That's right. While you were lauding the sonic quality of CDs, bitching about Spotify payments and repeating endlessly that no one wanted to rent music, technologists, not married to the past, enmeshed in a sphere of creative destruction, necessary in order to win, saw what the people wanted before they knew it and delivered it.
The number one music service today is YouTube. Can a dedicated music service supersede it?
The iTunes Store has peaked. It's just a matter of when Apple goes into streaming. The Cupertino company has a long history of following the innovation of others with a more highly refined product. And if you don't think they can do this, you haven't employed Spotify search. In a world where Google delivers exactly what you want instantly, yes, usually the first hit is the desired one, it's frequently impossible to find what you want on Spotify. You think it's not there, then you change search terms and voila! It's as simple as the lack of a single play repeat button in the app... Apple gets the little things right. They provide all the solutions we need right up front. At least this was all true before Steve Jobs's unfortunate demise. If Apple gets beaten on streaming music, if it fails to corner this market, you know the company is past its peak.
Yes, it's not about Microsoft triumphing in the music sphere. Good luck to them. Let the best man win. But it is about bringing subscription services front and center. Just like all Blu-Ray players come with Netflix apps, music apps will be part of future operating systems. Will third party delivery services survive? Jimmy Iovine tied in with HP for Beats, he'd better do so soon with MOG. Then again, HP's in trouble, when the PC business is cratering and they've got no viable tablet strategy.
Spotify was the pioneer.
Oops, Rhapsody was the pioneer. But Rhapsody could not see that a free tier was necessary to adoption. Dope would have a small percentage of its penetration if the first hit was not free. A lousy interface and a lack of experience by the public held back Rhapsody. Then again, maybe Rhapsody was just too early. (I.e. see Apple above re timing.)
With Xbox Music the old world has been put to bed. People expect the history of recorded music at their fingertips. If your business model is based on scarcity, you're screwed.
And there are cultural issues too. If you're not insanely great, despite your music being available, it will probably be ignored. Because why listen to crap when excellence is right next door, a click away?
Xbox Music is like Netflix streaming. They had it for years before everybody caught on. And what sold Netflix streaming? Word of mouth! Yup, advertising does not sell new technology and services, only early adopters spreading the word. In other words, you'd be better off reading "The Tipping Point" than getting a job at an advertising firm.
I'm not saying subscription streaming services will triumph overnight. But just like digital photography, something that was heralded for a decade before it peaked, in seemingly a day, streaming will take over. Sales will not fade that same day, but will diminish quickly. And just like with digital photography kids now take thousands of pictures a year, more people will listen to more music.
Will they listen to your music?
You think it's still about getting signed, getting on the radio, as if old media is gonna be king forever. That's like saying people will use MS DOS forever. Like saying no one needs a smartphone. Like saying desktops will not be impacted by tablets. Radio ceased long ago being anything but a delivery method, there's no soul except on talk radio. You can get the hits elsewhere.
Record stores have already disappeared. Those that still exist sell tchotchkes.
Apple's hottest laptops come without disk drives. So if you think there's a future for CDs...
And the newest laptops have less storage than before. Because what you need lives in the cloud.
We're in an era of access.
You're in the business of creating demand. In a world where everything is available essentially for free at people's fingertips. How can you motivate people to check you out and continue to listen?
If you hype something bad, you've lost credibility. If something's not great, it won't be listened to again. It's not like buying an album and playing it ad infinitum because you can't afford new music.
And if Apple can break up iLife, allowing you to buy only the components you need, via digital download, what makes you sure people still want the album, especially its weaker tracks?
You can follow the horse race. You can bet on whether Microsoft ends up owning music or not.
You can marvel that music is now a feature as opposed to a stand-alone item.
You can complain that you're making less initially from a stream than you did from the sale of an album.
Or you can recognize that the future is here, creative destruction is a way of life, and you're best to learn how to play by the new rules and anticipate future changes.
Sure, people are going to lose their jobs. Winners and losers will be realigned.
But if you don't think this is a heyday for listeners, you don't have ears.
By Walter S. Mossberg - WSJ
One of the more
interesting ideas in the new wave of cloud-computing services is the music
locker. This is a service that lets consumers store their music collections on
a remote server and access them from any device, either by streaming the tunes
or downloading them.
introducers a music locker service that does away with the need to upload the
vast majority of your music, while still allowing you to populate your locker
with your songs quickly and easily. WSJ's Walt Mossberg reviews iTunes Match.
