Technology News of Note

May 2013

1.    Learning how to play technology

Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette discusses some of the progress that has been made by orchestras and other music groups, which have found creative ways to use new and changing technology to get more people to hear their music.  (Source: Washington Post)

2.    Supreme Court sides with bookseller in major copyright ruling, says resale is ok

 The Supreme Court has sided with a student textbook seller against the publisher John Wiley in agreeing that the “first sale doctrine,” which allows used book and music stores to sell used items without the copyright owners’ permission, applies to digitized textbooks purchased overseas by U.S. customers.   Because overseas textbooks are often sold at lower prices than in the U.S., the publisher was concerned that the broad interpretation of the “first sale doctrine” would undermine its business model.  (Source: PaidContent.org)

 3.    Broadcasters Circle Wagons Against a TV Streaming Upstart

 Aereo, a new antenna based service which scoops up the free signals of local television stations and streams them to the phones and computers of paying subscribers, is causing great consternation among executives of broadcast and cable companies. Because Aereo cuts off the stations from the retransmission fees that they have grown to depend on, they are determined to shut down the service — even, the station owners say, if they have to take their signals off the airwaves to do so.   (Source: New York Times)

 4.    Cord-Cutters Rejoice: Streaming Broadcast TV Wins Big in Court

A divided federal appeals court, ruling 2-1 recently, declined to block a unique, antenna-based subscription service that enables the streaming of broadcast television to any internet-enabled device.  NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, Fox and others sued Aereo, a subscription service that went live in New York last year and is expanding to other markets. The suit claimed that the upstart, backed by media mogul Barry Diller, had failed to acquire licenses from the networks who deliver their broadcasts over the air.  Broadcasters claimed the redistribution of the material, without a license, infringed their copyrights because it amounted to Aereo briefly buffering or copying the broadcast and “facilitating” a public performance without permission.   The case is being closely watched as many suspect it could shape the manner and method by which people watch television in the future.   To be sure, the court is likely to rehear the case with a larger panel of judges.  (Source: Wired)

5.    Digital music: Can streaming save music sales?

Thanks to the success of Spotify, a streaming music service that started in Sweden, that country now generates more income from streaming than downloads or CDs. Some 91% of digital income in Sweden now comes from streaming sites, compared with just 13% worldwide:

Worldwide, Spotify now has more than 24 million active users in 25 countries. Six million of those pay for the premium service, which removes ads between tracks and offers mobile access to playlists, even when the user is offline.  The question is whether this model can be replicated worldwide?   (Source: BBC News)

6.    A Label Finds 99 Ways to Make Classical Profitable

X5 Music Group, a 10-year-old Swedish company that has built a $14 million business applying the strategies of online marketing to classical music, has spawned numerous imitators and led to a new deal that allows it to exploit the classical and jazz catalogs of the Universal Music Group.  X5’s goal is to expand the audience far beyond the typical small group of classical music connoisseurs, through the same techniques that are used to get people to buy a book on Amazon or a pair of jeans from the Gap online.  (Source: New York Times)

7.    Web Helps Musicians Sell Shares of Royalties

Musicians looking to finance recording projects on their own, without the assistance of recording companies or banks, are now turning to the Royalty Exchange, a Web site where musicians can sell parts of their royalty income to investors. Performing artist Preston Glass put 15 of his songs on the block and raised $158,000. Mr. Glass retains most of his rights to those songs, but will now share part of the income with an investor whenever they are played on the radio or streamed online.   (Source: New York Times)

8.    Court Rules Pre-1972 Recordings are Not Covered by the DMCA

The Supreme Court for the State of New York (Appellate Division) has now ruled that pre-1972 recordings are not covered by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), thereby nullifying an earlier ruling in favor of Grooveshark.   The ruling, in favor of litigant Universal Music Group, was based on the theory that if Congress meant the DMCA to cover pre-1972 recordings, they would have explicitly stated that.  This is a state-level decision, but if applied more broadly, it would throw the onus to every uploaded piece of music back onto the sites themselves for determining whether pre-1972 recordings are copyrighted on a state level.  Indeed, this theoretically allows anyone with pre-1972 content to sue on a state level, which should make everyone — including Google — very, very nervous.   (Source: Digital Music News)

