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Sk-hype It Up For Digital Music

Postby Malicious Intent » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:25 pm

“Skype's inherently social network will enable more sales than iTunes,” Phil Wolff bravely <a href= target=_blank>asserts</a>.

Wolff is a leading VoIP observer and writer for the Skype Journal, a website dedicated to “independent news, views and support” for Skype.

Community spirit has always been important for online music. When Roxio launched Napster 2.0, they said that it could never be a success unless they could capture the atmosphere of the original Napster community.

Meanwhile, artists are swearing by the power of sharing their music with the 68 million registered members of In the UK last week, Gnarls Barkley and The Streets together held the top single and top album sales spots, and both stream their music for free at MySpace.

It is therefore not beyond possibility for Skype to become the next big thing in content distribution. Skype already has millions of active users in social networks.

“It's an economic magnet because users organize themselves along social networks, propagate ideas, and share information through those networks.” spoke to Wolff to ask why people are not already spreading free music if the opportunity is there. He argued that the current file-transfer feature built into Skype is completely insufficient for more than a few documents.

However, Skype is developing a music store of its own.

With the right integration between the music store and the social networks, the possibilities are endless, he says.

Integration will allow users to listen to and discuss music live, then make purchases from the store, or trade licenses.

“After buying a song, I should be able to give it to a friend for $0.50, play it in a conference call, download automatically to my MP3 player, mix into a podcast (be sure to negotiate that license first), share playlists like mood indicators to specific users, even broadcast what I'm playing now via mood indicator,” Wolff says in his latest publication.

Music could be listened to and swapped by groups on conference calls, or sold by artists after hosting a discussion with fans. Alternatively sales could come from two friends just chatting.

Wolff believes that if Skype competes with the iTunes store on every front, such as independent content and podcast hosting, then the added advantages of Skype’s social networks will be plenty to compete with the Apple’s iPod advantage.

However, to monitor the envisioned level of casual trading, strong and restrictive DRM would be needed to allow artists to charge for music and for Skype to claim a sales tax. This is likely to cause music portability and compatibility problems for customers.

ZDNet blogger Russell Shaw also <a href= target=_blank>raises</a> another concern with the proposal:

“Sounds like a great idea, but I have my doubts about the content industry's acceptance of such a delivery mode.”

Currently Warner Brothers licenses Skype ringtones for the princely sum of $1.50 each, a far cry from Wolff’s suggested $0.50 for a full track.

The idea may never happen, or may never work in practice, but Wolff concludes that “the sooner Skype facilitates this, the better for Skype” and parent companies eBay and PayPal.

The ultimate irony is that the Skype developers, who shook up the record labels with KaZaA, have completed a big circle and are now back in the music business, competing against the far larger file sharing networks which they help to create.
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Postby Wham » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:47 am

I'm not saying it won't work because I've seen the likes of iTunes and the rest, but, I would never use the service for one simple reason. DRM!
I don't have anything against Artists and Companies trying to protect their work but, DRM is not the answere. I don't trust DRM and never will. In most cases it's not being used the way it was intended. How in the world can anyone trust something where there are no rules. DRM can contain Spyware, malware, virus's and anything that the maker of the product want's to put into it. Nobody does anything about it. Hell, the anti-virus company's don't even check it. I guess it's hands off to security providers. Well I got news for em. It ain't hands off to me. I want nothing to do with DRM. I don't want none of it near my computer.
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Postby yaveznodo » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:36 am

They have to learn soon enough that DRM is just not going to cut it. Once VISTA comes out and all this crap is so embedded into the OS that you can't do anything without phoning home, the real problems are going to start. How long is it going to be before the average user gets so fed up with DRM related hiccups that they just give up on it all? And the more restricted you make a social network, the less inviting it becomes. People will take alternative routes as they have done in the last few years, they'll build their own social networks without this DRM nonsense.

Play fair with your customers and you'll do well.
Play prison guard and all you'll get is resentment.
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Postby Fartingbob » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:54 am

I personally dont see that skype has amazing potential to be an itunes killer. It might sell a few songs, but nowhere near enough to make a difference, unless it was DRM free. Then when the general public finally catches on that DRM bloated songs are doing nothing but restricting what they can ligitimatly do, skype (with heavy advertising on mass media) might cash in.
But in reality, it wont.
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Postby herk » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:00 am

Mp3's SUCK!
I will take the flogging
They still suck!
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Postby webe3 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:14 am

herk wrote:Mp3's SUCK!
I will take the flogging
They still suck!

They are better than DRM crap! Period!
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Postby Drake » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:40 am

It's true, Skype's file transfer protocol is terrible. I've had trouble transfering images under 1MB! Now that eBay owns Skype, there's no incentive for them to improve the file tranfering system but I'm sure they will eventually sell songs along with ringtones.

It's sort of sad to see Skype take this direction. It's a great app but, instead of offering new products that have nothing to do with voip, they should focus on the many problems plaguing their client such as Skype-Out's disconnected calls problem and the issues with video chat.
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Postby abou105 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:15 pm

DRM = no. <---- that at the end is a full stop PERIOD
Information is so valuable in todays society, its understandable people want to lock it up, but the internet is about freedom of information, lets not take that away.
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