Google is reportedly in talks with big music labels in an attempt to launch a music streaming service. According to a report by the Financial Times (paywall), the search engine company aims to take on popular services like Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, and Deezer.
While Google already has a music download service and also YouTube, building out its own music streaming service would be new. It seems that should this launch, it would give the company access to millions of songs (Spotify already has over 16 million songs). It already has plans to launch a paid subscription service on YouTube that would enable subscribers to pay to watch their favorite shows and artists. It’s not that unbelievable to think that Google doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to handle a music streaming service.
Some might even think that this music streaming service would be an extension of its music download service that it rolled out in November 2011 and is now available in the US and five European countries. In November 2011, the product signed deals with EMI, Universal, Sony Music Entertainment and small indie labels to bring in 13 million tracks on the Android market. To date, it has over 1,000 partners.
Practically everywhere you look on Google has a music focus — people spend hours every day listening to music on YouTube, which Vevo helped to make even more popular by having signed artists upload their videos there. And on Android devices, it can’t be that hard to believe that somehow Google could deploy a music service that would be built-in and would be the first thing a user sees besides Spotify or Pandora.
One significant obstacle that the Mountain View, CA-based company faces is the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which came after the company this week over allegations that it has failed in its attempt to stop content piracy. To that, Google responded with:
We have invested heavily in copyright tools for content owners and process takedown notices faster than ever. In the last month we received more than 14 million copyright removal requests for Google Search, quickly removing more than 97% from search results. In addition, Google’s growing partnerships and distribution deals with the content industry benefit both creators and users, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the industry each year.
How this will exactly help Google’s case for launching a music streaming service isn’t clear, but with the RIAA attacking it, things are less than positive, especially as labels like Warner Music and Universal Music worry about the privacy issue. However, Google could still pull it off — if it’s true, that is.
Should a music streaming service actually come to fruition, it’s reported that it will offer a subscription service as well as free unlimited access to songs, supported by advertising. This mirrors what users currently get with Slacker, Spotify, and other services.
Photo credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images
A five-minute video? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Not to watch one, or to make one. But Harlem Shake dance videos are capped at 30 seconds. That’s why we’re so willing to watch just one more incarnation, and why it’s easy to recruit friends to make them. The result is one of the most pervasive gags in history. A “Symbiotic Meme,” the Harlem Shake has a lesson to teach all content creators.
Give people a formula, and they’ll substitute in their own variables. Most people just aren’t all that creative. They’re not going to come up with some entertaining meme on their own. With a little structure, though, our minds fill in the blanks.
To break it down, the Harlem Shake meme is:
[14T x (A1 + V1)] => Δ => [14T x (A2 + V2)] => [2T x (A3+V3)]
[14 seconds of (build-up music) played as (one person passively dances while others linger around them motionless)] then an instant video cut to [14 seconds of (bombastic dance music) played as (many people dance aggressively)] then [2 seconds of (a slurring sound) and (slow-motion video of the aggressive dancing)]
Or in “Harlem Shake v3 (office edition)”, for example:
[14 seconds of (the build-up of Baauer's "Harlem Shake") played as (one person in a helmet nods and thrusts while others sit at desks or work on computers)] then an instant video cut to [14 seconds of (the climax of Baauer's "Harlem Shake") played as (people shadow box, do hand stands, ride bicycles, and punch stuffed giraffes)]
Anyone can sub their own variables into this equation, and practically everyone has. The formula is very easy to replicate with little video production skill, and it’s not asking a lot for people to stand around and then dance for a total of 30 seconds. Stick a camera somewhere, film part one, get everyone riled up, film part two, cut them together, add the slow motion effect.
The end product is remarkably snackable. When you see someone share a Harlem Shake to Facebook or Twitter, there’s very little risk to clicking the link. Worst-case scenario, you burned 30 seconds. Best case, you get a nice surprise and a laugh. No one wants to sit through several minutes of home-made content where the payoff is uncertain. It’s part of the reason why Twitter’s 6-second video sharing app Vine is succeeding where un-capped video sharing apps have failed.
So why is this a “Symbiotic Meme”? It’s the term I coined five years ago when I wrote my final Stanford Cybersociology Master’s degree paper about the phenomenon. When content creators serve up a meme with an equation full of variables, people remix the variables, and share the product to their own networks. The audience becomes curious about what the source content was. This floods traffic back to the original or flagship version of the meme.
