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Music The Media Entertainment

Sony, Universal Hope To Beat Piracy With 'Instant Pop' 369

Posted by timothy
from the trying-to-quote-get-with-it-unquote dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that Britain's two biggest record labels, Sony and Universal, plan to beat music piracy by making new singles available for sale on the day they first hit the airwaves hoping the effort will encourage young people to buy songs they can listen to immediately rather than copying from radio broadcasts online. Songs used to receive up to six weeks radio airplay before they were released for sale, a practice known as 'setting up' a record. 'What we were finding under the old system was the searches for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy, meaning that the public was bored of — or had already pirated — new singles,' says David Joseph. Sony, which will start the 'on air, on sale' policy simultaneously with Universal next month, agreed that the old approach was no longer relevant in an age where, according to a spokesman for the music major, 'people want instant gratification.'"
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Sony, Universal Hope To Beat Piracy With 'Instant Pop'

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  • by aurispector (530273) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:11AM (#34926260)

    itunes is basically all singles?

    Still, it's hard to believe the record companies were still doing that. More proof the entire industry is composed of dinosaurs.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:28AM (#34926402)

    Have you noticed that this radio executive has unilaterally expanded the definition of "piracy" to include recording a broadcast? He's just overturned the Betamax Case [wikipedia.org]. Note the progression here: from piracy = mass producing copyrighted material for unlicensed sale (1980's) to piracy = copying a single recording from the Internet (2000's) to piracy = legally protected fair use (2011).

    Yes, I know this story is from the U.K. where the laws are different, but I would be very surprised if taping a signal from the public airwaves is illegal there.

    "Piracy" as used by music executives is becoming a buzzword with no meaning other than "people deciding to listen to music without buying it."

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:34AM (#34926454) Journal
    Which isn't necessarily a bad thing: I don't begrudge the dinosaurs their existence per se; but when radio and TV have their scaly antedeluvian asses planted right in the middle of a huge swath of sweet, sweet RF spectrum with good propagation characteristics they had better start showing some serious worth, and fast(as much as they like to pretend that spectrum is their god-given property, it is supposedly allocated in the interests of we the people. We can, and should, reconsider the bargain if it seems to no longer suit our interests...)

    While, unfortunately, the realities of politics mean that any new spectrum that becomes available will probably fall into the hands of telcoes, I would love to see radio and TV sold for scrap, and their entire bandwidth allocation dedicated to "wifi-but with a slice of spectrum that doesn't totally suck". The possibilities for medium to wide area mesh networking and all sorts of other cool stuff would be amazing.
  • by uglyduckling (103926) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:41AM (#34926522) Homepage

    Online sales of singles has got me interested in throw-away music again. When I was a teenager I used to DJ a lot - nothing 'creative', just parties, 21st, weddings etc.. You could get a newly released single on 7" for 99p (UK) so before a gig I would go and spend 5-10 pounds and enjoy turning up with a handful of new records. For years CD singles have been 2.99 - 3.99, so I've waited until compilation albums came out (like the NOW! series) to get 40 songs for 15.99, of which perhaps 10 I really want to play.

    Just recently I've done a few weddings and parties, and I've been able to go to Amazon and buy singles for 69-99p, and the prices don't go up after two weeks. I'm suddenly really enjoying DJing again because I can turn up with the tunes that everyone wants to hear, and I don't care if I will never play them again after 6 months. Plus if I've forgotten to buy a track that everyone's requesting, I can fire up my broadband dongle and buy it there and then.

    For me, being able to buy the music that everyone's listening to on the radio will be a major step forward. Of course, I'll keep buying albums of the bands that I really like (NOT dance music!!), but I'm really glad I don't have to have piles of compilation CDs just to have a reasonable mix of music most people will dance to.

  • Stop radio piracy! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:55AM (#34926662) Homepage Journal

    A St. Louis radio station, KSHE, is the first FM stereo rock station dating back to the late sixties (I don't remember the date, but they became my favorite station the first night they aired as KSHE-95 [kuro5hin.org].

    From the start they played album sides, whole albums, etc, moreso when they were new than now; the 7th Day show, when they play seven full CDs uncut and uninterrupted on Sundays, is the only remnant.

    Years later I was married and going to college and KSHE played Ted Nugent's new album, Stranglehold. I recorded my copy off the air. Mind you, this was decades ago before anything was digital.

    My then-wife and I went to a bar in Wood River that always had great bands, cheap drinks, and no cover charge. The band took a break and we went to the car to smoke a joint (again, this was back in the stone age).

