Looks like the potential for Amazon’s mp3 store might have some at Apple’s iTunes store a little worried. A new report claims that iTunes has been using its leverage to keep the record labels from making potentially high-profile deals with Amazon.
One of the weirder strategies by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recently has been to claim that every time a ringtone played, a royalty should be paid. ASCAP sued AT&T earlier this year over the claim, but a federal judge has ruled that your phone ringing does not constitute a public performance.
TechCrunch has published a damning rumor accusing the social music site Last.fm of helping the RIAA find users who downloaded leaked copies of U2’s new album. Relying on a tip, TechCrunch claims that the Last.fm, a subsidiary of CBS, handed over a “giant dump of user data to track down people who are scrobbling unreleased tracks.”
Radiohead may have moved 1.2 million copies of its new album “In Rainbows” when it was released last week, but according to industry analysts, over 500,000 copies were downloaded through old-fashioned file sharing networks, eroding the perceived success of the distribution plan and possibly hindering similar release plans for other artists in the future.
Starting next month, you can get your fill of ringles in major stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy. Brainstormed by Sony, the ringle is a sort of souped-up CD single—”one hit and maybe one remix and an older track—and one ringtone, on a CD with a slip-sleeve cover.” Sony BMG will release 50 titles in October and November, while Universal will release 10 to 20. Each ringle will cost between $5.98 and $6.98. (Wanna bet which price point the labels will go for?)
In the fall of 2003, the RIAA filed its first copyright-infringement lawsuits against file sharers. They’ve since sued more than 20,000 music fans. The RIAA maintains that the lawsuits are meant to spread the word that unauthorized downloading can have consequences. “It isn’t being done on a punitive basis,” says RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol. But file-sharing isn’t going away — there was a 4.4 percent increase in the number of peer-to-peer users in 2006, with about a billion tracks downloaded illegally per month, according to research group BigChampagne.
We wish this analogy worked better: “Like a loathsome foreign body forcibly ejected from its host…” Then we’d follow the aposiopesis with the news that six Canadian music corporations have left the CRIA largely due to its policies towards copyright and DRM. Unfortunately, CRIA stands for “Canadian Recording Industry Association,” so when six of Canada’s largest record companies forcibly eject from the body, it only leaves the virus in control of the host.