I know I sound like a broken record on steroids when I say I’m going to ween this blog away from imeem stalkage, but in the past few weeks, they’ve been making a lot of headline grabbing news, so I thought I might bludgeon yall over the head with some more updates:
1.) Me plus EMI equals?
EMI joined Warner Music and Sony-BMG as ad-rev supported content partners with imeem. Hardly a shocker, since EMI confirmed they were in negotiations upon completion of the Sony-BMG / imeem deal. And because EMI and imeem are anagrammatically linked, if you add “me” to “emi” and palindrome that up (eeeeeerie, ain’t it? No? Okay fine). Just to jog your memory, this means imeem users can legally stream almost any song in the EMI catalogue. Some of my favorite EMI artists: Pink Floyd, James Brown, Garth Brooks, Burning Spear, Mariah Carey (shut up), the Chemical Brothers, Coldplay (shut up, part 2), Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Corinne Rae Bailey, Sigur Ros, The Smashing Pumpkin…. this list is getting too long. Check out the Wikipedia list of EMI artists here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musicians_signed_to_EMI . Then hop on over to imeem and listen for free, minus your pirate gear.
If you’ve been keeping track, EMI is the third of the four major labels that have opened up their catalogue, leaving one last hold out: Universal Music. Universal Music is currently the largest of all the major music label, and is headed by CEO Doug Morris, who made headlines last week with this Jurassic era quote in a Rolling Stone article, regarding iPods:
“These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,”
Which makes him sound like one of those stodgy, backwards-thinking dinosaurs, as much of the blogsphere would have you believe. However, his quote was taken a bit out of context, as Doug Morris was originally the biggest champion of iTunes. There’s a Business Week article that better explains where Doug Morris is coming from. In short, the quote was uttered as an act of public posturing in the midst of negotiations. Negotiations that differ on the price point, and not necessarily the overall vision, as the out-of-context quote would have you believe.
Never-the-less, it reminds me of eMusic’s CEO David Pakman’s frustrations expressed at the Digital Music Forum: that is, the label heads are on board for progressive visions of digital distribution… as long as they get 70 cents a track. Any change to the status quo hinges on the maintenance of short-term profit, at the cost of visionary long-term consumer and technological infrastructure development. There’s an interesting, entertaining, if not rambling, blog entry going around ‘ye old internet about the mindset of a major label, from a critical insider’s perspective: http://www.demonbaby.com/blog/2007/10/when-pigs-fly-death-of-oink-birth-of.html
Anyways, back to the whole imeem / Universal negotiations. I’m not quite sure how Doug Morris’ attitudes might affect imeem negotiations. On one hand, he’s bullish on extracting the most profitable pricing point for his company, even at the cost of trashing iTunes. On the other hand, he’s certainly an avid experimenter in digital distribution methods, with the Spiral Frog deal the latest in a line of such experiments.
However, at this point, Universal’s holdout is not so much a lack-of-benefit for imeem as it is a loss for Universal. Go figure.
Having said that, I gotta admit that Universal IS the home of Def Jam, Interscope, Roc-A-Fella, Geffen, Aftermath, Island Records, and so on and so forth. So I can’t act like I don’t prostrate at the feet of Universal’s divine catalogue.
Anyhow, in defense of Doug Morris, I made this flattering image of him, with Dave Chappelle inspired quote to further exonerate Morris’ honor:
Oooooooh wait a minute, WAIT ONE MINUTE! Just because I’m dressed this way, does NOT make me a dinosaur!
Dem’s be some Photoshop Skeeeeeeeeeeeelz, and I know it.
2.) Google’s throwing a party and everyone not named Facebook is invited:
Everyone and their mothers are talking about the Google lead “Open Social” that promises open, standardized API’s that work across platforms, of which imeem will take part. Marc Andreessen’s blog has a pretty good overview of the technology behind all the hyperventilating madness.
All I gotta say is, wow. First of all, how the hell did Google keep this a secret for this long, with the number of partners involved. I know there were whispers, but a project of this magnitude? Fuckin crazy.
Second, it’s amazing how fast things move on the consumer-facing web space. Not too long ago, Facebook was the heaven sent golden child, and their platform was the omniscient channeling of develper intervention. A few short months and a herd of tossed sheeps later, and they’re suddenly, abruptly antiquated; sealed tighter than a Ziplok in comparison. Wow.
For a visual representation of this last concept, check out my two-google-images-half-transparently-layered-upon-each-other Photoshop SKEEEEEEELZ:
I know… technical virtuosity.
3.) New York Times all up on the jockstrap
imeem is getting all sorts of attention now. Between their growing numbers and signing up past-their-prime star players like Steinbrenner, heads are finally starting to turn. Last week, imeem had something of a watershed moment, snagging a feature in none other than the New York Times. Sort of. While they didn’t make the paper edition, CEO Dalton Caldwell and Biz Dev VP Steve Jang (of DMFW fame) sat down for an interview with NY Times Tech blog, Bits. It was mostly a softball interview that sounded more like a glorified elevator pitch. But still. New York Times? That’s worthy of digitally clipping and sending to your moms to store away on a web-based, AJAXy scrapbook.
Speaking of which, someone go startup that, please, if it don’t already exist. Now that’s a cutesy million dollar valuation idea, courtesy of yours truly, that’s bound to suck the cash out of their VC or acquirer, whoever comes last. Unless, of course…