must object to this unnecessary and dangerous intervention. I'm not an expert on the French constitution, and I like French dressing and french fries as much as the next person, but I can see quite plainly the injustice of the French government telling Apple how to make a competitive product that increases its chances for success. It's hard enough to compete with Microsoft in the overall technology marketplace without having the weight of an entire continent on one's back.

Even as I write this, new media devices are being introduced that might force Apple to revisit the wisdom of its compatibility decisions. It seems everyone wants a piece of this pie, and no one needed the government to tell them to do this, because there is a profit motive to giving people what they want. No one is forcing anyone else to buy iPods or use iTunes. People have done so because it is one of the best, if not the best, way to download music and make it portable.

What's worse, as consumers, we are nearly powerless to influence the results of this dispute. For its part, Apple's website makes it no easier for users to find out what they can do about this travesty. I think they understand that the best thing people can do is to buy more Apple products, which they continue to promote.

I would hate for Apple to become one of those companies that takes out ubiquitous advertising in order to compel the government to do something (such as was the case with the recent Wright Amendment fiasco in the Dallas/Fort Worth area), but its news pages would be the perfect place to direct interested people to write, blog, and otherwise be an influence where they can to make sure our government responds appropriately to this restriction on the market that surely at least violates the spirit of the World Trade Organization's charter, that was supposed to protect the freedom of companies to fairly compete in the global marketplace. - Cam Beck

January 06, 2006

Top Ad Music of 2005

Adtunes.com has compiled a list of the top music used in advertisements in 2005. They include both the best music and the most memorable. As Adtunes points out, these aren't always the same thing. If you're interested, you can also listen to samples and purchase these songs in iTunes through an iMix that Adtunes set up. Visit the iTunes iMix here - John Keehler