Universal to take on MySpace and YouTube

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

The Universal Music Group is set to take on MySpace and You Tube over copyright, alleging that the sites are allowing users to post copyrighted material.

“We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars,” Universal CEO Doug Morris was quoted as saying.

“How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly,” he said.

Morris has a point. Universal Music Group does own the copyright of the music and videos of its acts, and it’s pretty obvious that some of the music and videos being posted are violating copyright (some but not all, as some online providers of music and video code have the appropriate licenses).

However, what Morris doesn’t realize is that the world have changed, and it’s not just MySpace and YouTube. Sure, they may recover some damages from these companies, but as many corporations have found, the old rules no longer apply.

Take the example of Napster. Yes the music industry has managed to clean up Napster, but what can it really do about the open-source alternatives, such as Bit Torrent, that have sprouted up as alternatives?

My advice to Morris is that his efforts would be better spent adapting his business model to the new competitive environment, and instead of taking on MySpace and YouTube, he should be turning them into partners. Though, I’ll be the first to admit, that this is easier said than done.

Hacking MySpace is out now!

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Hacking MySpace has been available in book stores in the US for the last couple of weeks, but I only received my author’s copies yesterday.


While I’ve written a number of books over the years, I still get a buzz when I first see the finished product. I think the publisher, Wiley, has done a great job on the cover design and layout.

And yes, the book is red, and not blue (as it was shown in the previews).

If you do decide to get a copy, or already have one, I’d really like to get your feedback. I’d also be interested in hearing about any ideas you have for this site.

If you feel that the book or web site has helped you, than I would really appreciate your help in trying to get it onto MySpace’s top ten books list (which you can find out how to do here).

John Pospisil

MySpace music store: hot or not?

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

In many ways MySpace’s move into selling music was an obvious move, since it’s a site that has a huge following of both music makers and music lovers.

Until now MySpace has been a marketing tool for music makers, allowing music lovers to sample music from a range of mainstream and independent acts. It’s not a huge conceptual leap for MySpace to actually sell the music.

Following the announcement it’s been interesting to read how different journalists have reported the story.

For example, Robert Levine of the New York Times, wrote that MySpace may be a serious competitor to iTunes, which has so far dominated online music sales. According to Levine, Tom Anderson, president and co-founder of MySpace had said: “Instead of going to iTunes and searching for music, which happens once in a while, you can see the band and buy their music.” Levine also reported that MySpace will charge artists 45 cents per track sold.

The other interesting point that Levine made was that while the big labels may be uncomfortable working with MySpace, “the labels may need to weigh risk of online piracy against the potential reach of a MySpace store”.

Mark Sweeny of The Guardian, agreed that MySpace’s music store would be challenging iTunes. While Jeremy Kirk of the IDG News Service emphasized that the music download market was a very crowded space, and that some sites were giving away music for free.

Obviously the MySpace music store is all part of Fox Interactive’s strategy to monetize MySpace’s popularity. As time goes it’s interesting to watch more of the jigsaw pieces fall into place.