    I may have been the first person ever to put big speakers in a car, and had the hatchback popped open with Stranglehold blasting.

    It attracted the band, who were amazed that I had a copy of this long-awaited album two full weeks before it was available in a record store. The whole damned band piled into my Vega for more pot.

    A memorable night. But needless to say, I didn't have to buy a copy of that album, or a lot of other albums that KSHE played before they were available.

    I still tape stuff off the radio, only now I use a computer rather than tape. You usually get a better quality rip than you can download, legal or illegal, and the legal piracy is a lot less trouble than the illegal downloads.

    If you want top-40 music, just plug your radio into your computer and sample for a couple of hours. You'll usually get the entire 40 songs on the list, and it's a matter of a few minutes to cut them into singles and convert to MP3.

    Stupid record lables...

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:17AM (#34926892)

    Have you noticed that this radio executive has unilaterally expanded the definition of "piracy" to include recording a broadcast? He's just overturned the Betamax Case [wikipedia.org]. Note the progression here: from piracy = mass producing copyrighted material for unlicensed sale (1980's) to piracy = copying a single recording from the Internet (2000's) to piracy = legally protected fair use (2011).

    Yes, I know this story is from the U.K. where the laws are different, but I would be very surprised if taping a signal from the public airwaves is illegal there.

    "Piracy" as used by music executives is becoming a buzzword with no meaning other than "people deciding to listen to music without buying it."

    All of what you say is true, however, there is one wrinkle that the betamax case did not address. Recording a show, say from ABC over the airwaves, is legal, per Betamax, however, recording a show from ABC over your cable provider is not covered as it is not broadcasted to your home. The situation gets even murkier if your cable and internet are the same thing. So relying on Betamax is not an open and shut defense.

  • by DavidTC (10147) < ... > <neverbox.com>> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @12:55PM (#34928908) Homepage

    You don't want Doctor Who at the same time as the US air date. You want it at the same time as the UK air date.

    There are all sorts of subscription models that make sense, but they seem unwilling to even consider.

    For example, how about selling DVDs in advance? People could buy a DVD at the start of the season, get an empty package, and get streaming without commercials a day early, and have a DVD mailed every month or so and fill up the box. (Or you could buy at any time and get DVDs to that moment.) This would seem perfect for cult TV shows that sell huge amounts of DVDs but don't have amazing ratings.

    How about letting people download encrypted TV shows in advance to computers, with commercials, and then releasing the key at the moment the show airs? They could even do the right local commercials so the advertisers get their money, and have DRM to delete the show after a week. It looks exactly like broadcast TV, but, hey, you don't need cable or receive digital TV or anything, and you could do it the next day if you'd missed it. Software to do this could even be embedded in DVRs...imagine if you could scroll backwards and pick a show 'to record' that already aired, and be told it would show up in an hour or so. Or if you pick too many shows at once it downloads one of them instead of recording. (Or, hell, it just downloads them regardless, and just pretends to show them live.)

    Which, yes, people would crack it...which would give them a digital copy of the show with commercials, as opposed to a digital copy of the show without commercials that they can already download illegally, so that's hardly a loss for the network. The episodes could, however, have perfect encryption before the show airs...that's not DRM, that's just actual encryption you can't get past without the key.

    Combine those two ideas, and people with 'advance DVDs' could get with a downloaded copy without commercials. You buy an advance DVD, your DVR (Which has access to that information.) starts downloading that show in advance, without commercials, and shows you that instead of the on-air show. Just magically. And that copy stays on your DVR until you delete it, and you can go get it again if you want.

    The problem is that industry is a mess of contracts and people who use them as excuses to avoid doing anything at all to change the system. It is, frankly astonishing that Hulu happened at all, but they really are pushing to not have that be the television paradigm.

    In fact, because of all the contracts between broadcasters and networks, the first people to do stuff like this are probably going to have to be a cable network, who don't have agreements with broadcasters about commercials, with a new series with contracts specifically written for handling stuff like this.

    And it's going to totally fuck up syndication deals too, but, frankly, those are on the way out. No one's going to watch reruns like that in the future...they'll just demand 'An episode of BtVS I haven't seen in a while' and get that episode with instantly inserted ads from the people who hold the 'syndication rights'. They're not just going to fill the extra airwaves with old shows. It will function more like 'free, ad supported, on demand programming'. (Which will actually work a lot better for the advertisers, but is going to be nearly impossible to figure out how to do for current shows, legally.)

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