Music streaming/social network service iLike shuts down

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 11:05am

Like Imeem, Napster, and Lala before it, streaming music service iLike has now been shut down after years of slow decline following its acquisition by a larger company.

As one of the pioneering music streaming/social networking services, iLike attracted 55 million registered users and was one of the first music apps on Facebook, before Myspace bought it in 2009.

"Turns out, serving up free, ad-supported music is really, really hard," writes Janko Roettgers in GigaOm. He reminds the reader that Imeem offered a very similar service and was also absorbed and eventually shuttered by Myspace. Likewise, Rhapsody eventually shut down Napster after acquiring it, as did Apple with Lala.

Read Roettgers in GigaOm here.

Young: Web piracy now "how music gets around"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 11:00am

Neil Young"I look at the Internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone...Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around...That's the radio."

So said legendary singer/songwriter Neil Young in an interview at the Dive Into Media conference in Los Angeles. And tech publication GigaOM agrees.

"Comparing piracy to radio is a smart way of looking at the issue," writes Matthew Ingram in GigaOM. "In the early days of the music business, when live performances and record sales were the main revenue generator for artists and publishers, radio itself was seen as a form of piracy (as sheet music was before that)."

But of course, radio became a "huge revenue driver" and "publicitiy engine" for music.

GigaOM writes that online file sharing may be on a similar path, though: "File-sharing and monetization aren’t mutually exclusive, and in many cases a certain amount of so-called 'piracy' can actually be good for business, as authors, musicians and even game developers have come to realize."

Additionally, GigaOM writes (here) consumers often engage in copyright infringement because it's easier than navigating distributors' "cumbersome" routes to official content. One could perhaps argue radio offered the same benefit to music lovers when buying records or attending live concerts were the only alternatives.

What do you think? Is Neil Young right that piracy is the new radio for music? Sound off in the comments!

While prohibitive licensing keeps Europe off-limits for most U.S. webcasters, it's a different story for on-demand start-ups

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 1:05pm

Former Live365 exec Rags Gupta suggests the reason we see on-demand music services starting-up in Europe (and not, say, Silicon Valley) is that it's simply easier to license the content there than in the U.S. As such, "investors in Europe aren’t as jaded when it comes to music startups as their U.S. counterparts," writes Gupta. "Index Ventures stands out in this regard. Bolstered by their success with, they’ve added Songkick, SoundCloud, and RJDJ to their portfolio in recent years."

This apparent hospitality towards on-demand start-ups doesn't translate to Internet radio, unfortunately. Fragmented licensing regimes from country to country make it a virtually impossibly expensive and complex matter to license music separately for every country. This means many U.S. webcasters (e.g. Pandora) simply don't make their streams accessible outside the United States. (purchased by CBS for $280 million) and Spotify (now with more than 2 million paying customers across the 8 countries in which it's available) are two obvious examples of music start-ups coming out of Europe. Another is French-based Deezer.

"The minute that I tell the major music labels that I am not interested in signing for rights to the U.S., the negotiations over terms become much, much easier," Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez recently told Reuters. The company apparently has no plans to launch in the United States. 

Read Gupta's piece in GigaOm here.

Despite how they're portrayed, Pandora and Spotify say services are complementary

Friday, November 11, 2011 - 11:55am

It's a pretty handy hook for industry observers to portray Pandora and Spotify as two giants battling for digital music supremacy. But reality is a little more complicated, at least going byPandora CTO Tom Conrad what the two companies say publicly. 

Pandora CTO Tom Conrad (pictured) spoke at the GigaOM Roadmap 2011 conference yesterday. And instead of characterizing the on-demand service Spotify as a direct competitor to his own company's personalized Internet radio service,Pandora he said, "I do think of Spotify as being largely complementary to what Pandora is... I’m happy that there are companies like Spotify that are tilling different parts of the music soil."

Spotify founder Daniel Ek has remarked (read CNN Fortune & Money here), "In the old world, you had radio and record stores. In the new world, a different world, you have services like Pandora which is clearly radio. With Spotify, all we really care about is we want to manage your music. We want to hold your music collection."

Conrad, recalling that quote yesterday, said, "we’re very comfortable with that characterization... We see that one of the principle purposes of radio is to help artistsSpotify sell their music."

Driving Pandora far more than any perceived competition from Spotify, Conrad insisted, is the "Pandora Everywhere" project -- the company's goal to allow users to enjoy its service anywhere they might want to listen to music. "If we spend a lot of energy on making playlists, how do we make this as ubiquitous as traditional radio?" he asked.

Read more in ZDNet here; TechCrunch also covered Conrad's comments here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 12:00pm

Ford was one of the first carmakers to bring Internet radio to the dashboard, but — according to a new concept video — it has plans for even deeper integration.

The video shows off Evos, a concept cloud car of the future, which is capable of changing Internet radio stations based on your location, driving style, time of day and more. You can find Ford’s concept video from GigaOM here.




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