MySpace Music, un altro passo verso una nuova radiofonia

La forte componente di gratuità, di streaming liberamente usufruibile, mette il nuovo servizio MySpace sullo stesso piano di

Radio Passioni

In parte radio online, in parte, ma soprattutto, comunità di scambio di “dritte” sui gruppi musicali preferiti, MySpace lancia negli Stati Uniti la nuova versione di MySpace Music con l’obiettivo di inseguire iTunes di Apple sulla strada degli accordi con le major per la ridistribuzione di brani musicali via Internet. Solo che a differenza di iTunes c’è una forte componente di gratuità, di streaming liberamente usufruibile, che mette il nuovo servizio MySpace sullo stesso piano di (controllata da CBS), Pandora, o meglio dei più recenti iMeem e soprattutto iLike (chissà quanto durerà questa iDiozia dei prefissi in “i”…), che come MySpace fanno leva sulle playlist compilate da persone in carne, ossa e nickname, non da software automatici.

Qualche mia annotazione a margine. Ho trovato molto intelligente la dichiarazione di Steve Pearman riportata nel flash AFP che vi riporto in calce insieme alla cronaca di CNet. A proposito del “valore” di una comunità online (MySpace ha 120 milioni di iscritti) e della difficoltà di aggregare pubblico e quindi forza pubblicitaria, Pearman a un certo punto dice che se costruire una comunità intorno a un particolare contenuto non è una impresa facile, viceversa “iniettare” contenuti in una comunità che esiste già ed è aperta nei confronti dei contenuti stessi è molto più logico. Condivido pienamente e non è un caso se i grandi “generi” radiotelevisivi hanno fatto proprio questo negli ultimi 90 anni.
La seconda generazione nasce dalla lettura, l’altro giorno di un post sui BBC Radio Labs, che pubblicano una piccola classifica dei browser e dispositivi più utilizzati per accedere ai contenuti podcast della BBC. Da questa classifica si evince che il 7% di tutti i podcast (non vengono forniti numeri) viene scaricato direttamente via wireless su iPhone e iPod Touch, senza più passare dal computer. E naturalmente senza passare dalla radio, senza ascoltare la radio in diretta. Sono cifre che devono far pensare. La radio non si ascolta più live e la musica che piace al pubblico giovanile non si ascolta più alla radio. Ovviamente, proprio da queste due constatazione parte tutta l’idea della digitalizzazione della radio ma mi chiedo veramente se ci stiamo con i tempi. La radio digitale ha impiegato 15 anni per raggiungere, nelle nazioni avanzate, livelli di copertura di gran lunga meno capillari della copertura della larga banda. Ora, con le nuove tecnologie e i nuovi codec si riparte , ma le nuove infrastrutture devono ovviamente partire dalle aree ad alta densità di popolazione. Dove Internet non è un bene scarso o troppo costoso da acquistare. Il modello puramente broadcast della radio è proprio la sua natura universale, ovunque accessibile. Ma col digitale non si può sperare di raggiungere troppo in fretta l’universalità geografica, il che getta una luce incerta sulla radio digitale come possibile soluzione al problema del digital divide. Non parliamo poi del duplice problema delle modalità di ricezione: forse la radio digitale terrestre può avere una valenza determinante per chi ascolta in auto (e in questo senso il ritardo dell’industria dei ricevitori DAB per automobili è in disastroso ritardo). Ma quando si tratta di ricezione indoor, nelle stanze dei quindicenni che da tempo consumano il loro tempo su MySpace, Pandora, e compagnia suonando, la radio digitale mostra cospicui difetti.
La musica giovanile non è l’unico contenuto che conta, ma la fedeltà del pubblico giovanile è fondamentale per un mezzo che si sostiene finanziariamente con le tasse dei contribuenti e con i soldi degli inserzionisti. E’ loro che dovete convincere, cari amici dell’industria, eternamente neonata, della radio digitale. Ne siete davvero capaci?