9.    Digital Theatre launches internet TV channel with TalkTalk

Digital Theatre has launched its own TV channel in partnership with TalkTalk, offering customers the chance to watch recorded theatre productions through on-demand internet channel YouView. Access to the Digital Theatre Channel, which launched on Monday, starts from £3 and, according to press material, aims to "bring theatre to the masses."   (Source: What’s On Stage)

10.  Everything You Need to Know About the New Pinterest

Pinterest had the good fortune of surging in popularity relatively soon after launching its beta in 2010. However, after registering millions of users, the social network still had a lot of design work to do.   Pinterest began changing its formula slightly, after rolling out a new design. In the grand scheme of things, the design alterations are subtle — Pinterest eliminated the white space between pins and boards, and cleaned up navigation options.   For a synopsis of Pinterest's recent changes, review the infographics, created by PinAlerts, and Avalaunch Media.  (Source: Mashable)

11.  U.S. May Sell Airwaves That Help Broadway Sing

The Federal Communications Commission is considering plans to force the users of cordless microphones — not only Broadway producers but also megachurches and the National Football League — to move to a less desirable spot on the nation’s airwaves. The F.C.C., backed by Congress, hopes to auction most of those prime airwaves now used for wireless microphones by singers, preachers and coaches to data-gobbling smartphone companies, potentially for billions of dollars.   Broadway producers say that moving to a new spot on the airwaves, or spectrum, will compromise the sound quality of microphones.   (Source: New York Times)

12.  Facebook Finally Adds 'Reply' Option to Comments

Facebook has announced that it is rolling out a new feature so users can reply directly to comments left on their page. Finally.  Followings months of testing, the social network aims to make navigating through conversation threads easier with the new Replies feature. This means that, instead of having to leave a response to a friend's comment way after new ones have been added, you will be able to address each individual comment. Responses will be posted under the original comment too.  For now, threaded replies will be automatically applied to profiles with more than 10,000 followers and opt in for brand Pages until July 10, 2013. To opt in, visit the Replies option through the Page admin panel.  (Source: Mashable)

13.  Three New Features in Facebook Advertising to Deliver and Track ROI

Facebook has launched three powerful new tools in their advertising arsenal that all arts organizations should consider:

  • Conversion Tracking: you can now place Facebook conversion code on the thank you page of your site, which allows you to see the number of sales from Facebook users who have viewed or clicked on your sponsored content.
  • Audiences: allows advertisers to import email addresses into the ad tool. Facebook will then match Facebook accounts to the list of emails and advertisers can serve Facebook ads to the email addresses that have associated Facebook accounts.
  • Lookalike Audiences: advertisers can import an email list of customers and Facebook will run a magic algorithm to find lookalikes. (Source: Capacity Interactive)

14.  Guy Kawasaki’s top ten social media tips for nonprofits

Network for Good held a webinar with technology guru Guy Kawasaki, who provided his top ten social media tips for nonprofits   (Source: NonProfitMarketingBlog.com)

15.   Twitter in TV Content Deal Talks With Viacom, NBCUniversal

Twitter is close to striking partnerships with Viacom and NBCUniversal that would bring content from their TV networks to the social media site.  Under the proposed content partnerships, Twitter would stream videos and split the resulting ad revenue with the networks.   (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

16.  Twitter Music Is Here Today, and You Can’t Use It

Twitter is launching its new music discovery app for iOS devices.   (Source: AllThingsD.com)

17.  Vinyl record sales have hit their highest point since 1997

According to a new industry report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, vinyl record sales in 2012 hit their highest point since 1997.   The report tallies $171 million in global vinyl sales in 2012, up 52 percent from the year before. (Source: Washington Post)

18.   How to Make iTunes Awesome Again

A decade ago, iTunes was amazing. Now the music/app/video/iOS wrangler is a bloated mess.  The iTunes Store just turned 10, and during this decade, Apple has sold billions and billions of songs and apps out of its electronic storefront. But all those videos, apps, and songs have crippled the once-great MP3 player.   Apple can still save its media player–if it follows the advice in this article on changes that are needed to the technology and software.   (Source: Wired)