Posts filed under “Technology”

The Future

Bob Lefsetz is a music industry observer, and publisher of the Lefsetz letter:



“According to a source familiar with his thinking, Jobs has recognized that ‘mobile ads suck’ and that improving that situation will make Apple even harder to beat.”

-BusinessWeek-”Apple vs. Google


Aren’t ads supposed to suck?

Google survives, quite nicely, on providing targeted ads. You may not click on them, but enough people do that Microsoft decided to invest zillions in a futile effort to compete (Bing’s market share of search just declined.)

But on a smart phone, where it’s frustratingly difficult to use the search function, what are the odds someone is going to click on the ads strung alongside the desired results, especially when the typeface is almost too small for anybody to read.

No, to survive, somehow you’ve got to put the ads inside the apps. And make those ads desirable to the surfer.

The Google Nexus One may have gotten a lot of media play, but sales suck. Still, prognosticators believe the Android platform will ultimately triumph, because Google is indomitable and the WinTel strategy is always best…license to others, swarm and defeat.

But the Android phone allows only a tiny number of apps to be installed. And there’s no vetting process, that’s one of the reasons that apps are kept separate in their tiny space, so as not to taint the rest of the phone’s memory, supposedly loaded with media that Google makes it almost impossible to transfer from your desktop to your phone.

Usability… On the Nexus One, it sucks. Syncing with Outlook is bad enough, but you install music via drag and drop? Didn’t that die with the Rio?

But that’s all secondary to delivering ads on smart phones. Developers have to be able to make money, if not, they won’t create the apps that Apple touts, three billion of which have already been downloaded.

And what has this got to do with music?


And what has this got to do with iPods?

Very little.

The smart phone is killing the iPod. But Apple had to do this, to prepare for the future. And the company has to create viable advertising on the iPhone in order to continue to grow.

Contrast this with the record labels. Continuing to bank on the CD, so busy protecting what they’ve got that they can’t create what will help them survive in the future.

The future… It’s a vast unknown. But you’ve got to enter it if you want to survive. Or plan on cashing out soon, because the future arrives ever faster these days.

For all the innovation touted by the major labels, 360 deals, Vevo, where is the quantum leap, that makes people pay attention, that rains revenue? Seemingly every iPhone app is cooler than Vevo. And Vevo’s supposed to be the future?

Meanwhile, the labels are fighting with Apple when the Cupertino company could give a shit. Music doesn’t drive iPhones, it’s an afterthought, apps drive iPhone revenue…the labels just lost all their leverage. This is like content companies fighting ISPs and electronic manufacturers in Washington, D.C. Who does the most billing? Who can afford the best lobbyists? You’ve got to see when you can’t win and develop a new strategy.

The future of the music business is the development of new ways to get the public closer and more involved with music and the people who make it. Apple’s fans will seemingly buy anything and everything the company makes. This is the paradigm the music business invented, but has forgone. Not only does nobody want yesterday’s Top Forty artist’s music, nobody wants U2′s new album. Sure, the band can tour in extremely large venues, but what’s the long term play, other than squeezing more money out of Live Nation? The YouTube simulcast was a step forward, but in order to make us truly care, we’ve got to feel closer to the band, Bono has to stop pontificating in the “New York Times” and be available for feedback on the Internet.

Yes, we want to be able to reach our artists.

And seemingly every artist with traction wants to throw off the major label constraints and try new things. Nine Inch Nails is selling a DVD of footage created by fans. Shit, the majors don’t even want the fans to shoot video!

Apple is moving forward. Read this “BusinessWeek” story. It’s positively scary. Jobs & company are playing on a plane that most can’t even see. But we’re gonna get there. And if you want our revenue in the future, you’ve got to set up for years down the line right now.

Insanely great products.

We know what insanely great music is. We know what insanely great promotions are. Leverage these. Build loyalty. Bond users to you and super-serve them, field all complaints, sell people what they don’t even know they want and never ever tell them they’re wrong, be such a bright, shining star that they have no choice but to follow you.

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Category: Music, Technology, Think Tank, Web/Tech

The App Economy

Excellent graphic via the boys at Gigaom showing the ecosystem around the ITMS/iPhone App store: > click for ginormous graphic Hat tip Buzz Source: The Apple App Store Economy Gigaom, Jan. 12, 2010, 9:00am

Category: Technology, Web/Tech

The Return of Collision Detection

Clive Thompson is blogging again. He is a science writer, and publishes frequently about gaming, technology, science, and other fun items for Wired and the NYT. His blog is Collision Detection. If you recognized his name, Clive is the person who turned us on to the idea of Agnotology. He fell off the blogging wagon…Read More

Category: Science, Technology, Weblogs

Sources: New Apple Tablet to Ship in March

The WSJ is reporting that Apple will be shipping its new tablet device in March 2010, according to “people briefed by the company.” While the device’s ship date hasn’t been finalized and could still change, people briefed on the matter said the new product will come with a 10 to 11-inch touch screen—which would make…Read More

Category: Technology

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 and ZS1

The post-holiday mark downs continue: I spotted my camera — Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3 inch LCD (Black) — $50 cheaper than I paid 3 months ago. (I replaced the Casio Exilim; that 3X optical zoom wasn’t doing it for me). The…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Technology

Freefall in LCD Prices

So the old 27″ Sony TV — a 32″ CRT in the bedroom is — finally dying. Turn it on, and the screen goes on and off until its warmed up. I want to replace it with a bigger flat panel — I want 37″, the wife insists on smaller. Looks like 32″ will be…Read More

Category: Economy, Technology, Television

You’ve Been Binged

Alt headline: WTF Is This Bing Icon Doing on My BlackBerry ? I haven’t seen much on this anywhere in the media: Most of my office suddenly noticed today that these damn Bing icons things on their BlackBerrys. And, you cannot delete the sticky little buggers (but you can hide it). If you want to…Read More

Category: Technology, Web/Tech

How Google Can Better Fulfill “Don’t Be Evil”

I’m a longtime fanboy of Google, an early beta tester of their search product, and one of the few on Wall Street who was allowed to speak about their IPO, as my firm was not an underwriter (I said it was “well worth buying at the IPO price”). Color me unimpressed with their latest variant…Read More

Category: Intellectual Property, Technology, Weblogs

Microsoft the Innovator to Open Retail Store

How much more can anyone say about this? Microsoft Retail Stores They ARE innovators! > Previously: Microsoft the Innovator (part II) (November 2005)

Category: Retail, Technology, Venture Capital

Microsoft’s grinning robots vs the Brotherhood of the Mac

I am a Mac guy, and even I found this terribly amusing: “I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway: it’s there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. OK, OK: I know other operating systems are available. But their advocates…Read More

Category: Technology