Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it....

...but don't worry, even though the Pointer Sisters were about to lose control, I promise I will keep my feet firmly on the ground...even though the news over the weekend was very exciting.

"Here she goes again", I hear you say. "What's she on about now?"

Well the clue is very much in the title, which is the song title of The Pointer Sisters' 1982 hit, and if you need to reminisce you can listen to it here:

I hope you listened. Whether you tapped your fingers and your feet or went for the full body jolt dancing around the room, that is your business, but while you were at it did you notice it was FREE?

That's not the biggest news, especially as it's been possible to access a load of free music on the Internet for the last 9 years, thanks to file-sharing companies like Napster, which is probably the most well-known of them all due to the major lawsuit that was filed by the music industry in the US leading to its closure in July 2001.

However, things are changing and at last. The problem back then was that the music copyright industry had neither the technology or legal framework to monitor and collect royalties for music that was played or downloaded from the Internet. I remember the issues well as I worked in the sector for about five years before leaving in 2001.

File-sharing systems like Napster were a big problem and eventually when the major record companies released their own download sites, they weren't very successful because their own legal models of pay per play/pay per download did not prove popular with an audience that was used to getting the music for free.

It's taken almost a decade of hard work in getting agreement from all the players in the music industry including the artists, record companies, music publishers and the music copyright organisations to give music users what they music that is legal. Napster was bought by the music industry in 2002 and was relaunched using a subscription model, which allows users to play as much music as they like online and in my opinion has proven itself to be the best ever jukebox to have in your living room. However it costs about £10 per month for the privilege.

What I am really excited about is the news at the weekend announcing the launch of a new FREE site called QTrax, which is launching sometime today (at midnight EST), promising a minimum of 25 million tracks and which boasts the backing of the major music labels. The deal is based on advertising, where QTrax will share the advertising revenue with the music industry and royalties will be distributed based on the number of times a track has been played.

This is a proving an emerging trend for online music services. Only recently a similar deal was also signed with SpiralFrog.

Online music facilites like this are great if like me you want to move away from the clutter of CD collections. After playing CDs about 10 times, they tend to sit on the shelf and gather dust until the opportunity for reminiscing comes along perhaps 5 years later! Their only future is boot sales, charity shops or as bird scarers, that's if they're not scratched by the kids in the meantime.

I actually abandoned buying CDs a couple of years ago in favour of a Napster subscription, where I can just search and play any music I like for about £10 a month.

However I am now looking forward to checking out how these FREE services compare with Napster. If the back catalogues are as extensive as promised and I can cope with the advertising, I can see a personal saving of £120 a year on the horizon.

And that's another reason why I am excited.

See you soon... as I'm off to play.

ADDENDUM (11pm) : -

Sadly it looks like things haven't moved on after all and things are just like they used to be, where behind the glamour and excitement of the media-hyped music industry is the sluggish beast that still plods along. To see what I mean, just have a look at this turnaround reported this evening by FT Online: This story highlights just why I was excited.. but perhaps I shouldn't be after all. Tomorrow is another day, so lets see what the news brings with it...

...and talking of which, there is still excitement on the horizon but this time at my friend Ruby's house. I just can't wait until tomorrow and neither can she:


Ruby in Bury said...

I just listened to that - and it brought back quite a few memories, as well as fitting my mood right now. You're excited, I'm excited, hee hee - exciting times :-D

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi is exciting isn't hopes have been dashed by the music industry faffing around, but that doesn't stray me from the real excitement of tomorrow...xx

Laura McIntyre said...

Cannot remember the last time i paid for music or anything like that - oh wait i did buy the Night Garden CD at Xmas. Sounds like a neat program though