MySpace Music a harmony of online community and free radio

24 September

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — MySpace is launching a new music service that blends free online radio, community and ways to interact with bands and discover new tunes.
MySpace Music builds on the popular social networking website’s strengthening reputation as an online gathering spot for bands both well known and obscure and for the people that love them.
“Music has been a pretty big part of MySpace from the beginning,” senior vice president of product strategy Steve Pearman told AFP. “It has really been the heart and soul of the site. We’ve been figuring out where to go, and part of that is seeing where the music industry is going.”
In what is billed as an initial phase of a MySpace Music evolution, the website features unlimited ad-supported streaming of songs along with tools for creating personalized playlists and buying tunes online from Amazon MP3 store.
Along with being able to listen to music free of charge, digitized songs sold at MP3 can be freely copied or moved between iPods or any other players because they aren’t shackled by digital rights management software. “You can do a real business moving away from locking content in and by setting content free,” Pearman said.
Barriers to copying songs result in “people buying less music and turning to piracy,” he argued. MySpace said its partners in the “landmark joint venture” include EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and The Orchard.
MySpace Music also has software tools to help bands and studios make money from their songs, tours, memorabilia, corporate sponsorships and other “e-commerce offerings.”
MySpace has proven itself as a vibrant platform for artists to be discovered, promote themselves, and earn livings, according to Pearman.
MySpace Music users can collect as much music as they like and store it “in the cloud” on the News Corp-owned website’s computer servers, meaning they can access the tunes from where ever they wish via the Internet.
People can opt to share playlists with friends on social networking website or to cloak their musical selections from others. “If I make a really cool workout playlist I might let everyone see that,” Pearman said. “If I make a Backstreet Boys playlist I might not want everyone to see that.”
MySpace believes people are interested in tuning into the tastes of friends and others they trust to help navigate the rising tide of digital music and other content on the Internet. “We are up to our ears in user-generated content,” Pearman said. “Now, we are making the next big shift to user-edited content.”
And while typical recommendation software at Internet radio websites matches people with bands similar to the ones they seem to like, the MySpace Music model taps into friends to discover new tunes.
MySpace says that it is moving beyond Internet radio to create a place online where people can interact with bands and share discoveries with friends while getting “all you can eat streaming” of music. “It’s hard to build community around content,” Pearman said, comparing MySpace Music to online radio. “It is much more straight forward to inject content into community and that is the path we are going down.”
After its US launch Thursday, MySpace Music is to expand internationally. The website is to be available in Spanish as well as English.


September 24, 2008 2:08 PM PDT
MySpace Music makes its debut

Update Sept. 25, 4:47 a.m. PDT: MySpace and the four record labels have officially unveiled MySpace Music.

NEW YORK–Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will officially take on Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Thursday.
That’s when MySpace is expected to launch MySpace Music, the music service formed by the world’s second largest social network and all four of the largest recording companies, executives from the News Corp.-owned social network said Wednesday.
MySpace executives said the EMI Group, which took much longer to join the venture than its three competitors, will make its entire music library available to the venture. MySpace has also partnered with Sony ATV, which partners with indie distributors like The Orchard, Alternative Distribution Alliance, Caroline, RED, and Fontana.
The service represents the most significant challenge to Apple–at least in terms of firepower–in some time. This is the first time the top labels have all joined in taking a stake in an iTunes competitor.
Among the many challenges the service faces is that it offers no hardware solution. Apple can provide everything a music listener needs–hardware and software. MySpace hasn’t attached itself to any popular music player, primarily because the iPod has such a huge market share. MySpace will sell songs, which will come from Amazon, in the MP3 format. This means they are not locked in digital rights management and will play on the iPod and most other devices.
MySpace has long been an Internet concert hall, where bands went to market their wares to the Web, and that’s a big part of the reason why the Los Angeles-based site rose to fame in 2004. According to MySpace, 65 percent of its users already have streaming music on their profiles and six billion songs are played every month. On the flip side, neither MySpace nor News Corp., has much experience in music retail; consider that Apple has zoomed past Wal-Mart to music retail’s top spot. Some critics have said that something like MySpace Music should have been in place on the site years ago.
But after reviewing the site with the help of Steve Pearman, MySpace’s senior vice president of product strategy, it’s clear the site has a few things going for it.
The coolest thing I saw was the site’s streaming music player. A person can search for music from all four major labels, drag as many as 100 songs into a playlist area and then listen to complete songs without paying a dime. Of course, the music is restricted to PCs and can’t be downloaded to mobile devices. Sites like Imeem and (owned by CBS Interactive, which publishes CNET News) also have significant head starts in this area, and streaming playlists are integral to the distribution strategy at iLike, another music start-up that has a very close relationship with MySpace rival Facebook.
What MySpace doesn’t do is send users to another site to buy. On MySpace Music, the music listed on an artist’s profile page will have “Add” and “Buy” buttons. A user can either hit add to include a song to a playlist or hit buy to instantly purchase the music. Amazon users won’t even need to create a new purchasing profile. They can use their existing accounts.
The inaugural advertisers on MySpace Music are McDonalds, State Farm, Toyota, and Sony Pictures Entertainment–which will, conveniently, be advertising on all MySpace Music playlists for a week with ads for its forthcoming teen flick, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. That’s just a little too perfect.
In addition to advertising support, marketing campaigns, (Toyota will be giving away free songs on Tuesdays, for example) and the Amazon MP3 partnership, MySpace Music will also sell ringtones through a partnership with Jamster. Some speculated that concert tickets and merchandise would also be sold somehow through the store, but that’s not present at launch.
MySpace now has more than 120 million users worldwide, according to ComScore.

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