Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuneglue: Music Map

Tuneglue is a great web tool to find other bands and artists that are similar to your favorites. You just type in the name of a band and the band appears on your screen with a circle. Click on the circle and you have the option to view the album releases from that band or "expand" which connects the original band with other bands that are similar, creating a web or map of bands.

For example, when expanding the band Kings of Leon, the following artists are connected:

White Lies (currently opening for Kings of Leon on tour)
The Strokes
The Killers
Arctic Monkeys
Cold War Kids

You can argue how much these other bands are really similar to Kings of Leon, but it is a fun tool to discover music you may enjoy.

Takedown Hall of Shame

The Electronic Frontier Foundation have created the Takedown Hall of Shame: a list of the worst copyright and trademark threats against the makers of "creative expression".

Friday, October 30, 2009

Video Lectures on Intellectual Property Law

Academic Earth, named by TIME as one of the top 50 websites of 2009, collects video lectures uploaded on the web and streams them. Lectures on a variety of subjects are available from schools such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, MIT and Stanford. Of particular interest are four lectures taught by MIT Prof. Keith Winstein concerning intellectual property.
"Topics covered include: structure of federal law; basics of legal research; legal citations; how to use LexisNexis®; the 1976 Copyright Act; copyright as applied to music, computers, broadcasting, and education; fair use; Napster®, Grokster®, and Peer-to-Peer file-sharing; Library Access to Music Project; The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act; DVDs and encryption; software licensing; the GNU® General Public License and free software."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is the Album on the Way Out?

Albums aim to contain three hit singles. The rest of the album is usually filler songs whose purpose is to attempt to justify a hefty album price. With the rise of iTunes and similar digital distributors, people are buying fewer albums and more single songs. That behavior is completely rational: why pay $13 for three songs you enjoy plus filler music when you can buy your favorite songs individually for about $1 each. By empowering the consumer with the ability to purchase single songs (and not just the ones the music labels selected to be put on a "single" CD), and allowing consumers to preview songs before they purchase, the concept of the album might fade away. This would be exacerbated if storefront distributors like Wal-Mart stop selling CDs and instead have Kiosks that allow you to basically browse music and burn a CD (or even plug in your MP3 player and download the files).

If consumers have the choice to stop buying filler music, and exercise that choice, it should follow that the economic incentive for recording labels to force artists to record filler songs will be considerably lower. At the very least, the number of filler songs recorded should diminish. Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Does Online Content Come with an Implied License?

Raymond Nimmer says that it shouldn't in his blog entry Posting as Implied License. It will be interesting to see as various courts tackle this issue if a consensus will be found.

The More They Stream the Less We Share?

The amount of broadband traffic used on P2P file-sharing is now down to 20% in the United States while streamed media nearly doubled to 26% according to the Sandvine's "2009 Global Broadband Phenomena" report (via Ars Technica). This is an important trend that can likely be explained by a number of factors:
  1. Increased availability of free, legally streamed media (Hulu, Pandora, and Lala)
  2. Increased availability of free, illegally streamed media (ch131 and wisevid)
  3. Increased availability of subscription service media providers (Netflix and Rhapsody)
  4. Increased availability of pay-per-view, streamed media (Amazon Video On Demand)
  5. Devices that allow streamed media to be played on TVs (Xbox and Roku)
  6. High profile enforcement efforts by RIAA (Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas)
All in all, it is easier than ever to access streamed media (legally and illegally) for free or for a low marginal price. As a result, the incentive to download media via P2P file-sharing has diminished. The key to continuing the trend away from P2P file-sharing is for the market to provide users access to free streamed media (supported by ad revenue) as well as subscription models that add addition value. However, with the foolish announcement this week that Hulu will begin charging for access in 2010, the media providers may very well resurrect P2P file-sharing all on thier own.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Intellectual Property Podcast

I recently stumbled across the Intellectual Property Colloquium, a podcast that focuses on copyright and patent law. The podcast is a conversation with people in the IP field. Each podcast is about an hour long and can be either streamed or downloaded. Attorney's in California, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington can get CLE credit for listening to the show. An archive of the podcasts can be accessed HERE. The current show asks: can content survive online?

Google to Enter Music Market

Rumors have spread this week that Google is about to announce a new service in which the company will provide a search service that incorporates Google's search power with other music streaming services like Lala and iLike. If done correctly, Google's music service may provide a great source to search for music content (music streams and video) and find lessor known artists. For further information, check out the PC Magazine blog post HERE.

Update: Google Music has gone live and can be accessed HERE.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Music Monday - Joanna Newsom

Every Monday I will mention an artist and song that I recently came across that I really enjoy.

First up is Joanna Newsom. Joanna is a talented harpist and pianist with a very unique voice. In particular, I really enjoy the song "Sprout and the Bean". If you recently watched the movie The Strangers then you will surely be creeped out when you hear the song. "Sprout and the Bean" was played on a vinyl record in the movie. The song fit perfectly with the scene and greatly added to the suspense of the moment. Click HERE to see the music video for Joanna Newsom's "Sprout and the Bean."