Tech News June 2011

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1. Access Industries to buy Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion

Warner's all-cash sale to the New York-based oil and media conglomerate, Access Industries, puts founder Len Blavatnik in the pole position to bid for EMI, the world's fourth-largest music company, numerous industry analysts said. EMI is widely expected to be put up for sale later this year by its owner, Citigroup Inc.  (Source: Los Angeles Times)

2. Detroit Symphony Orchestra begins live, HD webcasts

The DSO Live Concert Webcast Series will be streaming live performances in HD from DSO's Orchestra Hall in Detroit.  Each concert will feature a pre-concert show 10 minutes prior to the downbeat and interviews with DSO musicians at intermission.  Episodes will be posted at www.dso.org for encore viewing within a week of the live webcast, underwritten by Phillip Wm. Fisher.  (Source: Michigan Live)

3. Google to unveil service to let users stream their music

Google plans to introduce its long-awaited service to allow people to upload and store their music collections on the Web and listen to their songs on Android phones or tablets and on computers.  The service, to be called Music Beta by Google, is similar to one introduced by Amazon in March, although it will store considerably more music. And like Amazon, Google does not have the cooperation of music labels, which means that users cannot do certain things that would legally require licenses, like sharing songs with friends and buying songs from Google.   Users can store 20,000 songs free, as opposed to Amazon’s service, which stores up to 1,000 songs without charge.  (Source: New York Times)

4. Library of Congress & Sony offer 'National Jukebox' free streaming of old recordings

The Library of Congress has opened a large chunk of the national archive of more than 3 million music and spoken-word recordings for public online streaming as part of a new National Jukebox project, a joint venture between the library and Sony Music that will give free access to thouands of Sony-controlled recordings long out of circulation because of commercial or copyright issues.  Some of the 10,000 titles streamable at the new National Jukebox website have been unavailable for more than 100 years, a significant chunk of them because of complex laws controlling ownership of sound recordings, which did not become subject to federal copyright laws until 1972.  (Source: Los Angeles Times)
 
5. PBS announces new arts fall festival

PBS has announced the creation of a new PBS Arts Fall Festival, offering full-length performances, artist and performer profiles, behind-the-scenes documentaries and mini-films about the art scenes in Miami, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, the Blue Ridge Mountains and other areas of the country.  The programming, which will also include nationally syndicated Great Performances events, will be distributed nationally on Friday nights at 9 PM.  Plans call for immersive online exhibits that extend the broadcast specials and innovative educational tools that connect to the programs and help fill gaps in arts education. In addition, PBS member stations will have the opportunity to enhance their own local broadcasts with additional arts content from their community.   (Source: PBS.org)

6. NEA now offering grants for video games

The NEA has announced a revision to their submissions categories that allows for video game content creators to apply for grant money, with what was once the “Arts on Radio and Television” category and has now become “Arts in Media. “  Under the new guidelines, grants will be awarded to “media projects that can be considered art “in all available media platforms, such as the Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television.”  (Source: Independent Film Channel)

7. Will EMI's move to reclaim digital licensing rights simplify the process?

EMI Music Publishing announced that it will take back digital licensing rights from ASCAP, the body that collects performance royalties for artists in North America.  In the future, all digital licensing of the EMI April Music catalogue, one of the company's two largest catalogues featuring almost 200,000 of the most popular songs ever written (according to EMI), will be done directly by EMI.  EMI's decision could create a more unequal playing field for independent songwriters, as it reduces the collective bargaining power that collection societies such as ASCAP have had.  As a result, songwriters may find themselves getting much lower royalty rates, especially those without a publishing deal.  (Source: The Guardian)

8. E-Business is the buzz at book fair

Authors are shrugging off publishers to self-publish their work. Publishers are advancing into retail. Barnes & Noble is getting deeper into the gadget business, and Amazon is stepping into publishing.  There is a Wild West quality to the book business these days, for which e-books have exploded, surpassing print sales for some new releases.  (Source: New York Times)

9.  Broadway beams its offerings via movie screens

The current Broadway production of the hit “The Importance of Being Earnest’’ has been made available on movie screens across the world. “Earnest’’ is the latest Broadway show to be captured on high definition cameras and beamed far from Times Square, in an effort that follows in the pioneering digital footsteps of The Metropolitan Opera and London National Theatre’s NT Live series.  (Source: Boston Globe)

10.  How to convert your Facebook profile into a Facebook page

Facebook will now allow you to change your “profile” into a page. Facebook “profiles” are for individual people. “Pages” are for businesses and organizations.  Having a profile for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your profile to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the profile and all of your content. This means they can delete your profile, at any time, without warning, for being in violation–even if you aren’t doing anything “wrong.”  But NOW, if you accidentally set up your Facebook presence as a “profile,” you can switch it over easily, AND all your “friends” will automatically become “fans”!!   (Source: The Social Animal)