LAUNCH in the News - Again and Again
This is interesting. Just last week, the RIAA filed a suit against Launch Media. Now suddenly, they announce the completion a $2 million short-term secured debt financing deal with a major media company whose identity remains unknown.
Of course, their stock has more than doubled since last Friday. Obviously, the market is convinced that Launch is an acquisition target, like MP3.com/Vivendi Universal. In time, we will know the truth.
Why is the RIAA Suing LAUNCH?
Throughout their history, Launch Media has more or less sought an upfront legal relationship with the so-called recording industry. Evidently, that didn't matter to the RIAA.
The RIAA says LAUNCHcast, Launch Media's streaming music service, is too interactive. LAUNCHcast allows listeners to personalize webcasts to fit their individual tastes. (Oh no! Not that!) Launch Media's license with four of the major labels (BMG, Sony, EMI & Universal) doesn't allow for this level of interactivity with consumers, according to the RIAA.
If found liable, Launch could become another MP3.com, in terms of having to shell out an unfathomable amount of money to the major record labels.
The RIAA is also seeking to disqualify Launch Media as a voice in July's copyright arbitration proceedings; they're about to set new rates for licensing online music. No point in giving advantages to the other side when you can push them aside, right?
A lot of this stuff reminds me of a scene from the movie Mobsters. In the aftermath of a shootout between rival gangs, Bugsy Siegel empties another round of bullets into an already critically wounded victim; essentially, a display of machismo. Bugsy's partner, Meyer Lansky, immediately confronts him and exclaims, "You wanna start a war?!?" Siegel arrogantly responds, "I don't care." Lansky replies with much restraint, "Well I do. Sometimes you're so stupid it makes me sick."
Perhaps the RIAA should consider adopting a little Meyer Lansky philosophy these days. They can't fight the world. Don't they realize that? They can sue, buyout, and reprimand the new media companies, forever and a day. It won't solve the original problem of Napsterism. But hell, what do I know?
I interviewed David Goldberg, CEO of LAUNCH, about 10 months ago. We discussed Launch's business, the future of online entertainment, etc. To hear that interview, click here. (MP3 - 1.4M)
BMG - www.bmg.com
EMI - www.emigroup.com
Launch - www.launch.com
MP3.com - www.mp3.com
RIAA - www.riaa.com
Sony Music - www.sonymusic.com
Vivendi Universal - www.vivendi.com
Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Markets are funny. Ask MP3.com - Vivendi Universal Acquires MP3.com (2001-05-21)