Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Legal P2P Music", really?

Music services that legalize P2P relations with subscribers and content owners
I've been spending some time recently reading about music "state-of-the-nation", sorry if none of this is news to you.

So as I was having lots of fun at MIDEM in January, hearing a lot about services that recognize and legalize P2P music sharing, I was thinking of those services that have users upload music and share it. I was wondering how does that not clash with the content owners need for revenues: their hook so obviously giving something minimal, limited, as the hook to get you to buy the real thing. usually that hook would be called "preview". the 30-seconds version of the real thing, and a link to a music store.

So in telling the users they can upload and share the music, the name of the game is to remove liability by telling them what content they should not upload...Not sure ho many users read that piece.

So it was interesting to read about WMG suing imeem (I know, water under the bridge), how they settled, and an interesting comment:
"Good news for imeem..but the damage seems to have been done. Most popular songs on there are only in "preview" mode now, which only plays 30 seconds of each song rather than the whole clip..that was the single appeal of the site: full on demand music."
Very true, I think.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Report: 61% of US teens download music illegally

As I mentioned in my post discussing where consumers get content from, I said: "Don't ignore the P2P elephant: 48% sideloading music from you-know-where is not something one can ignore and pretend its going to go away. I don't even think legislation can make P2P go away but some think so. No, I think we're looking at a vanishing consumer wallet and people will not pay (much, if anything) for music. We need to figure out alternative revenue channels for the operator, content owner, retailer etc."

A new survey shows that 61% of US teens download music illegally. Not a big surprise, frankly. Ask any teen around you whether they pay for music... the answer is no.

The survey noted an overall "discretionary recession" in teen spending, finding a 15% year-over-year decline in spending among young men, and an 11% decline among young women.
This is the dynamics that will make operators focus on networks as the revenues from mobile content require skills, and budget, that brands, advertisers and content owners have, not necessarily operators.

Another interesting comment was: "
Six percent of students indicated they own an iPhone -- double the market share found in a fall 2007 survey -- and 9% expect to buy an iPhone in the next six months."

The iPhone UI really does make a difference to the teens. I believe iPhone and the likes will bring teens to use their phones as their music device. This is a huge opportunity for the direct to consumer content business.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mobile Barcodes Flops With Students-DUH!

This is so infinitely infuriating. While in the UK I-Nigma is getting down to business and generating mobile barcodes left and right on every magazine and billboard (good on ya!), the US is still mastering at taking a good piece of innovation and making it fail. Miserably. Every vendor and operator has a different view on the symbology, architecture and how the ecosystem should be built.
It's enough to read the comments on this post to understand the level of these discussions are the US.

Why does I-Nigma and their users get it, and we can't get a solution in the US? Why do US companies invest in existing technologies that don't require new ecosystems (evolution vs. revolution)?

Because technologists are making the decisions in the US. And they don't understand that the mobile market needs to be owned by marketing focused people. They need to stop thinking about technology, symbology and patents, and start thinking like Google would think of it. How would ad agencies deal with it.

To read now how barcodes failed at a very-visible Mobile Discovery trial, who did not setup the required arrangements with the operators beforehand, didn't setup the expectations correctly, and then used a topless woman for the promotion...well...what can I say?

End with a very old joke:
The Polish invented the toilet seat. The Americans swept the world with their design, based on the Polish one and adding a hole in the middle.

Good innovation can happen in the US, but the UK folks will succeed with it.

Congrats to Andy Letting, a friend who is moving into the right space in the right time.

A good problem to have

Mobile Data Network Brought Down By Usage? That's a good problem to haveAs an engineer who turned to marketing, I keep coming across situations where you want to promise the sky, but you also know the limits. A good lesson one of my previous CEO taught me was: whenever you think of starting the limitation "BUT...", that's when you put the lid on it.
Because that's how technology moves forward. If customers were buying existing technology there wouldn't be any innovation. This is why you want to keep your sales guys somewhat aware of what the product can (or rather, can't) do, but they and the market are the ones who will pull you forward.

The thing is, sometimes you cheat. You know the product can't deliver to the spec. Do BMW's really make it to the top speed? who knows? whose going to test it? The wisdom is not to get caught, at least not big time.

Because when someone calls the bluff, it can become painful. And I think that's what's lined up for operators with their data network. They were betting on lack of applications that will drive the data network. And they were right for the longest while.
Now, when video is hitting the mobile space, uplink and downlink, it is becoming difficult, and frightening.

So when I read this article about "Researcher warns on flat-rate plans’ effect on carriers", and I read "ABI is also worried that unlimited plans may encourage an increase in unsolicited text messages, instant messaging and picture mail usage.", I think, no, they've got the wrong end of the stick. This is the time to crack the champaign. Because for the longest time mobile geeks complained about people "not getting" picture messaging, Mobile IM, Mobile video etc. "usage/adoption is low" you could hear everywhere.

Well if now people get it, then there could not be better news! That is a good problem to have like my friend Jack always tells me. The operators need to figure out how to keep up the technology and harvest the revenues: making their network perform, and cutting rev share deals with content owners and advertisers.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mobile D2C content requires leadership, even from Nokia

Nokia explains the operator benefits in their D2C mobile content on Nokia OviI came across this article today in Fierce Wireless, talking about Nokia having to "sweet talk" operators over revenue share concerns.

Focusing on network operations and letting brands promote content D2C for rev share is not common amongst many operators yet.

Mighty Nokia having to walk the line carefully and explain the benefits to all shareholders is just an example for how young the D2C ecosystem is, and that no one is immune from playing ball with the operators, who will not be forced into it.

The good news, Nokia is the kind of player who can plow the way for all those of who will follow.