Thursday, February 24, 2005

Music: Windows Media 10 cracked + Why the old way doesn't work

EXCLUSIVE: Windows Media DRM 10 Crack Updates. It Is Real!: "Windows Media DRM 10 has been cracked"

Some would say it's inevitable... I currently include myself in "some".

Zarkon said "how has the old business model hindered users?"

Well, the old system actually wasn't too bad. It's when the old system tries to change into the new system. As I see it, the old system hide a complex twist in intellectual property. In the old system, musicians were compensated because there was a piece of physical media tied to their work. That media clearly cost money to produce, and hence it was easy to add a hidden "tax" to the price of the media that went to compensating the artist.

So what's wrong with the old system? The internet. For 24 dollars a month I can buy a hosting plan from speakeasy that gives me 1 gig of storage online and unlimited throughput... which means, speakeasy will allow me to distribute unlimited copies of 200 of my songs for a flat fee of 24 dollars per month. What is $24 divided by infinity? That's my per cost distribution fee.

(There are caveats here of course, since large scale music distribution costs more in hardware and hosting fees than I have laid out, this is used as an example of how music distribution costs have dropped and are dropping)

So, since bits are easy to copy, where do you hide the artist tax? The old school thinkers out there are proposing to add the tax in by making it impossible for you to copy the song (using DRM or Digital Rights Management). If you can't copy it, then they can charge you for additional copies. Oh... about $0.99 per copy. It would be fascinating to look at Apple's budget for the iTunes music store. I bet you 70%-90% of their costs go to the record labels for licensing fees.

So... here's where my plan comes in.... instead of taking that 70%-90% and giving to the record labels (who now are not involved in the distribution, only marketing and production), find a way to give as much of it as possible to the artists. After all, they're the irreplacable ones.

So, returning to the question, how has it hindered users? It's the DRM. When you look into how DRM works, you'll discover that it's designed to control what you can do with the digital copy of the file. For example, in certain configurations, music ripped to your machine with Windows Media Player will not play on another computer. That sounds good right? Until you buy a new computer, move your files over, and then you can't play them. So you have to go looking around to try and find why you can't play your songs.

Why DRM is bad is a big topic. Here are a good link for your reading pleasure until I have time to address the issue more fully.

Cory Doctorow on DRM

Friday, February 18, 2005

Music: What makes this idea different

I was talking to Joel a little bit earlier about peercasting and podcasting because of an article he had read in wired. Podcasting is cool stuff. Anyways, we got talking about and how they have features similar to what we've been brainstorming for the system. It helps to highlight that those sites are doing 70% of what is planned for the system. The thing that sets the system apart is the business model. No more 99 cent downloads... your money is not spent to limit what you can do with the music, it goes directly to supporting the aritsts (plus administration costs to keep the servers running). It's kind of a "cut out the middle man" model of music distribution. Let's not spend all that money on media giants, let's give it to the artists so they will keep making awesome music.

So yeah, the system will compete for usability with other online sites like itunes, or, but it will compete with the music labels as a way for artists to get their music distributed. 2 different classes of competition. I'm hoping that we'll be best of breed in both classes. Best solution for artists in terms of contracts and music rights, best solution for users trying to get good music because we're not hinderd by the business model of days past.

Music: Money

So yeah. I'm sitting here in the living room listening to snowdrift after Team November's set and thinking about music. (blogging from shows seems to be a good way to go for me).

I think demonstrating to artist that we're committed to getting them money will help get people signed up. I'm almost thinking that would be a good place to spent startup money. Basically approach a number of groups and give them a guarantee on revenue. Sort of a profit sharing plus guarantee package. This would be targeted at the early adopters... kind of a bonus for signing up early. And we would only approach bands we thought had a chance of becoming popular and raising the esteem of the system.

Maybe carrying it beyond the early adopters is a good plan as well, as an incentive to sign up bigger acts into the system.

Come to my show tonight! or "how not to be a loser on a friday night"

So, I bought this key-tar, right? And it's this Roland AX-7, right? And it's like the coolest thing ever and I'm gonna play it at my show tonight, right?

Team November (my band)
@ living:room (4301 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle, WA)
$3, all-ages, beer/wine for 21+
also on the bill: Snowdrift

Check it out if you get a chance! Gary will be there, so it's bound to be cool.

Love and gumdrops,

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Back from San Diego

Gwen and I got back from our trip to San Diego yesterday. It was a fun trip down to the emergent convention, which is a convention for those interested in emerging churches.

I don't go back to work until monday, so I've got a little time to ease back into things. I haven't thought of anything interesting over the last week. Which has been kind of nice.