Music Industry

Google Introduces Scan & Match Service

Google’s new scan and match music service is online in the States, as of yesterday. And though subscribers are limited to 20,000 recordings, the service is free and streams 320kbps recordings.

At the moment Amazon.com offers their American subscribers 250,000 recordings at 256 kbps for $24.99 per year whilst iTunesicon offers 25,000 recordings at 256 kbps for $24.99 per year to Americans and $27.99 per year to Canadians. But both store music purchased through their service for free.

There’s no news in regards to a service for Canadians by Google but a $4.99 per month, unlimited music streaming service is available : Millions of tracks, free for 7 days on rara.com. Click here

Teksavvy Issues Statement

Teksavvy has stated in a recent blog entry that they have received a request for information in regards to 2000 IP addresses.

According to this blog entry, Voltage Pictures LLC intends to file a lawsuit on December 17th, 2012 in order to gain this information from the Chatham, Ontario based internet provider. And many members of the media have speculated that this is related to the illegal downloading of “The Hurt Locker“, an 2008 action film featuring Jeremy Renner and Guy Pearce.

The company claims that it intends to fight for their customer’s privacy. Click here to access the legal documents on this case.

File Sharing Lawsuits In Canada ?

British Columbia based NGN Prima Production will soon be sending notices to individual Canadians who have illegally downloaded a film entitled “Recoil“.

This company has successfully sued to gain access to the identifiable information behind 50 IP addresses, that it suspected were involved in the illegal distribution of this Steve Austin action film.

Four internet providers (3 Web, Access Communications Co-Operative, ACN, and Distributel Communications) have been ordered by the Federal Court in Montreal to hand over information in regards to those 50 IP addresses to NGN Prima Production, by the beginning of December.

The maximum penalty for non-commercial infringement is $5000 now that Bill C-11 has come into force. But many experts suspect that it may be significantly reduced by the courts in some cases.

Doom & Gloom ?

Debate has recently heated up in regards to the effects of peer to peer due to a report published by The American Assembly at Columbia University.

Since its publication in October, arguments on whether the technology is detrimental to the industry have been going back and forth, some claiming that the users of this technology buy more music whilst others claim they do not.

This study found that peer to peer users purchased 30% more music whilst RIAA proponents claim they spend pretty much that same amount as non peer to peer users on music.

This is only one of the numerous reports that found that peer to peer users buy more music, concert tickets and artist associated merchandise. And numerous members of the industry have responded to this information by consolidating their operations into media companies like Live Nation. But one should notice quite a few issues with the industry’s response.

One has to wonder why peer to peer is being targeted when it’s usage does not result in a loss of sales :

“The truth is that P2P users spend about the same on the core music categories as non-users, on this basis. P2P users spend a bit more on digital downloads and subscriptions but it would be a tough argument that there is much of a difference. Six dollars extra on tracks is hardly half an album.” – NPD Group Blog Entry, dated October 18th, 2012

You will notice the last sentence on that statement emphasizes the industry’s preference when it comes to sales.

They prefer the sale of albums. And any argument in regards to concert ticket and merchandising sales fall on deaf ears because they haven’t secured those sources of income.

“There is a significant difference in spend on merchandise and concert tickets, where P2P users spend nearly twice as much as non-users. Are we saying that P2P file sharing promotes T-shirt sales, or show attendance? Of course not; that would be silly. What it says is that the people who download music illegally are generally more engaged in music, so they go to shows and they wear their favorite artists on their shirts. I have news for you: they would be doing this if P2P never existed.”

P2P is used to preview music for free and the operative word, free, also applies to new technologies that the blog entry also acknowledges.

The average P2P downloader spends $42 on these categories of music. No contest- P2P users spend more. Guess what- people who follow artists on Facebook spend more than that, as do people who use Twitter; and those who subscribe to Rhapsody or Pandora spend a whole lot more than any of these groups.

We are no longer in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. Numerous licensed services now offer free music, some of which do not require the installation of questionable software and/or the mass storing of music files. And individuals will not care in regards to the source of this music because it’s free.

The problem of course if that the music industry is slow to adapt and have not licensed their complete repertoire to the new services.

The labels failed to negotiate and obtain the rights to older recordings so people continue to use P2P for recordings that are not available for download through the legal services, some of which are not available on or have yet to be made available on compact disc.

These distribution issues are also what is driving people to use peer to peer networks to obtain films that are not available on or have yet to be made available on DVDs that are compatible with their home theater equipment.

Peer to peer services will likely be used less and less by people who are looking for music that can be found on the other free services but the above aforementioned rights issues will keep peer to peer alive until they are addressed.

Bill C-11 Is Now Law

Bill C-11’s amendments to our Copyright Act have come into force today.

This means we are now no longer able to perform private copies, copies for personal use, from copy protected recordings.

We can continue to make personal copies from legally purchased recordings that are not protected by digital rights management. But copy protected CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays can now no longer be copied, even for backup.

It should be noted that the vast majority of CDs are not copy protected anyway, copy protection having failed in 2005 because of the Sony BMG rootkit issues. And the music industry appears to have adopted the mp3, iTunesicon having included an ability to convert music into that format in their software. But some consumers are still concerned that they could be subjected to experimental copy protection schemes in the future.

To prevent music recordings from being leaked prior to their release date the labels could experiment with copy protection schemes within the industry and later attempt to adopt this format in their distribution to consumers, causing compatibility and security issues.

The technological protection measure provisions were primarily added to protect the film and software industries, but we have yet to see their interpretations in action. And as consumers we will need to remain vigilant.

I will be keeping an eye on these issues and will post additional information as it becomes available.

Google Play Expands

Google Play members in Canada now have access to film downloads and will soon be able to download 320 kbps MP3s from the service, which now includes material from Warner Music Group’s extensive catalog.

The service will also include a cloud like system that will scan and match a person’s current music collection. This service will be accessible through android devices and will be free.