That’s why the original DizastaMusic standalone version of the Harlem Shake meme (broken out from a Dizasta compilation) has over 10 million views, and the flagship PHLOn NAN version, which crystallized the formula, has over 8 million views. All the versions of the Harlem Shake meme popping up around the world build on these, and in return increase their popularity. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Content creators, and especially “viral marketers,” would do well to structure their products around a remixable formula when possible. Give us a coloring book and we’ll give you some pretty pictures and a whole lot of attention.
Editor’s note: Michael Weinberg is vice president at Public Knowledge where he focuses primarily on copyright, issues before the FCC and emerging technologies like 3D printing. Follow him on Twitter @mweinbergPK.
Mashups are one of the great art forms of our time. Easy and accessible digital tools have allowed anyone to remix videos, music and photographs into their own original works: Mashup culture has produced fantastic music, critical video, and delightful cultural artifacts of all kinds.
However, mashups are ultimately limited by the nature of their source material. The types of things that mashups draw from – videos, music, photos – are also the types of things that are protected by copyright, which means mashup creators need to take copyright into account when creating their works. Sometimes, because of rules such as fair use, the creator does not need permission from the person who owns rights to the source material. Other times, mostly because the work falls outside of the scope of fair use, the creator does need permission. The requirement for permission inevitably prevents some mashups from being seen by a wide audience and makes it harder for creators to make money.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about 3D printing, but one of them is that it moves beyond the world of things protected by copyright. When you step away from your computer screen and look around, you realize that the physical world – the real world – is full of real, physical things that are not protected by copyright. In fact, the world is full of things that are not protected by any sort of intellectual property right at all. That means that you can take them and do whatever you want with them. And that includes mashing them up.
One of the best examples of this so far is the Free Universal Construction Kit (below). The kit remixes 10 different construction toys into adaptors that make them interoperable. These toys are functional objects so they are outside of the scope of copyright. While some of them were patented when they first came to market, patents only last 20 years. That means that most of the toys are no longer protected. As long as you stick with the toys that are no longer protected by patent, you can remix them to your heart’s content.
The Free Universal Construction Kit is just the beginning when it comes to remixing things. Easy-to-use tools like meshmixer allow people to remix things just as easily as they remix songs or videos. And unlike those songs or videos, many of the things will not be protected by copyright.
One of the keys to this next generation of mashups will be a strong understanding of how copyright interacts with physical objects. While copyright will not protect functional objects, it will protect decorative ones. Understanding functional vs. decorative will mean the difference between a mashup encumbered by copyright and a mashup that is in the clear.
Public Knowledge’s latest whitepaper, What’s the Deal with 3D Printing and Copyright? should help everyone begin to understand what is protected by copyright and to start thinking about what is not protected by copyright. That second category includes a lot of things just waiting to be remixed and mashed up.
[Image: F.A.T. - Free Art & Technology]
Here is the original post: As Patent Drama Continues, 3D Printing Provides A Way Out For Mashup Creators
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The online music store subscription service, available only in the US, has been updated with a slew of new features including offline playback for downloaded tracks, albums and playlists. Spotify, Nokia Music+ and Xbox Music are already offering users similar functionality on their own respective Windows Phone 8 apps, making Rhapsody somewhat of a hard sell for new listeners.
However, the app also has support for My Music, which is the user profile and radio functionality originally pioneered by Last.fm. It means users can add or remove tracks and albums to their profile, but also check out other people’s libraries at anytime.
Incremental updates for the Windows Phone 8 release include the ability to see your listening history, as well as the ability to add and remove both stations and playlists from their respective sections. It sits alongside further improvements to the app’s audio playback, album art and search functionality.
The app has adopted a mostly black and white color scheme, allowing cover art and various artist photos to really shine through. It’s a marked improvement over the recent Spotify release on Windows Phone 8, both in its use of colour and the way it takes advantage of the entire screen.
The app should be available now, although Microsoft has stressed on its Windows Phone blog that the update has “just started its rollout”, meaning that if it’s not there now, it should be in the next couple of hours.
Rhapsody still has a fairly strong following in the US, although its presence is being challenged by younger services such as Rdio, Spotify and Xbox Music. Last year the company acquired Napster International, giving it a crucial foothold in the UK and Germany. Although the service continues to operate there, it feels somewhat walled off and disparate given its limited international reach.
However, a series of refreshed apps could be just what the company needs to gain greater attraction in the US.
➤ Rhapsody | Windows Phone 8
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