Amazon and Google
offer such locker services. But they have a big downside: You have to upload
all your music to your locker first. If you have a collection of several
thousand songs or more, that can take days as most home Internet connections
have slow upload speeds, even if their download speeds are decent.
has introduced a locker service that mostly eliminates that problem by doing
away with the need to upload the vast majority of your music, while still
allowing you to populate your locker with your songs quickly and easily. It's
called iTunes Match, and it's the last piece in the company's rollout of its
massive iCloud initiative, which includes things like wireless synchronization
of contacts and calendars.
Here's how it works.
Instead of making you upload your song files to Apple's servers, iTunes Match
scans the iTunes library on your Macs or Windows PCs, then matches the titles
you have with the 20 million songs Apple has the right to distribute via its
iTunes store. If your songs are included in that 20 million, Apple simply
places them in your online locker. In almost all cases, users will be left with
only a small remnant of songs to upload—such as recordings by garage bands.
(ITunes Match works only for digital music, not movies, TV shows or audiobooks,
even if they're available in iTunes.)
Once the songs are in
the cloud, they also appear in your library in iTunes on computers, or in the
Music apps on iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices. You can stream the music,
or press an icon with a downward arrow inside a cloud to download it. You can
include up to 10 devices in iTunes Match. Plus, iTunes Match—which costs $25 a
year for up to 25,000 songs—covers any song you own, regardless of how you
obtained it. That includes songs purchased from non-Apple music services or
imported from CDs, or even those that were downloaded illegally.
the cloud icon beside a song downloads it to a device.
I've been testing iTunes
Match on several Macs, a Windows PC, and on an iPad and an iPhone. In general,
I found Match delivers on its promises, despite some limitations and glitches,
several of which Apple told me it will remedy via software updates.
Because of Match, my
music collection is now complete and essentially identical on all my computers
and on my iPad and iPhone, allowing me to access any of my songs from any of
these devices, without manual synchronization via a cable, or paying more than
once for the same song. My Match locker is even accessible from my Apple TV
Match is an optional
addition to an existing free service called iTunes in the Cloud, which covers
only songs you bought from Apple's iTunes store, or which you buy there in the
future. Songs bought from the iTunes store don't count against the 25,000-song
limit in iTunes Match.
Google's music locker is
currently free, but limited to 20,000 songs. Amazon is now offering unlimited
music storage for $20 a year as part of a broader plan that allows storing
various types of files in the cloud.
One nice aspect of
iTunes Match is that even if your songs are in a lower-quality format before
they go into your iTunes Match locker, Apple streams or downloads them in a
relatively high-quality format.
In my tests, I scanned
and matched the iTunes libraries on several computers containing all my
music—about 5,500 songs, a number Apple says is fairly typical for iTunes
users. The process took under an hour, including the time needed to upload the
minority of songs Apple couldn't match. However, I have a mostly commercial
collection and a fast Internet upload link in my home. I have heard from at
least one colleague with a larger library and a slower Internet broadband link,
who says it is taking forever to upload his nonmatched songs to Apple.
In my case, some of my
songs weren't accepted by iTunes Match, and were marked with cryptic icons that
Apple doesn't adequately explain. A handful were declined because of an
unspecified "error." Apple later told me these files were corrupted,
sometimes so subtly that it didn't affect playback. Others were declared
"ineligible." Mostly, these songs had been imported from CD years ago
at a quality rate of lower than 128 kilobits per second. Also ineligible are
things like audiobooks or PDF booklets Apple sells with some albums.
In my case, these
exceptions were reasonable and few, but Apple needs to explain them better. The
company says it is working on doing just that. In the case of the subtly
corrupt files, Apple says a new version of iTunes coming soon will be more
liberal about disqualifying a song.
I also ran into two
Match problems on my iPhone and iPad that Apple says are bugs that will be
fixed in an upcoming release of the operating system for those devices. One bug
scrambles the alphabetical order of songs, albums and artists. Another causes
album art to either never appear, or to show up only when a song is almost done
playing. Apple won't say when the bug fixes will be ready.
There are a couple of
issues that Apple has no intention of changing. One: If a person has more than
25,000 songs, Match won't allow the user to designate a subsection for storage
in the cloud.
