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In Case You Missed It: 'Disaster' Bill, XM Redundant, MusicMatch Moves, Liquid Microsoft
By David Nevue, The Music Biz Academy
(more articles from this author)
2002-10-22
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WhoooWeeee.... It's been absolutely crazy nuts around here. As I mentioned last week, I was invited to participate on a panel at the New Nashville Music Conference (2NMC) last weekend. I had a GREAT time, but as always, there's a price to be paid for leaving the office - and that's coming back. Over 1300 emails were waiting for me when I got home. I'm still sorting through them all. My general rule of thumb is this - for every day I'm out, it takes two to get back to the 'normal' pace of things, which is only slightly less frantic.

Due to this fact, I'm going to forego my usual lengthy commentary on the latest industry news. However, I will want to point out a few interesting stories from the past two-three weeks.

Remember the HR 5469 Bill? The one introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that would postpone the payment due date for new webcasting royalty rates by six months? Well, I don't know the whole story yet, but apparently the bill went from one paragraph to 28 pages, and contains much more now that was originally intended. Frankly, this whole issue has gotten to the point that it's hard to sort out truth from fiction. View the following article for one opinion on how new version of the bill is 'a disaster for the U.S.':

- RIAA-Backed Webcast Bill 'A Disaster For The U.S.'

Now, according to the most recent news I found in 'The Register' (link below) this afternoon, the bill, which passed in the House earlier this week, just died in the Senate. I am still trying to confirm if this is fact. Based on my understanding of the new version of the bill, which is an RIAA-negotiated settlement, this may indeed be a good thing. But, which side you take on that issue depends on who you listen to.

- Civil Disobedience Promised After Net Radio Royalty Bill Falls

In other news...

Some have declared satellite radio dead on arrival after the FCC gave commercial radio stations the go-ahead to broadcast digital signals. Will this make XM Radio redundant?

- Was Satellite Radio A Big Waste?

In a surprise move, MusicMatch Jukebox, one of the most widely distributed third-party digital music players, dropped support for the Macintosh version of its product and is focusing solely on Windows. This is a really startling move in light of the general perception (or at least, *my* general perception) that the Mac has been regaining some of it's popularity.

- MusicMatch Drops The Mac

But hey, on a positive note, MeasureCast reported that for the week of August 19th, MusicMatch surpassed Clear Channel as the #1 Internet Radio Network! At least someone is giving Clear Channel some competition somewhere.

- MusicMatch Unseats Clear Channel As #1 Net Radio Network

Ever hear about those quarter-sized CDs being developed to replace the current CD format? Well, that idea has been dropped, at least for now...

- Scratch Off This CD Replacement

Remember the weeks I spent talking about and comparing Listen.com, MusicNet and PressPlay, the Internet's three competing online music subscription services? Back in July I reported that Listen.com's 'Rhapsody' digital music service was the FIRST to license music from ALL FIVE of the major music labels. Well, no more. MusicNet and PressPlay are back in the news, and are both very close to securing catalogs of music from all five of the major music labels as well.

- Musicnet And Pressplay Closing In On Labels

Finally, in what is HUGE, but relatively unreported news, Liquid Audio sold it's digital rights management patents to Microsoft. Think about the possibilities if Microsoft uses Liquid Audio's technology to try and *standardize* the secure distribution of music and media via the Internet. Liquid Audio's technology, or a variation of it, would be built right into your future Windows operating system. Ponder that for awhile. And Microsoft only paid $7 million for the rights.

- Anti-Piracy Bill Might Silence Singing Fish
- Liquid Audio's Merger Puts It In Fluid Situation
- Liquid Audio Unloads Intellectual Property Assets

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