Michael Arrington made a post talking about the wonderful idea from the music industry to create a music “tax”.

Yes. That’s right. Imagine paying for music by being charged 5 dollars more on your internet bill. Music labels had such a strangle hold on the music industry before more and more people starting downloading (mostly) free music. Because they failed to plan for this advancement in technology, they were hit with a huge dilemma.

With the large decrease in CD sales channels
and the rising number of downloads of songs, the large music labels were 5 steps behind the rest of the world trying their best to gain back lost revenue by suing their own customers.
Terrible idea. And yet they don’t learn from their terrible ideas.

Putting a “music tax” on people’s internet bills is an extremely unethical way to try to regain control. What if the user doesn’t download music? and doesn’t plan on downloading music in the future? Too bad for them I guess.

I’ve said this since I first started downloading music.
Music artists should have to WORK for their money. By having more concerts, etc…. and not rely on having a one hit wonder to bring them any success.

I don’t know if the major music labels have explored all of their options, but there could be several ways they could survive.
1) Change the way they do business.
Instead of focusing on the “Label” aspect of music, and producing CDs, look more to having more control on concerts.

2) Offer the product via their websites
They currently DO offer downloadable music via their websites however it is equal with the price of a song with iTunes. Not that competitive in price, and must rely on high levels of traffic through their websites (which iTunes has much of)

3) Offer packages
The music labels could vary well offer subscription packages monthy/or annually and allow the user to download a certain amount (or unlimited) of music in that time frame.

I came across an EXCELLENT post by Gerd Leonhard called Gerd Leonhard’s Open Letter To The Independent Music Industry. In his post he terms the new way of consuming music “Music 2.0”, and continues to talk about how much different ways of consuming music are effecting us. The music industry must realize this new force, and act upon it. If they don’t they will be their own worst enemy and suffer greatly.

–Jerry

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Being an avid Mac user articles and other forms of media that pertain to Apple ALWAYS spark my interest.

The past week two articles got my attention. How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong , and Breaking The Rules: Apple Succeeds By Defying 5 Core Valley Principles, both by Leander Kahney.

Apple has been doing everything right by doing everything wrong. Period. They definitely don’t act like any other large corporation. Where as every other large corporation has produced products to suit many different companies and applications, Apple in all its wisdom, saw the opportunity to grab an extremely large target market by becoming self sufficient. By producing products that work amazingly well (and rightly so) with their other products Apple has been able to increase their revenue with products like the iPhone, iPod etc… without the need to outsource much of their products.

Leander Kahney was able to come up with Apple’s unofficial principles that make Apple who they are:

1. COOPERATEValley RuleEmbrace open platforms. Software should be decoupled from hardware so users can access any program or data from any device. Example: Google’s Android, an operating system that will run on a variety of handsets from different manufacturers.Apple RuleDesign software to work on your own hardware — and not on anyone else’s. The OS X experience is made only for the Mac; iPhone apps function only on iPhones. And customers don’t seem to mind. Apparently, they’re willing to trade freedom for a kick-ass product.2. COMMUNICATEValley RuleTell your fans what you’re up to so they feel a connection to your company. Hiring difficulties? New strategies? Digestive problems? Blog ’em! Customers will feel more invested and more loyal. Plus, their comments could give you some good ideas.Apple RuleNever talk to the press. Shut down rumor blogs. Threaten to sue children who send you their ideas. Never leak product news until you’re ready to announce it. Then use that discipline to create buzz and win coverage with every announcement.3. PLAY NICEValley RuleDon’t exploit your market-leader status. Software should compete on its merits, not its ability to shut out rivals. Microsoft earned an antitrust suit and decades of ill will by muscling PC makers into bundling its operating system and browser onto their machines.Apple RuleHardball tactics rule! Every Mac is preloaded with iTunes, which becomes the user’s default music program. And most iTunes purchases can be played only on iPods, creating a closed loop that has proven tough for competitors — and music labels — to challenge.4. LOVE YOUR CUSTOMERSValley RuleMake sure to lavish affection on your clients, and try to ensure that every one of them has a positive experience. Anyone can post a withering review on Yelp or Amazon, so you can’t afford to let a single complaint go unaddressed.Apple RulePlease yourself, not your fans. Release iMacs without floppy drives. Release MacBook Airs without optical drives. Cut the price of an iPhone by $200 two months after its introduction; when early adopters complain, offer them a $100 gift certificate.5. CODDLE YOUR EMPLOYEESValley RuleSince the best ideas bubble up from within the ranks, encourage autonomy by allowing workers free time to focus on their personal projects. Also, shower them with perks like free food and massages to make them feel special.Apple RuleMotivate through fear. Don’t be afraid to scream. Threaten to fire them. Withhold praise until it’s truly deserved. Go ahead and bring them to tears. As long as you can inspire them with your sense of mission, they’ll consider this the best job they’ve ever had.

