Return of the [Pirate] Jigga

The Wall Street Journal is all worked up about Jay-Z’s p2p-pimpin’ for Coke’s Stageside site (which directs you to download video files directly or via direct links to BitTorrent, Gnutella and the like).

Is the industry *finally* comin round the bend? The article — titled “Record Labels Turn Piracy Into a Marketing Opportunity” details what could be considered (to put it nicely) the industry taking a wide turn. An alternate (if not more accurate) title in a more reality-based publication could be “Record Labels Think p2p is Just Another Way to Own You.”

According to the WSJ, the old-school “decoy” technique, in which bad-karma’d companies like ARTISTdirect flood the p2p networks with fakes of “as many as 30 of the Billboard Top 100” to frustrate users to endlessly search for a legit copy of a song instead of hearing it once and then buying the record (not to mention, the title of the song spikes up to the top of the search charts as a result of the neverending-search-for nothing corporat practical joke). Since this is a Public Diplomacy course, let’s just make a stretch and call it the carrot-stick approach.

Unfortunately, big media still thinks it has the upper hand and somehow must *fight* p2p and other “free” media-sharing, especially in light of the 2005 Grokster decision. From the WSJ article:

Before the ruling, record labels worried that they might undercut their legal arguments if they used peer-to-peer sites for their own purposes. Now, “we’re basically free to exploit these billions of fake files we’re putting out,” says Randy Saaf, chief executive of MediaDefender.

MediaDefender is the p2p-weasling company that was bought out by ARTISTdirect last year. Somehow — or I’m not reading it right — the WSJ scribes are buying into MediaDefender’s notion of “marketing,” but frankly it’s no different than me sharing a hundred fake mp3’s on the old Napster and listing them as Metallica cuts.
courtesy WSJ.comThe chart to the left, featured in the WSJ article, is from BigChampagne, the same online media measuring company that confirmed that — in terms of “moving units” — Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album” was in a stratosphere to itself on Feb. 24, 2004, or Grey Tuesday, when we all went grey and/or hosted the Album. Today, BigChampagne has courted Nielsen and claims to be “the leading provider of information about popular entertainment online.”

Jay-Z, needless to say, never had a problem with the mashup concept and lo, his fortunes have only grown. Nearly two years later, might *some* of the majors be finally getting it? Turn up that Young Dro and stay tuned . . .

(More digressive irony: The top Google results for listen to the grey album are ARTISTdirect-hosted pages.
Search via Yahoo! audio search, however, and it’s all there!)

Must-See Katrina Video

‘Orgullosos de Estar Aqui’ [Spanish for “proud to be here”] is a ten-minute feature for Current TV on the Latino workforce in post-Katrina New Orleans and features interviews and footage of the ongoing racial tension in the continual rebuilding of the city.

I highly encourage you to watch this video and pass it along to friends as this is one hook on the Katrina story that the media has completely missed.

Future of Web Apps Summit Podcasts

MP3s and video of most of the speaker presentations from last month’s FoWA summit in San Francisco are now available for public consumption. Chow them down here.

Also: Here’s a collection of links to the great PowerPoint presentations of some of the speakers:

Speaker Presentation Slides

GooTube: Impending Doom? For Users, Maybe

In the same breath as pocketing a cool $1.65B in Google stock, licensing and copyright-protection agreements were made with the likes of Warner, Sony/BMG, Universal, CBS (it’s looking like one singular beast of a media mongrel at this point).

You Tube has been all the rage for it’s year-and-a-half existence, but — isn’t YouTube’s success primarily a result of its lax oversight and takedown policies? Surely, Chad Hurley and his couple dozen of employees at You Tube don’t care anymore — as long as they sell their Google stock in the near future. But once you can’t get anything you want on You Tube, the traffic will most naturally channel itself elsewhere.

Alex Veiga wrote about this today for the AP, and the article‘s a good read, complete with a variety of quotes. The basic drift is:

[R]ecent agreements with high-profile content creators require YouTube to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed music video or other content. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version of the clip or take the material down automatically.

Veiga predicts that YouTube’s anti-piracy platform will resemble the nightmare watermarking techniques of Audible Magic. Competitor Guba uses content-comparison software called “Johnny” to filter out copyright infgingements on videos uploaded there.

CJR’s Gal Beckerman says the deal is “doomed just because it is.” YouTubers are “gravely concerned,” summarizes another article.

The real winners here are the VC’s, like Sequoia Capital, which invested 11 million into YouTube and come out of the deal with a whole lot more, writes Staci of Paid Content.

Sure, Google and YouTube will most likely come out OK. The real losers, however, are the users — that is to say everyone save for the handful of jackasses makin a mean living by hording and raping other people’s property (not the kind of OPP that any content producer or consumer would be down with).

Is Google lining up to be the darling sweetheart of government-sponsored corporate Internet ownership? Google does publish a little one-sheet guide to Net Neutrality, deep in their help section). I’m guessing there aren’t many Save the Internet badges floating around Mountain View.

(Apparently you’ll never find out what’s going on at Google if you’re using Yahoo Maps). Which reminds me of a prank Yahoo! pulled when they launched their new Maps beta last year. The address for Google was listed as “The Dude’s Fish Store.” It’s hilarious — read about it here. Perhaps the grey boxes on Y!Maps are just retribution.)

Online News Readership Up Big in U.S., UK

Start spreadin’ it: Online newspaper Web sites are averaging 55.5 million unique visits per month according to a new study released by The Newspaper Association of America. That’s one-third higher than last year’s average over the same period. (Click here to download the complete Fall 2006 Newspaper Audience Database [PDF]).

Across the pond, new Nielsen/Net Ratings research shows that 40% of all Britons with online access use newsfeeds. But, as BBC News — which has consistently been ahead of the curve as far as online news sites — stresses, more than two-thirds of all respondents did not know that the official term for newsfeeds is RSS or Really Simple Syndication. The RSS (or whatever ya wanna call it) revolution is alive! Click here for a PDF of this report. (Thanks Niall Kennedy for blogging this to my attention and also for grabbing the image below):

Also fresh out — The RTNDA’s The Future of News ten-part report, summed up in a great Poynter article / Q&A as “Viewers to TV Execs: We’re Smarter Than You Think.” (Duh!)

Finally, I’ve just gotta post this — YNET printed a translation of a Q&A exchange on The Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khameini’s Web site which included such issues as masturbating on Ramadan. Read all about it here.