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Free-Music Champion Jamendo Nets 10,000 Albums, Adds Partners

Posted by Syberplanet on June 21st, 2008 - 572 views

Jamendo, a music sharing service which originally launched more than two years ago in 2006, and has maintained a firm ideal of free-to-download and free-to-listen media consumption, earlier this week announced its having massed a catalogue 10,000 albums strong. This news follows the website’s recognition in March 2007 of 1.5 million downloads from its Creative Commons-bound collection.

The site is pursuing still larger goals, too. Ben Jones of TorrentFreak tipped his hat today to word delivered by the peer-to-peer site isoHunt earlier this month that all songs published via Jamendo have been made available to isoHunt users.

As part of the new partnership, all corresponding files when viewed in isoHunt search results are said to be highlighted so as to easily distinguish independent music traced back to Jamendo. IsoHunt founder Gary Fung of course spoke enthusiastically of the new arrangement between both parties. He noted a parallel support for the principles espoused by the Creative Commons licensing system.

While 10,000 albums, or roughly 150,000 songs, may seem a relatively small number when compared to what the broader music industry holds in its archives, Jamendo’s ability to build a supply of Creative Commons material of a substantive quantity is revealing of the desire of a sizable base of musicians to champion the distribution of tracks by way of more liberal methods than traditional copyright holders have legally allowed on the Web thus far. Not to mention free distribution.

It should be said that, though isoHunt is one of the higher profile of Jamendo’s partners to be revealed as of late (Archos, the portable media specialist, also joined hands), other online establishments of the BitTorrent stripe have forged ties with the indie distributor, including Mininova, Torrents.to, Sumo Torrent, ExtraTorrent, and the recently refreshed Vuze media portal.


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How to Truly Bring Online Video to the Mainstream

Posted by Syberplanet on June 20th, 2008 - 32,745 views

Aside from my troll feedings this week, I’ve really been doing a fair amount of thinking about online video, here at the blog and elsewhere. Between my thoughts on the framed discussion between Hulu versus YouTube, our own video productions at Mashable, and some discussions elsewhere I’ve had on the value of shortform video versus long, that’s where my head has been.

I’ve mentioned in the past my aversion to all things billed as the next big thing (Twitter, YouTube, APML, FriendFeed podcasting and a few others), typically followed by my subsequent adoption of said technologies, and even to a certain extent evangelism for them. I remember when YouTube first started getting buzzed about, I was still pretty deep into my evangelism of podcasting, and saw the technology as antithetical to where online video was headed as a whole. Obviously my initial reaction was proven wrong, but recent discussions and reactions I’ve been reading to various posts I’ve done recently have caused me to revisit the initial analysis I had on the idea.

When I wrote yesterday in response to Mark Cuban’s claim that Hulu was “kicking YouTube’s ass,” a commenter had a thought specifically that conjured up my old analysis:

In my opinion, Hulu is kicking YouTube’s ass in quality over quantity. I rarely find anything worth watching on YouTube, and when I do it’s 1-3 minute clips. I’ve been using Hulu as a replacement for cable. I will gladly sit through three or four ten-second commercials per episode to be able to watch (essentially rent) full length HD television shows for free. Since the addition of The Daily Show and Colbert Report I’ve been spending at least an hour or more there per day.

What is the Veg Factor?
What is this original analysis I keep referring to? Well, as I said, I was particularly entrenched in the world of podcasting, which was at the time shaping up to be the root culture for user generated content. More veg-factor.jpgimportant than the culture was the technology move behind it, which signalled a slight shift from the “seek information out and consume it” mode of the web to a subscription “push” model of “set up a subscription and have it show up where it’s convenient” mode.

I shortened this long mode name to something I called the veg-factor (as in vegetable, a derivation of the couch potato). I’ve described it in the past here as such:

To illustrate the veg-factor, think about the type of media consumption you do in the morning, while you’re getting the kids ready for school, or fixing breakfast in the morning while you’re getting ready for work. Morning show format news-ish programs are designed for this low-engagement, veg-factor consumption. They’re, in large part, designed to be background noise that delivers some entertainment and utility to your morning.

Likewise, in the evening, you come home from work, you switch on the TV and catch the local news or a Seinfeld re-run, and leave the TV on through Wheel of Fortune or whatever reality program du jour is on this season. Most people won’t even touch the remote until prime-time starts. That’s the veg-factor in action.

Applied to podcasting in relation to YouTube, podcasting theoretically provides some of that veg-factor in action. The idea is that you load your videos or audio files into your hardware player of choice (or even a spare computer’s media player playlist), turn it on and veg out. It doesn’t matter how long each clip is – as long as your player is capable of going from one item to the next without a button push, it’s gravy. Alternatively, with YouTube and other embedded video websites, to watch more than a few minutes of quality entertainment there needs to be clicking. There needs to be searching. Worst of all, there needs to be thinking.

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Posted in Web 2.0 | 8 Comments »

Sponsorship: Monetization’s Dark Horse

Posted by Syberplanet on June 20th, 2008 - 816 views

Steven Hodson is the cranky old fart as well as respected Web 2.0 and social media pundit behind WinExtra.com. His guest post today is a continuation of a short series of articles that examine alternatives for the very advertising-dependent world of Web 2.0 and social networks. The series began with Steven’s opinions on the donation model and continued with an exposition on the concept of Freemium.

In the two previous posts here at Mashable I talked about two different methods that could be used to help monetize web start-up that typically have no business model to start with. The idea of a Donations model got slapped around a little as being unrealistic and the Freemium model seemed to garner the most comments as being a real business model.

Well in this last post of the series I want to take a look at an idea that really hasn’t been talked about all that much but is one that I am beginning to think could have a much better impact for both start-up and bloggers. First though we have to look at what the advertising landscape looks like at the moment for most start-up and bloggers.

When the word advertising is mentioned in relation to web start-ups and bloggers the first imagery is that of Google AdSense sitting somewhere on the page. It is almost the accepted norm that any project on the web is at some point going to be carrying multiple AdSense blocks. The only time this might be a different type of advertising is if there is some strong name power associated with the start-up or blog. In those cases you will usually find the ad space being handled by ad networks such as Federated Media and other high priced companies like them.

We Don’t Always Wanna Be Ad Experts
They are the rarity though and while the blogs or start-ups using them might be making some nice money as with all ad networks it is the people who own the networks that are making the real money. Ad networks; Google or otherwise, are the money backbone for just about all start-ups and blogs manly because the people running the start-ups and blogs don’t want to worry about having to track things like pageviews, time spent on the site or any number of metrics needed to calculate how much; or little, you’re going to get paid.

The two most outstanding problems with using things like ad networks of any kind is that the carrier of those ads actually make very little money and the fact is that for the most part contextual advertising is a joke. The chances of any ads really being something of interest to your readers is pretty slim; unless of course you are being represented by the big networks like Federated Media. So how do start-ups and especially the mid range blogs looking to earn a living increase their chances of serving up better ads?

One idea that has been around for a very long time in old media advertising and is now beginning to be seen in our new media is the concept of sponsorships – more directly micro-advocate sponsorships. One of the leaders in this new style sponsorships has to be Robert Scoble and his sponsor Seagate. While his work over at FastCompany.tv is where this is being tested the fact is that Robert has become the voice of Seagate in the world of new media.

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Posted in Web 2.0 | No Comments »



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