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Category: markets

The Album Cover for a Digital Music Container

Bob Dylan’s Highway 61

Trent Reznor tried something similar to RadioHead, and didn’t like the results. In an interview with CNET he suggested an ISP tax that would allow all music to be downloaded for free. I suppose this would be like the tax that citizens of the UK pay to support the BBC. The tricky part about the kind of tax that Reznor suggests is distributing the monies collected. Who gets paid and how much? Distributed based on number of downloads? By what measure?

The music industry has done something like this before with CD-R discs. If you want to, you can buy CD-R Music discs on which to burn your music. They cost a little more, and the extra bit goes to the music industry to make up for lost revenue. But the fact is, a business needs to succeed in the marketplace. The music business needs to find a model that works with the new set of music containers and accompanying artifacts. Seth Godin points the way in his post entitled: Music Lessons.

They’re stuck on the idea of selling particular kinds physical of containers for music. It’s not just the music that people like to buy, it’s the stories and ephemera around the music. The one thing I miss about vinyl is the beautifully designed large record covers and the album notes. The digital container loses all meaningful context, there’s an opportunity there.

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Banks Banned: The Real Intrudes into the Virtual

For a guy who works in the financial services sector, it was an intriguing headline: “Banks Banned in Second Life.” Virtual realities have the appeal of the utopian. We think about virtual worlds as being a better version of our own world. In Second Life, they recently learned that it’s better to have regulated financial institutions. The real world intrudes into the ideal world. After appealing to our collective higher natures, Second Life determined that it was probably better to default to real world regulations. Now you need a real banking charter to do business as a bank in a virtual world.

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Pitching a Wagner opera parody for kids

There was a time when opera themes were well known by the general public. Wagner’s music was so well known that a Bugs Bunny parody was a big hit. Can you imagine pitching this idea today?

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Facebook: Love-based Valuation & Poisoning the Well

It’s Love (heart)

The temptation of total surveillance is always there, for government and for business. Marketers want the ability to know everything about everyone’s behavior, tastes and buying patterns to target offers and advertising at us. The more they know, the better they can target. Although most businesses need to do more than preach to the choir, they need new converts.

Facebook’s Beacon takes users for granted. Users love Facebook and they love what they can build within the Facebook platform. Love is a strong emotion, and when it is betrayed it can behave in unpredictable ways. Social networks are fragile and Facebook took a big risk with Beacon. More and more, Beacon is being viewed as a betrayal of Facebook’s users. When you think about the valuation of a company like Facebook, the real value is in the love and respect of the users. The technology is a wasting asset that has nominal value. Facebook risked everything with Beacon. The steps they take to recover at this point will determine the future value of the company.

The idea of “love” as a factor in value and valuations came to me from two directions. I heard former quarterback Steve Young talk about what made Bill Walsh’s 49er Superbowl teams so special. Young cited a number of factors, but added that the feeling of love and respect among team members as a key ingredient. It was a conscious coaching strategy that Walsh used to build a winning team. The other source is a talk given by Clay Shirky on software applications, Perl and community-based developer support. His idea is that a strong community can be a more dependable resource for application support than a commercial firm in the business of selling support services. This is certainly true of the Perl, Python, PHP and Ruby communities. It’s also true of applications like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, and libraries like Prototype and Jquery.

You’ll often hear people joke about the special ingredient in some recipe being ‘love.’ We laugh, because we think of love as being insubstantial, in some ways without physical presence or value. But if we take it for granted, the joke’s on us.

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