The other: On iPhones
and iPads, Apple downloads the whole of any cloud-based song you're streaming,
even if you don't want it on your device. Apple says it does this for smooth
playback, and for playback when you're offline. It adds that all songs stored
on your hand-held devices are now placed in a special cache from which old or
rarely played songs are automatically removed periodically to make room for new
In all, I like iTunes
Match, and can recommend it to digital music lovers who want all their tunes on
all their devices. It's another nice feature of iCloud, priced reasonably
How it Works
Why the iPad?
by Jared DiPane - N4BB
A few weeks ago the folks at N4BB reported that RIM has been working on a BlackBerry Media Box, which was going to be similar to Apple TV in concept, and rumors about the device have begun surfacing again. The folks at Nerdberry have apparently been given some inside information about the device, and from their understanding the device has received the codename of the BlackBerry Cyclone, and it is apparently due out this fall.
The BlackBerry Cyclone is said to be Netflix ready, WiFi enabled, have HDMI out, and even potentially run a QNX based operating system. While the rumors have been circling for a while, there is still no concrete evidence of the device, but previous questionairres RIM sent out do certainly guide us to believe this could be true. This would be a whole new branch in the RIM ecosystem, something we have yet to see from them before, and would be a great addition to the family.
You could soon be able to ‘feel’ touchscreen displays, thanks to technology being developed in Sweden.
Senseg’s E-Sense technology is designed to recreate the feeling of a wide variety of textures on touchscreen devices. It uses ‘tixels’ (tactile pixels) to generate an electric field several millimeters above a device’s surface. This enables finely-tuned sensations to be created on the your skin, replicating all sorts of textures – you don’t even need to actually touch the screen to feel them, either.
It’s certainly sounds light years ahead of the haptic feedback used in many phones today, which merely vibrates to confirm that your touch of the screen has been accepted. While Senseg’s technology could be used to more accurately replicate the feel of a real keyboard, for example, it also has the potential to usher in imaginative new user interface concepts based on feel rather than visuals – it could be great for gaming, too.
Senseg says that its technology is inexpensive and easy for hardware manufacturers to implement. The company already has Toshiba on board and is looking for more partners to sign up to use the tech in their products.
The EU institutions have taken an important step to counter the threat of cyber attacks against the EU institutions, bodies and agencies by setting up a Computer Emergency Response pre-configuration Team (CERT). The team is made up of IT security experts from the EU institutions. At the end of one year's preparatory work by the team, an assessment will be made leading to a decision on the conditions for establishing a full–scale CERT for the EU institutions.
In recent years, CERTs have been developed in both private and public sectors as small teams of cyber-experts connected to the internet that can effectively and efficiently respond to information security incidents and cyber threats, often on a 24 hours a day-7days a week basis.
In the Digital Agenda for Europe adopted in May 2010 (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200), the Commission committed itself to establishing a CERT for the EU institutions, as part of the EU's commitment to a reinforced and high level EU Networking and Information Security Policy in Europe. In August 2010 the Commission requested four cyber-security experts known as the "Rat der IT Weisen" to make recommendations on how to set up such a CERT. Their report was finalised in November 2010.
The Digital Agenda also calls on all Member States to establish their own CERTs, paving the way to an EU-wide network of national and governmental Computer Emergency Response Teams by 2012 (see IP/11/395). The EU's Council of Telecoms Ministers adopted conclusions on 27th May confirming this objective.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said; "Cyber-attacks are a very real and ever-increasing threat. Whether against individual countries, companies or most recently against the European Commission, they can paralyse key infrastructure and cause huge long-term damage. Setting up this CERT pre-configuration team is a further demonstration of how seriously the EU Institutions take the cyber-security threat"
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration said "Over recent years, cyber-attacks have risen to an unprecedented level of sophistication. It is essential that the European institutions make a joint effort in order to respond to the threat of massive cyber-attacks. This project is a perfect demonstration of effective inter-institutional cooperation in practice."
As for any other public administration around the world, the level of cyber threat for the European institutions is very high and multiple incidents have already occurred, most recently in March-April when European Commission IT experts detected an intrusion in their systems. An attack against the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme recently saw at least €30 million of emissions allowances stolen from national registries.
The CERT pre-configuration team established today, which builds on the recommendations of the report of the "Rat der IT Weisen", will operate in close cooperation with the IT security teams in the respective EU Institutions and liaise with the community of CERTs in the Member States and elsewhere, exchanging information on threats and how to handle them.
The CERT Preconfiguration Team will comprise ten members of staff from participating EU institutions, including five from the European Commission and others from the European Parliament, the Council, the Committee of the Regions and Economic and Social Committee and ENISA. The team will operate under the strategic oversight of an inter-institutional Steering Board.
Digital Agenda website: