Music Channel Launch

I’m about 3 days late on jumping on the music channel launch bandwagon at b5media. I’ve been late because we’ve been working behind the scenes on the launch and there has been a lot to do. In fact, we’ve had about two months since we first hired Mike Laba, the music channel editor and it has been head down, plow ahead since.

The process for this has been pretty intensive since there’s several parts of a new blog launch that the tech team is responsible for. We setup the domain, deploy our standard build of WordPress, have our designer create logos, setup the standard b5 theme, make sure everything is in FeedBurner properly, make sure channel blogrolls are functioning as they should, etc.

There’s a lot to do and I’ve personally been going crazy getting this thing out the door. For most of the past 10 days, I haven’t gotten to bed before 3am.

But the music channel is now here and doing awesome. These bloggers rock, plain and simple, and I’m loving the content – specifically loving Jam Band News and The Good Musician.

This is the first major expansion that we’ve made into a new vertical since the Business Channel was launched last year. Pretty intense. Thanks for the traffic!

Universal Music Goes the Wrong Way on iTunes Music

Odd that Universal Music is apparently thinking it can walk away from Apple and iTunes. You heard that right. Universal Music Group is talking about walking away from the third largest retailer of music in the world – online or brick and mortar. The Unofficial Apple Weblog has the story.

The story was originally floated by Drudge and apparently the Wall Street Journal is backing the rumor up – though the WSJ has the walled garden policy in effect, so I can’t confirm.

The really odd part about this is that the rest of the music industry seems to catch the vibe and finally coming around. EMI has released their entire music catalog as DRMless music in the iTunes Store and my thought was that was going to be the trend of the future. I still do, but I fear mob mentality from the other music companies.

Apparently, Universal seems to be on board with the DRMless music and has some history in the area of offering music for free.

This story is still developing.

With Apple/EMI, Music Can Now Move into the 21st Century

In a move that demonstrates questionable sanity on the part of Apple and EMI, the companies released joint statements on the day after April Fools Day. Indeed, several folks I’ve spoken to since then have admitted thinking the announcement about the entire EMI music catalog going DRM-less in iTunes was nothing but phony.

However, it’s not a joke and the move represents the single greatest moment in new media-old media relations in some time. Major music conglomerates led by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and film companies under the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have stonewalled against basic freedom of product consumption for years – and has been well documented.

In fact, as recently as February when Steve Jobs made a bold call for the RIAA to approve DRM-less music, the companies balked. Still, days after Steve Jobs’ keynote cracks began to appear in the RIAA armor and EMI finally decided to call Jobs’ bluff. Steve Fisher tells me that he thinks the record labels assumed that Jobs was politically posturing.

However, there is no posturing now and the deal is sealed. In May, consumers will be able to pay 30 cents more ($1.29) to purchase DRM-less music encoded at 256kbps as opposed to the standard 99 cent purchases with DRM and encoded at 128kbps.

If you have been blowing smoke about this thing simply looking to pick fights with the record labels, then stop. However, if this is something that is truly important to you – the right to purchase music and use it on whichever mobile device, computer, MP3 player or burned CD you want without limitations placed on usage – then when this becomes available in May, you should follow my lead and purchase plenty of DRM-less music.

This is not just a spending spree. This is a call to action as the other record labels will be watching the results of this action closely. If they see a surge in sales, guess what? It won’t just be the EMI catalog that is DRM-less. Less than 15% of all music on the internet is legal.

If the issue is freedom of choice, prove it with your wallet. If the issue is that you’re cheap, stop arguing that it’s a freedom of choice issue. For real, get real.