Some of these rules/principles may seem harsh and may be over exaggerated.

Apple’s customer service is second to none. They treat people like people. Casual and easy to talk to, it makes you want to call customer service just to have a chat.

Its not news to anyone that Apple (or Steve Jobs) is extremely secretive. But this works to their advantage. By not talking to the press or leaking any information about upcoming advancements in technology or products, Apple is able to control a lot of information about them. By only announcing new technologies about a product days before its release, they are able to create incredible amounts of hype, and really know how to get everyone talking.

Apple’s corporate model is definitely one of a kind, but incredibly risky. Maintaining this model will make Apple a powerhouse, however if another company tried to adopt it, it would lead to imminent failure.


Seth Godin wrote a post saying that many things now are not being categorized by alphabetical order, and when they are its no longer how you want them to be ordered.

This is entirely true.

Of course there will always be certain items that need to be categorized this way. Ex: Dictionary. But they way we operate now, day to day, has changed the way we need things presented to us. If everything was categorized in alphabetical order, it would take us ages to find exactly what we are looking for (if we find it at all).

When looking up books at the library you don’t want to leaf through catalogues trying to find a book on business, in only the ‘B’ section. If you do you would be missing out on the hundreds of other business books that don’t start with a ‘B’. We are beginning to find ways to categorize items, according to RELEVANCE. Or any other way that better helps you find items that you are searching for. Taxonomy is evolving.

This new way of categorizing has been brought to you by the internet, or more appropriately Web 2.0.With the use of Tags, or other technologies, we have been able to categorize items in basically any way we want. By time, subject, author, artist, colour, country etc… By using tags, one can find anything they want fast and easy. Now, everything can be put in many different categories, hundreds even. Articles, movies, music etc… are no longer needles in a haystack, but linked to many different topics. By using tags, we are able to find items that we may not have necessarily been looking for either, but have none the less helped us gain knowledge on a topic or introduced us to new things.
Even applications (outlook/Mail, iTunes/other music apps etc…) have given us the ability to organize items, according to how you want them (Last played, most played, relevant emails etc…).

This new way of categorizing has been accepted by basically everyone, and has become the norm. It is constantly developing, organizing items so they can be found better and thus become more helpful to us.

–Jerry

March 16, 2008


Reading Chris Anderson’s article from wired.com, shed a lot of insight onto how different businesses are developing a 0$ business plan, by offering many services and products for practically nothing. This has a lot to say regarding how different companies and markets are evolving to capture consumers minds everywhere.

After reading the article, there was one thing that stood out in my mind. From my marketing class that I took last semester we talked about pricing strategies. Not saying that companies GLOBALLY have adopted an experience pricing strategy (Where the longer you make a product you find cheaper/efficient ways of producing that product, thus forwarding the savings onto the consumer), although I believe this plays a role in why things are being able to be sold cheaper almost to the point of being free. Competitiveness. Companies are becoming more and more competitive to grab consumers from other companies, and because several aspects of their company (in storage, and other products that can be produced in mass quantity) have become cheaper to create, maintain, and obtain.

Webmail has been around since you first got your computer. Only once you signed up you were given a limited amount of memory in which to store your emails. Of course you were always given the opportunity to PURCHASE extra space at a monthy/or annual fee. This was how the companies gained a profit. However, with the ability to create more storage for less money, companies are now offering UNLIMITED storage for emails for free. How will they survive if they no longer charge for extra storage you ask? Take Yahoo! For example. If you have an email account with yahoo, you are more likely to use their other offerings such as search, IM, etc…. With more people drawn to their free unlimited storage, this would also increase the usage of their search engine etc… where other companies would be drawn to this customer base to advertise.

Cell phones are becoming more and more popular. Everyone goes through the hassle of researching monthly plans, phones that come with a plan etc… There are two things to discuss here. The cost of cell phone plans have stayed relatively the same over years, with phone companies gaining a lot of their income from users that go over their monthly limit on minutes, text messages etc… What has changed though is the number of calls you can make monthly. Each phone call you make has relatively no cost to the phone companies, therefore to stay competitive, they continue to increase the amount of minutes and/or text messages. For my first cell phone I was charged 25$ a month for 80 minutes. That’s right 80 minutes. That seems ridiculous if they offered a plan like that now. For the same price one can get a plan that has at least 100+ minutes. Again cell phone companies like to stay competitive.
With the ability to stay within your limit of phone calls and/or text messages how to cell phone companies gain income? If you’re unable to get a “free” phone with your plan, you’re looking at 80$ plus to have a decent phone, and if you don’t have a plan, you are looking at over 200$ for the phone of your choice.

