Why Music Can't Just Be Free: continuing on the debate

My "Why Music Can't Just Be Free" post has stirred up a hornets nest of debate and comment. As Jupiter's weblogs don't enable comments I've decided to continue the debate on my other weblog MusicIndustryBlog. My opinions are just that, and Jupiter has always believed that good opinions are shaped through debate. So if you want to join the debate join me over there. For those of you that have sent emails or direct messages via Twitter I will reply to you just as soon as I find time.

Note: my colleague Ian Fogg points out that I inferred in my previous post that SourceForge are a developer when they in fact a developer platform.

Forrester Consumer Forum in London - Customer Experience Track report 2

Last week I posted my impressions of the general sessions at Forrester's Consumer Forum in London (November 6-7, 2008). Today, I want to share some snippets from the Customer Experience track, which I moderated:

>> Dr. Nicola Millard (Customer Experience Futurologist - BT)

Nicola gave a very "high energy" presentation on the lessons that BT has learned from its experiences in operating contact centers -

We heard about:

- The voyage towards "appropriate automation" - using automated systems for tasks where it makes sense, but allowing humans to speak to humans when they need to. 

- The ever increasing complexity of communicating through the multiple channels that customers want to use. Just as companies get the hang of e-mail, a new generation of customers feels that e-mail is so 1999... It's time to start supporting channels such as mobile chat, online communities and so on.

- The benefits of listening to customers. BT has found that a community of its customers can identify problems with home broadband equipment faster than BT finds them. And not only do the customers find the problems, they also find the solutions.

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Why Music Can't 'Just Be Free'

The French music industry body Socit civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF) is suing four US based developers of P-to-P applications, including the BitTorrent client Vuze, Limewire and Morpheus and Shareaza. (The latter is the one that is stimulating vitriol in the tech blogosphere as it is developed by open source development platform SourceForge.)

Under newly revised French law the US companies can be tried in the France as their applications have not implemented filtering mechanisms to block out copyrighted material.

A couple of arguments are being leveled at the SPPF. The first that these applications aren't designed for copyright infringement. "It's not the fault of the developers that they are being used as such". This argument of course has been used since the original Napster trial. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't wash. However much there is legitimate usage, the vast majority of usage is not legitimate. All the developers need to do is support their claims off innocence by embedding filtering mechanisms into their apps. If they counter claim that this would restrict the liberty of their users, then they can't any longer argue that they don't support illegitimate usage of their technology.

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Why Music Can't 'Just Be Free'

The French music industry body Socit civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF) is suing four US based developers of P-to-P applications, including the BitTorrent client Vuze, Limewire and Morpheus and Shareaza. (The latter is the one that is stimulating vitriol in the tech blogosphere as it is developed by open source development platform SourceForge.)

Under newly revised French law the US companies can be tried in the France as their applications have not implemented filtering mechanisms to block out copyrighted material.

A couple of arguments are being leveled at the SPPF. The first that these applications aren't designed for copyright infringement. It's not the fault of the developers that they are being used as such. This argument of course has been since the original Napster trial. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't wash. However much there is legitimate usage, the vast majority of usage is not legitimate. All the developers need to do is support their claims off innocence by embedding filtering mechanisms into their apps. If they counter claim that this would restrict the liberty of their users, then they can't any longer argue that they don't support illegitimate usage of their technology.

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Out of Box Experiences are poor when you can't even get the product out of the box...

Japanese companies have developed some terrific packaging solutions, like the o-nigiri packaging that's easy to open, keeps the rice lovely and moist, and puts a layer between the rice and the nori until the time the package is opened, thus ensuring that the seaweed stays crisp and dry:

Ministop_onigiri

After living here so long, I've started to consider it "normal" that products are so considerately packaged, albeit often over-packaged. Whatever the product, there always seems to be an obvious string or tab to pull, or a corner cut out from the plastic to make it easy to tear open.

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Dismal Retail News

Following the same path we have been on for the last many months, Wal-Mart showed strength almost singularly in the offline retail panoply. The overall results reported yesterday and today show the worst growth rate since the commerce department started tracking retail in aggregate. A decline of 2.8 percent is rough. And, even taking out auto, fuel and building supplies, the rest of retail declined by .5 percent, which in itself shows that every sector is being hit--even lux. We'll look for online third quarter results for the online retail market out soon and cross our fingers.

Social Network Gree to go IPO

Asiajin reports that Gree will make a public offering - following in the footsteps of Mixi. You might recall that Charlene Li calculated that Mixi's value translated into $200 per user at that time.

Young Japanese people have adopted Social Networks in a big way. (But not quite as much as Koreans).

Japanese_youth_use_sns_2

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Forrester Consumer Forum in London - Customer Experience Track report

On Thursday and Friday last week I participated in Forrester's Consumer Marketing Forum EMEA 2008. I found it to be a truly inspiring event.

On Thursday I attended some of the general sessions. And on Friday, I had the honor of moderating an afternoon track, focusing entirely on Customer Experience topics. It was awesome.

Here are a few of my impressions from the general sessions. Tomorrow I'll blog about the Customer Experience track.

>> Jaap Favier (Forrester - Research Director)

Kicking off the event, Jaap spoke about overcoming the challenges to marketers in the economic downturn. We (marketers) are among the least trusted people in the world - at the bottom of consumers list of trusted professions with lawyers. (If you want to get to the top, you'd better become a doctor, a teacher or a fireman). In the 1930s, P&G started to exploit new media (radio) to deliver content that customers wanted to hear - soap operas. Now we need to thrive in a world of Web2.0 media.

Since nobody loves us... we'd better stop talking at them and start facilitating conversations that they can trust.

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Facebook Phone Launches

3 launched their Facebook phone in the UK today. See Guardian.

I got the chance to see some early demos of the phone, but not the final version. Really liked the concept that I saw. Will be interesting to watch and see how this type of interface works on a phone. I think it's more intuitive for the consumer than the PC analogies that have been carried over. Will be interesting to watch. I'm really excited about where phones will be in a few years when more of these social networking/graphing features are incorporated into the UI as 3 has done.

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Online travel agencies, the economy and Velveeta

To say Q3 was a tough one for online travel agencies would be an understatement. Expedia and Priceline shares lost more than 50 percent each since the beginning of the third quarter, while Orbitz is down 40 percent in that period.

During Q3, it became abundantly clear that the economic slowdown was driving a serious contraction in demand.

At that time, there was an opportunity to come forward with a fresh and responsive marketing message to acknowledge the new financial reality.

Look to retail. Target has a stylish and amusing television campaign based on their "Brand new day" theme that shows how their products can help people save money as a substitute for activities they are likely to give up due to cost (i.e. a coffee maker instead of going to a coffee shop, an exercise ball to replace gym fees). Walmart has a more direct savings-focused television ad demonstrating that replacing cereal for take-out breakfast can save $900 per year.

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