Thursday, November 19, 2009

Music: Too Expensive to Be Free, Too Free to Be Expensive

Recently, a rumor has been released in the music business regarding MySpace business operations. According to the article I read, MySpace is on the verge of purchasing the free music streaming site imeem, which has been struggling to stay on top with payments with music copyright holders. However, this problem is spreading to similar licensed free music services, according to a top News Corp executive. There has been speculation that advertising revenue is a poor business solution to cover costs of licensing music, which has lead to illegitimate free music sources continuing to prosper. MySpace has been losing money and could soon add a subscription option due to payments obligated to music companies. On the other hand, YouTube remains the only licensed, free, on-demand music service that promises to break even. This is mostly due to the visual nature of the services which makes users more likely to encounter advertisements on the site. Furthermore, when the labels launch their Vevo (YouTube spin-off) they expect to bring in more money in ads than YouTube does. An interesting perspective that I found interesting was geared towards Googles' new music search service. This music search service allows to users to listen to a song once for free through LaLa or MySpace's iLike service. As mentioned in the article, "If Google can't figure out a way to support something with ads, it arguably cannot be done." In conclusion, advertising was suppose to be the golden opportunity for music fans to get free music while at the same time contribute to copyright holders. This vision seems to be gone, and music enthusiasts will likely head back to file sharing networks.

-Ryan Dolan

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