Fred Wilson created a great term “Freemium”. This ties in with webmail, but applies largely to free applications. Many free applications are funded by advertisements, or restrictions on what you are able to do unless you purchase the “Pro” version. With this, companies that offer these such applications are able to make profits from other companies advertisements, especially if the application is powered by other users (ie Limewire, Kazaa etc..), and also make a profit from selling the “non-advertised” version.

The cost of music CDs has declined over time (I remember paying 20$ for a CD, when you can get CDs now for 12$ or even less). This could be attributed to many factors: rising demand of CDs over cassettes, the lower cost of producing a CD, or competition from downloads. The music industry is finally understanding that lowering the cost for music (for downloads mostly), is a great way to effectively reach many more people, and thus increasing the amount of sales for any given song.
In the future I KNOW we will see many more services, and products be offered for basically free of charge, even those services or products that we may have not been introduced to yet.

Digg Users Up In Arms

March 10, 2008

The past two years have been fairly active with regards to the purchasing of popular websites. There have been rumors about Yahoo buying Facebook, talks of Microsoft buying Yahoo, and Microsoft buying Digg (although everyone is denying it).

In Mike Arrington’s post, he talks about how Digg’s users are going nuts over this “Potential Acquisition”.

Could it be possible that the masses could stop a website from being purchased? Many of the comments regarding Digg’s “Potential Acquisition”, threatened that they would simply leave the website if it was to be purchased by Microsoft. Which leads to a question. What if it was another company buying Digg? Would that raise as much of an outcry from the masses if it had been Apple to purchase Digg? From many of the comments from the users of Digg, many of which dislike Microsoft greatly.

This could just be the most perfect “story” to get those Digg members that dislike Microsoft to be able to feed off each other’s anger in a combined effort to stop the acquisition from taking place. Neither party has come out to confirm whether the two companies are talking about a transaction, but the rumors are so thick, that it could very well be true.

Could it be that they want to keep it a secret because there has been so much uproar over Microsoft buying Digg?

Power of the People. Its amazing that outcrys from users could stop a transaction from taking place.

I read the article that Dave posted with regards to Facebook’s Death Spiral, which reminded me of two posts I had read.

The first is by Erick Schonfeld, which talks about  how the US users of facebook has leveled off.
 
Erick predicts that the US usage of Facebook has leveled off because of “friend spam”.  This could very well be.  I know personally that my Facebook usage has decreased with becoming bored with the applications that has made Facebook popular.  They were a novelty when I first joined, however like many things people get bored.

Another post, this one by Robert Scoble,  talks about what I has just said.  Boredom.  Also, there has been many people being kicked off of facebook because of dumb reasons.  Scoble talks about a guy in France that was kicked off of facebook for simply messaging his friends.  Now I don’t know if that’s all the guy was doing but still.

In a post by Adam Ostrow, Facebook’s usage in Europe is growing very fast.
 
This could be just because Facebook is just getting caught on in Europe.  So this bags the question.  Will Facebook level off in Europe as well?  Who knows.  There are many things that different cultures embrace that other cultures do not.  The asian community has usually more technologically advanced gadgets than other continents, and then when we finally have it in North America, China/Japan/and Korea already have better gadgets.

So.  Do you think that Facebook will be a thing of the past here in North America? Or globally?

–Jerry 

I was reading a post a couple days ago by Erick Schonfeld, talking about how after searching for The Pirate Bay (a Bittorrent search engine).  It was about how Yahoo no longer brings up The Pirate Bay, after they (The Pirate Bay) were raided by Swedish Officials.**aside**For those of you that don’t know what a Torrent is, it is a file that can be used to download media, for free, much like Kazaa or Limewire, but allows the users to post comments, view the contents of files, and see ratings from other users. (Much better than Kazaa or Limewire)**end of aside**I did the same search as Erick, but Yahoo provided me the link to this Torrent Search engine.  I don’t know if it was just a glitch by Yahoo, or if they did take it off their search result database or whatever, but still, this does not look to favorably on Yahoo.  If Yahoo wishes to remain a competitor with Google, they shouldn’t have blocked searches for certain webpages.  In my experience in the past (I use only Google now), if a search engine didn’t come up with desirable results, I would simply use a different search engine until I could find one that fitted my needs, and then I would favor the search engine over others that did not provide me with what I wanted.Even if Yahoo COULD get into trouble by “promoting” the use of free torrent search engines, they would most likely be able to get out of it in a legal case because they are not the ones providing the public with illegal movies, or music.  And on top of that, what is legal fees worth to a company that could potentially ruin they’re reputation if they try to dodge a bullet early? —Jerry