Yottamusic Dead; Subscription Music in Intensive Care

Some time in the last few days, browser-based music tool Yottamusic went kaput. For those of you who never saw it, the site was brilliant. Like the Rhapsody music service, Yottamusic featured all-you-can-listen music for a subscription fee, all playable in a cross-platform browser. (Yes, even Firefox for Linux worked just fine, thanks to a Firefox extension.) Unlike Rhapsody, Yottamusic had an interface that was actually attractive and usable, and synced plays to the music community Last.fm. Social features let you easily discover music via what other Yottamusic listeners liked — not a new idea, but powerful when integrated with …

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PACE, Waves Respond to Blogger’s Blue Screen, and a Promise from CDM

WAVES and PACE defend their anti-piracy hardware protection and respond to allegations of technical difficulties from a blog entry … and why, if this discussion really matters, we should look at it a different way. At the beginning of the month, we pointed to a blogger who posted what was essentially a rant about why he was fed up with PACE. (PACE is a common anti-piracy developer whose technology is most often deployed as an iLok dongle, but available as software-only protection, as well.) The blog entry began with a series of technical problems, but developed into an argument about …

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Developer to Users: Boycott iLok and PACE

Updated: A PACE Anti-Piracy official has officially requested that we remove an image of the iLok product. While they asked not to be publicly quoted, they have challenged the technical accuracy of Adam’s blog post, saying they don’t believe their product caused the Blue Screen of Death. If PACE chooses to release an official reply, we will share it. The debate over copy protection in music software and anti-piracy tactics continues to heat up. Now Adam Schabtach of Audio Damage, the popular plug-in developer, has fired off a call for a boycott of products that use PACE and the iLok …

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Interview: Classical Music Goes Digital, DRM-Free with Deutsche Grammophon

The original promise of digital music distribution was supposed to be greater variety, the availability of out-of-print music, communities serving specific interests that had been under-served by mass culture, high-quality audio, and lots of choice. Slowly, I think, that promise is finally being delivered. Readers of a music technology site may not think much about Josquin motets (well, actually, I do, though I don’t know if I’m typical). But we have talked about a gradual shift away from mass-market, proprietary distribution as with the original iTunes Music Store to more choices of stores, DRM-free music that’s mobile across devices, and, …

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Digital Music, Universal, and Why Water is Thicker Than Coke

Photo: Ende, for AdBusters. Universal CEO Doug Morris makes an easy target for the blogosphere. This is the old-school record industry executive who called iPod owners thieves and wanted broad legal enforcement against piracy — enforcement that, in the end, seems to pale in comparison to the revenue generated by actually offering online sales. So, now that Morris has gone up against Wired, the blogosphere can easily see him as a dinosaur. Universal’s CEO Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He’s Giving Songs Away. [Wired News] But as artists, all of us face a fundamental problem: how do you put …

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Web2 Watch: Mixaloo Launches “Digital Mix Tapes”

Mixaloo is a new service for building digital mix tapes. Counter-clockwise from upper left: assemble tracks, get recommendations and previews (or add your own recommendations), promote your mix online (via an embeddable widget), and make custom skins and cover art. The Web holds huge potential for music sharing and music discovery, but figuring out how to make that potential work — and how to navigate copyright and licensing laws in the process – has been a major challenge. This week, the creators of the website Mixaloo promised to “bring mix tapes into the digital age.” Whether you buy into that …

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Reznor, Saul Williams One-Up Radiohead with Free Album

It was inevitable. With the likes of Radiohead doing “donationware”, DRM-free MP3 downloads, someone was bound to follow. (And, in fairness, Radiohead were by no means the first — this is something various artists have been talking about or doing for years. Updated: for some examples of other free albums through music history, see comments below. And as the trend grows, expect a lot more artist-to-listener downloads, or even small label-to-listener or small online store-to-listener, soon.) The latest is Saul Williams, with the album “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!” So, what has he got that Radiohead hasn’t got?

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New Donationware Radiohead Album Now Available for Download

As you’ve probably heard, Radiohead’s new album In Rainbows is available via a unique purchasing scheme: Online-only sales, direct from the artists. International: charged in GBP, but you can buy from anywhere in the world and the store will convert currency via credit card. (This detail is usually left out of the discussions; one problem with standard label distribution is that it’s often limited to certain countries.) DRM-free download sales as donationware: choose what you think is the right amount to charge, the download equivalent of passing the hat. Or spend a bunch of cash on physical media: GBP40 gets …

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Microsoft Goes Non-DRM with Zune; Music DRM Now Completely Dead

The writing’s on the wall: DRM for music downloads is deader than the eight track. Okay, actually, that’s not fair: the eight track was relatively good technology. Just two weeks after Amazon launched their own DRM-free music store, Microsoft is jumping on the bandwagon. DRM won’t be gone completely from the Zune store, but there will be hundreds of thousands of DRM-free tracks going live, apparently in November with the release of a new store and new players. That’s a major departure, given that Microsoft built its Zune and PlaysForSure platforms around DRM, and introduced significant new DRM features in …

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I Wish You Ran the Record Industry Lobbying Efforts; Beware the Pencil

If the readers here did, I suspect musicians and record labels would be richer, not poorer, music would be spread further around the planet, and policy might actually make sense. If you haven’t yet read comments on last week’s analysis of an industry push for DRM on radio, do it now. On second though, as many artists start their own labels or self-publish, we may not be far from a world in which the artists really do run the record industry. Imagine an industry that’s actually smart and has a sense of humor. Fascinating. AudioLemon, author of one of the …

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